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28 Nov 13:16

Innovation of the week: An automatic American Sign Language translator

by (The Week Staff)

Digital technologies already have revolutionized how the deaf communicate, but face-to-face conversations with hearing people who don't know American Sign Language can still be challenging, said Adele Peters at Fast Company​. Uni, an "automatic translator" gadget that attaches to a basic Windows tablet, helps deaf users converse without having "to hire an expensive interpreter or resort to writing or typing notes."

(Colin Pattison Photography & Cinematography)

The device uses two cameras to watch someone sign, then translates those gestures into English, "speaking in a Siri-like voice." When the hearing person responds, Uni's speech recognition software automatically types the words on the tablet for the deaf user to read. Uni's creators, who are deaf themselves, hope the device will open up new career opportunities for the deaf and hearing impaired.

25 Nov 16:00

Painting With Thread: New Work by Cayce Zavaglia

by David Behringer

Painting With Thread: New Work by Cayce Zavaglia

Cayce Zavaglia’s embroidered portraits are unbelievable. Four years ago, Design Milk featured her photorealistic thread portraits, and now she’s taken her process and skills to a WHOLE new level: the reverse.



Visitors who walk too quickly through her current exhibition at Lyons Weir Gallery might miss the basic fact that all these images are sewn – not painted.

Half of the show features Cayce’s painstaking embroidery work. As in her previous exhibition, a couple portraits use a thicker “crewel wool” thread (above), but newer smaller works push the level of detail higher using much thinner thread (below): a one ply cotton, silk and wool thread.

Uncle Stevie

Uncle Stevie

Uncle Stevie (detail)

Uncle Stevie (detail)

Visitors with less than 20/20 eyesight should bring a magnifying glass (seriously) to catch the complex network of colored thread combinations and directions that create these moving portraits of her friends and family.



Verso detail: Martina

Verso detail: Martina

A few years ago Cayce “discovered” the back of her work – a chaotic network of thread that forms as she works on the front. This show features the BACK side (or “verso”) to a greater degree, recognizing the beauty of these happy accidents and the metaphor of our private messy inner selves.

Here’s a hot tip: one of the thread portraits is in the middle of the room to allow visitors to view either side, but the gallery staff will gladly pull any work off the wall to show you the back! If they’re busy, just pull up the images on your iPad while you’re there to compare.

Verso detail: Uncle Stevie

Verso detail: Uncle Stevie

Ray (A Portrait of My Father)

Ray (A Portrait of My Father)

Verso detail: Ray (A Portrait of My Father)

Verso detail: Ray (A Portrait of My Father)

Raphaella in Her Winter Coat (After Alex)

Raphaella in Her Winter Coat (After Alex)

Verso detail: Raphaella in Her Winter Coat (After Alex)

Verso detail: Raphaella in Her Winter Coat (After Alex)

This is where it gets crazy – and doubly reversed. Cayce became so intrigued with the unseen reverse side of the thread portraits that she decided to create detailed PAINTINGS of the chaotic network of thread, shifting from using thread to mimic paint, to paint that looks like thread!

Teo Verso

Teo Verso

The show features a number of small gouache paintings (above), and two MASSIVE acrylic paintings that enlarge the thread strands to Jackson Pollock scale.

Greg Sr. Verso Painting

Greg Sr. Verso Painting

Rocco Verso Painting

Rocco Verso Painting

I love the idea of a “double portrait” within one object, but the exhibition itself captures her own split-creative-personality. Zavaglia has a superhuman obsession with precision and detail in the original portrait and yet a clear love of the beauty in uncontrolled chaos in the “verso”, to such a degree that she spends ANOTHER period of countless hours studying and painting that chaos… with a superhuman level of precision and detail.  I can’t wait to see what she does next.

What: Cayce Zavaglia: About-Face
Where: Lyons Wier Gallery, 542 W 24th St, New York
When: November 3 – December 12, 2015

All photos courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York.

25 Nov 16:45

9 kitschy wedding recipes to steal from Charles Phoenix's test kitchen

by Megan Finley
All photos courtesy of
All photos courtesy of

The holidays, they encroach. Like the engagement ring commercials in November, the over-the-top recipes of my favorite hero of kitsch, Charles Phoenix, start popping up all over the internet and morning TV shows. If you haven't heard of Charles Phoenix, maybe you have heard of his chermpumple — the turducken of desserts? It's a three-layer cake with a cherry, pumpkin, and apple pie stuffed in each layer.

Wouldn't that be amazing at your wedding? Screw pie or cake — have both!

Here are even more awesome kitschy wedding food ideas from Charles Phoenix's test kitchen

1. Tequila-soaked Peep-stuffed broken-bunny cake for your colorful Spring-time wedding

2. “I love you” meatloaf for your potluck wedding in the park

3. Cream-soaked cookie cake for your punch and cake reception

4. Tiki turkey dinner for your vintage Hawaiian luau wedding


5. Psychedelic Halloween candy cake for your '60s or candy-themed wedding

6. Flying fried chicken birthday bucket bouquet for as edible centerpieces for your BBQ wedding


7. The "inchezonya" — Enchilada and lasagna married at last, just like you!

8. Astro weenie ball as appetizers for your casual cocktails reception


9. Of course The Cherpumple for any fucking wedding any fucking time!

What are your favorite kitschy wedding recipes? We have a bunch over on Offbeat Home & Life. But can we steal them from you too?

