Vampires, Ghosts, and the Dark Shadows Beauty Pageants of the Early 1970s

Dark Shadows was a Gothic soap opera that ran on ABC-TV from 1966 to 1971. Its most popular character was Barnabas Collins, a sexy, scary, and very wealthy vampire. The series was a sensation in its time, but by 1970 was starting to run out of steam. A feature film spinoff called House of Dark Shadows was released in September of that year. To promote the film, MGM naturally staged a beauty pageant. Of course they did. It was called the Miss American Vampire Contest. The genius part was that the top prize was a guest spot on the TV show.  

Ads were placed in newspapers across the country, targeting girls, 18 to 25, who thought they had the right “vampire looks.” One newspaper story about the promotion, dredged up by the blog Dark Shadows in the Press, said that contestants would be judged by their interpretation of the vampire aesthetic, as well as “charm, poise, stage presence, and videogenic qualities for television.” One TV ad for the competition read, “It’s a contest you can sink your teeth into.”

Leading up to the release of House of Dark Shadows, regional beauty contests were held in a number of cities, from Dallas to Philadelphia to Miami. These prelims produced a handful of finalists, who traveled to Los Angeles to compete for the title on September 10, 1970. One of the judges for the New Jersey regional competition recalls her experience in the book The Dark Shadows Companion: 25th Anniversary Collection, saying, “It was fun for the first five minutes. After that it got terribly depressing. Some of the girls came in bikinis. Some of them came dressed as witches or vampires or dead bodies. One girl stood in front of me and just stared.”

You might be surprised to find out who won that beauty pageant, and what happened afterward. You can read all about it at Atlas Obscura.


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Goku Vs. Super Heroes

To call Goku a superhero would be an insult because he's so much more than that- he's a Saiyan with god-like physical abilities and a power level that measures over 9000, so mere superheroes wouldn't stand a chance against him.

And yet most comic book fans won't accept the fact that their favorite superfolks would get owned by Goku until they see it for themselves, so let's see it play out Street Fighter style in this short by GamebillStudio.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

We all have different opinions of human appearance that we are attracted to, and it's a good thing, because humans come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. It's too bad that some folks, meaning those who have a stake in the results, want to push their particular opinions about attractiveness on everyone. The truth is that appearances are only for initial attraction. Afterward, you have to have something else to back it up. Remember, one of these days you'll have both failing looks and failing eyesight, but you'll still appreciate having a companion who thinks you're the bee's knees. You have to wonder what the King ever saw in the Evil Queen besides what the mirror reflected. If he was hoping to find a good stepmother for Snow White, he failed miserably. However, Suzy and the Magic Mirror might make great lifetime companions. This comic is from John McNamee at Pie Comic.


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Shiba Inu Becomes Confused When Her Toy Barks Back At Her

Some dogs simply adore their toys, dragging them around the house and cuddling up with them in their beds, but as a rule dogs don't dig toys that bark back at them.

So be forewarned-giving a dog a toy that makes noises and moves on its own can lead to confusion, anger and some very precious moments, so you'd better have your camera ready just in case.

Japanese Twitter user @daifuku_channel shared this adorable video featuring a Shiba Inu who has a hilarious reaction when her toy barks back at her. She can't decide whether she hates the toy or loves it!

-Via Laughing Squid

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6 Utterly Terrifying Unsolved Mysteries No One Can Explain

If you liked reading the roundup of true Halloween horror stories, now you have more true crimes to haunt your dreams. Cracked has a list of strange cases that may be murder or something else entirely, but no one has them figured out yet. In 1986, a truck driver and his wife crashed a load of 5,000 gallons of sulfuric acid while speeding down a mountain in Spain. When the bodies were identified, the truck driver's parents were notified. They asked if their grandson was okay.  

It turned out the couple had a 10-year-old son, Juan Pedro Martinez Gomez, who was seen having breakfast with them that very morning. That at least explained the children's clothes, toys, and cassette tapes the authorities had found in the truck, but there was an even bigger problem now: There was no child.

