CLOSE
Original image
Nick Offerman's Twitter Account

17 Things We Learned from Nick Offerman's Latest AMA

Original image
Nick Offerman's Twitter Account

The man otherwise known as Ron Swanson took to Reddit today to answer anything, often in his delightfully dirty way, in advance of the episode of Parks & Rec he's directing April 10. Here's what we learned about Offerman, his facial hair, and woodworking, among other things. (Beware: Some profanity below!)

1. The one thing he really doesn't like.

And that's feta cheese. Offerman does like other cheeses, though: "Gruyere, no reason necessary. Hard cheddars also set my motor to running. Estero Gold."

2. How his wife, Megan Mullally, feels about canoes.

"Her stance on canoes is, of course, seated," Offerman said. "One should not stand on canoes. She loves to paddle just like her dear old husband, and boy, howdy, does she look good doing it."

3. What 19th Century Figure he'd model his facial hair on.

It's the man for whom sideburns are named, "Union Army General Ambrose Burnside." Offerman also put in a link so you can check out the style for yourself.

4. The best advice he's ever been given.

It's a two-parter: "1) Find work that you love to do, and then find a way to get paid to do that work," Offerman said. "2) Always maintain the attitude of a student. If you think you've done learning, bitterness sets in, but if you have more to achieve every day, in any arena, that makes each morning's awakening full of potential and cheery portent."

5. There is no secret to his facial hair.

"I was lucky enough to have been born with some bracken-like whiskers," he said. "If you do not share that fortune, I suggest you cultivate an interesting hair coif or perhaps some pleasing accessories, like a driving cap." If that fails, "Sharpie makes some excellent moustache enhancing implements."

6. He has good advice for dealing with indecision.

"DON'T TREAD WATER FOR TOO LONG, LEST YOU CRAMP UP AND SINK," Offerman said. "Follow your gut, make a choice, and throw yourself into it. If you make a mistake, then you have merely afforded yourself a valuable lesson."

7. And pretty good advice for raising kids, too.

"I have not raised a child, but I believe the fact that you're asking questions and paying attention are very good signs," Offerman told one redditor who has a 4 week old baby. "Love your bairn, try to gently steer him/her towards handtools and away from CNC driven woodworking, which is basically robot craftsmanship. Make sure he/she knows to raise the grain before finish, especially in walnut. When the time is right, introduce charcoal/wood as the clear alternative to gas. Simply put: Give a shit."

8. His favorite adverb is...

"Verily."

9. Here's an Offerman-approved method for learning how to dance...

To learn how to dance, Offerman suggested the follwoing: "Ingest an adequate quantity of dance fuel (Snake Juice, where available, otherwise any potent hootch), close your eyes, and shake what Mother Nature gave you."

10. And how to get started in woodworking.

Do the following: "Read Fine Woodworking magazine, start small with a block plane and a chisel and a spokeshave. Matriculate." He also suggests "begin[ning] with some hand tools, chisel, saw, block plane. Learn to sharpen your steel and then see how it shapes the wood with such ease. Check out a set of Flexcut carving tools and just start building your fundamentals." And if you're just getting into woodworking and have never built a canoe—one of Offerman's specialties—"maybe try a breadbox first."

11. Offerman must really like Teddy Roosevelt.

He didn't explicity say so, but Offerman did quote the great man twice, offering "I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life" at a Redditor's request for a quote to put in an oak frame he planned to make, and "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed" to the Redditor asking for advice about conquering indecision.

12. What he thinks we should all appreciate.

It's the simple stuff: "With all of the visual distraction constantly inundating us in the form of our devices and screens, I really derive a great deal of pleasure from watching the sun rise and set, admiring clouds as they change shape across the sky, watching tree leaves and blossoms undulate in the breeze....these treats foment an ocular-cleansing refreshment to my way of thinking."

