I have a friend who is charming, erudite, and possessed of but one fatal flaw: She loves e-mail forwards. 90 percent of the messages she sends me are chain letters. It's gotten to the point where I think she's trying to foist bad fortune on me -- she can't possibly believe I forward all these missives on to anyone but CSICOP'sÂ Chain Letters Anonymous, right? As it stands, I am thisclose to sending her an anonymousÂ message from "Thanks, No".
Anyway, she got me wondering how these things got started... READ ON
"He wakes to find himself in the Indian Ocean, naked and clinging to a door; a hotel keycard is clenched in his teeth."
"It begins with a man throwing handfuls of $100 bills from a speedingÂ car, and ends with a young girl urinating into a tin bucket."
Scenes from the next season of "Lost" and the life of Paris Hilton? Nah, they're writing prompts for a short-story contest at McSweeney's. If you write really fast there's still time to send in your entry by June 21. Too soon? Try your hand at the... READ ON
You guys! You guys! The Interweb has photos of the baby Brangelina!
Er, I mean, isn't it tragic how our national culture has become so vapid and celebrity-obsessed?
Little Shiloh, or, as I like to think of her, Pitt the Younger, really does appear to be the Sexiest Baby Alive, judging by the fact that she got her mother's lips. But as we all know, looks are no judge of character, and when you're a baby they don't predict future hottness either. The fat, bald, eggheaded and generally unpresentable tot... READ ON
If you're in the mood for a historical-conspiracy movie that doesn't suck "“ sorry, Opie "“Â I highly recommend "Monsieur N," which I got around to viewing last night. It tells the story of Napoleon's last days on St. Helena, the island that, unlike Elba, managed to keep the wily general imprisoned until the end of his days. (Or did it?) It seems that Napoleon's exile wasn't really all that bad; he had access to rich food, loose women, and... READ ON
Tim and I recently acquired a bottle of Admiral Horatio Nelson's blood, and I am happy to report that it's delicious.
Perhaps some explanation is in order. "Nelson's Blood" is the nickname for Pusser's Rum, the official former tipple of the Royal Navy. After he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar:
Nelson's body was placed in a large cask of Pusser's Rum to preserve it for the long voyage back to England. Upon arrival, the cask was opened and Nelson's... READ ON
I used to think "My Humps" was the world's most obnoxious earworm. Then I heard "Bananaphone," which goes something like this: "Ringringringringringringring. Bananaphone!" I absolutely do not suggest that you watch the "video" making the Internet rounds, which features a pony, a robot, and a cete of cartoon badgers doing pliÃ©s. (Cete:badger::flock:seagulls.) Beware: The video is on an infinite loop. If this little ditty crawls into your auditory... READ ON
Because I'm the only girl on this blog, I feel it's my occasional duty to clue you guys in to What Women Want. And What Women Want -- at least the women are likely to be reading our site -- is unabashedly, adorably geeky trinkets and gewgaws, such as Jacqueline Sanchez's Lego rings. Or, my personal favorite, this necklace/earrings set in the shape of seratonin and dopamine molecules. If none of these suit, perhaps the lady would enjoy an LEDÂ necklace that "is as close as you can get to a personal mini... READ ON
I know the mental_floss mission is to make learning a lifelong endeavor, but this guy just puts us to shame. In his undergraduate career, Johnny Lechner has racked up 234 credits, five majors (education, communications, theater, health and women's studies), and 12 years of study. This makes him, I guess, a 12th-year senior, and he's still going. Apparently, five days before graduation this semester, he decided that nah, he really wanted stay another year and study abroad "“ because he hasn't gotten... READ ON
Abe Rosenthal, the former executive editor of the New York Times who completely transformed the paper during his tenure, died last night. This may not seem like a big deal, but to we ink-stained wretches in the business of quick-turnaround journalism "“ to repurpose an old joke "“ the only difference between God and the e.e. of the Times is that God takes the seventh day off. I'm not going to repeat all the laurels and crusty old anecdotes heaped on him in the obituaries; I'm... READ ON
