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Turnpike Trivia

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I recently cruised down the New Jersey Turnpike for a weekend in Philadelphia. I hadn't been to Philly since a poorly executed field trip in 1991, when many of the exhibits were inexplicably closed. So it was good to be back. We saw the same high-speed chase three times (a movie was filming near our hotel) and hit up the Starbucks across from Betsy Ross' house.

But the learning opportunities didn't start at Philadelphia's city limits. If you've ever traveled the Turnpike, you may have noticed the rest stops are all dedicated to famous (and not-so-famous) Americans. I've always wondered how these obscure names were connected to New Jersey. Let's take a ride up the Turnpike, making frequent stops for answers:

+Clara Barton, Established the American Red Cross
NJ Connection: Started NJ's first free public school
Milepost: 5.4 (southbound)

+John Fenwick, Quaker colonist in America
NJ Connection: Early settler of NJ
Milepost: 5.4 (northbound)

+Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass poet
NJ Connection: Buried in Camden
Milepost: 30.2

+J. Fenimore Cooper, Last of the Mohicans author
NJ Connection: This rest stop (He was born in Burlington, but moved at age 1 to Lake Oswego, NY)
Milepost: 39.4

+Richard Stockton, Declaration of Independence signer
NJ Connection: Continental Congressman from NJ
Milepost: 58.7 (southbound)

+Woodrow Wilson, 28th President
NJ Connection: President of Princeton
Milepost: 58.7 (northbound)

+Molly Pitcher, Possibly took the place of her wounded husband behind a cannon during the Revolutionary War
NJ Connection: If this did happen, it probably happened at The Battle of Monmouth in 1778.
Milepost: 71.7

+Joyce Kilmer, Poet and son of the guy who invented baby powder
NJ Connection: Born in New Brunswick
Milepost: 78.7

+Thomas Edison, Inventor with 1,097 U.S. patents
NJ Connection: "The Wizard of Menlo Park" is buried in West Orange
Milepost: 92.9 (southbound)

+Grover Cleveland, 22nd & 24th President
NJ Connection: Born in Caldwell, buried in Princeton
Milepost: 92.9 (northbound)

+Alexander Hamilton, First Secretary of the Treasury
NJ Connection: Killed by Aaron Burr in a Weehawken duel
Milepost: 111.6

+Vince Lombardi, legendary Green Bay Packers coach
NJ Connection: His first coaching job was at St. Cecilia High School in Engelwood
Milepost: 116

There probably wasn't a lot of resistance to any of these roadside memorials. I can't imagine anti-Clara Barton sentiment. But one naming has been a source of contention -- the Howard Stern Rest Area on I-295 in Springfield. It was christened in 1995 by governor Christie Todd Whitman. This gesture "“ a "thanks" for Stern's support in the November 1993 election "“ drew both criticism and thieves. A plaque featuring Stern in an outhouse was stolen. Jim McGreevey closed the rest stop in a 2003 cost-cutting measure.

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Live Smarter
Need to Calm Yourself Down? Try This Military-Approved Breathing Technique
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Whether you’re dealing with co-worker chaos or pressure to perform on a project, it’s difficult to excel at work when you're extremely stressed. Can’t escape the office? Take a cue from real-life soldiers and try a technique called tactical breathing—also known as combat breathing, four-count breathing, and diaphragmatic breathing—to lower your heart rate and regain control of your breath.

“It’s one you can use when things are blowing up around you”—both literally and figuratively—“and you need to be able to stay calm,” explains clinical psychologist Belisa Vranich, who demonstrates a version of tactical breathing in Tech Insider’s video below.

Vranich is the author of 2016’s Breathe: The Simple, Revolutionary 14-Day Program to Improve your Mental and Physical Health. Watch, learn, and—of course—inhale and exhale along with her until you feel zen enough to salvage the remainder of your workday.

[h/t Business Insider]

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10 Creepy Candles to Get You in the Halloween Mood
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Candles are always a handy household accessory, but they're especially useful around Halloween, when they can be used to light jack-o'-lanterns, summon spirits, or simply brighten a long, dark night. These spooky lights are more suited for tabletops than pumpkins, or soirees than seances, but they'll still make your upcoming costume shindig extra festive (and fragrant, to boot).


