CLOSE

The Missing Links: Cooking Up An Internet Frenzy

Bad News: You Cut Your Finger.
Good News: That Might Have Been Your First Step Toward Saving A Life.

This kit is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve seen in a while. The simplicity is remarkable and makes it shockingly easy to find out if you’re a potential hero to someone in need.

*

The Viral Recipe: How to Whip Up An Internet Success
By now you’ve probably seen Buzzfeed’s “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity” post enough times to feel like your humanity is crumbling again. So how exactly do they - and other sites - create such interweb wizardry? To find out you have to reverse engineer a viral sensation and see what it’s made of.

*

You’ve Always Wondered: What If I Chuck Some Trash Into This Volcano?
You’ve always wondered that. Admit it. You’re weird. Why do you think about things like that? Weirdo. Well, here, you might as well find out what happens.

*

“Secret To Life, Marry An Italian”
So advised the late Nora Ephron in the book “Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure”. Ephron passed away yesterday at the age of 71.

*
You May Now Only ‘Fear the Brow’ With the Consent of Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis, the presumptive #1 in this week’s NBA Draft, has a unibrow. And he’s proud of it. He’s so proud, in fact, that he has applied for trademarks on the phrases “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow”. Most people would have just shaved off the middle part and gone with the two brow look. He went in a different direction.

And: Here are some other well-known phrases you might not realize are trademarked.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
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.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
TAKWest, Youtube
arrow
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]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios