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10 Odd Things You Can Buy From Monks

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Everyone knows you can buy cheese, fruitcake, and really good beer from monks, but those aren’t the only businesses that these holy men dabble in. Here are some stranger things you can acquire from them.

1. Coffins

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The monks of New Melleray Abbey came to Iowa from Ireland in 1849 to escape the potato famine. To support themselves, they've been selling caskets wholesale to families in the area since 1999; their products are made from “native wood crafted with skill and prayer.”

The Benedictine monks of St. Joseph Abbey in southern Louisiana also sell caskets, but ran into some trouble with the state board—it's illegal in Louisiana to sell “funeral merchandise” unless you’re a licensed funeral director. After five years battling in court, the monks finally won the right to sell their products in 2013.

2. and 3. Dog Training and Treats

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If you find yourself with a dog that is unusually hard to train, turn to the monks of New Skete. This monastery offers helpful advice and tips for keeping your pooch in line. They sell a 2-disk DVD series that gives you the low-down on how to train your dog with the New Skete Approach.

If you want appropriate biscuits to go with your dog lessons, New Skete also sells dog treats. The snacks are made with parsley and mint to keep your pup’s breath fresh. You can buy in bulk or just one bag.

4. Lip balm

The Benedictine Monks of St Augustine's Abbey, located in Great Britain, sell hand creams and lip balms made with organic beeswax and other natural ingredients. The monks developed the recipes and blended the ingredients themselves.

5. Ski lessons

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Cistercian monks who dwell near the Alps take advantage of their surroundings by training young athletes on the slopes. After settling in the area after World War II, they set up a skiing boarding school known as Skigymnasium Stams. The program is very successful; many of Austria's skiing champions went there.

6. Cologne

If you ever wanted to smell like a Pope, now is your chance. The Monks of The Community Of Saint Benedict sell a whole slew of interesting gifts and knick-knacks, including bath salts and fragrances. You can even buy cologne made from the recovered recipe of Pope Pius IX, who held the papacy from 1846 until his death in 1878. The monks tried to recreate the formula by using the same ingredients and following the complex recipe closely. It's rare that you can call your cologne “historic,” but this one might fit the bill.

7. Cat advent calendars

Monastery Greetings sells items made by abbeys, convents, monasteries, and hermitages. The website sells roughly 1600 products and works with some 75 monasteries around the world. Founder Will Keller works to help monasteries get their products online and more accessible. Thanks to this website, you can now get a kitten advent calendar for all the crazy cat people you know.

8. Hot sauce

Known as “Monk Sauce,” this spicy condiment comes in two varieties: red habanero and green habanero. The peppers are grown in the gardens of Subiaco Abbey by Benedictine monks. The website promises that the taste is “not only massively hot, but also one that is intensely flavorful.”

9. A drink at a bar

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Japan takes brewing a step further with a Buddhist Monk-run bar called Vow'z Bar. The bar is meant to be a more casual environment for spirituality. "When people have had a few drinks, it’s often easier to communicate with them on spiritual matters here than it is talking at a temple," Yoshinobu Fujioka, Buddhist priest and owner of Vow'z Bar, told CNN Travel. The bar hosts events for visitors to come and discuss Buddhism.

10. Bonsai Trees

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Cistercian monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit have been tending to a bonsai garden in Georgia for 35 years. They offer miniature plants, pottery, and accessories at their Abbey Garden Center. Visitors are also encouraged to create and tend to their own bonsai plants.

BONUS: Inks and toners

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The Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank was known for making their money by selling ink and toner cartridges online. Their website, LaserMonks.com, came about when their superior, Reverend Bernard McCoy, noticed how expensive toner was. The website was a huge success and made $4.5 million in revenue in 2008. Unfortunately, as a result of debt and dwindling membership, the abbey closed in 2011.

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5 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 2
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Netflix

Stranger Things seemed to come out of nowhere to become one of television's standout new series in 2016. Netflix's sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting homage to '80s pop culture was a binge-worthy phenomenon when it debuted in July 2016. Of course, the streaming giant wasn't going to wait long to bring more Stranger Things to audiences, and a second season was announced a little over a month after its debut—and Netflix just announced that we'll be getting it a few days earlier than expected. Here are five key things we know about the show's sophomore season, which kicks off on October 27.

