Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/26/2008

The Top 5 Fastest Roller Coasters in the World:

100 mph - The Tower of Terror, Dreamworld, Australia

100 mph - Superman the Escape, Six Flags Magic Mountain, California

106 mph - Dodonpa, Fujikyu Highland, Japan

120 mph - Top Thrill Dragster, Cedar Point Ohio

128 mph - Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey

The only one I've been on is Top Thrill Dragster and it was pretty ridiculous. You feel like the skin is going to peel right off your face. So awesome.

What My Dad Wants For Christmas

My father pointed out this eBay auction for me yesterday, and I'm just in love with the idea of it. Like every other American family we watch the Ralphie "Christmas Story" about a thousand times between December 24th and December 25th, and this auction has been designed to recreate the movie for one lucky bidder. Winner of the auction includes:
  • An overnight stay on Christmas Eve at the house where "A Christmas Story" was filmed.
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of the home and museum.
  • A ride in the family car.
  • Delivery of a "Fra-Gi-Le" prize crate to the house on Christmas Eve, complete with crowbar.
  • Little Orphan Annie decoder rings delivered in the mailbox.
  • a Chinese turkey dinner at Pearl of the Orient Restuarant.
  • A present-opening session on Christmas morning, including two Red Rider BB Guns, a blue bowling ball, and a pink bunny suit.

How fantastic is this? If I had $5,000 laying around, I'd make a bid, but this is too rich for my blood. Still, how fantastic, right?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hammer Time

I have this friend. We’ll call him “Rich,” mostly because that’s his real name. Rich is not unlike the Tasmanian Devil from Looney Toons. Now, imagine taking the Tasmanian Devil with you out into public. Imagine doing it after the Tasmanian Devil has just ingested a third of his weight in alcohol.

That’s Rich. It’s always a good time.

And so, we journey together into what I have often called the best summer of my life, where I, wealthy off the spoils of my college graduation and blissfully unemployed, grew into a fantastic friendship with Rich and two other guys who helped completely shift my view of the world at a time when my view of the world really needed it. I had spent the better part of the last 12 months doing nothing but research projects and failing with women, and a summer spent swigging Coronas and playing no-limit Texas Hold’em in people’s garages was just what the doctor ordered. I wouldn’t be a happy, confident person today without that summer. A month after it ended I moved back to Bloomington for good and met my future wife, who I never would’ve had the gumption to speak to had I not changed so much in the previous 100 days. In a way, those guys saved me. Even Taz has his redeeming qualities, folks.

But life after the summer of 2004 is a story for another day. Maybe a memoir that I doubt anyone would buy or even read if presented with a free copy. This entry refers to the summer of 2004 itself, and one of the most classic Rich stories I can think to tell.

Two months into the summer we had been playing poker so much (literally 3-4 times a week) that we all had started taking it entirely too seriously. It’s like when kids get so into a video game that they start having dreams about beating the game, and everything else in their lives suffer until the damn thing is conquered. Sorta how our lives were in regards to cards that July.

We’re in Cole’s garage with the poker table set up, the usually quartet anteing up conservatively and dragging the games out as long as we could to make sure everyone had an equal shot at stealing the $20 pot. We had been playing for quite a while, and the competition in this particular game was getting heavy, when Rich’s phone rang.

Those of you that have played poker with buddies before know that when the phone rings, proper etiquette is to either hit “silence,” or answer it and immediately tell the caller you’ll hit them up once you win or once you’re out. This usually works out fine, unless the caller is the callee’s girlfriend, as was the case in this particular instance.

So Rich starts cooing and kissing into the phone for a few minutes, then he says, “Hang on. Deal it up and I’ll be back in a second” and heads outside to complete his Duncan Hines cake conversation in privacy to avoid being chastised by Cole, Sean, and myself (which, by the way, always happened anyway).

Ten minutes, fifteen minutes, thirty minutes pass. The three of us are sitting there sipping on warm beer swill while we wait for Mr. Betty Crocker to return to the table. It’s at this point we get the idea to stack the deck.

