Miss Cellania's Liked Blog Posts

The Short Story That Started It All

If Dad hadn’t shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever!

In 1979, National Lampoon magazine printed a short story called “Vacation ’58” by John Hughes. He wrote it while snowed in by a blizzard in Chicago. The story is told from the point of view of the Griswold son, as it was based on a real vacation trip Hughes had taken with his family when he was a child. The trip starts off badly and becomes worse.

Mom pleaded with Dad to stop at a motel when we got to Springfield, Illinois. Several times he crossed completely over the median lines and drove in the opposite lane. Once, while going through a little town, Dad drove up on the sidewalk and ran over a bike and some toys. Mom accused him of being asleep at the wheel, but he said he was just unfamiliar with Illinois traffic signs.

He took off his shoes, rolled down the window, turned the radio way up, and made us all sing the Michigan State fight song. But after a few minutes we were all sound asleep, our new station wagon racing down U.S. 55 like a bedroom on wheels. I don’t know how far we traveled like that. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic at that hour so we didn’t hit anything. We finally woke up when Missy asked Dad to get her a drink of water and Dad said, “Go ask Mommy, Daddy’s sleeping.” I heard that and so did Mom, and she screamed and Dad slammed on the brakes, and the luggage tumbled forward onto the back seat and Dad’s golf clubs scattered all over the highway.  

“Vacation ’58” was Hughes’ big break, and led to him writing the screenplay for National Lampooon’s Vacation. He would later go on to write, produce, and/or direct movies such as Home Alone, The Breakfast Club, and Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. You can read the entire story “Vacation ’58” at The Hollywood Reporter. -via Digg

(Image credit: National Lampoon Inc.)


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Cats Surprised by Ceiling Fan

(YouTube link)

Apollo and Athena have never seen the ceiling fan in action before. They can’t figure it out!What is that? Why is it moving? Can I touch it? -via Daily Picks and Flicks

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

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When Congress Looked James Smithson's Gift Horse in the Mouth

Have you ever wondered about the person the Smithsonian Institution was named after? It’s a rather peculiar story.

James Smithson (1765-1829) was a well-to-do English scientist who had never visited the United States. In his 1826 will, he left his estate to his nephew. But he ended his will with an odd clause that said if that nephew died without heirs, legitimate or illegitimate, the estate would go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men.”  When Smithson’s nephew died without heirs in 1835, the peculiar clause went into effect. On July 28, 1835, Smithson’s solicitors notified the United States government of the bequest. An 1835 article in the National Intelligencer told the public that a “gentleman of Paris” had left a bequest to the United States, for the purpose of endowing a National University.

That seems all very nice, but this was 1835, and the government of the Unites States didn’t know what to do with the bequest, or even whether they should accept it. The president handed the matter over to Congress, where they weren’t sure of the procedure for taking the bequest, or even if it was allowed by the Constitution. Some politicians had objections to receiving money from an Englishman. Read about the conundrum Smithson caused at (where else?) Smithsonian.


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The Batalla de Flores

The Batalla de Flores, or the Flower Battle, is the grand finale of a month-long festival in Valencia, Spain, every July to convince people to stay in the city during summer. It starts with a parade of floats full of ornately-dressed women and girls. They parade once for the judges, a second time to wave their tennis rackets, and the third time….

Wait… what was that about “tennis rackets”?

One might assume that onlookers have gathered along the Paseo de Alameda simply because they love a colorful procession, enjoy cheering on lovely falleras in traditional dress, and hope to see some interesting floats. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. This crowd is blood-thirsty. The only thing they really want, and the one reason they’re attending this event, is to hurl softball-sizeds flower at the falleras, and clock them right in their pretty faces.

That happens on the third go-round of the parade. The tennis rackets are defensive weapons to lob the carnations back to the crowd. Even after the parade, the flower battle continues, but it’s all in fun and doesn’t really hurt. Afterwards, the streets of Valencia are covered with a layer of colorful carnations. See a gorgeous collection of photographs of the Batalla de Flores (and a video) at For 91 Days.


