Tag Archives: Humor

Top 10 Grossest Halloween Candy

Halloween brings out the kid in all of us. Although for the adults, it’s really about dressing up in wild costumes for a fun party or decorating the house to scare the bejeebus out of any visitors. For kids, Halloween is still all about the candy. It’s quite a unique holiday that, over time, has evolved into telling ghost stories and hording sweets.

Several candy companies have gotten into the spirit of Halloween by developing their own version of gross-out treats, which you can enjoy all year around.

Here then are the top 10 grossest Halloween candies:

10. Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans

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If you’re a true Muggle, you might not have any idea what these special jellybeans are all about. But true devotees of the world of Harry Potter are quite familiar with Bertie Botts and her confectionary concoctions. Borrowing a page from the best-selling novels and popular film franchise, this collection of jelly beans come in such delightful flavors as dirt, ear wax, rotten egg, soap and vomit. There are some regular good tasting jellybeans in each batch but buyer beware!

9. Sour Flush Toilet Candy

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It’s a toilet full of sugar! It’s a plunger lollipop! It’s both! Sour Flush Toilet Candy is shaped like an actual tiny toilet. You flip the lid and dip in one of your flavored lollipop plungers and, “Voila!”- you’ve got a tasty treat simulating the unclogging of your toilet. Insert your own joke here.

8. Crime Scene Candy Tubes

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Nothing says Halloween like a good old-fashioned crime scene. Now the kiddies can get in on all the CSI fun with their own edible Crime Scene Candy Tube. Each tube is filled with drinkable goodness in three flavors: Blood, Urine and Saliva. Yes, that’s Blood, Urine and Saliva (or cherry, lemonade and apple if you’re being picky).

7. Box of Boogers

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Full disclosure: you won’t really know you’re eating simulated boogers unless you have the actual Box of Boogers handy. Each individual booger looks like it could really be a typical piece of gummy green or yellow candy. But thanks to the packaging that proudly proclaims “Tangy gummy boogies that look and feel real” you won’t soon forget what you’re supposed to be chewing on.

6. Scorpion Suckers and Chocolate Covered Bugs

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Wasn’t there always a kid in every neighborhood who would eat a bug for a nickel? Now everyone can get into that act with these actual ants, crickets dipped in chocolate or scorpions encased in lollipop candy. They are completely edible and taste great, so the reviews say. Fear Factor candy anyone?

5: Nose Hose

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You know you’re in for a tasty treat with a candy slogan that is “It’s snot what you think!” The Nose Hose works on the simple principle of strapping a big plastic nose on your face then having a tube run through to drip sweet tasting liquid onto your waiting tongue. Fun for the whole family.

4. Ear Wax Candy

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Keeping with the “what can we eat from our head” theme, Ear Wax Candy is perfect for when you’ve got a craving to eat some ear wax but don’t really want to eat actual ear wax. You get a big plastic ear with a handy ear drum snap lid. Inside the ear canal is a fruity-jelly like substance that approximates ear wax. You dip in your plastic swab, scoop out some ear goop and lick away.

3. Zit Poppers

zit poppers candy

How devastating was it to discover a pimple on the eve of the big dance? Or to have your graduation photo ruined because of an errant blemish. Ahh, to be young again with a face full of acne. Now you can relive all those wonderful moments of teenage angst with Zip Poppers. Imagine gummi candies shaped like huge pimples loaded with gooey jelly that you squeeze or pop out to taste. Available in strawberry and watermelon just like regular acne.

2. Chocka Ca-Ca

chocka ca ca

As the name implies, Chock Ca-Ca are bite size pieces of chocolate shaped to look just like what babies leave behind in their diapers. And if you need more convincing, each piece of Chock Ca-Ca actually comes wrapped in their own diaper. This unique treat comes in blue for boys and pink for girls packaging. Won’t it be fun to bring this gift at your next baby shower? Chances are you’ll never be invited to another baby shower. Mission accomplished. (Image: itsstupid.com.)

