Blame Canada

Welcome to the first ever NextDraft Good News Only Pre-Thanksgiving Extravaganza. (OK, the name needs work, but candidly, good news is not something I have a ton of experience with.) All of these stories were submitted by readers. But I'd be remiss (and a tad jingoistic) if I didn't offer a tip of my tuque to the Canucks who supplied the most clicks per capita. So at the risk of being perceived as a total keener, we'll get things rolling in Canada with a story that might come in handy during your holiday travels. From CBC: A delayed flight turns into a full-on party: "My buddy with the accordian, Sheldon ... I'm a bit shyer than he is ... Anytime we're gathered around airports like that, he's often taking out his accordian just out of the blue and start playing for people." (In the US, we have a name for a guy who pulls out an accordion during a flight delay: Daredevil.)


The Groomsman

Here's a story that might make the hair on the back of your neck stand up a bit. But don't worry, Brennon Jones can help. If you live in Philadelphia, you might have seen Jones around town, giving free haircuts to the homeless. "It started earlier this year, when Jones passed by a homeless person, dropping a couple dollars and a banana in front of him. But later, the sight of the man stuck with him. 'I started to kind of beat myself up. I felt as though I didn't do enough. I missed out on the opportunity to potentially change his life, in a sense ... to help out more.'" But wait, this isn't just a story about a good guy who makes a habit of giving free haircuts to people living on the street. It's a cut above that, as it's also the story of another guy who was so inspired by that guy that he gave him his own barbershop.

+ While we're in Philly, a teenager hit a three-pointer and a half-court shot during halftime at a Sixers game."Obviously, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand in front of the sold-out crowd at the Wells Fargo Center and everyone chanting for you. It was amazing." Thanks to the shots, everyone in attendance got a Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuit. But there's more to the story. When it's the NextDraft Good News Only Pre-Thanksgiving Extravaganza, there's always more to the story.


The Decline of Festerin’ Civilization

"We're not part of the crime-reduction world, or the public safety world, in the same way that we're part of the health and education and housing world. It never occurred to us that we're not getting the credit, because we don't even know that world is out there." It turns out that one of the best ways to get crime off the street is to get other things on them. That's where non-profits and other organizations come in. For those of you in that line of work who often wonder if what you do makes any real difference ... this one's for you. From the NYT: The Unsung Role That Ordinary Citizens Played in the Great Crime Decline.


Unca Unca Burning Love

"The Holocaust survivor who fled Poland at the beginning of World War II and thought his entire family had perished learned that a younger brother had also survived, and his brother's son, 66-year-old Alexandre, was flying in from a remote part of Russia to see him." From AP: 102-year-old survivor reunites with newly discovered nephew.

+ And yes, there's video of the meeting.


Animal Jam

I know, I know. You're thinking, Dave, how can this be a good news extravaganza with no animal stories?. Don't worry. They're here. Let's start with a story that's in my neck of the woods. Press Democrat: How Safari West's owner saved the preserve's animals from the Santa Rosa fire: "His epic tale — the story of a man who saved a thousand animals from relentless flames with nothing more than a winding chain of garden hoses — has become almost biblical."

+ "As the ceremony started, to everyone's surprise, it was the dog who came in when the bridal chorus began to play." A stray dog crashed a wedding. And then things got really feel-goody.

+ "I've got two exams coming up, one sit-down and one take-home, neither of which I'm looking forward to. With all that stress around the corner, this is a nice small distraction." A university brought in a petting zoo to calm students' nerves during exam time. (Sadly, it had a paradoxical effect on students studying to become veterinarians).

+ Bad: Looking weird. Worse: Having someone take a photo of you looking weird. Disaster: That photo goes viral. Meet Hammy, the deer with a purple hammock on his head.

+ There are rescue dogs. And then there's Chi Chi, the Golden Retriever retrieved from a dumpster.

+ Tired: Having a rescue dog. Wired: Having a rescue dog and a rescue turkey. (Full disclosure: I sort of enjoyed this, but I'm a vegetarian so I won't have to think of it while deciding between white and dark meat on Thursday.)


Moving Pictures

"Mike visits a garage in Indiana to surprise Jason, a former Army engineer who runs a therapeutic bike building program for veterans ... Mike swings by Albuquerque, New Mexico to see Donovan, a young man who used to be homeless, but now makes soaps for the homeless ... Mike stops by a Chula Vista salon to visit Snooky, a hairdresser who restores beauty and confidence to female cancer patients." Mike Rowe is constantly reminding us that people are awesome. And so is Mike's story-telling in this Facebook series. A perfect Thanksgiving binge: Returning the Favor.

+ Dharampal Singh says he's 119 years old. He might be a few years off, one way or the other, but either way, he's too old to be running how far he runs. The Never-Ending Marathon of Mr. Dharam Singh.

+ People hold a baby for the first time in front of a slow motion camera. (That baby's future psychotherapist is gonna be doing a lot of shrugging and nodding...)


Kids Rock

"And all of the sudden I come to the end of the hall, er aisle, and here's this little girl, and she's sort of bouncing up and down and pointing at me. And she said, 'Hi old person. Today's my birfday.'" A grieving man. A bubbly litte girl. A friendship that would seem over the top even if you saw it on Hallmark special. But that's how we roll during a Good News Only Pre-Thanksgiving Extravaganza. From NPR: An Unexpected Friendship Brought The Sun Out Again For A Grieving Man.

+ "When he tossed his walker aside, the crowd erupted into cheers." (Even on a good news only day, that line stands out.) Preschooler races thanks to unlikely friendship. (If things fog up a little during this one, don't worry, it's not your screen...)

+ Texas 16-year-old asks teacher to adopt him, and she does.

+ "It started because I didn't want to go to summer camp." Instead, this 10 year-old started feeding the homeless. One meal at a time.

+ "The inquisitive word lover had just one question for his mom that day in January, when the two were in the car and he turned stop into pots: 'What do we call a word that spells another word backwards?'" A six year-old kid decided to call them Levi-dromes. And it seems that the internet agrees. (And by the internet, I mean Shatner.)

+ "Sometimes cash, sometimes Square — I don't know which one people used most. I think it was cash, but it's good that we have both." Lessons from the girl who sold the most Girl Scout cookies in Brooklyn.


Indie Spirits Up

There's a new best-selling storyline sweeping across the shelves of independent bookstores: Hope. From Harvard Business School: How Independent Bookstores Have Thrived in Spite of Amazon. (Every retailer in America should be visiting these stores to figure out how the giant's first victim is still alive and well.)

+ "There are kids growing up in families where the only access to the internet they ever see is their parents scrolling up and down Facebook on a smartphone. That is not preparing them to be adults in the society we have." How a Retired Nurse Provides Her Small Vermont Town With Internet. (If net neutrality gets rolled back, we should all sign up for her service...)


Joy Sticks It

"When we are in game world, I believe many of us become the best version of ourselves. ... How can we take those feelings from games and apply them to real world work?" When we work together to find good news, anything is possible. Even a feel-good story about kids who spend a lot of time playing video games. Staunton's Greater Good Gaming: Changing your view about video gamers.


Bottom of the News

With your help, I'd say the first annual NextDraft Good News Only Pre-Thanksgiving Extravaganza was a hit. Your submissions, kind words, and continued readership make this a good news day indeed. Have an excellent holiday weekend. Or as they might say on Fox News: "Merry Christmas Thanksgiving." Let's close it out with a few more stories...

+ Moderate alcohol consumption improves foreign language skills. (Vaping makes you fluent...)

+ "The machines—likely for use in bars and restaurants across the island—recycle empties right before your drunken eyes. Push the container through a bottle-shaped hole, then watch as a vacuum system" does its thing. Machine Crushes Beer Bottles Into Sand to Save New Zealand Beaches. (Bonus: you can come home from the beach smelling like beer without anyone giving you a hard time...)

+ I'm not even sure this is good news, but it's related to good news. And this Australian politician is remarkable. Bob Katter on same sex marriage (and crocodiles).

+ Sacha Baron Cohen offers to pay Borat mankini fines.

+ This man is about to launch himself in his homemade rocket to prove the Earth is flat. (Sadly, the rocket doesn't have room for all the other flat Earthers.)

+ It's a Japanese show called Slipper Stairs. I can't really add anything to that.

+ And finally, if you need some additional binge watching material, here's The What's list of shows to try out.