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3 Random People I'm Glad I'm Not

wildfier.jpg1. The 10-year-old boy who started the Buckweed Blaze

On October 22, 2007, a stunned-looking 10-year-old boy and his parents were seen frantically trying to beat a small brushfire down with towels. The boy, whose name has obviously been withheld, started the fire while playing with matches behind his family's trailer home.

Now, when I was 10, I, too, liked to play with matches. I even set a corner of our basement on fire once and was promptly taken to the local firehouse where I was reprimanded and shown a movie on the dangers of playing with matches. And while there was some guilt associated with the fire in our basement, it certainly paled by comparison to what this poor 10-year-old in Agua Dulce, California must now feel. Because, no, he and his parents never were able to beat that fire out, and, yes, it was one of the 15 biggies that recently scorched Southern California. In this particular fire, 38,000 acres were lost, 15,000 people evacuated, 63 structures (21 of them homes) destroyed, and three civilians and two firefighters were injured.

My suggestion for this poor boy on how he should get on with his life: consult The Barnyard Guide for Raising Formidable Cattle, by Kate O'Leary

keith_michael.jpg2. Keith Michael "“ the only designer ever to be kicked off Project Runway

With my favorite (and only!) guilty pleasure back on the air, I've had Project Runway on the brain these last few weeks. While the new season hasn't disappointed yet, I'm not sure anything can top the drama of last year's Keith Michael incident. Poor guy was caught with how-to pattern making-type books in his room (a colossal no-no) during the competition and called on it by the show's co-host, Time Gunn.

Gunn also fired off a round at Michael for breaking additional rules, such as wandering off the production for several hours without permission and logging onto the Internet. After Gunn asked Michael to pack his bags, the cheating ex-contestant had this to say: "I didn't expect this. "¦ My image has been tarnished forever, I'm off the show, and I'm going to be a laughing stock to my friends"¦ the kind of sad part is that I never used those books to give myself any unfair advantage."
Oh, yeah, right Keith. Sure you didn't. And Bill Clinton never had "sex with that woman."

My suggestion for Keith Michael on how he should face his friends again: speak to Woody Allen, who once admitted he was kicked out of college for cheating on his metaphysics exam by looking into the soul of the boy next to him.

steve-bartman.jpg3. Steven Bartman "“ the guy who almost caught that foul pop-up

Ahhh, yes, October 14th, 2003—an evening Steve Bartman surely wishes he could live all over again. It was the 8th inning and the Cubbies were up 3-0 over the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series. Mark Prior, one of the Cub's aces, was on the mound pitching one of the best games of his young career. With one out, he was five outs away from sending his team to the World Series for the first time since 1945 (the Cubs haven't won the Series since 1908, don't forget).

Luis Castillo, who was batting for the Marlins, popped up in foul territory down the left field line. The Cub's leftfielder Moises Alou sprinted over to catch it when, suddenly, the then-26-year-old, now-infamous Bartman reached out and tried to nab the ball as a souvenir, possibly preventing Alou from making the grab, which would have been the second out of the inning.

The Marlins went on to score eight runs that inning after Castillo walked. They ultimately won the game, the series, AND the World Series, beating the New York Yankees 4 games to 2.

Bartman was attacked by fans within seconds and ushered out of Wrigley by security officers. He then issued the following statement after the game: "There are few words to describe how awful I feel and what I have experienced within these last 24 hours. I've been a Cub fan all my life and fully understand the relationship between my actions and the outcome of the game"¦ To Moises Alou, the Chicago Cubs organization, Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Cub fans everywhere, I am so truly sorry from the bottom of this Cub fan's broken heart. I ask that Cub fans everywhere redirect the negative energy that has been vented towards my family, my friends, and myself into the usual positive support for our beloved team on their way to being National League champs."

In his defense, poor Bartman was really only doing what most fans would have done in the same position. And unlike many fans, he turned down a pantload of movie and talk show offers in the ensuing days (as well as a job with the Florida Marlins!), which would have brought him a lot of money along with the fame he had already achieved.

Still, as a die-hard baseball fan, there's no one associated with the game I'd rather not be than Steve Bartman who will forever be the team's 2003 scapegoat.

My suggestion on how he should go about showing his face in Chicago again: consult The Barnyard Guide for Raising Formidable Cattle, by Kate O'Leary

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10 Fab Facts About George Harrison
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Keystone/Getty Images

You probably know George Harrison as a Beatle, the lead guitarist of the most famous band in the world. We’re guessing that there’s a lot you don’t know about the youngest of The Fab Four, who was born on this day in 1943.

1. HE WAS ONLY 27 WHEN THE BEATLES BROKE UP.


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George Harrison turned 27 on February 25, 1970, less than two months before Paul McCartney told the world he had no future plans to work with the Beatles. It had been 12 years since Harrison had joined John Lennon’s band, The Quarrymen—shortly after McCartney, his Liverpool schoolmate—in 1958.

2. HE INVENTED THE MEGASTAR ROCK BENEFIT CONCERT.

Before Harrison organized the 1971 Concert for Bangladesh, there were performances for charity, of course. But when his friend, the great Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, told him about the plight of Bangladeshi refugees, victims of both war and a devastating cyclone who now faced starvation, Harrison felt compelled to devote himself to the cause. He recruited stars like Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Badfinger, and Leon Russell, and together they played two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971. Harrison then arranged for the release of a concert album and film. The ventures had raised more than $12 million by 1985, and profits from sales of the movie and soundtrack continue to benefit the George Harrison Fund for UNICEF.

3. HE WROTE “CRACKERBOX PALACE” ABOUT HIS QUIRKY MANSION.

Harrison nicknamed his 120-room Friar Park mansion “Crackerbox Palace” after a friend’s description of Lord Buckley’s tiny Los Angeles home. The 66-acre property, about 37 miles west of London, was first owned by Sir Frank Crisp, a lawyer who lived there from 1889 to 1919. Harrison bought the estate in 1970—and quickly penned “The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp,” which appeared on his first solo album, All Things Must Pass, also in 1970.

Friar Park was a strange place, with gnomes, grottos, a miniature Matterhorn, and lavish gardens, which Harrison loved to tend. According to the Victoria County History website, the house itself “is an architectural fantasy in red brick, stone, and terracotta, mixing English, French and Flemish motifs in lavish, undisciplined profusion.”

4. HE LOVED HANGING OUT WITH BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND.

All four Beatles were Dylan fans, and first met him in 1964. But Harrison felt a special bond with him, and spent weeks at Dylan’s Woodstock, New York home in the fall of 1968. The Band was there, too, and Harrison loved the collaborative atmosphere. During this time Dylan and Harrison co-wrote “I’d Have You Anytime,” which appeared on 1970's All Things Must Pass. The two would become bandmates in the Traveling Wilburys, and maintained a close, lifelong friendship.

5. THE "QUIET BEATLE" WASN’T SO QUIET.

"He never shut up," friend and fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty once said of Harrison. "He was the best hang you could imagine."

6. WHEN HE LOST HIS VIRGINITY, THE OTHER BEATLES CHEERED.

The Beatles at the EMI studios in Abbey Road, as they prepare for 'Our World', a world-wide live television show broadcasting to 24 countries with a potential audience of 400 million.
BIPs/Getty Images

During the band’s early years, they had extended runs as a house band in Hamburg, Germany, and were paid so poorly (and had to be on stage for so many hours) that they shared a small room in the club’s basement. Hence the witnesses to George’s deflowering, at age 17. "We were in bunkbeds," Harrison recalled. "They couldn't really see anything because I was under the covers, but after I'd finished they all applauded and cheered. At least they kept quiet whilst I was doing it."

7. WITHOUT HIM, THERE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN.

EMI Films, Life of Brian’s original backer, withdrew funding for the Monty Python comedy classic just before filming began, scared that the religious subject matter would be too controversial. Harrison, a big fan and friend of the Pythons, set up his own production company—Handmade Films—to fund the project. Why? "Because I liked the script and I wanted to see the movie,” he explained. Harrison not only saw the film, he appeared in it, as Mr. Papadopolous, "owner of the Mount.” Monty Python’s Life of Brian, released in 1979, was a huge hit in both the UK and U.S., and was ranked as the 10th best comedy film of all time in 2010 by The Guardian.

8. HE WAS THE FIRST EX-BEATLE TO SIMULTANEOUSLY TOP BOTH THE SINGLES AND ALBUMS CHARTS.

Harrison began recording the songs that would comprise All Things Must Pass at Abbey Road on May 26, 1970, just weeks after the Beatles broke up. The triple album was released in late November, along with “My Sweet Lord,” the first single from the album. Both the record and the single spent weeks at the top of the Billboard and Melody Maker charts in early 1971, while receiving rave reviews.

9. THE FIRST SONG HE WROTE WAS INSPIRED BY A DESIRE TO TELL PEOPLE TO GET LOST.

Harrison wrote “Don’t Bother Me,” his first first solo composition, while sick in bed at the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth, England, in the summer of 1963. It “was an exercise to see if I could write a song,” Harrison said. “I don't think it's a particularly good song ... It mightn't even be a song at all, but at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good." “Don’t Bother Me” appeared on With The Beatles, their second studio album.

10. HE WAS THE FIRST BEATLE TO VISIT, AND PLAY IN, THE U.S.

In the fall of 1963, Harrison traveled to Benton, Illinois to visit his sister, Louise, and her husband, George Caldwell. During his 18-day stay, Harrison also became the first Beatle to play in the U.S.—appearing on stage with The Four Vests at the VFW Hall in Eldorado. He played the second set with the band, taking over lead guitar and singing "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Your Cheatin' Heart."

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