1. Lick Your Wounds Candy

lick your wounds candy

Have you ever found yourself wearing a Band-Aid and wishing you could pull it off and lick a piece of candy underneath? Well, now you can with these delightful candy scabs. Underneath the pad of a typical Band-Aid is a lollipop-style hard candy that you can take a few licks of and then replace. S-w-e-e-e-e-e-e-t. Just be on the lookout for skin hair. Did we mention this is gross candy?

By Rick Bitzman

What was your favorite Halloween candy?

 



Top 10 Famous & Deadly Swords

The first sword appeared during the Bronze Age.  It was made of copper and was uncovered at the Harappan sites in present-day Pakistan.  By the Middle Ages iron and steel swords were being mass produced and used in battle.  Soldiers were trained in swordsmanship and prepared for combat.  It was before the era of guns and high powered artillery and face to face fighting was the norm.  During this time in history, all of the royal generals, kings, and emperors owned personal swords.  These weapons were manufactured by the greatest sword makers of the time.  Many historical manuscripts document events surrounding significant swords.  This article will be examining ten world famous swords that still survive today.  Mythological and legendary swords will not be listed.

10.  Tomoyuki Yamashita’s Sword

Tomoyuki Yamashita was a general of the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II.  He became known during the war after conquering the British colonies of Malaya and Singapore, ultimately earning the nickname “The Tiger of Malaya.”  After the end of World War II, Yamashita was tried for war crimes relating to the Manila Massacre and many other atrocities in the Philippines and Singapore.  It was a controversial trial that ended with a death sentence for Tomoyuki Yamashita.  The case changed the United States rules in regards to command responsibility for war crimes, creating a law known as the Yamashita Standard.

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The Sword

During his military career, Tomoyuki Yamashita owned a personal sword that contained a blade manufactured by famous sword maker Fujiwara Kanenaga sometime between 1640 and 1680.  The weapon had its handle remade in the early 1900s.  The Samurai sword was surrendered by General Yamashita, along with his army, on September 2, 1945.  It was taken by General MacArthur and given to the West Point Military Museum where it remains today.  The sword is one piece in a great collection of military arms housed at the West Point Museum.

9.  Curved Saber of San Martin

José de San Martín was a famous Argentine general that lived from 1778-1850.  He was the primary leader of the southern part of South America’s struggle for independence from Spain.  San Martín is a South American hero and the 1st Protector of Perú.  Under the lead of San Martín, Peruvian independence was officially declared on July 28, 1821.  In the state of Argentina, the Order of the Liberator General San Martin is the highest decoration given out.

Curved Saber

The Sword

One of the most cherished possessions of José de San Martín was a curved sword that he purchased in London.  San Martín admired the saber’s curved blade and felt that the weapon was maneuverable and ideal for battle.  For this reason, he armed his cavalries of granaderos with similar weapons, which he deemed important for charge attacks.  The curved sword stayed with San Martín until his death and was then passed down to the General de la Republica Argentina, Don Juan Manuel de Rosas.

In his will San Martín referred to the sword as “The saber that has accompanied me throughout the War of Independence of South America.”  In 1896 the weapon was sent to the National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires where it remains today.  In the 1960s the sword was stolen on two separate occasions and this caused museum operators to build a screened gazebo to protect the artifact.

8.  Seven-Branched Sword

The Baekje Dynasty was an ancient kingdom located in southwest Korea.  At its peak in the 4th century, Baekje controlled colonies in China and most of the western Korean Peninsula.  They were one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla.  In 372, King Geunchogo of Baekje paid tribute to Eastern Jin and it is believed that a Seven-Branched Sword was created and given to the king as a sign of praise.

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The Sword

The weapon is a 74.9 cm long iron sword with six branch-like protrusions along the central blade, which is 65.5 cm.  The sword was developed for ceremonial purposes and was not built for battle.  In 1870 a Shinto priest named Masatomo Kan discovered two inscriptions on the Seven-Branched Sword.  One of them states “At noon on the sixteenth day of the eleventh month, fourth year of Taiwa era, the sword was made of 100 time’s hardened steel.  Using the sword repels 100 enemy soldiers.  Appropriate for the polite duke king.”

The Seven-Branched Sword contains many statements, but the most controversial involves the phrase “enfeoffed lord,” used when describing the King of Wa as a possible subservient to the Baekje ruler.  The sword is an important historical link and shows that a relationship did exist between the East Asian countries of this era.  The original Seven-Branched Sword is currently housed in the Isonokami Shrine in Nara Prefecture of Japan.  It is not on display to the public.

7.  Wallace Sword

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who lived from 1272-1305.  Wallace is known for leading a resistance against England during the Wars of Scottish Independence, which were waged during the late 13th and early 14th centuries.  During his lifetime, William Wallace was appointed the Guardian of Scotland.  He led an infantry of soldiers who engaged the enemy in hand to hand combat.  The prize possession of many of these soldiers was their sword.  In order to survive on the battlefield one had to be a talented swordsman.  In 1305, William Wallace was captured by King Edward I of England and was executed for treason.  Today William Wallace is remembered in Scotland as a patriot and national hero.  His sword is one of the most famous in the world.

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The Sword

The William Wallace sword is located at the National Monument in Stirling, Scotland.  The shaft of the sword measures 4 feet by 4 inches in length (132cm) and it weighs 6.0 lb (2.7 kg).  The sword is said to be the weapon that Wallace used at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297 and the Battle of Falkirk (1298).  The pommel on the sword consists of an onion-shaped piece of gilded iron and the grip is wrapped with dark brown leather.  The hilt or handle that is currently on the Wallace sword is not the original.  It is believed that the sword has been modified on separate occasions.

After the execution of William Wallace, Sir John de Menteith, governor of Dumbarton Castle, received his sword.  In 1505, King James IV of Scotland paid the sum of 26 shillings to have the sword binned with cords of silk.  It is said that the sword underwent many changes, which might have been necessary because Wallace’s original scabbard, hilt and belt were said to have been made from the dried skin of Hugh Cressingham, who was an English commander.

6.  Tizona

El Cid is a man that was born circa 1040 in Vivar, which was a small town about six miles north of Burgos, the capital of Castile.  The Kingdom of Castile was one of the medieval empires of the Iberian Peninsula.  During his lifetime El Cid became a successful military leader and diplomat.  He was named the chief general of the army of Alfonso VI and became a Spanish hero.  El Cid was the king’s most valuable asset in the fight against the Moors.  He was a skilled military strategist and strong swordsman.

Tizona

The Sword

El Cid owned and used many different swords in his lifetime, but the two most famous are Colada and Tizona.  Tizona is a sword that was used by El Cid to fight against the Moors.  The weapon is one of Spain’s most cherished relics and is believed to have been forged in Córdoba, Spain, although considerable amounts of Damascus steel can be found in its blade.  Damascus steel was primarily used in the Middle East.  Tizona is 103 cm/40.5 inches long and weighs 1.1 kg/2.4 pounds.  It contains two separate inscriptions, with one listing a manufactory date of 1002 and the other quoting the Catholic prayer Ave Maria.  Tizona is currently on display at the Museo de Burgos in Spain.

5.  Napoleon’s Sword

In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte became the military and political leader of France after staging a coup d’état.  Five years later the French Senate proclaimed him emperor.  In the first decade of the 19th century Napoleon and the French Empire were engaged in conflict and war with every major European power.  Ultimately, a series of victories gave the French a dominant position in continental Europe, but as history would later repeat itself, in 1812 the French began their invasion of Russia.  The decision to invade Russia marked the turning point in the fortune of Napoleon.  In 1814, the Sixth Coalition invaded France and Napoleon was captured and exiled to the island of Elba.  He would escape, but ultimately died in confinement on the island of Saint Helena.  Historians regard Napoleon as a military genius and a man who made strong contributions to the operational art of war.

