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Vanity Plates: Annoying but Funny

There was a car parked in front of my house the other day sporting a vanity plate that read "IL SUE U" (pictured). And I thought, "wow, that guy must be a jerk." Which got me wondering, who would want a license plate like that -- that would almost force people to make (often negative) assumptions about you without even meeting you? Why would you want to telegraph, via the bumper of your car, that you're litigious and greedy? (Note to guy: please don't sue me.)

Then again, depending on what's on the plate, I suppose it's kind of like wearing a silly tee-shirt; it all depends on what you want to telegraph about yourself. (In the case of our mental_floss shirts, you're telegraphing how cool and smart you are.) So I got my Google on, and found out just how outrageous vanity license plates can be. More than anything, it made me wonder who's approving these things -- some are NSFW!

Nerdy Plates
Normal drives won't know what these plates mean, but other nerds will -- as if they needed a secret language on the road. For instance:
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I suppose this Jag is pwned rather than rented.

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Nothing like a little Lovecraft Thing Without a Name reference on your bumper. Complete with ironic children's handprints.

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That's what I say to cops when they pull me over for speeding.

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This South Park reference wouldn't be nearly as funny if this also weren't a disabled tag.

Dirty Stuff
It's amazing to me that this stuff gets by the DMV. But if it's appropriate for our nation's highways, it's appropriate for this blog!

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I wonder if that's what the front tag says, too?

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Points for creativity.

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I could see this on a little sporty car. But a Lincoln in Florida? (What sassy youngster filled out Grandma's DMV form?)

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Probably just an Irish family name.

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TMI, sir. TMI.

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Looks like he got his way. Unless he's talking about another kind of ...

Randomness
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Vanity plates aren't free. What's the point here?

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The looks this person must get driving down the street. I love it. [Image courtesy of loudgazelle.]
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Always say please and thank-you.

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History
A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

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video
A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room
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The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.

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