On Thursday, it embarked on its final flight: No. 921. Although the telescope — which was housed and flown in a modified Boeing 747 aircraft — has finished its mission, astronomers still have a trove of data to sift through, NASA said, and it’s possible SOFIA could produce even more scientific discoveries. Click here to see some of the captured cosmic imagery.
Today, back in 2009, on September 22, the 1st episode of NCIS: Los Angeles first aired on CBS, at 9pm following NCIS.
It immediately became a hit due to it’s incredible cast, great writing, and cinematic like explosions and take downs. And remarkably enough, is still running today! (even though everything that made it so great has so greatly plummeted, but that’s a complaint for another day.).
I can still remember getting excited for a new episode every Sunday (when it eventually moved there), it was really fun. Then, some uncontrollable things in life happened in the summer of 2018, and nothing has been the same since.
I may be more disgusted with it now then happy, but I still love the 1st 8 Seasons.
As we all prepare to step into a new week and continue on the mindfulness journey we’re taking together, we at Nice News want to create space to ponder what it means to walk through life with gratitude — consistently giving thanks for the beauty and goodness around us. You may have heard that gratitude can have tangible and transformative effects; in fact, there isn’t room enough in this edition to list all the benefits. Studies suggest that gratitude can help you sleep, eat, and feel better, and that the simple act of writing down three things you’re thankful for each day can improve your health. But while it’s easy to acknowledge the advantages, we don’t always take the time to build the habit, especially when we’re experiencing negative emotions. To help you take that step, consider this your extra encouragement to begin regularly practicing gratitude. If you get stuck, here are 492 things to be grateful for, including the warm morning sunshine, the kindness of a stranger, and the breath in our lungs.
Many families have their own lore — oft-shared tales of ancestral kin who led incredible lives. For Julie Klam, those relatives were the four Morris sisters. All self-made millionaires, one sister is known to have advised President Franklin D. Roosevelt while another romanced J.P. Morgan. Or did they? This is the “fascinating and funny true story” about a family history that may be more fiction than fact.
What’s better than watching lion cubs, newborn seals, and toddling young elephants learn the way of the world? Listening to Helena Bonham Carter’s soothing voice narrate the action as you do. Wild Babies is a docuseries, so in addition to heartwarming moments, be prepared for an honest look at some of nature’s harsh realities. That said, the level of cuteness is truly off the charts.
In 1981, David Bowie and Queen combined creative forces to write and record what would become an anthem for the ages: “Under Pressure.” This year, the “biggest rock band on Earth,” Rockin’ 1000, performed an amazing cover of the hit song as part of a two-hour concert in Paris. All 1,000 musicians sang and played together, a moving display of harmony in every sense of the word.
As we mentioned in Wednesday’s edition of Nice News, an exciting lineup of celestial events is in store for stargazers throughout September, and this free digital planetarium can help you make the most of what you see. Enter your location or point your phone at the sky using the app to identify and learn about stars, comets, constellations, planets, and more, all in real time.
These gorgeous notebooks aren’t just easy on the eyes — they’re also eco-friendly, made with 100% post-consumer-waste recycled paper and printed with soy ink. Browse the vast selection of artistic and colorful designs to find your favorite (or favorites, more likely). We think it’s the perfect medium to begin a new gratitude journal.
If you’re a candle fanatic, you’ll love this fun find. Hand-poured and crafted in London, cent.ldn’s unique wax creations are designed for household decor. Choose from incredible representations of real objects, or if you’re feeling extra fanciful, go the bespoke route and bring your own design to life, including a custom scent. Order from the U.K. or check here for a retailer near you.
Have memories of begging for a taste of cookie dough before a batch went in the oven? Doughp, which was featured on Shark Tank, has created flavored cookie doughs that can be eaten raw or baked into warm, gooey treats. Even better, the company is “committed to reducing the stigmas around mental health & addiction,” and a portion of each sale supports a nonprofit recovery charity.
*Recommendations are independently selected by our team but may result in a commission to Nice News which helps keep our content free.
Video of the Week
A bustling street in downtown San Antonio, Texas, comes to life in this restored and colorized footage from the 1940s. With multiple camera angles, there’s so much history to soak in. From the cars and buses to the clothing and hairstyles, you’ll be transported back in time — and the added sound design makes for an even more immersive experience. Enjoy poring over the vintage signage and spotting different groups of friends and families going about their days. (Credit: NASS / YouTube)
I recently fractured several vertebrae in my spine and can only walk short distances. On a recent trip from Seattle home to Milwaukee, my wife and 8-year-old granddaughter were pushing my wheelchair and dragging our luggage. It was an unusually long distance to the gate, and they were struggling up a small incline. A woman asked if she could help, and with her help, we made it to the gate. She hurried off to her own gate before we could really thank her for this simple but meaningful act of kindness.
Have you witnessed something inspiring? Click here to submit a story.
Send a Thank You Note
In addition to taking stock of all you’re grateful for this week, put your appreciation into practice and send (or hand deliver) a thank you note. It could be for something simple, like your local barista making you the perfect pumpkin spice latte each morning, or something more impactful, like a good friend supporting you when you needed it most. For inspiration, check out author Gina Hamadey’s experience writing a daily thank you card in what she dubbed her “year of gratitude.”
Quote of the Day
“This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.”
For those who have been waiting on bated breath waiting for some kind of info relating to Callen finding his ‘mama’ (in it’s own ways) Hetty that’s new, well, there’s finally some, in the forms of yet more teasers from the showrunners:
For those who need help trying to read this, it explains that in the Season premiere, the intel that Callen gets worries him so much, he wants to go to Syria to find her. But is unfortunately stopped by the foolish old man who is unfortunately, still hogging Hetty’s beloved office.
