11 Outrageously Obscure 'West Wing' Characters Who Resurfaced on Twitter

There are some seriously addicted West Wing fans out there, and they’ve taken their fandom to a whole new level: they’re tweeting as characters from the show.

This has been widely reported, and you can follow all of them. And we mean all of them. From the main crew (President Bartlet, Josh, Donna, Leo, Toby, Sam, Danny, CJ, Charlie, Mrs. Landingham), to favorite recurring characters (Amy Gardner, Joey Lucas, Ainsley Hayes, Andrea Wyatt, John Hoynes, Lord John Marbury, Nancy McNally, President Santos, Arnold Vinick, Ellie Bartlet, Simon Donovan, Ginger, Ed and Larry, Mallory, Debbie Fiderer, Bruno Gianelli, Ron Butterfield, Fitzwallace, Cliff Calley, and nearly every journalist to set foot in CJ’s White House Press Room), to some who are slightly more obscure (Elsie Snuffin, Commander Jack Reese, Lou Thornton, Gina Toscano, Albie Duncan, Senator Stackhouse, and Joe Quincy).

But, of course, mental_floss isn’t content with “slightly more obscure,” so we hunted down the most outrageously obscure West Wing Twitter accounts we could find. We were disheartened to discover that no one is currently tweeting as Huck Ziegler, Morton Horn, or Pluie the wolf (though there is this), but there are plenty of accounts out there to please even the most obsessive of fans.

Do you have the kind of passion for fictional governmental policy to follow these folks?

1. @BernardThatch

On the Show: The snooty guy with the British accent who was always making fun of CJ’s taste in accessories. Also the guru in charge of all gifts given to The White House, including that cat statue CJ broke and the Taiwanese flag that caused such a ruckus.

Recent Tweet: “@CJCreggConcanon I've simply not worked up the necessary enthusiasm. But now that you mention it, are you committed to that hairstyle?”

2. @BarryHaskell

On the Show: This is the guy who was invited to the White House because he represented the swing vote on campaign finance reform that Leo and President Bartlet needed to float a ban on soft money contributions. He was fully aware that the president was using the “trappings of the White House” to intimidate him. He really did just want a glass of fruit juice

Recent Tweet: “The idea of someone needing to raise $1Billion to be elected president is a disgrace. #letsregulate”

3. @ChairmanFarad

On the Show: He was the one that invited himself to the summit at Camp David.

Recent Tweet: “I would bet (10 shekels) that most Israelis r equally appalled by Newt’s world view.”

4. @Sen_Gillette

On the Show: Threatens to run against President Bartlet after he uses the State of the Union to announce a bipartisan commission to study the future of entitlement programs.

Recent Tweet: “@VPEricBaker AND SO I WILL Look, anyone who doesn't support the 99% should be thrown out of this country on his ear. And you can quote me.”

5. @VictorCampos01

On the Show: Has an army of California volunteers (and, in theory, Latino voters) at his disposal and gets kind of whiny when the White House doesn’t bend to his will in Seasons 3 and 7.

Recent Tweet: "@ElsieSnuffin @GlenAllenWalken @DonnaMossDaily Am I so obscure that nobody knows who I am? I know Sam .... supposedly." [And...now this account seems to have been deleted.]

6. @Col_Weiskopf

On the Show: The badass guy who flies Air Force One and generally just shows up once or twice a season to look really in-control and smooth.

Recent Tweet: @MCoatsworthHay They're supposed to have a remote destruction system. Not sure what happened there.

7. @WhiteHouseBird

On the Show: This is the bird that was annoying Donna by pecking on Josh’s office window. “Stop it! You’re going to hurt your beak.”

Recent Tweet: "Watching wrinkled people in penguin suits on Josh's tv #nobelprize"

8. @DrAlexMoreau

On the Show: She was the hot Assistant NASA Administrator that takes Josh out into the country to look at the stars and then gives him a crazy expensive telescope.

Only Tweet: “@TobyZiegler did you need something? #MarsOrBustLives"

9. @MCoatsworthHay

On the Show: She's the old woman who cracked CJ up by saying "I'm Marion Coatsworth Hay."

Recent Tweet: “MTV Real World star @Duffy4Congress breaks tax extension impasse. Next, Snooki saves the Eurozone!" (OK, Marion is not really tweeting in character. But it's funny to read the tweets in her voice.)

10. @KennySigns

On the Show: He said what Joey Lucas was thinking.

Tweet That Transitions Into #11: "Whenever I was at the White House. I was always excited to check in on @GailTheThird"

11. @GailTheThird

On the Show: CJ’s pet fish, given to her by Danny Concannon because he mistakenly thought that’s what Josh meant when he said, “She likes goldfish.” She actually likes the cheese crackers.

Recent Tweet: “~~~~~~ > |*THUNK*| #classicgail”

Afternoon Map
From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock
The Body
10 Facts About the Appendix
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock
Illustration by Mental Floss / Images: iStock

Despite some 500 years of study, the appendix might be one of the least understood structures in the human body. Here's what we know about this mysterious organ.


The human appendix is small, tube-shaped, and squishy, giving ancient Egyptians, who encountered it when preparing bodies for funerary rites, the impression of a worm. Even today, some medical texts refer to the organ as vermiform—Latin for "worm-like."


The earliest description of a human appendix was written by the Renaissance physician-anatomist Jacopo Berengario da Carpi in 1521. But before that, Leonardo da Vinci is believed to drawn the first depiction of the organ in his anatomical drawings in 1492. Leonardo claimed to have dissected 30 human corpses in his effort to understand the way the body worked from mechanical and physiological perspectives.


