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12 Simpsons Easter Eggs You Might Have Missed

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Even Simpsons obsessives who watch each episode repeatedly might not know everything about the beloved animated series. Here are 12 hidden gems from Springfield.

1. There's a Full, Hidden McBain Movie

Throughout the series, intermittent clips of action star Rainier Wolfcastle's character McBain pop up when the Simpsons are watching TV. Turns out, these clips can be pieced together to form an entire McBain movie with a structured narrative. Check it out above.

2. Principal Skinner is Jean Valjean from Les Miserables

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Here's a highbrow Simpsons theory: In an episode from season five, Principal Skinner reveals that his POW number in Vietnam was 24601, the same number as Les Miserables character Jean Valjean. Four years later in the season nine episode "The Principal and the Pauper," it is revealed that Skinner was a former criminal who stole another man's identity and became a respectable member of society, echoing Valjean's story.

3. Extremely Complex Math Jokes Are Hidden Throughout the Show

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The Simpsons is written by math whizzes, and they hide all sorts of complicated math jokes for eagle-eyed and egg-headed viewers, including a split-second moment in season ten's "The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace" when Homer (nearly) successfully disproves Fermat's last theorem.

4. In the Opening Credits, Maggie's Scanner Price Isn't Random

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In the original opening credits, when Maggie is swiped on the register, the till reads $847.63. This amount comes from a survey which said that $847.63 is the cost of raising a baby in America per month.

5. Holy Hands

God and Jesus are the only Simpsons characters to have five fingers on each hand. Everyone else has four (of course).

6. The reoccurring "A113"

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At various points in the series, "A113" has been used as the inmate/mugshot numbers for Krusty, Sideshow Bob, and Bart. The number itself is a reference to a room at the California Institute of the Arts and it has been used by many Cal Art alumni in other animated shows and Disney/Pixar movies.

See Also: 5 Real-Life Events Predicted by Simpsons Jokes

7. Professor Frink's Hidden Boast

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In the episode "Treehouse of Horror VI," Homer goes into a three-dimensional world. At one point, located behind him is a string of hexidecimal numbers: 46 72 69 6E 6B 20 72 75 6C 65 73 21. When converted to ASCII, these numbers read, "Frink rules!" in reference to Professor Frink.

8. Danny Elfman's Storefront

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The name of The Simpsons' theme song composer Danny Elfman is hidden on a storefront in the opening credits (as his theme begins to play).

9. Matt Groening Signs Homer

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Homer's hair and ear form an "M" and a "G," which is a reference to Simpsons' creator Matt Groening. The Simpsons make note of this in a season 16 episode.

10. Krusty the Clown and Homer Simpson Have Nearly Identical Character Models

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Ever notice that Homer looks like Krusty, sans makeup and hair? You are not alone. Dan Castellaneta (who voices both Krusty and Homer) said that they considered a plotline in which Krusty was going to use Homer as a disguise.

Also, some armchair psychiatrists theorize that Homer and Krusty's similarities are meant to be a central component of Bart's character. He doesn't respect Homer, but he idolizes a man who looks just like him. Deep.

11. Paul McCartney's Hidden Lentil Soup Recipe

In the season five episode "Lisa the Vegetarian," Paul McCartney says, "In fact, if you play ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ backwards, you’ll find a recipe for a ripping lentil soup.” The joke doesn't end there—if you play the version of "Maybe I'm Amazed" that's featured in the closing credits backwards, you can hear Paul quietly recite a recipe for lentil soup in the background.

12. The Simpsons' Secret Cameos

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Seasons two and three featured cameos from superstars Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson. But the men weren't credited for their appearances for contractual reasons. The Simpsons later referenced these incidents in a season four episode. In "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie," Lisa talks about the new Itchy & Scratchy movie saying, "It was the greatest movie I've ever seen in my life! And you wouldn't believe the celebrities who did cameos. Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson ... of course they didn't use their real names, but you could tell it was them."

Corrections: As commenters have correctly pointed out, an original version of this article had incorrect season numbers for "Stark Raving Dad," "Lisa's Substitute," and "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie." D'oh!

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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
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5 Things You Didn't Know About Sally Ride
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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

You know Sally Ride as the first American woman to travel into space. But here are five things you might not know about the astronaut, who passed away five years ago today—on July 23, 2012—at the age of 61.

