The Quick 10: 10 Stonehenge Substitutes

Is Stonehenge on your list of places to visit someday? If "someday" means more like "in 20 years" as opposed to "in October," you can get your Stonehenge fix elsewhere until you're able to make it to Wiltshire County, England. Here are 10 other Stonehenge-like places "“ some that are just as impressive as the real thing and a couple that are slightly tongue-in-cheek.

ALES STONES1. Ale's Stones can be found in southern Sweden. Made up of 59 huge sandstone boulders, Ale's Stones is a formation of rocks that have been arranged to vaguely resemble the shape of a ship. These stone ships aren't uncommon, but most of the time graves have been found at the center of them. That's not the case here. Although some charred human bones were found in a pot within the ship, it's not been determined that they were placed there during the same timeframe the stones were (attempts to carbon date have produced varying results).

rollright stones2. The Rollright Stones. Dating back as far as 4000 BC, the Rollright Stones are actually three separate sites: The King's Men, the King Stone, and the Whispering Knights. The King's Men are the ones that most resemble Stonehenge "“ they're 77 stones placed in a circle with a marked entrance to the circle. The newest of the bunch, the King Stone is just one huge monolith that stands by itself"¦ although at a date of 1500 BC, he's still pretty old. Finally, the Whispering Knights date back to nearly 4000 BC and are thought to be what's left of an ancient burial chamber. There are all kinds of legends about the stones "“ they come to life at night, it's unlucky to touch them, they have the power to make you the King of England.

3. Callanish Stones. The Callanish Stones are apparently what happened long ago when the giants who lived on the Scottish isle of Lewis refused to convert to Christianity: they denied the religion and were turned into great lumps of stone. In reality, the site was erected sometime around 2900-2600 BC. It's not yet known if the stones were meant to be a burial tribute, a calendar, or both. Human remains have been found there, but the alignment of the stones also seem to correspond with positions of the moon.

4. Woodhenge can be found at the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois. At its peak in 1250 AD or so, Cahokia was the biggest city north of Mexico. And an advanced city at that "“ there's evidence that the cedar posts found in a circular pattern at the site were used to mark solstices and equinoxes. There's a Woodhenge just two miles away from the real Stonehenge as well.

5. Carnac Stones. The Carnac Stones (there are thousands of them) of Brittany, France, have a legend similar to that of the Callanish Stones "“a bunch of pagan soldiers were chasing Pope Cornelius (he was Pope from 251-253 AD) when he grew tired of their antics and turned them to stone. Theories as to the stones' actual use range from the usual calendar theory, to the idea that they made have been early seismic instruments, to the thought that Druids used them for religious and ceremonial purposes.

STENNESS6. Standing Stones of Stenness. Although it stood for nearly 5000 years, one farmer single-handedly destroyed one of the Standing Stones of Stenness in 1814 because he was irritated with people trespassing on his property. Although most of these Scottish stones looked like the ones in the picture "“ straight, unadorned slabs "“ one of them, dubbed the Odin Stone, had a perfectly circular hole in the bottom of it. Couples apparently used to make the trek to the Odin Stone to hold hands through the hold to "cement" their engagement. Sick of the attention and the destruction to his fields, the farmer started by smashing the famous Odin Stone and had toppled another when locals demanded that he stop destroying ancient history.

AMAZON7. Amazon Stonehenge. Just a few years ago, 127 granite blocks of varying sizes (there's one that's nine feet tall) were found rather strategically arranged along an Amazonian hilltop. After some research, scientists discovered that the shadow of one of the blocks just happens to disappear entirely on the shortest day of the year. Although locals have known about it for years, scientists and archaeologists are just beginning to study it. They think it may be up to 2,000 years old and could be "the remnants of a sophisticated culture," according to one archaeologist.

manhattan8. Manhattanhenge. Around May 28 and July 12, the sun sets almost exactly on the grid of the streets of Manhattan, New York. And around December 5 and January 8, it rises with the grid. Unlike its ancient stone counterparts, Manhattanhenge isn't evidence of our clever ancestors trying to turn the city into a giant timepiece or calendar "“ the "phenomenon" can be observed in most cities with a uniform street grid. Toronto and Chicago have observed a similar occurrence.

9. Foamhenge. Stonehenge wasn't built in a day"¦ but Foamhenge was. In Natural Bridge, Virginia, a man named Mark Cline decided to erect his own personal homage to the English curiosity. Rather than waste a lot of time and effort carving the whole thing out of rock, he decided that foam would do just as well. His first attempt was too light and the whole thing was carried off in the wind after just three months. Cline has since found a heavier substitute and claims that his creation might last longer than the real thing since Styrofoam is nonbiodegradable.

10. Fridgehenge/Stonefridge. You can probably guess what Fridgehenge is. And if not, I'll let this masterpiece speak for itself:

Should you feel inclined to visit this appliance Mecca, it's located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Have you been to any of these? Or is there a Stonehenge-esque phenomenon near you? Let us know in the comments!

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.


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