Starstruck

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Leonids-1833.jpg

The annual Leonid meteor shower was unusually spectacular in November 1833, raining a hundred thousand meteors per hour over the eastern United States.

“[There were] thousands of luminous bodies shooting across the firmament in every direction,” wrote the Florence, Ala., Gazette. “There was little wind and not a trace of clouds, and the meteors succeeded each other in quick succession.”

That spectacle is remembered in a unique way — it’s the basis of the jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama”:

I never planned in my imagination
A situation so heavenly
A fairy land where no one else could enter
And in the center just you and me

We lived our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama last night.

How to Win Six Million Dollars

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/276465

Summon six millionaires and invite them to stake their fortunes on a single hand of poker. They will eagerly agree. Open a new deck of cards, discard the jokers, and ask the millionaires to cut (but not shuffle!) the deck as many times as they like. Then deal seven hands, ostentatiously dealing your own second and fourth cards from the bottom of the deck.

The millionaires may be reluctant to object to this, as all six of them will be holding full houses. (This works — try it.) But “See here,” they will finally say. “What was that business with the bottom-dealing? You’re up to something. We insist that you discard that hand.” Look hurt, then deal yourself a new hand.

You’ll likely be holding a straight flush.

Too Much Talent

John Cazale is not a household name, but he should be. When the actor died at age 42, he’d made only five films, but every one of them was nominated for best picture:

  • The Godfather
  • The Conversation
  • The Godfather Part II
  • Dog Day Afternoon
  • The Deer Hunter

That alone would have made him unique in Hollywood history, but he added a hat trick. In 1990, 12 years after his death, Francis Ford Coppola used archive footage to include Cazale in The Godfather Part III (as Fredo Corleone).

That too was nominated for best picture.