OK, so the shirts aren't exactly new (they've been here for a week), but the discount does end tomorrow at midnight. Simply put any of these shirts in your shopping cart, and enter the code "shirtoftheday" into the discount code, and you'll get 10% off your purchase.... READ ON
With Eliot Spitzer dominating today's news, we decided to look back at other so-called virtuous figures who became embroiled in sex scandals.
1. Aimee Semple McPherson... READ ON
If you sell your soul to the devil, you might as well have something nice and shiny to show for it, right? If these dirty dealers didn't know how to live good, they sure knew how to live well.
1. Leona Helmsley... READ ON
The Amazing Fact Generator is hungry. Today's topic: TV Trivia. Leave your (amazing) TV fact in the comments, with your name and location. If it's both amazing and true, we'll toss it in the Generator, credited to you. Supply the most amazing fact and win a copy of Dick Van Patten's Totally Terrific TV Trivia.
Important note: Please don't just go to a TV trivia site and copy/paste a fact, then claim it as your own. That's cheating. And let's limit everybody to five submissions each.
To get a feel for... READ ON
With the recent Obama plagiarism flap dominating the media, we figured it'd be a good time to revisit a few other famous cases of word borrowing.
1. Martin Luther King Jr: I Heard a Dream (Which Subsequently Became My... READ ON
We know how tough it is to buy a Valentine's Day gift for that special nerdy someone. Sure, you could buy them another set of diamond encrusted spectacles, or that gold-plated pocket protector they've had their eye on, but why not prove your love with something a little more thoughtful (and a lot less expensive): the mental_floss Valentine's Day Special!
Not only will your big-brained Sweetie get a full year of mental_floss magazine, but we'll throw in a special gift issue, AND our first ever,... READ ON
1. The "Computer" That Outsmarted NapolÃ©on
Centuries before Deep Blue started whuppin' on Russian grand masters, a chess-playing automaton nicknamed "the Turk" was thrashing all manner of chess players. Atop a wheeled wooden cabinet was a seated, life-sized mannequin made of wood and dressed in Turkish garb. The Turk held a chessboard in his wooden lap, and he beat 'most all comers—including NapolÃ©on Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin. Premiering in the... READ ON
By Martin Lewis
What exactly is the worst climate in the world? Whether a given climate is good or bad is subjective; to a native of northern Alaska, for instance, 75Â°F can seem miserably hot. But, in general, what makes for the worst climate depends on what you dread the most: fire or ice. Here are 4 places we're not planning on setting up shop.
1. Jacobabad,... READ ON
Just to let you know, we're doing a little bit of maintenance and upgrading to the mentalfloss.com store this weekend, so it'll be closed from noon to about 5 pm for testing. We figured we'd give you guys a head's up. Hopefully, you'll be able to curb those shopping urges until Sunday, when we'll be back in... READ ON
If Santa didn't bring you that calendar you desperately wanted, why not pick one up at the mental_floss store? We've got Desk Calendars, Wall Calendars, and a 25% discount when you enter the word "calendar" into the coupon code. Click here to check them... READ ON
1. They weren't particularly effective as... READ ON
1. Why Do People Tie Cans to the Back of the Married Couple's... READ ON
1. First Conductor Dies from... READ ON
We're still waiting for a winner in yesterday's giveaway, but I'll toss out Monday's installment anyway.
We've given away this book before. This time, we'll take the skill out of it. The prize is Anything for a Vote.
I am thinking of a person who was at one point a candidate for President of the United States. Give me the candidate and year. One hint: this person did not go on to win the election. (And just to clarify, if the answer were "Gore 2000," "Gore 1988" would not be correct.)
Here are a... READ ON
In the spirit of Christmas and cleaning out our closet, let's give away some books. Every day between now and December 27th*, we'll come up with a different, slightly absurd method to determine a winner.
Here's what you're playing for... READ ON
by David A. Norris
Even in the midst of the Civil War, there was still one thing the North and South shared—a serious addiction to caffeine. In that respect, the Union clearly had an advantage. Not only did the North have more than two-thirds of the population and control most of the heavy industry, railroads, and financial reserves in the country, it hoarded supplies of the highly addictive little bean, leaving the Confederacy to wage its own war against java deprivation.
Coffee: It's... READ ON
Hey Flossers: A final reminder to get your orders in by today since it's the last day we can guarantee that you'll get your terrific gifts by Christmas Day. Of course, if you're celebrating Festivus, Winter Solstice or any other wintery holiday, your deadline may vary... READ ON
A thug, is a thug, is a thug. But would a thug by any other moniker still be as dangerous? We're guessing... READ ON
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back our Marching Band Correspondent, Auburn University's Steven Clontz! You may remember him from his first post, Marching to the Beat of a Different Slide Instrument, which explored variations on the trombone. Or his second, When Good Bands Go Bad. He's back today with the third in a series of four band-centric entries.
