This was the only reason to go to McDonald’s.

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25. Tinosaurs (1986)

Tinosaurs (1986)

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Via ebay.com

Cute and colorful, these PVC dinosaurs (and cave people?) were a little different than your average Happy Meal toy as they were not a tie-in product for a TV show or movie.

24. Popoids (1984)

Popoids (1984)

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Via ebay.com

These toys were just a series of stretchy and bendy tubes that basically allowed you to create a either a spider or an octopus. Although since the tubes had the consistency of a Squeezit bottle, you had to be careful not to stretch them too far for fear of ripping.

23. Ronald McDonald Cloth Doll (1984)

Ronald McDonald Cloth Doll (1984)

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Via etsy.com

A favorite since the 1970s, this toy was reintroduced in the 1980s to terrify a new generation of kids.

22. Halloween Pails (1985)

Halloween Pails (1985)

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Via sydlexia.com

Sure, these were the suckiest things you could use to carry on candy on Halloween night; the handle would usually painfully lodge itself deep into your hand under the weight of the candy — that is if it didn’t pop off. But since the pails had cool designs and were from McDonald’s, they were an ’80s kids essential.

21. Mickey’s Birthdayland Race Cars (1989)

Mickey's Birthdayland Race Cars (1989)

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Via ebay.com

In honor of Mickey’s 60th birthday, Disney and McDonald’s partnered up to release these awesome little pullback racers, which, bonus, also came with a box you could turn into a tunnel.

20. Stompers 4×4 (1986)

Stompers 4x4 (1986)

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Via route21.com

What made these so special you ask? Well, unlike regular cars or pull racers, these bad boys ran on their own power, or an AA battery to be exact. So all you had to do was sit back and watch it drive in a straight-ish line before crashing into a wall.

19. Cinderella’s Jaq and Gus Plush Christmas Ornaments (1987)

freddiescollectibles.com

freddiescollectibles.com

 

OK, so technically not a toy, but these mice were too cool to just hang on the Christmas tree. Also, I’m sure pretty sure they never really released Jaq, ‘cause I was stuck with, like, six Gus ornaments.

18. Astrosniks (1984)

Astrosniks (1984)

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Via ebay.com

These toys made the perfect villains for your Smurf figures.

17. Hot Wheels (1983)

Hot Wheels (1983)

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Via s40.photobucket.com

What’s better than a Hot Wheels car? A free one with your meal! You could NEVER have enough Hot Wheels.

16. Playmobil Figures (1982)

Playmobil Figures (1982)

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Via ebay.co.uk

Playmobil figures were usually the toys that rich kids played with, so getting one from McDonalds was like winning the lotto.

15. Fry Kids (1989)

Fry Kids (1989)

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Via ebay.com

These were exceptionally detailed for fast-food toys. They also didn’t look as much like fries as they did colorful mops.

14. Kissyfur (1987)

Kissyfur (1987)

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Via ebay.com

Mickey D’s was the only place you could get toys from this seriously underrated cartoon.

13. Bambi Figurines (1988)

Bambi Figurines (1988)

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Via pinterest.com

These toys were not only well made, but they also had various moving parts that made them infinitely posable. They also happened to have that distinct plastic smell that would never go away.

12. Berenstain Bears (1986)

Berenstain Bears (1986)

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Via etsy.com

Sure they got super dirty after the first time you played with them — thanks to their felt head and hands — but they were awesome and came with their own cool accessory. Also these things should’ve come with a warning that they were not meant for bath time.

11. McDonald’s Pullback Race Cars (1985)

McDonald's Pullback Race Cars (1985)

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Via etsy.com

What made these so special? First, they were perfectly sized and could easily fit into a child’s pocket. Second, their McDonald’s theme told all the other kids on the playground, “Yeah, my parents love and indulge me enough that they got me a Happy Meal.”

10. DuckTales Figures (1988)

DuckTales Figures (1988)

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Via ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com

DuckTales was the must-see late ’80s cartoon and these Happy Meal toys were an essential. Just looking at them makes me want to break out into the theme song (woo-oo!).

9. Garfield Vehicles (1989)

Garfield Vehicles (1989)

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Via pinterest.com

In the ’80s Garfield — thanks in large part to his Saturday morning cartoon Garfield and Friends — was actually really cool and kids wanted to play with his toys. Although he is bit more active in these figures than he was on the show (or the comic).

8. Mac Tonight “Moon Man” Figures (1988)

Mac Tonight "Moon Man" Figures (1988)

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Via forum.earwolf.com

Let’s be honest, Mac Tonight was creepy as fuck! But these toys helped make him a little more bearable.

7. Oliver & Company (1988)

Oliver & Company (1988)

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Via etsy.com

Was there anything greater than a Happy Meal Disney film tie-in? NOPE. These were made even more special because they weren’t just ordinary Happy Meal figures, oh no, these were finger puppets.

6. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers Cars (1989)

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers Cars (1989)

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Via etsy.com

Seriously, these things were great, not only were they cars, BUT you could interchange the parts (giving you hours of endless entertainment). The only thing that would have made them perfect was if you could actually pull the figures out.

5. McNugget Buddies (1988)

McNugget Buddies (1988)

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Via ebay.com

Where do I even begin? These things were awesome for various reasons. First, they were super unique. Second, they came with interchangeable accessories. Third, and most importantly, they were CHICKEN MCNUGGETS and every kid loved McNuggets.

4. The Little Mermaid (1989)

The Little Mermaid (1989)

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Via etsy.com

These were the most EPIC bath time toys you could ever have. I mean, where else could you truly recreate Ariel’s adventures?

3. Fraggle Rock (1988)

Fraggle Rock (1988)

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Via etsy.com

Every ’80s kid owned at least one of these. While Gobo might have been the most prized toy, it certainly wasn’t the best. That honor went to Wimbly, who also came with a Boober figure attached.

2. Muppet Babies (1987)

Muppet Babies (1987)

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Via ebay.com

These were amazing. First and foremost, they were toys associated with the greatest cartoon of all time. Secondly, they not only came with their own cars, but you could actually pull the figures out and switch them around.

1. Changeables (1987)

Changeables (1987)

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Via ebay.com

Seriously, what kid didn’t want to play with food that turned into a robot? Yes, they were essentially Transformer knockoffs, but they’re still the coolest and most epic toy line McDonald’s has ever released.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/the-25-greatest-happy-meal-toys-of-the-80s

Are you tired of the big city life? Hey, it’s not for everybody. Not only is it expensive, but you’ll be cramped in a small place with thousands of other people. Luckily, there is a solution for you.

There are houses that exist all over the world that are energy efficient, beautiful and (best of all): secluded. These incredible houses were built right into nature. Check out these sweet houses built into the sides of mountains:

1.) Have dinner near the creek.

2.) Let’s hope there are never any big waves here.

3.) Imagine the view from here.

4.) Any house with a pool is awesome.

5.) This looks more alien-like.

6.) The grass is always greener.

7.) Why climb a mountain? I’ll just live in one.

8.) This house is soooo underground.

9.) Can’t forget that satellite TV.

10.) How do you even get here?

11.) When it snows, you can sled right from your window.

12.) Nice and shady.

13.) Better hope that foundation holds up.

14.) A whole mountain neighborhood!

15.) Slide on down to your home!

Yea, I want that. All of that. If you want to escape the big city shuffle, share this post and get back to your roots, by living in one of these awesome mountain houses.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/mountain-houses/

Absentmindedly (sorry, obsessively) checking my Klout score this morning, I stumbled upon a perk — a shiny ad for some kind of new Starbucks drink offered to the uber-influencers of the influence-counting service. A perk! I love perks.

Klout perks have been around for a couple years, and they’re no joke, even if you think the service is: upgrades to a first class lounge at SFO, VIP access at a Hollywood nightclub, deeper discounts on Gilt and more. One guy, as of May, had collected 63 perks, including a phone and an invitation to a VH1 awards show. In June, Klout bragged it has delivered 700,000 perks across 350 campaigns.

Unfortunately, as soon as I clicked on the Starbucks perk for my free drink, my heart sank.

It seems that my Klout score of 59 was just not high enough to meet their bar of influence, a Klout score of 60. I am not influential enough to be worthy of a Starbucks Refresher. Surely, there were things I could qualify for, though? I mean, I’m not INVISIBLE. I have INFLUENCE. I’m not the most powerful person in the Kloutworld (scores go up to 100) but I’m certainly average or better. Can’t I at least pick up a pass to a Bud Lime party?

NOPE. To be fair, it seems that the party already happened, and it happened in Chicago and Washington, DC. I am in San Francisco.

Increasingly desperate to prove my Klout self-worth and validate my Kloutsistence with perks, though, I kept clicking around various categories — “Experiences,” “Retail,” “Sports” — hunting for a perk I could claim. Of the ten current perks, I am only eligible for three. The shame!

And even when I tried to claim my measly three perks, there were problems. After unsuccessfully attempting to get new business cards and a photo album, I clicked on the Red Bull magazine, supposedly open to anyone with a Klout score over 1. Still, no dice.

No Band-Aids for me, either.

Also, the bulk of the perks were all used up.

So what am I missing? Many of the comments were positive, even for the most mundane things, like the Red Bull magazine.“This is the perfect type of digital magazine! Just an awesome design,” said one recipient. So, a lot, maybe.

But not everything was as promised. An eSalon hair coloring perk got particularly bad reviews —“Well, this isn’t a perk because you can get your first color at eSalon FREE and just pay the $5 shipping…it’s actually more. It’s one thing for a Perk to be a discount, but for it to be MORE expensive, I’m actually offended,” groused one commenter.

On the higher end, there were more troubling issues. The priciest perk that I saw were tickets valued at around $2,500 to some kind of London event — you needed to have a God-like Klout score of 70 to qualify for them. (Does God even have a Klout score that high?) At least one man who qualified claims he didn’t receive his perk at all.

Overall, my personal Klout envy aside, the perk program seems pretty disappointing. Most of the prizes were beyond boring (Band-Aids for Canadians?) and unevenly doled out. If you had actual clout — i.e., you command real attention and influence — you probably wouldn’t need Klout to tell you about a Bud Lime summer party. You’d be the person throwing it.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/reyhan/how-internet-famous-do-you-have-to-be-to-get-free

If it weren’t for music we would undoubtedly have a very dull existence. The way it affects emotion, moods, and conveys ideas make it one of the most powerful and intimate artistic mediums in the world. We identify with the music we like and through it feel a connection with the people who wrote it. Although we all have our personal tastes there are some pieces and genres that are almost objectively above the rest. These are the men behind those pieces. These are 25 of the most celebrated composers in history.

25. Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven started going deaf at the turn of the century and it became sadly apparent that he could not always hear what he played. After 1819, all conversations with him had to be written down.

24. Antonio Vivaldi

Like Mozart, Vivaldi died in poverty, in an unmarked grave. Both composers were similar in how they achieved greatness in their composition and popularity, yet failed to secure financial greatness.

23. Aaron Copland

Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, he was widely known as “the dean of American composers”.

22. Franz Joseph Haydn

Anyone who can write 108 symphonies makes this list.

21. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Interesting fact: he hated writing The Nutcracker, undoubtedly his most famous work.

20. Carl Nielson

Undoubtedly Denmark’s most famous composer he went against his roots and added foreign, romantic flavors to his music.

19. Gustav Mahler

Sometimes called “the symphonist of death”, he only wrote 9 complete symphonies, all of which are centered around death and the afterlife.

18. Johannes Brahms

One of the finest musical craftsmen of all time, he wrote 4 symphonies which are among the most recorded repertoire ever.

17. Franz Liszt

Liszt was the greatest pianist of all time. He sightread Grieg’s Piano Concerto, playing it perfectly the first time.

16. Modest Mussorgsky

Well known for his smash hit,Night on Bald Mountain, which is the #3 most recorded orchestral piece in history.

15. Frederic Chopin

As a pianist, Chopin was ranked among the greatest artists of his epoch, such as Kalkbrenner, Liszt, Thalberg and Herz, but, in contrast to them, he disliked public performances and appeared rarely and rather unwillingly.

14. Leonard Bernstein

His incredibly popularWest Side Storycombines Jazz, Classical, Puerto Rican and Romantic elements. How could he not make the list?

13. Franz Schubert

Sometimes called the greatest songwriter of all time.

12. Dmitri Shostakovich

Shostakovich himself got into trouble with the goverment for his opera ‘Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District’ (he was made an “Enemy of the People”). They said it was ‘coarse, primitive and vulgar’ and it was banned for almost 30 years!

11. Richard Wagner

In spite of his supposedly less than amiable personality he managed to write the single most famous masterpiece in opera history: The Ring Cycle.

10. Gyorgy Ligeti

A Hungarian-born composer who stands out from the rest of the post-war European avant-garde.

9. Johann Sebastian Bach

He perfected every style of music which existed in his day.

8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The most gifted musical genius in history, the most famous genius in any field in history, and the perfecter of Classical music had to make the list.

7. John Williams

Williams places above Mozart on this list simply because he is more recent – relatable to modern times – and he wrote the single highest grossing film score ever: Star Wars.

6. Alexander Scriabin

This Russian was born with synesthesia, an extremely rare mental condition where a color is associated with music.

5. Steven Schwartz

His musicalWickedgrossed $56 million its first year on Broadway.

4. Igor Stravinsky

If you have an hour to spare, listen to The Rite of Spring, then you’ll understand. At its premier in 1913, people were so upset by its dissonant harmonies, obtuserhythms, and the fact that the story is of a young girl dancing herself to death, that the most infamous riot in France’s history was started.

3. Bela Bartok

Some say he was the first great ethnomusicologist, and he also pioneered many new string playing techniques.

2. Ennio Morricone

Although he did not ever have as big a hit as John Williams’ Star Wars, Morricone has been named the most successful movie soundtrack composer ever by several musicologists.

1. Andrew Lloyd Webber

The most successful and popular composer in history. His career on Broadway culminated in the 1986 premier of The Phantom of the Opera, which has gone on to become the most popular piece of entertainment of any kind in history, still touring throughout the world to this day. Throughout its 27 year lifespan, The Phantom of the Opera has grossed more than $5.6 billion and been seen by more than 130 million people.

Read more: http://list25.com/25-of-the-most-celebrated-composers-in-history/

In the last 14 years, the 21st century has already offered some incredible additions to the musical theater pantheon. These are the best new musicals, both on and off-Broadway.

43. American Idiot

American Idiot

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Bryan Bedder / Getty

Book: Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael MayerMusic: Green DayLyrics: Billie Joe ArmstrongOriginal Broadway cast: John Gallagher Jr. as Johnny, Michael Esper as Will, Mary Faber as Heather, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Whatsername, Christina Sajous as The Extraordinary Girl, Stark Sands as Tunny, Tony Vincent as St. JimmyPerformance dates: April 20, 2010-April 24, 2011

What it’s about: Johnny, Will, and Tunny are three disaffected youths living in Jingletown, USA. While Johnny and Tunny escape to the city, Will is forced to stay behind with his pregnant girlfriend Heather. The city offers new thrills, but Johnny falls into drug abuse and Tunny is recruited and enlists in the army.Why it’s essential: There were rock musicals before American Idiot, but few were as effective at capturing the raw energy that infuses the show. Although the music isn’t original, it’s transformed in its theatrical context. Like the album on which it’s based, American Idiot feels like a time capsule of Bush-era rage and ennui.

42. Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde

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Paul Kolnik

Book: Heather HachMusic and lyrics: Laurence O’Keefe and Nell BenjaminOriginal Broadway cast: Laura Bell Bundy as Elle Woods, Richard H. Blake as Warner Huntington III, Christian Borle as Emmett Forrest, Orfeh as Paulette, Michael Rupert as Professor Callahan, Kate Shindle as Vivienne Kensington, Nikki Snelson as Brooke WyndamPerformance dates: April 29, 2007-Oct. 19, 2008

What it’s about: Based on the 2001 film of the same name, Legally Blonde follows Elle Woods, a sorority girl who gets dumped by her boyfriend Warner and ends up following him to Harvard Law School to win him back. She turns out to be adept at the law and ends up defending a woman falsely accused of murder.Why it’s essential: It may not be the deepest musical, but Legally Blonde — like Elle Woods — deserves credit for what it does well. The show is just fun, a pitch-perfect adaptation of the similarly delightful film, and it was the ideal showcase for the bubbly talents of Laura Bell Bundy.

41. Yank!

Yank!

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Carol Rosegg

Book: David ZellnikMusic: Joseph ZellnikLyrics: David ZellnikOriginal off-Broadway cast: Nancy Anderson as Women, Jeffry Denman as Artie, Ivan Hernandez as Mitch, Bobby Steggert as Stu, Andrew Durand as Tennessee, Zak Edwards as Melanie, Todd Faulkner as Sarge, Denis Lambert as Lieutenant, Joseph Medeiros as Dream Stu, David Perlman as Rotelli, Christopher Ruth as Professor, Tally Sessions as CzechowskiPerformance dates: Feb. 24, 2010-April 4, 2010

What it’s about: A young man in San Francisco finds an old diary belonging to Stu, who writes about being drafted to fight in World War II back in 1943. Among his fears about combat, Stu has to confront his feelings for fellow soldier Mitch. Working as a photographer for Yank Magazine, Stu discovers a hidden gay world.Why it’s essential: Yank!, which was first performed as a workshop in 2005, was revived off-Broadway in 2010, a time at which DADT was very much part of the national conversation. The music and style evoke a classic 1940s musical, but the timeless themes and military context made it relevant for a modern-day audience.

40. Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812

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Chad Batka

Book: Dave MalloyMusic and lyrics: Dave MalloyOriginal off-Broadway cast: Brittain Ashford as Sonya, Gelsey Bell as Mary, Blake DeLong as Bolkonsky/Andrey, Amber Gray as Hélène, Ian Lassiter as Dolokhov, Dave Malloy as Pierre, Grace McLean as Marya D, Paul Pinto as Balaga, Phillipa Soo as Natasha, Lucas Steele as AnatolePerformance dates: May 15, 2013-March 2, 2014

What it’s about: Based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace — or rather, one section of the epic Russian novel — Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 sees the titular Natasha romanced by Anatole in 19th century Moscow high society. Complicating matters, Pierre also has eyes for Natasha, much to his despair.Why it’s essential: A musical based on War and Peace is already a tough sell, but add to that the fact that Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 is performed in a tent while the audience eats and drinks, making this an impressively immersive show. Thoroughly unique experiences like this one are few and far between.

39. Once

Once

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Joan Marcus

Book: Enda WalshMusic and lyrics: Glen Hansard and Markéta IrglováOriginal Broadway cast: Steve Kazee as Guy, Cristin Milioti as Girl, David Abeles as Eamon, Will Connolly as Andrej, Elizabeth A. Davis as Réza, David Patrick Kelly as Da, Anne L. Nathan as Baruška, Lucas Papaelias as Švec, Andy Taylor as Bank ManagerPerformance dates: March 18, 2012-

What it’s about: A stage adaptation of the 2006 musical film, Once is about an unnamed man and woman who form a musical partnership and fall in love over a few days in Dublin. Sadly, Guy, an unsuccessful busker, and Girl, a Czech immigrant, are both involved with other lovers, and their brief affair goes unconsummated.Why it’s essential: Today’s Broadway loves musical adaptations of films, but Once stands out from the rest. It’s a hauntingly bittersweet show made all the more memorable by its intimate staging, including the stage doubling as a bar during intermission. Like the film, its power lies in being an untraditional love story.

38. Giant

Giant

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Joan Marcus

Book: Sybille PearsonMusic and lyrics: Michael John LaChiusaOriginal off-Broadway cast: Kate Baldwin as Leslie, Brian d’Arcy James as Bick, P.J. Griffith as Jett, John Dossett as Bawley, Michelle Pawk as Luz, MacKenzie Mauzy as Lil Luz, Bobby Steggert as Jordy Jr., Jon Fletcher as Bobby Jr./Bobby Sr.Performance dates: Oct. 26, 2012-Dec. 16, 2012

What it’s about: Like the classic 1956 film, Giant is an expansive story based on Edna Ferber’s 1952 novel. It begins in 1922, with cattleman Bick marrying Leslie. Also in love with Leslie is Jett, a handyman who discovers oil on his own. The story covers decades of shifting relationships and changing ideals.Why it’s essential: Giant tests the limits of how long a musical can be, clocking in at an impressive three hours and 45 minutes. Originally presented in three acts, Giant may simply be too much for some, but the show’s length aptly reflects the expansiveness of the plot and of the Texas setting. It’s called Giant for a reason.

37. Adding Machine

Adding Machine

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Mark L. Saperstein

Book: Jason Loewith and Joshua SchmidtMusic: Joshua SchmidtLyrics: Jason Loewith and Joshua SchmidtOriginal off-Broadway cast: Cyrilla Baer as Mrs. Zero, Joel Hatch as Mr. Zero, Amy Warren as Daisy Devore, Joe Farrell as Shrdlu, Jeff Still as Boss/Fixer/Charles, Adinah Alexander as Mrs. Two, Niffer Clarke as Mrs. One, Roger E. DeWitt as Mr. Two, Daniel Marcus as Mr. OnePerformance dates: Feb. 25, 2008-July 20, 2008

What it’s about: A musical adaptation of the 1923 Elmer Rice play, an Expressionist classic, Adding Machine is a bit hard to describe. Antihero Mr. Zero learns he has been replaced by an adding machine after 25 years of work, so he kills his boss in revenge. He is tried for murder and hanged — but that’s not the end.Why it’s essential: It’s fitting that an odd Expressionist play would become an odd Expressionist musical. Adding Machine represents the kind of unconventional theater that can find a comfortable home off-Broadway. And the theater community takes notice — the show won the Lucille Ortel Award for Outstanding Musical.

36. A Class Act

A Class Act

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Joan Marcus

Book: Linda Kline and Lonny PriceMusic and lyrics: Edward KlebanOriginal Broadway cast: Lonny Price as Ed, Randy Graff as Sophie, Nancy Anderson as Mona, Jeff Blumenkrantz as Charley, Donna Bullock as Lucy, David Hibbard as Bobby, Patrick Quinn as Lehman, Sara Ramirez as FeliciaPerformance dates: March 11, 2001-June 10, 2001

What it’s about: The semi-autobiographical A Class Act reflects on the life and work of composer-lyricist Edward Kleban by those who knew him. The musical begins with a 1988 memorial service for Kleban, then moves backward in time, showing Kleban’s interactions with friends and colleagues through his music.Why it’s essential: Just as A Chorus Line — for which Kleban wrote the lyrics — offered invaluable insight into the lives of performers, A Class Act is an intimate and revelatory peek behind the curtain. It’s a fascinating study of how an artist’s personal life interferes with his work — and vice versa.

35. Memphis

Memphis

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Paul Kolnik

Book: Joe DiPietroMusic: David BryanLyrics: Joe DiPietro and David BryanOriginal Broadway cast: Chad Kimball as Huey Calhoun, Montego Glover as Felicia Farrell, J. Bernard Calloway as Delray, Derrick Baskin as Gator, James Monroe Iglehart as Bobby, Cass Morgan as Mama/Gladys, Michael McGrath as Mr. SimmonsPerformance dates: Oct. 19, 2009-Aug. 5, 2012

What it’s about: Memphis is inspired by the story of Dewey Phillips, who was one of the first white DJs to play black music in the ’50s. Here, Dewey is reimagined as Huey, who enters the world of underground black clubs in Memphis because he loves the music, and ends up falling for Felicia, against societal conventions.Why it’s important: While Memphis isn’t the first musical to cover similar subject matter, it still offers a different and important take on the relationship between racial segregation and rock ‘n’ roll. What makes the show especially effective is that the music, while recalling the era, is all original to the musical.

34. If/Then

If/Then

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Joan Marcus

Book: Brian YorkeyMusic: Tom KittLyrics: Brian YorkeyOriginal Broadway cast: Idina Menzel as Elizabeth, LaChanze as Kate, Anthony Rapp as Lucas, James Snyder as Josh, Jenn Colella as Anne, Jerry Dixon as Stephen, Jason Tam as DavidPerformance dates: March 30, 2014-

What it’s about: Recently divorced Elizabeth imagines two different paths for herself based on a chance decision — does she go with Kate or Lucas? The show explores both timelines, in which Elizabeth is alternately Liz and Beth, and how her relationships with Kate, Lucas, and a soldier named Josh play out differently.Why it’s essential: Some have criticized If/Then for being messy, but the show’s intricate, complicated nature is the perfect representation of Elizabeth’s life. The dual lives format is a fantastical conceit that’s also grounded in reality, which makes for some heartbreaking moments in a musical that is ultimately life-affirming.

33. [title of show]

[title of show]

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Carol Rosegg

Book: Hunter BellMusic and lyrics: Jeff BowenOriginal Broadway cast: Hunter Bell as Hunter, Susan Blackwell as Susan, Heidi Blickenstaff as Heidi, Jeff Bowen as JeffPerformance dates: July 17, 2008-Oct. 12, 2008

What it’s about: This is what happens when you scramble to write a musical. Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen based [title on show] on… well, writing [title of show]. It’s a musical about the creation of a musical, inspired by the conversations they had as they were struggling to write a new original work.Why it’s essential: Few shows capture the artistic process better than [title of show], which is the definition of a happy accident. Yes, it’s meta and post-modern, but it’s also just a wonderful musical in its own right. It’s an example of creative people getting together to make something new, and stumbling on genius.

32. Jersey Boys

Jersey Boys

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Joan Marcus

Book: Marshall Brickman and Rick EliceMusic: Bob GaudioLyrics: Bob CreweOriginal Broadway cast: Christian Hoff as Tommy DeVito, Daniel Reichard as Bob Gaudio, J. Robert Spencer as Nick Massi, John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli, Tituss Burgess as Hal Miller, Steve Gouveia as Hank Majewski, Peter Gregus as Bob Crewe, Donnie Kehr as Norm Waxman, Michael Longoria as JoeyPerformance dates: Nov. 6, 2005-

What it’s about: In documentary style, Jersey Boys tracks the rise and fall of 1960s rock band the Four Seasons, from their formation and subsequent fame to their eventual break-up. With music by the group, the show covers high points and low points, with band members directly addressing the audience at key moments.Why it’s essential: The jukebox musical gets a bad name, and sometimes that’s warranted — as audiences yearn for more originality on Broadway, it can be disheartening to see shows with recycled music. But Jersey Boys perfected the form. Its structure and stellar performances make it the clear standout of the genre.

31. The Color Purple

The Color Purple

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Paul Kolnik

Book: Marsha NormanMusic and lyrics: Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen BrayOriginal Broadway cast: LaChanze as Celie, Brandon Victor Dixon as Harpo, Felicia P. Fields as Sofia, Reneé Elise Goldsberry as Nettie, Kingsley Leggs as Mister, Krisha Marcano as Squeak, Elisabeth Withers-Mendes as Shug Avery, James Brown III as BobbyPerformance dates: Dec. 1, 2005-Feb. 24, 2008

What it’s about: Based on the novel of the same name by Alice Walker, The Color Purple follows sisters Celie and Nettie over the course of four decades in rural Georgia at the first half of the 20th century. Forcefully separated and kept apart, Celie and Nettie struggle to reunite and survive their circumstances.Why it’s essential: As when the novel The Color Purple was released in 1982, the themes of the musical remain timeless. The shocking depictions of racism and sexism perpetuated against the subjugated sisters are harrowing but necessary, and the overall experience is aided by a gorgeous score that made LaChanze a star.

30. Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens

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Joan Marcus

Book: Doug WrightMusic: Scott FrankelLyrics: Michael KorieOriginal Broadway cast: Christine Ebersole as ”Little” Edie Beale/Edith Bouvier Beale, Mary Louise Wilson as Edith Bouvier Beale, Matt Cavenaugh as Joseph Patrick Kennedy/Jerry, Jr., Erin Davie as Young “Little” Edie Beale, Kelsey Fowler as Lee Bouvier, Sarah Hyland as Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier, John McMartin as J.V. “Major” Bouvier/Norman Vincent Peale, Michael Potts as Brooks, Sr./Brooks, Jr., Bob Stillman as George Gould StrongPerformance dates: Nov. 2, 2006-July 29, 2007

What it’s about: The first act of Grey Gardens shows Little Edie and Big Edie when they were younger and rich, before their lives fell into disrepair. The second act is based on the classic documentary Grey Gardens, in which an older Little Edie and Big Edie live an isolated existence in a dilapidated mansion.Why it’s essential: Another musical based on a movie, Grey Gardens significantly expands on the 1975 documentary by offering an imagined glimpse at life for its protagonists before everything went to shit. It makes the more familiar second act all the more heart-rending, creating valuable context where once there was none.

29. Billy Elliot the Musical

Billy Elliot the Musical

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Joan Marcus

Book: Lee HallMusic: Elton JohnLyrics: Lee HallOriginal Broadway cast: David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish as Billy Elliot, Santino Fontana as Tony, Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Gregory Jbara as Dad, Carole Shelley as GrandmaPerformance dates: Nov. 13, 2008-Jan. 8, 2012

What it’s about: As in the 2000 film, Billy Elliot finds himself more drawn to ballet than to wrestling — against his father’s wishes. But Billy finds solace in dance and lessons from Mrs. Wilkinson, even as the world around him is in turmoil. The musical takes place during the U.K. coal miners’ strike that lasted from 1984 to 1985.Why it’s essential: Cute kids aren’t always what you want to see front and center in a musical, but the tremendous dancing by the young actors of Billy Elliot transcends any doubts even the most curmudgeonly audience members might have. And the show’s concerns about masculinity, which should be dated, are still contentious.

28. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

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Joan Marcus

Book: Alex TimbersMusic and lyrics: Michael FriedmanOriginal Broadway cast: Benjamin Walker as Andrew Jackson, Kristine Nielsen as The Storyteller, James Barry as Male Soloist, Darren Goldstein as Calhoun, Greg Hildreth as Red Eagle, Jeff Hiller as John Quincy Adams, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Van Buren, Cameron Ocasio as Lyncoya, Bryce Pinkham as Clay, Maria Elena Ramirez as Rachel, Ben Steinfeld as MonroePerformance dates: Oct. 13, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011

What it’s about: Part rock musical, part history, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is about the founding of the Democratic Party in 1828. The show covers the eponymous U.S. president’s life and work, in particular the rise of populism, the Indian Removal Act, and Jackson’s relationship with his wife Rachel.Why it’s essential: Like other rock musicals, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is relentlessly energetic, which only underscores the serious issues it addresses. Despite the fact that its politics are firmly rooted in the 1800s, they’re relevant to a modern-day populace, a stirring reminder that the more things change…

27. Newsies

Newsies

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Deen van Meer

Book: Harvey FiersteinMusic: Alan MenkenLyrics: Jack FeldmanOriginal Broadway cast: John Dossett as Joseph Pulitzer, Ben Fankhauser as Davey, Lewis Grosso and Matthew Schechter as Les, Capathia Jenkins as Medda Larkin, Jeremy Jordan as Jack Kelly, Andrew Keenan-Bolger as Crutchie, Kara Lindsay as KatherinePerformance dates: March 29, 2012-

What it’s about: Based on the 1992 Disney film — and the true events that inspired it — Newsies is about the titular young men, largely orphaned and homeless, who hock newspapers on the street. When the price of papers is raised 10 cents by the greedy Joseph Pulitzer, Jack inspires his fellow newsies to protest.Why it’s essential: Say what you will about the Disney musical — Newsies shows what Disney gets right. The inspiring story and infectious music is as delightful here as it was in the original film, appealing to young audience members and the young at heart, like any good Disney production should.

