World’s Strangest

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Awkwardness and Bawdy Talk: 7 Tales of Presidential Courtship

You may be surprised to learn that not every politician is equipped with romantic game. Here are the stories of a few presidents who had a little difficulty garnering the affections of the first lady – or at least had a few awkward moments during the courtship. Learn from their fumbles, and be grateful that [...]

15 Dad Facts for Father’s Day

A few years ago, we asked some of our favorite mental_floss writers to send us their favorite dad-related facts and stories for our newsletter. Here are 15 you can use around the grill today. 1. Halsey Taylor invented the drinking fountain as a tribute to his father, who succumbed to typhoid fever after drinking from a [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The West

We may not be much help in filling out your bracket, but we can promise one interesting fact about each of the 68 teams in the tournament. Let’s tip things off with the West Region. © Chris Bergin/Icon SMI/Corbis (1) Michigan State In May, a Michigan State professor from the School of Social Work will begin teaching an [...]

Sweet Action: 8 Big Bets Made by Famous People

© Matthew Putney/ABC/Handout/Corbis One of the headlines coming out of Saturday night’s GOP debate was Mitt Romney’s offer to bet Rick Perry $10,000 to settle an argument over something Romney said (and removed) from his book No Apology. Perry hasn’t taken the bait, but here are some big money bets other famous people have made. 1. Truman [...]

12 Creative Campaign Slogans to Inspire the 2012 Candidates

Christine Lusey runs Retro Campaigns, the internet’s premier source for historical campaign t-shirts and memorabilia. We asked if she could compile some memorable slogans from past elections. She did not disappoint. These days it seems like every campaign slogan is just a series of political buzzwords: Hope! Change! Values! Newt! But it wasn’t always this way. [...]

Great Moments in Presidential Debt

Properly managing one’s finances seems like it should be a prerequisite for running a country. But these U.S. leaders could have used more dead presidents in their wallets. HARRY TRUMAN -THE BUCK STOPPED THERE Prior to becoming president, Harry Truman’s ventures in private business earned him more trouble than profit. He lost several thousand dollars investing in [...]

How to Get Your Face on a Postage Stamp

Follow these five surefire steps and you’ll be stuck to the corner of envelopes in no time! Step #1: KICK THE BUCKET This is the hard part. According to the U.S. Postal Service, no living person can appear on an official stamp. No exceptions! (Clearly, the Postal Service is in the Elvis-is-dead camp). Step #2: BE PATIENT Don’t expect [...]

The Quick 10: Pre-Presidential Professions

You already know that Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actors Guild before he was President of the United States, and I bet you recall a joke or two about Jimmy Carter being a peanut farmer. Here are a few ways other future presidents paid the bills before they started signing bills. 1. Harry Truman, [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Ghosts Lurking at the White House

We live in an old house, and I occasionally see things out of the corner of my eye that make me wonder. There are many totally logical explanations for this, including paranoia, a mirror in a built-in wall cabinet that catches my reflection, and three dogs who move in and out of my line of [...]

10 Surprising Bobbleheads

Not just a staple for at least one summer baseball promotion night a year, bobbleheads for fictional and historical figures, even 60s rock bands are pretty commonplace. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a few surprises regarding who gets the honor of bobblehead-dom these days. 1. John Calvin. No, not an obscure minor league ball [...]