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12 Awesome Pop-Culture Tours

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Sometimes, it’s not enough to watch your favorite TV show or listen to a legendary band’s music; you also want to immerse yourself in the experience.

1. Game of Thrones: A Unique Tour of Croatia

The epic HBO series famously films in remote locales around the world, including Northern Ireland, Morocco, and Iceland (standing in for the Wall, where the Night’s Watch spends its frozen days and nights). But if you’d prefer not to succumb to frostbite, take this tour along the Adriatic Coast: GoT obsessives spend four days visiting Croatian filming locations, including Dubrovnik, which hard-core fans will recognize as Seven Kingdoms capital King’s Landing. (But be prepared to call in a Lannister debt if you book the tour: The trip costs $3200.)

2. Hunger Games Unofficial Fan Tours

You probably wouldn’t want to live in Panem, the nation at the center of The Hunger Games, or participate in the titular bloodbath at the series’ center. But on these tours, Katniss superfans come pretty close to seeing the world created in the films. You can choose to visit North Carolina, where DuPont State Recreational Forest was transformed into the Arena in the first film, or Atlanta, Georgia, to see the spots used as President Snow’s mansion and the cornucopia in 2013’s Catching Fire. There are also immersive, weekend-long trips meant to simulate the experience of actually participating in the Games—but maybe save those for the really die-hard fans.

3. BBC’s Sherlock Locations Tour

Travel as Sherlock and Watson do—in one of London’s iconic black taxi cabs—during this three-hour jaunt, which visits some of the sites used on the BBC series. Among the spots fans will see: St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, where—spoiler alert!—Sherlock fakes his death in the second series; the exterior of Charles Augustus Magnussen’s office; and, of course, 221B Baker Street. (Tour-goers also get a free cuppa at Speedy’s Cafe, the coffee shop next to the detectives’ office.)

4. The Doctor Who Experience

How do you properly celebrate a show that’s been on the air, in some iteration or another, for five decades? You give it a gigantic space in Cardiff, Wales, and fill it with enough props from the series to satisfy the biggest Whovian. This immersive experience opened in 2012 and includes artifacts from the show’s more than 50 years of existence: Costumes worn by every Doctor, from William Hartnell to Matt Smith, are on view, along with creepy models of some of the Doctor’s biggest foes, such as the Weeping Angels and the Daleks. (And like the Doctor himself, the experience regenerates every so often, with new props added on a rolling basis.)

5. Highclere Castle

Downton Abbey’s upstairs-downstairs drama has its basis in reality: The show is filmed at this 5000-acre estate in Hampshire, England, which serves as the home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. In fact, the story of Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of the castle, parallels that of Lady Grantham: She married into British aristocracy, and converted the home into a hospital during World War I. So what will Downton addicts see? The exterior is immediately recognizable, but fans can also explore the house itself; the bedrooms and library are among the rooms that were used as locations on the show. 

6. The Field of Dreams Site

It’s unlikely that if you visit this site, a mysterious voice will lead you to your destiny, or summon the ghosts of long-gone athletes. But still, fans of the 1989 Kevin Costner weepie can check out the Dyersville, Iowa farmhouse featured in the film, as well as its cornfields and the famed baseball diamond. Visitors can run the bases or take in a game—the Ghost Players will take the field, of course—and since the flick will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2014, expect special events throughout the year.

7. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Muggles can immerse themselves in Harry Potter’s world—from Privet Drive to Diagon Alley to the Great Hall at Hogwarts—at this Leavesden studio, which opened to the public in 2012. Each section of the site is stuffed with props from the Harry Potter films, including the Knight’s Bus, a enormous scale model of Hogwarts Castle, and the many treasures in Dumbledore’s office. But it’s also interactive: You can pretend you’re in a Quidditch match by riding a broom in front of a green screen, or find out what Butterbeer actually tastes like once and for all. 

8. Sex and the City Sites Tour

This three-and-a-half hour bus tour takes groups of SATC fans to more than 40 spots used on the show. It hits three neighborhoods: Midtown (The New York Public Library, Tiffany & Co.), the Meatpacking District (Buddakan, schmancy boutiques), and Greenwich Village (the Magnolia Bakery, duh). And yes, for those who are curious: the tour claims to be R-rated, so it won’t shy away from the show’s, uh, racier settings. 

9. Twin Peaks Fest

Looking for a slice of cherry pie and some damn fine coffee? Head to North Bend, Washington, where an annual celebration of David Lynch’s über-weird early-’90s series has taken place for more than 20 years. One of the centerpieces of the weekend-long event is a three-hour bus tour showcasing filming locations from the series, including the waterfall at Snoqualmie Falls (featured prominently in the opening credits) and the Weyerhaeuser sawmill, which stood in for the Packard Mill on the show. (And if you really want to sample that famous pie, take a detour to Twede’s Diner, also known as the Double R Diner on the show.) 

10. Magical Mystery Tour Liverpool

Of all the Beatles tours out there—and trust us, there are plenty—this one has one of the biggest perks for dedicated fans: It’s a two-hour bus ride on a replica of the vehicle used in the band’s 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour. (Nevermind the fact that the film wasn’t exactly a hit when it first premiered.) Along the way, tour-goers visit the church where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time; spots that provided inspiration for songs like “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”; and the Cavern Club, the Liverpool venue where they built up a pre-Beatlemania following. 

11. Lord of the Rings Tours and Experiences

Middle-Earth may not be real, but Queenstown, New Zealand is—and several tours offered by Southern Lakes Sightseeing take fans of Frodo & co. to locations used in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films. Two of the longer tours take visitors on journeys along the trails traversed by the Fellowship, while a shorter tour focuses exclusively on the weapons and props used in the movies, including Aragorn’s hunting knife and Gimli’s ax. (And yes, you can handle and take photos with the weapons—but carefully.)

