Inside the Confusing Origins of David Letterman's Top Ten List

Brian Abrams has published a book called AND NOW…An Oral History of "Late Night with David Letterman," 1982-1983, available at Amazon Kindle Singles. It’s full of stories from those who were there at the beginning, responsible for the show that became a late night institution. Part of that institution was Letterman’s Top Ten List, although there is some dispute about who came up with the idea. In a book excerpt, we get to hear from all sides.  

By the summer of 1985, head writer Steve O’Donnell was no longer scouring for new personnel to come up with remote concepts and “Viewer Mail” pieces. (Monologue material stayed plentiful, as staffer Gerry Mulligan continued to oversee that part of the show.) Including co-creators Merrill Markoe and David Letterman, 13 individuals populated the writers’ room, and submissions from prospective writers continued to stack high on O’Donnell’s desk. An unassuming 23-year-old Tufts University grad named Rob Burnett wangled an internship in the talent department. And, at 30 Rock, the days of finding bored New Yorkers to fill up Studio 6A’s 200 or so seats at 5 p.m. tapings were ancient history.

But of all of Late Night’s much adored ironic obsessions that transformed comedy forever and enabled a generation of writers and comedians to flourish, there is one recurring bit that to this day has multiple writers claiming credit for its creation: The “Top Ten.”

Was it Merrill Markoe, Randy Cohen, Kevin Curran, Steve O’Donnell, Bob Morton, or Jim Downey? Every one of them had some claim to the idea, as you can read at Splitsider, or in the Abrams book.   


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What Kind of Mars Bars Do They Eat on Mars?

The Mars Bar is the signature chocolate candy of the Mars chocolate company--a firm that has not only international but also interplanetary reach. Of course, on Mars, it's necessary to market the same product under a different name. The focus groups were clear about that. Artist Rafik Emil H. illustrates the result.


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Liz Climo on Halloween 2014


Web comic artist Liz Climo's delightful take on life (previously at Neatorama) features her adorable animal characters cleverly expressing themselves. Climo, an animator for The Simpsons, has a popular Tumblr site. Climo described in an interview how she draws inspiration from her work on The Simpsons:

I actually get a lot of ideas for my comics from my job at The Simpsons, but not in the way some might think. I work with a lot of funny, interesting people, and my interactions with them on a daily basis give me a lot of ideas. Also, I grew up watching the show, so the humor, especially in the early seasons, really helped shape my sense of what I find funny."

In the panels shown here, Climo celebrates Halloween via her characters, which, though animals, are remarkably relatable. 

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Why Is The Heaven's Gate Cult Website Still Alive?

Members of the Heaven’s Gate cult (who put San Diego on the map for all the wrong reasons) may be mostly dead and gone, but for some reason their tacky website is still alive and well.

The site features cheesy GeoCities styling, which hasn’t changed since the site went up in 1997, and it's full of information about the cult’s far out beliefs.

There are also a bunch of video segments that are oh so creepy to watch knowing full well what lies in store for the followers of Marshall Applewhite.

(YouTube Link)

It’s unclear what they’re hoping to accomplish by keeping the site up and running, but the anonymous webmaster(s?) will actually reply to emails if you’re inclined to ask them why their strange site still exists.

Personally, I think it should just be considered some kind of online art project at this point-  an oddity, a historical time capsule, and a warning against going too far with your beliefs.

-Via Gizmodo


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Rodafino Is the Most Amazing Musical Performance I've Ever Seen


(Photo: Factoria Circular)

There is little information available in English, but I gather that this group known as Factoria Circular performs in a spinning vehicle called the Rodafino. It can spin on both horizontal and vertical axes as well as move in any direction, propelled by the band members. The show that they put on is unlike anything else I've ever seen. Be sure to watch this video:


(Video Link)

-via The Presurfer


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Wasteland Time - Jake And The Pip Boy


Wasteland Time by Nertee Designs

Jake the dog and Finn the human went for a stroll outside the vault one day, trekking out farther than they'd ever gone before. It was easy to forget that the world looked all messed up and explodey in the outlying wastelands, and the mutants that lurked around out there were not very fun to fight. Still, adventure was the name of the game, and Jake and Finn both loved hanging with their bros and leveling up...

