German Castles

Capturing important moments in history from as far back as the 11th and 12th centuries, Deutschland’s palatial monuments are as striking to us today as they were to the royal families and military leaders who once inhabited them.

Having survived centuries and World Wars, many of these castles remain important parts of German life. They now serve as government buildings, museums, landmarks, hotels, and—in more than a few cases—incredible private homes.

Identified from the top:

  • Hohenzollern
  • Eltz Castle
  • Sababurg
  • Wartburg
  • Schwerin Castle
  • Dornburg
  • Burghausen Castle
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Lichtenstein Castle
  • Althoff Grandhotel Castle

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That time Thor was a beautiful woman:

Norse Mythology is literally the greatest thing in the world. Now I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, Thor, like the dude from those Marvel movies?” 

Yes, but if you didn’t know, most of the lore and mythology of Marvel’s Thor is actually built around the foundation of actual Norse Mythology, Why we spend so much time learning about the Greek gods in school is beyond me, because Norse gods are so wild. 

Take for instance the story of Thor and Thrym. So Thrym was a frost giant living to Jotunheim, and as the Frost Giants are known to be, was jealous of the damned Asgardians and their luxurious realm. So Thrym rocks on up to Asgard and steals Thor’s hammer which he’d just used to murderface another frost giant, Hrungnir. 

Thor is pissed. Like who does Thrym think he is? “This is my poorly-manufactured short-handled hammer!” I assume Thor yelled in anger.

So finally, Thrym is all like “Ok ok, I’ll give you back your hammer, if you make Freya marry me.” Now Freya was like the most beautiful of the Gods, and obvs Thrym knew this, so it would be hella prestigious. So Thor and Loki go to Freya and are like “Yo, can you take one for the team and marry this dude so I can get my precious hammer back?” and I imagine that Freya just dead-pan stared at him for no less than 3 minutes, in silence, before telling him to “Fuck off.” (In the cinematic retelling of this story, Freya must be played by Gillian Anderson)  

So Loki, being Loki, is like “My man, Thor, let’s just dress you up like Freya.” and Thor is like “Sure, why not”

The two of them march into fuckin Jotunheim, Thor dressed as Freya, and Loki dressed as her handmaiden. Now, Thor has a veil that’s supposed to conceal his beard and stuff, but like, I seriously doubt that is all he needed. (Yes I’m sure Loki used some kind of deception magic but let’s not be a buzzkill and ruin this story, k?)

So the door swings open and Thrym is like “Oh it is her, the hottest babe of all the Norse.” and he fucking rips off the veil. Thor is like “fuck, I’m done for.” 

But here’s the thing, Thrym is a freaking frost giant, so like he doesn’t know the difference, he just heard Freya was hella hot and so he’s like “Ooo you are even more beautiful than I ever imagined.” 

Now I gotta think Thor and Loki share a glance at this, cause Thor is sitting there, dressed in Freya’s clothes, with a full bead and oh, by the way, he has a giant shard of flint PROTRUDING FROM HIS FOREHEAD because when he killed Hrungnir part of Hrungnir’s flint hammer got lodged in Thor’s forehead and no one could get it out so they just LEFT IT THERE.

So Thrym invites them in, serves them this huge feast, the entire time Thrym is like flirting madly with Thor, who he believes is Freya despite the beard, and giant shard sticking out of his forehead. Finally, at the end of the night he gives “Freya” Thor’s hammer as a gift, to which Thor reveals himself to be Thor and MURDERS EVERYONE IN THE GOD DAMN ROOM! (sans Loki of course who is just in the corner bent over with laughter… or throwing up from too much mead, the world may never know. Do Norse Gods get alcohol poisoning?)

And that’s how Thor, with a shard of flint in his forehead, dressed as a woman, got his Hammer back from Thrym who probably should have known better than to mess with THE GUY WHO GOT A GIANT SHARD OF FLINT STUCK IN HIS SKULL AND TREATED IT ONLY AS A MINOR ANNOYANCE.

Medieval Scandinavians would bury salmon and herrings in holes in the ground to ferment. This would preserve the fish, for eating over the winter. Danes and Norwegians called it “laks,” to the Germans it was “lachs,” and you probably know the Yiddish name, “lox.” Of course today it is simply cured  in a fridge, with salt and a dash of sugar.

Yes, this was actually a thing. Coming from McCall’s Great American Recipe Card Collection of 1973, Ham and Bananas Hollandaise was a secret government project introduced to distract an innocent public with something worse than the oil embargo. To create this potassium horror, I sprinkled the helpless bananas with lemon juice, wrapped them in ham, smothered them in mustard, and baked the lot for 10 minutes, pausing only to douse them in viscous hollandaise.

The finished dish smelled liked a banana slaughterhouse, but for the good of culinary archaeology, I dug right in. The end result was OK going down, but two cans of Coke and a mouthful of Listerine did nothing for the lingering aftertaste. Important note: If your face assumes a thousand-yard stare after eating something, there is something wrong with that food.

7 Gross Foods Your Grandparents Ate (That We Taste Tested)


NASA astronaut Kate Rubins offers NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson birthday greetings from the International Space Station.

You can read her story in this Nasa entry.

“I counted everything. I counted the steps to the road, the steps up to church, the number of dishes and silverware I washed … anything that could be counted, I did.”

Katherine Johnson