CLOSE

Teacher Appreciation Week: Bob Powers

As Mary announced on Monday, it's mental_floss Teacher Appreciation Week. As part of the festivities, we'll be honoring educators who personally inspired us. But not in a Joe Clark kind of way, where we'd likely be long dead without their intervention. No, we want to pay tribute to those who sparked our hunger for peripheral knowledge. Without this teacher, I may have turned out OK. But I wouldn't need to know how the Nintendo Zapper worked, or feel compelled to explore the seedy underworld of sugar packet collectors.

Bob "Mr." Powers is a science teacher at Morris Knolls High School in Denville, NJ. During an incredible run of scheduling luck, I had him three straight years for three different subjects.

Bob_Powers.JPG

His classes always felt hand picked. All-star teams of funny, interesting, snarky adolescents. Much like High Fidelity (the Nick Hornby book, not the John Cusack movie), there was a decent plot ("learning chemistry") surrounded by piles of fascinating anecdotes.

I remember rearranging our desks to debate the ethics of cloning. We casually discussed the influence of Alan Greenspan and boned up on Ebola. We broke down the Chuck Wepner-Muhammad Ali fight, the one that inspired Rocky. He debunked the myths of college admissions, told stories of obscure World War II heroes, and gave a crash course in auto safety. A syllabus of the sidebar discussions would read like the mental_floss table of contents.

But Mr. Powers gave me more than a better grasp of the Fed. He made me want to read the papers, to have something to contribute. He made us look outside our school for knowledge, and offered a preview of college-style education. He taught less than any other teacher, and I learned more. And his star-studded classes were really no more studded than any others. But he brought out the best in his students. Or at least the most entertaining.

And I hardly recognize this picture. He used to rock a killer moustache.

Mr. Powers, we salute you. Now go inform your students how lucky they are.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
iStock
iStock

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

arrow
Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios