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NASA Picks Two Firms To Build ‘Space Taxis’

September 22nd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

NASA has chosen SpaceX and the Boeing Corporation to build spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, the space agency announced in a press conference held today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The agency will award a combined $6.8 billion to the firms for the first phase of the program.

“This is the fulfillment of the commitment President Obama made to end our reliance on the Russians,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during the conference.

In a blog post published in conjunction with the announcement, he added, “NASA has set the stage for what promises to be the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of human space flight.”

The so-called space taxis are expected to provide an alternative to the Russia’s Soyuz capsules, which since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011 have been the only ride for astronauts bound to and from the ISS.

Chicago-based Boeing, a long-term partner of NASA, has designed a seven-passenger spacecraft called the CST-100.

SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., has been ferrying cargo but no crew members to the ISS since 2012. The firm is expected to produce a seven-passenger version of its Dragon capsule.

SpaceX is led by CEO Elon Musk, who also owns electric car company Tesla Motors.

The agency hopes to send the first crews up in 2017, the Associated Press reported.

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11 Major League Baseball Feats That Have Only Happened Once

May 19th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fun
Johnny Vander Meer. Better at baseball than at being handsome in photographs.

Johnny Vander Meer. Better at baseball than at being handsome in photographs.

1. Back-to-back no hitters. Accomplished by Johnny Vander Meer, Cincinnati Reds, June 11-15, 1938. There have been 223 no hitters in MLB history (averaging out to about two per season), so it’s insane that Vander Meer was able to throw no-hitters in back-to-back starts.

Especially considering that he went on to have a lifetime W-L record of 119-121. Which was still good enough to get him into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame. (No, Pete Rose can’t get into that one either. But Jose Rijo did.)

2. Grand slam on first Major League pitch. Accomplished by Kevin Kouzmanoff, Cleveland Indians, September 2, 2006. On the first pitch he ever saw, Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam of the Texas Rangers’ Edinson Volquez, en route to the Indians winning the game 6-5.

As my Cleveland Indians often do, they quickly traded Kouzmanoff to the San Diego Padres for a sack of magic beans. (Given name of said sack of magic beans: Josh Barfield.)

3. Caught stealing four times in one game. Accomplished by Robby Thompson, San Francisco Giants, June 27, 1986. It was a 12-inning game and the Giants kept sending their “fast” rookie, Thompson. And he kept getting caught. Four times.

What makes that even crazier is that, in the 149 games he played that season, he only successfully stole 12 bases (and was caught 15 times). So by late June, the Giants should’ve figured out that maybe he wasn’t the track star they thought he was.

Germany Schaefer. Stole first base.

Germany Schaefer. Stole first base.

4. Steal the same base twice in one inning?. (And three bases total… including FIRST?) Accomplished by Germany Schaefer, Detroit Tigers, September 4, 1908. This one’s going to take some ‘splainin. Until 1920, Major League Baseball had a rule that made it legal to steal bases in reverse order. If you were on second and wanted to go back to first, you could steal it. Which can, in some convoluted ways, make strategic sense.

During the September 4th, 1908, game between the Tigers and Cleveland Indians, Schaefer was on first and a teammate was on third. The Tigers wanted to do a double steal — Schaefer would break for second, and, when the Indians tried to throw him out, his teammate would steal home. But when Schaefer broke for second, the Indians’ catcher didn’t make the throw, so Schaefer stole the base without the run scoring.

That wasn’t the plan so, on the next pitch, he broke back for first… and successfully stole it without a throw. Then, on the next pitch, he broke for second AGAIN, to try to make the double steal work… but again, the Indians didn’t throw.

That makes him the only player in MLB history to steal the same base twice in one inning. (And one of only two players to ever steal first base from second.)

5. Two triple plays in one game. Accomplished by the Minnesota Twins, July 17th, 1990. This could also be expanded to the only team ever to turn two triple plays in one game… AND LOSE.

The Red Sox hit into two triple plays (one in the fourth, one in the eighth) but still beat the Twins, 1-0.

6. Back-to-back homers by the same two teammates in one inning. Accomplished by Mike Cameron and Bret Boone, Seattle Mariners, May 2, 2002. In the first inning of the Mariners versus White Sox, Cameron and Boone hit back-to-back home runs. Seattle batted around… and, in the same inning, Cameron and Boone went back-to-back again.