Going into this we knew that Rich, who turns into a wiry little Incredible Hulk when he’s pissed off, would go apey when he discovered the ruse, but at this point we were all pretty annoyed and thought the risk could be worth the rewards. We didn’t deal, but just set up the deck so that Rich would get a straight flush to the King (literally the second-highest hand in poker) and Cole would get a royal flush (the only hand that can beat it).

After about a half-hour (but what felt like an evening-and-a-half), Rich comes moseying back in like he’d just been laid. “Alright, let’s do this,” he says, and Sean deals.

The cards come spraying out like an automatic sprinkler, and everything is set up like we planned out. The first three cards get flipped onto the table, and we’re well aware that Rich has four of a suit and an open-ended straight draw. He’s going to bet strong, and he does.

We’re all holding back snickers, trying to look as serious as possible. The Turn gives Rich his flush, but the straight flush won’t come until the River. Even still, it’s enough for him to start betting like a moron because he’s got it King-high. Quickly it becomes too right for Sean’s and my blood, so we fold while Cole keeps pushing Rich, who looks extremely confident. We suppress laughter watching him try unsuccessfully to suppress his cool. Rich is a talker during cards. Whenever he gets really quiet and serious, you know there’s got to be something good in his craw. This was common knowledge, but seeing it all unfold was just too great for words.

Finally the last card rolls out and it gives Rich his straight flush to the King. When the card came down and he sort of adjusted himself in his chair, like a contestant on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” that has just answered the final question correctly and is waiting for Regis to announce him as the winner. A small tear of joy welled up in his right eye, and it’s absolutely probably that a small squirt of pee escaped from his body the moment that card hit the table.

“All in,” he tries to say casual, as if it’s really no big deal. Sean and I start making cat calls at the ballsy move, as if we don’t know what the result is going to be. Rich leans back and waits on Cole, who seems to be deliberating for a moment, just to create success, but it’s not long before he finally comes back with, “I call.”

Rich flips over his fantastic hand and starts talking about he couldn’t believe the hand while starting to rake the chips towards him.

But then Cole says, “Uh, Rich.. hang on a second, buddy,” and lays down his royal flush.

The kid’s entire body went slack, like someone who had just been shot right through the heart. He couldn’t believe it. Didn’t even see it coming. The odds were absolutely impossible. This kind of thing only happens in movies, right? The only way something this happens in a garage in Clifton is if somebody stacks the de…

Wait a tick.

It’s at this point Rich realizes he’s been had. The three of us had a good 20 seconds of uproarious laughter before he caught on and every glorious one of them was bliss.

But then Rich released the Tasmanian Devil.

His first instinct, and I don’t know why this would be anyone’s first instinct, was to look for a hammer. We all scattered like Japanese civilians fleeing from Godzilla. Cole had the hand that won, so that’s the direction Rich took, chasing the poor kid out into the cornfields, claw of the hammer raining down on him in little bursts. I like to think that if Cole actually had gotten caught he would’ve gotten through it alive, but today I’m not so sure.

Eventually Sean and I returned to the garage to wait for those two to come back, and we waited for quite some time with no returns.

“You think Rich killed him?” Sean asked.

Just then Cole ran into the garage, alive, praise Allah, and locked everything up. Everything was quiet for a solid minute before I asked Cole in a whisper, “Where is he?”

Afraid to even move, Cole answered, “I don’t know, he was right behind me.” And then more silence.

But in a moment, the door leading from the garage to house, which could not be locked from outside, swung open and a maniacal Rich stood silhouetted in the dark doorframe, hammer in hand. I half-expected him to say something witty in a gruff voice, like “Hammertime, boys,” but he didn’t. He ran straight for Cole, gave him a few solid whacks in the ribs with the tool and slumped down into a chair to regain his breath.

When it returned, he cursed us all out and we all laughed again. Cole ended up with only a couple of bruises, but that’s fair payment for one of the best memories of that fantastic summer. The night Taz got served and ran loose with a hammer. Like I said, always a good time.

