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The Weekend Links

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"¢ My mom likes to talk about the "good ole days." But were they always so good? Here are 10 Creepy Old Ads to make you think twice before hopping into that time machine. (Thanks Janice from Atlanta)

"¢ Who was the Mona Lisa named after? Madd Zapper (are you a Zappa cousin?) sent in an article on this intriguing discovery.

"¢ Breann from Bloomington, Illinois, sent in this vintage link for Viking Kittens. If you haven't seen it before, give it a look. I can no longer hear the song without seeing bobble-headed kitties valiantly crossing a lake.

Our friends at YesButNoButYes have put together their Top Ten Trends for 2007. It really was a year for ugly fish, I'll give them that.

"¢ Brett Favre may soon lead the Packers to the Super Bowl, but did you know he was originally drafted by the Falcons? I happened to catch a guy wearing his Falcons jersey last week, and I wept openly. If you've spotted a ridiculous jersey, snap a pic and send it to BadJerseyBlog@gmail.com. Our own Ethan Trex runs a website called Straight Cash, Homey that aims to become the internet's #1 resource for pictures of people in Ryan Leaf-esque jerseys.

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"¢ This link on Ads vs Reality made me consider bringing my lunch from home. We know that advertisers use all kinds of tricks to make fast food look delicious, but imagine their campaigns if they stuck to the real thing. (Thanks Suzie from South of Boston for the link)

"¢ Parody songs are a genre I typically avoid, but this Harry Potter tribute song to the tune of "Hey Delilah" made me chuckle. Reader Erin says she most identified with the lyric, "Ohh what you do to me / even though I'm 33..."

"¢ Say whoa unto us, the television fan, for what cometh. With the ongoing writers strike, be prepared to be inundated by reality shows. Some will be good, some will be bad, and some will be about...Webster?

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"¢ Flossy reader Patrick from Elberton, Georgia, is mighty talented "“ and legally blind! He made the above origami peacock, which I think could rival some of the paper art made by Physicist Robert Lang. The best I can make is a fortune teller, and some eight-year-olds have told me "it's not all that." Patrick also sent in this incredible video on sand art. The obvious question for Patrick -- how are you reading mentalfloss.com?

"¢ Imagine a website where someone does a live performance of a Garfield strip, shows the strip, and then continues on to Garfield/Jim Davis-related fan abstraction pieces ... in all of its ridiculous, hilarious glory, it lives! (This one came from my co-worker Kevin, who keeps me very entertained.)

"¢ Wikipedia offers a list of U.S. College and University Endowments (only those over $1 billion need apply). Harvard wins with $34.9 billion. Emory, my alma mater, comes in with a paltry (ha) $5. What do schools do with these war-chests? Some are finally going to start spending.

"¢ Are you looking for new ways of self-promotion? Or perhaps you have trouble keeping your fan base aware of your latest trends? Here's an idea: Daniel Felton puts out an Annual Report. On himself. (Via NoahBrier.com)

When Gilbert Arenas scores, he screams "Hibachi!" When Jack from Will & Grace gets excited he sometimes exclaims, "Sarah Jessica Parker!" What did an ESPN announcer cry out when Kevin Garnett scored on a dunk? Find out here, and see some other suggestions for the spontaneous invoking of names.

"¢ And finally, this shirt is not new, but it is hilarious...

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Let's end with a question: What's the greatest "“ and by greatest, I mean cheesiest "“ shirt you own?

I want to thank everyone who sent in links "“ keep 'em coming! You can reach me at flossylinks@gmail.com. (Feel free to send photos of your cheesy shirts, too.) Looking forward to hearing from you!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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Food
Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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iStock

There’s a reason most of us only cook turkey once a year: The bird is notoriously easy to overcook. You could rely on gravy and cranberry sauce to salvage your dried-out turkey this Thanksgiving, or you could follow cooking advice from the experts.

Brining a turkey is the best way to guarantee it retains its moisture after hours in the oven. The process is also time-consuming, so do yourself a favor this year and let Alexa be your sous chef.

“Morton Brine Time” is a new skill from the cloud-based home assistant. If you own an Amazon Echo you can download it for free by going online or by asking Alexa to enable it. Once it’s set up, start asking Alexa for brining tips and step-by-step recipes customized to the size of your turkey. Two recipes were developed by Richard Blais, the celebrity chef and restaurateur best known for his Top Chef win and Food Network appearances.

Whether you go for a wet brine (soaking your turkey in water, salt, sugar, and spices) or a dry one (just salt and spices), the process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. And the knowledge that your bird will come out succulent and juicy will definitely take some stress out of the holiday.

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Big Questions
Why Do the Lions and Cowboys Always Play on Thanksgiving?
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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Because it's tradition! But how did this tradition begin?

Every year since 1934, the Detroit Lions have taken the field for a Thanksgiving game, no matter how bad their record has been. It all goes back to when the Lions were still a fairly young franchise. The team started in 1929 in Portsmouth, Ohio, as the Spartans. Portsmouth, while surely a lovely town, wasn't quite big enough to support a pro team in the young NFL. Detroit radio station owner George A. Richards bought the Spartans and moved the team to Detroit in 1934.

Although Richards's new squad was a solid team, they were playing second fiddle in Detroit to the Hank Greenberg-led Tigers, who had gone 101-53 to win the 1934 American League Pennant. In the early weeks of the 1934 season, the biggest crowd the Lions could draw for a game was a relatively paltry 15,000. Desperate for a marketing trick to get Detroit excited about its fledgling football franchise, Richards hit on the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving. Since Richards's WJR was one of the bigger radio stations in the country, he had considerable clout with his network and convinced NBC to broadcast a Thanksgiving game on 94 stations nationwide.

The move worked brilliantly. The undefeated Chicago Bears rolled into town as defending NFL champions, and since the Lions had only one loss, the winner of the first Thanksgiving game would take the NFL's Western Division. The Lions not only sold out their 26,000-seat stadium, they also had to turn fans away at the gate. Even though the juggernaut Bears won that game, the tradition took hold, and the Lions have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since.

This year, the Lions host the Minnesota Vikings.

HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOYS?


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The Cowboys, too, jumped on the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving as an extra little bump for their popularity. When the chance to take the field on Thanksgiving arose in 1966, it might not have been a huge benefit for the Cowboys. Sure, the Lions had filled their stadium for their Thanksgiving games, but that was no assurance that Texans would warm to holiday football so quickly.

Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, though, was something of a marketing genius; among his other achievements was the creation of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Schramm saw the Thanksgiving Day game as a great way to get the team some national publicity even as it struggled under young head coach Tom Landry. Schramm signed the Cowboys up for the game even though the NFL was worried that the fans might just not show up—the league guaranteed the team a certain gate revenue in case nobody bought tickets. But the fans showed up in droves, and the team broke its attendance record as 80,259 crammed into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys beat the Cleveland Browns 26-14 that day, and a second Thanksgiving pigskin tradition caught hold. Since 1966, the Cowboys have missed having Thanksgiving games only twice.

Dallas will take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday.

WHAT'S WITH THE NIGHT GAME?


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In 2006, because 6-plus hours of holiday football was not sufficient, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving lineup. This game is not assigned to a specific franchise—this year, the Washington Redskins will welcome the New York Giants.

Re-running this 2008 article a few days before the games is our Thanksgiving tradition.

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