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Photos: Our Readers And Their Famous Friends

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I asked for your best photos taken with celebrities and you did not disappoint. Here's a taste of what you guys sent us. We normally don't paginate our articles, but the number of photos in this post made that a necessity. So just click the little numbers to continue reading.

Update: If you have a picture you'd like to share, send it to Perhaps there will be a sequel.

Our readers have posed with the president (that's him with Jeff Winston of Grand Rapids, Michigan).


The former president (shown here with Jo Ann Graham & family).


The former vice president (shaking hands with Karen Elder).


The former candidate (with Paulo).


The former candidate's former rival (posing with Brea and Nathan).


The former candidate's former rival's lift ticket.


Another former candidate (with Creighton Lovelace).


And we even had someone send in a picture taken with Robert Kennedy. (Thanks, Patti Poole!)

But the submissions weren't all from the world of politics.


Two different people sent in this photo of Bob Saget. This either means that Madelyn Otcasek and Alyssa Lane are friends who both read mental_floss, which is cool, or this pic is near the top of a Google Image search for "random photo with celebrity."


Laura Gryder ran into Jay Leno at an In-N-Out Burger in Las Vegas.


And here's Laura with Mike Nelson and Kevin Murphy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame.


Mary Van Tyne with chef/author Anthony Bourdain.


Di Anderson with Bobby Flay.


Lauren Las, her volleyball teammates, and A.C. Slater.


And here's Lauren with former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

On the next page, a few mental_floss favorites...


Steven Silver (the young one) with Clyde W. Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto.


Tish Strandboge and John Cleese. ("He signed the cardboard part of a Hot Wheel package for me (all
I had, crazy I know). He had never heard of Hot Wheels, and we had a
sort of odd conversation about it.")


Valerie Ashanin Abshire sent in this pic of her husband with Alton Brown.



Swapna Gupta and Krista both sent in pics with Carl Kassell of Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me!


Sarah in CA, shown here with Josh Bernstein of Discovery Channel fame.


Adam Smith with astronomy's own Neil deGrasse Tyson, who happened to be on The Daily Show at the very moment I opened Adam's email. ("This year is the International Year of Astronomy. 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo first turning his telescope to the night skies and discovering amazing things (the moons of Jupiter, the phases of Venus, the rings of Saturn, and sunspots) that would change the world, how we see our world, and even how we see ourselves in the universe. I challenge you all at Mental Floss, in honor of this momentous year, to publish a couple of articles about astronomy.")


Kelly O'Brien and former Talk Soup host Aisha Tyler.


Jared Lynch with Bob Barker and his beauties.

We're not done yet...


Joe Meyer and Jeff Probst.


RosAnne and Dennis Rodman compared their piercings at the Venetian in Las Vegas.


Laura Thompson and Dwight Schrute.


Brian Martinez and Jerry Springer.


Jeff Brown and Stevie Nicks.


Allen Harrison of Scottsdale and Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top.


Tracie Karn and Lynyrd Skynyrd. ("I told them I had my kids raised, was ready for a new adventure and
asked if I could join the band. They got a kick out of that.")


Anna Bloom and Paul Schaffer.


Nora Hanlon and Ben Folds.


Allan Dranberg and the disgraced former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, hanging out at Dave & Busters.


Dave Marklinger and baseball's notorious hit king, Pete Rose.


Shelia Culbert, her daughter and original Beatle Pete Best. ("After meeting him, my daughter was telling everyone she knew that 'a Beatle called me cute.' Of course, being 9 at the time, her friends didn't know what the heck she was talking about and weren't impressed.")

One more page, and then we'll get to the winners.


Obama supporters Sean Quinn and Kal Penn.


Andrew Hu's kids with Jackie Chan.


Rebecca Lunny with Seth Rudetsky, from the Broadway channel on Sirius Satellite Radio.


Dawn Holmes' son, Sean, with Henry Kissinger.


Frank Page, his shirt and Trisha Yearwood ("this was taken in 2001 when i was trying to get a comic strip i was drawing "spare parts" off the ground. the comic strip didn't end up doing much for me other than leaving me with a few promotional t-shirts left over. after a trisha yearwood concert, i made my way backstage for a meet and greet. she was amazingly nice. i gave her one of my t-shirts. so, if she ever did wear it, at some point in my life, my head was on trisha yearwood's chest.")


Stuart Steene-Connolly and Kevin Smith.


Tyler Mann and Rob Schneider.


Skye C. Reiner and Kenny G.


Jessica Fickey and Vanilla Ice. ("I said, 'Vanilla, can we get a picture?' Vanilla responded, 'Sure,' took my camera, and took a picture of only me and my friends "“ he honestly thought I wanted him to just take a picture of our group. I then clarified that I wanted HIM in the picture as well, and we re-took it with everyone in it.")


