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Calling All Interns

We're in the market for new interns. Stacy Conradt and Andréa Fernandes "“ formerly InternStacy and InternAndréa "“ were superstars this semester, and they'll be sticking with us as staff writers.

This is certainly a big-shoes-to-fill situation. Which is why we're filling those shoes with more feet. For the upcoming semester, we have openings for intern writers & researchers, an intern PR maven, and lots of campus reps.

If you'd like to work for the 2,518th most popular website in the United States, here are your instructions...

Intern Writer/Researcher

Job Description:
You'll spend your semester brainstorming, researching and writing stories that will appear on mentalfloss.com, like Stacy and Andréa have been doing since September.
Interview Assignment:
1) Come up with three ideas for stories. Here are links to some of our greatest hits.
2) Turn one of those ideas into a fascinating article.
3) Come up with two ideas for mental_floss quizzes. See our quiz archive for inspiration.
4) Suggest one idea for a recurring column, like Andréa's 'Feel Art Again.' We probably won't ask you (or force you) to actually write it, but you never know.
How To Apply:
Email your resume and your answers to the above questions to floss.intern@gmail.com.

Intern PR Maven

Job Description:
Work with us to improve that 2,518 ranking and increase overall awareness of mental_floss. This will include a decent amount of online research and making contacts at other thriving sites. Plus plenty of brainstorming for story ideas, giveaways, contests, etc.

Interview Assignment:
1) If you were planning a mental_floss event on your campus, what would it be called and where would you hold it? How would you make sure people attended and had a good time?
2) Pretend you've written some fascinating story (you can make up the topic, and pick an actual article from out there in the blogosphere), and convince us we should talk about it on mentalfloss.com.
How To Apply:
Email your resume and your answers to the above questions to floss.intern.pr@gmail.com.

[Writers/Researchers and PR Mavens should be willing to perform your duties for either college credit or a small stipend. You don't necessarily need to be a college student, though you must be willing to work on the cheap.]

mental_floss campus_reps

Job Description:
For pride, resume enhancement, some free t-shirts and perhaps a small budget for events, you'll introduce your school to the wonderful world of mental_floss. (But mostly for pride.) We're not yet sure what this means. Organizing trivia challenges at local bars or coffee houses? Handing out copies of the magazine?

Interview Assignment:
1) Figure out this whole campus_reps idea. What would you do if you were representing mental_floss at your school? (We'll do some thinking on it, too.)

How To Apply:
Email your resume and your answer to the above questions to MFcampusreps@gmail.com.

A few quick notes before we let the games begin:

1. We'll give you until the end of next week (December 21st) to apply, and our new interns should be available to start in early January.

2. Our interns can work from anywhere. We don't have much room in our NY office anyway.

3. While Stacy, Andréa and former intern Jason Plautz all made the jump from intern to contributor, that's not a given. We've been lucky that none of them turned out to be crazy. But if you're good, we'll happily ask you to stick around.

4. If you have other skills you think would work in an intern capacity -- fact-checking, copy editing, knowledge of WordPress, ergonomics expertise, patience with our nonsensical ideas for side projects -- we're happy to consider you as well. Send those pitches to flossytees@gmail.com.

5. You should not be difficult to work with. This is probably the most important rule. Any sign of diva-ness will derail your candidacy.

6. And thanks to reader Kevin B. for suggesting we use a photo of Kenneth, the NBC Page on 30 Rock.

Looking forward to reading your submissions! Any questions, you can leave a comment or email me. It's Jason -at- mentalfloss -dot- com.

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language
How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
iStock
iStock

Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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TAKWest, Youtube
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entertainment
Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
TAKWest, Youtube
TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]

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