mischief

#mischief

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Devo at Forecatle 2010. Credit: C Michael Stewart (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Devo at Forecatle 2010. Credit: C Michael Stewart (CC BY-SA 3.0)
During the production of When Pigs Fly, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh made a curious admission: he and his bandmates often seeded their music with subliminal messages. Among Mothersbaugh's mischievous pranks? Instructing people to buy jeans because they are "the uniform of the proletariat" and smuggling the phrase "sugar is bad for you"... into a cereal commercial. Mothersbaugh also said it was "entirely possible" that the line "question authority" had been snuck into the Rugrats soundtrack.
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Lord Byron by Henry Pierce Bone <a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>(CC BY-SA 3.0)</a>
Lord Byron by Henry Pierce Bone (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Because dogs were not allowed at the University of Cambridge, Lord Byron, who wanted a dog, protested the rule—by bringing a bear. [At Oxford, Frank Buckland, a 19th-century naturalist, also kept a bear , which, according to A Literary History of Cambridge, he took "to wine parties and boating on the river dressed in a cap and gown."]
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The Lost Village Schoolroom. Flickr photo by Donald Ogg (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
The Lost Village Schoolroom. Flickr photo by Donald Ogg (CC BY-SA 2.0)
"Novelist and essayist George A. Birmingham was in his nonliterary life a clergyman in Ireland where he was pestered by bishops and other authorities to fill in recurring questionnaires," writes Patrick Ryan, in Smithsonian Magazine. "He took particular umbrage against the annual demand from the education office to report the dimensions of his village schoolroom. In the first and second years, he duly filled in the required figures. "The third year he replied that the schoolroom was still the same size. The education office badgered him with reminders until Birmingham finally filled in the figures. This time he doubled the dimensions of his schoolroom. "Nobody queried it. So he went on doubling the measurements until 'in the course of five ...
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Portrait of Adolf Hitler. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
Portrait of Adolf Hitler. Credit: Unknown author (Public domain)
According to German newspaper reports, an eight-year-old Adolf Hitler made a bet with a friend that he could pee into a goat's mouth. The goat ended up biting the future Fuhrer's penis, injuring him permanently. 
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Tornado, located at Särkänniemi in Tampere, Pirkanmaa, Finland. Tiia Monto (cropped, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Tornado, located at Särkänniemi in Tampere, Pirkanmaa, Finland. Tiia Monto (cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Howie Mandel once worked as a ride operator at an amusement park. "Make sure the orange safety harness over your left shoulder is securely fastened," he would warn riders. "We're going upside down in five seconds!" This announcement was invariably met with screams of terror. "There was," he later explained, "no orange safety harness..." (Howie worked at the park for about a week.)
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1 Nassau Hall
Nassau Hall in 2019. Flickr photo by Ken Lund (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Nassau Hall in 2019. Flickr photo by Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)
One day during his tenure as president of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson was surprised to have a student throw a beer bottle through his office window. The unruly young man was promptly expelled. The student, who later won a Nobel Prize in Literature, was aspiring playwright Eugene O'Neill.
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White House
CSN in 2010. Wikipedia photo from St. Jean (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
CSN in 2010. Wikipedia photo from St. Jean (CC BY-SA 3.0)
In 1977, Crosby, Stills and Nash performed for President Jimmy Carter at the White House. At one point, when the band was briefly left alone in the Oval Office, they fired up a joint.
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A performance in 2015. Wikipedia photo from Otterbein University Theatre & Dance (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
A performance in 2015. Wikipedia photo from Otterbein University Theatre & Dance (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Following a performance of Peter Pan one evening, a small boy who had been given a seat in the author's box was asked which bit he had liked the most. "What I think I liked best," the child replied, "was tearing up the program and dropping the bits on people's heads!" [This was one of Barrie's favorite stories.]
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Washoe (Wikipedia photo)
Washoe (Wikipedia photo)
The few documented cases of animal humor are physical in nature. The researcher Roger Fouts reported in 1997 that Washoe,* a chimpanzee he had taught to sign, once urinated on him while riding on his shoulders, then signed 'Funny'—touching its nose—and snorted. * Washoe (1965 – 2007) was the first non-human to learn to communicate using American Sign Language. Fouts giving Washoe's Eulogy. Wiki img: j o s h o (CC BY 2.0)
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Pxfuel photo free-photo-jteve (<a href=https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/>CC0</a>)
Pxfuel photo free-photo-jteve (CC0)
In his capacity as grand instigator and supreme leader of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, "Reverend Al" Ridenour was famed for his practical jokes. His presence at the Los Angeles marathon, however, was not universally appreciated.  Having unfurled a "Just Quit" banner at the 22-mile mark of the 26.2 mile course, the merry pranksters proceeded to entice tired runners to join the dark side with offers of doughnuts, beer, cigarettes and beef jerky.  [Among their other exploits? Engaging in "reverse shoplifting" (entering stores and planting such items as teddy bears filled with cement) and hosting a spooky Museum of Dental Decay on Halloween.]