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Morning Cup of Links: Zombie Apocalypse

Stephen Colbert gave his Super-PAC away and announced he is running for office. Every step he takes points out the absurdities of our presidential election system.
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Redditor Vidzilla composed an apocalyptic story using the internet: website screenshots, photographs, social networking, generators, and news sites. Click on each day to follow the story, but be aware that the images become increasingly graphic and may be disturbing. (via Metafilter)
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The Most Extreme Super Bowl Party Recipes. But why should we wait three whole weeks to try them out?
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Little Chloe says, "Bye!" to people going down the escalator. Everyone who saw her was compelled to respond -and you'll understand why.
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Would you really want to know when you are expected to die? An online mortality calculator designed to help doctors is now available for anyone.
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The Lazy Jedi. The ability to move things by using the Force discourages you from using anything else.
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In 1835, Andrew Jackson escaped the first attempt to assassinate a U.S. president. Richard Lawrence had him at point blank range, but incompetence or luck saved the president's life.
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If someone who looks a bit like you runs for president, you could make big bucks as an impersonator. If that person wins, you could make more money than the president does for a few years.
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You may as well give up on setting any extreme beer-drinking records. This guy can drink 3 beers in 30 seconds, without using his hands. NSFW language.
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What would happen if you ate one of those silica gel packets? The warnings make you think they are irresistible for some reason.

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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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