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Mark Hamill Autographs with a Bonus

Mark Hamill has been signing Star Wars photos and memorabilia for 38 years. I’m sure what he puts on them depends on the situation and how much time he has. Some of the bubblegum cards have surfaced with great jokes to go along with the autograph. Hamill no doubt has heard every Star Wars joke ever made, so there are more of these to be found. I particularly like this one.  -via reddit


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Toddler Obsessed with Personal Injury Lawyer Gets a Lawyer-Themed Birthday

Kids latch onto the strangest things, but sometimes you just gotta go with it. Grayson always turned his attention when an ad for New Orleans personal injury lawyer Morris Bart came on. It was his favorite thing on TV! His mother L’erin Dobra noticed his fascination.

“Before he could walk or talk, every time the Morris Bart commercial would come on, he was just fixated,” she says. “You couldn’t talk to him. You couldn’t do anything with him. He would just sit and stare at the TV. You could call his name, give him a toy. He didn’t care. He just wanted to watch the Bart commercial. He’s been that way ever since, and when he started talking he would say, ‘One call’ or ‘Bart, Bart, Bart, Morris Bart, Morris Bart.’

So when Grayson’s second birthday was coming up, his Dobra contemplated a party theme, and decided to focus on the lawyer. She contacted Bart’s office through his website, and they sent a cardboard cutout, a signed photograph, and some office swag. Dobra had Bart’s face put on the birthday cake. And it was all a super big hit with Grayson. See more pictures at Buzzfeed.

(Image credit: L’erin Dobra)

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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1000 Musicians Play “Learn to Fly”

A thousand Italian singers, guitarists, bassists, and drummers under the name Rockin1000 got together to play “Learn to Fly” by the Foo Fighters. Watching that many people play and sing together -well- is spine-tingling.

(YouTube link)

The stunt, a year in the making, is intended as an invitation to Dave Grohl and the band to come and play in Cesena, Italy. Do you think they will?

Oh, in case you'd like to hear the drums and bass only, here's a personal video taken on the scene without a direct music feed.  To hear only the guitar, here's a video from a guitarist with a GoPro.

Update: The Foo Fighters have responded.

In English, that means "See you soon!"

Update #2: Dave Grohl just uploaded the Foo Fighters’ response to YouTube.

(YouTube link)

A translation:

Hi Cesena! I'm Dave. Hi. I'm sorry, I don't speak italian... just a little bit! This video... it's amazing! Such an amazing thing... thank you! We are coming. I promise. See you soon... Thank you so much. I love you! Bye

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Top 10 Medieval Butt-Licking Cats

Did you ever imagine that you’d see a “top ten” list like this? It’s not so much that a medieval monk drew a cat in the margins of an illuminated manuscript, but that there are this many of them in a list at Discarding Images, all licking their butts. Why? EmpressCallipygos at Metafilter offers an explanation, which is worth reading in its entirety. Here’s an excerpt:   

So imagine this monk sitting there in a dimly-lit scriptorum, back bent over his work - he's tired, he's achey, grinding the pigment for the paint made him sneeze, and that one other monk with the mole gave him a dirty look and oh for goodness sake how could i help it the stuff got up my NOSE, brother - and he's got a long way to go before he's done illuminating this one page from Revelations, and come to think of it it was the monk with the mole that insisted there be so much blue in the damn thing....

...And in walks his cat, just sort of ambling in. Our monk momentarily glances up, too busy to do much more than notice Puss-Puss walking in. Ah, though, maybe he can watch the cat for just a second, take a little break...

...And he looks up again, just in time to see Puss-Puss plonk down and start to lick his butt, something which always tickles him because dear lord how on earth do they get their legs cocked so far back....

And after a second, our tired, cranky, bored monk switches the blue ink for the gray, and begins drawing.

Cat images may be shared by more people in the modern age, because internet, but laughing at cats and attempting to share that humor has a long history. -via Metafilter


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What Is It? game 342

Now it's time for our collaboration with the amazing What Is It? Blog! What is this object in the picture? I don't know! The great thing is that you don't have to know the correct answer to win a t-shirt from the NeatoShop!

Place your guess in the comment section below. One guess per comment, please, though you can enter as many as you'd like. You might know the true answer, but we're going to select two winners who come up with the funniest, most outlandish guesses to win a T-shirt from the NeatoShop. However...

This game is limited to those who haven't won a t-shirt in the last month. Please write your T-shirt selection and the artist who designed it alongside your guess. If you don't include a selection, you forfeit the prize, okay? May we suggest the Science T-Shirt, Funny T-Shirt and Artist-Designed T-Shirts?

Let your imagination run wild! Good luck! You can also challenge yourself with plenty of other mystery items at the What Is It? Blog.

Update: We still haven’t found out exactly what this thing is for, so it is a true mystery. But we had some excellent guesses! Congratulations to ryanduck, who wins a t-shirt from the NeatoShop for this:

Clearly the first prototype of a flat screen TV mount

And to  ChrisM 1, who said,

It is a device invented by a parent of two children for ensuring that nobody's piece of anything is bigger than anybody else's.

That makes sense. Thanks to everyone who played along, and a big thanks to the What Is It? Blog!

Love games and puzzles? Visit NeatoPuzzles for more!

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The 11 Cultures of America

Colin Woodard’s new book American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures in North America divides North America into districts that have no bearing on state borders, but are identified as unique cultures. Who knew that you could draw a map that puts John Farrier and me into the same category?  

Woodard says that among these 11 nations, Yankeedom and the Deep South exert the most influence and are constantly competing with each other for the hearts and minds of the other nations.

"We are trapped in brinkmanship because there is not a lot of wiggle room between Yankee and Southern Culture," Woodard says. "Those two nations would never see eye to eye on anything besides an external threat."

Woodward also says the regions are becoming more polarized, because humans are mobile and “self-sorting.” That’s not universal. I am still in Kentucky because of relatives and the property I own, not the politics. Read a short history and description of each of these cultures at Business Insider. -via mental_floss

(Image credit: Colin Woodward and Tufts/Brian Stauffer)


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25 Things You Didn't Know About Dreams

(YouTube link)

Have you ever smelled things in your dreams? That’s kind of rare, but maybe that’s why you still remember it. there’s been quite a bit of research into dreams, although we still don’t understand the process of dreaming. John Green tells us about some of the more interesting findings in the latest episode of The List Show from mental_floss.


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How Much of a Brain Do We Really Need?

Peter Watts recalls a study in which an adult had a brain scan and was found to have almost no brain at all. The skull was filled with cerebrospinal fluid except for a thin layer of brain tissue around the edges. This person had an undiagnosed case of hydrocephalus that left him with a cavernous hole in the middle of his head. Yet he had an IQ of 126 and a math degree.

It happens occasionally. Someone grows up to become a construction worker or a schoolteacher, before learning that they should have been a rutabaga instead. Lewin’s paper reports that one out of ten hydrocephalus cases are so extreme that cerebrospinal fluid fills 95% of the cranium. Anyone whose brain fits into the remaining 5% should be nothing short of vegetative; yet apparently, fully half have IQs over 100. (Why, here’s another example from 2007; and yet another. Let’s call them VBNs, or “Virtual No-Brainers”)

What makes the difference between those who are fully functional and those who aren’t? Watts gives us a few ways the brain might work around such damage, some which have been debunked, and some that have never been adequately studied. What is unsettling is the thought of how many people never need a brain scan and go their entire lives not knowing they have none. Do you know for sure that you have a brain? -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Oliveira, et al 2012)


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Alka-Seltzer in Space

In this new video from NASA, astronauts aboard the International Space Station play with a ball of water by adding Alka-Seltzer. Oh, it bubbles, alright, but those bubbles really don’t have anywhere to go, so they just float around inside the orb. One occasionally explodes from the surface, but there’s not enough gravity to force it upward, because there really is no “upward.”

(YouTube link)

NASA is all excited about their new Red Dragon camera, which captures images in 4K resolution. You can read more about it at their website. It will enable scientists on the ground to observe experiments on the ISS as well as the crew does. If you want, you can change the YouTube resolution to the highest level under the settings button, and see each bubble clearly. -via Digg


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The Secret Nazi Tunnels Under a German Vacation Town

Even Hitler had a bomb shelter, actually, many of them. But none compared to the vast network of underground facilities and tunnels beneath his favorite vacation getaway town of Obersalzberg.

This multi-roomed subterranean compound is composed of an apartment and a set of underground chambers for fellow Nazi inner circle members—over four miles of tunnels, bunkers and hidden rooms in total. Above ground, an entire village was built as an Alpine retreat for the Nazi government.

But with the war failing, the mysterious underground complex was to be the last redoubt of the Third Reich. Carpet bombed by the Royal Air Force in April of 1945, then locked up by the occupying U.S. Army, it was handed back over to Germany in 1952 with the proviso that the remnants be blown up again out of existence. But not everything was destroyed, and today, you can still visit the secret ruins of the Nazi’s planned Alpine fortress.

If you can’t get away to visit the bunker in the mountains of Bavaria, you can learn the history of the underground city and see what remains at Atlas Obscura.   

(Image credit: Luke Spencer)


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A Ride on the World’s Longest Water Slide

(YouTube link)

Action Park in New Jersey is famous for their history of crazy and dangerous rides. The newest attraction at the refurbished and upgraded park is a water slide that’s 1,975 feet  long. That’s a third of a mile! The folks at Guinness agree it is the world’s longest water slide. It’s not open to the public just yet -the state of New Jersey has to approve it first. However, park employee Jason Mulder strapped on a GoPro and went down the slide for a media day event. The video is unsettling and soothing at the same time. -via Boing Boing


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A Hillside of Rainbow Homes

A group of street artists called the Germen Crew collaborated with the Mexican government to paint a neighborhood in the district of Palmitas in Pachuca. After 20,000 square meters of walls were painted, the 209 homes are a rainbow of color!

On top of beautifying the neighborhood, the project has been a tool of social transformation as during the process, the violence amongst younger people has been entirely eradicated and several jobs created.

The houses were a jumble of individual muted pastels before, in need of a unifying factor. They were first covered in white primer, then the rainbow was unleashed! You can see a sequence of pictures illustrating the project at Street Art News. -via Daily of the Day

(Image credit: Germen Nuevo Muralismo Mexicano)


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Inside a Dog Retirement Home

In 2006, Joe and Sher Polvinale turned their home in Gaithersburg, Maryland, into a pet sanctuary. Joe has since passed away, but Sher continues to run House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary, a retirement home for elderly and special needs dogs.

(YouTube link)

These dogs have a permanent and loving home for the rest of their lives. With the help of volunteers, every one gets individual care and lots of affection. -via Metafilter   

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

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Haka for a Teacher

(YouTube link)

Dawson Tamatea taught at Palmerston North Boys' High School in New Zealand for almost thirty years. One of the things he taught students was a haka.

Tamatea died unexpectedly July 19 at the age of 55. Students got together to do the haka that he taught them as a tribute when Tamatea’s hearse arrived for the funeral service. They were joined by former students. A lot of them. It was a fitting tribute to a much-loved teacher. -via reddit


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Bohemian Dancers

These young folks look so happy about being featured in a newsreel! They are the counterculture of London in 1960.

(YouTube link)

The hipsters of their day, they wore vintage clothing and did whatever it took to be different from what came before. Maybe they would eventually grow up to be mods, or rockers, or even (gasp) hippies! By the way, I wonder how much “lemonade” they drank when the cameras weren’t there to record the festivities. -via Boing Boing


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Why Time Speeds Up As You Get Older

Maximilian Keiner gives us an interactive tool to simulate the advance of time over our lifespan. Be thankful that he gave us a 100-year life, as this is a data visualization about relativity. You scroll down to follow your life year after year -don’t worry, it doesn’t have events in it- and see where you are. It feels as if you’ll never get out of childhood, but then before you even realize it, years have slipped away in the blink of an eye. -via Digg


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You Are in a Heap of Trouble Now

Lieutenant Higgins of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department in Louisiana has a few things to say to the lowlife scum who burglarized his favorite lunch spot. After watching this, you’ll be ready to turn yourself in, even if you’ve never heard of Stelly’s Supermarket and Restaurant!