Chris Mackeprang and Matthew Lesko.

Drumroll, please...

Before I announce the winner, let me bestow 1st Runner-Up status on Karen Garrett, who brought the volume with three super celebrity photos:


Jack Donaghy/the guy from Glengarry Glen Ross...


...Barry Zuckercorn/The Fonz...


...and Stan Lee! For her effort, Karen has earned the mental_floss t-shirt of her choosing.

But since I have to pick one big winner to receive a copy of FBI 100 Years: An Unofficial History, I choose Michael Geier, who sent in a picture of himself with Mr. Rogers.


I was walking down the street to work one day when I looked up and noticed a man wearing a bow tie. It's not something I normally see everyday, so it caught my attention. I looked at the man's face and realized, I know that man. He came closer and in a mix of surprise and complete expectation, I said "Hi, Mr. Rogers." I don't remember how he greeted me other than to say he was just as you'd expect: perfectly kind and welcoming. I remembered I had a camera in my bag and asked him if I could get a picture. I got someone to take the picture, Mr. Rogers put his arm around me and then told me that he hoped the picture turned out.

If you have a picture you'd like to share, send it to Perhaps there will be a sequel.

See Also...

Our Readers Are Nerds! (We Have Proof)
15 Reasons Mr. Rogers Was The Best Neighbor Ever
4 Terrifying Theories in Astronomy




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Michael Campanella/Getty Images
10 Memorable Neil deGrasse Tyson Quotes
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Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson is America's preeminent badass astrophysicist. He's a passionate advocate for science, NASA, and education. He's also well-known for a little incident involving Pluto. And the man holds nearly 20 honorary doctorates (in addition to his real one). In honor of his 59th birthday, here are 10 of our favorite Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes.


"The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."
—From Real Time with Bill Maher.


"As a fraction of your tax dollar today, what is the total cost of all spaceborne telescopes, planetary probes, the rovers on Mars, the International Space Station, the space shuttle, telescopes yet to orbit, and missions yet to fly?' Answer: one-half of one percent of each tax dollar. Half a penny. I’d prefer it were more: perhaps two cents on the dollar. Even during the storied Apollo era, peak NASA spending amounted to little more than four cents on the tax dollar." 
—From Space Chronicles


"Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes ... The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms."
—From Death by Black Hole


"Countless women are alive today because of ideas stimulated by a design flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope." (Editor's note: technology used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope's optical problems led to improved technology for breast cancer detection.)
—From Space Chronicles



"I knew Pluto was popular among elementary schoolkids, but I had no idea they would mobilize into a 'Save Pluto' campaign. I now have a drawer full of hate letters from hundreds of elementary schoolchildren (with supportive cover letters from their science teachers) pleading with me to reverse my stance on Pluto. The file includes a photograph of the entire third grade of a school posing on their front steps and holding up a banner proclaiming, 'Dr. Tyson—Pluto is a Planet!'"
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


"In [Titanic], the stars above the ship bear no correspondence to any constellations in a real sky. Worse yet, while the heroine bobs ... we are treated to her view of this Hollywood sky—one where the stars on the right half of the scene trace the mirror image of the stars in the left half. How lazy can you get?"
—From Death by Black Hole


"On Friday the 13th, April 2029, an asteroid large enough to fill the Rose Bowl as though it were an egg cup will fly so close to Earth that it will dip below the altitude of our communication satellites. We did not name this asteroid Bambi. Instead, we named it Apophis, after the Egyptian god of darkness and death."
—From Space Chronicles


"[L]et us not fool ourselves into thinking we went to the Moon because we are pioneers, or discoverers, or adventurers. We went to the Moon because it was the militaristically expedient thing to do."
—From The Sky Is Not the Limit


Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:
Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life.
Read more at:

"Perhaps we've never been visited by aliens because they have looked upon Earth and decided there's no sign of intelligent life."


A still from Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Universal Studios
"[I]f an alien lands on your front lawn and extends an appendage as a gesture of greeting, before you get friendly, toss it an eightball. If the appendage explodes, then the alien was probably made of antimatter. If not, then you can proceed to take it to your leader."
—From Death by Black Hole
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40 Fun Facts About Sesame Street
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Now in its 47th season, Sesame Street is one of television's most iconic programs—and it's not just for kids. We're big fans of the Street, and to prove it, here are some of our favorite Sesame facts from previous stories and our Amazing Fact Generator.

Sesame Workshop

1. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before season two.

2. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

3. During a 2004 episode, Cookie Monster said that before he started eating cookies, his name was Sid.

4. In 1980, C-3PO and R2-D2 visited Sesame Street. They played games, sang songs, and R2-D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.

5. Mr. Snuffleupagus has a first name—Aloysius

6. Ralph Nader stopped by in 1988 and sang "a consumer advocate is a person in your neighborhood."

7. Caroll Spinney said he based Oscar's voice on a cab driver from the Bronx who brought him to the audition.

8. In 1970, Ernie reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the timeless hit "Rubber Duckie."

9. One of Count von Count's lady friends is Countess von Backwards, who's also obsessed with counting but likes to do it backwards.

10. Sesame Street made its Afghanistan debut in 2011 with Baghch-e-Simsim (Sesame Garden). Big Bird, Grover and Elmo are involved.

11. According to Muppet Wiki, Oscar the Grouch and Count von Count were minimized on Baghch-e-Simsim "due to cultural taboos against trash and vampirism."

12. Before Giancarlo Esposito was Breaking Bad's super intense Gus Fring, he played Big Bird's camp counselor Mickey in 1982.

13. Thankfully, those episodes are available on YouTube.

14. How big is Big Bird? 8'2". (Pictured with First Lady Pat Nixon.)

15. In 2002, the South African version (Takalani Sesame) added an HIV-positive Muppet named Kami.

16. Six Republicans on the House Commerce Committee wrote a letter to PBS president Pat Mitchell warning that Kami was not appropriate for American children, and reminded Mitchell that their committee controlled PBS' funding.

17. Sesame Street's resident game show host Guy Smiley was using a pseudonym. His real name was Bernie Liederkrantz.

18. Bert and Ernie have been getting questioned about their sexuality for years. Ernie himself, as performed by Steve Whitmere, has weighed in: “All that stuff about me and Bert? It’s not true. We’re both very happy, but we’re not gay,”

19. A few years later, Bert (as performed by Eric Jacobson) answered the same question by saying, “No, no. In fact, sometimes we are not even friends; he can be a pain in the neck.”

20. In the first season, both Superman and Batman appeared in short cartoons produced by Filmation. In one clip, Batman told Bert and Ernie to stop arguing and take turns choosing what’s on TV.

21. In another segment, Superman battled a giant chimp.

22. Telly was originally "Television Monster," a TV-obsessed Muppet whose eyes whirled around as he watched.

23. According to Sesame Workshop, Elmo is the only non-human to testify before Congress.

24. He lobbied for more funding for music education, so that "when Elmo goes to school, there will be the instruments to play."

25. In the early 1990s, soon after Jim Henson’s passing, a rumor circulated that Ernie would be killed off in order to teach children about death, as they'd done with Mr. Hooper.

26. According to Snopes, the rumor may have spread thanks to New Hampshire college student, Michael Tabor, who convinced his graduating class to wear “Save Ernie” beanies and sign a petition to persuade Sesame Workshop to let Ernie live.

27. By the time Tabor was corrected, the newspapers had already picked up the story.

28. Sesame Street’s Executive Producer Carol-Lynn Parente joined Sesame Workshop as a production assistant and has worked her way to the top.

29. Originally, Count von Count was more sinister. He could hypnotize and stun people.

30. According to Sesame Workshop, all Sesame Street's main Muppets have four fingers except Cookie Monster, who has five.

31. The episode with Mr. Hooper's funeral aired on Thanksgiving Day in 1983. That date was chosen because families were more likely to be together at that time, in case kids had questions or needed emotional support.

32. Mr. Hooper’s first name was Harold.

33. Big Bird sang "Bein' Green" at Jim Henson's memorial service.

34. As Chris Higgins put it, the performance was "devastating."

35. Oscar's Israeli counterpart is Moishe Oofnik, whose last name means “grouch” in Hebrew.

36. Nigeria's version of Cookie Monster eats yams. His catchphrase: "ME WANT YAM!"

37. Sesame's Roosevelt Franklin ran a school, where he spoke in scat and taught about Africa. Some parents hated him, so in 1975 he got the boot, only to inspire Gob Bluth’s racist puppet Franklin on Arrested Development 28 years later.

38. Our good friend and contributor Eddie Deezen was the voice of Donnie Dodo in the 1985 classic Follow That Bird.

39. Cookie Monster evolved from The Wheel-Stealer—a snack-pilfering puppet Jim Henson created to promote Wheels, Crowns and Flutes in the 1960s.

40. This puppet later was seen eating a computer in an IBM training film and on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Thanks to Stacy Conradt, Joe Hennes, Drew Toal, and Chris Higgins for their previous Sesame coverage!

An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.


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