The info also says that Callen will also miss her quite a lot while trying to plan his wedding to Anna.
My take on all this: Look, I hate this showrunner for what he’s done to this incredible show over the past few years, and the thought of having to trust him yet again with these kind of stupid teasers (that have 99% been wrong in the last few years when they’re related to Hetty!) makes me want to retch. But, since I have no photographic or video footage as of yet of whatever Hetty is doing out there, I don’t have a choice. All I and everyone else can do is wait and see. (and also hope that through some kind of crazy luck that either a brand new photo, or new video footage of Hetty gets leaked in the next month!).
And info on the rest of the team is also included in the photo. (but I don’t really care about them right now, a missing boss on a dangerous mission is more important and interesting then knowing what the agents are doing outside of work IMO!!)
Lake Tahoe Could Become Clearer Due to Changing Plankton Populations
Lake Tahoe, which Mark Twain called “the fairest picture the whole earth affords,” is famous for its stunning crystalline waters. And in the next few years, scientists say, the world’s clearest large lake could become even clearer due to changes in its ecosystem.
Since our viewers are and Ireland.International, I thought this would be a good one. Maybe they can comment on the locations in the UK, Italy, Canada, and Ireland.
Nothing beats the warmth and comfort of a fall evening spent by the fire. Thankfully, there are plenty of quaint and cozy inns around the world that embrace the autumn feeling and provide the perfect, intimate getaway.
Whether you’re looking to snuggle up with a book by the fireplace or gaze upon colorful fall foliage during breakfast, the following inns will meet all your seasonal needs
Fall in Vermont is perfect for biking, hiking, picnicking, and of course, leaf peeping. Nestled between the scenic Green Mountains of Vermont in the charming village of Warren is The Pitcher Inn. While staying at The Pitcher Inn, all of those classic fall activities are easily accessible due to the property’s proximity to the Roxbury State Forest. Choose a one or two-bedroom suite in the “barn” or a room in the main house. Jet out on a fly fishing adventure or stay in and curl up next to one of the inn’s 14 fireplaces. Guests can also indulge in seasonal fare onsite at the onsite pub or private dining rooms.
The Three Chimneys is a world-renowned restaurant and inn in picturesque northwest Scotland on the Isle of Skye. Its six charming guest rooms are in The House Over-By, each featuring stunning views of Loch Dunvegan and offering direct garden and seashore access. Dinner at The Three Chimneys is a must during your stay. The award-winning restaurant serves delicious Scottish-style meals with ancient Nordic influences. The Three Chimneys is known for its professional, yet warm and inviting staff — making it a comfortable and unforgettable stay.
On the rocky shores of the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island is Wickaninnish Inn. This serene stay boasts cozy yet modern accommodations in the Beach Building and the Pointe Building. Enjoy panoramic water views throughout the property, which you can enjoy over dinner or cozied up in an armchair on the deck. Visit the Ancient Cedars Spa to be pampered or enjoy daily Hatha yoga in the Rainforest Haven room. This coastal getaway on a chilly fall morning is the perfect way to reset and get in touch with nature.
Enjoy an authentic New England fall getaway at The Lodge at Moosehead Lake, a AAA 4-Diamond property in Greenville, Maine. This lakefront bed and breakfast boasts five lodge rooms all with a fireplace, sitting area, four-post wooden bed, and lake or garden views. Four spacious carriage rooms are also available with scenic decks facing the lake. The staff at The Lodge will help you book exciting fall activities during your stay, from backcountry moose watching to seaplane rides.
Tucked away in the western Italian Alps, Les Trompeurs Chez Odette is a renovated family home that’s now a cozy six-bedroom inn. Each room has the same rustic feel, but is decorated individually — making the space feel snug and relaxed. Fireside breakfast is served in the wood-paneled dining room with traditional pastries and jams. Les Trompeurs is located in the small town of Cogne, a valley nestled between snow-capped peaks. This region is dotted with medieval castles and fortresses along with world-class ski resorts — providing guests with plenty of things to see and do.
You’ll feel right at home in this award-winning, 18th-century Irish country house in the heart of the midlands at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. The warmth of Roundwood Country House radiates throughout and showcases authentic Irish furnishings, crackling fireplaces, and the smell of fresh bread baked daily. Bookcase-lined walls, stonework, and ornate light fixtures create a comforting atmosphere, begging you to stay in and enjoy the house. This quintessentially Irish bed and breakfast boasts two types of accommodations — private rooms in the main house or a cottage in the garden.
We all grew up reading the comics page in the newspaper in the morning one way or another, and that means we definitely have some favorite comic strips. Some of us probably even have collected the strips over the years.
With me, My favorite comic growing up was Peanuts, and it still is. I own a lot of the cartoon specials, all the movies, and I also own every single comic strip!
Now, I have other strips I love, like Garfield, Zits, Pearls Before Swine, and Marmaduke.
Dreamer extraordinaire. Ardent food lover. Vivian is prone to wander and escaping from responsibilities. At heart, she is a curious backpacker with a thirst for adventure. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Vivian is perpetually browsing through seat sales and scheming her next getaway.
The regional cuisine of New England is as varied as the landscape, influenced by the rocky coasts, weathered mountains, and wild forests. States in the Northeast host miles of apple orchards, self-pick berry farms, and fleets of fishing boats. They’re home to innovators of sweets and ice creams, and rich and hearty pastries.
Whether you’ve never been to New England, plan on traveling to the region sometime in the future, or have been a life-time visitor, try these seven beloved, and Northeast-approved, food items to get to know New England from the inside out.
