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Library of Congress

Fantastic 120-Year-Old Color Pictures of Ireland

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Library of Congress

There's a lot more to the Emerald Isle than the supposed World’s Greatest Snake Exterminator. Need some proof? Just check out these photochrom prints of Ireland taken between 1890 and 1900 and organized by county, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

County Antrim

Royal Avenue, Belfast

While Belfast’s main shopping district was a popular target of IRA attacks in the seventies and eighties, most of the buildings in this image are still standing after all this time.

Rustic Bridge in Glenariff

With its picturesque trees and waterfalls, Glenariff Forest Park is quite a popular tourist destination these days. The area is nicknamed “Queen of the Glens”—the largest and most beautiful glen in the county.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

Amazingly, this rope bridge linking Carrick Island to the mainland is still in use. It has become a major tourist attraction. To be fair, though, it has been redesigned and improved over the years to make it safer.

Portrush

While the beaches of Portrush are still a draw for tourists, the town is now also known for its dance clubs and Barry’s Amusements, the largest amusement park in Northern Ireland.

Giant's Causeway

You might recognize this famous icon from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. The weird natural design is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The hot lava cooled so fast that it created deep, giant cracks that eventually broke into the columns you see today.

County Wicklow

Vale of Avoca

The River Avoca flows only through the County Wicklow, where it starts off as two distinct rivers and then flows together at one point, known as the Vale of Avoca. This vale is located inside the town of Avoca, pictured here.

Poulaphouca Fall

The entire center of County Wicklow is made up of the Wicklow Mountains, which are naturally adorned with a number of rivers and stunning waterfalls like this one. This particular waterfall no longer exists since the Poulaphouca Reservoir was completed in 1940.

Bray

Up until the mid-1700s, Bray was a sleepy fishing village, but as the people of Dublin started to seek sanctuary outside the crowded city, the town’s population grew quickly. By the mid-1800s the town had become the largest seaside resort in the country. These days, Bray is home to the country's only dedicated film studios, Ardmore Studios. The company has produced such classics as Excalibur and Braveheart.

The Dargle Bridge

The River Dargle is named An Deargail in Gaelic, which translates to "little red spot." While it’s not obvious in this picture, the name is a reference to the fact that most rocks in the river are tinted red.

Enniskerry

While this small town only has a population of around 2,500, its gorgeous scenery (the town is located at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains) and close proximity to Bray make it a popular tourist destination year round.

County Dublin

Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin

This beautiful hotel opened in 1824 and is still open for business, currently operating under the banner of Marriott International. The hotel even played an important role in Irish history. In 1922, it served as the meeting place for the creators of the Irish Constitution and room 112, where it was drafted, is now fittingly known as The Constitution Room.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Officially known as the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Patrick, this icon of Ireland was founded all the way back in 1191 and now serves as the National Cathedral of Ireland. It also holds the record for the tallest church in Ireland, boasting a spire that stands 140 feet tall.

Phoenix Park, Dublin

No, this isn’t an early picture of the Washington Monument. The obelisk in the background is instead the Wellington Monument, found in Phoenix Park, Dublin. The obelisk is the tallest in Europe and is dedicated to the great deeds of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.

County Cork

Roches Royal Hotel, Glengarriff Harbor

While this particular hotel may no longer be in business, the small town of Glengarriff (population 800) is still a popular tourist destination providing seaside views adorned with paired high mountain peaks and quaint peat bogs scattered across the town.

Glengarriff Harbor

The town is named for the Glengarriff Forest, Gleann Garbh in Gaelic, which means "rough glen.” The forest is indeed home to a rough glen and some of the oldest oak and birch groves left in Ireland.

Blackrock Castle

Blackrock Castle was originally constructed as a fort intended to keep away pirates and other potential threats. While a few remains of the original building still stand, most of it was destroyed in a fire in 1827 and replaced with the current structure that was completed in 1829. While the castle was used for a variety of purposes throughout the ages, it now serves as Ireland’s first fully interactive astronomy center, which is open to the public.

County Waterford

Dungarven Bridge and Harbor

The Gaelic name for this city is Dún Garbháin, which translates to "Garbhan's fort", referring to Saint Garbhan who founded a church there in the seventh century. These days, Dungarven is the administrative center of County Waterford.

The Quays, Waterford

Waterford is the oldest city in all of Ireland, established back in 914. One thousand years later and the city is still the fifth largest in the country. Of course, these days, Waterford is best known for its crystal. Sadly, Waterford Crystal shut down its factory in the town in 2009 after operating in the town for over 225 years. Thanks to the Waterford City Council and Waterford Chamber of Commerce, though, guests can now visit The Waterford Crystal Visitor Center instead.

County Kerry

Ross Castle, Killarney

This stunning castle looks largely the same now as it did back when this picture was taken, despite the recent renovations that have allowed it to become open to the public. Back in the late 1400s, this castle was one of the strongest military posts in the country. In fact, during the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1600s, it was one of the last castles to surrender; the leader of the battle only did so after the castle was attacked via water—something no one inside the stronghold saw coming.

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davi_deste via eBay
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Pop Culture
Fumbled: The Story of the United States Football League
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davi_deste via eBay

There were supposed to be 44 players marching to the field when the visiting Los Angeles Express played their final regular season game against the Orlando Renegades in June 1985.

Thirty-six of them showed up. The team couldn’t afford more.

“We didn’t even have money for tape,” Express quarterback Steve Young said in 1986. “Or ice.” The squad was so poor that Young played fullback during the game. They only had one, and he was injured.

Other teams had ridden school buses to practice, driven three hours for “home games,” or shared dressing room space with the local rodeo. In August 1986, the cash-strapped United States Football League called off the coming season. The league itself would soon vaporize entirely after gambling its future on an antitrust lawsuit against the National Football League. The USFL argued the NFL was monopolizing television time; the NFL countered that the USFL—once seen as a promising upstart—was being victimized by its own reckless expansion and the wild spending of team owners like Donald Trump.

They were both right.

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Spring football. That was David Dixon’s pitch. The New Orleans businessman and football advocate—he helped get the Saints in his state—was a fan of college ball and noticed that spring scrimmages at Tulane University led to a little more excitement in the air. With a fiscally responsible salary cap in place and a 12-team roster, he figured his idea could be profitable. Market research agreed: a hired broadcast research firm asserted 76 percent of fans would watch what Dixon had planned.

He had no intention of grappling with the NFL for viewers. That league’s season aired from September through January, leaving a football drought March through July. And in 1982, a players’ strike led to a shortened NFL season, making the idea of an alternative even more appealing to networks. Along with investors for each team region, Dixon got ABC and the recently-formed ESPN signed to broadcast deals worth a combined $35 million over two years.

When the Chicago Blitz faced the Washington Federals on the USFL’s opening day March 6, 1983, over 39,000 fans braved rain at RFK Stadium in Washington to see it. The Federals lost 28-7, foreshadowing their overall performance as one of the league’s worst. Owner Berl Bernhard would later complain the team played like “untrained gerbils.”

Anything more coordinated might have been too expensive. The USFL had instituted a strict $1.8 million salary cap that first year to avoid franchise overspending, but there were allowances made so each team could grab one or two standout rookies. In 1983, the big acquisition was Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker, who opted out of his senior year at Georgia to turn pro. Walker signed with the New Jersey Generals in a three-year, $5 million deal.

Jim Kelly and Steve Young followed. Stan White left the Detroit Lions. Marcus Dupree left college. The rosters were built up from scratch using NFL cast-offs or prospects from nearby colleges, where teams had rights to “territorial” drafts.

To draw a line in the sand, the USFL had advertising play up the differences between the NFL’s product and their own. Their slogan, “When Football Was Fun,” was a swipe at the NFL’s increasingly draconian rules regarding players having any personality. They also advised teams to run a series of marketable halftime attractions. The Denver Gold once offered a money-back guarantee for attendees who weren’t satisfied. During one Houston Gamblers game, boxer George Foreman officiated a wedding. Cars were given away at Tampa Bay Bandits games. The NFL, the upstart argued, stood for the No Fun League.

For a while, it appeared to be working. The Panthers, which had invaded the city occupied by the Detroit Lions, averaged 60,000 fans per game, higher than their NFL counterparts. ABC was pleased with steady ratings. The league was still conservative in their spending.

That would change—many would argue for the worse—with the arrival of Donald Trump.

Despite Walker’s abilities on the field, his New Jersey Generals ended the inaugural 1983 season at 6-12, one of the worst records in the league. The excitement having worn off, owner J. Walter Duncan decided to sell the team to real estate investor Trump for a reported $5-9 million.

A fixture of New York media who was putting the finishing touches on Trump Tower, Trump introduced two extremes to the USFL. His presence gave the league far more press attention than it had ever received, but his bombastic approach to business guaranteed he wouldn’t be satisfied with an informal salary cap. Trump spent and spent some more, recruiting players to improve the Generals. Another Heisman winner, quarterback Doug Flutie, was signed to a five-year, $7 million contract, the largest in pro football at the time. Trump even pursued Lawrence Taylor, then a player for the New York Giants, who signed a contract saying that, after his Giants contract expired, he’d join Trump’s team. The Giants wound up buying out the Taylor/Trump contract for $750,000 and quadrupled Taylor’s salary, and Trump wound up with pages of publicity.

