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The Omni Homestead
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson on holiday in Yugoslavia, 1936. National Media Museum (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>CC0</a>)
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson on holiday in Yugoslavia, 1936. National Media Museum (CC0)
The Homestead—a luxurious resort hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia—was once the haunt of many distinguished visitors, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.* In 1943, as they prepared to leave after a lavish month-long visit, the couple were presented with the hotel's bill. "Now, whatever," the duke said, gazing blankly, "do I do with this?"  Allegedly, the bill has never been paid.  * Duke of Windsor, a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, was created in March 1937 for former King Edward VIII, following his abdication in December 1936.
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Halloween DVD
Halloween DVD
During the production of Halloween, director John Carpenter was on such a tight budget that he could not afford to commission a custom-designed mask for the Michael Myers character to wear. Carpenter's solution? A William Shatner mask, painted white. 
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Portrait of Irving Berlin. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Portrait of Irving Berlin. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
During his first week on the set of This is the Army in 1943, Ronald Reagan, then a first lieutenant on leave from the army, was introduced to Irving Berlin (the genius behind the film) five times. Each time, Berlin said he was "glad to meet" the thirty-two-year-old actor.  "Young man," he told him one day after seeing the dailies, "I just saw some of your work. You've got a few things to correct—for example, a huskiness of the voice—but you really should give this business some serious consideration when the war is over. It's very possible that you could have a career in show business."  Reagan thanked him for his compliments—and refrained from telling him that he had been ...
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Claudia Schiffer in Milan 2009. Credit: Danortizwb (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Claudia Schiffer in Milan 2009. Credit: Danortizwb (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Claudia Schiffer began modeling shortly after her "discovery" in a German discoteque. Despite her remarkable beauty, however, few critics expected her career to blossom. "We would laugh at her as she came down the runway," fashion writer Michael Gross recalled. "She would gallumph—she was like a camel." Schiffer got the last laugh however. Her contract with Victoria's Secret made her a fortune and launched her into the modeling stratosphere.
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Ten Commandments DVD
Ten Commandments DVD
The legendary director Cecil B. DeMille was not noted for his modesty. "It's easy to see," Will Rogers remarked of his Biblical epic The Ten Commandments (1923), "where God left off and Cecil DeMille began." Indeed, DeMille's involvement in the film was the source of several amusing incidents. On one occasion, Theodore Roberts and James Neil stopped by DeMille's office in their Biblical costumes. After waiting for more than an hour, they finally ordered a secretary: "Tell God that Moses and Aaron are waiting without!"
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J.B.S. Haldane, in Oxford UK, 1914. Image downloaded from http://students.washington.edu/gw0/modernsynthesis/images/haldane.png and converted to JPG. (Public domain)
J.B.S. Haldane, in Oxford UK, 1914. Image downloaded from http://students.washington.edu/gw0/modernsynthesis/images/haldane.png and converted to JPG. (Public domain)
The great geneticist J. B. S. Haldane was once asked whether he would risk death to save a drowning brother. "No," he famously replied, "but I would to save two brothers—or eight cousins." [Assuming that Haldane was concerned only with transmitting his genes to future generations, this would be the proper thing to do. A sibling shares, on average, half of one's genome; a first cousin shares one eighth. (This notion was formalized by Bill Hamilton in his theory of inclusive fitness.)]
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In August of 1858, the Palliser Expedition reached the Rocky Mountains. John Palliser divided his party and instucted the geologist and naturalist James Hector to explore whatever areas appeared to be, geologically, the most interesting. One day, as his party struggled eastward, one of the pack horses, attempting to avoid some fallen timber, fell into the river. Hector described the events which followed: "...the banks were so steep that we had great difficulty in getting him out. In attempting to recatch my own horse, which had strayed off while we were engaged with the one in the water, he kicked me in the chest, but I had luckily got close to him before he struck out, so that I did ...
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From Wash D.C. © copyright John Mathew Smith 2001 Credit: Wikipedia user Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)

From Wash D.C. © copyright John Mathew Smith 2001 Credit: Wikipedia user Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA ( ...(more)

When Warren Beatty and girlfriend Annette Bening welcomed their first child, Stephen, into the world in 1992, many people wondered what the future held for the legendary ladies' man.  "The only reason he had a child," David Letterman mused, "is so that he can meet babysitters."  In fact, Beatty settled down and married Bening later that year.
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Simon Cowell in 2011. Credit: Alison Martin of SimonCowellOnline.com (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0">CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Simon Cowell in 2011. Credit: Alison Martin of SimonCowellOnline.com (CC BY-SA 2.0)
One day in November 2003, a "Top Gear" presenter (and test-driver) named The Stig invited American Idol's Simon Cowell for a spin around the BBC program's circuit with the intention of scaring the pants off him. Cowell, however, remained calm throughout the ordeal and at one point even folded his arms. Then Cowell took the wheel—and had The Stig in a panic after putting the car into a controlled spin on a tight corner before regaining control. "He was a lot more scared than I was," Cowell recalled. "It was great fun—I really enjoyed myself."
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A glass of red wine (left) and a glass of white wine. Credit: A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace)
A glass of red wine (left) and a glass of white wine. Credit: A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace)
New York Times food and wine columnist Johnny Apple was naturally the target of many pranks. On one occasion, while dining at restaurant during a political convention in Kansas City, he had a bottle of lowly Lancer's rose sent over to his table. When Times writer B. Drummond Ayres insisted that he keep the bottle (mostly on account of the slow service), Apple agreed on the condition that they hide it beneath the table. On another occasion, a scheme was hatched in Iran to refill bottles which Apple had obtained from the Shah's personal cellar with what Horace Rumpole would have called the local plonk.