Rise in Ho Ho Heists Makes It Harder to Return Grandma's Crappy Gift

It's as much a part of the holiday as the tree: Every year, sometime between Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, you sort through all the random stuff you received, cull the crap, trot around to a handful of stores to make some returns and walk away with a fat stack of cash. Well, they're onto you. OK, maybe not so much you, but people who find ways to amp up their holiday returns. Fraudulent returns are proje...

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Love and The Force -- Asylum Investigates 'Star Wars'-Themed Weddings

If you're still laboring under the impression that grown-up "Star Wars" fans can't get lucky, you obviously are unaware of the burgeoning "Star Wars"-themed wedding phenomenon. Around the world, people are pairing off in ceremonies evoking various eras of George Lucas' epic. In August 2008, Rebecca D'Madeiros and Bill Duda, both 36, got hitched in Portland, Ore., dressed as Mon Mothma and Admir...

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My Bad Day -- I Broke My Neck and Walked Away

Today was a good day. For the first time in two years, my neurologist told me I don't have to come see him anymore. Saturday, April 19, 2008, on the other hand, was a bad day: Zero Hour, 4 p.m. We're boogie-boarding in chest-deep waters in the thunderous surf off Daytona Beach, and there's a storm blowing in. We decide it's time for one last wave. I look at my girlfriend bobbing in the surf ne...

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10 Words That Should Be Words, But Aren't

First things first: Who made Merriam-Webster the word police? For decades now the editors of that esteemed reference book have dictated to the rest of us which words are actually words, and which words ain't aren't. But how did that happen? Did Noah Webster make a deal with the devil in 1806, when he published his first dictionary? Was there some secret government missive that read, "Hey, Webst...

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The Star Wars Celebration V Tattoo Pavilion -- Where Geeks Get Inked

Last month, 30,000 devoted sci-fi geeks piled into the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., for Star Wars Celebration V. Of course, with a dozen tattoo artists also in attendance, ink did fly. Gallons of it. Buckets of it. Needles pierced skin like a lightsaber through, well, skin. Asylum sent correspondent Chip Carter to check out the tattoo pavilion, where he met with some Star Wars...

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Our 5 Favorite Moments From Star Wars Celebration V

They came from everywhere: Denmark, Japan, Australia, Seattle, Tulsa, Moosejaw, Saskatchewan, Dagobah, Tatooine. 30,000 in all, packed into the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for Star Wars Celebration V, an annual observance of the tenets laid down in the sacrosanct trinity (Episodes 4–6) and the not-quite-holy but still pretty darn venerable prequels (Episodes 1–3). W...

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Alligators vs. Sharks -- Which Is More Deadly?

Sharks get all the love. They have their own week on the Discovery Channel, there are scads of scary movies about them and their attributes are even applied on a human scale to members of society engaged in professions like card-playing and the law. So, we got to wondering: Are sharks really all they're cracked up to be? Could there be an even more fearsome predator among us? How, for instance,...

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Forgotten History -- When Nazis Attacked America

December 7, 1941, was indeed a day that will live in infamy -- but Japan wasn't the only Axis power to attack the United States in the opening days of World War II. For the first few months of 1942, Nazi U-boats patrolled the waters along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking havoc in a now-forgotten campaign that sank 609 ships in U.S. waters. It all started in December 1941...

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Snake Hunter Cleaning Up Florida's Everglades One Burmese Python at a Time

Enough is enough. Capt. Jeff Fobb has had it with these mother-lovin' snakes in this mother-lovin' swamp! Fobb works for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue as a venom response officer. When someone reports a poisonous or otherwise-scary snake, it's his job to go get it. In his spare time, he likes to hike through the Florida Everglades and do it for free. Fobb says he's been this way since he was a k...

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Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout, Gary? Remembering Coleman

Like anyone who appreciates the absurd and broken, I was saddened but not shocked to hear about the death of Gary Coleman. I was sad because he was an effed-up little guy who basically existed and was exploited for the amusement of others. I wasn't surprised because I had actually gotten a chance to do a long, strange interview with him in 2003 when he was pimping the game "Postal 2." It was ma...

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