Daily Did-You-Know 11/25/2008

There are a lot of great musicians out there - Paul McCartney, Yo-Yo Ma, Andrea Bocelli, Ruben Studdard - but who has been most recognized with the most Grammys in the history of the award? Never fear, folks. As always, I'm dropping the knowledge on ya:

8 people tied with 16 awards: Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Vince Gill, Leonard Bernstein, Pat Metheny, Robert Shaw, and Sting.

17 awards: Alison Krauss

20 awards: Henry Mancini

22 awards: Stevie Wonder

2 people tied with 25 awards: Pierre Boulez and Vladimir Horowitz

27 awards: Quincy Jones

And the person with the most Grammy awards in history, with 31 awards: Sir Georg Solti! Who the hell is that! Further research shows he was an internationally renowned conductor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic. I suppose that'll get the job done, eh?

Elvis, The Beatles, and the Rolling Stones didn't make the top 15, and in fact not a single one of them has ever won a Grammy for Record of the Year. The person to win that specific Grammy the most times was Paul Simon, who took it home thrice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/24/2008

I've got an Official Blog Entry just about ready to roll. It'll be up tomorrow, even though I know I promised one for today. My bad, ya'll. It's coming though, I promise!

Now for the Daily Did-You-Know...

The top five most expensive paintings ever sold are:

"Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier" by Paul Cezanne, sold for $55 million in 1999.

"Portrait de l'artiste sans barbe" by Vincent Van Gogh, sold for $65 million in 1998.

"Au Moulin de la Galette" by Pierre de la Galette, sold for $71 million in 1990 and then re-sold in 2002 for $76.7 million.

"Portrait of Dr. Gachet" by Vincent Van Gogh, sold for $82.5 million in 1990.

"Garcon a la Pipe" by Pablo Picasso, sold for whopping $104 million in 2004.

A parting note on this topic: According to Wikipedia, a Jackson Pollack painting was sold in 2006 (after the publication of the book I pulled today's Did-You-Know from) for a record $140 million. It's an expressionist piece, and you absolutely will not believe that anybody paid $140 for it, let alone $140 million. Curious? Click HERE to see it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Joe Namath: "I Want to Kiss You"

Here's the setup: Jets legend Joe Namath is getting interviewed on the sidelines during a Jets game (this was a few years ago) by ESPN reporter Suzi Kolber. Turns out, ol' Joe is absoutely wasted, the happiest of happy drunks, and halfway through the interview he starts making moves towards Kolber. It's the most awkward, uncomfortable thing I've seen at a sporting event, and I remember watching this live. Just insane. I'm ashamed of myself for forgetting about it because this is classic sports right here. As classic as sports can be.

Daily Did-You-Know 11/21/2008

The following are some words that were once used all the time a generation or two ago but now sound ridiculous whenever somebody uses them. But guess who's going to START using them? This guy...

bloomers (n): ladies' underwear
bee's knees (adj): neat, cool
dapper (adj): describes a fancy dresser
gentleman caller (n): boyfriend
knickers (n): kids' short pants
settee (n): small sofa
thither (adv): over there
zounds! (int): expression of surprise

I forgot all about "bee's knees." That's fantastic! Are there any more you can think up, especially you older folks out there? Hit up the comments!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/20/2008

Today we look at seven famous hoaxes from the annals (tee hee) of American history. Some of these are goodies, and all of them have links to Wikipedia or Snopes pages with more information if you somehow get particularly interested. Which you might do.

1842 - The Feejee Mermaid

P.T. Barnum was responsible for making the world believe mermaids were real, but his version of the mermaid corpse, which was like half-monkey and half-fish, doesn't look anything like Disney's Ariel, who's like the hottest redhead I've ever seen outside of Isla Fisher.

1869 - The Cardiff Giant

The corpse of a ten-foot man was found in Great Britain, but stupid people in the 19th century thought the stone statue was a gigantic fossilized dead guy. Clearly, that wasn't the case. Thank goodness we have no forensic technology that can tell the difference between a dead person and rocks!

1911 - The Piltdown Man

More tomfoolery in England. A "Missing Link" skull that was purported to be 500,000 years old ended up aging 50,000 years old. Oops! Added a zero! The skull's jawbone was only a decade old.

