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Test Pattern: Five-link Friday

New brainteaser, cereal madness, ‘Office’ valentines

Five-link Friday: New brainteaser

Five-link day is still Friday for now, but it likely will move to Monday soon. I'll keep you posted.

• Remember the fun we had with the ? Now try your hand at this so-called but don't worry — it's not your standard IQ test. Instead, it's a bit of a brain-teaser testing how you can recognize common numerical phrases just by their initials  — identifying "24 H in a D" as "24 hours in a day," for example. Hint: To get some of them, you'll have to think outside American borders.

• The perfect valentine for an office romance: from the good folks at Dunder Mifflin Paper, a.k.a., the crew on the American version of "The Office." I also got a kick out of the "featured product" on their . I couldn't seem to get the paper to go into the basket on this , though.

• I admit it, I'm kind of fascinated with old cereal boxes. So of course I adored . Mouse over the boxes to make them pop up, click to zoom in.

• Speaking of cereal, I marveled at this , but really, it's just one breathtaking part of an entire . The Force is definitely with this Seattle family. (Via .)

• "Survivor" alums are keeping a about the show's new "Exile Island" season. At least it's nominally about the new show, it's also kind of a bizarre way for the different past contestants to needle each other and give each other shout-outs.

Hollywood, quit scaring the babysitters!

"When a Stranger Calls” topped , and this former babysitter wasn’t surprised. The film itself has received , but the underlying concept is a true classic.

Back when the came out, in 1979, it was kind of a terrifying era to be a sitter. SIDS was always in the news, so I spent much of my “sitting” time actually standing — in the door of the nursery, trying not to wake the baby, but also craning my neck to see if its little chest was rising and falling. (The baby I sat for is now in medical school, so I guess she survived just fine.)

And then this movie, based on a common urban legend, hit theaters. The ads were sheer genius — as horribly mind-searing as the da-dum, da-dum theme from “Jaws.” The phone rings, the babysitter answers, and a creepy voice asks “Have you checked the children?” After the thoroughly freaked-out sitter finally calls the police, they trace the call and discover — well, you know. Murdered charges. A second phone line upstairs. “Get out now. The calls are coming from inside the house!”

Defamer has a of how such a conversation might go today, what with call waiting and cell phones.

“When a Stranger Calls” was hardly the first film to prey on babysitters’ night terrors. The working title for 1978’s classic was “The Babysitter Murders,” and 1971’s featured a babysitter in turmoil as well. And it wasn’t the first film to play up the “calls are coming from inside the house” angle, either, believe it or not. 1974’s Creepy set a similar plot in a college sorority house. But for babysitters in the 1970s and 1980s, it was “When a Stranger Calls” that  took the most innocent sound — a ringing phone — and made it peal out as a sound of terror in a quiet, unfamiliar, dark house.

The wonderful Snopes.com urban-legend site why this legend is just so scary, even if the movie remake doesn’t do it justice. Snopes points out that teenagers are already insecure about growing up and accepting more responsibilities, and here’s the ultimate proof that the teen in question is a complete failure. The kids are dead, and the teenager herself might soon be. She couldn’t have screwed up any more bloodily, any more publicly. Snopes goes on to note that the original legend often has the babysitter watching TV while the kids are presumably murdered — because TV is bad! — and notes that the instrument of terror, the phone, is often a teenager’s favorite means of communication.

As teen sitters, my friends and I never thought about it quite that deeply. But we knew the ultimate way to scare someone who was sitting: Call them at the house, disguise your voice, and ask “Have you checked the children?” Now, even if the movie is far from critically acclaimed, a whole new generation of babysitters can be as freaked out as we were. Hollywood, won't you stop scaring the babysitters? They're hard enough to come by as it is.

Readers on Super Bowl ads

Some really interesting opinions on the Super Bowl commercials. No one was really raving about the ads as a whole, but a few favorites emerged, especially the streaking sheep and the Clydesdale colt. Here are some of your thoughts, and here again is the , which allows you to watch many of the ads again.

START ME UP“The ads this year were dull. Granted I was bowling during the game and only saw the sound-off versions of the ads but they still were dull. The Burger King thing has been creepy since it first started appearing outside of people’s bedroom windows...now it’s only a tad bit worse. Caveman?? I didn’t know that FedEx hired high schoolers to develop their commercial. Sierra Mist was cute but Pepsi has lost their touch. The others were blah. Just like the game. Sadly, the Stones were the best part of the day. Mostly because it’s refreshing to see a 63ish year-old man looking good for his age and getting granddaughter-aged women excited.”     --Bob

WELCOME BACK, MACGYVER“I must say that most of the commercials aren’t all that oddball or as fun this year. Budweiser always pulls out the Clydesdales for the Super Bowl. I’d say the FedEx one wins for insanely original. But, the Mastercard one? They pulled out MacGyver! Sure it was their same “Priceless” campaign, but in a wacky new way, with Richard Dean Anderson. But, other than those, and a couple ads with some monkeys (since when can a commercial with monkeys go wrong?), you’re absolutely right, there was nothing spectacular. I guess they spent all their money on the spots and not on the writers!”    --Trina

JUST GROSS“I hated the BK ad, but that’s nothing new. I really hated the Diet Pepsi ads - “brown and bubbly” sounds like something that needs to be flushed.”    --Terri

TOO CLOSE TO REALITY“Have you read Jimmy Johnson’s comments on www.arloandjanis.com about the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck ad today? I thought it was just stupid but did not think of it in terms of Hurricane Katrina as Mr. Johnson did. I think he made a valid point.”    --Sharon

THERAPY: HAVE IT YOUR WAY“As one who tunes in purely for the commercials I too was disappointed. I saw more “regular” ads (for movies and tv shows) than I saw as big budget super bowl ads. The only one that still stands out is, of course, a Budweiser ad. I loved the sheep who streaked during the Clydesdales’ game. Unfortunately, any enjoyment at the commercials I did experience has been ruined by the “Whopperettes” and the Burger King, images I am afraid are permanently seared into my brain (I foresee many hours of counseling that will be billed to Burger King).”    --Anonymous

CHEERS“Bud Light’s Magic Beer Fridge was my favorite! Bud’s usual corniness about impossible and not needed ways to “protect” one’s beer had a good twist at the end when the revolving wall shows the fridge ending up in another apartment with its tenants exclaiming “Guys, The Magic Fridge is back!” as they quickly unloaded it.”    --Blake

TIME WARP“My favorite was the Fedex Caveman (did you get the Napoleon Dynamite reference?)It was funny just with his reaction to being fired because he didn’t use a company that hadn’t even been invented yet, but then getting stomped on by some prehistoric mammoth had me falling off my chair.”    --Melinda

Super Bowl ad stupor

Yes, I watched the Super Bowl. As a longtime Minnesota Vikings fan now living in Seattle, I was able to use the experience gained from watching the Vikes lose four Super Bowls to help my new Seattle friends through their first Super Bowl defeat. Think of it as Big Game Loss Counseling. Maybe I should charge for it. But regular readers know I'm , so of course I was tuning in for the ads as well.

And the ads were about as disappointing as the Seahawks' performance. There was nothing that is still ringing through my head the next day, unlike the wonderful Budweiser Clydesdales who "usually go for two."

I do admit to a tiny little "awww" at this year's Budweiser ad, with the colt who's eager to pull the beer wagon with the big horses, and manages to get it out of the barn with a little unseen help from his bigger pals.

I also got a bit of a laugh at another Budweiser ad — the one where a stadium full of fans flipped cards to show a bottle of beer slowly being emptied. (Not quite as funny as , but in the same ballpark, so to speak.) But that was about it.

The real question: What is going on over at Burger King? Has the smoke from the flame-broiler clouded their judgment? The room full of partiers I was in watched the Whopperettes ad with the same horrified silence that greeted Joe Theisman's broken leg. First the freaky plastic-headed King, now this?

My co-worker Marty Wolk has a if you want to refresh your memory, or didn't see the game but are interested in the commercials. And you can here.