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24 Nov 18:21

Trader Joe’s Pecan Pie Filling in a Jar, reviewed

by Nicole

pecan pie emergencies

Trader Joe's Pecan Pie Filling, reviewed
Pecan pie is a staple at many Thanksgiving tables and a solid dessert option throughout the holiday season. The most traditional pecan pies are made with a lot of corn syrup and a lot of pecans, leading to a pie that has a sticky sweet base and a nutty, crunchy topping. Pecan pies are not difficult to make, but they are difficult to make well and when I noticed that Trader Joe’s was selling Pecan Pie Filling in a Jar this holiday season, I wanted to give it a try to see how well it streamlined the pie-making process – and to see how tasty the filling was!

The filling is contained in a large mason jar and is made with no corn syrup. The ingredients are cane sugar, water, pecans, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice, vanilla extract, cream of tartar, salt and citric acid. That’s it. To make the pie, simply combine the jarred filling with four eggs and some melted butter, then pour into a prebaked pie crust and bake until set.

Trader Joe's Pecan Pie in a Jar

The pie couldn’t have been easier to put together, but it did require a bit of extra baking time in my oven (typical of Trader Joe’s items, I’ve found). If your pie isn’t set at the end of the recommended baking time, simply leave it in the oven until the filling no longer jiggles and is set. The pie had an excellent flavor, more than most pecan pies, because you could really taste the molasses-y brown sugar and bourbon in every bite. I also found that there were plenty of pecans in this pie and that, for about $7, this filling might actually be less expensive than baking a pecan pie from scratch (especially if you bake your own crust). I did find that the custard portion of the pie was slightly more wet than some pecan pies, though my technique for slicing pecan pie allowed me to slice it neatly and it didn’t bother anyone who tasted it. I think that could have been solved with an extra couple of minutes in the oven, too.

I’d definitely recommend this filling and will keep a jar in my pantry for pecan pie emergencies. You can also use the filling straight out of the jar for topping off ice cream and cakes because the flavorful syrup is quite tasty on its own.

24 Nov 21:33

Jason Street Will Play Coach Taylor in the Unauthorized Musical of Friday Night Lights

by E. Alex Jung

The team that brought you unauthorized musical productions of The O.C. and Cruel Intentions is taking on another one of your nostalgic favorites: Friday Night Lights, which also happens to be the winner of Vulture's High School TV Showdown. Better yet, the man set to play Coach Eric Taylor is someone intimately familiar with the show: Scott Porter, who played paraplegic football star Jason Street on FNL. To celebrate the occasion, Porter dropped this Dubsmash:

The musical will debut in Los Angeles sometime next year. Until then: Clear eyes, full lungs, can't lose!

Read more posts by E. Alex Jung

Filed Under: friday night lights ,musical adaptations ,scott porter

24 Nov 05:43

Drama surrounds the crowning of Zimbabwe's Mister Ugly

by (Catherine Garcia)

Depending on whom you ask, Mison Sere is either the ugliest man in Zimbabwe, or a fake who tricked the judges at an anti-beauty pageant into thinking his missing teeth and hideous facial expressions are true signs of ugliness.

Controversy trails the selection of Mison Sere as Zimbabwe's 'ugliest man' #BBCAfricaLive

— BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) November 23, 2015

"I am naturally ugly," William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012, pouted Saturday after Sere was named Mister Ugly during the competition in Harare. "He is ugly only when he opens his mouth." Following Sere's win, Masvinu and his supporters swarmed the judge's table, crying foul and shouting that Sere was "too handsome" to claim the (for some reason) coveted title. "Do we have to lose our teeth to win?" asked contestant Patrick Mupereki. "This is cheating." Although several people were pushed during the melee, no one was hurt. The spectacle was exactly the opposite of what organizer David Machowa wanted for his competition; he told The Associated Press he started the contest as a way for everyone to embrace their physical features. "Looks are God given," he said. "We should all be proud of who we are."

Sere, 42, said he won the pageant — and its $500 prize — fair and square, telling AP: "They should just accept that I am uglier than them." He plans to parlay his new title into a television contract, adding: "I already moved around schools performing and showcasing my ugliness so this is a chance to make it on TV." As for Masvinu, the judges said the reigning champ was too cocky for his own good. "Sere made tremendous effort to enhance his ugliness by pulling facial stunts," Abigail Mataranyika said. "Masvinu thought he is so ugly that he didn't need to try hard. That cost him the crown."

24 Nov 16:37

Endangered Pygmy Hippo Born at Bristol Zoo

by Andrew Bleiman


A tiny baby Pygmy Hippo has been born at the Bristol Zoo Gardens in the UK. The youngster is three weeks old and joins parents Sirana and Nato in the Zoo’s Hippo House.



4_BristolZooPygmyHippoPhoto Credits: Bristol Zoo Gardens

The calf, which is yet to be sexed, currently spends time exploring the exhibit and using the heated pool. To enable Nato and Sirana time to settle into their parenting duties, the hippos had remained off-exhibit, but the family can now be seen for brief periods of time at the Hippo House.

Lynsey Bugg, Bristol Zoo’s Assistant Curator of Mammals said, “The calf is looking very strong and it certainly feeds well. Like any youngster, it wants to be close to Mum at all times and is often seen by her side. It spends short periods of time in the water but is not quite as good at swimming as its parents, so we often see Mum, Sirana, guiding her little one back into the shallow water. Young hippos tire easily.”

The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis) is threatened in the wild. In Liberia, destruction of forests surrounding the Sapo National Park by logging companies is damaging one of the few remaining strongholds for the Pygmy Hippo. Bristol Zoo Gardens is part of an international captive breeding programme for the Pygmy Hippo.

Lynsey continued, “The European programme is a well-established and very successful programme and our male, Nato, is a genetically important animal; by default, so will be his offspring.”

In the wild, females usually breed once every two years. A single youngster is born, after a gestation period of about six months. The baby weighs between four and six kilos (8 to 13 lbs.) and is unable to walk very far at first. Its mother conceals it in thick cover, visiting it to feed it. After three months it is able to feed on vegetation.

Pygmy Hippos are, as the name suggests, much smaller than the Common Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious), with proportionally longer legs, a smaller head, less prominent eyes and ears more towards the side of the head. The Pygmy Hippo's nose and ears can be closed underwater, an adaptation to aquatic life.

The Pygmy Hippo is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There were estimated to be about 2,000 left in the world a decade ago, when the last population survey was done. Since then, political unrest, habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking in their native habitats are likely to have reduced the wild population to critically low numbers.


23 Nov 14:00

The A List Herpes Spreader Is Charlie Sheen

by Enty


Long before there was the anonymous HIV+ A list actor was the lawsuit that J Roe vs John Doe which accused an A list celebrity of spreading herpes. It turns out that the A lister was once again Charlie Sheen. Radar has viewed a sex tape of Charlie Sheen performing oral sex on a man back in 2011 (the above photo is from that trip to Vegas). That sex session was the basis of the lawsuit. According to the filings, Charlie told the man he had not STD’s. The pair then smoked crack together before engaging in unprotected sex acts. The man says he caught herpes from Sheen. The suit was settled for millions of dollars. As part of the settlement, Sheen was supposed to have received all copies of the tape. It turns out he didn’t though.

17 Nov 04:06

After suffering severe burns, firefighter receives new face and scalp in historic transplant

by (Catherine Garcia)

Patrick Hardison's life changed in 2001, when the Mississippi volunteer firefighter's face was burned off during an intense blaze. It changed again this August, when he received the world's most extensive face transplant.

The surgery at New York University Langone Medical Center took 26 hours, and once it was over, the 41-year-old had the full scalp and face with ears, nose, lips, and upper and lower eyelids, of a 26-year-old man named David Rodebaugh, who was pronounced brain dead after a BMX cycling accident, Reuters reports. Before, Hardison was unable to blink or close his eyes, which ultimately would have caused him to go blind.

It took a medical team of 150 people, led by Dr. Eduardo Rodriguez, to perform the surgery. "The amount of tissue that was transplanted from Patrick's face had not been transplanted before," Rodriguez said. "We feel as a team, as a group, that it is absolutely essential to remove all of the scars and get down to healthy tissue in order for a patient to be normal, and being normal is defined by normal function and normal appearance, so it's a big risk that we take, a risk that the patients understand."

The team practiced the surgery for a year, and knew that "everything," including the bones, muscles, ear canals, lips, and nerves, had to be "perfectly positioned," Rodriguez told Reuters. A friend of Hardison's approached the hospital, and said that Hardison's children were scared of their father's appearance; NYU agreed to take his case and pay for the estimated $1 million surgery. Rodebaugh's mother gave permission for the transplant, and after seeing the results of the surgery, declared that Hardison looked "beautiful." In a statement, Hardison thanked the family, saying: "I hope they see in me the goodness of their decision."

19 Nov 18:00

Tattly Brings Temporary Tattoos to a New Brooklyn Parlor

by Caroline Williamson

Tattly Brings Temporary Tattoos to a New Brooklyn Parlor

Tattly, the masters of temporary tattoos, have taken things to the next level and opened up a brick and mortar tattoo parlor so anyone with possible commitment issues, can swing by and get temporarily “inked”. The Tattly Temporary Tattoo Parlor is just like a legit tattoo parlor (minus the needles) where you can set up an appointment to go in and get sleeved up.


Whether you want to seriously consider getting a real tattoo at some point and want to try it out, or you just want to do something fun for an event, it’s pretty cool that you can go here and test the waters. Located in the heart of Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill at 51 Bergen Street, the pop-up concept shop has opened its doors letting you visit one of their skilled application artists.






Photos courtesy of Tattly.

17 Nov 15:43

San Diego Zoo Welcomes Pygmy Hippo

by Andrew Bleiman


The San Diego Zoo recently released a photo of a tiny Pygmy Hippo, nestled in straw a day after his birth. The calf was born November 11th and is an important addition to the population of the world’s smallest species of hippo. This is the first surviving Pygmy Hippo birth at the San Diego Zoo in more than a decade.

The tiny youngster, weighing just 12 pounds, 2 ounces (5.5 kg), was born to its mother, Francesca, in the early hours of the morning. Mom and calf are doing well, and they are taking some quiet time in a barn, out of the public eye, until keepers think the youngster is ready to try the larger pool available for swimming in the main exhibit area.

Photo Credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaptrotodon liberiensis) is a species from the forests of West Africa.  Reclusive and nocturnal, it is one of only two extant species in the Hippopotamidae family (the other being the larger cousin: Hippopotamus amphibious) Like its larger cousin, the Pygmy Hippo is semi-aquatic. It is herbivorous and feeds on ferns, broad-leaf plants, grasses, and fruits.

Gestation for the Pygmy Hippo ranges from 190 to 210 days, and usually results in the birth of a single calf. Common hippos mate and give birth only in water, but the Pygmy Hippo will mate and give birth on land or water.  Young Pygmy Hippos can swim almost immediately after birth. They are fully weaned between six and eight months of age.

The Pygmy Hippo is classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There were estimated to be about 2,000 left in the world a decade ago, when the last population survey was done. Since then, political unrest, habitat destruction and wildlife trafficking in their native habitats are likely to have reduced the wild population to critically low numbers.

17 Nov 22:39

The Original Script for The Room Was Even Weirder, If You Can Believe It

by Nate Jones

Given Tommy Wiseau's well-documented weirdness, it's a miracle The Room ended up making even the brief sliver of sense that it does. In The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero attributes this to the hard work of the movie-script supervisor, and he's been selling copies of the original Room script to prove it. Over at Splitsider, Nathan Rabin writes that he's gotten his hands on one of these scripts, and reveals, to no one's surprise, that it is completely bonkers. Some highlights:

Denny is out, as is Chris-R and the "me underwears" guy.
Wiseau's original draft is reportedly free of the bizarre side-plots that make The Room so Room-y, but this does not make the movie any less weird. In Rabin's telling, the absence of any buffers from the Johnny-Lisa-Mark love triangle only makes the film more "claustrophobic and oppressive," with no goofy antics to distract from Wiseau's stultifying misogyny. Peter fans will be glad to know that he's still here, nabbing a promotion to Mark's "best friend." (In this version, Mark is capable of having two best friends.)

The syntax is even more garbled.
Wiseau's unusual talent with the English language has given Room fans plenty to savor. And yet in the original script, things were apparently much worse. A sampling: 

  • Lisa, while fighting with Johnny: "Here is your coffee and English muffin and burn your mouth."
  • Johnny: "Old Man Donkey lets me know today. I have to think about our future."
  • Lisa, seducing Mark: "I like how you put [your] sexy hands around my body. You excite me so, and I love you."
  • Peter: "My advice to you is that you should stop thinking about her and never do sex with her."

That infamous breast-cancer line gets a follow-up.
Why does the movie introduce Claudette's breast-cancer diagnosis, and then never bring it up again? It must be a casualty of the heroic script supervisor's efforts to wipe out every other instance of breast cancer in the original version. As Rabin reports, "In this draft, breast cancer also comes up regularly, always with the caveat that these days cancer is no big deal and everyone is beating it."

Johnny finds out about the affair much earlier.
With no distracting B-plots, this version of the script runs to a slim 75 pages. And just like a Shakespearean tragedy, the crucial turn occurs around the halfway point, when Johnny overhears Lisa confessing her affair to Claudette. He spends the last half of the script secretly taping her phone calls in what Rabin calls "a Nixonian frenzy of paranoia."

There are no sex scenes, unless you count a scene where Johnny masturbates on Lisa's red dress.
The original script fades to black before Wiseau has the chance to show off Lisa and Johnny's sex life, but it somehow manages to find something even more disquieting to go in its place, in a scene where Johnny literally has sex with Lisa's famous red dress:


You tramp! You tramp!


Anything for his princess!

Read more posts by Nate Jones

Filed Under: the room ,tommy wiseau ,movies ,news ,scripts ,secret scripts

16 Nov 22:16

7 Fake US Cities With Very Real Purposes

by Curbed Staff

An intersection at MCity, the fake town that was recently built in Ann Arbor to test driverless cars and other technologies. Photo via University of Michigan Mobility Transformation Center.

Whether built for testing, special training, or as a military ruse, fake cities have a unique place in military and technological history. The infamous Potemkin Village may be one of the first and most notable examples, but numerous faux cities made as diversions or for security have popped up throughout the history of warfare, from a fake Paris constructed at the end of WWI to fool German bombers to suburban camouflage applied atop US factories during WWII to protect them from bombing raids. While technological advances have made the idea of diversionary developments a thing of the past, the idea of creating massive spaces for training and practice (whether for soldiers facing overseas deployment or tech companies wanting to give driverless cars a test run), means there's still a need for simulated cities. Here's a tour of some of the more intriguing and unorthodox sites in the United States.

From tech centers and training bases to nuclear ghost towns >>

16 Nov 19:25

Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year 2015 isn't even a word — it's an emoji

by (Jeva Lange)

The "face with tears of joy" emoji has been named the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year, The University of Pennsylvania's Language Log blog reports.

Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2015 is… ! #OxfordWOTY

— Oxford Dictionaries (@OxfordWords) November 16, 2015

Here's a bit of the reasoning, from the press release:

This year Oxford University Press partnered with leading mobile technology business SwiftKey to explore frequency and usage statistics for some of the most popular emoji across the world. "Face with Tears of Joy" came out a clear winner. According to SwiftKey's research, "Face with Tears of Joy" was the most heavily used emoji globally in 2015. Their research shows that the character comprised 20 percent of all emoji used in the U.K. in 2015, and 17 percent of all emoji used in the U.S. This compared to 4 percent and 9 percent respectively in 2014. In the U.S. the next most popular emoji was "Face Throwing a Kiss," comprising 9 percent of all usage. [Oxford Dictionaries]

For what it's worth, the runners-up were actual "words" (whatever that even means anymore). The tears-of-joy emoji beat out ad blocker, Brexit, dark web, lumbersexual, on fleek, refugee, sharing economy, and they, The Herald Sun reports.

RIP language!

14 Nov 13:54

Teeny Little Sengis Debut At Chester Zoo

by Andrew Bleiman

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (11)

Two tiny, three-month-old Sengis – also known as Round-eared Elephant Shrews – were seen by visitors to the Chester Zoo for the first time this week.

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (17)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (2)
Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
Weighing just one to two ounces (the same as 10 or 20 pennies), Sengis use their long snouts to sniff out insects to eat.  Food is snapped up with quick flicks of the tongue.

With long hind legs, Sengis move by hopping, similar to Rabbits.  They scurry through grass and brush, and dash to safety at the smallest signs of danger.

Sengis are related to Manatees, Aardvarks, Hyraxes, and Elephants.  Despite their former common name of Elephant Shrew, they are not true Shrews at all.  There are 19 species of Sengis, all native to Africa.  Little is known about Sengis’ habits, because they are so elusive in the wild. 

Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (13)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (14)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (10)
Cheeky sengis make debut at Chester Zoo (19)

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11 Nov 19:49

Gold-plated grills and a bone marrow soju luge at Hanjip Korean BBQ in Culver City

by Jenn Harris

Chances are, the gold-plated grills at Hanjip, Chris Oh and Stephane Bombet's new Korean BBQ restaurant in Culver City, are nicer than your car rims. At $250 a pop, these grills were specially made in Korea, and are used to cook meat at your table. They are shiny, cook your brisket faster than...

06 Nov 16:30

The Typewriter ASCII Portraits of Classic Hollywood and the Obsessive Fans Who Made Them

by Andrew Heisel on Pictorial, shared by Jia Tolentino to Jezebel

The charm of old movie fan magazines is their sweetness. Their pages may have hinted at all sorts of sordid behavior, but their tone matched that of their most guileless reader—and they incorporated reader perspectives in every issue, printing copious letters and even occasionally letting readers share their own homespun pictures of the stars. This portrait, for example, is from the October 1920 issue of Motion Picture Magazine and is one of the older examples of typewriter or ASCII art you’ll find.


26 Oct 22:57

Peeps for Halloween: Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice and Candy Corn

DSC_9936rbPeeps are made for all the holidays now: Valentine’s, Christmas, Halloween, your Birthday and, of course, Easter. The newest Halloween edition of the Peeps chicks come in new flavors with the addition of a little cream dip.

The Caramel Apple Peeps are described as apple flavored marshmallow dipped in caramel fudge. This brings me to the fact that fudge has no actual definition, kind of like frosting. It’s just a sugary thing that’s not caramel or chocolate ... so they called it fudge. The package shows apple trees and a basket of all colors of apples. It might have been fun if the Peeps themselves were different colors, like pink and yellow and green. But they’re all just green.


They do smell like fake green apple. The bite is sweet but has a green apple candle note to it, it’s all scent and no real tart flavor. The caramel fudge is actually kind of believable in this instance, as it does have a hint of salt and butter flavoring.

The overall effect isn’t very successful. There are really no textural elements of an actual caramel apple: no crunch, no tart juice, no chewy caramel. The color is oddly soft and minty, not something I would expect to be fruity and the caramel fudge is full of palm kernel oil.

Pumpkin Spice PeepsThe Pumpkin Spice Peeps come in an orange package that seals three Peeps in a tray. This version features a pumpkin spice flavored marshmallow dipped in white fudge.

This flavor seemed pretty promising, as I did like the Gingerbread Peeps I had some years ago. The idea of adding a touch of spice to a marshmallow and something resembling white chocolate was solid.

Pumpkin Spice Peeps

The Peeps are lightly orange or creamy brown. The spice is very mild, less potent than those Gingerbread Peeps. There’s a coconut note from the fudge dipped base and a creamy sweetness to the whole thing. It’s not a revelation of deliciousness, it’s just kind of plain. There was a weird bitterness to the marshmallow which I can only guess is the artificial color, which goes all the way through instead of just on the sugar coating.

Candy Corn PeepsThe Candy Corn Peeps were a disappointment in concept, but the execution is decent. First, I wanted a layered triangle shape, not a yellow peeps with some orange sprinkles on it. That is not candy corn. Candy corn is layers, candy corn is triangles.

Candy Corn Peeps

The Candy Corn Peeps smell a little popcorny, a little sweet and buttery, but there’s a floral strawberry note that takes the greasy notes of diacetyl away. They’re basically okay, they might smell a little buttery, but they mostly taste like a fake honey. They’re sweet and the white fudge base makes them sweeter. They’re just really sweet, to the point where I can’t even leave the package open near me because they’re just too sweet. (But so is Candy Corn, so that’s authenticity.)

Overall, these are not Peeps for me. They’re too mild, and the fake fudge stuff is just waxy and disappointing. The flavors are certainly on trend, but lacking the oomph needed to cut through the seasonal flavor noise.

Name: Peeps: Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice & Candy Corn
Brand: Just Born
Place Purchased: Target (Glendale)
Price: $1.99
Size: 1.5 ounces
Calories per ounce: 107
Type: Marshmallow/Mockolate
Rating: 4 out of 10

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  4. 15 Caramel Apple Candies I’ve Reviewed
  5. Party Cake Peeps
  6. Peeps Gingerbread Men
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  8. 6 Candy Corn Candies That Aren’t Candy Corn

27 Sep 12:36

What I learned working at the zoo

by From Our Readers

What I learned working at the zoo

What I learned working at the zoo

I am a tour guide—and a pretty good one, if I do say so myself—at a world-famous zoo in the United States. I started volunteering because I love animals and the environment. I still do, but over the last few years, I have found that the primate Homo sapiens can be the most fascinating to observe.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Zoos are meant for everyone

Many people believe that zoos are child-centric places. Zoos are actually wildlife-centric places, where people of all ages learn about animals and how we share the earth with them. There is an emphasis on conservation and environmentalism. The word zoo is short for “zoological park”, which has animals for public education, as opposed to a private collection of exotic animals or “menagerie,” which used to symbolize power for the rich and elite. It’s meant to be for everyone, not just the toddler set.

Most animals in zoos aren’t from the wild

Many people ask how we capture the animals. We don’t. All the zoo animals are descendants of other zoo animals, unless found injured or orphaned in the wild, and leaving them would mean their death. Until I worked at a zoo, I did not know how many old Disney movies I had stuck in my head, as they all start off with an animal being taken from their family by poachers or hunters.

A lot of people learn about animals through cartoons

Similarly, people made so many references to cartoons based on animals that I watched them all so I could relate better when giving tours. That is how I know that King Julian from Madagascar is a lemur, that Zazu from The Lion King is a type of hornbill, and that everyone in Happy Feet is a penguin.

The post What I learned working at the zoo appeared first on HelloGiggles.

20 Sep 14:33

This parent made a point about how ridiculous Common Core Math is by using it to write a check

by Christina Wolfgram


This parent made a point about how ridiculous Common Core Math is by using it to write a check

This parent made a point about how ridiculous Common Core Math is by using it to write a check

If you are a teacher or parent or friends with teachers or parents, you’ve probably heard about Common Core. It’s a new teaching method that’s been implemented in 46 states with the intention of helping kids not just solve problems, but understand them. When applied to math classes, Common Core has all but abolished tricks – like remembering the “less than” sign looks like an alligator – that make math easier. As someone who still uses the Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally mnemonic device when calculating a tip in a restaurant, the Common Core math standards look crazy complicated.

This new system doesn’t just affect kids and teachers – it’s driving parents nuts. It makes sense: Moms and dads who want to help their kids with homework are suddenly finding the methods undoable. Even Louis C.K., who sets aside time to help his daughters with homework, took to Twitter to express his rage at the Common Core curriculum. “My kids used to love math,” he wrote. “Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!” Yikes!

One very smart dad in Ohio decided to give the school system a taste of its own medicine, and the Internet is applauding him for his effots. When he made out a donation check to Melridge Elementary School, he wrote the number according to Common Core standards. It kind of looks like a game of Connect Four next to some “hugs and kisses.” Obviously, no Wells Fargo employees are going to be able to decipher these hieroglyphics:

Brilliant parents! Wrote a check to their school using #Commoncore #’s #YouFigureItOut #BillGates #DataCollection

— Joan Of Arc (@JoanOfArc1920) September 17, 2015

Well played, Douglas. Well played.

The post This parent made a point about how ridiculous Common Core Math is by using it to write a check appeared first on HelloGiggles.

16 Sep 21:24

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

by Nicole

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

An Old Fashioned is a classic cocktail that is usually made with whiskey, sugar, bitters and orange. It is a delicious cocktail but it is also very distinctive thanks to its simple ingredient list. I used the flavors of the cocktail to make a batch of Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes in honor of some spirits-loving friends (some of whom are in the bar industry) who came into town for a visit the other day.

I used a vanilla cupcake base, which is like a blank canvas for other flavors, as my starting point. I added orange zest and whiskey into the cake batter to start building the cocktail’s flavor profile. When you glance at the recipe, you’ll notice that it calls for a lot of whiskey. A portion of the whiskey is incorporated into the cake batter itself, while another portion is brushed onto the cakes after baking. While there isn’t enough whiskey to completely saturate the cake (unlike, say, a rum cake or fruit cake), adding spirits after baking ensures that you’ll be able to get a good whiskey flavor in every bite – and that flavor is an important part of the cocktail! You can use bourbon or rye in this recipe. I used a rye whiskey (Bulleit Rye, to be precise) because it has a nice spiciness to it that helps it to stand out in the cake.

The cupcakes are topped with a frosting made with orange juice, whiskey and bitters. Bitters are intensely flavored liquors infused with various seeds, herbs, roots and other botanicals. They are so pungent that they are only used a few drops at a time. There are a wide variety of bitters out there, but aromatic bitters – Angostura and Peychauds are two well-known brands – are most often used in Old Fashioneds. Be generous with the bitters and you’ll end up with a frosting that has a fantastic spice to it and really rounds out the “old fashioned” feel of the cupcake. The bitters will also give the frosting a pleasant pink tint – and if you can’t see any of the color, add in a few more dashes of bitters before spreading the frosting on the cupcakes.

These cupcakes are a great dessert for a cocktail party, especially if you already have some bourbon drinks on the menu. The cupcakes are at their best within a day or two of baking.

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes

Old Fashioned Cocktail Cupcakes
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 tbsp orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup whiskey (bourbon or rye), divided
3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp whiskey (bourbon or rye)
8-10 dashes aromatic bitters, such as Angostura or Peychauds
2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Place liners in a 12 cup muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it looks creamy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest until mixture is smooth.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then stir in the whiskey and buttermilk. Add the rest of the flour and stir just until all ingredients are combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Divide batter evenly into muffin cups.
Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
After removing them from the oven, use a toothpick to poke a few holes in the top of each cupcake. Brush the cupcakes with remaining 1/4 cup of whiskey while they are still warm. This should add approximately 1 tsp whiskey to each cupcake.
Let cupcakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove from the muffin pan. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter until softened and creamy. Blend in orange juice, whiskey and bitters, then gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the frosting comes together and has a thick, spreadable consistency. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional orange juice a few teaspoons at a time. If the frosting is too thin, beat in additional sugar.
Spread generously onto the cooled cupcakes.

Makes 12.

14 Sep 16:29

Today in Twinning: Twin sisters are each pregnant with their second sets of twins

by Teri Wilson

kerri kelli madison mckell kole hallie sadie

Today in Twinning: Twin sisters are each pregnant with their second sets of twins

Today in Twinning: Twin sisters are each pregnant with their second sets of twins

A pair of twin sisters from Utah are showing the world what it means to be #twinning. Kerri Bunker and Kelli Wall live in the same town. They’re both teachers at the same school. They married a pair of best friends. And now they’re both pregnant with their second set of twins.

Our minds are officially blown.

Kerri and Kelli have each struggled with fertility issues and turned to in vitro fertilization for their first sets of twins. Kelli gave birth to Madison and McKell four years ago. Then Kerri and her husband were thrilled to have their own set of twins, Kole and Hallie, just a year later. They also have a two-year-old little girl named Sadie.

That was already a serious amount of twinsies for one family. Then this summer, things went to a whole new level. Kelli discovered she was pregnant again in June. On the day Kelli got the good news, Kerri decided to take a pregnancy test too, even though doctors had told her that getting pregnant would be very unlikely without medical assistance. Surprise, surprise! Kerri was also pregnant.

Still, neither of them expected twins (again). Medically, all signs pointed to a single birth for both of them. But Kelli’s ultrasound has proven otherwise. She’s definitely pregnant with twins. Soon afterward, Kerri found out she’s having twins, too.


Identical twins Kerri Bunker and Kelli Wall both pregnant with another set EACH #uk

— London News Now (@londonnewsnow) September 13, 2015

The post Today in Twinning: Twin sisters are each pregnant with their second sets of twins appeared first on HelloGiggles.

28 Sep 18:00

Vibram Furoshiki Are Origami for the Feet

by Gregory Han

Vibram Furoshiki Are Origami for the Feet

Call it an international effort: Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto partnered with Italian shoe maker Vibram – famous for their FiveFingers minimalist athletic footwear – to create minimalist footwear with an innovative and anatomical sole that literally wraps the foot in place.


Furoshiki -Vibram-shoes

Integrating the traditional art of cloth wrapping technique of Furoshiki – still used in Japan today for transporting goods – the Vibram of the same name offers a design with a minimalist “wrapping sole” feature which hugs the feet without laces. Designed for all varieties of activity, but particularly adept at preventing slippage thanks to its grippy compound sole, the Vibram WaveGrip material is less dense and 10% lighter than a typical rubber material bottom.





Aesthetically, the shoes look like the offspring of a Nike Free footwear through the filter of H.R. Giger, an aggressive overlay of Wavegrip material and stretchy fabric covering the foot without the need for socks. We’ll have to wait until we can get a pair of our own to report back whether these feel as weird – yet enticing – as they look.

More about these most unusual shoes over at Vibram.

22 Oct 21:25

Mapping the Most Incredible Lost Mansions of Los Angeles

by Hadley Meares

Image via Los Angeles Public Library photo collection

For a new city, Los Angeles has an awful lot of lost architecture. From the lush rural estates of early Angeleno pioneers to the Mid-Century masterpieces of Hollywood royalty, many architectural treasures have been torn down in the name of commerce, greed, and progress. In the case of personal homes, this also means many individual stories have been almost completely forgotten—bulldozed over to make way for high-rise apartment buildings and larger, more opulent mansions. Below are a few of the most significant lost houses of Los Angeles—their stories live on, even if their walls are long gone.

23 Oct 14:00

Watch These Beavers Parachuting Into Rural Idaho 

by Kelly Faircloth on Pictorial, shared by Kate Dries to Jezebel

Back in the 1940s, Idaho’s Fish and Game Department had a problem: too many beavers in all the wrong places. So they devised a plan to parachute those unwelcome beavers into new habitats. And now somebody has found footage of those parachuting beavers, and it’s wonderful.


21 Sep 13:47

This package spent 40 years in the mail. That’s right, 40 years.

by Rebecca Vineyard

This package spent 40 years in the mail. That’s right, 40 years.

This package spent 40 years in the mail. That’s right, 40 years.

A rumpled parcel was delivered in Australia this week, and it isn’t any wonder it looks worse for wear: It was sent 40 years ago.

According to Mashable, Irene Garrett of Melbourne received a pretty surprising package in the mail: A packet of embroidered uniform patches meant for the Viewbank Tennis Club. The club believes they were ordered at some point in the mid-1970s, and while the postman who delivered the package wasn’t sure what had happened to it, the oily envelope makes it seem as though it perhaps fell behind a piece of machinery and stayed there for a number of decades.


Australia Post delivers after 30 or so years! This package was finally delivered after being found behind old machinery…

Posted by Viewbank Tennis Club Inc on Friday, September 11, 2015

Surprisingly, the contents of the envelope were in pristine condition despite the tattered exterior. Mrs. Garrett told Fox Sports that she had completely forgotten about the patches but that, because she was the addressee, she likely placed the order for them herself. Other members of the club at that time remembered having patches, so she believes they must have placed another order when the first did not arrive.

Mrs. Garrett shared with Fox Sports her belief that it’s lucky she’s lived in the same house all this time; otherwise, the package might still be undelivered. She gave the patches to the tennis club, which has used them as an opportunity to reconnect with old members and swap stories about the club’s history.

Club secretary Sonja Terpstra says, “(The parcel) could have just been thrown in the bin but it’s great that people are so honest to say ‘we found something’ and deliver it.”

The post This package spent 40 years in the mail. That’s right, 40 years. appeared first on HelloGiggles.

21 Oct 22:14

James Turrell Responds to Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ Video

by Lauretta Charlton

"I fuck with Turrell," Drake says in his now-infamous Rolling Stone interview. This week's premiere of the "Hotline Bling" video demonstrated the extent to which that is true, with many rumors suggesting that the 72-year-old light-based artist James Turrell had actually collaborated with Drizzy to help create the meme-generating masterpiece. Alas, to set the record straight, Turrell has issued the following statement, posted by Donn Zaretsky at John Silberman Associates, the firm that represents him: “While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f*cks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the Hotline Bling video." But is Turrell team 1-800-PIZZABLING or tennis court, though?

Read more posts by Lauretta Charlton

22 Oct 17:06

Epic Los Angeles Sandwiches to Eat Before You Die

by Matthew Kang

Classic sandwiches of every variation.

Los Angeles has its fair share of great sandwiches, and even takes credit for inventing one: the French dip. Since the "accident" of the French dip in the early 20th century, L.A.'s sandwich pantheon has added many standard-bearing types, such as the pastrami, corned beef, Italian submarine, Cuban, Greek and even Vietnamese sandwiches, a claim to its diversity from Westside to Eastside. In addition to decades-old favorites, there are some new-school sandwiches that have become instant classics. Here presented, 22 epic LA sandwiches to eat before you die.

27 Sep 02:38

Get Your Feminist Card

by Jerilyn Hassell Pool


To support the fMh scholarship, I’ve created Feminist Cards and you can get one for yourself! These cards are printed on 16pt gloss stock and are perfect for your wallet or any time you need to stop a mansplainer in his (or her) tracks. These cards are not specific to Mormonism, so feel free to share it in all of your feminist circles and support a great cause—helping single mothers get through college.

If you want to be a card-carrying feminist, this is what you do:

1. Donate $10 (or more) to the fMh Scholarship fund, via (Sorry, prior donations do not count.)

2. Send me a screenshot of your donation receipt at, along with your mailing address. If you’d like to send cards to your family and/or friends, make sure to make a donation for each of them and include their addresses. If you’d like to send a card to someone anonymously, let me know in the email.

3. Wait for me to drop your card in the mail. (Give me a week. Ish.)


We only printed 500, so get this exclusive item to lord over all of your friends and show them you’re ready to FIGHT THE PATRIARCHY.

21 Oct 23:02

Maple-Scented Popovers

by Nicole

Maple-Scented Popovers
Most popovers are fairly plain and get most of their flavor from whatever is accompanying them, whether it is a rich, meaty stew or a generous slathering of chunky fruit preserves. While they are tasty on their own, they primarily exist to help you eat other foods – much like dinner rolls. But even though most popovers aren’t flavored, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be. In fact, it is easy to add a bit of extra flavor to a batch of homemade popovers to make them even more delicious!

The maple flavor in Maple-Scented Popovers is subtle, but addictive. Adding a bit of sugar to the popovers helps highlight the sweetness of the real syrup, without changing the texture of the popovers. If you want maximize maple flavor in these, be sure to use a dark maple syrup or Grade B maple syrup. You can also substitute maple syrup for the regular sugar in the recipe. You can even add a few drops of maple extract to the batter, though I prefer to rely on the syrup alone whenever possible.

The popovers should be eaten as soon as possible when they come out of the oven because that is when they are at their best. The exterior will be wonderfully crisp and buttery, while the interior will be tender and eggy, with just the right touch of maple sweetness. Your popovers should have a nice pocket inside, which will be revealed when you break one open, and can be finished with a bit of butter or a drizzle of additional maple syrup. Though I often serve popovers with jam, I don’t recommend that with these because a fruity jam can cover up the lovely flavor of maple far too easily.

I used a popover pan to make these, however you can also make popovers in a muffin pan if you do not have a specialty popover pan in your collection. The popovers made in the specialty pan will rise up to be quite a bit higher, but the muffin-pan version will be just as delightful when eaten. Serve these with breakfast, brunch or dinner.

Maple-Scented Popovers
4-oz all purpose flour (approx 1 cup-2 tbsp)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp maple extract (optional)
1 cup milk
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 450F. Lightly grease a popover pan (or a muffin tin) with vegetable oil if you do not have a nonstick pan.
Whisk together flour, salt, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and maple extract (if using) until batter is very smooth. Let batter rest for 15 minutes.
Place 1 tsp butter in each cavity of the popover pan (1/2 tsp each for muffin tin). Place pan in hot oven just long enough to melt the butter, 1-2 minutes.
Evenly divide batter into prepared pan. Each cup should be filled approximately halfway.
Bake for 20 minutes, until very dark golden brown.
Serve immediately.

Makes 6

*Note: It is best to measure the flour, but 4-oz of all purpose flour is about 1 cup, if you gently spoon the flour into the measuring cup (don’t pack it in!).