Bring some apocalyptic cartoon cool to your geeky wardrobe with this Wasteland Time t-shirt by Nertee Designs, and people will practically fallout of their skin with delight!

Visit Nertee Designs's Facebook Fan Page, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more mighty cool designs:

Bonties Are Cool Conjurer & Halflings Pip Boyardee Viva La Imp

View more designs by Nertee Designs | More Video Games | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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Great Martian War

(vimeo link)

This sequence was produced for the 2013 mockumentary The Great Martian War 1913-1917 from History Canada. A combination of World War I footage and CGI tell the story of the Martian invasion that could have been, an alternate history reminiscent of War of the Worlds. Who won? I believe mankind did, but my history classes all seemed to slip over this one. -via reddit


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Five Bodies That Refused to Decay



Mental Floss put together a list of five bodies that were found remarkably preserved long after their deaths. The photo above is of Lady Xin Zhui, also known as Marquise of Dai. She was the pampered wife of a Chinese nobleman, the Marquis of Dai, who lived during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE).

Lady Xin Zhui enjoyed the perks of her station in life, including a band of musicians that played at her whim, access to foods such as a variety of meats that were reserved for royalty and the powerful, silk clothing, cosmetics and other extravagances. Her life of excess  in addition to a spinal problem that kept her sedentary  led to her becoming obese and dying by heart attack in 163 BCE. She was approximately fifty years of age.

When Lady Xin Zhui's tomb was discovered in 1971, people were shocked at the condition of her corpse. Her skin was soft and dewy; her joints easily flexed. After more than 2000 years of being buried, Lady Xin Zhui was incredibly well preserved, and experts remain unsure as to why.

Read about four other cases of bodies that somehow survived the normal rate of decomposition here.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


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Chipmunk Putting Her Baby to Bed

(YouTube link)

The problem with being a mother chipmunk is that there comes a time when your babies are almost as big as you are, but still too dumb to follow simple directions, much less fend for themselves. This chipmunk nested inside the bumper of an RV, with a small hole that’s just a little high for her center of gravity when carrying a large child. Oh, the hole is big enough, but the baby is used to curling up in a ball, which thwarts mama’s plans of tucking him in for the night. But she gives it her best effort! Then at about 2:15, she changes tactics and this starts to resemble a Looney Tunes cartoon. YukonJan says she eventually got both babies into the nest later that night. When it takes hours to get your kids settled for the night, you have to start early. -via Daily Picks and Flicks

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Guinness World Record: 4,210 Pull-Ups in 12 Hours

(Photos: Caine Eckstein)

Caine Eckstein is an Australian Ironman champion and a Guinness World Record holder. Recently, on the set of the Today show, he completed 4,210 pull-ups in 12 hours. This secured for him the record for the greatest number of pull-ups in both 12 and 24 hours.

To perform this incredible feat, Eckstein did 6 pull-ups every minute for the first 10 hours of his attempt, then 5 pull-ups every minute for the last 2 hours.

It really tore up his hands!

Maybe Eckstein will try it again sometimes with his pinkie fingers, as this man did.


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Little Boy and Dolphin Play Catch

YouTube Link

In this footage, a toddler at poolside throws a ball back and forth with a dolphin, who seems to enjoy fetching the ball and throwing it back to him. -Via Arbroath

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The Gummi Bear Chronicles

You think you like Gummi Bears? Christof Neimann is a connoisseur of Gummi Bears, and doesn't mind to admit it.

My children think they can hide their candy consumption from me. But they fail to recognize my tactical advantage: They mistake me for an ignorant grown-up, when I’m actually an eternal preteen. My relationship to sweets has hardly changed since I was their age. Yes, I might eat candy less often now. But once I start, a precise choreography ensues.