13. The funniest Parks & Rec Castmember is...

"Pratt, easy," Offerman said, when asked which makes the rest of them crack up the most. "Lots of mad talent in the ensemble, and Amy is in a league of her own, like the league of Tina and Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon, but Pratt has the wildcard flavor to make us all shit little green apples." But when asked who was hands-down the funniest, Offerman said, "that's a tough one," before elaborating,

Amy Poehler is our champion and leader, and I would have to say she is #1 Chris Pratt is a true comic genius so he's #1.1 Aziz makes anything he says ridiculously funny and Aubrey has a delightfully wicked flavor of evil mischief so they're maybe tied at #1.15 Adam Scott is not behind the folks previously mentioned, plus he wields a mighty sword as a straight man. He's in the #1.05 region. Retta shares Aziz's propensity for simply laying out deliciously crisp one-liners, so I'd rank her in the top 6 as well.... I think that's everybody.

14. He has a lot of favorite books.

"I love a series of books that perpetually fleshes out a world," Offerman said, "like Wendell Berry's Fiction (start with The Memory of Old Jack or Nathan Coulter), The Lord of The Rings, Madeline L'engle's Wrinkle In Time series, The Horatio Hornblower series, Patrick O'Brien's 21-volume Aubrey/Maturin series, The Flashman Papers, The Sharpe series, Little House On The Prairie, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Martin Amis' Dead Babies and Time's Arrow, As I Lay Dying, Michael Pollan's entire catalogue, for a start."

15. He really loves beer.

So much that he won't pick a favorite. "Solemn Oath (Naperville, IL)," Offerman said, before continuing, "I love beer too much to choose...Guinness, Lagunitas, Sierra Torpedo, Negra Modelo, Old Rasputin, Anchor Steam, guinness, Sam Smith, Newcastle, Old Speckled Hen, Pliny Old and Young, Founders Breakfast Stout, Delirium Tremens, I could go on..."

16. And he's working on a new book we're dying to read.

"Writing my first book was incredibly gratifying," Offerman said, "and now I have begun book 2, which will be a list of Great Americans, with an eye towards exploring how we continue to evolve as a civilization through civil disobedience, muckraking, and rebellious thinking."

17. He's into knitting.

Sure, woodworking is his first love, but he's also into knitting, as he revealed when he was advising a Redditor on how to get into woodworking without a shop. "With a block plane and chisels and a spokeshave, you can make smaller items in any room of the house," Offerman said. "A small lathe is also a great choice for a variety of output/not a lot of space required. Knitting is also surprisingly fun and clean!"

Original image
Magnolia Pictures
arrow
Lists
8 Gonzo Facts About Hunter S. Thompson
Original image
Hunter S. Thompson in Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)
Magnolia Pictures

Like any real-life legend, there are many myths surrounding the life and work of Hunter S. Thompson. But in Thompson’s case, most of those stories—particularly the more outlandish ones—are absolutely true. The founder of the “Gonzo journalism” movement is one of the most fascinating figures of the 20th century. In celebration of what would have been his 80th birthday, here are some things you might not have known about the eccentric writer.

1. HE WAS NAMED AFTER A FAMOUS SCOTTISH SURGEON.

Hunter S. Thompson was reportedly named after one of his mother’s ancestors, a Scottish surgeon named Nigel John Hunter. But Hunter wasn't just your run-of-the-mill surgeon. In a 2004 interview with the Independent, Thompson brought along a copy of The Reluctant Surgeon, a Biography of Nigel John Hunter, a biography of his namesake, which read: "A gruff Scotsman, Hunter has been described as the most important naturalist between Aristotle and Darwin, the Shakespeare of medicine and the greatest man the British ever produced. He was the first to trace the lymphatic system. He performed the first human artificial insemination. He was the greatest collector of anatomical specimens in history. He prescribed the orthopaedic shoe that allowed Lord Byron to walk."

When pressed about what that description had to do with him, Thompson responded: "Well, I guess that might be the secret of my survival. Good genes."

2. HE MISSED HIS HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION … BECAUSE HE WAS IN JAIL.

Just a few weeks before he was set to graduate from high school, at the age of 17, Thompson was charged as an accessory to robbery and sentenced to 60 days in jail. 