(YouTube link)

Higgins is a legend in the WATC coverage area. You can see more of his matter-of-fact Crime Stoppers videos on YouTube. -via reddit


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Ten Cats and a Ball of Ice

Any time we drop an ice cube on the floor at my house, we toss it into the cats' water. They seem to like it, but now I want to make them a big ball of ice!

(YouTube link)

This video is from the blog formerly known as 9 Cats, which is now 10 Cats with the addition of the kitten Osamu. See more of the cats in our previous posts. -via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Some Things are Built to Last

Driving the same car for 77 years wouldn’t be too bad if it was this car. Allen Swift of Springfield, Massachusetts, completed college in 1928. His father bought him a Rolls Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster as a graduation gift. Swift took good care of his car, and drove it until his death in 2005. 

Swift was a legend among Rolls-Royce collectors for owning his green Phantom I, S273 FP Rolls longer than anyone in the world had ever owned an individual Rolls-Royce. In recognition of that fact, Rolls-Royce Motors presented him with a crystal Spirit of Ecstasy award at the Rolls-Royce Annual Meeting in 1994.

In fact, Swift Swift also set a record for being the oldest living person to have owned a car from new.

Swift bequeathed his vehicle and a million dollars to the Springfield Museums. The car is now on display at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History. -via reddit


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Nano-Pasta: Thin Film Realization of Ultra-Fast Cooking Pasta Using Glancing Angle Deposition

The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable Research.

by W. M. J. GreCJI, K. L. Westra, K. Robbie, and M. J. Brett
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,  University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

With the ever-increasing demands of urban life, individuals are ever less able to find time for their fundamental daily tasks. One of the most time consuming activities undertaken during an average day is the preparation of meals: breakfast, lunch, and supper. Our society has increasingly demanded for meals that are quick to prepare, yet nutritious. As a result, we now have dishes such as instant rice, microwave dinners, and minute noodles and soups.

In this article, we present a novel addition to the "fast food" lineup. Dubbed "Nanopasta" for its small size and phenomenally rapid cooking time, this new variety of pasta can be produced with the aid of a thin film deposition technology known as glancing angle deposition1 (GLAD).

Nanopasta
Nanopasta is made by evaporating Durum wheat in a vacuum. The vapor is then directed at glancing incidence toward a rotating substrate. The schematic in Figure 1 illustrates this process, which is also currently used for other materials.2 Once Nanopasta has been deposited on the substrate, it may be harvested by a special etching process. Figure 2a shows a scanning electron microscope image of one shape, called Nano-fusilli. The photo illustrates the nanometer size scale of Nanopasta. Figure 2b shows an image of a Nano-fusilli film immediately after deposition but before the etch harvesting process. The substrate shown in the image is a silicon wafer.

Theoretical Background-AI Dente's Ratio
Theory indicates that the most efficient way to cook dry pasta is to immerse it water that is at the boiling point. Depending on the variety and shape of pasta being prepared, the cooking process may require a relatively short or long period of time.

Continue reading

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We The Sheeple

Now it's time to be serenaded by a sheep as he gets sheared. That’s all that it takes to get me to watch it, but you might need to watch it twice to catch all the lyrics.

(YouTube link)

This is an ad for a New Zealand marketing agency. The theme is “embrace change,” but I can't really tell that there's any point besides showing off what they can do. (via Metafilter)


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That Time He Made a Chicken Dinner

Jeremy Husted has his house rigged with security cameras. That’s the only way to catch a moment like this. He said he occasionally forgets he has cats. Contains NSFW language.

(YouTube link)

In the comments at reddit, we get some advice on a device that will train your cats to stay off the kitchen counters. Continue reading if you want to see how well it works, but do not watch if you have liquid in your mouth.