26. Curtains

Curtains

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Joan Marcus

Book: Rupert HolmesMusic: John KanderLyrics: Fred EbbOriginal Broadway cast: Debra Monk as Carmen Bernstein, David Hyde Pierce as Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, John Bolton as Daryl Grady, Jason Danieley as Aaron Fox, Edward Hibbert as Christopher Belling, Michael X. Martin as Johnny Harmon, Michael McCormick as Oscar Shapiro, Jill Paice as Niki Harris, Noah Racey as Bobby Pepper, Ernie Sabella as Sidney Bernstein, Megan Sikora as Bambi Bernét, Karen Ziemba as Georgia HendricksPerformance dates: March 22, 2007-June 29, 2008

What it’s about: In 1959 Boston, the untalented star of Robbin’ Hood of the Old West is murdered during the opening night curtain call. Enter Lieutenant Cioffi, who in addition to his detective skills is also a fan of musical theater. Cioffi has to solve the case and save the show, and he’s got a murderer on his tail.Why it’s essential: Curtains may not be up there with Chicago and Cabaret, Kander and Ebb’s most famous works, but it’s an engaging and hilarious mystery that perfectly satirizes a very specific genre, the backstage murder mystery. More than that, it’s also a love letter to classic musical theater.

25. The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County

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Joan Marcus

Book: Marsha NormanMusic and lyrics: Jason Robert BrownOriginal Broadway cast: Kelli O’Hara as Francesca, Steven Pasquale as Robert, Whitney Bashor as Marian, Hunter Foster as Bud, Caitlin Kinnunen as Carolyn, Derek Klena as Michael, Michael X. Martin as Charlie, Cass Morgan as MargePerformance dates: Feb. 20, 2014-May 18, 2014

What it’s about: In 1965, disaffected housewife Francesca contemplates her life in Iowa, far away from her home in Italy. With her husband and kids away at the State Fair, Francesca meets National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid, and the two embark on a passionate but short-lived affair that ends in heartbreak.Why it’s essential: The fact that The Bridges of Madison County didn’t earn a Tony nomination for Best Musical is a travesty, made all the more tragic because the show was forced to close early. It’s a beautiful, haunting show, with a rich score by Jason Robert Brown, and stunning performances by Kelli O’Hara and Steven Pasquale.

24. Urinetown

Urinetown

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Joan Marcus

Book: Greg KotisMusic: Mark HollmannLyrics: Mark Hollmann and Greg KotisOriginal Broadway cast: Hunter Foster as Bobby Strong, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Hope Cladwell, Nancy Opel as Penelope Pennywise, John Cullum as Caldwell B. Cladwell, Spencer Kayden as Little Sally, Jeff McCarthy as Officer Lockstock, Daniel Marcus as Officer Barrel, John Deyle as Senator Fipp, David Beach as Mr. McQueenPerformance dates: Sep. 20, 2001-Jan. 18, 2004

What it’s about: In the dark world of Urinetown, a 20-year drought has made private toilets a thing of the past. Now all bathrooms are public and controlled by a megacorporation, which forces people to pay for the privilege of peeing. Charismatic Bobby Strong leads his fellow citizens in a revolution — with mixed results.Why it’s essential: Part of what makes Urinetown such a funny show is how unexpected it is. The musical repeatedly subverts expectations to darkly comedic effect, parodying far more serious works like Les Misérables and reminding audiences that not all musical comedy has a happy ending.

23. The Producers

The Producers

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Paul Kolnik

Book: Mel Brooks and Thomas MeehanMusic and lyrics: Mel BrooksOriginal Broadway cast: Matthew Broderick as Leo Bloom, Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock, Roger Bart as Carmen Ghia, Gary Beach as Roger De Bris, Cady Huffman as Ulla, Brad Oscar as Franz LiebkindPerformance dates: April 19, 2001-April 22, 2007

What it’s about: Adapted by Mel Brooks from his 1968 film, the titular producers are Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom, who conspire to dupe investors by purposely making a Broadway flop. Their plan backfires when Springtime for Hitler, despite being an offensive disaster on paper, is celebrated as a hilarious comedy.Why it’s essential: Despite being based on a 30-year-old film, The Producers breathed new life into musical comedy. The book is sharp and relentlessly entertaining, but it’s also full of great musical numbers, “Springtime for Hitler” being the obvious standout. The Producers paved the way for more great shows like it.

22. Aida

Aida

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Joan Marcus

Book: Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry HwangMusic: Elton JohnLyrics: Tim RiceOriginal Broadway cast: Heather Headley as Aida, Adam Pascal as Radames, Sherie Rene Scott as Amneris, Tyrees Allen as Amonasro, John Hickok as Zoser, Daniel Oreskes as Pharaoh, Damian Perkins as MerebPerformance dates: March 23, 2000-Sep. 5, 2004

What it’s about: In this musical based on the Giuseppe Verdi opera, Radames, who is next in line to become Pharaoh, falls for a captured Nubian slave named Aida, who is secretly a princess. Their forbidden love is complicated by Radames’ intended bride Amneris and Aida’s true identity, culminating in a tragic ending to their affair.Why it’s essential: It’s hard to imagine that Aida was once intended to be adapted as a Disney film — the elements are still there (Elton John and Tim Rice), but it’s a heavy, depressing love story. In addition to its undeniable power, Aida is significant for the way it blurs the lines between musical and opera.

21. Passing Strange

Passing Strange

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Sundance Selects

Book: StewMusic: Stew and Heidi RodewaldLyrics: StewOriginal Broadway cast: De’Adre Aziza as Edwina/Marianna/Sudabey, Daniel Breaker as Youth, Eisa Davis as Mother, Colman Domingo as Franklin/Joop/Mr. Venus, Chad Goodridge as Terry/Christophe/Hugo, Rebecca Naomi Jones as Sherry/Renata/Desi, Stew as NarratorPerformance dates: Feb. 28, 2008-July 20, 2008

What it’s about: The unnamed Youth, a black man from South Central Los Angeles, rebels against his mother and his religious upbringing. He embarks on a journey to find “the real,” traveling across Europe and exploring different genres of music, including rock, jazz, gospel, and punk, in order to find himself.Why it’s essential: Like other great rock musicals, the thrill of Passing Strange is that its creator Stew had no theatrical background. The result is something truly original, informed not by other musicals but by Stew’s background as a rock ‘n’ roll performer. This is a rare reflection of a thoroughly unique new voice.

20. Fela!

Fela!

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Tristram Kenton

Book: Jim Lewis and Bill T. JonesMusic and lyrics: Fela Anikulapo-KutiOriginal Broadway cast: Kevin Mambo and Sahr Ngaujah as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Saycon Sengbloh as Sandra, Lillias White as Funmilayo, Ismael Kouyaté as African Chanter/Geraldo Piño/Braiman/Orisha, Gelan Lambert as J.K. Braiman/Tap Dancer/EgungunPerformance dates: Nov. 23, 2009-Jan. 2, 2011

What it’s about: In the ’70s, Fela Kuti was an influential performer and composer in Nigeria. The musical is based on real events, when government soldiers were assigned to end Fela’s public performances at the Shrine nightclub. Fela becomes involved with opposition, balancing his quest for fame and his desire for civil rights.Why it’s essential: Calling Fela! a jukebox musical feels misleading — yes, the music here comes from the work of the show’s subject, Fela Kuti. But the appeal of Fela! is in its breathless, colorful performances — so intensely physical that two actors played the eponymous musician and alternated performances.

19. The Wild Party

The Wild Party

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Carol Rosegg

Book: Michael John LaChiusa and George C. WolfeMusic and lyrics: Michael John LaChiusaOriginal Broadway cast: Yancey Arias as Black, Toni Collette as Queenie, Nathan Lee Graham as Phil D’Armano, Adam Grupper as Gold, Leah Hocking as Mae, Eartha Kitt as Dolores, Marc Kudisch as Jackie, Norm Lewis as Eddie Mackrel, Michael McElroy as Oscar D’Armano, Brooke Sunny Moriber as Nadine, Sally Murphy as Sally, Mandy Patinkin as Burrs, Tonya Pinkins as Kate, Jane Summerhays as Miss Madelaine True, Stuart Zagnit as GoldbergPerformance dates: April 13, 2000-June 11, 2000

What it’s about: Based on the 1928 narrative poem, The Wild Party is presented as a series of vaudeville sketches reflecting the setting, a swinging ’20s party hosted by Queenie and Burrs, whose relationship is collapsing. The eclectic cast of characters include a fading star, a black prizefighter, a morphine addict, and a gay couple.Why it’s essential: Timing for The Wild Party was a little odd — there’s another Wild Party musical, based on the same narrative poem, that emerged off-Broadway during the same season. Fans of both continue to debate which is better, but LaChiusa’s offers a richer cast of characters and steamy interactions.

18. Tick, Tick… Boom!

Tick, Tick... Boom!

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Carol Rosegg

Book Jonathan Larson and David AuburnMusic and lyrics: Jonathan LarsonOriginal off-Broadway cast: Raúl Esparza as Jon, Jerry Dixon as Michael, Amy Spanger as SusanPerformance dates: May 23, 2001-Jan. 6, 2002

What it’s about: In this autobiographical musical first conceived as a one-man show, Jon approaches his 30th birthday with anxiety over his failure to succeed as a composer. Meanwhile, he struggles with commitment to his girlfriend Susan, who wants a more stable life, and Jon’s best friend Michael learns that he’s HIV-positive.Why it’s essential: While not the instant classic that Rent was, Jonathan Larson’s other major work is a far more personal look at the struggles that led him to write the iconic 1994 musical. The knowledge that Larson died before he could see the extent of his success adds another level of melancholy to Tick, Tick… Boom!

17. In the Heights

In the Heights

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Joan Marcus

Book: Quiara Alegría HudesMusic and lyrics: Lin-Manuel MirandaOriginal Broadway cast: Seth Stewart as Graffiti Pete, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Usnavi, Eliseo Román as Piragua Guy, Olga Merediz as Abuela Claudia, Janet Dacal as Carla, Andréa Burns as Daniela, Carlos Gomez as Kevin, Priscilla Lopez as Camila, Robin de Jesús as Sonny, Christopher Jackson as Benny, Karen Olivo as Vanessa, Mandy Gonzalez as NinaPerformance dates: March 9, 2008-Jan. 9, 2011

What it’s about: In the Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City, Usnavi, the owner of a small bodega, narrates the events happening around him. The cast of characters include matriarch Abuela Claudia, Usnavi’s love interest Vanessa, recent Stanford drop-out Nina, and gringo Benny.Why it’s essential: Before In the Heights, musical theater hadn’t dived into the Dominican-American cultural experience. This is a story about people who don’t often see themselves represented on stage (or on film and TV, for that matter), and the music — rap and salsa — is long overdue for a Broadway presence.