“One night Ralston Steenrod, who was in the Athenaeum with Hunter, was driving, and Hunter and another guy he knew were in the car,” Thompson’s childhood friend Neville Blakemore recalled of the incident. “As they were driv­ing through Cherokee Park, the other guy said, ‘Stop. I want to bum a ciga­rette from that car.’ People used to go park and neck at this spot. And the guy got out and apparently went back and mugged them. The guy who was mugged got their license number and traced the car, and within a very short time they were all three arrested.

“Just before this Hunter had been blamed for a nighttime gas-station rob­bery,” Blakemore added, “and before that he and some friends got arrested for buying booze under­age at Abe's Liquor Store on Frankfort Avenue by the tracks. So Hunter had a record, and he was already on probation. He was given an ultimatum: jail or the military. And Hunter took the Air Force. He didn't graduate with his class.”

3. IT WAS A FELLOW JOURNALIST WHO COINED THE TERM “GONZO.”

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While covering the 1968 New Hampshire primary, Thompson met fellow writer and editor Bill Carodoso, editor of The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, which is where Thompson first heard him use the word “Gonzo.” “It meant sort of ‘crazy’ or ‘off-the-wall,’” Thompson said in Anita Thompson’s Ancient Gonzo Wisdom: Interviews with Hunter S. Thompson. Two years later, in June 1970, Thompson wrote an article for Scanlan’s Monthly entitled “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved,” which became a game-changing moment in journalism because of its offbeat, slightly manic style that was written with first-person subjectivity.

Among the many fellow journalists who praised Thompson for the piece was Cardoso, who sent a letter to Thompson that “said something like, ‘Forget all the sh*t you’ve been writing, this is it; this is pure Gonzo.’ Gonzo. Yeah, of course. That’s what I was doing all the time. Of course, I might be crazy.” Thompson ran with the word, and would use it himself for the first time a year later, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

4. HE TYPED OUT FAMOUS NOVELS TO LEARN THE ART OF WRITING.

In order to get the “feel” of being a writer, Thompson used to retype his favorite novels in full. “[H]is true model and hero was F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Louis Menand wrote in The New Yorker. “He used to type out pages from The Great Gatsby, just to get the feeling, he said, of what it was like to write that way, and Fitzgerald’s novel was continually on his mind while he was working on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was published, after a prolonged and agonizing compositional nightmare, in 1972.”

"If you type out somebody's work, you learn a lot about it,” Thompson told Charlie Rose in 1997. “Amazingly it's like music. And from typing out parts of Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald—these were writers that were very big in my life and the lives of the people around me—so yeah, I wanted to learn from the best I guess."

5. HE RAN FOR SHERIFF IN COLORADO.

In 1970, Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado on what he called the Freak Power ticket. Among his political tactics: shaving his head so that he could refer to his opponent as his “long-haired opponent,” promising to eat mescaline while on duty, and campaigning to rename Aspen “Fat City” to deter "greed heads, land-rapers, and other human jackals from capitalizing on the name 'Aspen.'" Unfortunately, he lost.

6. HE STOLE A MEMENTO FROM ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

In 1964, three years after Ernest Hemingway committed suicide at his cabin in Ketchum, Idaho, Thompson traveled to the late author’s home in order to write “What Lured Hemingway to Ketchum?” While there, according to his widow, Hunter “got caught up in the moment” and took “a big pair of elk horns over the front door.” Last year, more than a decade after Thompson’s death, Anita returned the antlers to the Hemingway family—which is something she and Hunter had always planned to do. “They were warm and kind of tickled … they were so open and grateful, there was no weirdness,” Anita said.

7. HE ONCE USED THE INSIDE OF MUSICIAN JOHN OATES’ COLORADO CABIN AS HIS PERSONAL PARKING SPACE.

Magnolia Pictures

Earlier this month, musician John Oates—the latter half of Hall & Oates—shared a story about his ranch in Woody Creek, Colorado, just outside of Aspen, which is currently on the market for $6 million. In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, Oates recalled how when he first purchased the cabin, there was a red convertible parked inside. “I happened to ask the real estate agent who owned the convertible, and he said ‘your neighbor Hunter Thompson,’” Oates said. “Why is he keeping his car in a piece of property he doesn’t own? The real estate agent looked at me and said ‘It’s Woody Creek, you’ll figure this out. It’s a different kind of place.’” After sending several letters to his neighbor to retrieve his vehicle, Oates took matters into his own hands and deposited the car on Thompson’s lawn. Oates said that the two became friends, but never mentioned the incident.

