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The Weekend Links

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Everyone is getting tired of year-end lists I know, but this one is worth it. Truly stunning, and mostly heartbreaking, Boston.com has compiled some of its very best photos from 2009 into a 3-part post that reminds you of the good and bad of this past year, and best of all ... no Jon and Kate.
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If all these year-end lists have you thinking you know just about everything there is to know about 2009, take this quiz and find out! (much harder than I was expecting!)
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From Hannah, a video of an improv group that holds a quick bell choir performance with a Salvation Army bell ringer. Isn't that better than just the high-pitched tinkling?
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You may be familiar with the phrases "snafu" or "son of a gun," but did you know that these and other phrases originated on the battlefield? That's the scuttlebutt, anyway!
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I should have only picked one, but I just couldn't. I found several related links full of amazing pictures, so in the spirit of giving, I am giving you all three! The first showcases 8 Showy Snow Sculptures, followed by some Extreme Christmas Decorations, and then rounding out the list are 9 Gorgeous Gingerbread Creations. May this motivate someone to achieve holiday greatness this year in one of these categories (if you do, send a pic!)
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Have yourself a ... creepy little Christmas? Revisiting some of the lyrics of popular Christmas songs.
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10 notable mustaches and the men behind them. My trusted mustache connoisseur friend Pat says of this list, "well there are a lot of fantastic mustaches left out, but this list does include Nietzsche, so I feel it's legit."
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A recent Vanity Fair article explored our growing cultural addiction toward the cute, and its downsides. I'm sure website like this one of tiny cute baby animals doesn't help, BUT ...

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If you need to learn how to communicate with your tween cousin during family time during the holidays, you may need the aid of this English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator. To give you an example, I put in the Shakespeare quote, "A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool," which translated to "A FOL THINKS HIMS3LF 2 B WIES BUT A WIES MAN KNOWS HIMS3LF 2 B A FOL!!!1111" Scary, no?
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In other translation news and views, check out this "English" song sung by Italians. It's complete gibberish (but then again, so are so many songs), but it's meant to convey our phonetic sounds. The results are intriguing to say the least!
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If you are suddenly filled with patriotic pride, check out this very cool USA heart featuring all the states (they're all there, right? Did anyone count?)
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You may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but maybe not a white bridal gown. Here are some inspired weddings full of color to prove that not all successful bridal gowns must be white. (I would however avoid the scarlet red ones ... that just seems to send such a wrong message ...!)
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For those looking for motivation to exercise more regularly in the winter months, see how you measure up to Modern Fitness Standards for jobs like firefighters and police officers, and even on up in difficulty to marines (if you dare!)
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Forget Not Where Thy Petrol Floweth From! A funny and somewhat though provoking cartoon.
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Twitter is occasionally used for good, but more often than not it's used for nonsense. In one of the most ultimate examples, a best man at a wedding pulls a prank that rigs up his friend's honeymoon mattress to tweet the, er, consummation. Pretty funny stuff, although undoubtedly horrifying for the couple!
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I am a big fan of re-purposing, so I particularly like this simple tutorial on how to turn a shirt into a skirt (this is also handy for the Walk of Shame crowd).
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Some of those images of the Google logo on the Google homepage don't always look a lot like, well, Google. Here's a gallery of some of the most obscure drawings of the logo to date.
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Finally, from Flossy reader Doug, "this is a Christmas related musical I made for my family last year. I do one every year." I'm not exactly sure what to make of this, so I give it all to you. It clearly took a lot of time, this I know for sure!
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Thanks to everyone who sent in links this week - in the spirit of giving, give me some links! Send them along to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Stay warm!

[Last Weekend's Links]

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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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