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The Quick 10: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Cindy McCain

Happy Election Day, everyone! I hope you voted! I went bright and early. Anyway, today we continue yesterday's post "“ some interesting (although I suppose that's subjective) facts about our potential First Ladies. Yesterday we featured Michelle Obama, today we learn more about Cindy McCain.

cindy1. She is into drifting and considers herself a "gearhead". Her dad took her to the Indy 500 when she was only 12, which is where she discovered her love of cars. In high school, she took a class in auto mechanics and went to drag races with friends. When she saw the drifting technique on T.V. several years ago, she traveled to Japan with her son to take drifting lessons with a top instructor. The two of them have even competed in races together, once even finishing in second place.

2. She got her pilot's license in 1986 and bought a small plane so she could fly her husband around Arizona during his Senate campaign.

3. She once spent two months writing notes on more than 4,000 Christmas cards to constituents.

4. She was the Junior Rodeo Queen of Arizona when she was 14 years old.

5. She was named the Best Dressed when she was a senior at Central High School in Phoenix.

6. During her addiction to the painkillers Percocet and Vicodin, she would take up to 20 pills a day. She has since opened up about her addiction and says she hopes her story will help others. "I don't want anyone to end up in the shoes I did," she has said.

7. Along with the Bush twins, Laura Bush and Lynne Cheney, she is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Joe Biden's first wife was also a Theta.

8. She wrote her thesis on dance therapy.

9. When she visited Vietnam and brought a team to do neurosurgery and orthopedic work, she had a bizarre experience: she not only found herself in the exact hospital John McCain was brought to after being shot down, she found herself in the exact room. A doctor whispered to her that he had helped treat her husband during his time there.

10. During the election in 2000, George W. Bush supporters started spreading the rumor that Cindy and John McCain's adopted daughter, Bridget, was actually his illegitimate child. Upon hearing these rumors, Cindy swore she would never be involved with politics again and said, "You're on your own, John McCain!"

[See also: 10 Things You Didn't Know About Michelle Obama]

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Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
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Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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