3 Famous Mustaches

It's said that the clothes make the man, but what about the mustache? Does it make the man, or does the man make it? Sort of a "chicken or the egg" question. Here we have three men who are forever linked with their facial hair, and the relationships between the man and the mustache are much more complex than one would think.

1. Hitler and the Toothbrush


Before the Blitz, before the Holocaust, before a patch of hair situated directly above the center of the lip became as much a symbol of evil as the devil's horns, the mustache worn by Hitler was called the Toothbrush. While Hitler and Charlie Chaplin are its most famous wearers, the Toothbrush has a long history behind it. The "˜stache first came to Europe at the end of the 19th century on Americans, who wore it as a response to Europeans' beloved primped and pimped Kaiser mustache. Elaborate and ornate was out, streamlined and efficient was in. In terms of personal grooming, the Toothbrush mustache was the assembly line, the steam engine, and the cotton gin all rolled into one, a revolutionary invention that would topple the old ways.

Shortly after its introduction, the Toothbrush was adopted by Hans Koeppen, a Prussian military lieutenant who was something of folk hero, and exploded into German culture. There are conflicting theories as to whether Hitler grew one then to latch onto the trend, or if he trimmed down his Kaiser during the World War I because it didn't fit under the gas mask he had to wear in the trenches. Either way, by the time he took lead of the Nazi Party, Hitler had grown attached to the Toothbrush and when one of his underlings advised he grow it out "at least to the end of the lips," he responded, "If it is not the fashion now, it will be later because I wear it."

Of course, the best laid plans of mustaches and men often go awry. After WWII, the toothbrush was taboo, a hairy scarlet letter, the stylistic equivalent of shouting anti-Semitic slurs in a crowded theater. Today, the mustache belongs to Chaplin and Hitler alone. To grow it to emulate the former, though, still incites all the rage and hatred the world shares for the latter. Hitler was certainly not the only one to wear the noble little hair square, but he made the mustache, burned it into our collective consciousness, and forever ruined it for the rest of us.

2. Ambrose Burnsides and the Sideburns

Ambrose Everett Burnside wore many hats, but only one style of facial hair. He was Union Army general in the American Civil War, leading successful campaigns in North Carolina and East Tennessee. He was a businessman, serving as president of the Cincinnati and Martinsville Railroad, the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad, and the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. He was Governor of Rhode Island for three terms and a Senator for two. He was the first president of the National Rifle Association.
Despite all this though, many of us only remember one thing about him: sideburns are named after him.

With Burnsides, the man and the hair (yes, technically it's not a mustache, so sue me) are so intertwined that it's hard to tell where one ends and one begins. Burnsides' sideburns are untouchable, the archetypal chops from which sprang everyone from Elvis to Luke Perry. He defined the style (the exact configuration of hair he wore, basically a full beard with a clean-shaven chin, is now known as friendly mutton chops), and, in turn, it defined him. Burnsides, you see, wasn't all that great at all the jobs he held. He was a mediocre businessman, did nothing of note in political office and despite some success on the battlefield, he was disliked by Abraham Lincoln and hated by the rest of the military brass. Those wonderful whiskers saved his legacy, though. Every man (and, unfortunately, woman) who lets a patch of hair grow in front of their ears owes him a great debt and the world will always remember him for at least one thing.

3. Fu Manchu and the"¦oh, you know

The evil genius Fu Manchu: antagonist for a series of novels and films; one of the earliest examples of the super villain; namesake of the upside-down hair horseshoe we know as the Fu Manchu mustache.

Today, we associate the mustache we two types of people: movie characters that are gross stereotypes of Asians, and guys from "˜70s rock bands (or contemporary bands that ape "˜70s rock bands). Whenever we see a member either group, we know the mustache and we know the man, even if we've never actually seen or read anything featuring him. The mustache is Fu Manchu for many people.

Here's the kicker though, Fu Manchu didn't have a mustache. In his first appearance, in the novel The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu, he was described as "tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan." That sounds like the Fu we know, but when the hero gets his first look at the good doctor later on, he says, "I looked up to his face "“ his wicked, hairless face."

Wait, what?

Turns out that Warner Oland, the first actor to portray Dr. Fu Manchu on film, had a mustache and kept it while he played the part (a la Cesar Romero in the Batman TV series). For the sake of continuity, Boris Karloff wore a fake mustache when he took the part. Fans dug it and the "˜stache became iconic. So, novelist Sax Rohmer's most famous character became forever known for something his creator never intended "“ a mustache that has become a cultural force in its own right.

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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