New England Clam Chowder
As a staple of New England life, clam chowder is as typical as trips to the beach, followed by cups or bowls of the soup. New England clam chowder is commonly made with clams, potatoes, celery, onion, and salt pork mixed with a thick, hearty broth. Native to the area since the early 1700s, clam chowder became popularized throughout Boston in the 1830s when it was served at the famous Union Oyster House. Comforting and addictive, this seafood stew is perfect on any day and for any occasion.
In the early days of America lobsters were so common they piled on beaches, making the “cockroaches of the sea” a poor man’s meal (or even fertilizer). By the second world war things had drastically changed, and the shellfish were undeniably a delicacy. New England is now synonymous with lobster rolls. This coastal luxury is served on a grilled bun and is available at practically every seafood restaurant in the area. Lobster rolls arrive warm, dripping with butter, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. You can even top it with mayonnaise and chopped celery.
In Boston (or Beantown), baked bean recipes are sweetened with molasses rather than the brown sugar sweetener used in traditional English baked beans. The difference is a rich, honeyed flavor that has existed in the area for centuries. It was originally prepared throughout New England and was a staple in the Pilgrim diet from the 1620s on. Baked beans are available as a side dish, sometimes served beside brown bread (another New England specialty) in restaurants around coastal Massachusetts and beyond.
In the 1920s, two Massachusetts residents created a remarkable new marshmallow creme spread that’s now a common jar in most grocery stores: Fluff. While the taste is familiar for anyone who’s ever roasted marshmallows over a campfire and snuck a few of the pure white cylinders, the consistency is quite a different story. This is a spreadable confection that can be eaten on its own, but for a true New England experience a Fluffernutter sandwich (allergy permitting) consists of a layer of Fluff on one slice of bread and a thick spread of peanut butter on the other.
Saying the words “whoopie pie” outside of New England draws some intriguing glances. This cake-like dessert is best described as a type of sweet sandwich, two mound-shaped pieces of cake on the outside and a hearty layer of cream between the two. Whoopie pies are available in a variety of flavors, the most traditional is a chocolate cake whoopie pie with a white cream filling. Seasonal flavors are offered during the year, such as pumpkin whoopie pies in the fall and peppermint cream whoopie pies during the holidays.
Unless you’re in or around Rhode Island, asking for a glass of coffee milk may get you a mug of regular coffee with a little extra milk. But as the official state beverage of Rhode Island, coffee milk is a common accompaniment to breakfasts and brunches. Bottles of sweetened coffee syrup are mixed with milk (not unlike making hot chocolate), and served beside heaping platters of eggs, bacon, and toast. Take it a step further and get a coffee cabinet, a vanilla ice cream, coffee syrup frappe.
Hoodsie cups were created by the Hood milk company in Massachusetts in 1947. These adored desserts are made with vanilla ice cream on one side and chocolate ice cream on the other, and are served in small wax paper cups with even smaller wooden spoons. For many New Englanders, childhood memories consist of Hoodsie cups alongside slices of cake at birthday parties, and even a few late-night snacks when no one else is around.
New Englanders cram into Fenway Park, pulling their Red Sox caps down against the sun to watch the game. Since the park’s 1912 opening, Fenway Franks have been a staple of this regional and cultural gathering space. Other stadium hot dogs are grilled or steamed, but not the Fenway Frank. First boiled, and then grilled, the meat of these nostalgic ballpark treats is spiced with garlic, onion, and mustard, and cooled specially to make them the juiciest possible. Visitors top them with their preferred garnishes and bite between cheering for their team, or buy a pack for their own home-game cookout.
You only need a handful of thoughtfully produced ingredients to eat well in summer, so splurge on the good stuff. Don’t forget to grab handfuls of fresh herbs, and if you spot zucchini flowers at the market, they look lovely scissored and scattered over Fried Zucchini and Basil Casarecce.
Illustration: Eva Naroditskaya
These stealth flavor bombs can be melted into sauces, mashed into dressings or simply laid on top of a slice of bread and butter. Spanish Don Bocarte brand anchovies are fleshy and pink ($35 for 198 grams, amazon.com). Italian Rizzoli come in a charming tin ($33 for three 3.17-ounce tins, Food52.com). Ortiz can be found at many supermarkets.
2. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
I use a versatile, neutral oil to cook with and a more distinct one for finishing. Lately I’ve been cooking with Partanna, fresh and rich ($46 for 3 liters, YummyBazaar.com), and delicate, buttery Frantoia, both produced in Sicily. I recently discovered a Portuguese oil, Herdade Do Esporão Azeite Virgem Extra: smooth, balanced, excellent for dressings and finishing. When shopping, search the label for the words “hand picked” and “cold pressed.” If it has a date stamped on it, you’re on to a good thing.
This light, bright recipe, spaghetti with sun-kissed tomatoes, ricotta and crispy prosciutto, is so quick to make. Find the recipe below
Let me bang on about butter. Big fan! Pasta and butter are the ultimate companions. Pure comfort. While a pound of pasta is cooking, scoop out about ½ cup of the salty, starchy pasta water, pour it in a frying pan, melt in 5-6 tablespoons of butter, and crank in plenty of black pepper. When the pasta is al dente, pop it in the frying pan and toss everything together until creamy and coated. Be sure to blanket it with cheese. Or, start the meal off with a warm slices of rustic bread, each topped with lashings of butter, an anchovy and flaky salt. For cooking, try Delitia Butter of Parma, a delicate, unsalted type made from quality pasteurized creams collected in Parma and Reggio Emilia, where some of the best Italian cheeses are made ($11 for 8 ounces, igourmet.com). For serving, try French Le Meunier Fleur Sel Butter, wood-churned and hand-molded, or Isigny Sainte-Mère Beurre Demi-Sel Gros Grains with coarse salt, famous for its golden color, easy to spread.