1978 - The Human Clone

A science writer wrote that a millionare had made a clone of himself, which obviously never happened. As far as I'm aware there has never been a human clone, unless you count the Governator in "The Sixth Day," which was a crappy movie anyway.

1999 - The Piltdown Chicken

Scientists find a "Missing Link" fossil between lizards and birds, helping to prove evolution. Turns out two fossils had been melded together to create a fancy effect. Now if there was a Piltdown Egg, we could argue which of the two came first.

2000 - Shinichi Fujimura's Rocks

This famous Asian scientist claimed to have discovered stone tools that were over 600,000 years old. Pretty awesome story. Except for the fact that Shinichi buried the tools himself. Looks like he was the tool, am I right?

2000 - The Monster Cat

We've all seen the picture of Snowball at some point, but I'm here to tell you it's Photoshopped. No cat is that big, except my sister's. They eat bacon.

Got any others I'm forgetting? Hit up the comments!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/19/2008

The following plants are poisonous if eaten:

Azaleas, Buttercups, Daffodils (the bulbs), Eldeberry (the roots), Hyacinth (the bulbs), Hudrangeas (the buds, leaves, and branches), Laurels, Misteltoe, Morning Glories (the seeds), Poinsettias, and Rododendrons.

Plus, you know, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. Them ain't good, either.

The following plants are actually good for your body:

Aloe (sunburns), Chili Peppers (reduces pain), Eucalyptus (kills germs), Garlic (heals infections), Ginger (helps indigestion), Mint (reduces nausea and indigestion), Roses (rich in Vitamin C), Wormwood (heals parasitic worms), and St. John's Wort (good for the nervous system).

Top 10 Arguments That Can't Be Won

Top 10 Arguments That Can't Be Won.

According to the guy that wrote this, at least. I think the answers are pretty easy. They are as follows:
  1. Evolution, clearly. But who's to say evolution isn't the result of an intelligent creator?
  2. Some combination of Nature AND Nurture
  3. Keep guns legal but limit the types of guns that can be owned
  4. A dying person's wishes should be honored, even if that means pulling the plug.
  5. For it. Sometimes death is the only acceptible punishment for a crime. Humans have doing this for year and it works just fine. You think the Mongols had life without parole?
  6. Pro-choice. Can't go pro-life for as long as women can potentially get pregnant as a result of rape.
  7. Destiny exists, but it can only take us so far; eventually we have decisions to make for ourselves.
  8. Morals clearly are relative. Ever watch that "Taboo" show? That proves it right there.
  9. Who cares? Both are delicious.
  10. Has to. The world can't just be strings of good and bad luck. God may not watch over the universe like a manager watches over the day shift, but there's got to be something God-like out there. At least I certainly hope so!

Nice to Meet You #3: Richard Jenkins

The guy in this picture has to look familiar, right? That’s Richard Jenkins, an actor that was born in DeKalb, Illinois and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University, which is also my alma mater. If you’re a Will Ferrell fan you might have seen him in “Step Brothers” this past summer. He played Ferrell’s dad in the so-so comedy. He was also the lead in “The Visitor,” which, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should. In case you’re trying to figure out where else you’ve seen the guy, check out his page here.

Anyhoo, I met Mr. Jenkins about a month ago at IWU’s homecoming weekend, where he had returned to town to show “The Visitor” and do a little Q&A afterwards. I missed the show for some reason—I forget why—but when I was rolling around with pals on campus the next day I bumped into him at the book store. So I just rolled up and introduced myself.

I said I was a big fan, even though I’ve only seen about four of his films, but he seemed genuinely flattered and engaged himself in a fantastic conversation with me, which I neither expected nor deserved. Mostly just a bunch of mundane chatter about his feelings on IWU, a few anecdotes from his time there, and a couple of cool stories about John C. Reilly, who he actually knew when Reilly was a kid. Jenkins used to work for the kid’s grandfather and remembers the “Step Brothers” co-star as a four-year-old saying someday he was going to be a bigger actor than Unkie Richard. Jenkins sort of laughed and said the kid was right (Reilly got an Oscar nod for “Chicago,” if’n you recall).

All in all, he was a fantastic guy. One of those pure, deep voices that subtly rattle your insides like the bassline from a good rock song. Firm handshake, authentic smile. I just enjoyed talking with the dude. I’d do it again if presented the opportunity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/18/2008

Did you know I am both mythical and magical? Check it out:
  • Select three different numbers between 1 and 9.
  • Write the three numbers down next to one another, largest first, forming a three-digit number.
  • Now reverse the digits, putting the smallest first, and write this number underneath the first three-digit-number.
  • Subtract the lower number from the upper number.
  • The answer is 18.

Also, your dead childhood pet says "hello."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/17/2008

Okay, so we all know that George Washington is on the $1 bill and Abraham Lincoln is on the penny. See if you can nail down what faces go with the rest of American bills and coins:

(Highlight each line to view the answers).

Penny = Abraham Lincoln
Nickel = Thomas Jefferson
Dime = Franklin Roosevelt
Quarter = George Washington
Half-Dollar = John F. Kennedy

$1 Bill = George Washington
$2 Bill = Thomas Jefferson
$5 Bill = Abraham Lincoln
$10 Bill = Alexander Hamilton
$20 Bill = Andrew Jackson
$50 Bill = Ulysses Grant
$100 Bill = Benjamin Franklin

Also, did you know that are $500 (William McKinley), $1,000 (Grover Cleveland), $10,000 (Salmon P. Chase, the only non-president in the bunch), and $100,000 (Woodrow Wilson) bills in circulation, too? They're used by banks and large businesses, but you won't find them floating around in 7-Eleven cash drawers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/13/2008

Can you pick out the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World from the following list? It's harder than you think...

The Great Pyramid, Egypt (pic)
Aztec Temple in Tenochtitlan, Mexico (pic)
Colosseum, Rome (pic)
Great Wall of China, China (pic)
Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Modern-Day Iraq (pic)
Temple of Artemis, Turkey (pic)
Great Sphinx, Egypt (pic)
Statue of Zeus, Greece (pic)
Machu Picchu, Peru (pic)
Moai Statues of Easter Island, Chile (pic)
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Turkey (pic)
Parthenon, Greece (pic)
Colossus of Rhodes, Greece (pic)
Stonehenge, England (pic)
Taj Mahal, India (pic)
Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt (pic)

Answers: (highlight to view)

  1. Great Pyramid
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Temple of Artemis
  4. Statue of Zeus
  5. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria

Once you've checked your answers, you can read the following. Did you already try to answer? you're not cheating by reading this? Okay. Carry on...

Since only one of the original Seven Wonders is still around, a Swiss company started an initiative in 2001 to name the New Seven Wonders of the World. After letting people all over the world vote, and after narrowing the list down to 21 finalists, this is the final list they came up with:

The Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu, the Roman Colosseum, Taj Mahal, Brazil's Christ the Redeemer (pic), Jordan's Petra Monastary (pic), and Mexico's Chichen Itza (pic).

There Are Two Assassins Living In My House

How to tell if your cat is trying to kill you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/12/2008

Only three world cities have a larger population than New York (18 million people including the suburbs). What are they?

Answers (highlight to view):
  1. Tokyo, Japan (31.2 million)
  2. Mexico City, Mexico (21.5 million)
  3. San Paolo, Brazil (19.9 million)

The Price is Definitely Right

This kid's kind of a moron, but I've never seen anything like this on "The Price is Right."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/11/2008

Put the following world religions in order, starting with the largest number of believers and working down to the fewest number of believers:

Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists

Answers (highlight to view):
  1. Christians (2 billion believers)
  2. Muslims (1.3 billion believers)
  3. Hindus (900 million believers)
  4. Buddhists (360 million believers)
  5. Jews (14.4 million believers)

Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals

This is hilarious.