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

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This is How You Sell a Woodland Retreat

A real estate listing for a 20-acre farm in Vulcan, Michigan, highlights the features of the property, like all such listings do. Or should. This spread has a lovely two-story home with all wood interior, a lake view, outbuildings, and oh, yeah! Plenty of wildlife, too. It would be too cool to find out that the deer came over to visit while the realtor was having pictures made, but my guess is that this photo was taken by the current owners. -Thanks, Jeneen Martin!


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A Nice Dip in the Pool

A hot summer afternoon and a backyard pool. That’s nice, but when you take too much time to clown around for the camera, something unexpected might happen. The laughter from behind the camera only egged him on.

(YouTube link)

Like they say, pride goeth before a fall. -via Viral Viral Videos


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William Ellsworth “Dummy" Hoy: Baseball's Greatest Deaf Player

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website or at Facebook.

Around the turn of the 20th century, in much less PC times, there was an excellent baseball player named William Ellsworth Hoy. Because of the social agreements of the times back then, William was nicknamed “Dummy.” Why? Dummy Hoy was a deaf mute.

In those less enlightened times, many deaf mutes were nicknamed Dummy. And, for the record, William Hoy never minded his nickname, instead embracing it. If anyone ever called him “William,” he would always correct them, asking that they call him “Dummy" instead.

William Ellsworth Hoy was born in Houcktown, Ohio, in 1862. At the age of three, he went deaf from meningitis. He graduated from the Ohio State School for the Deaf and was the class valedictorian.

Hoy opened a shoe repair shop in his hometown and started playing baseball on the weekends. His natural talent was spotted almost immediately and in 1888, Dummy broke into the big leagues with the Washington Nationals. He was to play 14 seasons in the major leagues, playing with several different teams in Washington, Cincinnati, Buffalo, St. Louis, Louisville and Chicago.

Dummy Hoy was a superior baseball player, with a .288 lifetime batting average, while stealing 596 bases (some sources credit him with over 600 stolen bases). Besides being a very good hitter, with over 2,000 hits, Dummy was a superb center fielder. At the time of his retirement in 1902, he had set and held several fielding records for outfielders.

Continue reading

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14 Not-So-Dirty Facts About Dirty Dancing

Released in August of 1987, the movie Dirty Dancing became a surprise hit, and then a surprise classic. What made it so memorable for so many people? Was it watching Patrick Swayze dance? Was it memories of coming-of-age summers we’ve all had? For me, it was that song, which I played on air for weeks before I saw the film.  

4. RIGHTEOUS BROTHER BILL MEDLEY THOUGHT HE WAS BEING HIRED TO RECORD A SONG FOR A “BAD PORNO.”

Medley and Jennifer Warnes sang the vocals to the Oscar-winning song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Medley told Songfacts that Dirty Dancing music supervisor Jimmy Ienner called him and mentioned he was gathering music for the movie. “It sounds like a bad porno movie,” he told Ienner. Medley’s wife was expecting a baby, so he turned the song down. A few months later Ienner convinced him to do the song, even though Medley didn’t think the movie would be popular. “We [Jennifer Warnes] just went in to work together, to sing together, and little did we know it was going to be the biggest movie of the year. Just unbelievable,” Medley said. The song ended up selling more than 500,000 copies, and Medley ended up titling his own memoir The Time of My Life. (Note: The film was actually the 11th highest grossing film of the year; Three Men and a Baby took the top spot for 1987.)

9. ACCORDING TO BERGSTEIN, EASTERN EUROPE WATCHES A LOT OF DIRTY DANCING.

In a 2006 interview with The Guardian, Bergstein talked about the movie’s popularity with people in the former Eastern Bloc. “And in Russia, it’s policy in the battered women’s shelters, when a woman comes in for help. First, they wash and dress her wounds, then they give her soup. Then they sit her down and show her Dirty Dancing. When the Berlin Wall came down, there were all these pictures of kids wearing Dirty Dancing T-shirts; they were saying, ‘We want to have what they have in the West! We want Dirty Dancing!'”

Read the rest of the tidbits about Dirty Dancing at mental_floss.


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Profile for Miss Cellania

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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