Marching band kind of gets the shaft in pop culture, with band geeks serving more often as the nerdy comic relief than leading roles. But in... READ ON
[We'll start the judging at 8am Eastern Time Friday morning. Get in those last-minute entries... READ ON
by Kenn McCracken
1. The... READ ON
by Bob Carson
The Red Sox spent 86 years overcoming an alleged curse. Sammy Sosa somehow got the impression that he needed corked bats to amp up his already terrific game. And a few years ago, a girl in a giant Italian sausage costume was whacked to the ground by the Pittsburgh Pirates' first baseman. We're not saying baseball makes a whole lot of sense; we're just trying to put a small dent in all the mystery—starting with those weird team names you're always hearing.... READ ON
The Thing That's So Heart-Warming About the First Gettysburg Reenactment
Modern-day Civil War reenactments have nothing on the one held in 1913. Fifty years after the momentous Battle of Gettysburg, some 50,000 Confederate and Union veterans returned to the fields where they (or their brethren) had once been locked in mortal combat. The highlight was a reenactment of the disastrous Pickett's Charge. At the original event, more than 3,000 men died in a matter of minutes. But this time, instead of... READ ON
Update #3: We have a winner!
A lot of you were close. But it took 596 comments before Joe Maz finally guessed the right quote. I'll be in touch about your free t-shirt.
"A,B,C. A: Always. B: Be. C: Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING."
If you're OK with coarse language and yelling, here's that classic Glengarry Glen Ross scene on YouTube.
I do have a few more t-shirts to give away. Office Hours are almost over, so let's give free shirts to the first three people to ask... READ ON
We've compiled all the foods you love, and all the places you need to thank for them in one easy-to-skim list. Story for mental_floss magazine by Streeter Seidell.
1. Louis' Lunch, New Haven, Conn.
The... READ ON
When it comes to the Olympics, our good friend Justin Feinstein is a wealth of information. He has agreed to share his seven favorite stories with us today.
7 Stories You Haven't Heard About The Olympics
by Justin Feinstein
1. Perfect 10s All Around!
Scoring a perfect 10 is the dream of every Olympic gymnast. In 1924, 22 male gymnasts made this dream a reality in the same event. But this wasn't due to some freak occurrence or heightened level of competition "“ the event was rope... READ ON
From Hollywood superstars to adulterous dilettantes, several seminary dropouts have managed to find success in the secular world. Here's a sampling of the finest in... READ ON
Whether because of abundant food or lack of exercise, historical monarchs have been plagued with largeness of girth (a true hardship). Here are just a few of the largest kings and queens on record.
1. Itey (ca. 1490 BCE)
Sort of an ancient Egyptian punch line, this corpulent queen ruled over the mysterious land of Punt, located somewhere in East Africa. So how exactly do we know of the great monarch's girth? Well, the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut launched a trade delegation to Punt, and carvings on... READ ON
Accusing someone of illegitimate birth has long been one of the greatest insults possible, so it's not at all surprising that some of history's greatest shoulder- mounted chips have been securely fastened to people with murky parentage. In fact, by the look of the names on this list, it just might be a recipe for success.
1. Confucius (ca. 551"“479... READ ON
After a busy day of oppressing your own people, murdering your enemies, and conquering foreign lands, sometimes a workaholic dictator just needs to treat himself to a little pick-me-up. These were four guys happy to do just that.
1. NapolÃ©on: Keeping It Short and... READ ON
The disinhibiting and pain-numbing effects of drugs make them perfect for turning people into killing machines. In fact, criminals on PCP have been reported to withstand multiple shocks with Taser guns, pepper spray, and Mace, and even direct gunshot wounds to the chest, without slowing down. It's no wonder that so many generals have relied on drugs to bring out the so-called best in unwitting soldiers.
1. Nazi Shock... READ ON
In case you weren't glued to this site all week, consider this your make-up class. Here's a look back at some of the wonderful topics we've recently covered:
"¢ 7 Pampered Celebrities and their Ridiculous Pre-show Demands
"¢ Manly Ways to Prepare Turkey
"¢ 7 Insane Food Competitions
"¢ Famous Last Words: The Animated Musical
"¢ When Sitcom Stars Start Expecting
"¢ Stuff You Don't Know About Writers You Might
"¢ The Monster of the Andes, The Meanest... READ ON
It's time for a T-shirt sale!
