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Morning Cup of Links: Bird in a Man Suit

Pioneer comedian Phyllis Diller died yesterday at age 95. If you're not familiar with her schtick, be thankful there are plenty of recordings like this 1969 clip of Diller with Liberace.
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What games did you play as a kid? I bet you played quite a few of these.
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Forrest Fenn is a real-life Indiana Jones character, except much wealthier. His bizarre scheme to turn his own burial into a treasure hunt may bring him more fame than anything else he's done.
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Any Day Is A Good Day For A Bill Murray Tribute Remix. It's bouncy, nostalgic, well-edited, and contains language that is NSFW.
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The Mississippi River: The Backbone of America. Providing water, transportation, and blues songs to us for hundreds of years.
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One mashup you'd have never thought of is Angry Birds and Green Day. Little green pigs with rockstar haircuts just might sell more albums, right?
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Primrose the donkey was born prematurely, and her legs weren't developed enough to hold her weight. But bright pink casts stiffen them so the tiny donkey can walk.
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Amelia Earhart, Before Her Mysterious Disappearance. She was charming, fearless, and left us with a mystery for the ages.
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Giant Bird In A Man Suit makes no sense at all, for no reason at all. But it made me laugh, and the disco-esque song is killer.
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College Humor is teaming up with Malaria No More to stomp out malaria. Their weapon is a $1 pay-per-view comedy show called Malarius, featuring some big names in entertainment.
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Is The Tonight Show in trouble? Two dozen were laid off and Jay Leno took a pay cut, but it might not be enough to save the show.
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6 Cases of Shamelessly False Advertising. Shameless because most were highly profitable schemes.

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Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California
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History
The Concept of the American 'Backyard' is Newer Than You Think
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
A home in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington Library in San Marino, California

Backyards are as American as apple pie and baseball. If you live in a suburban or rural area, chances are good that you have a lawn, and maybe a pool, some patio furniture, and a grill to boot.

This wasn’t always the case, though. As Smithsonian Insider reports, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Americans began to consider the backyard an extension of the home, as well as a space for recreation and relaxation. After World War II, Americans started leaving the big cities and moving to suburban homes that came equipped with private backyards. Then, after the 40-hour work week was implemented and wages started to increase, families started spending more money on patios, pools, and well-kept lawns, which became a “symbol of prosperity” in the 1950s, according to a new Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

A man mows his lawn in the 1950s
In this photo from the Smithsonian Institution's exhibit, a man mows his lawn in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s.
Maynard L. Parker/Courtesy of The Huntington
Library in San Marino, California

Entitled "Patios, Pools, & the Invention of the American Back Yard," the exhibition includes photographs, advertisements, and articles about backyards from the 1950s and 1960s. The traveling display is currently on view at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum in Temple, Texas, and from there it will head to Hartford, Connecticut, in December.

Prior to the 1950s, outdoor yards were primarily workspaces, MLive.com reports. Some families may have had a vegetable garden, but most yards were used to store tools, livestock, and other basic necessities.

The rise of the backyard was largely fueled by materials that were already on hand, but hadn’t been accessible to the average American during World War II. As Smithsonian Insider notes, companies that had manufactured aluminum and concrete for wartime efforts later switched to swimming pools, patio furniture, and even grilling utensils.

A family eats at a picnic table in the 1960s
A family in Mendham, New Jersey, in the 1960s
Molly Adams/Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection

At the same time, DIY projects started to come into fashion. According to an exhibit caption of a Popular Mechanics article from the 1950s, “‘Doing-it-yourself’ was advertised as an enjoyable and affordable way for families to individualize their suburban homes.” The magazine wrote at the time that “patios, eating areas, places for play and relaxation are transforming back yards throughout the nation.”

The American backyard continues to grow to this day. As Bloomberg notes, data shows that the average backyard grew three years in a row, from 2015 to 2017. The average home last year had 7048 square feet of outdoor space—plenty of room for a sizable Memorial Day cookout.

[h/t Smithsonian Insider]

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