Paging Farrokh Bulsara

Music stars and their un-sexy real names:

  • David Bowie – David Robert Hayward Stenton Jones
  • Eric Clapton – Eric Patrick Clapp
  • Alice Cooper – Vincent Damon Furnier
  • Dido – Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong
  • Bob Dylan – Robert Alan Zimmerman
  • Jewel – Jewel Kilcher
  • Mama Cass – Ellen Naomi Cohen
  • Marilyn Manson – Brian Warner
  • Meat Loaf – Marvin Lee Aday
  • George Michael – Yorgos Panayiotou
  • Nelly – Carnell Haynes, Jr.
  • Lou Reed – Louis Firbank
  • Busta Rhymes – Trevor Tahiem Smith
  • Cliff Richard – Harry Webb
  • Sade – Helen Folasade Adu
  • Seal – Henry Olusegun Olumide Samuel
  • Gene Simmons – Chaim Witz
  • Cat Stevens – Steve Georgiou
  • Sly Stone – Sylvester Stewart
  • Ice T – Tracy Marrow
  • Randy Travis – Randy Bruce Traywick
  • Shania Twain – Eileen Regina Edwards
  • Frankie Valli – Frank Castelluccio
  • Eddie Vedder – Edward Louis Severson

Paul Revere’s real name was Paul Revere.

Personality and Blood Type

Personality traits associated with various blood types, according to Japanese superstition:

Type A:

  • Best traits: Conservative, reserved, patient, punctual, perfectionist, and good with plants.
  • Worst traits: Introverted, obsessive, stubborn, and self-conscious. Anal retentive.
  • Famous examples: George H.W. Bush, O.J. Simpson, Britney Spears

Type B:

  • Best traits: Creative and passionate. Animal-loving. Optimistic and flexible.
  • Worst traits: Forgetful, irresponsible, individualistic.
  • Famous examples: Akira Kurosawa, Jack Nicholson, Luciano Pavarotti

Type AB:

  • Best traits: Cool, controlled, rational. Sociable and popular. Empathic.
  • Worst traits: Aloof, critical, indecisive, and unforgiving.
  • Famous examples: John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Mick Jagger

Type O:

  • Best traits: Ambitious, athletic, robust, and self-confident. Natural leaders.
  • Worst traits: Arrogant, vain, and insensitive. Ruthless.
  • Famous examples: Ronald Reagan, Queen Elizabeth, John Lennon

Interestingly, Type A blood is the most common in Japan, while Type O is most common in the United States — and among Japanese prime ministers.

Slow Going

In 2002, charity fundraiser Lloyd Scott ran the London Marathon wearing a 120-pound deep-sea diving suit.

He finished the 26.2-mile course in five days, eight and a half hours — a record high.

Satan, Schmatan

You can stop worrying about backward messages hidden in popular songs — they’re totally passe now. Examples:

  • “Congratulations. You’ve just discovered the secret message. Please send your answer to Old Pink, care of the funny farm, Chalfont.” (Pink Floyd, “Empty Spaces”)
  • “Anyone who is stupid enough to play this record backwards deserves what he is about to hear.” (Bloodrock, “Gotta Find a Way”)
  • “Obey your parents. Do your homework. Winners don’t do drugs.” (Information Society, “Are Friends Electric?”)
  • “Time is important. You are wasting it by backmasking this song. You want me to say something about the devil or something? Okay — lalalalalalalala Satan.” (K&H, “Dusty Road”)
  • “Wow, you must have an awful lot of free time on your hands.” (“Weird Al” Yankovic, “I Remember Larry”)
  • “Devil shall wake up and eat Chef Boyardee Beefaroni.” (The Bloodhound Gang, “Lift Your Head Up High”)
  • “I buried my parakeet in the backyard. Oh no, you’re playing the record backwards. Watch out, you might ruin your needle.” (The B-52s, “Detour Through Your Mind”)

Maybe that’s for the best; those congressional witch hunts were getting kind of scary. Saint Teresa of Avila said, “I do not fear Satan half so much as I fear those who fear him.”

“British Women Can’t Cook”

Controversial remarks attributed to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh:

  • “If it has four legs and is not a chair, has wings and is not an aeroplane, or swims and is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.”
  • When visiting China in 1986, he told a group of British students, “If you stay here much longer, you’ll all be slitty-eyed.”
  • To a British student in Papua New Guinea: “You managed not to get eaten then?”
  • To a Scottish driving instructor: “How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough for them to pass the driving test?”
  • On a visit to the new Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, he told a group of deaf children standing next to a Jamaican steel drum band, “Deaf? No wonder you are deaf, standing so close to that racket.”
  • To an Australian aborigine: “Still throwing spears?”
  • To the president of Nigeria, who was dressed in traditional Muslim robes: “You look like you’re ready for bed.”
  • Seeing a poorly installed fusebox in an Edinburgh factory, Philip said it looked “like it was put in by an Indian.”
  • When a 12-year-old boy told the prince that he aspired to be an astronaut, he replied, “You’re too fat.”

Overheard during an extended tour of HMS Boxer: “Not another fucking chamber.”

Freudian Skip

The youngest confirmed mother in medical history is Lina Medina of Paurange, Peru, who gave birth to a 5.9-pound boy at age 5. The delivery was done through caesarian section; it’s not known how she conceived the child. Her son, Gerardo, was raised believing that Lina was his sister.

I Am Not An Animal!

Are the X-Men human? Purists might like to debate that for a while, but the U.S. Court of International Trade went ahead and decided on Jan. 3, 2003: They’re not.

Why force a decision? Because there are two kinds of action figures: human figures are “dolls,” and nonhuman creatures are “toys.” And dolls carry a higher tariff, for some reason. Toy Biz, Marvel’s gaily named subsidiary, argued that its action figures were toys, and after examining more than 60 action figures, Judge Judith Barzilay agreed.

That saved Marvel some money, but it sent a thunderclap through the comics world, where the doughty mutants had been struggling for years to prove their humanity. After an awkward silence, Marvel grinned nervously, tugged at its collar, and said, “Our heroes are living, breathing human beings — but humans who have extraordinary abilities. … A decision that the X-Men figures indeed do have ‘nonhuman’ characteristics further proves our characters have special, out-of-this world powers.” Spun like a pro.