Trump’s approach was effective: the Generals improved to 14-4 in their sophomore season. But it also had a domino effect. In order to compete with the elevated bar of talent, other team owners began spending more, too. In a race to defray costs, the USFL approved six expansion teams that paid a buy-in of $6 million each to the league.

It did little to patch the seams. Teams were so cash-strapped that simple amenities became luxuries. The Michigan Panthers dined on burnt spaghetti and took yellow school buses to training camp; players would race to cash checks knowing the last in line stood a chance of having one bounce. When losses became too great, teams began to merge with one another: The Washington Federals became the Orlando Renegades. By the 1985 season, the USFL was down to 14 teams. And because the ABC contract required the league to have teams in certain top TV markets, ABC started withholding checks.

Trump was unmoved. Since taking over the Generals, he had been petitioning behind the scenes for the other owners to pursue a shift to a fall season, where they would compete with the NFL head on. A few owners countered that fans had already voiced their preference for a spring schedule. Some thought it would be tantamount to league suicide.

Trump continued to push. By the end of the 1984 season, he had swayed opinion enough for the USFL to plan on one final spring block in 1985 before making the move to fall in 1986.

In order to make that transition, they would have to win a massive lawsuit against the NFL.

In the mid-1980s, three major networks meant that three major broadcast contracts would be up for grabs—and the NFL owned all three. To Trump and the USFL, this constituted a monopoly. They filed suit in October 1984. By the time it went to trial in May 1986, the league had shrunk from 18 teams to 14, hadn’t hosted a game since July 1985, kept only threadbare rosters, and was losing what existing television deals it had by migrating to smaller markets (a major part of the NFL’s case was that the real reason for the lawsuit, and the moves to smaller markets, was to make the league an attractive takeover prospect for the NFL). The ruling—which could have forced the NFL to drop one of the three network deals—would effectively become the deciding factor of whether the USFL would continue operations.

They came close. A New York jury deliberated for 31 hours over five days. After the verdict, jurors told press that half believed the NFL was guilty of being a monopoly and were prepared to offer the USFL up to $300 million in damages; the other half thought the USFL had been crippled by its own irresponsible expansion efforts. Neither side would budge.

To avoid a hung jury, it was decided they would find in favor of the USFL but only award damages in the amount of $1. One juror told the Los Angeles Times that she thought it would be an indication for the judge to calculate proper damages.

He didn’t. The USFL was awarded treble damages for $3 in total, an amount that grew slightly with interest after time for appeal. The NFL sent them a payment of $3.76. (Less famously, the NFL was also ordered to pay $5.5 million in legal fees.)

Rudy Shiffer, vice-president of the Memphis Showboats, summed up the USFL's fate shortly after the ruling was handed down. “We’re dead,” he said.

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entertainment
The Time Douglas Adams Met Jim Henson
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John Gooch/Keystone/Getty Images

On September 13, 1983, Jim Henson and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams had dinner for the first time. Henson, who was born on this day in 1936, noted the event in his "Red Book" journal, in characteristic short-form style: "Dinner with Douglas Adams – 1st met." Over the next few years the men discussed how they might work together—they shared interests in technology, entertainment, and education, and ended up collaborating on several projects (including a Labyrinth video game). They also came up with the idea for a "Muppet Institute of Technology" project, a computer literacy TV special that was never produced. Henson historians described the project as follows:

Adams had been working with the Henson team that year on the Muppet Institute of Technology project. Collaborating with Digital Productions (the computer animation people), Chris Cerf, Jon Stone, Joe Bailey, Mark Salzman and Douglas Adams, Jim’s goal was to raise awareness about the potential for personal computer use and dispel fears about their complexity. In a one-hour television special, the familiar Muppets would (according to the pitch material), “spark the public’s interest in computing,” in an entertaining fashion, highlighting all sorts of hardware and software being used in special effects, digital animation, and robotics. Viewers would get a tour of the fictional institute – a series of computer-generated rooms manipulated by the dean, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and stumble on various characters taking advantage of computers’ capabilities. Fozzie, for example, would be hard at work in the “Department of Artificial Stupidity,” proving that computers are only as funny as the bears that program them. Hinting at what would come in The Jim Henson Hour, viewers, “…might even see Jim Henson himself using an input device called a ‘Waldo’ to manipulate a digitally-controlled puppet.”

While the show was never produced, the development process gave Jim and Douglas Adams a chance to get to know each other and explore a shared passion. It seems fitting that when production started on the 2005 film of Adams’s classic Hitchhiker’s Guide, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop would create animatronic creatures like the slovenly Vogons, the Babel Fish, and Marvin the robot, perhaps a relative of the robot designed by Michael Frith for the MIT project.

You can read a bit on the project more from Muppet Wiki, largely based on the same article.

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