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11 Embarrassing Incidents Caused By Mascots

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This week the Chicago Cubs unveiled a new mascot, Clark. While the Cubs described him as "a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans," the Internet focused on his lack of pants. But give Clark a break! Unlike these mascots, he hasn't done anything to embarrass the franchise.

1. The Phillie Phanatic’s Infamous Phist Phight

In 1988, the famed Phillie Phanatic dragged out a dummy clad in a blue jersey with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda’s name printed on the back and started thrashing it about before a raucous crowd. The irate manager responded by leaping onto the field, snatching the doll, and slugging the noodle-nosed beastie. You can read Lasorda’s account here.

2. Harvey’s Loose Tongue

Lasorda wasn’t the only coach to lash out at an opposing mascot. When Craig MacTavish of the Edmonton Oilers grew weary of Calgary Flames mascot Harvey the Hound and his derisive antics, he resorted to ripping out the brash canine’s dangling tongue and throwing it into the stands, to the stunned amusement of nearby fans.

3. Billy the Marlin Injures Fan With T-Shirt Gun

Maude Flanders isn't the only one to learn the dangers of pressurized T-Shirt gun abuse. In 2000, Billy the Marlin of Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins decided to give away some free garments by firing them into the crowd... only to knock an elderly man unconscious when a high-speed tee struck the side of his head. Billy was subsequently found “not liable” in an ensuing lawsuit. 

4. The Sad Life of an “Anti-Mascot”

In 1984, the San Francisco Giants introduced “Crazy Crab,” a sorry-looking crustacean mascot the crowd was supposed to boo. Team manager Frank Robinson set up the gag with a TV spot in which he had to be restrained from punching out the crab. However, the fanbase, embittered by a 92-loss season, didn't seem to get the joke and began pelting the unfortunate invertebrate with a barrage of bottles and batteries at every home game. The situation eventually got so bad that the Crab's shell was reenforced with fiberglass to prevent serious injury. “Crazy” was retired at the season's end, but made a re-appearance in 2008: Predictably, he was booed.

5. Barney Sues the San Diego Chicken

“I Love You, You Love Me” is a song that evidently doesn’t extend to one Ted Giannoulas, creator of the iconic “San Diego Chicken” (now called simply “The Famous Chicken”). The beaked thespian ruffled some feathers in the mid-nineties after debuting a new routine which involved dancing off with and eventually tackling a Barney look-alike:

The purple dinosaur's creators sued for copyright infringement, but lost the ensuing case after a lengthy struggle. Adding insult to injury, Giannoulas called the ruling “Super-Dee-Dooper!”

6. Sebastian the Ibis’ Near-Incarceration

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“The key phrase in this situation is that I was ‘detained’.  I was never arrested,” says John Routh, who portrayed Sebastian, the University of Miami’s beloved avian cheerleader, from 1985 to 1992—a gig which once got him in trouble with the law as discussed in this clip.

7. Fowl Play

Memo to all prospective mascots: Never tick off the Oregon Duck. In a 2007 match-up against Oregon, the University of Houston's Shasta—a bipedal, jersey-wearing cougar—decided to drop down and show off some pushups after her team scored a touchdown. It was a move that both mascots had been showing off for years, but which the pugnacious waterfowl mistook for an act of copyright infringement. The result? A fist fight and a one-game suspension for the web-footed perpetrator.

8. Fan Gets Creamed

When it comes to botched birthdays, the NBA’s Jazz Bear takes the cake. In 2012, the apparently-nearsighted ursid helped the Utah Jazz honor season ticket-holder Luke Larson’s special day with a commemorative cake … only to drop it thirty feet onto the heads of some unsuspecting fans below.

9. Live Hawk Delays Playoff Game

A 2009 postseason rivalry matchup between the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks was delayed when a live hawk named “Spirit” (on loan from the local zoo) initially refused to return to his handler and instead perched menacingly atop the scoreboard before eventually coming down, spooking all-star Dwayne Wade in the process.

10. The Sooner Schooner Draws A Penalty

The Sooner Schooner, a horse-drawn carriage that heads onto the field after every University of Oklahoma touchdown, may have helped cost the team an Orange Bowl championship in 1985 when it got stuck in the turf in front of the opposing team's bench and netted the Sooners a 15-yard penalty at a critical moment in the fourth quarter. To see the Schooner functioning normally, check this out: 

11. Bird Beheading

To energize the team and fans, the St. Joseph University Hawk symbolizes the school's slogan, “The Hawk Will Never Die,” by ceaselessly flapping its wings during every major athletic event. Rhody the Ram of the University of Rhode Island decided to have a little fun with the concept by shoving an inner tube over the fluttering raptor, only to accidentally decapitate the hawk and spark a shoving match in the process. Skip to 0:42 to see the skirmish...

Portions of this post originally appeared last year.

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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