1. WE'LL BE GETTING EVEN MORE EPISODES.

The first season of Stranger Things consisted of eight hour-long episodes, which proved to be a solid length for the story Matt and Ross Duffer wanted to tell. While season two won't increase in length dramatically, we will be getting at least one extra hour when the show returns in 2017 with nine episodes. Not much is known about any of these episodes, but we do know the titles:

"Madmax"
"The Boy Who Came Back To Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Palace"
"The Storm"
"The Pollywog"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Brain"
"The Lost Brother"

There's a lot of speculation about what each title means and, as usual with Stranger Things, there's probably a reason for each one.

2. THE KIDS ARE RETURNING (INCLUDING ELEVEN).

Stranger Things fans should gear up for plenty of new developments in season two, but that doesn't mean your favorite characters aren't returning. A November 4 photo sent out by the show's Twitter account revealed most of the kids from the first season will be back in 2017, including the enigmatic Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown (the #elevenisback hashtag used by series regular Finn Wolfhard should really drive the point home):

3. THE SHOW'S 1984 SETTING WILL LEAD TO A DARKER TONE.

A year will have passed between the first and second seasons of the show, allowing the Duffer brothers to catch up with a familiar cast of characters that has matured since we last saw them. With the story taking place in 1984, the brothers are looking at the pop culture zeitgeist at the time for inspiration—most notably the darker tone of blockbusters like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"I actually really love Temple of Doom, I love that it gets a little darker and weirder from Raiders, I like that it feels very different than Raiders did," Matt Duffer told IGN. "Even though it was probably slammed at the time—obviously now people look back on it fondly, but it messed up a lot of kids, and I love that about that film—that it really traumatized some children. Not saying that we want to traumatize children, just that we want to get a little darker and weirder."

4. IT'S NOT SO MUCH A CONTINUATION AS IT IS A SEQUEL.

When you watch something like The Americans season two, it's almost impossible to catch on unless you've seen the previous episodes. Stranger Things season two will differ from the modern TV approach by being more of a sequel than a continuation of the first year. That means a more self-contained plot that doesn't leave viewers hanging at the end of nine episodes.

"There are lingering questions, but the idea with Season 2 is there's a new tension and the goal is can the characters resolve that tension by the end," Ross Duffer told IGN. "So it's going to be its own sort of complete little movie, very much in the way that Season 1 is."

Don't worry about the two seasons of Stranger Things being too similar or too different from the original, though, because when speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the influences on the show, Matt Duffer said, "I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he’s brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work.”

5. THE PREMIERE WILL TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF HAWKINS.

Everything about the new Stranger Things episodes will be kept secret until they finally debut later this year, but we do know one thing about the premiere: It won't take place entirely in the familiar town of Hawkins, Indiana. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

So, should we take "a little bit outside" as literally as it sounds? You certainly can, but in that same interview, the brothers also said they're both eager to explore the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from the first season. Whether the season kicks off just a few miles away, or a few worlds away, you'll get your answer when Stranger Things's second season debuts next month.

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in October
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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Netflix subscribers are already counting down the days until the premiere of the new season of Stranger Things. But, as always, in order to make room for the near-90 new titles making their way to the streaming site, some of your favorite titles—including all of 30 Rock, The Wonder Years, and Malcolm in the Middle—must go. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in October ... binge ‘em while you can!

October 1

30 Rock (Seasons 1-7)

A Love in Times of Selfies

Across the Universe

Barton Fink

Bella

Big Daddy

Carousel

Cradle 2 the Grave

Crafting a Nation

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Daddy’s Little Girls

Dark Was the Night

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (Season 1)

Day of the Kamikaze

Death Beach

Dowry Law

Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Friday Night Lights (Seasons 1-5)

Happy Feet

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Hellboy

Kagemusha

Laura

Love Actually

Malcolm in the Middle (Seasons 1-7)

Max Dugan Returns

Millennium 

Million Dollar Baby

Mortal Combat

Mr. 3000

Mulholland Dr.

My Father the Hero

My Name Is Earl (Seasons 1-4)

One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-9)

Patton

Picture This

Prison Break (Seasons 1-4)

The Bernie Mac Show (Seasons 1-5)

The Shining

The Wonder Years (Seasons 1-6)

Titanic

October 19

The Cleveland Show (Seasons 1-4)

October 21

Bones (Seasons 5-11)

October 27

Lie to Me (Seasons 2-3)

Louie (Seasons 1-5)

Hot Transylvania 2

October 29

Family Guy (Seasons 9-14)

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