Breaking Bad News With Baby Animals

The Mayne Event

I love me some some Kenny Mayne. The best thing about these little clips is that some of them co-star the guy at, whom I enjoy very, very much. He reminds me of Ed, which would explain the man-crush.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nice to Meet You #2: Ben Wallace

My first season covering the Bulls was right after the summer they brought in multiple-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace for a ridiculous sum of money. Pretty much everybody else on the team was young, vibrant, and open to pretty much anything in terms of chatting with the media, but not Big Ben. He didn’t scare me necessarily, but he did intimidate the crap out of me. There absolutely is a difference.

This past weekend when the Cleveland Cavaliers (Wallace’s new team) came through, I needed to get some audio from him for a piece I was doing. Now let me explain what I mean by intimidating—as I reached the point in approaching him that it was clear I needed an interview, he sort of stopped tying his shoes and looked up at me like I was about to ruin his day. The man has never warmed to me. Rarely do I get the sort of feeling that imposing on someone to interview them, but it’s that way with Big Ben.

He did agree to answer my questions, and the whole thing was less scary in real life than I think it was in my head, but it’s the anxiety in approaching the guy that’s always killed me. People who know him well love him, swear he’s the coolest, most down-to-earth guy in the world. And I can absolutely see that. He’s the sort of person you want to impress so that you, too, can become part of that circle of trust and partake in meaningful high fives and familial banter.

Alas, it was never meant to be with me and Mr. Ben Wallace. Part of it is just that he’s a quiet, self-kept guy. I understand that, but sometimes quiet, self-kept guys aren’t the most fun to talk to. And sometimes quiet, self-kept guys can be a little intimidating.

Okay, fine. Scary. The man is a little scary.

Daily Did-You-Know 11/10/2008

Let's test your smarts. The following are all "extinct" countires, meaning they no longer go buy these names. How many of these can you match up with its modern-day name? If you're as smart as me, the answer is "zero."

Extinct Countries:
  1. Gold Coast
  2. Persia
  3. Siam
  4. Yugoslavia
  5. Burma
  6. Rhodesia
  7. Sumatra
Answers: (highlight to view... they're invisible!)
  1. Ghana
  2. Iran
  3. Thailand
  4. Serbia and Montenegro
  5. Myanmar
  6. Zimbabwe
  7. Indonesia

Friday, November 07, 2008

Nice to Meet You #1: Shaquille O'Neal

When you hear that Shaquille O’Neal is 7’2”, you think, “Wow, he must be really big.” Then you see him on commercials and in video games and you might mutter, “Eh, he’s not so bad.” Trust me. The man is huge.

But he’s also one of the nicer NBA players I’ve ever met. All it takes for me to explain this is by demonstrating the following exchange:

Me: “Hi, Joel Brigham with HOOPSWORLD, how you doin’ man?”
Most NBA Players: “Hey” or “Whassup” or “(inaudible grunt)” or absolute silence.

Now let’s see how Shaq responds, shall we?

Me: “Hi, Joel Brigham with HOOPSWORLD, how you doin’ big guy?”
Shaquille O’Neal, making eye contact and smiling: “Hi, Joel. It’s really nice to meet you.”

Then he cracked some jokes, had a few laughs, he touched my leg (okay, maybe not the last thing), and he was gone. But as things go for superstars, he was one of the cooler guys I’ve come across. Yes, his biceps are larger than most mortal toddlers. Yes, his head is literally so large it has its own gravitational pull. He wears a size 22 shoe for goodness sake. I’m not coming anywhere close to exaggerating when I say you could use those shoes as bassinettes for average-sized twin infants.

But his heart is bigger than all of those things. Cheesy? Perhaps. But true.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Daily Did-You-Know 11/6/2008

If you're like me, the following names don't mean anything to you:

Daniel Tompkins, George Dallas, William King, Schuyler Colfax, Henry Wilson, William Wheeler, Thomas Hendricks, Levi Morton, Garret Hobart, or Charles Fairbanks.

Why should they? Because all of them are the names of former U.S. Vice Presidents.

Taming the Dragon

I had totally forgotten about this sketch. A bright spot in SNL's not particularly funny years. And remember when Lindsay Lohan used to be hot?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Why Has No One Ever Thought Of This?