1. SHE PROVED THERE IS SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION.

When Sally Ride made her first space flight in 1983, she was both the first American woman and the youngest American to make the journey to the final frontier. Both of those distinctions show just how qualified and devoted Ride was to her career, but they also opened her up to a slew of absurd questions from the media.

Journalist Michael Ryan recounted some of the sillier questions that had been posed to Ride in a June 1983 profile for People. Among the highlights:

Q: “Will the flight affect your reproductive organs?”
A: “There’s no evidence of that.”

Q: “Do you weep when things go wrong on the job?”
A: “How come nobody ever asks (a male fellow astronaut) those questions?"

Forget going into space; Ride’s most impressive achievement might have been maintaining her composure in the face of such offensive questions.

2. SHE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A TENNIS PRO.

When Ride was growing up near Los Angeles, she played more than a little tennis, and she was seriously good at it. She was a nationally ranked juniors player, and by the time she turned 18 in 1969, she was ranked 18th in the whole country. Tennis legend Billie Jean King personally encouraged Ride to turn pro, but she went to Swarthmore instead before eventually transferring to Stanford to finish her undergrad work, a master’s, and a PhD in physics.

King didn’t forget about the young tennis prodigy she had encouraged, though. In 1984 an interviewer playfully asked the tennis star who she’d take to the moon with her, to which King replied, “Tom Selleck, my family, and Sally Ride to get us all back.”

3. HOME ECONOMICS WAS NOT HER BEST SUBJECT.

After retiring from space flight, Ride became a vocal advocate for math and science education, particularly for girls. In 2001 she founded Sally Ride Science, a San Diego-based company that creates fun and interesting opportunities for elementary and middle school students to learn about math and science.

Though Ride was an iconic female scientist who earned her doctorate in physics, just like so many other youngsters, she did hit some academic road bumps when she was growing up. In a 2006 interview with USA Today, Ride revealed her weakest subject in school: a seventh-grade home economics class that all girls had to take. As Ride put it, "Can you imagine having to cook and eat tuna casserole at 8 a.m.?"

4. SHE HAD A STRONG TIE TO THE CHALLENGER.

Ride’s two space flights were aboard the doomed shuttle Challenger, and she was eight months deep into her training program for a third flight aboard the shuttle when it tragically exploded in 1986. Ride learned of that disaster at the worst possible time: she was on a plane when the pilot announced the news.

Ride later told AARP the Magazine that when she heard the midflight announcement, she got out her NASA badge and went to the cockpit so she could listen to radio reports about the fallen shuttle. The disaster meant that Ride wouldn’t make it back into space, but the personal toll was tough to swallow, too. Four of the lost members of Challenger’s crew had been in Ride’s astronaut training class.

5. SHE DIDN'T SELL OUT.

A 2003 profile in The New York Times called Ride one of the most famous women on Earth after her two space flights, and it was hard to argue with that statement. Ride could easily have cashed in on the slew of endorsements, movie deals, and ghostwritten book offers that came her way, but she passed on most opportunities to turn a quick buck.

Ride later made a few forays into publishing and endorsements, though. She wrote or co-wrote more than a half-dozen children’s books on scientific themes, including To Space and Back, and in 2009 she appeared in a print ad for Louis Vuitton. Even appearing in an ad wasn’t an effort to pad her bank account, though; the ad featured an Annie Leibovitz photo of Ride with fellow astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell gazing at the moon and stars. According to a spokesperson, all three astronauts donated a “significant portion” of their modeling fees to Al Gore’s Climate Project.

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5 Surprising Facts About the Battle of Dunkirk
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With the release of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dunkirk, the world’s attention is once again focused on the historic events recounted in the film, when a makeshift fleet of British fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and cargo ships helped save 185,000 British soldiers and 130,000 French soldiers from death or capture by German invaders during the Fall of France in May and June 1940. Here are five surprising facts about those heroic days.