All you have to do is enter the word "shirt" into the discount code, and you'll get 10% off any clever shirt you order. Oh, and be sure to check out the women's cuts... READ ON
The Nathan's Hot Dog"“Eating Contest is only the most famous of all eating contests. And the ones on Fear Factor are only the most contrived. But if you're looking for a lesser-known chow challenge to show off your plate-cleaning prowess, these gastronomic free-for-alls might be just the place to start.
1. Matzo... READ ON
Everyone knows rock and roll is about thrills and excess—we just didn't realize that spirit was supposed to extend to the greenroom buffet. The following are seven very pampered acts that made sure their laundry list of demands got tacked onto their contracts.
1. Van Halen and the Whole M&M's... READ ON
Last week, we discussed notable strikes in American history. Today's topic: notable TV writers. The idea came from newcomer Matthew Smith, who collaborated with mental_floss veterans Stacy, David, Becky and Kara to dig up stories about some of TV's greatest scribes.
1. J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams, who is the co-creator, writer, director and executive producer of Lost, has written for some very-unLost-like movies including Armageddon, Taking Care of Business and Forever Young. He also created and wrote for... READ ON
Update: We have a winner...
Today's topic is business. Mangesh has drawn one company's logo on our whiteboard. How prescient are you? The first person to correctly guess wins a free mental_floss t-shirt. Let's go over the rules...
1) This is a complete game of chance, the equivalent of saying "We chose a number between 1 and 1,000,000. Guess." But simply drawing a number would be an insult to Mangesh and his artistic integrity. Today, you're guessing a company. Any... READ ON
We haven't done this in a while, so we're raising the stakes. Mangesh and I invited a special guest artist to draw on our whiteboard. Rather than just draw one element as we've done in the past, our guest artist drew three. To win a free mental_floss t-shirt, all you have to do is correctly guess one of the following subjects, which are all depicted in our guest artist's work:
1) A method of transportation
2) A non-profit organization
3) A five-letter word (Hint: in Scrabble, this word's tile value... READ ON
UPDATE: We've extended our special giveaway through Friday. So, you've got the rest of today to wow us with your candy trivia and win a Gummi Light, mental_floss t-shirt and/or the rest of my Halloween candy (see... READ ON
On Monday, we asked people to help us create a list of places mental_floss magazine is sold. You came through. We also said we'd give away t-shirts to a few lucky contributors.
"¢ We picked a number at random (as you can see on the Post-it Note, #112). Our first winner is the person whose comment number matched. Congrats to Zack, who has seen the mag at Barnes & Noble in Shelby Township, MI.
"¢ Our second winner would have been the person who picked our secret location (we chose The... READ ON
Q. It says here on your website that you have a bi-monthly magazine (Editor's note: we do =====>). I'd like to pick up a newsstand copy before I commit to subscribing. Do you have a list of places mental_floss magazine is sold?
A. I don't have a list handy, so let's build one together. To add a little incentive, we'll turn this into an impromptu mental_floss t-shirt giveaway.
If you've seen mental_floss magazine for sale on a newsstand, in a bookstore, or somewhere entirely different, leave a comment... READ ON
Mangesh is out of the office today. He and mental_floss co-founder Will are headed west to Mountain View, California, where tomorrow they're giving a speech at the Googleplex. But we've got shirts to unload, which means the Ridiculous Board Games must go on.Before he left, Mangesh selected an author and depicted this person on the whiteboard. If you've missed the previous three installments, here's how this works:1) This is a complete game of chance, the equivalent of saying "We chose a number... READ ON
It's the greatest deal in the history of history books! Our first hardback, The Mental Floss History of the World: An Irreverent Romp Through History's Best Bits, hits stores later this month and we're so excited that we've teamed up with the fine folks at Amazon.com to give you a special deal. Pre-order the book before October 28th and we'll throw in 6 FREE MONTHS of mental_floss magazine!
Just CLICK HERE to get the deal now.
Of course, with a special this... READ ON
For far too long, people have been forced to watch chickens parade about naked. Thankfully, artist Edgar Honetschlager hasÂ taken the situation into his own hands. After dreaming of a world where chickens were given their dignity back, the Austrian artist got the backing of several Japanese investors and set out to cloak our feathered brethren in the most fashionable ways he could think of. The Honetschlager collection ranges from jump suits to knitted wear, and apparently prices are available upon... READ ON
[Test Post. These codes might not work just yet. But they will... READ ON
About one in every 2 million lobsters is born with a rare genetic defect that turns it blue.