Check out this amazing catch. I've literally never seen anything like this. Why has no one ever thought to do this before?

And congratulations to Barack Obama. Love him or hate him, he's our next president. Let's hope he's able to resurrect American the way so many people think he's capable of doing.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

If The Other Party Won

A little something for election day:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Which President Had Anal Fissures?

When it comes to presidential diseases, we all know that FDR was confined to a wheelchair because of a tough bout with polio, William Taft was morbidly obese, and George Washington was as toothless as an 80-year-old hooker.

What you don’t know is all the presidents who battled alcoholism and depression, and lots of other really weird stuff. Some of these surprised me quite a bit, as I’m sure they will you, too. In the spirit of election day tomorrow, let’s re-visit some more fabulous did-you-knows from our nation’s presidential past.
  • George Washington was sterile. In Washington’s case, ol’ Martha birthed four children pre-G.W. but was unable to conceive in her 40-year marriage to our first president. Washington wouldn’t admit it to himself—in fact, he often said that if Martha died and he started bumping uglies with a new main squeeze he’d have tons of little Washingtons, no problem—but he couldn’t have kids.

Diagnosis: Sterile

  • So was James Polk, whose sterility came from having a bladder stone removed (ouch!).

  • Warren G. Harding was believed to have been infertile his whole life, but turns out his little boys worked just fine in the form of an illegitimate daughter who came out of the woodworks four years after Harding died. Because he had a childless marriage, most believed he was infertile, but in 1927 when his bastard daughter wrote a book it certainly shook up that theory. Modern geneticists generally agree that this “Nan Britton” lady was Harding’s daughter, killing any possibility of him ever being as awesome as George Washington.

  • Thomas Jefferson may have had Asperger Syndrome. Was the man that wrote our Declaration of Independence autistic? Asperger is a high-functioning form of autism that allows the patient to come off extremely intelligent but socially daft. Not everyone agrees with this diagnosis 200 years after the fact, but support of the theory includes Jefferson’s shyness, his inability to relate to other people, his lack of comfort and charisma in public speaking, and obsessive behaviors like spending much of 54 years remodeling his house and walking around with a pet bird on his shoulder. Pundits argue that autism must be diagnosed from observing childhood behaviors, not adult behaviors, and since a fire burned up Jefferson’s childhood home and history, there’s no way to tell for sure. Still, there are a few books out there that make a compelling case.

Diagnosis: Autistic

  • John Tyler experienced several years of paralysis. Nobody really knows what specifically was wrong with Tyler, but his paralysis forced him to take a two-year hiatus from Congress in his pre-presidential years. He did eventually recover, but that still sucks. Could’ve been a tick, some say. Others site numerous diseases as potential culprits.

  • James Polk at one point suffered from “debilitating diarrhea.” I can’t imagine how not fun that must have been. Even less fun is going down in the “annals” of history as being the guy with explosive doo-doo disease.

  • Abraham Lincoln was slightly cross-eyed and may have been colorblind. For years people have generally agreed that Lincoln was colorblind, but more recent evidence calls that into question. At present, there is nothing to prove definitively that Honest Abe couldn’t distinguish between colors. The cross-eyed thing was real, though. Something genetic, though you really couldn’t tell just by looking at him.

  • James Garfield suffered from anal fissures. I just keep thinking of that episode of “The Office” when Dwight is going through everyone’s diseases to pick a new health plan and gets to this disease. “Anal fissures? Very funny. Like that’s even a real disease.” Poor President Garfield. I bet there was a Dwight combing through his health insurance plan back then, too.

  • Teddy Roosevelt, because of a detached retina was blind in one eye, but also was deaf in one eye. Essentially, he was only half a man. Nah, I’m just kidding. Actually, Roosevelt was one of the biggest badasses the Oval Office ever saw. I bet you’re wondering how that little retina got detached? He hosted a boxing match at the White House, and he got hit pretty hard in the eye. THAT’S how you go blind, gentlemen! As for the deaf thing, that came as a result of a childhood ear in infection. Sort of lame, I guess, unless it was an infection he contracted during a boxing match! Maybe via use of unclean gloves?

