Chris from Lunarbaboon is getting used to the idea of having two children. The second one will be a girl, and the implications of having a daughter can be daunting to a father -whether he’s experienced in such matters or not. My husband has six daughters, and he will tell you that there are far more things to worry about than you realize when they first arrive.
It’s been 30 years since Rambo: First Blood Part II sent veteran John Rambo back to Vietnam. Although the movie was a sequel to 1982’s First Blood, it was a much bigger hit, and gave Sylvester Stallone a second iconic character in addition to Rocky. Strangely, Stallone didn’t really want the role …at first.
More than 26 screenplay drafts of the story were written during the decade of development and dozens of actors signed on and dropped out of the role of Rambo including Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, John Travolta, and Dustin Hoffman.
Stallone was brought on when director Ted Kotcheff offered him the part because of his popularity in the Rocky franchise, but Stallone turned him down because he felt that the role passed through too many actors and the movie would never really get made. He later committed to the role when he was offered the opportunity to rewrite the screenplay (his $3.5 million salary may also have helped) in order to make Rambo more sympathetic as opposed to the PTSD-crazed madman the character resembled in the novel.
Toys tied to movies existed long before Star Wars, but George Lucas’ 1977 space opera changed movie merchandising forever. Lucas always wanted toys to accompany the movie, but response from manufacturers was tepid, because investing design resources and factory output in a movie that may or may not be popular was a risky move. Even Kenner, who signed up to make action figures and other toys, vastly underestimated what a hit Star Wars would be.
Star Wars released in May 1977 to rapturous approval, becoming an overnight sensation — and kids didn’t just want to see the movie; they wanted toys. Kenner were caught flat-footed at the demand, finding that they wouldn’t even have figures out for the lucrative Christmas period of that year. To do nothing would have meant losing out on millions of dollars.
So they made a decision that was, by all accounts at the time, completely ludicrous: They sold people an empty box. The Early Bird Certificate was a box containing a cardboard display stand featuring the characters from the film, stickers, and a certificate for kids to mail away to Kenner to receive four figures in 1978: Luke Skywalker, R2-D2, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. The box was savaged by the media, and although sales were poor, the move kept Star Wars figures in the public’s mind, ready for their 1978 release.
That was only the first of many controversial and sometimes disastrous moves from the toy industry regarding Star Wars. Read about the ups and down of Star Wars toys over 38 years at io9.
It’s strange how one’s relationship with their phone varies according to age. These Millennials gave up their phones for a week to make a video about the experience, and their lives completely changed. They had spent their formative years becoming dependent on their devices for keeping in touch with others, finding their way around, doing business, and internet use. A person who is somewhat older might think of turning to a computer for many of those things. I still use signs, maps, and spoken directions to find my way around (plus an awesome sense of direction honed by many years of experience). I also have a calendar for appointments. My mother has a cell phone, but no one knows the number, because she only turns it on when she’s on the road and needs assistance.
But the difference goes even deeper. Using a phone for all those things is not bad in itself, but these folks noticed a difference in their concentration, attention span, and engagement with the real world when they adjusted to living without constantly “checking in” for messages as they’d become used to. How would doing without your mobile device affect your life? -via Buzzfeed
These guys made a plane out of cardboard. It’s not just a folded paper airplane, but a remote-controlled model with flaps and propellor and everything -made out of a cardboard box. They think it’s a ridiculous concept and are quite surprised that it will fly at all. Now watch the video and try not to laugh. -via b3ta
The question is, which cards do you turn over to test the truth of the statement? Try to select the fewest cards that will do it. The Wason Selection Task was developed by English psychologist Peter Wason to study how people think. They often don’t think rationally.
I found the most difficult part was finding my answer among the multiple choices, because there are a lot of them. More than 90% of Wason’s original subjects selected the wrong answer. Maybe we are doing better in the 21st century, because when I snagged this video, 20,626 people had viewed the puzzle video, and 5393 had viewed the correct answer. However, that number may have been skewed by people checking out all the answer videos. I didn’t bother checking the incorrect answers. You can read about Wason’s research into the human tendency to select irrational paths at Nautilus. -via Digg
Update: Oh, okay, I clicked a wrong answer, and the video it went to gives you the option of seeing the correct answer video. That explains why the correct answer had much more than 10% of the views of the original.
Two men in North Wales were spotted on a roof, and police were called. North Wales Police sent a hostage negotiator to talk to the men and get them off the roof. There didn’t seem to be any danger in the two jumping, as the roof was on a one-story house and only eight feet off the ground. The negotiator talked to the men for 90 minutes and then they were brought to safety -and then arrested on several charges, including “using threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence,” which is against the law in Wales. Meanwhile, many in the Isle of Anglesey County are questioning whether a negotiator was necessary in this case. -via Arbroath
Andrei Dragunov is a deaf Russian dancer. He dances with his hands, which is called finger tutting. There are elements of sign language here, some even Americans can understand, but the difficulty and the creative fluidity of the movements is what’s really impressive. -via Boing Boing
People and pop culture latch onto psychological terms and extrapolate them to people they know. Even themselves! Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is one of the more recent psychological fads. The real disorder is way more serious than we commonly think, and doesn’t fit the descriptions we see in the movies. This TED-Ed lesson by Dr. Natascha M. Santos explains the real OCD. -via Laughing Squid
The J. Paul Getty Museum has a Tumblr blog, and each week they post a recap of the latest Game of Thrones episode. Now, many pop culture blogs do that, but the museum adds a twist: they tell the story using their own works of art to illustrate the action, which works hilariously well. They post medieval art as illustrations that evoke an image of what happened and give links to more information on them. The two images here are from the latest installment, season 5 episode 6.
The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Perpetually Pleasing Bathroom Reader.
(Image credit: Towsonu2003)
“Breaking wind,” as the English so politely call it, is a natural and inevitable part of life. So it’s not surprising that farts occasionally make it into the news.
In June 2012, a 72-year-old New Jersey man named Daniel Collins was arrested and charged with assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and making terrorist threats, when he pointed a .32-calibre revolver at his neighbor and threatened to shoot him in the head. What got Collins so worked up? According to police, he and the neighbor were involved in an ongoing dispute over noise. The feud escalated to its breaking point when the neighbor walked past Collins’s front door and farted so loudly that Collins could hear it from inside his apartment. Collins was later released on his own recognizance without having to post bail. (No word on whether, if convicted, he’ll have to spend time in the can.)
Scientists have long known that the farts and burps released by livestock are a significant source of greenhouse gases. But precisely how significant has been difficult to say because it’s almost impossible to accurately measure the emissions of animals out in the fields.
Christian LeBlanc of Vancouver is an exchange student in Bangkok. He visited an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and was feeding bananas to the elephants when one of the pachyderms grabbed his camera! The result was a selfie taken by an elephant, or an “elphie.”
"I see a sign that for 50 cents you can feed the elephant. So my girlfriend and I go and buy a basket of bananas and we start feeding the elephant," LeBlanc told CBC News.
"The elephant loves the bananas, so it kind of gets a bit nosy — it grabs at your hands, it tries to take all the bananas. And once we ran out, next thing I knew it was it was grabbing the GoPro."
LeBlanc had turned on the time-lapse feature on his GoPro camera, so it automatically took a picture. As you can see, elephants don’t need a selfie stick because they carry their own extension around all the time! You can see more pictures of LeBlanc’s Thailand adventures at Buzzfeed.
These two teddy bears are the same age. Redditor UsernameIWontRegret explained what happened. His mother bought two identical bears when she had her first child in 1985. One was given to her new son, and the other was put into storage. Thirty years later, the second bear was brought out to give to that son’s first child, a little girl named Claire, who was born today. You can see the effects that a lifetime of love has on a teddy bear. If you doubt that it’s the same model of bear, there are plenty of folks who swore they had the same bear and several people posted pictures of theirs, in various stages of wear. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
Yes, this sounds like a clever insurance plan, to have another bear in case the first one was lost. But if that were the case, the second bear would have been substituted when the son lost his beloved bear at Disney World, or used for another child in the same family. UsernameIWontRegret's mother insists that the plan was always to keep the second bear for the first child's first child.