8. AT HIS FUNERAL, HIS ASHES WERE SHOT OUT OF A CANNON.

On February 20, 2005—at the age of 67—Thompson committed suicide. But Thompson wasn’t about to leave this world quietly. In August of that year, in accordance with his wishes, Thompson's ashes were shot into the air from a cannon while fireworks filled the sky.

“He loved explosions," his widow, Anita, told ESPN, which wrote that, “The private celebration included actors Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, rock bands, blowup dolls and plenty of liquor to honor Thompson, who killed himself six months ago at the age of 67.”

Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
arrow
entertainment
15 Memorable Quotes from George A. Romero
Original image
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Hollywood has lost one of its most iconic horror innovators with the death of George A. Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” his manager, Chris Roe, said in a statement.

Though he rose to prominence as the master of zombie flicks, beginning with Night of the Living Dead, Romero honed his filmmaking skills on a far less frightening set: shooting bits for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

“I still joke that 'Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy' is the scariest film I’ve ever made,” Romero once said. “What I really mean is that I was scared sh*tless while I was trying to pull it off.” (Rogers returned the favor by being a longtime champion of Romero’s work—and even called Dawn of the Dead “a lot of fun.”)

It’s that high-spirited sense of fun that made Romero’s work so iconic—and kept the New York City native busy for nearly 50 years. To celebrate his life and career, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes on everything from the humanity of zombies to the horror of Hollywood producers.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A SENSE OF HUMOR

“For a Catholic kid in parochial school, the only way to survive the beatings—by classmates, not the nuns—was to be the funny guy.”

ON THE HOLLYWOOD WAY

“If I fail, the film industry writes me off as another statistic. If I succeed, they pay me a million bucks to fly out to Hollywood and fart.”

ON BEING PIGEONHOLED

“As a filmmaker you get typecast just as much as an actor does, so I'm trapped in a genre that I love, but I'm trapped in it!”

ON ZOMBIES AS A METAPHOR

“I also have always liked the monster within idea. I like the zombies being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters.”

ON FINDING OBJECTIVITY AS A FILMMAKER

“There are so many factors when you think of your own films. You think of the people you worked on it with, and somehow forget the movie. You can't forgive the movie for a long time. It takes a few years to look at it with any objectivity and forgive its flaws.”

ON THE REAL VALUE OF THE INTERNET

“What the Internet's value is that you have access to information but you also have access to every lunatic that's out there that wants to throw up a blog.”

ON THE HORROR OF DEALING WITH PRODUCERS

“I'll never get sick of zombies. I just get sick of producers.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION

“Collaborate, don’t dictate.”

ON THE BEAUTY OF LOW-BUDGET MOVIEMAKING

“I don't think you need to spend $40 million to be creepy. The best horror films are the ones that are much less endowed.”

ON HUMANS BEING THE REAL VILLAINS

“My zombies will never take over the world because I need the humans. The humans are the ones I dislike the most, and they're where the trouble really lies.”

ON BEING IMMUNE TO TRENDS

“Somehow I've been able to keep standing and stay in my little corner and do my little stuff and I'm not particularly affected by trends or I'm not dying to make a 3-D movie or anything like that. I'm just sort of happy to still be around.”

ON THE HUMANITY OF HORROR

“My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I'm pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible.”

ON THE ENDURING APPEAL OF HORROR

“If one horror film hits, everyone says, 'Let's go make a horror film.' It's the genre that never dies.”

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SURROUNDING ZOMBIES WITH STUPID PEOPLE

“A zombie film is not fun without a bunch of stupid people running around and observing how they fail to handle the situation.”

ON LIFE AFTER DEATH

“I'm like my zombies. I won't stay dead!”

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios