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Pittsburghese

The 77th Major League Baseball All-Star Game is quickly approaching. This year's July 11th battle of the bats is taking place in Pittsburgh, PA -- home of the recently crowned Super Bowl champion Steelers. And while the game might be overshadowed this year by the World Cup, some of us hard-core baseball fans are excited to make the trip out to Pittsburgh, if only to see the 446 bridges the city boasts (more than Venice, Italy), the most of any city in the world.

But that's not all Pittsburgh has. They've also got their own dialect called "Pittsburghese." Born out of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when large amounts of Slavic and Scotch-Irish immigrants went to work in the booming steel industry, the English language went through a funny makeover.

For instance, here's an example of what JFK would have sounded like, were he raised in "the 'Burgh":

"Ask not wah yinzes country can do fer you n'at. Ask wah yinz can do fer yinzes country."

According to Pittsburghese.com:

Pittsburghese is the unofficial language of the Steel City. From da Sahside to Sliberty, you can find Picksburghers speaking just like this. Every tahn has its own flavor, and this is just one of ours. So if you are planning to visit Dahntahn or just catch a Stillers game we suggest you learn the language of the 'Burgh.

They're quite serious, as it turns out. Don't believe me? Check out their nifty little translator page, where you can type in any phrase you'd like and have it spit back atchya in the local dialect.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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