The Shadow Knows

Some secret identities:

  • The Scarlet Pimpernel: Sir Percy Blakeney
  • Zorro: Don Diego De La Vega
  • The Lone Ranger: John Reid
  • The Phantom: Kit Walker
  • Captain Marvel: Billy Batson

It’s been pointed out that Superman pretends to be Clark Kent, but Peter Parker pretends to be Spider-Man. If you have two identities, either one can be “secret.”

Population: One

The U.S. population is growing, but there seems to be plenty of room. These places are occupied by a single person:

  • New Amsterdam, Ind.
  • Hibberts, Maine
  • Lost Springs, Wyo.
  • Monowi, Neb.

The 2000 census says the population of Ervings, N.H., is now zero. “The only taxable property in Erving’s location are telephone poles.”

Fear of Flying

Notable people who have had a fear of flying:

  • Isaac Asimov
  • Doris Day
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Jackie Gleason
  • Kim Jong-Il
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Loretta Lynn
  • John Madden
  • Matthew Sweet
  • Billy Bob Thornton

Mr. Versatile

Whose resume is this?

  • Received four write-in votes in the mayoral election in Boise, Idaho, 1985
  • Spokesperson, the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout, 1987
  • Received the Presidential Sports Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports, 1992
  • Threw out first pitch at Wrigley Field, 2000
  • Named official ambassador for the Rhode Island State Tourism Board, 2000
  • Likeness rendered as 85-foot hot-air balloon, 2001
  • Rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, 2002

Answer: Mr. Potato Head.

Heady

http://www.doctormacro.com/index.htmlDoctor Macro has high-quality images of classic films and their stars, mostly from the 1940s and earlier. This one is a publicity still of Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian-born star of Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah.

Lamarr is an object lesson in the price of beauty. She had quite a good technical education, and actually patented a device that made radio-guided torpedoes harder to detect. But the world saw only her face: She had to drug her obsessive husband to escape to London, and then Hollywood saddled her with demeaning epithets like “the most beautiful girl in films” and “the Laurence Olivier of orgasm.” When she tried to join the National Inventors Council, she was told she could better help the war effort by selling war bonds.

In the end she went through five more husbands before she passed away in 2000; if she was bitter at her fame, it was certainly understandable. “Any girl can be glamorous,” she once said. “All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”

Intercourse the Penguin!

Films with the most prolific use of the word fuck:

  1. Tigerland (527)
  2. Nil By Mouth (470)
  3. Casino (422)
  4. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (399)
  5. Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (347)
  6. Another Day in Paradise (327)
  7. Summer of Sam (326)
  8. Twin Town (320)
  9. Ken Loach’s Sweet Sixteen (313)
  10. Narc (298)

The winner, Joel Schumacher’s 2000 infantry-training drama Tigerland, packs 527 fucks into 100 minutes, for a fuck-per-minute ratio of 5.27, or one fuck every 12 seconds. (“Damn it, Cantwell! Shit, man. Shit! Fuck, I don’t even know you, man! You sittin’ there telling your fucking stories. You make me want to fuckin’ cry! What’s that about?”) Schumacher got a lump of coal that Christmas.

Harrison Ford, Call Your Agent

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore.jpgThe exact layout of Air Force One has always been classified, but How Stuff Works has figured it out and rather recklessly published it online.

When they retire the plane in 2010, I’m hoping they put it up on eBay. At 4,000 square feet, it’s twice the size of my house, and my house doesn’t have a pharmacy, an operating table, 85 telephones, 19 televisions, radar jammers, hand-crafted wooden furniture, and flares to confuse heat-seeking missiles.

Also, Air Force One holds 2,000 meals and feeds 100 people at a time, and it can carry 70 passengers halfway around the world without refueling. I think that would be handy on vacations. I can probably fit 10 people in my dining room if we set up an extra card table, but it doesn’t go anywhere.

Origins of Band Names

And here’s a list of the origins of band names:

  • Spandau Ballet was a Nazi guards’ term for the contortions of Jewish prisoners being gassed to death. There was a large gas chamber in the city of Spandau.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers were originally called Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem.
  • Pantera is Portuguese for “panther.”
  • Oingo Boingo is Swahili for “thinking while dancing.”
  • The Eagles were originally going to call themselves Teen King and the Emergencies.
  • Def Leppard got its name from Joe Elliot’s drawing of a leopard with no ears.

I always wondered about that last one. What a stupid name.

Historical Cats

Cats and their owners:

  • Hodge: Samuel Johnson, British writer and lexicographer
  • Selima: Horace Walpole, British writer and historian
  • Langbourne: Jeremy Bentham, British writer, reformer, and philosopher
  • Old Foss: Edward Lear, British poet and humorist
  • Siam: Rutherford B. Hayes, American president
  • Appolinaris, Beelzebub, Blatherskaite, Buffalo Bill: Mark Twain, American author
  • Bismarck: Florence Nightingale, British nurse
  • Cobby: Thomas Hardy, British writer
  • Chess, Checkmate: Alexander Alekhine, Russian-French chess player
  • Taki: Raymond Chandler, American novelist
  • Jellylorum, George Pushdragon: T.S. Eliot, American-born British critic and writer
  • Blackie, Jock, Nelson, Tango: Winston Churchill, British politician and writer
  • Beppo: Jorge Luis Borges, Argentinian writer
  • Gujarat: John Kenneth Galbraith, Canadian-born American economist, writer, and diplomat
  • Fuckchop: Trent Reznor, leader, Nine Inch Nails