Cameron went on to hit four homers in the game (that’s one of those lame “feats” that tons of people have done) and the Mariners won 15-4.

Really stumped the Indians that day.

Really stumped the Indians that day.

7. Pitcher with fewest hands (1) throwing a no-hitter. Accomplished by Jim Abbott, September 4, 1993. Jim Abbott didn’t have a right hand. He no-hit the Cleveland Indians in 1993.

As an Indians fan, I remember watching that game… and kinda hoping Abbott would get it. After all, who isn’t a sucker for stories like this?

I also remember, late in the game, Kenny Lofton trying to bunt his way on and the fans booing. I think it took me until about 2008 to realize that even though Albert Belle was one of the biggest dicks in sports history, Kenny Lofton was kinda a dick too.

8. Triple play without the bat touching a ball. Accomplished by the Seattle Mariners, September 2, 2008. This one’s very convoluted, which makes it wonderful. In a Mariners-Rays game, Raul Ibanez of the Mariners got called out on strikes. Meanwhile Adrian Beltre was trying to steal second, and was thrown out. While he was getting thrown out, Jose Lopez tried to score from third and got thrown out at home plate.

Crazily enough, there’s also, theoretically, a way for a team to hit into a triple play without the fielder touching a ball. If there are runners on first and second with no outs, the batter needs to hit a catchable infield pop fly. He’d be out number one for the infield fly rule. The runner on first would have to pass the runner on second, making him out number two. And finally, the runner on second would have to get hit by the ball as it lands for the third out. That’s never happened in baseball history, though.

Toby Harrah -- records for fielding, inside-the-park home runs AND being the most stereotypical '70s-looking baseball player ever.

Toby Harrah — records for fielding, inside-the-park home runs AND being the most stereotypical ’70s-looking baseball player ever.

9. One player sets two crazy one-time-only feats. Accomplished by Toby Harrah, Texas Rangers, 1976-77. These were both great one-time-only feats… then I saw they were both accomplished by the same player… and made the executive decision that his accomplishing of two one-time-only feats was, in and of itself, an 11 Points-worthy one-time-only feat.

On June 25, 1976, Harrah became the only shortstop ever to play every inning of a doubleheader and not get a single ball hit to him. Then, one year later, on August 27, 1977, Harrah and his Rangers teammate Bump Wills became the only players ever to hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs.

10. 2 grand slams in an inning. Accomplished by Fernando Tatis, St. Louis Cardinals, April 23, 1999. In the Cardinals-Dodgers game, Tatis hit two grand slams in the third inning — both off of the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park. No player has ever hit two in one inning before or since; and no player has ever matched Tatis’s eight RBIs in one inning either.

Tatis was batting behind Mark McGwire that game (and that was during the McGwire SMASH! era). Those were Tatis’s only two hits for the game, which the Cardinals won 12-5.

11. Player goes from a hat size of 7.5 to 16 over the course of a career. Accomplished by Barry Bonds, 1986 – 2007. Barry started his career as a talented, thin, second-generation stud prospect. He ended it with a bigger head than the kid in “So I Married an Axe Murderer”. And that kid’s head looked like an orange on a toothpick.

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How Famous Companies Got Their Names

January 18th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

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Pittsburgh Haunted Houses 2012

October 24th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

Pittsburgh and the surrounding counties of southwestern and western Pennsylvania know how to celebrate Halloween in style. Literally hundreds of Pittsburgh haunted houses, haunted trails, and haunted tours are available to area residents, from the popular family-friendly Halloween Happenings at Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, to the spooky haunts and thrilling rides of Kenywood Park’s Phantom Fright Nights, rated No. 3 Halloween event by Amusement Today and the Scarehouse, rated “5th Best Haunted House in America” by Hauntworld Magazine. The list includes Pittsburgh haunted houses as well as haunted houses in neighboring southwestern and western Pennsylvania counties. Pittsburgh haunted houses are listed in alphabetical order, not by how spooky they are.

