Watch Dogs

In 1997, retired advertising executive Dan FitzSimons proposed a new cable TV channel called The Puppy Channel: “24 hours a day, seven days a week, footage of puppies fooling around like puppies do, acting the natural comedians and cuties that they are, with no people, no talk, accompanied only by relaxing instrumental music.”

In focus group surveys, 41 percent of respondents said they would prefer watching the channel to CNBC, and 37 percent preferred it to TBS.

“It’s a Great Advantage to Be Able to Hurdle With Both Legs”

Memorable sportscasting quotes:

  • “And here’s Moses Kiptanui, the 19-year-old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago.” (David Coleman)
  • “Juantorena opens his legs and shows his class.” (Ron Pickering)
  • “With half of the race gone, there is half of the race still to go.” (Murray Walker)
  • “What I said to them at halftime would be unprintable on the radio.” (Gerry Francis)
  • “I was in Saint-Etienne two years ago. It’s much the same as it is now, although now it’s completely different.” (Kevin Keegan)
  • “I imagine that the conditions in those cars are totally unimaginable.” (Murray Walker)
  • “The Baggio brothers, of course, are not related.” (George Hamilton)
  • “For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.” (John Motson)

“Real Madrid are like a rabbit in the glare of the headlights in the face of Manchester United’s attacks,” Hamilton once said. “But this rabbit comes with a suit of armor in the shape of two precious away goals …”

Snow Miser

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Snowmangma_2.jpg

The world’s tallest snowman was Angus, King of the Mountain, built in Maine in 1999. He stood 113 feet 7 inches tall.

In Lithuania, a snowman is called “a man without brains.” Last winter, protesters made 141 snowmen in their capital — one for each member of parliament.

Zorbing

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

New Zealanders know how to make their own fun. They’ve taken to rolling down hills inside giant plastic balls called zorbs. Most contain straps to hold the rider in place; if you’re insane you can forgo the straps and fill the ball with water, creating a self-contained water chute.

The first U.S. facility opens this year in Tennessee. Brace yourself.

Star Power

In 1993 Bruce Willis appeared in a Japanese advertising campaign for the Subaru Legacy, so the company designed a car in his honor.

It’s called the Subaru Touring Bruce.

Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx

You’d think it would be an honor to appear on a magazine cover, but at Sports Illustrated it’s a curse. Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews appeared on the magazine’s very first issue, then suffered a hand injury a week later and missed seven games. Here’s what happened to other cover subjects:

  • Jan. 31, 1955: Skier Jill Kinmont hit a tree and was paralyzed from the neck down.
  • Nov. 18, 1957: After the headline “Why Oklahoma Is Unbeatable,” the Sooners immediately lost to Notre Dame.
  • May 26, 1958: Formula One driver Pat O’Connor was killed in a 15-car pileup.
  • Feb. 13, 1961: Figure skater Laurence Owen died in a plane crash.
  • Dec. 14, 1970: The University of Texas fumbled nine times against Notre Dame, losing the Cotton Bowl.
  • April 6, 1987: “Believe it! Cleveland is the best team in the American League!” The Indians lost 101 games that year.
  • Sept. 4, 1989: Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti’s words about Pete Rose appeared on the cover; days later, Giamatti died of a heart attack.
  • June 5, 1995: Giants third baseman Matt Williams broke his foot and missed two and a half months.

The magazine acknowledged the jinx by putting a black cat on a 2002 issue. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner refused to pose with the cat — and the Rams won their next two games and their second consecutive NFC championship.

No Message

When he wasn’t escaping straitjackets, Harry Houdini spent a lot of time debunking spiritualists.

Shortly before his death, he made a pact with his wife, Bess: If possible, he would contact her from the other side and deliver a prearranged coded message.

When he died, Bess lit a candle beside his photograph and kept it burning for 10 years, holding séances every Halloween to test the pact. Harry never spoke.

In 1936, after a final attempt on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel, Bess put out the candle.

“Ten years is long enough to wait for any man,” she said.