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The Weekend Links

From our own Miss C, a quiz of Olympic proportions - Can you name these former Olympics medalists? I've only been paying attention since 1996, so I did pretty poorly.

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Were you aware that a previously unknown insect was recently discovered on eBay? Here's a list of 10 other bizarre things you can buy online.

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This one goes out to all the English majors and picky punctuation persons out there (of whom I am one ... and so is Chris Higgins! Check out his vintage posts on the subject).

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Regarding the always fascinating world of bento, a slideshow of pictures showing you just how much work you're not putting into making your lunch.

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For more Japanese fun, try this amusement sent in by Savannah. It's a flash game that requires you to find a star on each level (mostly by clicking around). Don't be lulled into a false sense of security, though ... it gets much harder as the levels progress!

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"Nils Olav already has medals for good conduct and long service. He made honorary colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King's Guard in 2005. And yesterday he was knighted. Not bad for a 90-centimeter tall penguin." (Thanks Martha!)

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More from the Olympics, a series of sporty advertisements highlighting the versatility of ... condoms.

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From Jan, a clip from a morning show playing back a pretty hilarious voicemail. If someone left something like that on my phone, I would definitely have to share.

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An interesting gift idea: a Tiddy Bear. No, that's not a typo. And apparently, it's not a joke (I heard this was on Ellen ... can anyone vouch?)

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ice6.jpg

The translation of this picture site featuring tiny handmade ice sculptures is pretty wonky, so I'm not sure what exactly is going on ... regardless, the concept is pretty cool!

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I'm including this because it made my mouth water and didn't seem too hard - how to make your own homemade pop tarts.

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Google maps really can be amazing, can't it? It probably also knows the exact position of Schrödinger's cat.

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Speaking of Schrody's cat (who may or may not be dead, alive, dead or alive, dead AND alive ...) here's a definitive list of
7 People who cheated death, and then, as the site so eloquently adds, "kicked it in the balls."

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The body is truly amazing - learn some of the tricks it can do here.

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I've stumbled upon a plethora of lovely picture-heavy blogs of late. If you're interested in design, or just pretty things, check out Oh Joy!, Lena Corwin's blog and Love Made Visible.

If you have any blogs to pimp, pictures to share or links of any size, shape and kind, send 'em on over to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. You can also add FlossyLinks to your Google Notebook. Have a great weekend!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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iStock
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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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