16. Hairspray

Hairspray

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Paul Kolnik

Book: Mark O’Donnell and Thomas MeehanMusic: Marc ShaimanLyrics: Scott Wittman and Marc ShaimanOriginal Broadway cast: Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, Laura Bell Bundy as Amber Von Tussle, Kerry Butler as Penny Pingleton, Mary Bond Davis as Motormouth Maybelle, Linda Hart as Velma Von Tussle, Dick Latessa as Wilbur Turnblad, Matthew Morrison as Link Larkin, Corey Reynolds as Seaweed J. Stubbs, Clarke Thorell as Corny Collins, Danelle Eugenia Wilson as Little InezPerformance dates: Aug. 15, 2002-Jan. 4, 2009

What it’s about: As in the 1988 John Waters film, Hairspray is about Tracy Turnblad, an overweight teenager who dreams of dancing on The Corny Collins Show and win the heart of Link Larkin in 1962 Baltimore. When she does finally make it onto the show, she shakes things up by taking a stand for racial integration.Why it’s essential: John Waters on Broadway could have gone a lot of ways, but Hairspray is pretty darn wholesome — Pink Flamingos this is not. And yet, it’s just the right amount of edgy mixed with bubble-gum colors and tunes that evoke the best of ’60s pop music. Harvey Fierstein’s Edna remains one of his finest performances.

15. Here Lies Love

Here Lies Love

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Joan Marcus

Book: David ByrneMusic: David Byrne and Fatboy SlimLyrics: David ByrneOriginal off-Broadway cast: Melody Butiu as Estrella, Jose Llana as Marcos, Ruthie Ann Miles as Imelda, Conrad Ricamora as Aquino, Kelvin Moon Loh as D. J.Performance dates: April 24, 2013-July 28, 2013 (but now running again)

What it’s about: What began as a concept album became a rock musical, detailing the life of Imelda Marcos, the former First Lady of the Philippines — from her early life, raised by Estrella Cumpas, to her career as a singer and model, and finally to the moment she and her family were forced to leave the country.Why it’s essential: Some of the best theatrical experiences are the oddest on paper. The parts of Here Lies Love are strange: It began as a concept album, it’s about Imelda Marcos, Fatboy Slim is involved. But it all comes together to create a breathtaking, immersive production helmed by the incomparable Alex Timbers.

14. Fun Home

Fun Home

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Joan Marcus

Book: Lisa KronMusic: Jeanine TesoriLyrics: Lisa KronOriginal off-Broadway cast: Beth Malone as Alison Bechdel, Michael Cerveris as Bruce Bechdel, Judy Kuhn as Helen Bechdel, Sydney Lucas as Small Alison, Alexandra Socha as Medium Alison, Griffin Birney as Christian Bechdel, Noah Hinsdale as John Bechdel, Roberta Colindrez as Joan, Joel Perez as Roy/Pete/Bobby JeremyPerformance dates: Oct. 22, 2013-Jan. 12, 2014

What it’s about: Based on Alison Bechdel’s autobiographical graphic novel, Fun Home explores Alison’s relationship with her father Bruce over the years. Presented in non-linear format, the show covers Alison’s discovery of her sexuality and coming out, as well as her father’s hidden sexuality and eventual suicide.Why it’s essential: Like the graphic novel on which it’s based, Fun Home is a heartbreaking musical. Even those who have criticized elements of the show acknowledge its impressive emotional core and the effect it has had on audiences. It was a highly personal story for Bechdel to share, and that intimacy remains.

13. The Drowsy Chaperone

The Drowsy Chaperone

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Joan Marcus

Book: Bob Martin and Don McKellarMusic and lyrics: Lisa Lambert and Greg MorrisonOriginal Broadway cast: Danny Burstein as Aldolpho, Georgia Engel as Mrs. Tottendale, Sutton Foster as Janet Van De Graaff, Edward Hibbert as Underling, Troy Britton Johnson as Robert Martin, Eddie Korbich as George, Jason Kravits as Gangster #1, Garth Kravits as Gangster #2, Beth Leavel as the Drowsy Chaperone, Kecia Lewis-Evans as Trix, Bob Martin as Man in Chair, Jennifer Smith as Kitty, Lenny Wolpe as FeldziegPerformance dates: May 1, 2006-Dec. 30, 2007

What it’s about: The Drowsy Chaperone is the name of the musical, but it’s also the musical within the musical. The Man in the Chair, a Broadway enthusiast, plays one of his favorite records, The Drowsy Chaperone, and relives the classic (fake) 1920s musical comedy, complete with a wedding and gangsters in disguise.Why it’s essential: There are plenty of other self-referential musicals out there, but there’s something truly special about The Drowsy Chaperone. The book is consistently clever, giving just enough insight into the agoraphobic Man in the Chair. The musical within the musical is both a perfect parody and delightful in its own right.

12. The Full Monty

The Full Monty

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Alastair Muir

Book: Terrence McNallyMusic and lyrics: David YazbekOriginal Broadway cast: Patrick Wilson as Jerry Lukowski, John Ellison Conlee as Dave Bukatinsky, Jason Danieley as Malcolm MacGregor, Romain Frugé as Ethan Girard, Annie Golden as Georgie Bukatinsky, Marcus Neville as Harold Nichols, Emily Skinner as Vicki Nichols, André De Shields as Horse, Lisa Datz as Pam Lukowski, Kathleen Freeman as Jeanette BurmeisterPerformance dates: Oct. 26, 2000-Sep. 1, 2002

What it’s about: The Full Monty is inspired by the 1997 film but Americanized — here, unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo decide to make money by performing a strip act. Because they’re not as in shape as the Chippendales dancers their wives love, they decide to distinguish themselves by ending with full nudity.Why it’s essential: It’s hard to believe that a musical about out-of-work (and out-of-shape) steelworkers who decide to become strippers would be as stirring and poignant as The Full Monty is. That’s not to take away from the fun of the show, which is a given, but the

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/louispeitzman/best-musicals-since-2000

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NFL football is played in real life, too.

Image: Ross D. Franklin)/Associated Press

There is one one surefire tip to make this NFL season your best, most enjoyable and most successful fantasy football year yet.

That secret is: Don’t. Just don’t.

But unless you’re a fellow football Luddite, this advice falls on deaf ears. You probably have a fantasy draft coming up this week; hell, maybe it already happened. Maybe you got Aaron Rodgers. Congratulations.

This ship has sailed, ufortunately. Fantasy football isn’t just an offshoot of the NFL; for some it is the NFL. It has entire magazines devoted to it. It’s vehemently debated on cable TV segments. It has its own channel.

“Five years ago the very idea of this channel would have been mocked,” Will Leitch recently wrote for Sports on Earth about fantasy football’s boom during his lifetime. “Now it has the Manning brothers rapping about it.”

That Manning brothers rap, which is an ad for yes, that channel we mentioned above, has been viewed more than 3.5 million times in two weeks online.

Still, not all of us are cool with this. Our numbers dwindle by the year, but viva la resistance.

The problem with fantasy football is that it’s the the most egregious example of alienation from our collective sports-fan species-being, to paraphrase noted NFL nut Karl Marx. March Madness brackets have a similar effect, but at least only last for a few weeks.

“Once the NFL and the networks realized just how much more people were watching their games for fantasy (and gambling of course) than for the beauty of a well-orchestrated counter trap lead, the game of football took a backseat,” writes Leitch of the graphics and fantasy references that inundate NFL-related media of all stripes nowadays.

Indeed, this question may have already been answered when it comes to NFL football:

Numbers-centric media overload isn’t the only way fantasy has changed the entire experience of being an NFL fan. It’s also changed because of what fantasy does to people — many of them, anyway.

For these people, some of them dear friends of mine, the game is no longer just about that astounding, contorting catch for a touchdown while being trash-compacted by two safeties. No, what’s important is whether they “own” the guy who caught it or he scored against “their” defense.

Epic comebacks, mind-bending feats of athleticism and displays of sporting greatness are what should be celebrated, not how many points you racked up in your weekend fantasy matchup. Telling sign: No one cares if “your” savvy free-agent pickup scores — not even people in your own league, unless you’re matched up against them.

You might argue that fantasy lets you get into games you’d otherwise have no interest in. But if your only interest in said game is counting digital beans in front of a screen, then my advice is to go outside and get some fresh air.

But hey, perverting the very basis of sports fandom and becoming more alienated from your true human self is totally your prerogative — just don’t ruin it for the rest of us. This isn’t a call for an all-out boycott — just a reminder that, like other addictive substances, fantasy football must be enjoyed responsibly and with cognizance of those around you.

If you’re in the ever-growing zombie army of the fantasy-deluded, here are two simple things you can do to keep from tainting the NFL experience for the rest of us.

Sherm

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of many players who seem non-plussed about fantasy football’s role in the modern NFL.

Image: John Froschauer/Associated Press

  1. Don’t get super-pumped when someone from a random team who’s on your fantasy squad makes a half-decent play. Your fist-pumps and exaltations of digital points make the couch feel harder and the beer taste warmer.
  2. Don’t pull for a random team simply because you “own” their defense or some key player. Doing so means rooting against another, perhaps more deserving, likable or aesthetically pleasing team — an act that corrodes your sports-fan soul.

See? Two things. It’s that easy — at least it should be.

But this is a losing battle; the bots have already consumed us. There’s that TV channel, remember? And NFL star Richard Sherman recently implied that fantasy is impacting how actual games are officiated. So if you’re going to play, fine — just keep it to yourself, stifle those spasmodic, self-absorbed yelps and don’t forget your analog-fan brethren.

OK, now get off my lawn.

BONUS: The Rookie’s Guide to Fantasy Football

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/08/25/fantasy-football-please-enjoy-resonsibly/

Have you ever been out for dinner and been confused by the number of knives and forks? Don’t know what to do with that napkin? This is a list of the top 10 tips to help you get by if you are invited to a fine dining experience. The rules may vary from place to place but this should serve as a good guide.

1. Knives and Forks

Queen Mary 2 Queens Grill Place Setting

This is one of the most common problems for people that are used to flatware (knives and forks) being brought to the table with each course. On a properly set table you usually see a series of forks on the left side of your plate, and a series of spoons and knives on your right (the table is always set for right handed people). The very simple rule is to always work from the outside in; the cutlery farthest away from your plate is for the first course. If you are still unsure what to do, wait and follow your hostess or host.

Always take small portions of food at a time and put your cutlery down between each mouthful. When you put your cutlery down, place it on the plate (never back on the table and do not rest it half on and half off the plate); cross the tips of the two pieces (if there are two) or angle it if there is just one. This tells the server that you are not finished. When you are finished, place your knife and fork together in the centre of the plate vertically. The tines of the fork should point up and the blade of the knife should point to the centre towards the fork.

You should always hold both your knife and fork – you should not cut your food up at the start and then use your fork only (this is an American tradition and is generally fine in America, but not in Europe). The tines of your fork should always point down toward the plate – for difficult foods like peas, you should use your knife to squash them onto the tip of the fork. The fork is not a scoop, do not use it like one.

Do not pick up any cutlery that you drop to the floor. It will be replaced by the server.

2. Soup and Pudding

Pudding

Soup spoons generally come in two shapes – one is shaped like a round bowl, and the other is shaped like an egg. When eating soup the soup bowl must stay on the table. It is never acceptable to drink your soup from the bowl. To eat your soup, push your spoon away from you starting at the centre of the bowl to the farthest edge. Bring the spoon to your mouth and drink the soup from the edge – do not put the whole spoon in to your mouth. Do not slurp.

Pudding is not to be confused with dessert – they are two entirely separate courses though one can take the place of the other. Pudding is a sweet course, whereas dessert is usually fruit or cheese. To eat pudding you are usually given both a fork and a spoon. The pudding spoon is held in the same way as your knife, with the bowl of the spoon facing inwards, and (for right handed people) is held in the right hand. The pudding fork is used as a pusher only. You do not put a pudding fork in to your mouth. Using the fork, push a small portion of your pudding on to the angled spoon. As you lift the spoon to your mouth, tilt it a little so the bowl is now facing upwards. When you have finished eating, the same rules apply here for placing your cutlery back on the plate.

Occasionally the pudding fork and spoon will be found directly above your plate, rather than in the cutlery at the side.

3. Napkins

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A napkin is used for one thing only – dabbing the mouth. Never wipe your mouth with a napkin, you should always dab. Your napkin should be unfolded and placed on your knees. It is never acceptable to tuck your napkin in to the front of your shirt or dress. In ancient times this was normal, nowadays it is the height of vulgarity.

If, for some urgent reason, you must leave the table before you have finished, you should place your napkin on your seat (after you have asked your hostess to excuse you). This tells the server that you plan to return. When you are ready to sit down again, simply replace the napkin upon your knee.

If your napkin drops to the floor, it is acceptable for you to pick it up unless the house has a butler or servants near the table. In those cases they will remove the fallen napkin and replace it with a fresh one. Never place anything in your napkin (especially not food).

When you have finished eating, the napkin should be placed tidily (but not refolded) to the left side of your plate (but not on your plate).

4. Glasses and Wine

Wine Glasses1

Normally you will have two or more glasses at the table. Your glasses are on the right upper side of your plate. You can have up to four glasses. They are usually arranged in a diagonal or roughly square pattern. The top left glass is for red wine. It will usually have a fairly large bowl. Directly below that you will find the white wine glass, that will be smaller. At the top right you will find a champagne glass or perhaps a smaller glass for dessert wines or port. on the bottom right is your water glass.

If someone offers a toast to you, you remain seated while the others may stand. Never raise a glass to yourself. You should never touch glasses with other guests when toasting – it is enough to raise the glass in their direction. Keep eye contact when toasting. If you wish to raise a toast, never tap the side of your glass with a utensil, it is the height of rudeness and you could damage very expensive glassware. It is sufficient to clear your throat.

Do not gulp your wine. It is impolite to become drunk in front of the other guests or your hosts. Sip quietly and occasionally. The purpose of the wine at dinner is to complement your food, not to help you along to way to drunkenness. If your server is refilling your glass, you should never place your hand over or near the glass to indicate when you have enough. You should simply tell the server that you have sufficient or tell him prior to pouring that you do not wish to have any more. Never hold the glass for the server to pour your wine.

5. Body and seating

Cards-1-Iso-6-400

There will usually be a seating plan near the door of the dining room, or place cards on the table. If neither exist, wait to be seated by your hostess. There are strict rules as to whom sits where at the table and it would be extremely embarrassing if you had to be asked to move, both for you and your hostess. Remember, the hostess governs the table, not the host. The host will sit at the head of the table (this is normally the seat farthest away from doors or commotion. To his right sits the wife of the guest of honour and to his left sits the wife of the next gentleman in order of importance. The hostess will have the guest of honour on her right, and the second most important gentleman on her left. The remainder of the seating plan can often be arbitrary but will always alternate based on gender.

When you are seated at the table your feet should be firmly planted on the floor in front of you. Do not cross your legs, do not lean back on your chair, and do not shake your feet. Your elbows should be at your side at all times. Sit upright and do not lean over your plate when you are eating; bring your food to your mouth.

In England, the correct behaviour is to keep your hands on your lap when you are not using them. In France the rule is to keep your hands above the table at all times. You may place them on the edge of the table but you must never put your elbows on the table.

6. Food in General

Fine-Dining-Restaurants-Kw

You must not start eating until everyone has been served. If there are a large number of guests, the hostess may indicate that you may begin before everyone is served. If this is the case, you should begin. If you take a mouthful which contains something you cannot swallow, you should excuse yourself and remove it in privacy. Absolutely do not do so at the table table and never place it in your napkin or on your plate for all to see.

If you are eating something that has stones or pips in it, you may use your forefinger and thumb to remove them from your mouth. Place them on the side of your plate. You must never use a toothpick at the table, nor should you blow your nose. If you have something stuck in your teeth that you must remove, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom to remove it. It is also acceptable to remove bones with your fingers.

Do not salt your meal before you have tasted it; it is an insult to your hostess. If you do need salt, use the tip of a clean knife (if a salt spoon is not provided in the salt dish) to transfer some salt to the side of your plate which you can use for dipping.

Small pre-dinner snacks must always touch your plate before being put in the mouth. Do not take it from the serving tray and put it straight in your mouth.

7. Bread

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If you are having bread with your meal there will usually be a small side plate on the left hand side (or above your left left hand cutlery) of your place setting; if so, use it. If not, it is perfectly acceptable to place your bread directly on the table to the left of your plate. You should not put the bread on your plate directly.

Bread should never be cut. When you wish to eat it, tear a bite sized piece off with your fingers. Don’t worry about crumbs if there are no side plates – the servers will sweep each setting between courses if needs be. Normally there should never be butter served at a dinner table, but these days it is seen from time to time. If there is butter, use your butter knife (found either on the bread plate or to the extreme right of your setting) and transfer sufficient butter for your bread in one go. Place it on the side of your side plate. If there is no side plate your hostess should ensure that you have your own individual butter dish. You should butter each piece of bread as you eat it, rather than buttering it all up front.

8. Conversation

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Unless you know every guest at the table very well, you should not discuss politics, religion, or sex at the table. You should also avoid any controversial subjects that may fall outside of the scope of those three topics. Dinner is meant to be enjoyed, not to be a forum for debate.

You should give equal time to the person sitting on your left and your right. It can be difficult to talk easily with strangers but it is absolutely imperative that you do so that everyone can join in on the conversation. This is such a strict rule that I know of a lady of high standing who was seated next to her greatest enemy. In order to comply with the rule, she simply recited the alphabet to him the whole time. Having said that, I would not recommend this behaviour at all as it implies another kind of rudeness.

Do not yell to the ends of the table. You should speak in low tones but you do not have to act like you are in Church or a Public Library – dinner is meant to be enjoyed and the conversation is a fundamental part of that. If you are not very confident with speaking to others, a good rule of thumb is to ask the person questions about themselves (never personal questions). Everyone loves to speak about himself and this will also make you appear to be a good listener.

9. Difficult Foods

Artichoke1

Some foods can be difficult to eat. This is how you should do so:

Artichokes: using your fingers break of one leaf at a time. Holding the spiny end, dip the base in your dish of melted butter or sauce and suck out the fleshy interior with your teeth. Place the remains on your place. Once you reach the soft centre called the heart, use a knife and fork to eat it as you would a steak.

Asparagus: Pick up each stem with your left hand and dip the tip in the butter or sauce. Eat it one bite at a time, never put the whole stalk in your mouth. If you are left with a hard base, you may discard it on your plate. The thick white variety sometimes seen in Europe should always be eaten with a knife and fork, never with your fingers.

Cheese: Small round cheese must always be cut in small pie-shaped wedges. Larger cheeses that have already been cut into a large should be cut from the pointy end first (this is called the nose).

Escargots: These snails are usually served with a special gripping tool and a small fork. Grip the snail shell with the gripper and use the fork to turn the meat out.

Fruit: If a dessert course is served, you will probably have a dessert fork and knife. You should use these on larger pieces of fruit.

10. General Dont’s

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Don’t make a fuss. If you don’t like something, leave it.

Don’t blow on hot food to cool it down. Wait for it to cool itself.

Don’t smoke at the table unless invited to by the hostess.

Don’t photograph the table, it looks desperate.

Don’t move your plate after your meal has been served.

Don’t treat the servers badly. It makes you look common.

Don’t eat chicken or chops with your fingers.

Don’t point with your cutlery.

Don’t hold your fork while you drink your wine.

Don’t overstay your welcome

Finally, be sure to say thank you to your host before leaving and send a letter of thanks the next day (if you are lucky you will be invited back).

Bon appetite!

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Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/08/14/top-10-rules-for-fine-dining/

The world is full of unexplained events and discoveries. People are, naturally, intrigued by unknown occurrences and controversial subjects. The current rise in technological advancement and DNA testing has raised questions in the field of archeology and world history. In many cases, these discoveries have been documented, but information surrounding the artifacts or historical event is hidden behind a wall of mystery. This article will be examining ten historical, theoretical and scientific questions that will make you think. The answers to most of these questions are supported by some scientific research, theory and historical documentation, while others are largely rhetorical. This list is longer than the usual but, as you will see, it really benefits from the extra information.

Nugget  154 A Keseberg Donner Party Cannibal-1

The question: What did Louis Keseberg do?

On April 14, 1846, a group of pioneers known as the Donner Party began their voyage to relocate from the U.S. state of Illinois to California. The trip covered 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers) over the Great Plains, two mountain ranges and the deserts of the Great Basin. The voyage took between four and six months, but the Donner Party was slowed because they decided to follow a new route called Hastings Cutoff. The group was told that Hastings Cutoff was a shortcut, but, in fact, it was a longer and more treacherous path. Ultimately, 87 people made the journey through the cutoff, which crossed Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake Desert. In all, 37 of the pioneers were members of the Reed and Donner families, while German emigrants Louis and Philippine Keseberg were also traveling with the group.

During the voyage, many of the pioneers documented their daily activities. Louis Keseberg was frequently mentioned in these journals. The connotation surrounding his activates was almost always negative. Louis Keseberg was routinely confronted for abusing his wife and children. Keseberg’s behavior was suspicious to the other travelers and he was regularly accused of theft, malingering and murder. In fact, the Donner Party journals are full of animosity, violent events and war.

After intense snow storms struck the Donner Party, it soon became evident that the group was not going to make it over the mountains before winter. To fend off the cold, all of the families built shelters in the area surrounding Truckee Lake and Alder Creek. By December 13, there was 8 feet (2.4 m) of snow. By the middle of January, most of the group’s food was gone and all that remained was dead human bodies. To stay alive, certain members of the Donner Party began to eat each other. Human bodies were labeled with the names of the deceased and the area became a “Cannibal Camp.”

On February 18, a seven-man rescue party scaled Frémont Pass and reached the Donner camps, which by this time were completely buried in snow. “The first two members of the relief party to enter the camp saw Trudeau carrying a human leg. When they made their presence known, he threw it into a hole with other dismembered bodies.” Twenty-three people were chosen and taken by the rescuers, but the pioneers were weak and some died on the long voyage to California. Dozens of people remained at the Truckee Lake and Alder Creek camp sites. One of these individuals was Louis Keseberg. Little is known about what Keseberg did during this time, but claims have been made that he became a predator.

The final rescue party didn’t reach the camp until April 21, 1847. When they arrived, Louis Keseberg was the only survivor. He was surrounded by dismembered bodies, gallons of blood, and had a fresh pot of human flesh over the fire. The men also found George Donner’s pistols, jewelry and $250 in gold in Keseberg’s cabin. The rescue group threatened to lynch Louis Keseberg, but he was ultimately taken to California. Upon return, Keseberg sued Ned Coffeemeyer for slander and for allegedly spreading stories about his deeds at the Donner camps. Keseberg won his case, but was awarded only $1 in damages. This was evidently all the judicial system felt his reputation was worth. During his lifetime, Louis Keseberg saw over ten of his children die in a number of different ways.

Grapefruit-Juice-Diet

The question: Why Should You Avoid Grapefruit Juice When Taking Certain Drugs?

Many people don’t realize that grapefruit and grapefruit juice has the potential to negatively interact with many drugs and prescribed medications. This happens because the organic compounds in the grapefruit interfere with the intestinal enzyme cytochrome P450 isoform CYP3A4. This causes either an increasing or decreasing bioavailability. The interaction can be witnessed in a number of therapeutic, medical and recreational drugs. Grapefruit juice does not influence injected drugs, only oral substances that undergo first-pass metabolism by the enzyme.

Some of the most common examples of these drugs are a number of sedatives, slow release drugs, ingested marijuana, Codeine, Valium, Norvasc, Pravachol, Cordarone, Viagra, Zoloft, Allegra, and Lipitor. People should not take large amounts of grapefruit while ingesting these medications. When a physician prescribes a specific dose of a drug to a patient, they are working under the assumption that the person will absorb the drug at a specific rate. This calculation is based on the individual’s body type and weight. This information will inform the physician on how much medication to prescribe.

Grapefruit juice has an influence on the enzymes in your gastrointestinal tract that bring food and oral medications into your body. For this reason, grapefruit juice seems to affect both the rate of the drug coming into your body and how quickly it is removed. The end result can be an overdose or an uneven dosage for your size. Grapefruit extends the half life of some drugs, interfering with the body’s ability to break down the substance. The interaction caused by grapefruit compounds lasts for up to 24 hours and the reaction is greatest when the juice is ingested with the drug.

Kokoro-Actroid-1

The question: When will Humans Be Pushed into the Uncanny Valley?

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis regarding the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. The theory holds that when robots, human clones, or computers have characteristics that are similar in appearance to that of humans, it causes a feeling of revulsion and anger. The feeling can be so overwhelming that the person has a need to assault and damage the artificial intelligence. The term has been traced to Ernst Jentsch’s concept of the uncanny, which is a psychological instance where something can be familiar, yet foreign at the same time, resulting in a feeling of it being uncomfortably strange.

For example, if you owned a robot that was human like in appearance and intelligence, the simple fact that it was in your house, staring at you, would make you feel uneasy. Because the uncanny is familiar, yet strange, it often creates cognitive dissonance within the person due to the paradoxical nature of being attracted to, yet repulsed by an object at the same time.

This often leads to an outright rejection of the object. The uncanny valley theory states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached and we enter the uncanny valley, beyond which the response quickly becomes that of a strong revulsion. Take a look at the picture of this realistic looking robot and tell me what emotional response you feel.

In many people, it will elicit a strange feeling and reaction. It has been hypothesized that these feelings are due to a biological response that is innate to all humans. As we enter the age of 3D advancement, design studios routinely consider the idea of the uncanny valley. Animation companies follow a set of rules when developing characters, making sure that they do not make them to realistic.

100 Dollar Bill

The question: Who is Behind the Superdollar?

The superdollar, or superbill, refers to a very high quality counterfeit United States $100 bill that has been circulating around the world. After investigations by the United States, Great Britain, China and other world powers, certain crime syndicates and federal governments have been suspected and implemented in creating the notes. The U.S. Government believes that the counterfeit one hundred-dollar bills are most likely being produced in North Korea. However, other possible sources include Iran or criminal gangs operating out of China. Some have even suggested the possibility of an American CIA involvement.

It has been determined that high ranking government officials or organized crime organizations are responsible for the notes because they are extremely high quality and practically intractable. In fact, they are called superdollars because the technology used to create the counterfeit bills is more advanced and superior to the original. The notes are said to be made with the highest quality ink and paper. They are designed to recreate the various security features of United States currency, such as the red and blue security fibers, the security thread, and the watermark. The notes are printed using the intaglio and typographic printing processes.

The United States has based its accusations against North Korea on the accounts of North Korean defectors, who allegedly described the operation, and on South Korean intelligence sources. Certain witnesses have claimed that the factory where the notes are printed is located in the city of Pyongsong, North Korea, and is part of Division 39. The United States government has suggested that the superbills are being distributed by North Korean diplomats and international crime syndicates. In 2004, The U.S. prohibited Americans from banking with Banco Delta Asia. Since that time, the United States has regularly threatened North Korea with sanctions over its alleged involvement with the counterfeit operation.

On February 2, 2006, banks in Japan voluntarily enforced sanctions on Banco Delta Asia identical to those imposed by the U.S. Some have estimated that 1 in 10,000 US$100 bills are counterfeit. The American $100 bill is the most counterfeited currency in the world. To fight the abuse, the U.S. government has developed a new $100 bill that is more secure. The new design has a complex printing process and holds a new 3D blue security stripe. The bills were initially set to be released in early 2011, but the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve suffered a major setback when 1.1 billion new one hundred-dollar bills were printed with a flaw. The release of the new $100 bill has been pushed back until the printing problem can be fixed.

Homo Floresiensis-Wikimedia-Ryan-Somma

The question: Did Miniature Humans Populate Earth 12,000 Years Ago?

In 2003, a team of Australian-Indonesian archaeologists made a remarkable discovery in Liang Bua Cave, which is located on the Island of Flores, in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The group was searching for evidence of the original human migration when they discovered a collection of unusual hominoid bones and artifacts. Partial skeletons of nine individuals were unearthed, including one complete cranium. These remains have been the subject of intense research and debate as they appear to have human features, but are miniature in size.

This has caused some scientists to claim that the bones represent a species distinct from modern humans. The new species has been labeled Homo floresiensis (nicknamed Hobbit). The hominoid is noted for its small body and brain size and for its relatively recent survival. Recovered alongside the skeletal remains were stone tools from archaeological horizons ranging from 94,000 to 13,000 years ago. Some of the tools are sophisticated stone implements. The artifacts are all of the size considered appropriate for a 1-meter-tall human population.

Archaeologist Mike Morwood and his colleagues have proposed that a variety of features, both primitive and derived, identify these bones as belonging to a new species. A study of the bones and joints of the arm, shoulder and lower limbs concluded that H. floresiensis was more similar to early humans and apes than modern humans. Some less obvious features that might distinguish H. floresiensis from modern Homo sapiens is the form of the teeth, and the lesser angle in the head of the humerus (upper arm bone). Each of these distinguishing examples has been heavily scrutinized by certain members of the scientific community.

Aside from a smaller body size, the overall specimen seems to resemble Homo erectus. Additional features used to argue for the discovery of a new population of previously unidentified hominids include the absence of a chin, the relatively low twist of the arm bones, and the thickness of the creature’s leg bones. The feet of H. floresiensis are unusually flat in relation to the rest of the body. As a result, when walking, the creature would have to bend its knees further back than modern people do. For this reason, it was not able to move very fast.

The species toes have an unusual shape and the big toe is very short. Local geology suggests that a volcanic eruption on the Island of Flores approximately 12,000 years ago could have been responsible for the demise of H. floresiensis, along with other local fauna, including the elephant species Stegodon. In early December of 2004, paleoanthropologist Teuku Jacob removed most of the Hobbit remains from their repository. The priceless artifacts were damaged upon return. The only pelvis was smashed, ultimately destroying details that reveal body shape, gait and evolutionary history.

Aedes-Mosquito-1

The question: Why are Humans Creating and Releasing Genetically Modified Mosquitoes?

Operation Drop Kick was a 1956 U.S. entomological warfare field testing program that modified and deployed the yellow fever mosquito. The goal of the project was to use the mosquito to carry and release a biological warfare agent. The concept was simply to drop a large collection of diseased mosquitoes over a populated area. Operation Drop Kick included a 1956 test in Savannah, Georgia, where uninfected mosquitoes were released in a residential neighborhood, and another 1956 test in Avon Park, Florida, where 600,000 diseased mosquitoes were released on the city.

Between the years 1956-1957, several U.S. Army biological warfare experiments were conducted in the city of Avon Park. In the experiments, Army biological weapon researchers released millions of mosquitoes on the town in order to see if the insects would spread yellow fever and dengue fever. The residents of Avon Park were not notified of the deadly experiments. Hundreds of residents contracted a wide array of illnesses, including fevers, respiratory problems, stillbirths, encephalitis and typhoid. Army researchers pretended to be public health workers, so that they could photograph and perform medical tests on the victims. Several people died as a result of the program.