Canned Certified DOP San Marzano Tomatoes are a must. Mutti San Marzano Pomodori Pelati Tomatoes are rich in flavor and color ($6 for 14.1 ounces, eataly.com). I’ve also been using Californian Bianco DiNapoli plum tomatoes. And I always have a few bottles of Rao’s brand marinara sauce in the pantry, too, for nights when I just can’t be bothered.
In ‘Simple Pasta’ (Aug. 30, Ten Speed Press), Odette Williams offers a pasta for every occasion, including plenty of light and easy recipes ideal for summer meals.
5. Italian Cheese
You want DOP Aged Parmigiano-Reggiano with its waxy rind that can be used in a stock or broth down the road, once the cheese itself is gone ($29 for a pound, MurraysCheese.com). I’m smitten with Pecorino Toscano: a softer, sweeter, Pecorino that sings shaved on a simple salad. A knot of burrata is always a showstopper with sliced heirloom tomatoes and basil leaves.
6. Flaky Sea Salt
You can’t do better than Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, which deliver a bright, briny crunch ($7 for 8.5 ounces, amazon.com). But don’t miss the brand’s Smoked Sea Salt Flakes, either. I use them a lot in the summer to add vavoom to tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, stone fruits and burrata.
This chopped salad pasta is a highly portable picnic and potluck hit. Find the recipe below.
You can’t have pasta without wine. Cardedu Nùo Vermentino di Sardegna is a light, highly drinkable, white from Sardinia ($20 for 750 ml, WhiteHorseWine.com). Dry-farmed, organic, from a family-run outfit, it’s worth hunting down. Over a long, boozy lunch at one of my favorite New York restaurants, Café Altro Paradiso, I discovered the 2018 Ronchi Barbaresco, a Nebbiolo from Piedmont. Served slightly chilled, this medium-plus-bodied beauty has backbone but won’t take you down in the daytime. I’m planning on buying a case as I’m told it’s going to age well.
8. No-Cook Desserts
Why turn on the oven? Chill cherries and serve them with Antica Torroneria Piemontese Hazelnut Nougat, so nutty and chewy ($9 for 5.3 ounces, eataly.com). Or, buy a good gelato, drizzle a little olive oil on top, sprinkle on flaky sea salt and serve with Le Nuttine, those charming straw-shaped Italian wafers filled with hazelnut-cocoa cream.
—Adapted from ‘Simple Pasta’ by Odette Williams (Ten Speed Press)
Here, author Odette Williams tried to recreate the sizzling garlic shrimp from Trieste, the Italian restaurant of her childhood in Australia.
Look for shrimp with the heads on, since they add so much flavor to the sauce and give it a gorgeous coral-pink hue. Wavy ribbons of mafaldine ,or the curly nooks and crannies of trumpet-shaped campanelle allow the shrimp to nestle into every bite.
Honestly, use whatever pasta tickles your fancy. Showered with the garlic butter and chile bread crumbs, it’s gorgeous. The heady aroma of butter, garlic and shrimp cooking is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so enjoy!
Total Time: 45 minutes
makes: 4 servings
Graydon + Herriott, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich, Prop Styling by Amy Wilson
For the garlic butter and chile bread crumbs:
1 cup bread crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, grated
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
For the pasta:
1½ pounds large whole raw shrimp, with shells, heads and tails on
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 large shallots, finely diced
¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 cloves garlic, finely grated
⅔ cup dry white wine
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried campanelle, mafaldine, or angel hair pasta
Make the garlic butter and chile bread crumbs: In a skillet over medium heat, sauté bread crumbs with butter and grated garlic, stirring often, until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Stir in crushed red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
Cut off head of each shrimp and set aside. Peel shrimp and discard tails and shells. Use a sharp knife to make a shallow cut lengthwise along the back of each shrimp, and devein by removing the digestive tract with the tip of the knife. Cut each shrimp into three segments.
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt together butter and olive oil. Add shallots and red pepper flakes, and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add reserved shrimp heads and continue to sauté occasionally pressing down slightly on heads with a wooden spoon to release juices, 4 minutes more. Remove and discard heads and any rogue bits of shell.
Increase heat to medium-high, add shrimp and garlic, and sauté until shrimp are just pink, just a couple of minutes. Add wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, chive and ½ cup parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wine has reduced by half, 4-5 minutes. Keep warm.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Use a large spider or slotted spoon to transfer cooked pasta to shrimp sauce along with about ½ cup pasta water, and toss to coat. Serve pasta sprinkled with garlic butter and chile bread crumbs and garnished with remaining ½ cup parsley.
From Big Sable, Michigan, to Watch Hill, Rhode Island, to Turkey Point, Maryland, there are only about 800 lighthouses left in the United States — and photographer David Zapatka is on a mission to capture each and every one. So far, he has 193 under his belt, all photographed at night using an innovative 20-foot tripod that a friend made for him. “We’ve successfully shot about 15 lighthouses otherwise unachievable unless we had this fantastic tool,” Zapatka explained to PetaPixel. “It’s been a game-changer for the project, and although we look quite crazy putting together the behemoth tripod while launching it off boats, the results are pretty amazing.” See some of his stunning star-lit pictures here.
byrneck / iStock
Parts of the Great Barrier Reef Show Highest Coral Coverage in 36 Years
The Great Barrier Reef is bouncing back. Parts of the world’s largest coral reef system, found off the coast of Australia, are showing the highest coral coverage in 36 years, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Though the area is still threatened by climate change and warming waters, this recovery is “good news for the overall state of the [Great Barrier Reef],” the report reads.
