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Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The NFL's most punitive punishers

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Included among the various oddities of a childhood spent in Pacific Palisades, California, are as follows: 1) Michael Keaton was my flag football coach; 2) I was big enough to start on the offensive line of said flag football team. At 75 pounds, 11 years old, I was hardly an imposing member of the line, nor was I so much a serviceable one -- fear of physical contact being a poor attribute in a lineman -- but the experience instilled in me a deep sympathy for the least appreciated position players in team sports. Here are these hulks of men, taking relentless punishment, recognizing that their hearts will give out years before they should -- and although they make far more money than they did 15 years ago (left tackles are only out-salaried by quarterbacks now, actually), they're barely respected for it. Do you know the names of all the starting o-linemen on your favorite team? Right. But over the past week, we have been reminded by excerpts of upcoming books and by the forced removal of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms' spleen that linemen are, in fact, germane to football success. So next time you're watching Football Night in America, don't forget who's setting up those Manning-to-Harrison connections or creating those giant holes for Tomlinison to snake through.

Now that we've internalized that very, very important lesson, I would be doing a terrible disservice by screening YouTube footage of sweet offensive line play. (Why? Because it's boring, and Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick probably don't read a lot of mentalfloss.com.) So I'm going to show you what happens when blocking goes wrong. Or when a receiver gets led a little too far down the middle by a pass. Or when the demons of deepest hell come to inhabit a safety's corpus. A pancake block may be impressive, but in terms of sheer entertainment value, does it match this?

POW! It doesn't, huh? Don Beebe backflipping on his head, Earl Campbell bulldozing suckas... this stuff is YouTube gold. Here's another hard-hitting highlight video, this time with non-Semitic rappers earning the musical honors:

KABLAM! I am frothing at the mouth. I am not kidding. I have detected froth. Now watch Lawrence Taylor end Joe Theisman's career (wait for the reverse angle):

WHAMO! And to end this bloodfest, I bring you unabashed visual hagiographies of my two favorite defensive players: Taylor and Ronnie Lott. Key things to look for...in LT's: Bill Parcell's full head of dark hair, the unbelievable one-handed sack at the 3:45 mark...and in Ronnie Lott's: everything; there's never been a nastier safety in the history of the game.

PS: Special shout-out to YouTube Hunter reader Simon who sent in this Japanese game show clip to the comments section two weeks ago...

That very footage was projected on the big screen at last night's Flaming Lips show, conferring everlasting coolness upon him and his family. Congratulations on being cool, Simon. Let us know how that works out for you.

PPS:
In case you're wondering, the only thing I remember about Michael Keaton is that he always smelled good. A very fragrant man.

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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