My mind and my time have been preoccupied this week because my older daughter is graduating from high school this weekend. I’ve been to her art show, awards ceremony, spring concert, banquets, parties, the baccalaureate service, and still have more to come. We’ve assembled a dress, mortarboard, tassel, gown, stole, and honor cords to wear. And that song, seemingly endless as a class of 200 slowly enters, keeps going through my head. You know the song.
The graduation song is often referred to as "Pomp and Circumstance," but it's actually a small piece of Sir Edward Elgar's 1901 composition "March No. 1 in D Major," part of his "Pomp and Circumstance Military March" series that spanned nearly 30 years of his career.
How did a British military march become a staple of American graduations? In 1905, Elgar received an invitation to come to Yale's commencement and receive an honorary doctorate. To honor their guest, Yale officials had the New Haven Symphony Orchestra play parts of Elgar's compositions as students marched in and out of the ceremony. People enjoyed the tune so much that it soon spread to other schools' graduations. (And just as importantly, it eventually became "Macho Man" Randy Savage's entrance music in the WWF.)
He wasn’t the first to use the song to enter the professional wrestling ring- that would be Gorgeous George. There are more traditions surrounding commencement exercises that you may wonder about, explained in The Stories Behind Graduation Traditions at mental_floss.
No matter how remote the possibility, the thought of being buried alive is ghastly. It’s not so much the fear of death as it is the fear of waking up trapped in a grave. Once that fear takes hold of one’s consciousness, it can become an obsession. Taphephobia, as it is called, is not so rampant in the era of modern medical care, but for some folks in the past, it was terrifying. Hans Christian Andersen suffered from taphephobia, which only became worse when he fell ill.
According to his biographer Jackie Wullschlager, Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen was deathly afraid of being buried alive. He spent his final days at the home of his friends Dorothea and Moritz Melchior in Copenhagen, and as the end neared, begged Dorothea to cut his veins after he’d breathed what appeared to be his last breath. Dorothea “joked that he could do as he had often done, and leave a note saying ‘I only appear to be dead' beside him.”
The note was a fixture of Andersen’s bedside table—some say he even wore it around his neck. Andersen was more than a little neurotic, and being buried alive was far from his only fear. According to Wullschlager, he also traveled with a rope in his luggage because he was afraid of fire, was terrified of dogs, and refused to eat pork out of fear of trichinosis.
Andersen wasn't the only one concerned about premature burial. Read about others who expressed such fear in the article 10 Famous People Who Were Afraid They'd Be Buried Alive at mental_floss.
Dave Letterman’s final show aired last night. He pulled out all the stops for the show, including a star-studded final Top Ten List. His favorite guests from over the years each came out to tell the "Top Ten Things I’ve Wanted to Say to Dave.”
In case you were working last night, or if you are of an age that you can no longer stay up that late (like Letterman himself), you can also see clips featuring his final entrance, the opening monologue, the Foo Fighters playing “Everlong” behind a photo montage of Dave’s many memorable moments on TV, a presidential sendoff, and the final farewell speech. Happy retirement, Dave!
What's your motto? Hmmmmmm...
In all the conversations, chats, talks we all have regularly with all our friends and pals and acquaintances, we hardly ever communicate about "our motto.” I would have to assume that most people just simply do not have a motto.
I do think everyone, whether they realize it or not, has a philosophy of life and basic rules of how they conduct themselves. I guess if they had a motto, it would reflect these. And of course, a person's motto would reflect the person, him or her self.
Let's take a look at the actual mottos of 30 well-known people.
Julie Andrews: "When in doubt, stand still.”
Hugh Hefner: "This above all: to thine own self be true.”
Shirley MacLaine: "I am part of god in light.”
Brian Wilson: “Be cool.”
Yoko Ono: “Keep smiling and maybe you'll get something to smile about.”
Ted Kennedy: “The dream shall never die.”
Ray Charles: “God helps those who help themselves.”
Ron Howard: “Panic is not our friend.”
Blacksmiths in the town of Nuanquan, China, throw molten metal in the air in a dangerous display of light and skill. It’s all part of the entertainment and celebration of the Da Shuhua festival, part of the New Year celebration.
Taking place on the 15th day of the New Year celebrations, the legendary Da Shuhua event sees resident blacksmiths hurl molten metal against a cold brick wall, generating a spectacular avalanche of sparks that engulfs the men as though they are standing in the middle of exploding fireworks.
The custom dates back approximately three centuries to a time when the town was full of metal workers. During the annual Lantern Festival, rich locals would set off fireworks as a means of ritually banishing demons. Meanwhile, poorer blacksmiths, who could not afford to purchase fireworks, took to throwing liquid metal instead.
As far as death-defying stunts go, molten metal beats fireworks almost every time. Read more about this festival and see many pictures at Scribol.
(Image credit: Flickr user Robert Berkowitz)
Forty-nine students in an animation class at the University of Newcastle drew Taylor Swift’s video for the song “Shake It Off.” They each were assigned to rotoscope 52 frames and give it their own style.
What they ended up with is alternatively beautiful, surreal, and hilarious. You’ll be surprised by the creative flourishes that pop up when you least expect them. -via Time
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released nationwide on May 21, 1980, which is 35 years ago tomorrow. Does that make you feel old? The movie received mixed reviews at the time, but now is considered the best of the six Star Wars films (so far). The problem back then was that it did not have a happy ending, but rather a cliffhanger that made us wait three years for the resolution in Return of the Jedi. That darkness became more appealing over time. And since then, we’ve found out that the finished movie differed in many ways from the original plan. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Leigh Brackett’s first script did not have the Skywalker paternity plot twist. Luke was going to meet up with his father later, who would administer the oath of the Jedi with the help of Minch Yoda and Ben Kenobi. With this plot line, the Luke-Leia-Han love triangle would be a much bigger deal. Thankfully, this was cut when they reconfigured the Skywalker family tree.
Minch Yoda? Yeah, that’s another change in the original plan. You’ll find out plenty of those changes in an anniversary post on The Empire Strikes Back at Uproxx.
Oh, to be five years old again! When playing and having fun were the most important things -except maybe a sweet treat when you’re done. What could possibly be the inspiration for today’s comic from Doghouse Diaries?
We found a time machine that turned us 5 again. pic.twitter.com/E5flXHp6K3— Ray Yamartino (@rayyamartino) May 17, 2015
That makes perfect sense. Next time we pass a swing set, I’ll be sure to refer to it as a time machine. Maybe I’ll even try it out!
Celebrities know that their fame and fortunes can disappear at any time, so many of them branch out into different businesses. For sports stars, this is crucial because an athletic career has physical limits. For musicians and movie stars, it can be a good idea, but there have been some spectacular failures. John Green returns to the mental_floss List Show to tell us about some of the stranger businesse ventures owned by celebrities.
If you look up Parmesan (cheese) at the Cambridge Dictionaries Online, and click the icon for an audio clip, you’ll find that it is pronounced exactly like the state named after William Penn. In case it gets corrected, turn the audio on in this Vine.
Yes, it’s a simple case of a mixed-up audio file, but it’s caused a lot of glee at reddit. From this day on, a new tradition will be passed down in some internet-active families: “Pass the Pennsylvania, please.” Children will grow up doing that and have no idea why when someone asks them years from now. -via Buzzfeed
(Image credit: personnel)
Life in prison in the 18th and 19th centuries could be brutal, according to a memoir by convicted counterfeiter William Stuart. His accounts of starvation rations were taken with a grain of salt due to his reputation, but the reality is starting to be unearthed -literally. Old Newgate Prison in Connecticut was America’s first state prison when it opened in the 1770s. It closed in 1827, and was a museum until cracked and dangerous walls forced it to close in 2009. Before construction begins to repair the prison, a team of archaeologists is digging up clues to the institution’s history. What they’ve found so far is not pretty. Zooarchaeologist Sarah Sportman tells us of animal bones that prisoners consumed to supplement their diets.
“We have found more in the little test pits that they did than we have found ever before,” Peterson said. Most of the material comes from a layer of trash that dates back to the period between 1790, when the brick guardhouse was first built, and 1819, when the building was expanded. There are bits of broken pottery and glass, but the animal bones—primarily from beef, pork and sheep—are most interesting Sportman because many of them look like they’ve been smashed open and processed again and again.
“It’s something you tend to see in starvation contexts,” Sportman says. “You eat the meat and then you bash the bones open to get the marrow and then you boil them to get all the grease out. You can just keep going back to try to get every little bit of nutrition that you can.” These so-called signatures of starvation were recently identified on animal bones found at an 1846 campsite of the ill-fated Donner Party and a 1870s Chinese mining camp in western Montana called China Gulch—two places where there’s historical evidence that people were starving.
Read about the prison, the project, and what we know about life inside Old Newgate prison at Atlas Obscura.
(Image credit: Sarah Sportman/AHS)
Some folks are lightning rods for success. Others are just lightning rods.
1. The Civil War’s Charlie Brown
Wilmer McLean just wanted everyone to get off his lawn. In 1861, the Battle of Bull Run—the Civil War’s first major skirmish—started near his farm. (McLean’s house was used as a Confederate headquarters.) One year later, soldiers traipsed back onto McLean’s property, sparking the Second Battle of Bull Run. Combined, the battles resulted in more than 20,000 casualties. By 1863, McLean was tired of having strangers die in his yard and moved to southern Virginia. But the war followed him. In 1865, the armies sparred one last time—near McLean’s new property. General Lee would sign the truce, of all places, in McLean’s parlor. McLean recalled: “The war began in my front yard and ended up in my front parlor.” At least he had a front-row seat to history.
2. Mr. Electricity
Seven is a lucky number to some, but Roy Sullivan would disagree—he’s been struck by lightning seven times. A Virginia park ranger, he had such bad luck that, on one occasion, a bolt struck him inside a ranger station, setting his hair on fire. After that, he carried a can of water wherever he went. But Sullivan’s seventh strike was possibly his strangest. Sullivan was trout fishing, and after Mother Nature lit him up, a bear stole a fish hooked on his line. When Sullivan recovered, he hit the bear with a stick, got into his car, and drove off in a daze—perhaps feeling lucky that the bear didn’t see him as a main course.
3. Alabama’s Biggest Rock Star
A litter of four new clouded leopard cubs were born on May 12, at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. Their mother, Chai Li, has not been feeding them, so they are monitored and fed round-the-clock by the zoo staff. They don’t yet know how many males and females there are, but they had their portraits taken at one week. See the pictures at Facebook and a bonus video at YouTube.
Clouded leopards, which are not closely related to leopards, range from the Himalayas through Southeast Asia. They are the smallest of the big cats. There are around 10,000 left in the wild, and they are classified as vulnerable. -via Buzzfeed
Rhett and Link decided that they’ve been telling too many lies lately and they should be more honest in their dealings with others. And they made a song about their efforts.
Well, being completely honest can backfire on you pretty quickly. Some lies are egregious, but most of the lies we tell every day are mainly to smooth over social situations or spare someone’s feelings. Those lies make the world go ‘round! -Thanks, Rhett & Link!
Did you know that there was once a possibility of a sequel to E.T.: The Extraterrestrial? In 1982, Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison (who wrote E.T.) came up with a 9-page treatment for a film called E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears. In it, Eliot would be kidnapped by evil aliens, and E.T. has to return to rescue them.
It is now time for Elliott to be questioned. The aliens show no mercy when he replies with the truth. The questioning process intensifies when they learn from his memory that he has dealt directly with Zrek. The pain is tremendous for Elliott and he breaks down and begins screaming for E.T.'s help. Elliott black out but the echos of his last cry can be heard from a distance. At this point we follow, upward, the echoing cry for E.T. into the cosmos where the painful cry seems to die.
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