The institute, which surveyed about two-thirds of the reef, said that one reason for the increased coverage is low levels of “acute stress” over the past year. There have been no severe cyclones and fewer outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish — a species that preys on coral. And while higher water temperatures have led to some coral bleaching, it has not been hot enough to kill the coral. Overall, the Great Barrier Reef has proven to be resilient and able to recover after ecosystem disturbances, a sign that continued conservation and protection efforts are as necessary as ever.
NFL Aims to Prevent Head Injuries With Helmet Cap Mandate
If you catch any of the NFL preseason, you may notice that your favorite athletes are looking a bit different on the field. As more information comes to light on the effects of repeated concussions, the football organization has been working to find ways to prevent long-term brain damage. So this year, it has mandated that many players don Guardian Caps — cushioned helmet covers — between the start of the training camp contact period and the second preseason game, a time when there is typically a high concentration of head injuries.
Citing lab research, league officials said Guardian Caps will lead to a 10% reduction in severity of impact during collisions if one player is wearing it, and 20% if two players are. Though there has been some skepticism about the new rule, many players recognize the importance of protecting their heads. “I wouldn’t say they’re aesthetically pleasing, and I think we look a little goofy. But they’re there for good reason. They did studies with them. Anything to keep us safer, why not do it?” the Philadelphia Eagles’ Dallas Goedert told the Associated Press. “Obviously you only get one brain. May as well keep it as best you can.”
Family Reunites With Late Son’s 1989 Message in a Bottle
Though he died over a decade ago, Brian Dahl is still bringing people together. In 1989, when he was just 11, Brian put a message in a bottle in Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River for a school project. This year, Billy Mitchell, a salvage worker 200 miles away, spotted it floating above a barge and his team didn’t rest until they found the note’s author. Mitchell’s company posted a photo of the note on Facebook, and it eventually made its way to Brian’s parents, Eric and Melanie, and his brother Chris.
The Dahl family traveled to where the bottle was found — a special trip that Eric said was emblematic of the way Brian, who died in an accident at age 29, lived his life. “He was victorious in his life because of the relationships he established, the bonds with other people,” Eric told USA Today. “And he continues to inspire connections.” Mitchell, meanwhile, saw the bottle as a sign that Brian is with his family, no matter what. “He’s with them still,” he said. “I think that’s what the note meant when we found it. To let his parents know that he was watching over them as well.”
Fiona the hippo — who became somewhat of a zoo celebrity when she was born prematurely in 2017 and survived against all odds — is officially a big sister. Fiona’s mom, Bibi, gave birth to a baby hippo last week at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The adorable new addition is already walking and came out weighing at least twice as much as Fiona did, zoo officials said in a press release. “We are so happy to say that the baby is strong and looking really healthy so far,” senior zookeeper Jenna Wingate told CNN. Watch Bibi and baby bonding here. (Photo Credit: Cincinnati Zoo Twitter)
Quote of the Day
“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”
Before Spanish colonizers arrived in the Mississippi River valley in the 16th century, Native peoples built huge cities, developed extensive river-based trade routes, and constructed extraordinary earthworks. These mounds take different forms—low and round, tall and conical, broad and flat-topped, even animal-shaped—and served as important ceremonial and burial sites for hundreds of years or more. Here are 11 ancient Native American earthworks that offer a glimpse into prehistory.
Just outside modern-day St. Louis, Missouri, lie the remains of the largest pre-European contact city. The Mississippian people—a Native American culture defined by agriculture, complex social hierarchy, and mound building—constructed 120 large earthen mounds near the Mississippi River between 800 and 1400 CE. At its peak in the 12th century CE, Cahokia may have been home to 20,000 inhabitants, roughly the same population as London at the time. The cause of its demise is currently a matter of debate. In 1967, archaeologists discovered several mass graves containing 270 bodies within Mound 72. Today, more than 70 mounds are still visible, including 100-foot tall Monks Mound, the largest earthwork in North America.
2. Spiro Mounds Archaeological Center // Oklahoma
The original of this replica conch shell, engraved with pictures of armadillos and dating from 1200-1350 CE, was used in religious ceremonies at the Spiro Mounds site. / Kat Long
The Caddoan-speaking inhabitants of this Mississippian mound city along the Arkansas River built a thriving trade network from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf Coast between 850 and 1450 CE. The culture’s most valued objects, conch shells, were imported from the Caribbean—the community even had an agent stationed in southern Florida to direct the shipments. The Craig Mound, a burial mound 350 feet long, 11 feet wide, and 34 feet tall, once held the remains of more than 1000 leaders, covered in earth and grave goods. The abundance of stone, copper, shell, and textile artifacts—looted before Oklahoma protected the mounds by law—prompted the Kansas City Star to call the burial mound the “King Tut of the Arkansas Valley.”
3. Serpent Mound // Ohio
The Great Serpent Mound in Ohio is shaped like an undulating snake. / Corey B. Stevens/iStock via Getty Images
There are no burials in the impressive Serpent Mound, located about 70 miles east of Cincinnati, Ohio. The 1348-foot-long earthwork, built on an ancient asteroid impact crater, is an effigy mound (a mound in the shape of an animal), and contained no artifacts to indicate when and by whom it was created. Some archaeologists believed the Serpent Mound was made by people of the Adena Culture, sometime between 800 BCE and 100 CE, because two Adena burial mounds are nearby. In 1991, an excavation of the Serpent Mound turned up charcoal bits that dated to a period between 1025 and 1215 CE, suggesting it was built by the Fort Ancient Culture, which lived in present-day Ohio between 1000 and 1650 CE.
