World’s Strangest

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Music History #11: “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”

“The Ballad of Ira Hayes” Written by Pete La Farge (1963) Performed by Johnny Cash The Music Folk singer and songwriter Peter La Farge packed a lot into his thirty-four years on Earth. The son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist was a Korean War vet, a rodeo cowboy, an actor, and a singer who was part of [...]

Shemp: The Forgotten Stooge

Samuel “Shemp” Horwitz was born on March 17, 1895. He was the third in the line of five consecutive brothers born to Sol and Jennie Horwitz. The name “Shemp” was derived from a mispronunciation (as so many family nicknames seem to be). Sam’s mother would call for him in her heavy Lithuanian accent, saying “Sam! [...]

The Field of Dreams and Five Other Movie Pilgrimages You Can Make

Whenever I’m traveling and people find out where I’m from, 90 percent of the time, the reaction is, “Iowa! Have you been to the Field of Dreams?” I’m a little embarrassed to say the answer is no, I’ve never set foot in Dyersville. But thanks to the purchase that was made earlier this week, I [...]

The Worst First Pick in Basketball History

There’s not much we can say with certainty as Thursday’s NBA draft approaches. Some team will get a terrific bargain in this draft. Some team will burn its pick on a colossal disappointment whose name will be whispered in the same breath those of uber-busts Darko Miličić and Marcus Fizer. NBA general managers should take [...]

John Wayne Stainless Steel Water Bottle

John Wayne Stainless Steel Water Bottle – $11.95 Is your Dad a John Wayne fan in need of a means to keep cool and hydrated? This Father’s Day get him the John Wayne Stainless Steel Water Bottle from the NeatoShop. A Man’s Got To Have A Code. A Creed To Live By. - John Wayne A man also needs to [...]

In Your Face: The Rise and Fall of Zubaz

Longtime readers know that we here at mental_floss aren’t afraid to tackle the big issues. Politics. Religion. Science. And today we’ll bring that fearlessness to another hot-button issue: Zubaz. Let’s take a look at the history of the hottest zebra-striped pants of the early 1990s. When we think of Zubaz today, “utilitarian” probably isn’t the first [...]

How the People of Green Bay Came to Own the Packers

© Mark Cowan/Icon SMI/Corbis At some point during each NFL season (or protracted NFL lockout), fans are bound to hear an announcer mention that the Green Bay Packers are “owned by the people of Green Bay.” Really? Let’s take a look. Are the Packers really publicly owned, or is that just a myth? It’s no myth. The [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Interesting Prints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater

Grauman’s Chinese Theater has been entertaining celebs and tourists alike since it opened in 1927. That was the same year stars first had their autographs, handprints and footprints immortalized in the concrete forecourt of the theater as well. It didn’t take long for those creative types to start jazzing up the cement squares with more [...]

Remembering Our Favorite Laugh-In Stars

Henry Gibson passed away last Monday at age 73. Current television viewers probably remember him from his role as Judge Clarence Brown on Boston Legal, but Baby Boomers will always picture him holding a large flower and reciting poetry on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Laugh-In was a rapid-fire sketch comedy show that was “must see TV” [...]