Then he tells us each step of this “precise choreography,” with illustrations. But don’t we all have these little routines when we eat our favorite treats? When eating Smarties, I separate out the white and green candies, saving them for last because they are the best. I bite off the very top of a cherry cordial to keep the liquid from running out (a technique the kids tried and failed to emulate; therefore cherry cordials are for adults only). And everyone has their particular “correct way” to eat an Oreo cookie. Read Neimann’s column on Gummi Bears at the New York Times, and think about how you tackle your favorite candy. I’d love to hear it!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Stephen King Works Available for Free Online

YouTube Link

In 2008, Stephen King partnered with Marvel Comics to publicize a short story collection in the form of graphic video episodes, which were adapted from his novella “N.” The video link above includes all 25 episodes. Time magazine describes N as being “about a psychologist whose obsessive-compulsive patient is entranced by a mysterious plot of land.” Stephen King says it is “kind of a video comic book.”

The link below is a Stephen King audio book called "One for the Road," which is a short story from his collection Night Shift. The well-written vampire story is read by actor John Glover.

See more links to Stephen King works here. 

YouTube Link


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12 Celebrities That Look Just Like Their Parents

                          Image Credit: Stefan Servos

The apple never falls far from the genetic tree, as you know. Most of us carry our parents traits on our faces and in our personalities. In Hollywood, it is no different. Well, they are usually more beautiful than us "normal mortals", but outside of that, it works the same.

Buzzfeed put together this list of 12 Celebrities Who Look Just Like Their Parents, but they did something really cool with the pics in the list (which I have no idea how to do right now). When you scroll over a pic, the photo splits between the actor (or actress) and their parent, so you can see side by side just how similar they are in looks. It is a slightly interactive post, which makes it a lot of fun (if you are as easily amused as me, that is).

Oh, something shiny. *Runs off


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Comedy Club Charges Patrons by the Laugh

In 2012, the Spanish government raised taxes on theater tickets from 8 to 21%, leading to a sharp decrease in the number of patrons at comedy clubs. In order to make up for lost revenue, the Barcelona comedy club Teatreneu has installed a new system that will charge patrons by the number of laughs that they experience while attending a performance.

The advertising agency The Cyranos McCann developed the system. On the back of each seat is a camera hooked into a facial recognition system. As patrons laugh, the program calculates their bills. Cadie Thompson of CNBC writes:

Each giggle costs approximately 30 Euro cents ($0.38). However, if a patron hits the 24 Euros mark, which is about 80 laughs, the rest of their laughs are free of charge.


(Video Link)

-via Marginal Revolution


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Guide to Cooking With Spices



Adding herbs and spices to your culinary efforts can do wonders in the way of bringing out the flavors of their ingredients. While the words "herbs" and "spices" are often used interchangably, the herb refers to leafy portions of the plant, and spices are the product of any other part. Many are easy to grow at home; starting from seeds or a small plant can save money and add to your homemade dishes and salads. For those who are interested in honing their cooking skills or getting a better grasp of the flavors of herbs and spices, this guide created by Cooksmarts.com is a good foundation. -Via Design Taxi

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Dracula And Son - One Fang-Tastic Family


Dracula and Son by Bykai

Humans see Dracula as an evil guy, but if they could see him spending a day with his little son they would see he's not so bad after all. He enjoys showing his son how to rise and shine from his coffin at night, how to fly like a bat and how to celebrate a victory over one of those nasty Van Helsing kids. Drac really likes being a dad, and not just because it makes it easier to lure damsels into a state of distress, so if you see his son walking around town give that little sucker anything he wants!

Make sure your geeky wardrobe doesn't suck by bringing home this Dracula and Son t-shirt by Bykai, and protect your neck from Drac's little nipper!