This mound complex in southwest Georgia is the region’s largest site built by people of the Woodland Period, an archaeological era lasting from 1000 BCE to 900 CE. At the height of its development, between 350 and 600 AD, the Kolomoki settlement was likely centered around eight earthen mounds, seven of which survive today and include a 57-foot-tall platform mound believed to have been used for ceremonies. Two of the mounds served as burial sites and contained large caches of animal-shaped pottery, while other excavations yielded shells and items that indicated a well-oiled trade network. In 1974, burglars broke into the site’s museum and stole 129 priceless ceramic artifacts—most of which are still missing—in the state’s most infamous art theft.
5. Effigy Mounds National Monument // Iowa
At Effigy Mounds National Monument, the Marching Bear Mounds are shaped like a parade of bears. / National Park Service // Public Domain
Between 600 and 1250 CE, in the Late Woodland Period, a culture known as the Effigy Moundbuilders constructed earthworks in the shapes of deer, bison, bear, and other wildlife in the upper Mississippi River valley. Effigy Mounds National Monument, along the Mississippi River south of the Iowa-Minnesota border, encompasses more than 200 effigy mounds, conical burial mounds, and rectangular platform mounds. Descendants of the builders, who belong to 20 culturally associated Native American tribes, suggest the mounds serve ceremonial and sacred purposes.
A group of Mississippian Caddo people called the Hasinai settled this site, about 150 miles southeast of downtown Dallas, around 800 CE. The floodplain provided good soil for farming and the network of rivers allowed the Hasinai to obtain goods from far and wide, such as shells from present-day Florida and copper from the Great Lakes region. The site was largely abandoned in around 1300 CE, but three large mounds remain today at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site: the High Temple Mound, originally 35 feet high; the smaller Low Platform Mound; and the burial mound [PDF]. Excavation of the burial mound beginning in 1939 revealed about 90 bodies in 30 burial caches, along with sophisticated artifacts that hinted at the interred people’s high social status.
7. Etowah Indian Mounds State Historic Site // Georgia
Etowah Mounds State Historic Site features two large platform mounds built by people of the Mississippian Culture. / rodclementphotography/iStock via Getty Images
The most intact Mississippian Culture site in the Southeast, Etowah Mounds State Historic Site comprises six mounds, a village site, a central plaza, and other structures that demonstrate the complex society that lived there between 1000 and 1500 CE. Two impressive flat-topped mounds may have been the sites of the chiefs’ houses and temples. An excavated and reconstructed burial mound yielded remains of 350 people and archaeological clues about the culture’s customs and social hierarchy [PDF]. An onsite museum displays many of the grave goods, including two large marble effigies of a man and a woman that were likely used in ceremonies.
8. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park // Ohio
Conical burial mounds and geometrically shaped ceremonial mounds form the centerpieces of the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ohio. / zrfphoto/iStock via Getty Images
This collection of six major mound complexes outside modern-day Chillicothe, Ohio, illustrates the engineering prowess of the Hopewell Culture, which lived in the region as early as 100 BCE. The huge, geometrically shaped earthworks include square or circular enclosures around conical or rectangular mounds, all of which were used for ceremonial or mortuary purposes rather than as village sites. The Hopewell Mound Group, one of the park’s six areas, contains 29 cremation and burial mounds, such as one originally measuring 500 feet long and 33 feet tall. Like the later Woodland and Mississippian cultures, Hopewell people carried on trade with far-flung communities as evidenced by their finely wrought pottery, effigy pipes, and ornaments in silver, pearl, quartz, mica, obsidian, and other materials.
9. Bynum and Pharr Mounds // Mississippi
The Pharr Mounds, along the Natchez Trace in Mississippi, were built in the 1st or 2nd century CE. / National Park Service // Public Domain
The Bynum Mounds, which originally numbered six, were built between 100 BCE and 100 CE by people of the Middle Woodland Period. They lie toward the southern end of the Natchez Trace, an ancient path stretching more than 400 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. In the 1940s, archaeologists discovered the grave of a woman, who had been buried with copper objects, in one of the mounds; another mound held the remains of several people along with greenstone ax-heads, copper spools, and projectile points (both of these mounds have been rebuilt). The Bynum Mounds are not far from another Middle Woodland Period complex along the Natchez Trace: the Pharr Mounds, dating to the 1st or 2nd century CE, and consisting of eight burial mounds. Four were excavated in the 1960s and found to contain human remains on low clay platforms, surrounded by grave goods.
10. Moundville Archaeological Park // Alabama
Moundville Archaeological Park in Alabama was the site of a Mississippian Culture city almost as large as Cahokia. / toddmedia/iStock via Getty Images
Second in size only to Cahokia, the Moundville site in west-central Alabama spanned 300 acres on the Black Warrior River. Like other Mississippian Culture settlements, the residents of this city practiced agriculture, developed trading relationships with other river communities, and built mounds to serve as ceremonial spaces and mortuary sites. Moundville’s village, plaza, and 26 mounds were encircled by a wooden palisade. Historians aren’t sure why the settlement began to decline after 1350 CE, but almost all inhabitants had abandoned the city by 1500 CE. Moundville Archaeological Park is but one stop on the Alabama Indigenous Mound Trail, an itinerary of 13 sites across the state that preserve and interpret pre-contact culture.
