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11 Things You Might Not Know About A Christmas Story (even though you've seen it 90 times)

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The Griswold post seemed to be a big hit, so we'll continue the "obscure facts about my favorite Christmas movies" series with A Christmas Story. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I don't own this one on DVD; but I guess I don't need to when TBS runs it for 24 hours straight on Christmas Eve. Here's a few tidbits to tide you over until you can catch Monday's marathon.

1. Jack Nicholson was very interested in playing Ralphie's dad. But casting (and paying) Jack would have meant doubling the budget, so he was removed from consideration. Director Bob Clark "“ who didn't know Nicholson was interested at the time "“ says Darrin McGavin was the perfect choice, and I'd have to agree. I think Jack would have been too much of a scene-stealer.

2. What does Porky's, the raunchy 80s teen sex movie, have to do with a wholesome film like A Christmas Story? Bob Clark directed both "“ Porky's in 1982 and A Christmas Story in 1983. If Porky's hadn't given him the professional and financial success he needed, he wouldn't have been able to bring A Christmas Story to the big screen.

3. For anyone keeping count, Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie. That's approximately once every three minutes and 20 seconds.

4. Peter Billingsley, AKA Ralphie, has been good friends with Vince Vaughn since they both appeared in the CBS Schoolbreak Special (their version of the after-school special) in the early '90s. He made a surprise appearance on the "Vince Vaughn Wild West Comedy Show" in Memphis, Tenn., in 2005.

flick.jpg 5. I'm a little sad to report this one. Scott Schwartz, who played Flick (who stuck his tongue to the frozen flagpole), was submerged in the adult film industry for a number of years. He got out in 2000 to try to become a mainstream actor again, but it looks like the only thing of any note he's done since is Pauly Shore's "You'll Never Wieze in This Town Again." Sigh.

6. Next time you're in Cleveland, you can visit the original house from the movie for only $7. It was sold on eBay in 2004 for $150,000. Collector Brian Jones bought the house and restored it to its movie glory and stocked it up with some of the original props from the film, including Randy's snowsuit.

7. Director Bob Clark got the idea for the movie when he was driving in the car with a date. He heard Jean Shepherd on the radio doing a reading of his short story collection, "In God We Trust"¦ All Others Pay Cash", which included some bits that eventually ended up in A Christmas Story. Clark said he drove around the block for an hour until the program ended, which his date was not too happy about.

8. The Wonder Years was inspired by A Christmas Story. In fact, in one of the last few episodes, Peter Billingsley appeared as one of Kevin Arnold's roommates.

9. Mythbusters tested whether it was possible to get your tongue truly stuck on a piece of cold metal. Guess what? It is. So don't triple dog dare your best friend to try it.

10. The real Red Ryder BB Gun was first made in 1938 and was named after a comic strip cowboy. You can still buy it today for the low, low price of $44.99.
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11. While we're talking shopping "“ you know you want the leg lamp. Put it in your window! Be the envy of your neighbors! It's a Major Award! You can buy it here, but if you're not feeling quite so flamboyant you can get a replica that serves as a nightlight for $7.95.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Don't shoot your eye out (kid).

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A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping on a Smartphone
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Today, Americans do most of their shopping online—but as anyone who’s indulged in late-night retail therapy likely knows, this convenience often can come with an added cost. Trying to curb expenses, but don't want to swear off the convenience of ordering groceries in your PJs? New research shows that shopping on a desktop computer instead of a mobile phone may help you avoid making foolish purchases, according to Co. Design. Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, recently led a study to measure how touchscreen technology affects consumer behavior. Published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, her research found that people are more likely to make more frivolous, impulsive purchases if they’re shopping on their phones than if they’re facing a computer monitor. Zhu, along with study co-author Jeffrey Meyer of Bowling Green State University, ran a series of lab experiments on student participants to observe how different electronic devices affected shoppers’ thinking styles and intentions. Their aim was to see if subjects' purchasing goals changed when it came to buying frivolous things, like chocolate or massages, or more practical things, like food or office supplies. In one experiment, participants were randomly assigned to use a desktop or a touchscreen. Then, they were presented with an offer to purchase either a frivolous item (a $50 restaurant certificate for $30) or a useful one (a $50 grocery certificate for $30). These subjects used a three-point scale to gauge how likely they were to purchase the offer, and they also evaluated how practical or frivolous each item was. (Participants rated the restaurant certificate to be more indulgent than the grocery certificate.) Sure enough, the researchers found that participants had "significantly higher" purchase intentions for hedonic (i.e. pleasurable) products when buying on touchscreens than on desktops, according to the study. On the flip side, participants had significantly higher purchase intentions for utilitarian (i.e. practical) products while using desktops instead of touchscreens. "The playful and fun nature of the touchscreen enhances consumers' favor of hedonic products; while the logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses the consumers' preference for utilitarian products," Zhu explains in a press release. The study also found that participants using touchscreen technology scored significantly higher on "experiential thinking" than subjects using desktop computers, whereas those with desktop computers demonstrated higher scores for rational thinking. “When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, [you crave] excitement, a different experience,” Zhu explained to Co. Design. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.” Zhu’s advice for consumers looking to conserve cash? Stow away the smartphone when you’re itching to splurge on a guilty pleasure. [h/t Fast Company]

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