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The Weekend Links

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"¢ If you are one of those savvy TV viewers who gives a knowing nod when, say, Britney Spears or Cher suddenly shows up on your favorite network show ("sweeps!" says I), some of these ridiculous celebrity cameos will probably look familiar.

"¢ The ultimate show of fandom—how about a person who makes the entire Godfather script into a piece of art? I tried to do the same thing with Drillbit Taylor, and have been banned for life from the LA art scene.

"¢ Sure, talk of third ears and buttocks injections are all fun and games when you're talking about jocks ... but what about geeks? Slate.com reports on the rampant use of "enhancement" drugs by a faction of the populous you may not expect.

"¢ Sometimes it's just best to walk away: a story on why, forty years ago, LBJ chose to bow out.

"¢ Reader Lance directs our attention to WiseGeek.com, host to a sundry of interesting queries. Sometimes they compile information, but the best is when they go searching for it, such as how to make the most of an all-you-can-eat buffet...

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...and which pro sports teams fail to own their own domain names.

"¢ A story on the strange power of slow-mo that offers up clips and history on the process that makes the mundane become so gloriously dramatic.

"¢ It was a big deal at Emory when they added a Visual Arts minor, but what if you could major in a person? Say ... Joe Pa? ESPN Page 2's dubious sources have uncovered a test from Penn State for those taking the Joe Paterno class.

"¢ After being saturated by news of the pregnant man, here's a fresh look at the matter: a blogger who takes on a labor of love—24 hours of male pregnancy.

"¢ This oldie but goodie, just because.

"¢ An in-depth look at some of the theories on how Deja Vu works. I experience it myself from time to time ... just a glitch in the Matrix, right?

"¢ Ah, now this is what I log on for. Radar counts down 10 personalities we love to hate on the internet. Would you rather be loved and forgotten, or hatefully remembered? Most of these people would probably choose the latter (but not Tony K, I love that guy). [via GorillaMask.net]

"¢ Yikes—some truly terrifying comic book covers from the 1950s. Would these be allowed today? Imagine the Congressional hearings ... (via blogs.usatoday.com/popcandy)

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"¢ More good stuff from WebUrbanist: 8 Remarkable Palace, Fort and Castle Hotels: Living it Up in (Ancient) Luxury Around the World. Can we convince this guy to guest blog for us?

"¢ Great list of pet peeves from McSweeney's. Some are funny, but you may find some to be very familiar and true (Thanks Stuart!)

"¢ If you haven't heard about the Chinese Democracy album and Dr Pepper's promise of one beverage for every American if it's ever released, educate yourself on the latest happenings. (Much thanks as always to Kevin).

"¢ As Jerry Seinfeld says, "There's no such thing as dry cleaning. There's no way of cleaning with dry. If I gave you a filthy shirt and said, 'I want this immaculate. And no liquids!' what are you going to do? Shake it? Tap it? Blow on it? Give me a break. You almost can't get something dirty with dry, let alone cleaning it." Here's a clip on the science of dry cleaning and how it can be environmentally friendly ... but yeah, using liquids.

OK guys, I go into the link trenches every week to suffer out the link mines (and make my friends do the same), so help a comrade out! Send in your links and internet oddities to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Helping me, helping you.

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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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