11. Poverty Point World Heritage Site // Louisiana
Six large mounds and a mysterious amphitheater-like series of ridges create the landscape of Poverty Point, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northwestern Louisiana. / Jennifer R. Trotter/iStock via Getty Images
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014, Poverty Point in the northeastern corner of Louisiana preserves an array of incredibly old earthworks. Between 1700 and 1100 BCE, workers built a complex of six enormous, concentric, C-shaped ridges about 5 feet tall, segmented by walkways, which may have been foundations for dwellings. Archaeologists estimate that workers had to carry about 53 million cubic feet of soil in hand-held baskets to construct the amphitheater-like ridges. Six large mounds and caches of beads, figurines, tools, and other objects made of stone from sources hundreds of miles away demonstrate the community’s sophistication. But it’s unclear who built the earthworks, or why they were made—to date, archaeologists have not uncovered any ancient burials at Poverty Point.
I love a lot of different music. But the 70’s rock scene was it. Many bands from the 60’s hit what I believe was their peak. Zeppelin, The Who, Stones, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, etc. For me the garage bands would become major acts. Garage bands were bands I saw at peoples houses that would make it. Van Halen, Go Go’s, Runaways, Doken, etc.
It was a time I met some of what I thought were the greatest. Twice flew with Eric Carmen of the Raspberries. Rodied for a Yes Concert. Special thing for Nina Blackwood. And I got over losing a girl to the mayor of Sunset Strip. Rodney Bingenheimer. So sit back and listen to the music.
Not many people know this, but CBS’s very popular cop show franchise, NCIS, didn’t just start on it’s own, but rather, it was a spin off of another very popular show: JAG.
The 2 part backdoor pilot, ‘Ice Queen’, aired in 2003, which was during JAG’s 8th Season. That September, NCIS aired it’s 1st episode, ‘Yankee White’.
The show itself didn’t get a lot of love from critics, and it was even low rated in it’s 1st Season. But CBS stuck with it in hopes it would get popular, and overtime, it did! Syndication worldwide gave the show it’s much needed legs for it’s high ratings.
In 2009, the 2 part backdoor pilot titled ‘Legend’, which would later become ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ aired. It would go on to become the franchise’s most popular spinoff. (and would also make the best casting decision of all time with who would be the boss of the team. 😉). It also became the 1st show to get a long running syndication deal before it first aired! Clearly CBS knew that this show would be a big winner from the start.
Up until Spring 2014, the 2 NCIS’s ruled Tuesday nights. Until NCIS LA moved to Mondays at 10 pm. (which is when I first picked up the show, thanks to my mom.). It aired there for 2 Seasons before making Sundays it’s main home.
Also in 2014, the 2 part backdoor pilot for ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ aired on NCIS. This show would last 7 Seasons, but wouldn’t get the same kind of fame and glory that LA got when it came to ratings and syndication success.
In 2021, NCIS moved from it’s long standing slot on Tuesdays at 8pm to Mondays at 9 pm.
Also in 2021, the first NCIS show to premiere without a backdoor pilot, ‘NCIS: Hawaii’ started it’s run airing after NCIS. And sometime next year, the first international show in the franchise, ‘NCIS: Sydney’ is set to premiere in Australia.
One more cool fact: JAG didn’t start off as a CBS show, it started off on NBC! CBS picked it up after NBC nixed it after it’s 1st Season.
Think of that. This whole franchise exists the way it does now, because of a network picking up a cancelled show from another network! That’s what I call really amazing.
We did our cool spot, now do you have a favorite room? For me it’s the kitchen. I do my best work there. Eat. How about you? Where can we find you? My son tells me it’s my office. That’s the second favorite.
I’m proud to announce that we have added The Ultimate Fangirl as a Mod, but more importantly a writer for Koda. She was a mainstay at Shelly an friends. I’m sure that she will continue to do the same grat work here. So stop in and say hello.
You can add pictures,songs, gifs, meme’s, etc. Hopefully some of her old friends stop over and enjoy what we do here.
Vikings are the focus of countless movies, TV shows, video games, sports teams, and comic books today—but that doesn’t mean we always get them right. From the myths surrounding their horned helmets to their not-so-fiery burial customs, here are some common misconceptions about Vikings, adapted from an episode of Misconceptions on YouTube.
1. Misconception: Vikings Wore Horned Helmets.
In 1876, German theatergoers were abuzz about a hot new ticket in town. Titled Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Ring of the Nibelung, Richard Wagner’s musical drama played out over an astounding 15 hours and portrayed Norse and German legends all vying for a magical ring that could grant them untold power. To make his characters look especially formidable, costume designer Carl Emil Doepler made sure they were wearing horned helmets.
Though the image of Vikings plundering and pillaging while wearing horned helmets has permeated popular fiction ever since, the historical record doesn’t quite line up with it. Viking helmets were typically made of iron or leather, and it’s possible some Vikings went without one altogether, since helmets were an expensive item at the time. In fact, archaeologists have uncovered only one authentic Viking helmet, and it was made of iron and sans horns, which some historians and battle experts believe would have had absolutely no combat benefit whatsoever.
So where did Doepler get the idea for horned helmets from? There were earlier illustrations of Vikings in helmets that were occasionally horned (but more often winged). There were also Norse and Germanic priests who wore horned helmets for ceremonial purposes. This was centuries before Vikings turned up, though. Some historians argue that there is some evidence of ritualistic horned helmets in the Viking Age, but if they existed, they would have been decorative horns that priests wore—not something intended for combat.
Composer Richard Wagner apparently wasn’t pleased with the wardrobe choices; he didn’t want his opera to be mired in cheap tropes or grandiose costumes. Wagner’s wife, Cosima, was also irritated, saying that Doepler’s wardrobe smacked of “provincial tastelessness.”
