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This Candle Smells Like a Defunct Discount Store's Snack Bar

Smell can light up the memory more surely and immediately than any other sense. So it makes sense that Pennsylvania-based Sugar Creek Candle Company has scored a nostalgic hit with a candle fragranced like the snack bar of Hills, a now-defunct department store.

Anthony Barravecchio, co-founder and chief operating officer of the Sugar Creek Candle Company in Irwin, Pennsylvania, says he has lost count of the number of orders he’s received for the "Pittsburgh Dad's Hills Snack Bar" candle. “It’s been thousands,” he tells mental_floss.

Barravecchio won’t disclose the ingredients that make the candle smell like Hills, but they apparently work: A woman on Sugar Creek’s Facebook page commented: “[M]y husband didn't know anything about the candle. He came through the door, stopped, smelled, paused for a minute and said, "[D]oes it smell like Hill's in here?’ Lol.”

At one point, the Canton, Ohio-based Hills department store had more than 200 locations in 14 states. The store’s trademark snack bars sold hot dogs, soft pretzels, buttered popcorn, and soft drinks. Their smells were an olfactory mainstay throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Midwest before Hills entered a financial downward spiral and was bought and absorbed by competitor Ames in 1998. (Four years later, Ames also folded.)

Though gone, Hills lives on in the memories of the people who use to eat pretzels and ICEEs at their snack bars. One such person is Curt Wootton, a comedian who stars in the hyperlocal (and popular) YouTube sitcom Pittsburgh Dad, which features monologues from a working-class cheapskate father character. The series’ most high-production episode features a fantasy sequence in which Pittsburgh Dad uses the Back to the Future DeLorean to travel back in time to shop at Hills. (Wootton even purchased rights to the Hills logo on the cheap.)

Wootton and Barravecchio belong to the same gym, and the candle came to fruition after Barravecchio approached him and inquired about making a tie-in product.

Sugar Creek makes soy candles (better for scent, says Barravecchio), and the company often uses irreverent humor to sell their products. In addition to typical fragrances, their line includes "Waffles N’At" candles and the tropical-scented "Monkey Farts." Their candles, including Pittsburgh Dad Hills Snack Bar, are available online and at a few stores (including one that, like Hills, is a regional icon: The Giant Eagle grocery chain).

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Pop Culture
Watch Jeopardy! Contestants Bomb Every Single Question in the Football Category
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Jeopardy! contestants may know their word puzzles and 19th-century English literature, but sports aficionados they are not. At least that was the case with the lineup of contestants competing in the game that aired February 1. According to The Daily Dot, the players bombed all five questions in last night’s football category, provoking sassy remarks from Alex Trebek.

After blowing through the rest of the board and leaving the entire “Talkin’ Football” category untouched, contestants reluctantly dove in. The clues, which dealt with popular teams and basic plays, left everyone stumped. After the first clue was met with deafening silence, Trebek could already see how the end of the round would play out. “I can tell you guys are big football fans,” he quipped. His other stinging one-liners included: “Do you think we should go to commercial?” and “If you guys ring in and get this one, I will die.”

Luckily the episode also included some non-sports categories, so the show was able to go on.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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