The appendix is a small pouch connected to the cecum—the beginning of the large intestine in the lower right-hand corner of your abdomen. The cecum’s job is to receive undigested food from the small intestine, absorb fluids and salts that remain after food is digested, and mix them with mucus for easier elimination; according to Mohamad Abouzeid, M.D., assistant professor and attending surgeon at NYU Langone Medical Center, the cecum and appendix have similar tissue structures.


The appendix has an ill-deserved reputation as a vestigial organ—meaning that it allegedly evolved without a detectable function—and we can blame Charles Darwin for that. In the mid-19th century, the appendix had been identified only in humans and great apes. Darwin thought that our earlier ancestors ate mostly plants, and thus needed a large cecum in which to break down the tough fibers. He hypothesized that over time, apes and humans evolved to eat a more varied and easier-to-digest diet, and the cecum shrank accordingly. The appendix itself, Darwin believed, emerged from the folds of the wizened cecum without its own special purpose.


The proximity and tissue similarities between the cecum and appendix suggest that the latter plays a part in the digestive process. But there’s one noticeable difference in the appendix that you can see only under a microscope. “[The appendix] has a high concentration of the immune cells within its walls,” Abouzeid tells Mental Floss.

Recent research into the appendix's connection to the immune system has suggested a few theories. In a 2015 study in Nature Immunology, Australian researchers discovered that a type of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) proliferate in the appendix and seem to encourage the repopulation of symbiotic bacteria in the gut. This action may help the gut recover from infections, which tend to wipe out fluids, nutrients, and good bacteria.

For a 2013 study examining the evolutionary rationale for the appendix in mammal species, researchers at Midwestern University and Duke University Medical Center concluded that the organ evolved at least 32 times among different lineages, but not in response to dietary or environmental factors.

The same researchers analyzed 533 mammal species for a 2017 study and found that those with appendices had more lymphatic (immune) tissue in the cecum. That suggests that the nearby appendix could serve as "a secondary immune organ," the researchers said in a statement. "Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a 'safe house' for helpful gut bacteria." This good bacteria may help to replenish healthy flora in the gut after infection or illness.


For such a tiny organ, the appendix gets infected easily. According to Abouzeid, appendicitis occurs when the appendix gets plugged by hardened feces (called a fecalith or appendicolith), too much mucus, or the buildup of immune cells after a viral or bacterial infection. In the United States, the lifetime risk of getting appendicitis is one in 15, and incidence in newly developed countries is rising. It's most common in young adults, and most dangerous in the elderly.

When infected, the appendix swells up as pus fills its interior cavity. It can grow several times larger than its average 3-inch size: One inflamed appendix removed from a British man in 2004 measured just over 8 inches, while another specimen, reported in 2007 in the Journal of Clinical Pathology, measured 8.6 inches. People with appendicitis might feel generalized pain around the bellybutton that localizes on the right side of the abdomen, and experience nausea or vomiting, fever, or body aches. Some people also get diarrhea.


Treatment for appendicitis can go two ways: appendectomy, a.k.a. surgical removal of the appendix, or a first line of antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. Appendectomies are more than 99 percent effective against recurring infection, since the organ itself is removed. (There have been cases of "stump appendicitis," where an incompletely removed appendix becomes infected, which often require further surgery.)

Studies show that antibiotics produce about a 72 percent initial success rate. “However, if you follow these patients out for about a year, they often get recurrent appendicitis,” Abouzeid says. One 2017 study in the World Journal of Surgery followed 710 appendicitis patients for a year after antibiotic treatment and found a 26.5 percent recurrence rate for subsequent infections.


You might imagine a ruptured appendix, known formally as a perforation, being akin to the "chestbuster" scene in Alien. Abouzeid says it's not quite that dramatic, though it can be dangerous. When the appendix gets clogged, pressure builds inside the cavity of the appendix, called the lumen. That chokes off blood supply to certain tissues. “The tissue dies off and falls apart, and you get perforation,” Abouzeid says. But rather than exploding, the organ leaks fluids that can infect other tissues.

A burst appendix is a medical emergency. Sometimes the body can contain the infection in an abscess, Abouzeid says, which may be identified through CT scans or X-rays and treated with IV antibiotics. But if the infection is left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the abdomen, a serious condition called peritonitis. At that point, the infection can become life-threatening.


In 1894, Charles McBurney, a surgeon at New York's Roosevelt Hospital, popularized an open-cavity, muscle-splitting technique [PDF] to remove an infected appendix, which is now called an open appendectomy. Surgeons continued to use McBurney's method until the advent of laparoscopic surgery, a less invasive method in which the doctor makes small cuts in the patient's abdomen and threads a thin tube with a camera and surgical tools into the incisions. The appendix is removed through one of those incisions, which are usually less than an inch in length.

The first laparoscopic appendectomies were performed by German physician Kurt Semm in the early 1980s. Since then, laparoscopic appendectomies have become the standard treatment for uncomplicated appendicitis. For more serious infections, open appendectomies are still performed.


When the future King Edward VII of Great Britain came down with appendicitis (or "perityphlitis," as it was called back then) in June 1902, mortality rates for the disease were as high as 26 percent. It was about two weeks before his scheduled coronation on June 26, 1902, and Edward resisted having an appendectomy, which was then a relatively new procedure. But surgeon and appendicitis expert Frederick Treves made clear that Edward would probably die without it. Treves drained Edward's infected abscess, without removing the organ, at Buckingham Palace; Edward recovered and was crowned on August 9, 1902.


On August 26, 2006, during an autopsy at a Zagreb, Croatia hospital, surgeons obtained a 10.24-inch appendix from 72-year-old Safranco August. The deceased currently holds the Guinness World Record for "largest appendix removed."


More from mental floss studios