PyroPet’s cat-shaped Kisa candle looks like an ordinary wax feline. But as it melts, a hidden surprise reveals itself: a macabre metallic skeleton with charred bones and bared fangs.

The Kisa candle costs $34 and comes in three colors: pink, gray, and an ultra-spooky black. Not into cats? Additional PyroPet offerings include birds, bunnies, reindeer, owls, and dragons, all with the same silver framework.


Brain candle by Creepy Candles
Creepy Candles

This specimen-inspired candle by Etsy seller Creepy Candles would look equally at place in a mad scientist’s laboratory as it would at a Halloween soiree. A wax brain is suspended in green-tinted gel that resembles formaldehyde, but the candle itself thankfully smells like grapefruit. The Brain Candle costs $25 and is handmade to order.


Beeswax human spine candles, set of three, by Grave Digger Candles
Grave Digger Candles

Grow a spine this Halloween—or at least buy one. These notched beeswax pillar candles are inspired by the Victorian Era, a period in which physicians created detailed wax models of flayed corpses to teach medical students the literal ins and outs of anatomy. Etsy seller Grave Digger Candles sells them in sets of three for $76.


LED battery-operated Ouija board candle by Twisted Nightmares
Twisted Nightmares

This Ouija board-inspired, LED battery-operated candle probably won’t summon spirits, but it’s still spine-tinglingly spooky. Sold by Etsy user Twisted Nightmares, it costs $20 and requires three AAA batteries, which aren’t included with purchase.


Bleeding Heart Candle by Cozy Custom Candles
Cozy Custom Candles

Love guts, blood, and Gothic romance? Your heart might bleed for this candle, which turns into a gushing heart when lit. Sold by Etsy seller Cozy Custom Candles, the heart-shaped light source has a white outer shell made from a high-melt point paraffin wax, while its core is made of a red-colored wax blend with a low melting point. The candle hemorrhages vital fluids as it burns, making it the perfect accessory for a bloody good time.

The Bleeding Heart Candle costs $17 and comes in multiple autumnal scents, including caramel apple, pumpkin pie, and sweet cinnamon-pumpkin.


Pick Your Poison candle by Mr. Toad's House of Wax
Mr. Toad's House of Wax

The “Pick Your Poison” candles by Etsy seller Mr. Toad’s House of Wax appear to have been snatched from the shelf of a Victorian apothecarist. But while labeled “Poison Hemlock Oil” and “Tincture of Wolfsbane Poison,” they smell like fresh fallen leaves, pumpkin spice, and other autumnal scents when lit. Both candles cost $21, and are embellished with a sparkly jewel and black velvet ribbon.


Woods & Earth candle by Geeky Girl Scents
Geeky Girl Scents

There’s nothing quite like the aroma of trees and fresh graveyard dirt on a fall night. With hints of wood and earth, this candle by Etsy seller Geek Girl Scents will make your living room smell like a haunted cemetery. An eight-ounce jar costs $15, and a 16-ounce version is also available.


Witch Farts Scented Soy Wax Candle by The Candle Crate
The Candle Crate

If you’ve ever wondered what witch gas smells like (who hasn’t?), you can find out by purchasing The Candle Crate’s flaming ode to supernatural flatulence. The Etsy seller’s “Witch Farts” candle is more Glinda the Good Witch than Elphaba, with top notes of peach, apricot, and blackberries and middle notes of mandarin, cinnamon, and rose.

The soy wax candle costs $12, and is sold alongside other witchy, Harry Potter-inspired products like “Number 12 Grimmauld Place” and “The Leaky Cauldron.”


Ghost Repellent candle by Nola And Neighbors
Nola And Neighbors

Even if you ain’t afraid of no ghosts, you can still keep them at bay with this “Ghost Repellent” candle by Etsy sellers Nola And Neighbors. It smells like lavender and sage, and comes with an instruction label informing owners to light it “at dusk or dawn” for best results—although the ghost’s removal is “not guaranteed.” At $17, it’s still way cheaper than hiring the Ghostbusters.


Zombie Golden Girls prayer candle set by The Eternal Flame
The Eternal Flame

Golden Girls devotees who’d follow the Fab Four to the grave and beyond can light up their lanais with these zombie prayer candles by Etsy shop The Eternal Flame. They come in sets of four (one for each Girl, naturally) and cost $40. Color choices include white, orange, and purple.


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