Visit Bykai's Facebook fan page, official website, Twitter and Tumblr, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more frightfully fun designs:

Flesh Of Zombies SquidCthulhu Geek Trooper The Old Inspirator

View more designs by Bykai | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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Focus Trailer Starring Will Smith

Will Smith is one of those actors who I think we all secretly are waiting for a "good" movie from. There was a time when he was the go-to guy for big, epic, fun movies. But his last few outings have been awful (After Earth, blah), but I, personally, always want to keep my hopes high that we have not yet seen the best of Will Smith. Though Fresh Prince was a high water mark that many would find hard to surpass.

Even though we have not heard from the actor in some time, seems we have our first new trailer for the new Will Smith movie, Focus.

(YouTube Link)

The problem I am having wih Focus from what I have seen so far is, people have lost the idea of what makes Will Smith movies work when they actually work. They have to be fun. This "serious" Will Smith thing takes away some of what makes him so likable in the first place. Hopefully, Focus will pack a punch and put Smith on the map.

I kind of like the dude.


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Which Apartment in Manhattan Is the Furthest Away from a Subway Station?

If you live in the heart of a major city, easy access to public transportation is essential. In New York City, that priority includes the subway system. If you live in Manhattan, how far away from you is the nearest subway station?

Ben Wellington, an instructor in city planning and statistics at the Pratt Institute, is the person to ask. He operates I Quant NY, a blog about geographical and statistical analyses of New York City. Recently, he searched for the apartment in Manhattan that is the furthest away from a subway station. That apartment is the penthouse suite of 10 Gracie Square. It's 0.8 miles away from a subway entrance.

-via Marginal Revolution


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How To Make An Emergency Spoon

The sad fact is, you WILL need a spoon one day, and you wont have one. Best case scenario, you just need a spoon for some ice cream or something. Worst case scenario, you need a spoon to save the life of your best friend (not sure how this would happen, but just go with it for a second).

So what do you do when you need a spoon, yet you can only find ten thousand knives (bad reverse Alanis Morissette joke there)? You just make one. You may think you DON'T know how do to make a spoon, but guess what? By the time this video is done, you will, and YouTube User DaveHax shows you just how easy it is. It may not be as cute as a "kitten tackles something" video, but the kitten video cannot save your life during the *impending Ebola outbreak*. This information can.

(YouTube Link)

So how do you feel now knowing you may never feel that struggle for a spoon again? Powerful, right? Me too.

*Please not the impending Ebola outbreak part was a joke. Kind of.

LaughingSquid

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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What Popular English-Language TV Shows Are Called around the World







"Who am I? I'm the Doctor."

James Chapman is a cartoonist who has found a niche by illustrating the words used in many languages for common experiences, such as the sound of frying and the names of Pokémon. We've featured his work extensively at Neatorama.

For his latest project, Chapman shows us what several English-language television shows are called in other languages. A Crazy in the Area sounds like a great name for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air--possibly better than the original.


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A Bad Lip Reading of The Walking Dead Season 4 (part two)

(YouTube link)

When we got a Bad Lip Reading episode of The Walking Dead a couple of weeks ago, we were promised a part two. Here it is! Although the musical interludes are not as involved as Coral’s rap in the earlier video, we get to hear Tyrese, Michonne, and a walker all croon a little. “I hope you’re not afraid of owls, ‘cause I’m gettin’ you one.” -via Uproxx


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A Massive Collection Of Hilariously Awkward Halloween Costume Pics

Any time you get a bunch of people together who are all hopped up on candy and wearing costumes you’ve got some totally awkward moments in the making.

Add families and/or alcohol and the weirdness level is sure to increase, creating an environment full of candid moments just begging to be captured on film.

If you delight in viewing scenes of extreme awkwardness, and you have a healthy love of Halloween, then you will simply eat up Awkward Family Photo’s collection of 73 Awkward Halloween Costumes.

It’s chock full of cheesy goodness, and should make you feel better about any awkward moments you encounter this Halloween. Don't forget-If there's something strange in your neighborhood make sure you get a pic!

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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Ring-Tailed Coati Wants More Pets

YouTube Link

This ring-tailed coati named Elvis isn't satisfied with just a little bit of petting by his human, and he's not afraid to express it. Over and over. I get it, Elvis. Sometimes we all need extra love. -Via Tastefully Offensive

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Carrying Your Nobel Prize Through Airport Security

Astrophysicist Brian Schmidt of the Australian National University won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2011 for discovering dark energy. Speaking at an event in New York last month, he talked about how winning a Nobel changed his life. Some of the things that come with the medal are money, respect, worldwide recognition of your research, and at least for Schmidt, a bit more hassle with U.S. airport security.  

“When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.

The exchange that followed was amusing, although you have to understand that if you’re a TSA officer in Fargo, this is probably the most excitement you’ve had on the job in years. Read the story at Scientific American. -via Digg

(Image credit: Markus Pössel)


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12 Of The Worst Cinematic Portrayals Of Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula was a devilishly debonair bloodsucker with terrifying powers at his disposal, but over the years the Count's powers have waned.

Now it’s more common to see a goofy version of Dracula in movies and TV shows than a scary one, and sparkly vampires have been allowed to take over in Drac's absence.

(YouTube Link)

If you're looking for a vampire film that doesn't suck you should steer clear of the films on io9's list 12 Of The Worst Draculas Of All Time, some of which actually make the Twilight twerps seem legit.

Instead, get vampy by revisiting Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Count, or the 1992 film starring Gary Oldman, now those two versions of Dracula have some bite!

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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It's a Personal Catastrophe


(Lunarbaboon)

Sorry, Boss, but there's nothing that I can do to escape these cuddles. I'll have to shelter in place until he wakes up. I'm sure that my co-workers will understand.


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ROASTED MARSHMALLOW MAN - The Ghost Of S'Mores Past


ROASTED MARSHMALLOW MAN by BeastPop

Those busters thought they had witnessed the destruction of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but his fiery soul was still alive and it was angrier than ever before! The roasted Marshmallow Man was fueled by molten sugar heated by the fires of Hell, and his sole purpose in the afterlife was to see all of humanity melting under globs of fiery marshmallow fluff!

Warn the world about the marshmallow mascot who would not die with this ROASTED MARSHMALLOW MAN t-shirt by BeastPop, or else we don't stand a ghost of a chance!

Visit BeastPop's Facebook fan page, Tumblr and Twitter, then head on over to his NeatoShop for more geek-tastic designs:

BUG STOMPER WE ARE... PARTY GOD! FLYING SPAGHOOFY MONSTER

View more designs by BeastPop | More Funny T-shirts | New T-Shirts

Are you a professional illustrator or T-shirt designer? Let's chat! Sell your designs on the NeatoShop and get featured in front of tons of potential new fans on Neatorama!


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A Gourmet Experience for Second Graders

(YouTube link)

The New York Times Magazine took six children from the second grade at P.S. 295 in Brooklyn to a restaurant. Not just any restaurant, though: they were treated to a seven-course tasting meal at Daniels, which runs $220 a head. Chef Daniel Boulud served them Smoked Paprika Cured Hamachi, Crispy Japanese Snapper, and Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye, among other dishes. These are Brooklyn kids, so they have restaurant experience, but none had been to such a fancy diner before. They are well-behaved, but they are also delightfully opinionated about their food. -via reddit

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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The Skull Chair: For an Evil Overlord's Me-Time

The Scorpion Chair is ideal for formal occasions. But you can't be "on" all of the time. Sometimes, you need to retreat to your cozy corner to relax after a hard day at work. Etsy seller Chic Sin Design has just the right chair for that purpose.

We've previously seen that company's beanbag chair shaped like a sleeping bear. This one will get you in a similar mood. It's a soft, plush chair shaped like a human skull. Just sit in the jaws and chill.

-via Geekologie


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