Napoleon

The Sword

On the battlefield Napoleon carried a pistol and a sword.  He owned a large collection of arms and artillery.  His weapons were one of a kind and included the best materials.  In the summer of 2007, a gold-encrusted sword that once belonged to Napoleon was auctioned off in France for more than $6.4 million dollars.  The sword was used by Napoleon in battle.  In the early 1800s, Napoleon presented the weapon to his brother as a wedding gift.  The sword was passed down from generation to generation, never leaving the Bonaparte family.  In 1978, the sword was declared a national treasure in France and the winner of the auction was not identified.

4.  Sword of Mercy

The Sword of Mercy is a famous weapon that once belonged to Edward the Confessor.  Edward the Confessor was one of the last Anglo-Saxon kings of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066.  He ruled from 1042 to 1066 and his reign has been characterized by the crumbling disorganization of royal power in England.  Shortly after Edward the Confessor’s death, the Normans began to expand into England, led by the infamous William the Conqueror.

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The Sword

The Sword of Mercy has a broken blade, which is cut off short and square.  In 1236, the weapon was given the name curtana and has since been used for royal ceremonies.  In ancient times it was a privilege to bear this sword before the king.  It was considered a merciful gesture.  The story surrounding the breaking of the weapon is unknown, but mythological history indicates that the tip was broken off by an angel to prevent a wrongful killing.

The Sword of Mercy is part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom and is one of only five swords used during the coronation of the British monarch.  The weapon is rare and is one of only a small number of swords to survive the reign of Oliver Cromwell.  Cromwell is known for ordering the melting down of ancient artifacts for scrap gold and metal.  During the British coronation, the Sword of Mercy is wielded as the monarch bestows knighthood upon the recipient of honor.

3.  Zulfigar

Zulfiqar is the ancient sword of the Islamic leader Ali.  Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Muhammad.  He ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661.  By some historical accounts, Muhammad gave Zulfiqar to Ali at the Battle of Uhud.  Muhammad admired Ali’s power and strength on the battlefield and wanted to present him with the cherished weapon.  The sword is a symbol of the Islamic faith and is admired by millions of people.

Zulfiqar is a scimitar, which refers to a West Asian or South Asian sword with a curved blade.  It is said that Ali used the sword at the Battle of the Trench, which is a famous siege attempt on the city of Medina.  During the battle, Muhammad, Ali, and other Muslim defenders built trenches to protect Medina against the much larger confederate cavalry.

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The Sword

A few conflicting images of the famous scimitar sword exist.  Some of them describe the weapon as having two parallel blades, emphasizing its mystical abilities and speed, while others portray Zulfiqar as a more traditionally-shaped scimitar.  Some historical drawings depict the sword with a split, V-shaped blade.  According to the Twelver Shia, the weapon survives today and is kept in the possession of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi.  The weapon is part of the famous collection called al-Jafr.

Al-Jafr is a mystical Shia holy book.  It is composed of two skin boxes that contain the most important artifacts from the time of Muhammad and Ali.  The collection has been passed down over the generations, with each new Imam receiving it from his dying predecessor.  The contents of Al-Jafr are quite impressive, but they are not made available for public viewing.  One section of the book describes the Islamic rules, directives and matters surrounding wars, including a bag that contains the armor and weapons of Muhammad.  Zulfiqar is said to sit among the priceless artifacts.

2.  Honjo Masamune

Masamune was a Japanese swordsmith that is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest metallurgists.  The exact dates for Masamune’s life are unknown, but it is believed that he worked from 1288–1328.  Masamune’s weapons have reached legendary status over the centuries.  He created swords known as tachi and daggers called tant?.  The swords of Masamune have a strong reputation for superior beauty and quality.  He rarely signed his works, so it can be hard to positively identify all his weapons.

