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The Weekend Links

Happy New Year! And let's ring it in with some always spectacular photos from Boston.com's "Welcoming in 2010" (via Lemondrop)

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Who need New Year resolutions when trophies exist for people who can sit watching TV for 48 hours? In 2010, try becoming The Ultimate Couch Potato!
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Extra! Extra! "Use Clothing to Keep Warm in Winter," "Death is Nation's Top Killer," "Report on Report Sees Too Many Reports," and other painfully obvious new stories. (Thanks Sarah!)
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From the Annals of Too Much Time: Every time I turn around I feel like someone else is doing something Lego-related. But this one might take the cake - it seems that someone has devised an actual, life-sized Lego House.
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While examining the shiny new electronics you received over the holidays, consider how far we've come with these key moments in consumer electronics history. Flossers, what are the oldest pieces of electronics you own? (Bonus points if they still work!) I have an ancient Mac desktop from the early 90s that has a whopping 4MG of RAM. Don't be jealous!
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As yet another season of the Bachelor revs up, and all of those Daisy's Money Charm School of Rock New York Love VH-1 shows continue to give most of us severe headaches, it seems impossible to think of worse ideas for dating shows existing. But wait, there's more! There are, in fact, several really, truly bad dating shows that never quite made it off the ground that will indeed blow your mind.

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Wordle makes words into art - see the creations of others or make your own (an easy way to start is putting in the text of a play or a collection of poems - pretty words and a pretty setting!) You can also manipulate the font, color, etc. (Thanks Jan!)
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There's been plenty of news this past year about airplane emergencies, but how would you really deal with it if you were involved? Like a badass, of course (as College Humor imagines it, anyway).
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AARP put together an uplifting video to start off your decade right - it seems depressing at first, but give it time!
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Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" was in fact the first of many. Many marketing campaigns, that is. "Lost" just released their version of the "Last Supper," and with it they carry on in a long tradition of strategically-placed meal time photos, most of which are head-scratchers.
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For the first time since I graduated from college, I was able to take almost a week off for Christmas. "Amazing!" I thought. Then I remembered the almost 6-weeks I was granted in the ole University days. What gives with those long breaks, anyway? Slate's Explainer has the scoop on why college students get such long winter vacations.
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The blog "That Will Buff Out" explores vehicular oddities of all kinds (the first picture threw me off as to what kind of blog it was, but apparently the driver of the car took the picture and no one was hurt so ... alrighty then!)
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Ok, indulge me ONE "top ten of the decade" list - you know I haven't overused my privilege! Time to look back in remembrance at all the -Gate scandals of 2009 ... and hope that particular suffix is now a thing of the past while you're at it!
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... and just one more! Ten Psychology Studies from 2009 Worth Knowing About.
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Put this in the category of "things that blow my mind and continue to do so even after this simple and informative map:" how a digital camera works.
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If you are uncertain about where you are headed in the job market, go old school with it: be inspired by some of this beautiful iron work by an actual smith. A smith!
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Finally, some Gothic jewelry if you are in a dark and wintry mood!
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It's good to be back! Hope everyone had a great holiday - just don't forget to keep sending in links to kick off 2010! Submissions go to FlossyLinks@gmail.com. Stay warm!

[Last Weekend Links]

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iStock
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language
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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