Blog Posts John Farrier Likes

Forget Tardis Dresses, Here's a Stranger Things Dress

(Image Via Cosplay America)

Kitty Cosplay understands that Will is the most iconic character in Stranger Things, so when she decided to do a cosplay based on the Netflix show, she decided to go as Will while he was trapped in the Other Side and communicated with his mother. The decision to throw the Demigorgon's arm through the wall really sells the terrifying side of the show. I have to wonder if she was inspired at all by this previous Stranger Things wall cosplay.

Via Fashionably Geek


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Champion Gravediggers

We have long held that any human activity will eventually be made into a competition. The International Exhibition of Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services was held recently in Trenčín, Slovakia. One event during the convention was a grave digging competition. Eleven teams of two men each from Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia dug in to see who could produce the fastest and neatest grave, using only hand shovels and pickaxes. Slovakian brothers Ladislav Skladan and Csaba Skladan won by digging a grave five feet deep in only 54 minutes.  

"We want to show and appreciate the hard work of grave diggers," said Ladislav Striz, who established the contest last year.

"Most Slovak graveyards are so crowded and spaces between graves so narrow that we need human diggers instead of machines," he said. "They work hard, come rain, come snow."

Read about the competition and see more pictures at Reuters.  -via mental_floss


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Alexa Bass

(YouTube link)

The future of artificial intelligence! Brian Kane installed an Alexa Voice Service in his Billy Bass. They weren't kidding when they said you could add it to any device! The common response to this is, "Shut up and take my money!" But you can do this yourself, if you have a bit of skills. "Alexa, sing Take Me To The River!" -via reddit


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Making Cooking Pots From German Helmets

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Helmets are a life saver when you're fighting in a war, but you know what's useful come war, peace and utter doldrums? A cooking pot, which a helmet resembles when it's turned upside down.

After World War II many Germans found themselves destitute and without a pot to piss cook in, so steel factory workers started turning old helmets into cooking pots.

(YouTube Link)

This video posted by British Pathé shows steel factory workers turning surplus German military helmets into collanders and cooking pots, which is pretty neat to watch. Make soup, not war!

-Via Laughing Squid

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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How to Read The Secret Language of Starfleet Uniforms

If you want to celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary with a Starfleet Halloween costume, go for it! But if you’re attending a party with die-hard Trek fans, you better be accurate. When Star Trek debuted in 1966, Gene Roddenberry color-coded Starfleet uniforms to indicate service divisions, and added gold braid to denote rank. However, he did not know how long the series would last and how many new iterations would follow. Besides, the production had a very skimpy budget. Starfleet uniforms evolved over the years as Star Trek went to movies and several more modern TV series. And some of the uniform innovations didn’t go over well.

The Star Trek movies that followed the cancellation of the original series, threw most of the original coloring schemes out the window for a cleaner look, which is surprisingly harder to read. In 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (which takes place in the mid-2270s), the bright colors were done away with and replaced with white, grey, and beige uniforms.

Here, a person’s position could be determined by the color of the ring behind the Starfleet insignia on their breast. A white ring was used for command, orange and green were used for the science divisions, and red, gold, and grey were used for operations. Rank was now worn on either the sleeve and/or on a shoulder tab. Thankfully, these creamy jumpsuits didn’t last long.

By 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Starfleet (and the film’s production department) had adopted an even more standardized and militaristic look. Taking place around the late-2270s, the second film introduced a standard maroon color that was worn by all officers in jumpsuit and jacket styles.

As Star Trek movies and series proliferated, writers and producers tried to streamline the color-coding and ranks, but time-travel plots further complicated the overall fashion scheme. You can catch up and get an idea of how Starfleet uniforms work in a rundown at Atlas Obscura. 


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Data & Picard

It’s been a while since we’ve heard a Pogo remix, so it’s extra-special that his new one is Star Trek themed! It’s a remix of sounds from Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and Brent Spider as Data. Even though it’s rendered as nonsense, you’d recognize those voices anywhere, wouldn’t you? And we even get to see Pogo!

(YouTube link)

From the YouTube page:

The track opens with the Klingon Victory Song, followed by a remix of Data singing Che Gelida Manina in the episode 'In Theory'. This episode was the first ever to be directed by Patrick Stewart and I didn't realize this until after the track was finished.

I sourced the Ben Nye makeup that was used to turn Spiner into Data, and a replica of the iconic Star Fleet uniform. Unfortunately I couldn't get the contact lenses in and I could only get the uniform in red, so I spent a huge amount of time changing the colour of my eyes and uniform in post.

Pogo is the professional name of Nick Bertke, whom we’ve featured many times before. -Thanks, Øystein Dale!


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Every Dystopian Young Adult Novel

Why are Young Adult novels so popular with young and old alike these days? Because of the formula- sexy plus pitiful plus surprisingly powerful equals dystopian hero born to save us all.

Add in a dash of the supernatural, some silly yet memorable names and a pinch of peril and you've got a formulaic story for the masses.

Prefer pictures to word problems? You can thank Adam Ellis for his illustrated breakdown of Every Dystopian YA Novel, which he posted on his site Books Of Adam. I wonder how he cracked the code?

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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The Lewdest Sounding Town Names In The United States

People with dirty minds like to turn location names into crude jokes, and with the exception of places like Lake Titicaca that are totally asking for it these towns don't deserve to be thought of as smutty.

In fact, there are too many lewdly named places on the planet as it is, and in the United States there's at least one town with a lewd name in every single state, towns that were clearly founded by perverts.

Okay, so maybe you don't need a dirty mind to think town names like Humptulips, Wankers Corner and Bumpass sound like the punchline of a filthy joke.

But Hooker, Oklahoma was obviously named after all the crochet enthusiasts who founded the town, and Blue Ball Village was founded by racquetball enthusiasts, right? *wink*

See The Lewdest Town Names In America here


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Napoléon Bonaparte, Failed Novelist

Did you know that Napoléon Bonaparte tried his hand at fiction before he became a revolutionary? Well, if Saddam Hussein could write a romance novel, why not Napoléon? In 2007, a French publishing company found (and published) a novella written by Napoléon, and now a few pages of the original manuscript is going up for auction.

Clisson et Eugénie is unabashedly autobiographical. Penned in the autumn of 1795, while Napoleon was still rising in the ranks of the French army, the novel centers around an officer named Clisson, “a man of fervent imagination, with his blazing heart, his uncompromising intellect and his cool head”. The war-weary Clisson decides to quit his position and enjoy the spa baths of central France. There he meets two young women, Amélie and Eugénie, and falls desperately (and tragically) in love with Eugénie. While tender, this romance is also quite tame. The closest the author comes to sex may be: “Their hearts fused … the most exquisite voluptuousness flooded the hearts of the two enraptured lovers.”

The novella only runs about 22 scribbled pages, so the plot swiftly progresses from love to marriage to melancholy.

Only four pages will go to auction; the rest are in a museum or single pages in private collections. Napoléon wrote the story when he was 26 years old, and it very well may have been a kind of self-therapy, as it was based on a woman he knew and loved. Think about how history may have been different if he had found success as a novelist! Read more about Clisson et Eugénie at the Guardian. -Thanks, John Farrier!  


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The New Star Wars Canon Presents a Fascinating Paradox of Storytelling

Everything changed when Disney bought Lucasfilm and all the Star Wars properties. At first we were excited, because that meant that we’d get more Star Wars movies, while feeling apprehensive, because we didn’t want it to turn into Mickey Mouse. Then Disney announced that the "expanded universe" of novels, games, and fan fiction up to that point were not to be regarded as canon, which startled fans. What were they thinking? They were thinking of unifying all Star Wars lore. And that in itself raises many questions.

When Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney, the decision was made that anything that advances the Star Wars story would become part of the same singular canon. Books, comics, games—they’re now as definitive as TV and film. Anything you pick up related to Star Wars adds to the whole; there’s a group of executives called the Lucasfilm Story Group whose sole job is to make sure all of these moving parts come together in a cohesive way.

As a Star Wars fan, I can’t think of anything more exciting than it all having a purpose. The amazing fact that we’re finally finding out what happened to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo (RIP) after Return of the Jedi is just the icing on the cake. Now, every single bit of Star Wars out there gives us another piece of the puzzle. You can go to the store, pick up Marvel’s Star Wars comic, and read crucial pieces of Star Wars history. Did you ever wonder how Darth Vader would’ve reacted between when he realized Obi-Wan Kenobi hid his son from him? Well, that happens in the comics—and it was a result of Luke Skywalker meeting Boba Fett, if you can believe it.

At the same time, longtime fans are having a time shifting from a malleable fictional universe to a concrete universe, and newer fans wonder if you really have to buy all those comic books to learn what’s going on. The pros, cons, and questions about Disney’s new approach to Star Wars are laid out for your reading pleasure at io9.


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This VHS Board Game Supercut Will Bring Back Geeky Memories

In the 1980s gamers were introduced to a new kind of interactive game-VCR board games, the games you played while sitting in front of the TV.

VCR board games were seen as cutting edge by some, a weak comparison to console video games by others, but every kid who liked board games had to try out a VCR game at least once, to see what all the buzz was about.

The difference was immediately apparent, as a live action game master on the tape guided their gaming experience by yelling at them, telling them what to do or simply by adding some video scene flavor to the game.

(YouTube Link)

This supercut compiled by Found Footage Fest pays homage to those strange niche VCR games of the 80s and 90s, check it out and see if it brings back any good or bad board game memories!

-Via mental_floss


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World’s Oldest Man to Have Bar Mitzvah

Mr. Israel Kristal turned 113 years old on Thursday. Earlier this year, he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest man alive. Born in Poland on September 15, 1903, Kristol studied the Torah from a young age and was a master candymaker most of his life. His mother died when he was seven, and then his father was drafted by the Imperial Russian Army and died in World War I. Kristol turned 13 during that time and never had a bar mitzvah.

During World War II, Kristol’s two children died during the family’s confinement in the Lodz ghetto. He and his wife were sent to Auschwitz in 1944, where she died. When the Red Army liberated Auschwitz in 1945, Kristol weighed only 37 kilograms (81 pounds). Within a few years, he remarried, emigrated to Haifa, Israel, and had two more children. He now has dozens of descendants. And soon he will have the bar mitzvah he was denied during the Great War.

His daughter, Shulamith Kristal-Kuperstoch, told CNN that Kristal's long-delayed bar mitzvah would be held close to his Hebrew birthday, which falls this year on October 2.

Kristal-Kuperstoch said it would be a "privilege" for her to organize the upcoming ceremony for her father, as a way of correcting the past, and as a gift to him.

Kristal has been carrying out Jewish rituals and responsibilities for 100 years now. When they get to the part where they traditionally say, “Today, you are a man,” they will really mean “Today, you are THE man.”

(Image credit: Guinness Book of World Records)  


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Where’s the South?

What states make up what Americans consider “The South”? It’s not so much climate as it is culture. I live in Kentucky, which was a slave state before the Civil War, but stayed with the Union. The people here speak with an accent that is more hillbilly than southern drawl. Yet we drink our tea extra sweet and keep electing Tea Party politicians. A majority would classify Kentucky in the South, others have called us the Midwest, while the term “Appalachian” makes the most sense -yet that classification doesn’t appear on most cultural maps. But what about Delaware? Maryland? Oklahoma? Vox is conducting a survey to see how people think of the region we know as the South. You are asked to click on the states on an interactive map that you would call the south. When you submit your opinion, you’ll see how it compares to others who have done the same. You can also click on individual states to see what the responses were. 


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D.C. Will Hide Banned Books Around the City

September is banned books month and in celebration of all the great banned books that later were recognized as classics, the Washington D.C. library set up quite a clever scavenger hunt. Hidden in businesses around the city are copies of once-banned books -find one and it's yours. It's not just a matter of finding a free book of course, the program is a great way to look back on the history of censored books and each title will be wrapped in a cover that explains why the book was challenged. Clues to finding the secret treasures can be found on the library's Twitter account.

Via Washington Post


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100 Of The Best Man Cave Ideas

Family life is wonderful, but it’s also wonderful when each person in a family can have a space for themselves, to do with what they will. For the man of the house, that retreat space is often called a man cave, whether it’s an office, garage, bedroom, workshop, recreation room, or a shed at the back of the property. And there are many ways to optimize that space for the purpose you intend. It could become a game room, home theater, bar, music studio, hobby room, lounge, or just a spot with a comfy chair and a TV away from everyone else. Housely has some tips on equipping your man cave according to your interests and tastes, plus 100 images of what that space could become.


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No Playing Star Wars

Getting kids to stop playing Star Wars after watching the movies is like getting them to stop making messes or breaking stuff, in other words impossible.

And when they see those cute little critters pretending to fly the Millennium Falcon around the house or having a lightsaber battle in the living room their parents can't help but play along.

This Lunar Baboon comic is dedicated to those grown-ups who refuse to stop acting like kids- even after they've had children!

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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The Creator of Tribbles Talks About Making The Weirdest Star Trek Episode Ever

David Gerrold wrote several Star Trek episodes, but he will always be remembered for “The Trouble with Tribbles,” which became a classic. It was funny! The tribbles exposed the humorous side of the Enterprise crew, it was a welcome break from meeting aliens who happened to be shaped somewhat like humans, and it introduced many of us to the concept of invasive species. Gerrold tells us how that idea came about.

It was really about rabbits in Australia. My thinking was that not every alien we meet is going to be ugly and not every alien we meet is going to be immediately dangerous. We’re not going to recognize the danger to us until it might be too late. So, the rabbits in Australia were perfect. Little fuzzy creatures that are fun to pet and they purr, but they breed like crazy. Next thing you know Captain Kirk is up to here in them. When they bought the story they gave me a chance to write the script. I wasn’t yet recognized as a professional writer but they gave me a few weeks to write the script…which I did over the first weekend. My thinking was to have something there for all of the other characters: Uhura, Chekov, and Scotty. It was just the right combination of idea and humor and character that it all came together very well. And then the best part was that we had such a talented and amazing cast that brought it to life in a way that here we are talking about it a half century later.

That half-century has been full of tribbles, especially for Gerrold. He tells us not only about the concept and the filming of “The Trouble with Tribbles,” but the legacy those critters left behind, at Mass Appeal.
-via The A.V. Club


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The Impossible Dungeons & Dragons Quest

It can be hard to serve as gamemaster and maintain your friendship with the players in your tabletop roleplaying group, because gamers take character death very seriously.

They also get pissed off if you don't award them enough experience points, give them enough magic items, or if you keep rolling really high for enemies.

But, as this Is It Canon comic by Rock Paper Cynic and Big Simple Comics shows, there's one quest which will defeat even the most experienced role players and make your group hate you at the same time- trial by noob.

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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Why Star Trek’s Prime Directive Could Never be Enforced

The future as imagined by Gene Roddenberry was ruled by law, at least for the United Federation of Planets’ exploration, diplomacy, and defense entity known as Starfleet. Over the course of the original Star Trek TV series (and subsequent series), we heard references to the Prime Directive, which was an order to “not interfere in the natural cultural and scientific development of a civilization, particularly those that are pre-warp.” That created a fine line to walk for a spaceship crew whose mission was to to explore strange new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations. The Enterprise crew violated the Prime Directive almost weekly, but still used the order to moderate their decisions at times.   

When Star Trek premiered on television 50 years ago today, many of the young people watching grew up to be lifelong Trek fans. Some became lawyers. Ars Technica consulted some of those lawyers who are well-versed in Star Trek lore to explain and give their opinions on the Prime Directive and how it would work for the earth in 2016. In a nutshell, it wouldn’t. Read the reasons why at Ars Technica.

-via John Farrier


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The Best Stranger Things Cosplay Yet

Sure anyone could dress as Winona Ryder's character in Stranger Things, but if you really want to sell your Joyce Byers cosplay, you need a few accessories and ideally -a haunted, light-covered wall. Now that's doing the character justice. Amanda Meldrum and Roy Holt have the right idea with this cosplay!

Via Fashionably Geek


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A Visual Ranking of Every Villain from Star Trek: The Original Series

The first episode of Star Trek was broadcast on September 8, 1966, making the futuristic universe of the Enterprise 50 years old today. There were 79 episodes of the original series, all featuring some character, entity, group, or concept that provided conflict. Not all of them were what we’d normally call villains, but they are all pictured and ranked at Uproxx. That means 77 "villains,"  because a couple appeared in more than one episode. Which is your favorite: Elaan of Troyius, Nomad, Harvey Mudd, Khan, Balok, the Doomsday Machine, or some other villain? Yeah, it’s the Tribbles. Gotta be the Tribbles.    


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Comic Artists Discuss The Weirdest Drawing Requests They've Received

Illustrators get used to receiving requests for drawings, especially as they develop their skills around friends and family members who feel requests are the best way to encourage a budding artist.

But those encouraging folks don't ask the artist to draw sick and twisted scenes featuring pop culture characters in sexual and/or gratuitously violent situations, at least not in public.

However, any artist who has worked the fan con circuit, sold their artwork online or taken commissions knows there are sick people out there looking for an artist to draw the stuff of nightmares.

Tom Fowler, artist/writer for Rick and Morty, was asked to draw a gross scene featuring Sauron, the Pterodactyl man from the Savage Lands, hypnotizing a teenage Storm into becoming his sex slave, akin to this panel:

Tom drew up a much tamer version for that weirdo, stating "I'd robbed this creep of his boner, and that's the real satisfaction that a cartoonist should feel".

Believe it or not the requests aren't always sexual- Tristan Jones, artist from ALIENS: Defiance, one got this request:

There was this guy that asked me to draw him, which is usually an immediate no from me on the spot at conventions, but as Jack Skellington (whatever that meant, I assumed it meant drawing Jack slightly heavier set and with this dude's hair) as a Ghostbuster, busting the ghost of his mother (who he had a photo of) from Jack's reindeer sleigh.

But then he talks about a different request which was racy to say the least...why, perverts, WHY?

Read We Asked Comic Artists About Their Weirdest Drawing Requests here (NSFW)


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Disney Couples Who Probably Didn't Live Happily Ever After

Being part of a Disney couple looks like a whole new world of awesome, but we only get to see a small and triumphantly joyous part of their lives in the movies.

But things get real after the movie magic wears off and the main characters settle into their lives together, discovering they were caught up in the moment and may have made a horrible mistake.

Very few Disney couples seem like they're cut out for a long-term relationship if you really think about it, because they rarely have anything in common, culturally or otherwise.

But maybe they make it all work out because happily ever after? *shrug*

Paul Westover illustrated these childhood ruining moments that take place approximately six months to a year after the movie, moments that may be the perfect setup for a dramatic sequel.

See 5 Disney Couples that Probably Did Not Live Happily Ever After here (NSFW due to language)


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New Hire Thoroughly Documents His First Week At Target

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Starting a new job at a big retail store like Target can be confusing, nerve wracking and scary in many ways, but there's also enough stuff going on that you'll never be bored for long.

And if working at Target is the worst job you've ever had then you're doing pretty good, because as new hire Tom aka Kimpossibooty showed us on his Tumblr page Target is like a retail wonderland.

20-year-old Tom Grennell found himself awestruck by his time spent toiling within the Target, and all the magical and horrifying moments that make working retail such a strange experience, so he chose to share his story for the good of us all.

Tom has yet to be fired from Target, and his Tales From The Checkout Line are so popular he has decided to keep journaling so we can continue to follow his heroic quest to survive his retail job.

See One Employee Documented His First Week Working At Target And It's Amazing here


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The Beard Cycle Continues

Shaving can be so tedious, and often causes razor bumps and burn, so I shave as little as possible because it's just so much easier to constantly sport a beard.

But then I wake up one day and hate how that overgrown beard looks on my face so off it goes, leaving my cheeks smooth as a baby's bottom...which sucks for different reasons.

As this For Lack Of A Better Comic strip shows guys who are frenemies with their beards can't stop the cycle of facial hair love and hate!

-Via Geeks Are Sexy


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Reply All

Hitting “reply all” on a multi-person email can start a chain reaction that never ends. In fact, it can be like rolling a snowball down a mountain, where it gathers more and more snow until it’s bigger than a house. Sometimes it ends in a picnic and a viral story, like the Berkeley Spampocalypse last year. But usually, it just annoys everyone. The New York Times has some advice on such an event. -Thanks, John Farrier!

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Fun Things You Don't Know About Stranger Things

We love Stranger Things and all of its great 80s referrences and if you love it as much as the rest of us, you won't want to miss this great list of trivia about the show featured on Thrillist. For example, did you know the show was originally intended to be set in Montauk, New York and it was even going to be named Montauk? In fact, even after they moved it to Indiana, the creators still wanted to keep the name.

The article can also tell you how the crew helped keep the youngsters on set from being too scared of the horrible monster and the Upside Down.


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This is CNN

Remy noticed a trend in broadcast journalism, particularly CNN, that everyone else has also noticed and wrote a clever song about it. If that’s not the formula for a viral video, I don’t know what is.

(YouTube link)

When Ted Turner first launched CNN, the whole idea was to have news available to people 24 hours a day. But that in itself caused a problem, because TV channels are expected to be self-supporting. When networks only had news at 6 and 10, the ratings and advertising for their entertainment programs supported the journalism. Now even journalism must live and die by ratings.  -via reddit


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Actors Who Almost Played the Joker

The Joker is an iconic comic book character and it's not surprising that some actors with a geeky side long to play the villian. Most notably, Robin Williams almost got to play The Joker in the 1989 film, but Jack Nicoloson was originally offered the part and when they approached Williams with the role, Nicoloson changed his mind. Williams was also almost cast as The Riddler in the 1995 film, but Jim Carrey was picked over him. While it's sad that comic-book fan Robin Williams never got to act in one of the Batman films, it's probably best for his legacy that he wasn't cast in that trainwreck.

Learn about 9 other actors who almost played The Joker here.


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Life as a Berserker

The berserkers were a subset of Viking warriors who went into battle wearing wolf or bear skins instead of armor and fought with uncontrollable fury, which is where we get the phrase "going berserk." While in their battle state, they were a danger to even their own compatriots. The berserker fighting style has been attributed to a self-induced trance, drugs, or possibly mental illness. Life couldn’t have been easy for a berserker, especially when they had time to confront moral dilemmas. This comic is from Zach Weinersmith at Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.


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