1. THE GERMAN ATTACK WAS SUPPOSED TO BE IMPOSSIBLE.

By Weper Hermann, 13 German Mobile Assault Unit - Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

The main reason France collapsed so quickly in 1940 was the element of surprise enjoyed by its German attackers, thanks to General Erich von Manstein, who proposed an invasion route that was widely believed to be impossible. In Manstein’s plan, the main German column of tanks and motorized infantry would force their way through the forests of Ardennes in southeast Belgium and Luxembourg—a thick, hilly woodland which was supposed to be difficult terrain for tanks, requiring at least five days to cross, according to conventional wisdom based on the experience of the First World War. The French and British assumed that little had changed since the previous conflict, but thanks to field studies and updated maps, Manstein and his colleague General Heinz Guderian realized that a new network of narrow, paved roads would allow just enough room for tanks and trucks to squeeze through. As a result the Germans passed through Ardennes into northern France in just two-and-a-half days, threatening to cut off hundreds of thousands of Allied troops, with only one escape route: the sea.

2. ONE FRENCH WORD WAS BURNED INTO WINSTON CHURCHILL’S MEMORY: “AUCUNE.”

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The German invasion of France began on May 10, 1940, the same day Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. By May 14, when he paid his first official visit to Britain’s ally, Holland had capitulated and Paris was preparing for evacuation. But an even worse surprise was in store. In one of the most famous passages of military history, Churchill recounted the moment he learned that the French didn’t have any troops in reserve:

"I then asked ‘Where is the strategic reserve?’ and, breaking into French … ‘Ou est la mass de manoeuvre?’ General Gamelin turned to me and, with a shake of the head and a shrug, replied. ‘Aucune.’ [There is none] … I was dumbfounded. What were we to think of the Great French Army and its highest chief? It had never occurred to me than any commanders … would have left themselves unprovided with a mass of manoeuvre … This was one of the greatest surprises I have had in my life.”

3. HITLER MADE A FATAL MISTAKE.

On May 24, 1940, the Allied troops on the French and Belgian coast had been totally surrounded by powerful German tank columns, rendering them essentially defenseless against the impending German onslaught. And then came a brief reprieve, as the attackers suddenly stopped for 48 hours, allowing the British to dig in and create a defensive perimeter, setting the stage for the evacuation.

For reasons that still aren’t clear, Hitler—over the protests of his own generals and to the bafflement of historians—had ordered Guderian to halt for two days to rest and resupply. It’s true the German troops were worn out after two weeks of fighting, and Hitler may have worried about a repeat of 1914, when exhausted German troops were forced to withdraw at the Marne. He may also have been swayed by Hermann Göring, chief of the German Luftwaffe, who boasted that air power alone could destroy the helpless Allied forces at Dunkirk. Less likely is the speculation that Hitler purposefully “let the Allies go” to appear magnanimous or merciful as a prelude to peace negotiations (which was not really in keeping with his character). In the end we will probably never know why Hitler choked.

4. GERMAN DIVE-BOMBERS WERE EQUIPPED WITH SIRENS TO SPREAD TERROR.

Among many examples of Germany’s evil genius for psychological warfare, one of the most famous was the decision to equip its Ju 87 dive bombers with air-powered sirens that emitted a shrieking, unearthly wail as the plane went into attack. The siren, known as the “Jericho Trumpet,” was intended to spread terror among enemy troops and civilians on the ground—and it worked. To this day the Jericho Trumpet is one of the most recognizable, and terrifying, sounds of war. It was certainly one of the lasting impressions of the Dunkirk evacuation for ordinary troops caught beneath the German bombs. Lieutenant Elliman, a British gunner who was waiting to be evacuated on Malo-les-Bains beach, later recalled the Stukas “diving, zooming, screeching, and wheeling over our heads like a flock of huge infernal seagulls.”

5. THE FRENCH FOUGHT A HOPELESS BATTLE TO COVER THE EVACUATION.

By Saidman (Mr), War Office official photographer — Photograph H 1636 from the Imperial War Museums, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Although Churchill and other Brits were quick to criticize the failure of France’s generals during the Fall of France, many ordinary French soldiers and officers fought bravely and honorably—and one hopeless “last stand” in particular probably helped enable the successful evacuation of Dunkirk.

As British and French troops withdrew to Dunkirk, 40 miles to the southeast French troops in two corps of the French First Army staged a ferocious defense against seven German divisions from May 28 to May 31, 1940, refusing to surrender and mounting several attempts to break out despite being heavily outnumbered (110,000 to 40,000). The valiant French effort, led by General Jean-Baptiste Molinié, helped tie up three German tank divisions under Erwin Rommel, enabling the British Expeditionary Force and the remaining troops of the French First Army to retreat and dig in at Dunkirk, ultimately saving another 100,000 Allied troops.

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