Allen’s Haunted Hayrides
Fayette County
Now in its 33rd year, Allen’s Haunted Hayride bills itself as the oldest haunted hayride in America. Ghosts and ghouls await you in the dark woods and fields, and haunted barn. Campfire sites, carnival rides and concessions invite you to make an evening of it.
October 5–7, 12–14, 14-16, 19–21, 26–28 and 30–31, 2012

Castle Blood
Westmoreland County
The MacCabre Family is back for their 20th year in an all-new indoor location in Monessen in Pittsburgh’s Mon Valley. This popular haunt includes thrills, chills, awesome special effects, and a very interactive experience. Daytime “no scare” tours also available on Sunday October 21 & 28, 2012.
September 29–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 19–21 and 26–28, plus October 31, 2012

Cheeseman’s Fright Farm
Butler County
Face your greatest fears at this haunted hayride, haunted trail and haunted house at Cheeseman’s Farm in Portersville, Butler County (20 minutes north of Cranberry). Not recommended for small children or wimpy adults.
September 21–22 and 28–29; October 5–7, 12–14, 18–21, 20-23 and 25–28, 2012

Creatures of the Night
Allegheny County & Butler County
A unique Halloween treat for the entire family! Delight in this non-scary experience along the trails of Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve (Fox Chapel) or Succop Conservancy (Butler), where you will encounter some of nature’s nocturnal creatures. Snacks and drinks will be provided and Halloween costumes are welcome.
October 26–27, 2012 (BFNR) and November 3 (SC)

Demon House
Washington County
The gorgeous old 17-room McCue Mansion in Monongahela, PA, is completely revamped and transformed as a Halloween haunt. This is not your typical haunted house full of gimmicks, however. Owner Billy McCue says there won’t be a “guy with a chainsaw running after you.” Instead he calls Demon House a “haunted experience.”
September 21–23 and 28–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 19–21, 25–28 and 31, 2012

Freddy’s Haunts
Beaver County
Half-mile, all-enclosed spooky walking trail is located deep in the woods of Independence Township, Aliquippa, Beaver County. Over 40 actors bring your fears to life.
September 21–23 and 28–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 19–21 and 26–28, 2012

Gateway Clipper Halloween Cruises
Allegheny County
Gateway Clipper celebrates Halloween with Haunted Halloween Dinner cruises, fun Halloween Monster Party Cruises for the kids, plus a Halloween Whodunit? cruise.
October 12, 19, 24 and 27, 2012

Ghost Tours of Nemacolin Castle
Washington County
Tour historic Nemacolin Castle by candlelight while hearing stories of ghostly experiences that are said to have happened in the castle.
September 29–30; October 5–6, 13–14, 20–21 and 28–29, 2012

Hallowboo at Idlewild
Westmoreland County
It’s the Idlewild you know and love, with a fun, family-friendly Halloween twist. Idlewild is open for weekends in October with trick or treating, costumed characters, specially themed rides and attractions, fun Halloween games, and a walk-thru maze.
October 6–7, 13–14, 20–21 and 27–28, 2012

Halloween Happenings at Phipps
Allegheny County
Visit Phipps Conservatory in Oakland for a different Halloween experience this year. Come in costume on October 26th for a festive evening of Halloween activities, surprises and trick-or-treat, plus a visit to the Fall Flower Show.
October 26, 2012

Haunted Hills Hayride
Allegheny County
The North Versailles Haunted Hills Hayride celebrates its 13th season in 2012, with two attractions – the Haunted Hayride and the Haunted Walking Trail – Valley of Darkness. Proceeds benefit the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and the Spectrum Charter School.
September 28–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 19–21 and 26–28, 2012

Haunted History Hayride & Candlelight Walk
Westmoreland County
Take a hayride or candlelit walk through the perils of the American frontier at Bushy Run Battlefield in Jeannette, PA (Westmoreland County). Reservations required and these book up early!
October 20, 2012

Haunted Mine at Tour-Ed Mine
Allegheny County
It has been rumored the Tour-Ed Mine is not the place you want to be on a cold, dark fall night! A spooky haunted attraction for kids of all ages. Bravery encouraged!
Haunted Mine is closed for the 2012 Halloween season.

