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The Weekend Links

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"¢ From Kevin, an amazing, giant beautiful moth from Australia. Personally, I think moths are underrated, and often more intriguing than their fragile fellow fliers, the butterfly.

"¢ Catastic! Cats who look just like Wilford Brimley. Also check out this video game hack for the ultimate Wilford Brimley experience.

"¢ Hmmm, what do horror-punkers read? Take a look into the wild world of Glenn Danzig's book collection ... narrated by Danzig himself. (Thanks Pat for this jewel.)

"¢ Ron Burgundy interviews Tom Brokaw. (Via The Daily Tube, home of The Best New Videos on the Internet.)

"¢ Here are 10 cool cloud formations you may not have seen. I was lucky enough to witness #2 on this list, Mammatous Clouds, the other evening. Stunning. But then again, I'm a weather nerd.

"¢ Also from Kevin, an in depth look at whether our brains change when we go into space.

"¢ An Indiana Jones sports quiz from Page 2. Only serious fans of both need apply. The questions left me baffled, but I applaud anyone who can score well.

"¢ If you're looking for listening material, Bill Simmons recently welcomed Chuck Klosterman to The B.S. Report podcast. Chuck never responded to our internship offer.

"¢ One of the funniest things I've read in quite some time ... Jack Handey graces The New Yorker's "Shouts and Murmurs" feature with a fantastic piece.

"¢ Anyone excited for the Stanley Cup Finals? If you're watching and Detroit fans start tossing octopuses on the ice, here's a brief explanation:

"Every sport has its own strange traditions. I'd argue hockey's 'throwing an octopus on the ice for good luck' is the weirdest. Tossing the eight-tentacled cephalopod was the brainchild of Detroit storeowners Pete & Jerry Cusimano. The date: April 15, 1952. The logic: one tentacle for each of the eight victories it took to win the Stanley Cup back then. Later that spring, most likely fueled by the good luck octopus, the Red Wings won the title. PETA has objected to this practice, which continues to this day. The Red Wings mascot is not a Red Wing, but Al the Octopus."

"¢ From Flossy reader Tony, another great article: 10 Things You Didn't Know about Ol' Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

"¢ A series of pictures documenting what happens when eggs freeze. Something I hadn't ever really considered, but the results are eggshellent.


"¢ From Jason: "I'm on some pretty strange mailing lists. Usually the non-bills & magazines go straight from the mailbox to the trash. But this one intrigued me enough to call on the floss army for an explanation. Anyone speak...whatever language this is? What's going on here? My money's on 'root beer ad.'"

[Update: Miss Cellania is on the same strange mailing list.)

"¢ A plethora of links this week from Angie. First: How do you add up? Here's a 1930s "wife rating chart" to be thankful at how far we've come.

An incredible video made with a Mac OSX Leopard desktop by digital filmmaker Dennis Liu.

"¢ Number 234879 in the list of Great Inventions: Transparent Post-Its!

"¢ Finally, the Lovely Picture of the Week.

Thanks as always to everyone who sent in such great links this week! Clean out your favorites list, drum up some shameless plugs, or just send forth any linkage to Have a great long weekend!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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Let Alexa Help You Brine a Turkey This Thanksgiving
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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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Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
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.


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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.


Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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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