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December is going to end a year of bests December 10, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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So, it’s official, and has been since before 10 am PST: in a year of several best months, including a string of them this fall, December already has them all beat, by a longshot. We had the most visits ever back in October, and came close to our high numbers in November, but today, only ten days into the last month of the year, we’ve topped our most visits by more than 200 hits!

We broke the 2,000 mark!

We broke the 2,000 mark!

And as you can probably tell from that screenshot, our high numbers are partly due to a freakishly busy day here at the Smile! blog: back on Dec. 4, we topped out at more than 900 hits! I’m going to assume that’s the work of some sort of computer program auto-searching and hitting the blog, but hey, since then, we’ve been bringing in between 150 and 200 hits every day, so you happy readers are definitely helping out!

Thanks, everyone!

At this rate, we’re going to end the year on a fantastic high note, and I’m glad you’re all here and reading, because I’ve got some great new smileys to share! Some are gifts I’ve received recently (or know I’m going to receive for the holidays), some are reader-submissions, some are smileys I’ve seen around town lately…. We’ve got the whole gamut of happiness, actually!

So hang in there, smiley people, and keep checking back. We’re in for a very happy end of the year!



In a year of best months ever, October topped them all! November 1, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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Happy readers, the numbers make me smile:

It looks like you all visited October as many times as you did in September, but look more closely:

We actually topped September by two hits, which officially makes October the Smile! blog’s best month of all time.

We’re a day shorter in November, but what the heck, gang — I think we can keep it going!

Wanna help? Check out my newly added Categories menu in the sidebar! Now you can find all your favorite kinds of smileys with the click of a link! 🙂

BONUS: The hits just keep on coming! September 29, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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Hey, happy readers! Once again, we’ve raised the bar: Smile! has has its best month ever, for what feels like the sixth time this year. In fact, if you look at the annual bar graph, the lines have gone upward fairly regularly all year long.


Also worth noting: every month this year has had at least twice the hits as the same month last year — some months have been as much as four times the previous year’s hits!

It’s been an amazing year so far, and it looks like it’ll keep getting better, and it’s all thanks to you! 🙂

PS: Don’t forget, we’re on Facebook, too!

BONUS: the smile is so much more than an emoticon September 26, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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This photo is making the rounds on Facebook today; it arrived to Facebook via Reddit:

The photo is of a young Sikh woman, Balpreet Kaur. The person who posted the photo to Reddit seemed confused by the sight of facial hair on a young woman and posted the photo under Reddit’s “Funny” section with the comment, “I’m not sure what to conclude from this.”

Somewhere among all the crass jokes and ignorant jabs about gender roles and body image, Balpreet Kaur herself chimed in to explain in beautiful rhetoric and with deep compassion (she never once expresses anger or embarrassment) why she has facial hair and why she’s proud of it.

Go visit the Reddit post and do a “find” for balpreetkaur, which is the handle under which she posted her comment, so you can read her full comments for yourself. But I wanted to share this photo because of two specific statements she makes:

Early in her reply, she writes that she didn’t know about the photograph until a friend brought it to her attention — she wasn’t aware the OP (original photographer) was taking her picture. “If the OP wanted a picture,” she writes, “they could have just asked and I could have smiled.” 🙂

She goes on to explain her Sikh faith, how it addresses the body and body image, and why she’s proud to look the way she does. It’s a beautiful statement of faith, at the end of which she writes, “When I die, no one is going to remember what I looked like, heck, my kids will forget my voice, and slowly, all physical memory will fade away. However, my impact and legacy will remain: and, by not focusing on the physical beauty, I have time to cultivate those inner virtues and hopefully, focus my life on creating change and progress for this world in any way I can. So, to me, my face isn’t important but the smile and the happiness that lie behind the face are.” (emphasis mine)

This is what’s so wonderful about this post, happy readers: the smiley face as we love and share it here on the blog is almost always an artistic expression, a simple combination of basic colors and clean lines, a symbol. But it is a symbol for a human expression, and that human expression — of happiness, of joy and compassion — is so much more important than any stylized pictograph we could make of it.

This photo and the story Balpreet Kaur tells about it made me smile. And that’s worth a thousand emoticons.

BONUS: “Faces in the Clouds” feature at Weather.com September 9, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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I was checking weather this weekend and look what I found at Weather.com: Faces in the Clouds! Not every face is a smiley face, but two or three of them are (depending on how you view them). Some of the other shapes are amazing, too.

Follow the link and enjoy the slideshow! 🙂

Reader-submitted smiley underwear June 4, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Reader submission, Smiley, Web smileys.
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First, a warning:  If you’re a kid and you don’t want to look at underwear, don’t look at this. And if you’re a parent and don’t want your kid looking at underwear, tell them to go play outside for a while. In fact, tell them that anyway — playing outside is awesome.

But let’s be honest: No one appreciates a good underwear joke more than a six-year-old. So, what the heck. Carry on.

Smiley underwear. Submitted by Julie and Dylan S.

