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Cream of the Cool

"He was very easygoing. He wanted people’s attention. He wanted you to stay around and interact with him and rub him. He didn’t try to bullshit you like some of the dolphins did."
-- Michelle Jeffries, one of NOC's trainers


NOC (pronounced "No-See") was a beluga whale who is known for being the first beluga to have its human vocalizations recorded.

Beluga whales are capable of "human-like" vocalizations. While they don't sound like…

Overview


This will have been my eighth consecutive Iron Noder Challenge. The first year I did this, I also completed NaNoWriMo at the very same time, because I am a horrible gremlin like that, and overcommitting to simultaneous creative projects is apparently how I show love, or something. Since that first year, I dropped the NaNo portion of the activity, on the grounds that if I'm…

Okay, hear me out.

Leave it to Beaver.
I Love Lucy.
The Honeymooners.
Father Knows Best.
The Brady Bunch.
The Jetsons and Flintstones, for you connoisseurs of animation.

What do all of those have in common? Is it that they're all post-war domestic comedies featuring shenanigans with a focus on (occasionally problematic) family dynamics and interpersonal relationships with weird neighbors, but that…

Ninety-five percent of Thanksgiving do-gooders have been entirely digital this year, asking me for wish lists or straight up donating money for homeless operations, but a few wanted practical street outreach experience and one lady got more than she bargained for.

I always take first-timers to the gnarlier neighborhoods, both as a crucible to see if they'll become a repeat volunteer and because those neighborhoods need all the services they can get. The volunteers who come back either…