We know what you're thinking. Since there were 5,000 gallons of sulfuric acid involved, maybe the poor kid got dissolved into nothingness? That's what investigators initially thought, but experts determined that this scenario was impossible. At the very least, some bones would have been left behind. So what happened to Juan Pedro? Also, what would compel his father to drive down a steep mountain pass at such a high speed? Hint: It rhymes with "brugs."

The story is more involved, but the child was never found. If he survived the incidennt, he'd be in his 40s now. And that's just one of six cases that get weirder as they go, at Cracked. 


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Brave Australian Woman Hoists Shark Out Of Pool And Returns It To The Ocean

The more time you spend around sharks the less they seem like mindless eating machines, and people who actually get to like sharks will go out of their way to save a shark's life whenever possible.

But you've gotta be mighty brave, and very comfortable with sharks, to grab one with your bare hands and hoist it out of the water, even if it is just a little ankle biter.

The lady in this clip went for a dip in a Cronulla rock pool in Sydney and found a shark swimming around in there, but instead of letting it ruin her good time she earned the nickname "Shark Lady"- by grabbing the little biter, hoisting it out of the water and tossing it back into the ocean.

Now Shark Lady is an internet hero and a symbol of how Australians coexist with nature. Good on ya Shark Lady!

-Via Guacamoley

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Five Iconic Film Scenes That Were Completely Improvised

While real life is completely improvised, it takes exceptional talent to do it while being a fictional character. The best actors learned the art on their way up and continue to practice. Sometimes this results in pure magic. There are a lot of movies that include at least one scene improvised on the spot, but some rise above and become the one scene that people continually quote for years afterward. The newest ones we learn of is from The Dark Knight.

Heath Ledger owned the character of The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman movie. Apparently Ledger, during his last role before he died, immersed himself in the crazed Gotham villain. Ledger improvised several times during the film including the jail scene where he sarcastically claps after Jim Gordon is promoted to Police Commissioner. However, the unscripted scene that truly shows Ledger’s dedication to the film and the character is when The Joker blows up the Gotham Hospital. With his madman makeup and wearing a nurse’s dress, The Joker exits the hospital while blowing it up. Apparently the explosions did not all go off as expected. The expensive scene was to be done in one take. Ledger stayed in character, looks perplexed, shrugs and fiddles with the bomb’s remote control until the explosions continued. That’s dedication to the character.

See five classic film scenes that were completely improvised at TVOM.


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Hilarious Memes For The Mathematically Minded

(Image Link)

There's definitely something for everyone on the internet in terms of humor, and the days of people with a nerdy sense of humor struggling to find stuff to LOL at are long gone thanks to the endless stream of cutting edge comedy online.

(Image Link)

As you know the memes reign supreme online, and they're so easy to create people keep churning out memes to suit their very particular sense of humor, creating smart comedy for a niche crowd.

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And as you can see internet humor doesn't get much more niche than math memes, featuring jokes with punchlines only the mathematically minded can truly appreciate. Can somebody please explain why this is funny?

(Image Link)

See 16 Nerds Who Turned Math Into Memes here


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The Beginning

Alluding to the human fertilization process as a squadron of Rebel fighters attacking the Death Star may seem silly on paper, but it works in the video The Beginning. Biologists Don Ingber and Charles Reilly at Harvard's Wyss Institute set out to make a hyper-accurate film of how sperm fertilizes an egg. They used real data from research, converted into animation. The purpose was to engage non-scientists, so they framed the process as a Star Wars parody. It was a cheesy idea that turned out to be sublime in the rendering. But even more interesting, the process of animating the sequence uncovered something new about the morphology of sperm.

By combining insights from Hollywood animation studios and empirical data from biology, Ingber and Reilly set out to create a hyper-accurate 3D model of a sperm cell. Their goal was to see whether cinematic storytelling based on data could be a way to engage people who might be turned off by numbers and dry technical papers. As a bonus, their pursuit of engagement through animation resulted in a scientific discovery about how energy is distributed in a sperm cell to make it move.

(vimeo link)

The short explanation of the energy distribution and how it was discovered is at Motherboard.


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The Upside Down - Not A Fun Place To Visit, Nor Would You Want To Live There


The Upside Down by ALIENBIKER23

So these kids took me on a trip to a stranger and scary place they called the Upside Down, and we got chased by this giant plant creature things they called the Demogorgon and met some kids who were trapped in that cold, dark place. And then we met a girl named Barb and she asked to come with us but we said no for some reason, wait, why did we say no? I don't remember, but then Barb like disappeared and nobody even noticed. Oh, and I did all that and came back and junk and all I got was this t-shirt! Like, that's way too far to go for a stinkin' t-shirt!

Get ready for the return of your favorite streaming sci-fi show with this The Upside Down t-shirt by ALIENBIKER23, it's the perfect shirt to wear while you're watching the second season or out and about having adventures with your pals.

Visit ALIENBIKER23's Facebook fan page and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more fantastic designs:

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View more designs by ALIENBIKER23 | More TV T-shirts | New T-Shirts

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The Best Vampire and Zombie Movies of All Time

For most horror movie fans, one of two movie monsters will always reign supreme -vampires and zombies. Fortunately for those who just can't get enough of these two terrible creatures, Collider has taken the time to rank the best films that feature each of the creatures. The vampire list includes the classic Dracula (of course) as well as more modern classics like Fright Night and Blade -but sorry Twilight fans, you'll have to look elsewhere for your validation. 

The zombie list has all the George Romero films you'd expect as well as some more clever takes on the genre -like Sean of the Dead and Paranorman (though I felt Fido deserved a place on the list as well).

So visit Collider to see their ranking of the best vampire movies and the best zombie movies and then come back here to debate their choices.

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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Deadly Florida

(Image credit: Flickr user Dave)

Good thing it’s pretty in the Sunshine State. At least the view will be nice as you try to outrun all of these dangerous things.

AFRAID OF LIGHTNING?

(Image credit: Flickr user NASA HQ PHOTO)

Then don’t go to Florida. A study conducted from 2004 to 2007 by the American Meteorological Society found that people are more likely to get struck by lightning in Florida than anywhere else in North America. The state averages 35 lightning injuries and seven fatalities per year, and “Lightning Alley,” a hot spot that spans central Florida from Tampa to Titusville, receives an average of 50 strikes per square mile per year. And right in the middle of Lightning Alley: Disney World. Even with lightning rods strategically placed throughout the park, a quick-moving storm in 2003 caught animal handlers by surprise at Disney’s Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction. Before they could move the animals to safety, a lightning bolt killed a 12-foot-tall giraffe named Betsy. Also located in Lightning Alley: Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Daytona Beach, and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where they launch spaceships.

AFRAID OF ALLIGATORS?

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The Walking Dead in Classic Movie Posters

This Sunday night will be the premiere of The Walking Dead season eight. It will also be the series' 100th episode. To celebrate (and promote) that milestone, producer, director, and effects guy Greg Nicotero teamed up with Michael Broom and John Wheaton to produce a series of The Walking Dead posters in the styles of posters you recall from classic movies.

"We had a really, really good time. I thought it was a great opportunity to celebrate that we've done 100 episodes, by looking at other classic titles and skewing them toward the world of The Walking Dead," he says of the series. "I found an opportunity to celebrate what I love about the show and what I know fans love about the show, too: the community of people who embrace the pop culture aspect of filmmaking and movies. I can't get enough of it. Being a collector of movie posters and props and things like that, it was just another opportunity to live vicariously through these movie posters that I love so much."

There are 17 posters in the series. You can see them all at the Hollywood Reporter. -via io9


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Photographer Shoots The Same People Going To Work Over 9 Year Period

Work in the same area for years and you're bound to see the same faces during your daily commute, especially if you work a 9 to 5 job in a big city.

And even though you may exchange little more than a nod and a "good morning" with these people their faces become very familiar, almost as familiar as those of your friends and family because you see your fellow workers every day.

Danish photographer Peter Funch visited the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt in NYC between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. on weekdays from 2007 to 2016 and noticed one consistent thing- the same people going to work each day.

Some of these 9 to 5ers were so consistent they actually wore the same outfits, hair styles and walked next to the same people over the 9 year period, becoming the symbols of consistency in the workplace.

See more from This Photographer Shot The Same Strangers Going To Work Over 9 Years here


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A Catfishing Story With a Happy Ending

Emma Perrier was a 34-year-old French woman living in London who had just broken up with a boyfriend. She went online to meet someone new, and she did. She connected with an Italian man living in England named Ronaldo “Ronnie” Scicluna. Above you see their profile pics. But Ronnie was actually 53-year-old Alan Stanley, who didn't really want to date, but liked meeting women online. His dating profile, and the things he told Perrier, were a complete fraud. Of course, she eventually found out, since he never wanted to meet in real life, even though he didn't live that far away. But who was the man in the profile picture? Perrier used a reverse image search.

“Believe me I was scared to use it for the first time,” Emma said. She uploaded the photograph of Ronnie wearing his leather jacket. The results arrived in seconds: The man in the photographs was a model and actor from Turkey, called Adem Guzel. Emma was confused. She found his model-management website, an official Twitter account, and his Facebook. Adem’s closest connection to the United Kingdom was that he had studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in the nearby Republic of Ireland.

Perrier sent a message to Guzel, warning him that a man was using his publicity shots in a catfishing scheme. Guzel, who was then 35 and managing a hotel after a TV gig fell apart, returned her message. And that's where the story really takes off. The two are now living together in London. You can read the entire story at the Atlantic. -via Uproxx


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The Whale's Halloween Costume

Webcomic artist Liz Climo always has a great time dressing up her animal characters for Halloween. I think the whale's idea is pretty clever, even if he does have to explain it. I love the banana porpoise and Superotter, too. Then there's Batman and his psychic, and the witch and her cat. Be sure to check back for more critters getting ready for Halloween at Hi, I'm Liz.

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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Garfield Creator Jim Davis Drew A Galactus Story For A New Marvel Comic

Marvel's giant intergalactic planet muncher Galactus and Jim Davis' lasagna lovin' cat Garfield have a lot in common despite the fact that they exist in radically different cartoon universes with different levels of detail.

They both think with their stomachs and let their appetites get them in trouble, they can both be a bit surly if you wake them up before noon, and now they've both been drawn by Jim Davis thanks to an upcoming Marvel comic written by Ryan North:

Issue #26 of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl will be styled as a zine made by Squirrel Girl and her super-powered peers, with different artists providing styles for different heroes-turned-artists. The roster includes none other than Garfield creator Jim Davis, who illustrated a story from the perspective of Galactus.

North wrote the story, which Davis illustrated with the help of his assistants Gary Barker and Dan Davis. The strip basically uses Galactus as a stand-in for Garfield, and his herald the Silver Surfer as a stand-in for Jon Arbuckle.

Here's a sneak peek of Jim Davis' Galactus story, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 hits stores November 8th:

-Via Entertainment Weekly


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Why Brush Your Teeth When You Could Be Petting the Cat?

Markus Klemelä just wanted to brush his teeth. His cat wants some lovin'. The cat, like all house cats, doesn't recognize boundaries when he wants something, so Markus could only do one thing -grab his phone to record this interlude.

(YouTube link)

The cat is pretty insistent, and has a world-class purr machine. -via Digg

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Bad Luck

I've never thought of black cats as omens of bad luck because I grew up in a household that valued the life of all kitties, and people for that matter, regardless of fur or skin color.

Plus I've owned a few black cats over the years, and the way I see it they can't bring bad luck to their owners or else witches and warlocks wouldn't keep them around.

But, as this War And Peas comic shows, the superstition may have originated when the first person who thought such a dumb thing pointed at a black cat and yelled "bad luck!" That really pisses cats off...

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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The Year of the Witch

The Salem Witch Trials get all the publicity, but it was far from the only witch panic that invaded colonial America. In Hartford, Connecticut, witch hysteria gripped the community in 1662 and 1663, so much that it came to be known as "The Year of the Witch." It all started with the death of eight-year-old Elizabeth Kelly, who died of an unknown ailment. Suspicion instantly led to Judith Ayres, who nobody liked anyway. She was arrested for witchcraft, and for good measure, they arrested her husband, too.

Judith and William were subjected to that indispensable part of any good witch trial: the "water test." The couple were bound hand to foot and tossed into a pond. If they floated, that was proof positive they were witches. If they sank, well, at least Judith and William would have the satisfaction of knowing that they would die vindicated.

To no one's real surprise, the pair floated like a pair of corks. A ghastly death at the gallows awaited them.

Luckily for the Ayerses, there were a few people in town who had not come down with the prevailing hysteria. These supporters managed to arrange a jailbreak, and the couple fled to Rhode Island, leaving behind their two sons, ages five and eight. One wonders what sort of lives those boys went on to have.

Unfortunately, the departure of Judith and William did not signal the end of the Hartford witch panic. In truth, it was just getting started.

The young girls of Hartford started talking about witchcraft, and accusing others of the practice. One suspect named an entire coven, including her own husband. Read the account of the Year of the Witch at Strange Company.

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Kitty Witches - Which Kitty Is A Witch Kitty?


Kitty Witches by Hillary White

What is with witches and their kitties? The two seem to go together like mugwort and toad sweat, and for some reason their cats are perpetually pissed off even though the witch just keeps on cacklin'. It's like witches are a version of the classic crazy cat lady, only they just need one psychotic black cat instead of a meowing menagerie. Their cats are probably also keeping witches from hooking up with warlocks, because as we all know warlocks are weird bird guys and they treat their feathered familiars like their babies, and cats can't resist the taste of a fresh familiar...

Dress up all super scary for the Halloween times with this Kitty Witches t-shirt by Hillary White, it will either make people cackle at you like witches or meow at you like a cat, both of which are very awkward!

Visit Hillary White's Facebook fan page, official website and Tumblr, then head on over to her NeatoShop for more meow-gical designs:

Skeletons Mer-Mew Battle Panther Terribly Rad

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Classic Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound Effects

Watch any of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons with the sound turned off and those wacky shows will be far less entertaining, and not just because the characters seem extra flat without their dialog and catchphrases.

No, the main thing you'll be missing are those zany sound effects, the sound of animated hilarity that takes you back to those formative years when cartoons became a big part of your life, or maybe it's just me.

Former Hanna-Barbera sound editor Paul Douglas made some interesting picks for his top 10 sound effects list, like Muttley biting Dick Dastardly on the butt and El Kabong's guitar hit, and these iconic sounds will take you back, way, way back.

(YouTube Link)

For some reason Paul's top ten sound effects list didn't include that iconic scrabbling sound Hanna-Barbera cartoons made whenever they ran, so here it is. I wish I could make noises like that when I run...

(YouTube Link)

-Via Boing Boing


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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Labyrinth

Does the 1986 film Labyrinth make you think of David Bowie or Jim Henson first? Henson directed the cast of humans and puppets, and Bowie played Jareth, the Goblin King who kidnaps the baby Toby while his sister Sarah is babysitting. The film was a financial flop when it was first released, but became a cult hit as further generations of children saw it on home video. Let's have some trivia from the making of Labyrinth.  

7. The only way that Toby could sit on Jareth’s lap was to have a sock puppet off screen for him to look at.

The kid just wouldn’t stop screaming when he was sitting on Bowie’s lap, but once Bowie had the puppet in his other hand he couldn’t look away.

6. There were a few different stars that wanted to play Jareth.

Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger were a couple, and Jim Henson was going to try to get sting before his kids convinced him to ask David Bowie.

Read more about Labyrinth at TVOM.


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Once Upon A Candle

You'd think candles would be hotheads on account of their wicks, or total drips on account of their melty nature, but according to this animated short entitled Once Upon A Candle they're actually happy-go-lucky to the bitter end.

But once they've lit up our lives for a while, and their tall taper has been reduced to a bumpy nub, the spark sorta goes out of their personality and that existential angst starts to set in.

(YouTube Link)

Once Upon A Candle is another great animated short created by students from The Animation Workshop in Denmark, it won't melt your heart but it was illuminating!


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Research Risks

The latest comic from Randall Munroe at xkcd is a graph, a scatter plot indicating the danger of research subjects. If you think hard enough, you can come up with a movie or some kind of story for each one. I thought of Frankenstein and The Andromeda Strain for the upper right, Sharktopus and The Birds for the lower right, Doctor Octopus and various Bond villains for the upper left, and Darth Vader at the top. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes would be close to the middle. The further you go to the right, the more 1960s B-movies you'll find. Molasses storage? Well, there was that flood, but I don't know if they've ever made a movie about it. Too unbelievable.  


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This Awesome Gremlins Poster Contains 84 Hidden Pop Culture References

Gremlins is a visually striking film, with lots of fantastic and unforgettable scenes that continue to inspire filmmakers and artists like Kevin M. Wilson when they're looking to create an homage to (monster) movies.

Kevin chose the scene in Mr. Wing's shop (where Billy's dad Randall bought Gizmo) as inspiration for this illustration full of hidden movie references, which seems logical since the place was full of cool stuff to look at.

There are a 84 pop culture references hidden in this awesome artwork, from the fairly obvious Freddy Kreuger's Glove and ORCA Panel at the top of the piece to the harder to find Chucky doll to the tiny and impossible to find Demogorgon Miniature.

See if you can collect 'em all with your eyeballs, and when you give up click here to see the key.

-Via io9


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Bullying Jr.

Burger King released a video about bullying. They staged a scene of high school students bullying a kid in the dining area, and the also "bullied" their Whopper Jr. burgers. That's the goofy part. They compare how many people complained about the burger to how many people stood up for the kid. As you can guess, more people were concerned about the burger. After all, they paid for that.  

(YouTube link)

It's the later part of the video that gets you, when people are shown intervening in the teenager's abuse. That might trigger you. You can say that sticking your nose into the situation won't help, and might even make the bullying worse at a different location. But a lot of folks in the reddit comments recalled being bullied as a child, and their clearest memories were of that one time someone stood up for them and let them know they weren't alone. The ad directs you to the No Bully site.


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People Heaven is the Worst

You'd better hope that heaven doesn't make mistakes because if it does, this is the kind of thing that would ruin your eternity for, well, eternity. After all, being reconnected with your loved ones is great and all, but being connected with your deceased pets and getting to cuddle with puppies forever -now that sounds like actual heaven.

Comic by Safely Endangered via their Facebook


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Roy G. Biv

(Image credit: Miss Cellania)

Roy G. Biv is a mnemonic used to remember the colors of the visible spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Let's learn something about all the colors.

THE TRUE RED BARON

How the Danish protest pig got its stripe.

(Image credit: Axel Krampe)

In the 19th century, Denmark and Germany went to war over a slice of the southern Jutland Peninsula (today called Schleswig-Holstein). Denmark claimed the land in 1848, but 16 years later, Germany regained the territory and promptly barred any Danes who lived there from raising their country’s flag. So, crafty Danish farmers started raising pigs. Through crossbreeding, they created a pig that resembled the Danish flag, featuring red fur and a prominent white belt. By the 20th century, the Protestschwein, or “protest pigs,” had become a snorting symbol of Danish cultural independence.

WHAT CAME FIRST: ORANGE THE FRUIT OR ORANGE THE COLOR?

The fruit! Medieval English speakers rarely encountered the color orange in nature- so they simply called the shade geoluhread (yellow-red). The fruit, imported from northern India to Europe in the 11th century, changed that. Called orenge by medieval Latin speakers, the fruit took over geoluhread’s place in English in the 1530s.

THE YELLOW INDEX

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What Does the Hamburger Helper’s Skeleton Look Like?

The Hamburger Helper mascot is a disembodied hand, wearing a glove, with a face in its palm. It's ridiculous already, but trying to envision what kind of bone structure it has inside is even weirder. That's the question michael SCAREa‏ posed on Twitter. He got over 500 replies, including plenty of illustrations of the inside of a fictional advertising character.

You can see quite a few of the silliest ideas collected at Nerdist.  -via Metafilter


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