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David Blaine - Young Daredevil
David Blaine got his start as a daredevil when a friend of his mother's urged him to walk on a plank between two tall buildings. He was four years old.
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Chris Carter - Creating the X-Files
According to wikipedia, in 1992, Chris Carter joined Fox as new writer, being tired of unsuccessful comedy shows which he did mostly while at Disney. As his first work, Carter decided to pitch a horror series, something as "scary" as his favorite childhood TV show Kolchak: The Night Stalker. But, as the concept progressed, Carter added new details into it...So what inspired Carter to incorporate the FBI into his show? While watching TV one day, he saw Larry King interviewing an FBI agent who investigated satanic cults. And what inspired him to add a pair of agents as the main characters? He recalled watching a movie back in 1991: The Silence of the Lambs.[Carter made them a female skeptic and ...
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How Idaho Territory Got A Dodgy Name
In his book Talking Turkey, author Robert Hendrickson explains where the state of Idaho got its name: Many sources derive the word Idaho from a Shoshonean Indian word meaning "gem of the mountain," but the Idaho State Historical Society claims that there never was any such Indian word and that Idaho and its translation was the phony creation of a mining lobbyist who suggested it to Congress as the name for the territory we now know as Colorado. Congress rejected the name, but it caught on among gold prospectors along the Columbia River, and when it was proposed in 1863 as the name for what we know today as Idaho, Congress approved it and the Idaho Territory was born. The ...
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Beethoven's Deafness
"Beethoven said, 'This is a beautiful piano. I got it as a gift from London. Look at the name!'" Ludwig Reelstab once recalled. "He pointed with his finger to the strip of wood above the keyboard. 'It is a wonderful present,' said Beethoven looking at me, 'and it has a beautiful tone,' he continued, turning toward the piano without taking his eyes off me. He struck a chord softly. Never will another chord pierce me to the quick with such sadness and heartbreak. He had played C major in the right hand and B natural in the bass; he looked at me steadily and repeated the false chord several times to let the mild tone of the instrument sound, and ...
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A grandmother slips while washing her feet
Paul Pickering: "One of my grandmother's foibles was washing her feet in a handbasin at journey's end. On a visit to Scarborough she slipped on wet lino [linoleum] and her big toe became firmly stuck in an old brass tap. Rather bad-tempered, built like Bismarck, and said to be related to George III, it took the fire brigade several hours to free her, and her vituperations could be heard over Punch and Judy on the beach. 'That woman's language made my pansies die,' complained the rather nervous landlady as we left."
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Colin Farrell - Sinful Diet
Colin Farrell, the hellraiser of Hollywood, once boasted that he consumed 20 ecstasy tablets, four grammes of cocaine, half an ounce of hash, three bottles of Jack Daniel's, 12 bottles of wine, 60 pints and 280 cigarettes in a single week.As for Farrell's appetite for sex, he once paid $18,000 to keep a Los Angeles strip club open after hours so he could continue to enjoy his favourite strippers.
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Motoring Memories
"One of my earliest motoring memories is of going for a drive in Paris with Arnold Bennett," Eva Le Gallienne once recalled. "Motoring was an adventure in those pre-war days. The machine drove up with incredible noise, dust and smell. It was shaped like a governess cart—which comforted Nanny a little. Mr Bennett sat next to the chauffeur on a very high seat like a carriage box, We clambered into our seats through a little door at the back of the car and sat there very high in considerable trepidation. After a great many terrifying explosions, accompanied by Nanny's outcries of alarm, the motor-car gathered speed and rushed at fifteen miles an hour [!] along the avenues through the forest."
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Thales outwits a clever mule
While carrying a load of salt one day, amule belonging tothe Greek mathematician Thalesaccidentally fell into a river. Naturally, much of his precious salt dissolved.Realizing that its burden was considerably lighter, the wily mule soon had another "accident." But the mule, while no fool, was no match for Thales, who quickly found a clever solution:For the return journey, Thales loaded the mule with sponges!
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William H. Wussy?
Despite his role as one of Hollywood's finest character actors, William H. Macy had no illusions about becoming a leading man. "I wouldn't mind being the guy, wouldn't mind getting the girl," he once admitted. "But I've got to face reality... I'm a character guy. I feel like Tom Cruise, but I look like Howdy Doody!"[Macy's nickname at Bethany College? "Willie". Among his ad spot voice-overs? "Secret—strong enough for a man but made for a woman."]
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Dolphins Use Sponges To Protect Their Noses
From the Globe and Mail:Wild bottlenose dolphins in Australia's Shark Bay routinely use sponges to protect their noses as they hunt for fish hidden in the abrasive sand on the sea floor. The sponge-wearers appear to belong to one extended family, Robert Lee Hotz writes in The Wall Street Journal, and the sponging females teach the technique to all their young. However, only the young females seem to grasp the idea. In a recent analysis of the behaviour, published in the online journal PLoS One, researchers from Washington's Georgetown University found that the Shark Bay dolphins—almost all females—used their makeshift hunting masks more often than any other species uses tools, except human beings. "The sex difference is really striking," says ...