Masamune

The Sword

The most famous of all Masamune swords is named Honjo Masamune.  The Honjo Masamune is so important because it represented the Shogunate during the Edo period of Japan.  The sword was passed down from one Shogun to another for generations.  In 1939 the weapon was named a national treasure in Japan, but remained in the Kii branch of the Tokugawa family.  The last known owner of Honjo Masamune was Tokugawa Iemasa.  Apparently Tokugawa Iemasa gave the weapon and 14 other swords to a police station in Mejiro, Japan, in December of 1945.

Shortly thereafter in January 1946, the Mejiro police gave the swords to Sgt. Coldy Bimore (U.S. 7th Cavalry).  Since that time, the Honjo Masamune has gone missing and the whereabouts of the sword remains a mystery.  Honjo Masamune is one of the most important historical artifacts to disappear at the end of World War II.

1.  Joyeuse

Charlemagne is a man that was born circa 742.  He is one of the greatest rulers in world history and became King of the Franks in 768.  In 800 he was named Emperor of the Romans, a position that he held for the remainder of his life.  In the Holy Roman Empire he was known as Charles I and was the first Holy Roman Emperor.  During Charlemagne’s lifetime he expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire, which covered much of Western and Central Europe.  Charlemagne is regarded as the founding father of both the French and German monarchies, as well as the father of Europe.

Joyeuse

The Sword

Joyeuse is the name of Charlemagne’s personal sword.  Today, there are two swords attributed to Joyeuse.  One is a saber that is kept in the Weltliche Schatzkammer in Vienna, while the other is housed at the Louvre in France.  The blade on display at the Louvre claims to be partially built from Charlemagne’s original sword.  The sword is made of parts from different centuries, so it can be hard to positively identify the weapon as Joyeuse.  The hilt of the sword indicates a manufactory date around the time of Charlemagne.  The heavily sculpted gold pommel is made in two halves and the long gold grip was once decorated with diamonds.

Charlemagne’s sword appears in many legends and historical documents.  Bulfinch’s Mythology described Charlemagne using Joyeuse to behead the Saracen commander Corsuble as well as to knight his friend Ogier the Dane.  After the death of Charlemagne, the sword was said to have been contrarily held by the Saint Denis Basilica and it was later taken to the Louvre after being carried at a Coronation processional for French kings.

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Top 10 Podcasts You Must Listen To

Internet radio shows, or podcasts, are one of the fastest growing forms of new media. With modern technology, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can become an amateur radio host and start producing a program on any subject they please, and websites like i-tunes and podcast alley now host thousands of different shows. The lack of time constraints and censorship means that podcasts are able to be much longer and more free form than traditional radio, which has attracted a number of celebrities and former radio hosts to the format. Meanwhile, several respected radio and television shows are now being released in podcast form, which has allowed them to find a whole new audience on the internet. Whether online-only or traditional radio shows, the following are the top ten must-listen podcasts. There are always new shows being released, so feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments section.



 

10. Smodcast

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There might not be any better example of the fluidness of podcasting than Smodcast, an ongoing R-rated dialogue between filmmaker Kevin Smith (Clerks, Dogma) and his longtime producer Scott Mosier. The show has no set format, and there is little structure beyond a short musical intro. From there, a frequently under-the-influence Smith and the deadpan Mosier let themselves go wherever the conversation takes them, from musing on the sexual habits of the Harry Potter characters to discussing film, hockey, and their personal lives. The result is a deceivingly simple style that feels more like eavesdropping on the late night conversations of two best friends than it does a real radio show, but when the two participants are this funny, that’s usually a good thing.

Listen to Smodcast Podcast

 

9. Mysterious Universe

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From alien abductions and secret government programs to tales of ghostly occurrences and visitations by the Bigfoot, Mysterious Universe has all the weirdest paranormal news worth speculating about. The show, which is hosted by Australians Benjamin Grundy and Aaron Wright, has just returned for its second season after gaining something of a cult following during its first year on the air. Each week, the hosts scour the internet to find the newest underground stories in cryptozoology and conspiracy theories, as well as the latest news in the world of science and technology. Despite their bizarre subject matter, Grundy and Wright do an admirable job of keeping Mysterious Universe grounded in logic, and always approach every UFO sighting and ghost story from a skeptic’s perspective. Perhaps the best parts of the show are the often-lengthy “true” stories submitted by listeners documenting their personal brushes with the paranormal, which have described everything from exploring ancient underground caves in Germany to encounters with lizard men and shadow people. Is any of it true? Probably not, but like everything else on this show, they make for some always interesting and often unforgettable stories.

Listen to Mysterious Universe Podcast

 

8. The B.S. Report

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Designed for the sports fan with a sense of humor, the B.S. Report is a frequent podcast hosted by ESPN sportswriter Bill Simmons. Simmons has long been a cult favorite of sports fans for his popular columns on the ESPN website and magazine, where he is known for his uncanny ability to elevate his discussions on baseball and the NBA with a healthy dose of pop culture references and wickedly funny jokes. He brings this same style to his podcast, which is as consistently laugh-out-loud funny as it is informative about the latest news and controversies in the world of athletics. Like all the best podcasts, Simmons’ show is very loose and free form, and it’s not uncommon for him to go almost a whole show without even mentioning sports, especially when he really gets going about movies or his ongoing obsession with reality television. When it is on topic, though, the show turns into one of the most insightful and entertaining sports programs around, thanks in large part to Simmons’ clever banter with his guests, who range from sports stars to comedians and fellow journalists.

Listen to B.S. Report Podcast

7. Left, Right, and Center

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For astute political talk that tackles every perspective on an issue, you can’t do better than Left, Right, and Center. The show, which features four commentators from different parts of the political spectrum debating the issues of the day, usually airs on New York public radio, but it’s also released as a weekly podcast. The show is moderated by Matthew Miller, a member of the Center for American Progress, who represents the political centrists, and is co-hosted by Robert Scheer on the left, Tom Blankley on the right, and Arianna Huffington, who is described as representing the “independent-progressive blogosphere.” Unlike most political debate shows, which tend to dissolve into shouting matches, Left, Right, and Center prizes reasoned, courteous debate where every panelist is given their chance to speak. There is even a final segment where each co-host is given a chance to bring up an issue of their choosing and make a statement about it, during which the others are not allowed to interrupt. Compared to the fiery rhetoric and constant bickering of cable news shows, the show is a refreshingly rational take on political debate, and it’s also a great way to keep up to date on current events.

Listen to Left, Right and Center Podcast

6. Filmspotting

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Filmspotting is a weekly podcast out of Chicago that is a must-listen for any movie fan. The show is ostensibly focused on movie reviews, but hosts Adam Kempenaar and Matty Robinson do more than just tell their listeners what new movies are worth seeing, they also discuss and examine film as an art form as thoroughly as any critics working today. The show doesn’t just focus on current movies, either, as the hosts frequently discuss old films as part of theme marathons which might focus on anything from the films of Alfred Hitchcock to 70s sci-fi cinema. In true film geek fashion, the duo also do a weekly top five list, counting down their favorites on subjects like the top buddy movies or the “best films to teach an alien about earth.” Throughout it all, Kempenaar and Robinson manage to match perceptive commentary with a genuine love for movies that is as infectious as it is informative. Few critics manage to strike a balance the high and low brow so well, or do it with as much humor and insight.

Listen to Filmspotting Podcast

5. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me

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One of the most popular programs on National Public Radio, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! is now available as a podcast, and it has become one of the most popular downloads at the i-tunes store. The show is a news program in the form of a game show. Each week a panel of three humorists and writers join host Peter Sagal in Chicago, where they are quizzed on the week’s most important and weirdest news stories. Listeners also get to call in to play a number of different news related games with the panelists in exchange for a prize. The show is great for keeping up with the news and learning about the latest ridiculous stories in science and politics, but its real strong point is the quality of the writing and the expert comic timing of the guests. Rarely do you get a chance to hear people this witty riff off of one another with such skill and precision, and the results are often hilarious.

Listen to Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me Podcast

4. The Adam Carolla Podcast

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You probably know Adam Carolla from The Man Show or as the longtime host of the radio program Loveline, but what you might not know is that the comedian has become one of the internet’s most prolific and successful podcasters. His daily show the Adam Carolla Podcast is one of the most addicting and downright hilarious internet radio programs, thanks in large part to his keen observational humor and rants about everything from ticket-happy LA cops to movies and television. Outside of providing a forum for Carolla to air his often-controversial opinions on everything under the sun, the podcast is also a long-form interview show. Each episode, Carolla engages a celebrity guest in a rambling dialogue about their childhood and their journey in show business, relaying stories along the way about his own trials as an actor, comedian, and former carpenter. In the hands of a less-capable conversationalist, this podcast might become dull or repetitive, but Carolla is a born raconteur, and listening to him complain or tell stories about his wild younger days never seems to get old.

Listen to The Adam Carolla Podcast

 

3. The Moth

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As far as podcasts go, things don’t get much simpler or more engrossing than the Moth, a weekly podcast run out of New York City by a nonprofit arts organization. The show is made up of recordings of “true stories told before a live audience without notes.” Each week, the group releases short 10-20 minute tales told by people from all walks of life. Past presenters have included writers, comedians, scientists, and even New York City police officers. The true stories they tell range from short anecdotes about unusual or embarrassing situations to epic and harrowing stories of brushes with death. One recent story told by a journalist traced her narrow escape from the clutches of rebel soldiers after her truck broke down on one of the most dangerous and desolate roads in Africa, while another described one man’s comic misadventures while on vacation in Italy. Whatever the subject matter, the group has a way of picking stories with a universal appeal that will keep you coming back for more.

Listen to The Moth Podcast

 

2. The How Stuff Works Podcasts

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Ever wonder what causes deja vu, how the Panama Canal was built, or just what it is exactly that’s inside a Twinkie? If so, then you should be listening to the many podcasts put out by the website howstuffworks.com. The shows, which include “Stuff You Should Know,” “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” and “Tech Stuff,” focus on all the strange and obscure questions your high school teachers never got around to covering. Each short episode tackles one question or subject from history, which the hosts then discuss and explain with a great deal of humor and intelligence. The hosts always manage to touch on all the major points of their subject and back up their claims with hard data, but everything is kept at a breezy and entertaining pace. So while the coronation of Charlemagne or the full details of how habeas corpus works might not seem like the most scintillating subject matter, the shows have a way of drawing you in, and after each episode you’ll be surprised by how much you can learn just from listening to a few podcasts.

Listen to How Stuff Works Podcast

 

1. This American Life

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This is certainly the obvious pick for number one, but it’s safe to say that podcasts–or radio, for that matter– don’t get any better than This American Life, the long-running program put out by Chicago Public Radio. Each episode, the show selects a theme, which could be anything from “the kindness of strangers” to “the fine print,” and then provides a series of journalism and non-fiction stories loosely based around it. It’s one of the most intelligent and well-produced programs on the radio, thanks to its unique, often funny take on current events, history, and personal stories. The people behind the show have a real gift for seeking out interesting perspectives on old themes, and it’s rare that you don’t come away from listening to it having learned something you weren’t even aware you didn’t know before. Take a recent episode called “Rest Stop,” where the show’s producers camped out at a highway rest stop in New York to interview travelers as they stopped for gas and food, and in the span of an hour managed to cram in stories about everything from eccentric Russian-American retirees to foreign exchange students. Whatever the subject, you can always count on This American Life to produce some interesting characters and funny, often oddly touching stories. Do yourself a favor and check it out as soon as possible. There is a reason why this show is consistently ranked as the number one podcast on i-tunes.

Listen to This American Life Podcast



Top 10 Wacky Holiday Observances

We all know of the traditional holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, Easter and St. Patrick’s Day, but did you know there is a special holiday or observance for just about any day or month of the year? Some of these holidays are really funny or just plain bizarre. Decide for yourself.

10. International Talk like a Pirate Day

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Talk like a Pirate Day is observed on September 19th every year and it’s always a fun holiday to celebrate. This holiday encourages you to talk like a pirate all day. Refer to your friends or others as maties. Or throw in random pirate language in your everyday speaking like ahoy or aye aye or arrrr!!! There is a whole new vocabulary to learn when talking like a pirate so make sure you are prepared by going to the official talk like a pirate day web site. They even have a countdown to the next Talk Like a Pirate Day. They take their holiday very seriously!

9. Go for Broke Day

Go for Broke Day is always observed on April 5th each year. Go for Broke Day is the day to put it all on the line, take a chance, place a bet, roll the dice and take a risk. It could be money or love. It could be taking a new job or initiating a risky project. Many of us go about our daily lives playing it safe, just floating through life and not really taking that many big chances. If you are overly conservative or hardly ever take chances then this is the day to let loose and put it all out there. You just might have an exhilirating experience if you take a chance on something. If you can get up the courage to take a risk, then put it all out there and go for broke!

8. National Sarcastics Month

National Sarcastics Month is observed for the whole month of October. You can observe this wacky holiday by being as sarcastic as you can be. Go ahead and try it out! You will also be made aware of how sarcasm can affect others when you are being sarcastic with others or they are sarcastic with you. Some people take this type of humor nicely and others really don’t care for it, so be careful who you choose to be sarcastic with.

7. International Moment of Frustration Scream Day

This holiday is observed on October 12th every year. On this day every year you can share your frustrations with all the citizens of the world. You are encouraged to go outside at twelve hundred hours Greenwich time and scream for a solid thirty seconds. Screaming can make you feel better when you are frustrated. I’m seriously thinking about observing this holiday every time I get frustrated from now on! This holiday was created by Thomas & Ruth Roy under the name of Wellcat Holidays & Herbs.

6. National Whiners Day

National Whiners Day is observed on December 26th each year. As you can imagine this is the day to whine about anything and everything in life or whatever. If you’re already a whiner this will come easy for you. For someone who’s not usually a whiner, find something that’s annoying you and whine incessantly about it. You may not be able to change it, but you can gripe and whine your heart out about it today. Go ahead and whine because no one can blame you for whining like a baby today.

5. International Panic Day

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International Panic Day is always observed on June 18th and is a day for everyone to be worried and concerned. There is no one reason that is provided for the panic, just that this is the day to observe widespread and mass panic. There is also a Panic Day that is observed in March.

4. Blame Someone Else Day

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You can celebrate this day on the first Friday the 13th of the year. This is the day of the year where you can take every mistake you’ve ever made and put the blame on someone else. Go ahead, blame the Democrats, the Republicans or anyone in between. Find someone to blame for everything you’ve ever done poorly or started and never finished. Be careful though because remember others can blame you for their shortcomings this day too. Once this day passes it’s all your fault again, so remember to use Blame Someone Else Day wisely!

3. Have a Bad Day Day

Have a Bad Day Day is always observed on November 19th each year. Have a Bad Day Day is observed by encouraging people to wish other people to have a bad day. Instead of saying have a good day all the time, this is the one day a year when it’s okay to instead say “Have a bad day!”. So, I hope you have a bad day!

2. Get a Different Name Day

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Get a different name day is for people who do not like their name or the name that was given to them at brith. That’s okay, because you didn’t have a choice at birth, you had to go with whatever your parents gave you. If you like your name that’s great. But if you don’t like your name, then this day is definitely for you. Take advantage of the day and change your name. Get a Different Name Day is actually a copyrighted holiday. Even if you like your name you could still changed it up on this day just for fun. Get a Different Name Day is observed on February 13th every year.

1. National Inane Answering Message Day

Observed on January 30th every year, this holiday encourages you on this day to bring an end to all of the mindless and endlessly long answering machine messages that annoy and waste the time of callers. Or, you could leave a long, drawn out, insane message on your machine this day. The choice is up to you.