  • Woodrow Wilson may have had dyslexia and ADHD. President Wilson didn’t learn to read until he was 12 years old as a result of the dyslexia, but he taught himself shorthand to get him through school. The man just worked really hard to get over his disability and eventually graduated from Princeton and then law school at the University of Virginia. Kinda gangster in his own way. He and Theo Huxtable are the only famous dyslexic people I know.

  • JFK had Addison Disease. Some have called John Kennedy’s cover-up of this adrenal-failure disease the best smokescreen in presidential election history. In 1947 Kennedy was diagnosed with Addison’s by a doctor in London, and it was so bad that he almost died on the boat ride back. He was given his last rights and everything. By the time the 1960 presidential race came along he denied ever having had the disease, even though it continued to bother him after various surgeries in the early ‘60s. Had he not gotten shot, he may have died on his own. For the record, he also had a couple of sexually transmitted ailments which couldn’t have helped his case either. Why cheat on Jackie O? She was a hottie in her day!

  • Jimmy Carter spent his presidency and later life battling severe chronic hemorrhoids. The source I read to get this information literally listed it as “severe chronic hemorrhoids.” I’ve got to believe that’s worse than just play old hemorrhoids. Like, regular strength Preparation H wouldn’t get the job done.

Diagnosis: Hemorrhoids

The following presidents reportedly suffered from some sort of depression:

  • John Adams – his health broke down several times over the course of his life, due largely in part to a few severe bouts with depression. No Zoloft back then, either, so he had to play it hardcore style and just deal. Couldn’t have been fun.
  • Thomas Jefferson – Jefferson died broke, despite keeping meticulous records of his finances, and combined with some serious back issues, depression was imminent in his final years.

  • Abraham Lincoln – Apparently most of the “evidence” to prove this is in his facial expressions and general demeanor during hard times in his life, like when his mother died, his fiancĂ©e Anne Rutledge died, and when he was having marital issues with Mary Todd, who was legitimately insane. He also lost two children during their childhoods and dealt with a whole lot of crap while running the Civil War. If not depression, then at least a really serious bout of sadness. The difference being that one of those can be diagnosed, and the other is just an everyday human emotion. Personally, I don’t know anywhere near enough to draw a conclusion about Abe’s situation.

  • Diagnosis: Semi-Depression

  • Calvin Coolidge – His sixteen-year-old son died of sepsis during his presidency, and most close to him agreed that he was never the same.
The following presidents reportedly suffered from alcoholism:
  • James Buchanan – Our country’s only bachelor president, some believe that Buchanan was a homosexual because of over two decades of living with a fellow male senator and his failure to ever get married. I suppose keeping that sort of secret would drive a man to the bottle, right?

  • Andrew Johnson – This guy was so bad that he went to his inauguration drunk. He got up on the pulpit and started rambling really offensive things about other higher-ups, and eventually someone had to usher him to his seat just to get him to shut up. It rubbed off on his sons, too. His kid Charles was killed in a drunk driving accident—but this was before cars. He died falling off his horse. You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Ulysses S. Grant – The guy that won the Civil War for the union was a drunk, sure, but reportedly a very happy drunk. In this guy’s case, drinking made him awesome. When he was Union General under Lincoln, Abe knew he was on the sauce and hired him anything. One more reason to love Ulysses S. Grant.

Diagnosis: Fun-Drunk

  • George W. Bush – He’s not an alky anymore, but we all know he was at some point. Like we needed more fuel for the Bush Hate Fire.

  • Poor old Franklin Pierce had a little touch of both depression and alcoholism. Being in Washington alienated him from his friends, and as a result he got bummed out and started drinking. Then, he met a good woman who got his ass in shape. But eventually he was so horrible as a president that his own party wouldn’t re-nominate him. This, along with a few other mitigating factors, drove him back to the bottle, and he eventually died of cirrhosis of the liver.
Okay, that should do it for my presidential brouhaha. If you haven’t already, get out there and vote tomorrow. But get up and go early… polls are going to be STACKED! Let’s go Obama!