The experiments in Avon Park were concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, in areas that were predominantly black with newly constructed housing projects. In 1978, a Pentagon document titled, Biological Warfare: Secret Testing & Volunteers revealed that similar experiments were conducted in Key West, Florida. Many people have raised the question of why the U.S. government was playing around with the Dengue fever virus. Dengue fever is an infectious disease that causes a number of symptoms, including severe headaches, a petechial rash and muscle and joint pains. In a small proportion the disease progresses to life-threatening complications. Since the middle of the 1950s, the rates of Dengue fever infection have increased dramatically, with approximately 50-100 million people being infected yearly. The disease has become a global epidemic in more than 110 countries with 2.5 billion people living in areas where it is prevalent.

In 2009, the British biotechnology giant Oxitec announced that they had developed a genetically-modified (GM) mosquito (OX513A) that, apart from a specific chemical antibiotic, is unable to successfully repopulate. After intense media scrutiny, the company gave a statement which indicated that the GM mosquitoes may help fight the spread of dengue fever by reducing or eliminating the wild mosquito population. In 2009, Oxitec released millions of the OX513A test mosquitoes over the Cayman Islands. Many people have questioned the decision to fight the spread of Dengue fever by using more infected mosquitoes. Nobody knows for sure what will happen when the new GM mosquitoes interact with animals and human life, or how the mosquitoes altered genes will disrupt the environment.

20051218025923!Gods Whores-Ml560

The question: How did David Berg Convince Women that Flirty Fishing was Acceptable?

In 1968, a man named David Berg developed a new religious movement named the Children of God. The group devoted their time to spreading the message of Jesus’ love and salvation. With the enforcement of strict regulations, David Berg preached about the de-Christianization and decay of moral values in Western society. He viewed the trends towards a New World Order as setting the stage for the rise of the Antichrist. Remarkably, Berg lived in seclusion, communicating with his followers and the public via nearly 3,000 Mo Letters.

In the 1970s, the Children of God began to expand to all areas of the world. David Berg discussed a message of salvation, apocalypticism, and spiritual revolution against the outside world, which the members called the System. The group’s liberal stance on sexuality led to concerns and investigations regarding child abuse. However, the most publicized practice organized by David Berg and the Children of God was named Flirty Fishing. Flirty Fishing is a form of religious prostitution that was practiced by the Children of God from 1974-1987. The term refers to Matthew 4:19 from the New Testament, in which Jesus tells two fishermen that he will make them “fishers of men.”

Cult leader David Berg extrapolated from this that women in his movement should be flirty fishers, with the targeted men being called “fish.” The cult published several documents with instructions for young women. Flirty Fishing was defined as using sex appeal for proselytizing. If masturbation, oral, or penetrative sex ensued, this was termed as “loving sexually” and counted as more brownie points within the group. The Children of God claimed that the purpose of Flirty Fishing was for women to show God’s love to men, to win converts for the group, and to garner material and financial support.

The cult members regularly lived in communes, traveled around the world and spent their time proselytizing rather than earning a regular income. For this reason the financial aspect of Flirty Fishing soon became dominant. The cult used the practice to curry favors with local men of influence such as business men, politicians or police. Women who objected to being what the cult itself blatantly described as “God’s whores” or “hookers for Jesus” were admonished not to “let self and pride enter in.” They were continually reminded that their body didn’t really belong to them as according to 1 Corinthians 6:19–20. Many of the Flirty Fishers had boyfriends or were married, or had children.

In family publications, Flirty Fishers and Escort Services frequently reported that they found their work hard, dangerous and exhausting. The financial benefit of Flirty Fishing quickly led to a regular Escort Servicing (ESing) operation within the cult. The Children of God practiced Flirty Fishing and Escort Servicing from 1974 until 1987, when it was officially abandoned, partially because of the AIDS epidemic. During this time, the women were expected to keep an exact record of their “fruits.” A 1988 statistic showed that more than 223,000 men had been “fished.” The cult generally discouraged birth control and for this reason many of the ladies became pregnant. Among the Children of God organization (today’s Family International), the unwed children were labeled Jesus babies.

Roopkund-Skeleton-Lake

The question: Who Died at Skeleton Lake?

One of the greatest mysteries of the Himalayas is a small glacial lake named Roopkund. The lake is located in the Uttarakhand state of India, at an altitude of about 5,029 meters (16,499 feet). The area surrounding the lake is completely uninhabited and the water is a five day treacherous hike from civilization. In 1942, Roopkund gained the name Skeleton Lake when over five hundred human skulls, bones and artifacts were discovered surrounding and inside the ice. These human bones have baffled scientists for decades because historians don’t understand who these people were or what they were doing so high in the mountains. Roopkund was never a historically significant region and no traces of any trade routes to Tibet have been found.

The documentary Skeleton Lake, made by the National Geographic Channel, claimed that Roopkund was the venue for the Garhwali religious festival called Nanda Jaat yatra, which is held every 12 years, but facts supporting this claim are limited. It was originally believed by specialists that the people died from an epidemic, landslide or blizzard, but after an archaeological team examined the site in 2004, it was determined that the skulls contained severe head trauma. Based on this evidence it has been hypothesized that the people died from a sudden hailstorm. It has been suggested that the hailstones were as large as tennis balls, and with no shelter in the open Himalayas, all of the people perished in the storm.

Probably the most remarkable discovery came after scientists conducted DNA tests on the bones, which proved to have a rich source of DNA material. The bodies were dated to AD 850 with a possible mistake up to 30 years. This date was 600 years earlier than initially reported. Remarkably, the experts have found that the dead individuals belonged to two different teams. One team is marked by a shorter stature of the skeletons, while the other human bones are significantly taller. The recorded DNA genetic mutations have caught the attention of the scientific community. It remains unclear exactly who these people were? What they looked like or why they were traveling in this remote area of the Himalayas?

Lake Toba-1

The question: How many Humans were Left on Earth after the Toba Supereruption?

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. It is located in the middle of the northern part of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, with a surface elevation of about 900 meters (2,953 ft). Lake Toba is the site of a supervolcanic eruption that occurred 69,000-77,000 years ago. The event was followed by a massive climate change on Earth. The eruption is believed to have had a VEI intensity of 8, and is thought to be the largest explosive eruption anywhere on Earth in the last 25 million years. The eruption took place in Indonesia, but it deposited an ash layer approximately 15 centimeters thick over the entirety of South Asia.

Since the discovery of the catastrophe, a wide range of theories have been studied and proposed hypothesizing on how large the explosion was and how it impacted the human population on Earth. The Toba catastrophe theory is an idea that was developed and has been supported by various anthropologists and archeologists. The theory suggests that the Lake Toba volcanic eruption had a massive global consequence on Earth, killing almost all humans and creating a population bottleneck in Central Eastern Africa and India. The theory holds that the Lake Toba supervolcanic event plunged the planet into a 6-to-10-year volcanic winter, which resulted in the world’s human population being reduced to 10,000 or even a mere 1,000 breeding pairs, creating a noticeable effect in human evolution.

It has been argued that the Toba eruption produced not only a catastrophic volcanic winter but also an additional 1,000 year cooling episode. The Toba event is the most closely studied supereruption in history. In 1993, science journalist Ann Gibbons first suggested a link between the eruption and a bottleneck in human evolution. According to the bottleneck theory, genetic evidence suggests that all humans alive today, despite an apparent variety, are descended from a very small population, perhaps between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs about 70,000 years ago. The theory suggests that the volcanic eruption isolated and eliminated entire groups of people, causing worldwide vegetation destruction and severe drought in the tropical rainforest belt.

The Lake Toba supereruption may have caused modern human races to differentiate abruptly only 70,000 years ago, rather than gradually over one million years. However, this theory is largely debated in the world of archeology. Modern research conducted by archaeologist Michael Petraglia and other scientists has cast major doubt on the Toba catastrophic theory. We do understand that a major human migration occurred during this time in history. Recent analyses of mitochondrial DNA have set the estimate for the migration from Africa at 60,000–70,000 years ago, which is in line with the dating of the Toba eruption. During the subsequent tens of thousands of years, the descendants of these migrants populated Australia, East Asia, Europe and, finally, the Americas.

Adolf Hitler

The question: How would your Life be Different if Adolf Hitler Died in 1936?

The Second World War changed the landscape of human life on Earth. In January of 1933, the ailing German leader Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as the Chancellor of Germany. Paul von Hindenburg passed various legislative acts that suspended German civil liberties and gave Hitler administrative control over the entire country. In 1933, the era of Nazi Germany began and Hitler laid out plans for world conquest. Adolf Hitler was a master of deception and media propaganda. In 1934, he began to display the message “One people, One Germany, One Führer.” Hitler made sure to trick foreign powers into thinking that Germany was a safe place to live. In fact, Adolf Hitler was named the U.S. Time Magazine person of the year in 1938.

During this time in German history, Adolf Hitler took control over the youth. He passed laws that forced German teachers to use Nazi propaganda. German children were taught to despise Jewish people and to show all loyalty to the Third Reich. He organized a program called Hitler’s Youth, which recruited all kids over the age of nine years. Between the years 1936-1938, over 8 million German children took part in Hitler’s Youth oath of allegiance. In 1935, Hitler passed the first laws against the Jewish population. He ordered that all Jewish people were no longer German citizens. Marriage and sexual intercourse between Germans and Jews was outlawed. At this time, Hitler pushed thousands of white Arian German women into pregnancy. He demanded that teenage girls attend Nuremberg rally camps, where they had sexual intercourse with boys and became pregnant. In 1936, nine hundred girls came home from the Nuremberg rally pregnant. Unwed mothers were knows as the Führer’s brides.

In 1938, Hitler annexed Austria under Nazi rule. This was accomplished because Mussolini’s Fascist Italy made an alliance with the Third Reich and no longer was protecting Austria. Many people welcomed Hitler into Austria, but within days of the move, 70,000 Austrians were sent to concentration camps. During the Second World War German armies occupied most of Europe. Nazi forces defeated France, took Norway, invaded Yugoslavia and Greece and occupied much of the European portion of the Soviet Union. Germany also forged alliances with Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and, later, Finland, and collaborated with individuals in several other nations.

Hitler’s decision to launch Operation Barbarossa and attack the Soviet Union turned the tide of war. Had Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin remained in alliance how would your life be different today? Would the United States nuclear technology have been used in the European Theatre of World War II? How much influence could one man, Adolf Hitler, really have on the rise of the Third Reich in Germany? All of these questions should be considered when examining your ancestry and this dark time in human history.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/10/10-questions-to-make-you-think/

1.

The movie within the movie.
By Kilian Eng.

2.

By Rich Kelly.

3.

Nice.
By Laurent Durieux.

4.

By Jay Ryan.
Wes Anderson’s best film, IMHO.

5.

Very cool.
By Jock.

See all of the posters @ Mondo.
Via: Dangerous Minds.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/copyranter/austin-art-gallerys-cool-oscar-movie-posters