12. Kramer's Reality Tour

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Cosmo Kramer launched the J. Peterman Reality Tour? That was a spoof on Kenny Kramer's Reality Tour, an actual bus tour run by the inspiration for Michael Richards' character. The bus visits famous Seinfeld scenes and gives you behind-the-scenes info. You might see, for example, "the place where Kramer and Newman got the black market shower heads." Or learn that "there is an actual Russell Dalrymple, Lloyd Braun, Becky Gelke, John Mollica, Al Niche, and even a person called 'The Drake.'"

Despite Jerry's claim that "nobody wants to go on a three hour bus tour of a totally unknown person's life," the Kramer Reality Tour is still going strong more than 15 years after the show's finale. Book your Spring/Summer 2014 tour now! Think your $37.50 ticket comes with a bite-size 3 Musketeers?

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11 Popular Quotes Commonly Misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a lot of famous lines, from musings on failure in Tender is the Night to “so we beat on, boats against the current” from The Great Gatsby. Yet even with a seemingly never-ending well of words and beautiful quotations, many popular idioms and phrases are wrongly attributed to the famous Jazz Age author, who was born on this day in 1896. Here are 11 popular phrases that are often misattributed to Fitzgerald. (You may need to update your Pinterest boards.)

1. “WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER.”

This quote is often attributed to either Fitzgerald or his contemporary, Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961. There is no evidence in the collected works of either writer to support that attribution; the idea was first associated with Fitzgerald in a 1996 Associated Press story, and later in Stephen Fry’s memoir More Fool Me. In actuality, humorist Peter De Vries coined an early version of the phrase in a 1964 novel titled Reuben, Reuben.

2. “FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE OR, IN MY CASE, TOO EARLY TO BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE.”

It’s easy to see where the mistake could be made regarding this quote: Fitzgerald wrote the short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 1922 for Collier's Magazine, and it was adapted into a movie of the same name, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in 2008. Eric Roth wrote the screenplay, in which that quotation appears.

3. “OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED BY OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN THE ONES WE MISS.”

This is a similar case to the previous quotation; this quote is attributed to Benjamin Button’s character in the film adaptation. It’s found in the script, but not in the original short story.

4. “YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE.”

There is no evidence that Fitzgerald penned this line in any of his known works. In this Pinterest pin, it is attributed to his novel The Beautiful and Damned. However, nothing like that appears in the book; additionally, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association, although there were a few storms named after saints, and an Australian meteorologist was giving storms names in the 19th century, the practice didn’t become widespread until after 1941. Fitzgerald died in 1940.

5. “A SENTIMENTAL PERSON THINKS THINGS WILL LAST. A ROMANTIC PERSON HAS A DESPERATE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WON’T.”

This exact quote does not appear in Fitzgerald’s work—though a version of it does, in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise:

“No, I’m romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t. Sentiment is emotional.” The incorrect version is widely circulated and requoted.

6. “IT’S A FUNNY THING ABOUT COMING HOME. NOTHING CHANGES. EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME, FEELS THE SAME, EVEN SMELLS THE SAME. YOU REALIZE WHAT’S CHANGED IS YOU.”

This quote also appears in the 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button script, but not in the original short story.

7. “GREAT BOOKS WRITE THEMSELVES; ONLY BAD BOOKS HAVE TO BE WRITTEN.”

There is no evidence of this quote in any of Fitzgerald’s writings; it mostly seems to circulate on websites like qotd.org, quotefancy.com and azquotes.com with no clarification as to where it originated.

8. “SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT LIKE THOSE GIRLS IN THE MAGAZINES. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE WAY SHE THOUGHT. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE SPARKLE IN HER EYES WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING SHE LOVED. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR HER ABILITY TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE SMILE, EVEN IF SHE WAS SAD. NO, SHE WASN’T BEAUTIFUL FOR SOMETHING AS TEMPORARY AS HER LOOKS. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, DEEP DOWN TO HER SOUL.”

This quote may have originated in a memoir/advice book published in 2011 by Natalie Newman titled Butterflies and Bullshit, where it appears in its entirety. It was attributed to Fitzgerald in a January 2015 Thought Catalog article, and was quoted as written by an unknown source in Hello, Beauty Full: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You by Elisa Morgan, published in September 2015. However, there’s no evidence that Fitzgerald said or wrote anything like it.

9. “AND IN THE END, WE WERE ALL JUST HUMANS, DRUNK ON THE IDEA THAT LOVE, ONLY LOVE, COULD HEAL OUR BROKENNESS.”

Christopher Poindexter, the successful Instagram poet, wrote this as part of a cycle of poems called “the blooming of madness” in 2013. After a Twitter account called @SirJayGatsby tweeted the phrase with no attribution, it went viral as being attributed to Fitzgerald. Poindexter has addressed its origin on several occasions.

10. “YOU NEED CHAOS IN YOUR SOUL TO GIVE BIRTH TO A DANCING STAR.”

This poetic phrase is actually derived from the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900, just four years after Fitzgerald was born in 1896. In his book Thus Spake ZarathustraNietzsche wrote the phrase, “One must have chaos within to enable one to give birth to a dancing star.” Over time, it’s been truncated and modernized into the currently popular version, which was included in the 2009 book You Majored in What?: Designing Your Path from College to Career by Katharine Brooks.

11. “FOR THE GIRLS WITH MESSY HAIR AND THIRSTY HEARTS.”

This quote is the dedication in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s book Tiger Lily, a reimagining of the classic story of Peter Pan. While it is often attributed to Anderson, many Tumblr pages and online posts cite Fitzgerald as its author.

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Fumbled: The Story of the United States Football League
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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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