Haunted Mini-Golf
Beaver County
This Hopewell Township attraction is great for both kids and adults, although the youngest children will probably enjoy the daylight sessions better (before 6:30 p.m.). Halloween-themed holes seven days a week, plus glow-in-the-dark balls after dark! Live spooky actors every night.
September 22 – November 3, 2012

Owl-o-Ween at the National Aviary
Allegheny County
Built on the site of the former Western Penitentiary, folklore suggests that the ghosts of Civil War prisoners still roam the halls of the National Aviary. Are you daring enough to explore one of Pittsburgh´s notable haunts by the light of the moon? This ghostly but-not-too-scary evening is appropriate for kids of all ages.
October 20 & 27, 2012

Hobgoblin Hikes
Westmoreland County
Take the kids on a guided walk through haunted woods in two Westmoreland County parks – Mammoth Park and Northmoreland Park. Expect to experience mazes, cemeteries, and more than 100 ghouls, goblins and monsters. Recommended for ages 8 and older.
October 19 (Twin Lakes Park) and 26 (Cedar Creek Park), 2012

Hotel Beacon Haunted House & Maze
Butler County
Head out to Renfrew in Butler County for this popular haunted corn maze, cut for 2012 in the shape of an old moonshine still (aka Corn Mash STILL). Fridays and Saturdays in October, and the last two Thursdays and final Sunday, plus Sunday “scare free” matinees with a scavenger hunt, pony rides and a petting zoo. “The Darker the Night, the Scarier the Fright” is their motto.
October 5–6, 12–13, 18–20, and 25–28, 2012

Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House
Allegheny County
This large haunted house attraction in South Park, located at the former home of Phantoms in the Park, benefits the Homeless Children’s Education Fund and Animal Friends. This is one of Pittsburgh’s most popular haunted attractions.
September 14-16, 21-23, and 28-30; October 3–7, 10–14, and 17–30, 2012

Lonesome Valley Farms Haunted Hayride & Walk-Thru
Westmoreland County
Located beside the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds, Lonesome Valley Farms offers a “nerve-shattering and bone-chilling” haunted hayride that you won’t soon forget, followed by a spooky haunted maze. There’s also a second haunted attraction known as the Slotter Farmhouse & Barn.
September 28–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 19–21 and 26–28, 2012

Northern Nightmares
Butler County
Family-friendly Halloween events in Zelienople include The Nightmare Bus Tour of spooky places between Zelienople and Harmony, with tales of ghost sightings and hauntings, as well as free monster movies at Chiller Theater.
October 19–20 and 26-27, 2012

Phantom Fright Nights
Allegheny County
Open Friday and Saturday evenings in October, Kennywood Amusement Park welcomes you to an experience like you’ve never had before. Enjoy three haunted mazes, plus Kennyville Cemetery and Gory Park. You can even enjoy some of your favorite Kennywood rides, with a haunted twist of course. Remember, you’ve been warned!
September 28–29; October 5–6, 12–13, 19–20 and 26–27, 2012

Pittsburgh KDKA Zoo Boo
Allegheny County
Dress up your favorite ghouls and goblins while local Pittsburgh organizations provide Halloween treats for kids. Take part in the Halloween parade and costume contest, hop aboard the Halloween Train Ride, and stop by the Gymkhana Haunted Hideaway or the Docent Council’s Haunted House. While costumes are not required, they are certainly recommended! There is even a costume contest at Water’s Edge.
October 20–21 and 27–28, 2012

ScareHouse
Allegheny County
The ScareHouse, which dwells within the former Etna Elks Lodge, near the intersection of Route 8 and 28 north of Pittsburgh, offers three terrifying haunts for one price – Pittsburgh Zombies, The Forsaken, and new for 2012: Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D. Rated among America’s best haunted attractions.
September 21–22 and 28–30; October 5–7, 11–14, 18–21 and 24-31; and November 1–3, 2012

Terror Town
Allegheny County
Back for its second year in 2012, Terror Town in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District boasts 30,000 square feet of indoor haunted screams and scares. Children under 12 not admitted and adult required to accompany children 12-15. Don’t miss the special “Black Out in Terror Town” on Wednesday, October 26.
September 22 and 29–30; October 5–7, 12–14, 18–21, 24–28, and 30, 2012