I wish I could say my friends Julie and Dylan had actually taken this photo, but as you can see from the watermark, it comes from the Lolbrary. Julie spotted it online, shared it with her husband Dylan, who then thought of me…. And here it is! Thanks, Julie. Dylan, and Lolbrary!

Also, while I was debating on Facebook exactly how I might go about describing these silly panties, another friend of mine struck comedy gold: Crystal C. suggested the tagline, “Smiling from cheek to cheek!” And that, happy readers, was MORE than enough to put a smile on my face! 🙂

BONUS: We’ve done it again! May 25, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Web smileys.
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That’s right, happy readers: May still has almost a week to go, and already this is the best month we’ve ever had on Smile! That’s the fourth record-breaking month in a row!

Keep the hits coming, gang, and let’s see if we can turn June into a best-ever month as well!

Zoo trip t-shirts (sort of) May 17, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Clothing & Accessories, Office, Smiley, Web smileys.
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This past Monday, my wife and I decided to spend the morning at the Oregon Zoo — we’re members, so we can just drop in any time we want. Turns out, we weren’t the only ones with that idea: the zoo was absolutely packed with happy kids (and exhausted chaperons) on school field trips.

In order to keep all those kids together, the schools kitted them out with t-shirts designating which school they belonged too, and much to my delight, one of the schools — Wee Wisdom Preschool — wore bright yellow shirts with classic black smiley faces!

I had the camera with me and wanted to snap photos of the actual shirts, but I knew it might look strange for some random guy to start photographing groups of kids, so I opted to enjoy the smileys without the photos. But I had a hunch that a school that would use a smiley on their t-shirts might use the smiley in other ways, too, so I noted the name and looked them up online when I got home.

And sure enough, Wee Wisdom Preschool has a big, bright smiley face right at the top of their sidebar!

Logo and mission statement for Wee Wisdom Preschool in Beaverton, OR.

Their motto (on the parent info page) is even “The Happy Place to learn!”

School doesn’t get much more smiley than that, happy readers! 🙂

BONUS: We’ve had our best month ever — AGAIN! April 30, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Web smileys.
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Hey, happy readers! Just a quick note to let you know that, for the third month in a row, we’ve topped our previous best-ever month of visits to the blog. It’s hard to see at first, but as of 11:30 pm, April has just edged out March for most hits. It’s not by much, but hey, every maxed-out month is a milestone in my book! Plus, April is a day shorter than March, so this is a big deal.

I love how the monthly bar graph looks like an awesome, long, water slide!

We might pick up a few more hits in the last 20 minutes or so, but right now, April’s total is 1,444, compared with March’s 1,431.

We have a winner! Again!

Thanks for reading, gang! You know, May has 31 days. Let’s see what we can do with that extra day! 🙂

PS: Don’t forget, we’re on Facebook, too!

BONUS: a smiley face not smiling April 20, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Art, Clothing & Accessories, Smiley, Web smileys.
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This is not a political blog. But the smiley face is so useful a symbol that occasionally it creeps into politics, usually in cartoons. That was the case when I posted about the censorship of Mark Twain, and it was the case this past week, when political cartoonist Mike Luckovich included a smiley in his cartoon “Haves and Have Nots.”

Or, he almost included a smiley.

The first panel from the cartoon "Haves and Have Nots" by Mike Luckovich, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 April 2012.*

Look closely at the t-shirt the man on the left is wearing. Recognize that half-circle of yellow and those two black dots? Seems this guy is wearing a smiley face shirt!

But where’s the smile?

Seems the guy’s arm is hiding it. And that’s probably not an accident: this family doesn’t seem very happy with this stack of tax forms on their kitchen table. But then, why put a smiley face on this guy’s shirt in the first place? Luckovich could have put anything on that shirt — a satirical mock-up of a corporate logo, a random drawing, nonsense words — or he could have put nothing on the shirt at all. Why go for the smiley and then hide the smile behind this guy’s arm?

I think Luckovich does that intentionally, to put the idea of happiness in our heads and then steal it away from us, so we can see just how unhappy this family is. But then, he could have gone for broke and shown us a frowny face instead, right? I don’t think so. For one thing, I think that would have been too obvious, too in-your-face. But more importantly, I think he doesn’t want to tell us this family is inherently unhappy, which a frowny shirt would imply (who would buy a frowny shirt but someone who’s already frowning?); rather, he wants to suggest that this family is inherently happy, or has the potential to be happy. Notice that the arm obscuring the smile is the same arm resting atop the tax forms, and that hand is holding the pen needed to fill out those forms. So it seems to me that the only thing interfering with that family’s inherent happiness is the fact that they “have to pay taxes.”

I’ve wondered before how often the smiley gets used to make a political point (in that case, it was regarding censorship), but now I’m also curious how often the smiley gets hidden to make a political point. Less often, I’d imagine, but it seems a subject worth researching.

Any happy readers happen to be librarians or pop culture scholars? Give us some answers, gang! 🙂

* (Because this isn’t a political blog, I’m only showing the relevant panel from the cartoon. But if you want to get political, you can check out the whole cartoon at the website for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where this cartoon first appeared on April 11. Just make sure you leave your political comments there, for Mike to see, instead of here.)