The look wound up taking hold when Der Ring des Nibelungen went on tour through Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other artists were then inspired by the direction of the musical and began using horned Viking helmets in their own depictions, including in children’s books. Pretty soon, it was standard Viking dress code.
2. Misconception: All Vikings Had Scary Nicknames.
Leif Erikson. Not as scary of a nickname. / Hulton Archive/Getty Images
When tales of Viking action spread throughout Europe, they were sometimes accompanied by ferocious-sounding nicknames like Ásgeirr the Terror of the Norwegians and Hlif the Castrator of Horses. This may have been a handy way to refer to Vikings with reputations for being hardcore at a time when actual surnames were in short supply. If you wanted to separate yourself from others with the same name, you needed a nickname. But plenty of them also had less intimidating labels.
Take, for instance, Ǫlver the Friend of Children. Sweet, right? Actually, Ǫlver got his name because he refused to murder children. Then there was Hálfdan the Generous and the Stingy with Food, who was said to pay his men very generously, but apparently didn’t feed them, leading to this contradictory nickname. Ragnarr Hairy Breeches was said to have donned furry pants when he fought a dragon.
Other unfortunate-but-real Viking names include Ulf the Squint-Eyed, Eirik Ale-Lover, Eystein Foul-Fart, Skagi the Ruler of Shit, and Kolbeinn Butter Penis. While the historical record is vague on how these names came to be, the truth is never going to be as good as whatever it is you’re thinking right now.
3. Misconception: Vikings Had Viking Funerals.
When someone like Kolbeinn Butter Penis died, it would only be fitting that they were laid to rest with dignity. And if you know anything about Vikings from pop culture, you know that meant setting them on fire and pushing them out to sea.
But as cool as that visual may be, it’s not exactly accurate. Vikings had funerals similar to pretty much everyone else. When one of them died, they were often buried in the ground. Archaeologists in Norway uncovered one such burial site in 2019, where at least 20 burial mounds were discovered.
The lead archaeologist on the site, Raymond Sauvage of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, told Atlas Obscura that:
“We have no evidence for waterborne Viking funeral pyres in Scandinavia. I honestly do not know where this conception derives from, and it should be regarded as a modern myth. Normal burial practice was that people were buried on land, in burial mounds.”
The flaming ship myth may have come from a combination of two real Viking death practices. Vikings did sometimes entomb their dead in their ships, although the vessels remained on land where they were buried. And they did sometimes have funeral pyres. At some point in the historical record, someone may have combined these two scenarios and imagined that Vikings set ships ablaze before sending them out to sea with their dead still on board.
4. Misconception: Vikings Were Experienced and Trained Combat Soldiers.
Spears and arrows were most cost-effective than swords. / Spencer Arnold Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
While it’s true Vikings were violent, they weren’t necessarily the most experienced or talented warriors of their day. In fact, they were mostly normal people who decided plundering would be a great side hustle in the gig economy of Europe.
Historians believe Vikings were made up mostly of farmers, fishermen, and even peasants, rather than burly Conan the Barbarian types. Considering that the coastal villages they attacked probably didn’t put up much resistance, one could be a Viking and not even have to fight all that much. This leads to another common misconception—that Vikings were always swinging swords around. Like helmets, swords were expensive. A day of fighting was more likely to include spears, axes, long knives, or a bow and arrow.
You can blame this fierce warrior rep on the one squad of Vikings that actually fit the bill. Known as berserkers, these particular Vikings worshipped Odin, the god of war and death, and took Odin’s interests to heart. Some berserkers were said to have fought so fiercely that it was as though they had entered a kind of trance. If they were waiting around too long for a fight to start, it was said they might start killing each other.
5. Misconception: Vikings Were Dirty, Smelly, and Gross.
Most depictions of Vikings would have you believe that they were constantly caked in mud, blood, and other miscellaneous funk. Don’t fall for it. Archaeologists have unearthed a significant amount of personal grooming products over the years that belonged to Vikings, including tweezers, combs, toothpicks, and ear cleaners.
Vikings were also known to have bathed at least once a week, which was a staggeringly hygienic schedule for 11th-century Europe. In fact, Vikings put so much attention on bathing that Saturday was devoted to it. They called it Laugardagur, or bathing day. They even had soap made from animal fat.
Hygiene was only one aspect of their routine. Vikings put time and effort into styling their hair and sometimes even dyed it using lye. Their beards were neatly trimmed, and they were also known to wear eyeliner. All of this preening was said to make Vikings a rather attractive prospect to women in villages they raided, as other men of the era were somewhat reluctant to bathe.
6. Misconception: There Were No Viking Women.
An illustration of Lathgertha, legendary Danish Viking shieldmaiden. / Historica Graphica Collection/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Considering the times, Vikings actually had a fairly progressive approach to gender roles. Women could own property, challenge any kind of marriage arrangement, and even request a divorce if things weren’t working out at home. To do so, at least as one story tells it, they’d have to ask witnesses to come over, stand near her bed, and watch as she declared a separation.
In addition to having a relatively high degree of independence, Viking women were also known to pick up a weapon and bash some heads on occasion. The historical record of a battle in 971 CE says that women had fought and died alongside the men. A woman who donned armor was known as a “shieldmaiden.” According to legend, over 300 shieldmaidens fought in the Battle of Brávellir in the 8th century and successfully kept their enemies at bay.
According to History, one of the most notable shieldmaidens was a warrior named Lathgertha who so impressed a famous Viking named Ragnar Lothbrok—he of the Hairy Breeches—that he became smitten and asked for her hand in marriage.