West Deer Nightmare
Allegheny County
One of Pittsburgh’s top rated Haunted Houses is back for Revenge! The West Deer Nightmare is a high scare volume, insanely intense haunted attraction set in the possessed house of Noah Hobbs.
October 12–14, 18–21, and 25–30, 2012

Many haunted houses and haunted attractions just outside the greater Pittsburgh area are well worth the time to visit. These include popular haunted houses in Bedford, Somerset and Fayette counties in Pennsylvania, as well as a few in nearby Ohio and West Virginia – all located within a 1.5 to 3 hour radius of Pittsburgh.

Bedlam @ The Asylum
Weston, West Virginia
Formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, the historic Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum invites you into forbidden areas for its Bedlam haunted attraction. This West Virginia facility served as a sanctuary for the mentally ill in the mid-1800’s and ghosts (real ones!) are reported to abound. Located about 2 hours from Pittsburgh.
September 30 and October 1-2, 5-9, 12-16, 19-23 and 26-30, 2011.

Dungeon of Horrors @ the Former WV State Penitentiary
Moundsville, West Virginia
The Former West Virginia Penitentiary is known to have one of the highest levels of paranormal activity in the United States and most people who have survived the dungeon of horrors believe that the prisoners still haunt the darkened hallways of the prison today. Experience it for yourself in the Dungeon of Horrors Haunted House.
September 30 and October 1, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23 and 27-31, 2011.

HalloWeekends at Cedar Point
Sandusky, Ohio
Each fall, this popular amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, transforms itself on into a haunted wonderland, with attractions running from the tame to the truly terrifying. Open Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings from mid-September through the month of October.
September 16-18, 23-25 and 30; October 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30, 2011

Haunted Hayloft
Somerset County
Experience the haunting story of the Nicely brothers, convicted murders and escaped convicts who, as legend has it, hid in this very hayloft. A haunted corn maze and hayride through the haunted forest are also part of the thrills and chills.
October 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29, 2011

Haunted Hills Estate
Fayette County
Scare yourself silly on this interactive, one hour journey through the Haunted Hills Estate Trail in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. You must be in good enough shape to walk or be dragged 1 mile. Recommended for children ages 7 and up. Two indoor haunted challenges are also available for double or triple the fun! Special Trick or Treat (Oct. 31) and Lights Out Adventures (Nov. 5) for 2011.
September 23-24 and September 30; October 1, 7-9, 14-16, 20-23 and 27-31; November 5, 2011

Haunted Village at Old Bedford Village
Bedford County
Ghosts and scary creatures come alive to welcome you to this popular event, complete with a haunted corn maze adventure and other spooky goings on at Old Bedford Village. Bring a flashlight!
October 29, 2011

Huston’s Haunted Hollow
Somerset County
In a mist shrouded hollow on a farm in Western Pennsylvania, the spirit of a Revolutionary War renegade haunts all those who dare to disturb it. Will you be next? Experience a pulse-pounding journey through the dark hallways of a haunted farmhouse. Take a hayride through a sinister swamp. Try to escape the unspeakable evil that awaits you in the cornfield.
September 30 and October 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29, 2011

Rich’s Fright Farm
Fayette County
Located in Fayette County, south of Pittsburgh, this celebrated southwestern Pennsylvania scarefest offers a spooky hayride, a maze of terror and a haunted mansion, plus concessions, classic horror films and live music.
September 30 and October 1-2, 5-9, 12-16, 19-23 and 26-31, 2011

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How to Roast Chestnuts Over an Open Fire

December 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

Wait. Before you begin reading this post, click play on the video below.

Ah, that’s better. Now we’re ready to proceed.

You’ve probably heard the “Christmas Song” hundreds of times in your life, and you’re well familiar with that opening line about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

But how many of us have actually partaken in this holiday tradition? If you’ve never had a warm roasted chestnut, you’re missing out. Chestnuts grow from mid-fall to early-spring, and they peak during the holidays—which is why they’re associated with this time of year. They have a texture kind of like a baked potato, and they’re the only nut that contains vitamin C, so eating some is a good way to ward off winter scurvy if you’ll be spending Christmas sailing as a pirate. The sweet, nutty flavor of chestnuts will warm your manly holiday spirit to the core, and most importantly, roasting them gives you an excuse to do something with fire.

What You Need

The Roaster

Yes, you can roast chestnuts in the oven. But what would be the fun in that? A man never misses a chance to build a fire and cook over it.

To roast your chestnuts, you’ll need a pan that you can put into the fire. Long-handled popcorn or chestnut roasters make the ideal vessels for open fire chestnut roasting, as they allow you to roast the nuts without burning your face off. And their lids let you shake the chestnuts around for even roasting, instead of having to turn them over yourself or losing a few when flipping them in a lid-less pan.

If you don’t have a long-handled roaster, you can get by with a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or some other pan. Just be careful not to burn yourself. If you have an old beat-up skillet, you can turn it into a bona fide chestnut roaster by drilling 30 or so holes in the bottom.

If you don’t have a chestnut roaster or a skillet, you can also use a fireplace shovel. And I suppose you could even try sticking them individually on skewers like the boys in the opening image, if you’re the patient type.

The Chestnuts

You can buy chestnuts at some grocery stores, but you may want to call ahead to make sure they have them. While dozens of chestnut varieties exist, most people roast Castagne and Marroni chestnuts at the holidays. Castagne are more common, while the Marroni are a more expensive specialty. The nut of the Marroni is sweeter and plumper, and it peels away from the skin more easily.

When choosing your chestnuts, look for those that are plump, smooth, shiny, and blemish-free. Moldy chestnuts are a common problem, so squeeze and shake the chestnut to see if the nut has shriveled up and pulled away from the shell.

Keep in mind that the larger the chestnut, the longer it will take to roast. Pick chestnuts that are fairly uniform in size and will thus be done at the same time.

Preparation

Rinse the chestnuts under cold water. Lay them on a towel and pat dry.

Before roasting chestnuts, you must score them to allow steam to escape and prevent them from exploding like chestnut bombs while cooking. Simply take a sharp knife and cut an “X” into the flat side of each chestnut.

Once your chestnuts are clean, dry, and scored, build a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace. Let it burn down so that you have a nice bed of hot embers.

Roasting

Place the chestnuts in a single layer in the pan. No need to add oil or grease; as they cook, the chestnuts will release their own oil.

Cover the pan with a lid and hold it over, but not directly in, the fire. After five minutes or so, shake or stir the chestnuts around, making sure to roast all sides adequately. Repeat this process every few minutes.

I didn’t have time to wait for a proper ember bed, so I did stick the chesnuts directly in the fire somewhat, even though it isn’t reccomended. The outsides got charred, but the insides were mostly okay.

Most chestnuts will fully roast after 25 minutes. A chestnut is fully roasted when the shell starts to open where you made the score mark and you start hearing popping noises. You can also check for doneness by piercing a chestnut with a knife; it should be tender.

Remove the chestnuts and place them in a towel-lined bowl to cool for about 10 minutes. While they’re still warm, remove the shells. The fuzzy inside skin will peel off along with the outer shell.

You can eat the chestnuts plain or dip them in butter and cinnamon for extra holiday flavor and goodness.

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Christmas Jingles

December 14th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

Just click the play button on any mix image to listen. Then, turn up the volume, grab an egg-nog, relax. Perfect mixes for baking and decorating Christmas cutout cookies, trimming the tree, enjoying time with friends and family, opening presents on the big morning.

Mix 1: Relaxing

Mix 2: Tree Time

Mix 3: Something Under the Tree

Mix 4: Party Time

Mix 5: Christmas Groovy

Mix 6: Jazzy Jingles

Mix 7: Indie-Folk Festivities

Creepy Crossword Puzzle

October 24th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

Instruction: HOW TO PLAY. Double-click the first square of a word to toggle between down and across. To enter letters, simply type them on your keyboard.

At first it looks like this game only has one crossword. But after you finish the first one, click the “START OVER” button and a new crossword will appear. The game contains several Halloween crossword puzzles, so keep playing!

Top 10 Public Domain Horror Movies – Watch Now On Your Computer

October 24th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Fun

As it is Halloween, we would be remiss not to include a list of horror movies that you can watch online. For the sake of others on the site – be sure to let us know of any public domain movies you know of that people might also enjoy. Happy Halloween from the List Universe!

10. Dementia 13 ~ 1963, Francis Ford Coppolla

John Haloran has a fatal heart attack, but his wife Louise won’t get any of the inheritance when Lady Haloran dies if John is dead. Louise forges a letter from John to convince the rest of his family he’s been called to New York on important business, and goes to his Irish ancestral home, Castle Haloran, to meet the family and look for a way to ensure a cut of the loot. Seven years earlier John’s sister Kathleen was drowned in the pond, and the Halorans enact a morbid ritual in remembrance. Secrets shroud the sister’s demise, and soon the family and guests begin experiencing an attrition problem.

9. Phantom of the Opera ~ 1925, Rupert Julian

At the Opera of Paris, a mysterious phantom threatens a famous lyric singer, Carlotta and thus forces her to give up her role (Marguerite in Faust) for unknown Christine Daae. Christine meets this phantom (a masked man) in the catacombs, where he lives. What’s his goal? What’s his secret?

8. The Last Man on Earth 1964, Ubaldo Ragona

Dr. Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) is the only survivor of a devastating world-wide plague due to a mysterious immunity he acquired to the bacterium while working in Central America years ago. He is all alone now…or so it seems. As night falls, plague victims begin to leave their graves, part of a hellish undead army that’s thirsting for blood…his!

7. The House on Haunted Hill ~ 1959, William Castle

Millionaire playboy Fredrick Loren hosts a party for his 4th wife Annabelle Loren at the “House On Haunted Hill,” a house that has seen seven murders, Fredrick invites 5 guests: Lance Schroeder,a pilot, Ruth Bridges, a journalist, Watson Prichard, the owner of The House On Haunted Hill, Nora Manning, a worker for one of Fredrick Loren’s companies, and David Trent, a psychiatrist. Fredrick will offer each of them $10,000 to spend a night in The House On Haunted Hill. They all want the money. At midnight, the caretakers lock to doors, and the terror begins!

6. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde ~ 1920, John Robertson

Based on the story by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Henry Jekyll believes that there are two distinct sides to men – a good and an evil side. He believes that by separating the two men can become liberated. He succeeds in his experiments with chemicals to accomplish this and transforms into Hyde to commit horrendous crimes.

5. Night of the Living Dead ~ 1968, George Romero

The dead come back to life and eat the living in this low budget, black and white film. Several people barricade themselves inside a rural house in an attempt to survive the night. Outside are hordes of relentless, shambling zombies who can only be killed by a blow to the head.

4. Dracula ~ 1931, Tod Browning

After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian Mountains in Eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferal of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina’s health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

3. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari ~ 1919, Robert Wiene

A horror film that surpasses all others. Alan relates the story of traveling magician Dr Caligari and Cesare. Their arrival in a town coincides with savage killings. Secretly Caligari was an asylum director who hypnotizes Cesare to re enact murders. But the final reel contains something, which will leave an audience shattered. It blows away all your moral certainties and beliefs. This is the true power of its horror. To leave you vulnerable and uncertain of what you feel was secure and certain.

2. Nosferatu ~ 1922, F Murnau

An unauthorized production of Bram Stoker’s work (The legal heirs didn’t give their permission), so the names had to be changed. But this wasn’t enough: The widow of Bram Stoker won two lawsuits (1924 and 1929) in which she demanded the destruction of all copies of the movie, however happily copies of it were already too widespread to destroy them all. Later, the Universal studios could break her resistance against this movie. Count Orlok’s move to Wisburg (Obviously the real “Wismar”) brings the plague traceable to his dealings with the Realtor Thomas Hutter, and the Count’s obsession with Hutter’s wife, Ellen the only one with the power to end the evil.

1. M ~ 1931, Fritz Lang

A psychotic child murderer stalks a city, and despite an exhaustive investigation fueled by public hysteria and outcry, the police have been unable to find him. But the police crackdown does have one side-affect, it makes it nearly impossible for the organized criminal underground to operate. So they decide that the only way to get the police off their backs is to catch the murderer themselves. Besides, he is giving them a bad name.

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