2 Random Things I've Been Meaning To Show You

Here are two not-at-all-timely topics I meant to cover months ago.

1. Senator John Warner's Son's Wedding Announcement (from January)

Earlier this year, Senator John Warner's son got married. The Times was there. And the author of the announcement sounds intent on breaking them up. Here are some of the highlights...

"Mr. Warner was surprised he had much in common with a schoolteacher."

"Nevertheless, he wasn't interested in a second date with her. Then, one year later, tired of young, temperamental beauties, he called. Ms. Hamm wasn't miffed and agreed to see him. 'I feel strongly that you never want to close any doors,' she said. 'You never know.'"

"Through it all he remained a die-hard and distinctive bachelor, sometimes picking dates up in his 1936 Packard or his 1966 Aston Martin. But he grew to dislike breaking hearts as much as he hated eating tofu. 'Johnny never wants to let anyone down,' said Jill Mullen, a friend."

"He also became disillusioned, always questioning the motives of the women he dated. By the time he was in his early 40s, he had broken two engagements and pretty much given up hope. 'A lot of women in New York and L.A. are in it for the dollar, not for a healthy relationship,' he said wearily."

"He, on the other hand, was unsure about Ms. Hamm, whose family founded the Hamm's Brewing Company, which was based in Minnesota. She was nothing like the wild supermodels and party girls he had been dating. Ms. Hamm has unflashy clothes, jewelry and ways and is the opposite of high-maintenance."

"The bride, meanwhile, looked completely natural in her sleeveless gown and her hair pulled back as if for tennis."

2. David Bowie Introducing Ricky Gervais at the High Line Festival (from May)

When I saw Ricky Gervais perform at the Madison Square Garden Theater, David Bowie was on hand to introduce him. The result was memorable. The video is not great, but thanks to YouTube user Lopyj, you can listen along at home and pretend you just had really bad seats.

If you're not an Extras fan, here's the scene Bowie recreated...

As audience-participation exercises go, this ranks atop my admittedly short list, one spot above the Tomahawk Chop in 1991 (I was eleven) and four-hundred places higher than any "Who's Your Daddy, Battier?" chants in Cameron Indoor Stadium roughly ten years later.

Win a Trip to Any National Park By Instagramming Your Travels

If you're planning out your summer vacation, make sure to add a few national parks to your itinerary. Every time you share your travels on Instagram, you can increase your chances of winning a VIP trip for two to the national park of your choice.

The National Park Foundation is hosting its "Pic Your Park" sweepstakes now through September 28. To participate, post your selfies from visits to National Park System (NPS) properties on Instagram using the hashtag #PicYourParkContest and a geotag of the location. Making the trek to multiple parks increases your points, with less-visited parks in the system having the highest value. During certain months, the point values of some sites are doubled. You can find a list of participating properties and a schedule of boost periods here.

Following the contest run, the National Park Foundation will decide a winner based on most points earned. The grand prize is a three-day, two-night trip for the winner and a guest to any NPS property within the contiguous U.S. Round-trip airfare and hotel lodging are included. The reward also comes with a 30-day lease of a car from Subaru, the contest's sponsor.

The contest is already underway, with a leader board on the website keeping track of the competition. If you're looking to catch up, this national parks road trip route isn't a bad place to start.

15 Dad Facts for Father's Day

Gather 'round the grill and toast Dad for Father's Day—the national holiday so awesome that Americans have celebrated it for more than a century. Here are 15 Dad facts you can wow him with today.

1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain in 1912 as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a contaminated public water supply in 1896.

2. George Washington, the celebrated father of our country, had no children of his own. A 2004 study suggested that a type of tuberculosis that Washington contracted in childhood may have rendered him sterile. He did adopt the two children from Martha Custis's first marriage.

3. In Thailand, the king's birthday also serves as National Father's Day. The celebration includes fireworks, speeches, and acts of charity and honor—the most distinct being the donation of blood and the liberation of captive animals.

4. In 1950, after a Washington Post music critic gave Harry Truman's daughter Margaret's concert a negative review, the president came out swinging: "Some day I hope to meet you," he wrote. "When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!"

5. A.A. Milne created Winnie the Pooh for his son, Christopher Robin. Pooh was based on Robin's teddy bear, Edward, a gift Christopher had received for his first birthday, and on their father/son visits to the London Zoo, where the bear named Winnie was Christopher's favorite. Pooh comes from the name of Christopher's pet swan.

6. Kurt Vonnegut was (for a short time) Geraldo Rivera's father-in-law. Rivera's marriage to Edith Vonnegut ended in 1974 because of his womanizing. Her ever-protective father was quoted as saying, "If I see Gerry again, I'll spit in his face." He also included an unflattering character named Jerry Rivers (a chauffeur) in a few of his books.

7. Andre Agassi's father represented Iran in the 1948 and 1952 Olympics as a boxer.

8. Charlemagne, the 8th-century king of the Franks, united much of Western Europe through military campaigns and has been called the "king and father of Europe" [PDF]. Charlemagne was also a devoted dad to about 18 children, and today, most Europeans may be able to claim Charlemagne as their ancestor.

9. The voice of Papa Smurf, Don Messick, also provided the voice of Scooby-Doo, Ranger Smith on Yogi Bear, and Astro and RUDI on The Jetsons.

10. In 2001, Yuri Usachev, cosmonaut and commander of the International Space Station, received a talking picture frame from his 12-year-old daughter while in orbit. The gift was made possible by RadioShack, which filmed the presentation of the gift for a TV commercial.

11. The only father-daughter collaboration to hit the top spot on the Billboard pop music chart was the 1967 hit single "Something Stupid" by Frank & Nancy Sinatra.

12. In the underwater world of the seahorse, it's the male that gets to carry the eggs and birth the babies.

13. If show creator/producer Sherwood Schwartz had gotten his way, Gene Hackman would have portrayed the role of father Mike Brady on The Brady Bunch.

14. The Stevie Wonder song "Isn't She Lovely" is about his newborn daughter, Aisha. If you listen closely, you can hear Aisha crying during the song.

15. Dick Hoyt has pushed and pulled his son Rick, who has cerebral palsy, through hundreds of marathons and triathlons. Rick cannot speak, but using a custom-designed computer he has been able to communicate. They ran their first five-mile race together when Rick was in high school. When they were done, Rick sent his father this message: "Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"


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