I voted today.  It felt kind of like giving blood, except without the sensation that I just helped somebody.  The wooziness and that dejected sensation that comes from lying down and letting someone take some of your blood away from you—that part was familiar.  They really ought to give out oatmeal cookies at the polls.  In an election like this, no matter who wins, an oatmeal cookie is as good as it’s going to get.

In lieu of cookies, here are eight things to be happy about, despite the election:

Target and Nordstrom have begun using a cute kid named Ryan in their ads.  Oh, and he has Down Syndrome.  But, says Time, “there were no self-congratulatory press releases or pats on the back, signaling that Ryan’s presence in the catalog was nothing out of the ordinary.”  Another child with Down Syndrome recently won a modelling contest in the UK, and the modelling agency displayed same (extremely healthy) casual attitude: a cute kid is a cute kid.  Excellent.

Speaking of how to treat children who are different:  Msgr. Charles Pope writes a humble and lovely account of how a glimpse at a mother’s love for her brain-damaged son made him repent of his cruelty toward the boy.  The memory reminds him to challenge us:

Why not ask for the gift to see something of God’s love for others? I don’t suppose we could take a large dose of it, all at once, for surely we could not stop weeping for our sins. Perhaps even to ask that our eyes be gradually opened to the tender love of God for everyone around us, is best. And surely, even in this gradual way, we will begin to experience the gift of tears, and capacity to weep for our sins of indifference, of hardness, of inconsideration. And also, to experience joyful weeping in how delighted God is over our acts of kindness and consideration.

Speaking of acts of kindness and consideration: it’s never to early to start preparing for Cheer Up Keanu Day.  All right, so this story is a year and a half old, but still, aren’t you glad to know that people care, even if it’s only about Keanu Reeves?

Speaking of cheering people up, it never fails to give me a lift when smart technology bites people in the butt, even when it’s my butt that gets bitten (like when I failed to edit my Facebook status before posting, and accidentally wished everyone a “Merry Christmas Eve Tushnet”).  There are whole websites dedicated to collecting the craziness that ensues when autocorrect gets a little too helpful (but I won’t link to them, having reached, because of the election, my monthly quota of behavior unbecoming of a Catholic).  My own voicemail system automatically transcribes messages and sends them to my inbox, so when I get home, I am informed that my Aunt Mary called to tell me: “She I am look in and would you believe her mother was Jewish a month ago.”  Well, I guess I’d believe it, if Vonage says so.  Also, the dentist checked in “to remind some chop of her appointment tomorrow.”

So yes, I will be legally changing my name to “Some Chop,” right after the courts clear the dockets after dealing with Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop.

Speaking of wonderful technology,  here’s a pretty, pretty toy called ToneMatrix, made by Andre Michelle.  Check it out, if you don’t mind losing the whole afternoon to playtime. 

Speaking of wonderful:  the magnificent story of Claude Newman.  I especially liked the icon, “Mary the Teacher.”  She looks like she’s saying, “Ohh, I’ve got something wonderful to tell you!  Don’t you want to know what it is?”  The other thing I liked is the reminder that every single soul matters, and every soul is worth saving.  Check out the story, and see how Mary is willing to go to a lot of trouble for two of her sons!

Speaking of mothers and children:  Babies, babies, babies.  Aren’t they nice?  Not just mine, although she is the cutiest wootiest widdle piece of pumpkin pie ever to be named after an 84-year-old German pope.  Here are a couple who, like mine, don’t seem to mind cooperating with their mama’s schedules:  This
newborn snuggles while her mom, an Italian Member of the European Parliament, votes
; and this little one gets a quick meal from her mother, a skater with the Anarchy Angels Roller Derby Team.  No matter what you think about working moms, a mother tenderly caring for her child is always a lovely sight to see.

And one final thing to be happy about:  Today is the New Hampshire primary.  This is good news like when the midwife tells you, “Well, you’re at 7 centimeters!”  Husbands, ask your wives.  It’s not that it feels good—it’s just that, when you’ve reached this stage, at least you know it can’t go on much longer.