Remember those "campaign for real beauty" ads that Dove was pushing a few months ago? They didn't impress me much. The women were (a) uniformly clean-faced and preppy-looking, (b) uniformly laughing and smiling at some joke that probably started with "knock knock," and (c) uniformly dressed in bland white undies. They couldn't say anything about their personalities through their clothes or makeup. We were left to infer personality from their hairstyles: Ooh,... READ ON
Franz Ferdinand (the band) came through Boston a couple of weeks ago, and even though the band was apparently named after Archduke Franz Ferdinand (the racehorse), the concert got me thinking about Franz Ferdinand (the actual archduke). He is, of course, most famous for being shot "“ his assassination in 1914 sparked World War I "“ but I find his personal life more intriguing than his role in international affairs. As a young man, he went to a dance and fell instantly in love with one of the... READ ON
Great. David starts the day talking about theÂ NobelÂ Peace Prize and I'm all like "hot chicks!" Thanks, David; I feel so very intellectual.Â
So according to a new study in Nature, if you show a macho man a picture of one of the aforementioned hot chicks, he becomes a blubbering idiot:
Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium asked men to play an ultimatum game, in which they split a certain amount of money between them. High-testosterone men drove the hardest bargain — unless... READ ON
When I am 85 (or whatever the life expectancy is by the time I'm old enough to worry about it) and lying on my deathbed with my past flashing before my eyes, one of the highlights I will surely see will be the night I went swimming in the stars. Not under them, in them. I was still in college, camped out with friends in a rickety rented beach house in the Outer Banks, on the coast of North Carolina. After a barbecue one night, someone got the idea to run fully clothed into the ocean "“... READ ON
I tried to come up with a witty title taken from a Stones song ("Don't Lie to Me?" "Just My Imagination?") but I really couldn't, because I was too flabbergasted by the fact that Mick. Jagger. Is. Making. A. Sitcom.
And here's the really amazing part: It sounds like it might actually be funny. The premise: Donal Logue, the lovable schlub from The Tao of Steve, is a resentful janitor who decides to take revenge on a greedy celebrity by robbing him blind, with... READ ON
A few years ago, KaavyaÂ Viswanathan, a hard-driving Indian teenage girl who wanted to go to Harvard, scored a huge book deal at age 17 for "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed,Â Got Wild, and Got a Life," a sparkling little novel about"¦ a hard-driving Indian teenage girl who wants to go to Harvard. As documented by the Harvard Crimson this week, it seems that K.V., now a sophomore at her beloved university, didn't take her inspiration solely from her own short life "“ she also apparently... READ ON
Speaking of Einstein, if you have any interest in putting words in his mouth, check out this new InternetÂ playthingÂ -- you can take the famous photo of him at the chalkboard and quite literally rewrite history, changing his scribblings from R(subscript)IK = O2 to whatever fanciful text you desire. I know what my Christmas cards will look like this... READ ON
This ought to interest the six people in the world who still find "dumb Polack" jokes funny "“ it turns out Poles are smarter than all the other Europeans, save the Germans and the Dutch. A British professor recently surveyed all the nations on the Continent and found that those three nations had the highest average IQs (107 for Germany and the Netherlands, 106 for Poland), while the poor Serbians clocked in last at 89.
I'm not sure the nutty professor's work is... READ ON
I have no doubt that NASCAR-flavored bacon will be a big hit with red-state folks, but what about those of us in the blue states who love a good cheeseburger "“ and also were moved by the "little tortured baby cow" episode of South Park? What are ethically-minded carnivores supposed to eat? IfÂ scientists have their way, we'll soon be chowing down on test-tube hamburgers. Researchers have already been able to grow mouse and frog meat from stem cells in Petri dishes "“ the... READ ON
The little plastic bit on the end of your shoelace is called an aglet.