Archive for the ‘Amazing and Interesting Stories’ Category

“Bring it on, bacon boy.”

Al.com– Hogs aren’t unusual in rural south Alabama, but Wade Seago said he’d never seen anything like the 820-pound animal he shot and killed in his front yard.

Seago told al.com that he and his daughter spotted the massive hog in their yard in Samson last week after the family’s pet schnauzer Cruiser started barking.

“Cruiser had this huge hog confused with all of the barking and movement,” Wade said.

So the man got his .38-caliber handgun and took aim. It took three shots to drop the hog, Seago said, and he later weighed it on scales at a peanut company.

Seago told NBC4 he didn’t fear for his life during the confrontation.

“I was watching out for the dog. I knew that I wasn’t going to allow a hog that size to hang around,” Seago said. “He didn’t rush me, but I didn’t really give him time.”

Who the hell do you think you’re fooling, Wade Seago? You clearly inserted yourself into a situation where you weren’t needed, son. It’s obvious to me that Cruiser the Schnauzer had this thing under control from the get-go. Shoulda let your loyal best friend handle the situation from the safety of your back porch. Cruiser woulda sent that porker to Louisiana in a heartbeat if you’d have minded your own damn business. Instead, now you’re the big hero and Cruiser is a pint-sized victim, for God’s sake, all so you can have a hog head on your wall. Pathetic, man.

PS- Nothing says rural Alabama like killing an 820-lb hog with a handgun and weighing it at the local peanut company.

There are few things I like to do more than watch a live rock concert. Something about the energy, the whole vibe, just seeing someone performing music you love up close and in person is amazing.

I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life, and I’ve witnessed some crazy stuff. It’s always a special treat when things go off the rails a little though, ya know?

Without further ado, here’s some of the weirdest stuff I’ve seen at live shows . . .

Westerberg, man.

About 10-years ago I went to see Paul Westerberg at The Newport in Columbus, and it was a helluva show. The former front man for the legendary Replacements was outstanding, man. so much so that a friend of mine said this after the show:

“That’s the first time I ever felt like I was watching a real rock star.”

Amen, brother. Anyway, Westerberg was all over the stage, even laying on his back at one point as he played guitar, and performed all the good stuff as well as some offbeat covers such as “If I Had a Hammer” and “Daydream Believer”. But on to my point. About halfway through the show Westerberg was having some sort of trouble with his guitar strap and stopped to fix it. A roadie walked onstage to try and help, and Paul became unhinged. He turned and screamed, “Get the FU@K away from me!” The poor dude then sort of shuffled backwards off the stage, the venue got deathly quiet for a few seconds, and the Westerberg went back to the song as if nothing happened. Weird moment.

Dude loves his tambourine.

A couple years ago I was at a Gin Blossoms show in Columbus, and lead singer Robin Wilson handed his tambourine to a woman in the front row. I’d seen these guys a couple times before and knew it was part of the shtick, that the audience member would play it for awhile and hand it back to Wilson. This time, however, the idiot lady took it and vamoosed. As the band watched incredulously, Wilson finished the song and then lit into the tambourine thief, screaming something along the lines of, “You f**cking b**tch! Bring back my f**cking tambourine!” Dude was livid, man. Must have been his special tambourine or something. I mean, I know the Blossoms are 20-years passed their heyday but I figured they could afford more than one tambourine.

Note: I looked it up. They can cost up to $200 and more. Yikes.

Note 2: Who can’t play a tambourine? I mean really? I’d kill on a tambourine. Hell, I may buy a tambourine and join a band.

Back in the late 90s I went to see Dan Fogelberg. Yes, I liked Fogelberg. I’ve seen him a few times. So shoot me. Soft Rock never hurt anyone. Don’t judge, people. Besides, he’s dead now so you’re just being mean. Anyhoo, the opening band had finished and Fogelberg walked out to thunderous applause. He sat down at the piano, played a few notes, then slammed his hands on the keys and scared the bejesus out of everyone. Then got up and stormed off the stage. As we sat there in stunned silence, some poor roadie walked sheepishly out on the stage, played a few notes as he tuned (or retuned) the piano, then got up and walked/crawled/slithered back from whence he came. Then ol’ Dan came back out like nothing had happened and without  word of apology sat down and proceeded to play a blistering version of “Leader of the Band”, except not really because it’s a slow ballad. Anyway, surreal moment.

E.

I’ve seen The Eels several times, and lead singer Mark Oliver Everett is always a laid back guy. He interacts with the audience but he’s always really light-hearted and funny. However, even The Man Called E can be pushed over the edge. Well, sort of. A few years ago some jackass kept yelling at the top of his lungs during an Eels show. I mean this was going on during songs, during E’s talking and during quiet intervals. Finally, E had enough. He looked up to where the guy was in the balcony, took a deep breath, and said calmly, “Hey Screamy. If you don’t shut the hell up I’ve having you thrown the f**ck out of here.” Crowd roars, Screamy shuts up, problem solved.

Back around 1979 I watched Aerosmith in the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Columbus, Ohio. This was the infamous show where I ended up backstage on a couch with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. Oh, and photos were taken, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, during that show I distinctly recall Steven and Joe nearly brawling onstage. No idea what caused it, but at one point I was fairly certain Perry was going to beat Tyler over the head with his 1960 Gibson Les Paul geetar. Good times.

At some point a bit before The Who tragedy at Riverfront Coliseum (my dates are a little fuzzy) I saw Led Zeppelin there. The whole festival seating/general admission thing was obviously in place, and it was pretty ugly. We got there real early, around 2:00 PM in order to get in line. The coliseum’s policy at the time was to open just 4 doors at around 6:30 PM (again, hazy) for the 8:00 show. We were right up front, and a little after 5:00 PM things began to get ugly. Remember, 4-doors for 12,000 people. Idiocy. People in the back began pressing forward and those of us in front were getting crushed against the doors. Guys were begging the security inside to open up, but they weren’t listening. A police chopper suddenly appeared and began hovering about 30-feet up, and a guy with a bullhorn was telling people to back up. Nobody was having it, and at one point I remember a beer bottle being thrown at the chopper and shattering off its side. By this time I was seriously in fear of not making it out of there. My arms were pressed against my sides so tightly that I couldn’t raise them. Occasionally my feet would rise off the ground and I’d have to completely go wherever the crowd took me. Scary stuff for sure. The worst part was when the crowd would start to lean and you feared getting crushed. It was hard to breathe and several people passed out but obviously didn’t fall down. Surreal as hell. Finally, an ignorant security guard did a dumb but ultimately good thing – he cracked a door open, ostensibly to tell somebody when the gates would open. At that point the door was ripped open and the crowd poured in. Glass was flying everywhere, and as I was being pushed through a guard reached out and ripped a flask from my neck, nearly slashing my throat. No tickets were taken and chaos ensued. After I got away from the rushing crowd, I sought out a cop and yelled, “If these people don’t start opening more doors somebody’s going to get killed here!” A prophetic statement, unfortunately. When the news came down months later that 11-people were killed at The Who show, I wasn’t surprised. I knew exactly what had taken place. Oh, and by the way, I scored a front row spot. Hey, it was Zep.

Speaking of that Who concert, yes, I had tickets. I know, I know, probably a million people claim they had tickets, but I did. Tom, Andy and I were on our way to Cincinnati, decided at the last minute to go to a party in Columbus, and the rest is history.

I once attended the “Frampton Comes Alive” tour,  a huge outdoor show in Florida. There were several bands before Frampton, and one of them was Kansas, of “Dust in the Wind” fame. They came out and it was clear from the get-go they were tanked. Just smashed, drunk and/or high as hell. Midway through song two they just turned and walked off the stage. The crowd basically rioted until something pretty cool happened. Rick Derringer, who had played a short set earlier, returned to the stage and started playing. Slowly the crowd got into it and eventually he was actually playing requests. That’s a true pro right there, and he saved everyone from a potentially nasty situation. When Frampton finally came out he thanked Derringer profusely and even called him back out for an encore. I’ll always have fond memories of Rick Derringer because of that day.

You see, rock shows, as in life, don’t always unfold as you might expect them to. And that what makes it fun, right?

Perhaps some of you know of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who fought for the Union Army during the Civil War. Shaw was born into a prominent abolitionist family, and because of his beliefs he accepted command of the first all-black Union regiment, the 54th Massachusetts. He actually encouraged his men to refuse their pay until it was equal to the white troops’ wage. Sadly, at the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, a beachhead near Charleston, South Carolina, Shaw was killed while leading his men to the parapet of the enemy fort. Although they were overwhelmed and driven back, Shaw’s leadership, as well as the performance of his men, passed into legend and inspired tens of thousands of African-Americans to enlist for the Union and contribute to ultimate victory for the North. Incredibly, before this battle near Charleston most people had serious doubts regarding how blacks would perform under fire.

Anyway, I just finished a book about the Civil War, it told Colonel Shaw’s story in detail, and one part really stood out to me. It seems that after Colonel Shaw’s death, Confederate commander Johnson Hagood not only refused to return Shaw’s body to the North, he ordered it thrown into a mass grave. Hagood’s statement?

We have buried him with the n—–s.

That racist statement actually became a rallying cry for Union troops, and rather than be offended, Shaw’s parents said the following:

“We would not have his body removed from where it lies surrounded by his brave and devoted soldiers. We can imagine no holier place than that in which he lies, among his brave and devoted followers, nor wish for him better company. What a bodyguard he has!”

Awesome.

Note: On a related note, you may have learned about Colonel Shaw in the movie Glory, starring Matthew Broderick. Great movie, but it doesn’t mention Colonel Shaw’s burial or his family’s reaction to it.

You all know actor Bill Paxton, right? Just died in February? He was in movies like Titanic, Apollo 13 and Twister. Anyway, in one of life’s odd little happenstances, when Bill Paxton was 8-years old he was 20-feet from President John F. Kennedy just 4-hours before he was assassinated. It seems Paxton’s dad took him and his brother to see the president that fateful morning (and the night before as you can hear in the video below) and a photograph was taken. This is that photograph. Amazing, really. Damn, I love these weird little stories.

Bill’s the little guy on somebody’s shoulders. Yep, that looks like him alright.

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A vet from Hocking Hills Animal Clinic was recently pleasantly reminded why being a veterinarian is awesome. As she was walking in the forest, the woman was suddenly and unexpectedly reunited with an old patient – a turtle.

She posted a photo of the turtle with a peculiar shell and added the following caption:

Several years ago, a client brought me a box turtle that had been hit by a car. I used fiberglass to repair his broken shell and then released him in my woods. Recently, while walking on my hillside, I spotted an odd pattern in the leaves. To my amazement, there was my old patient with the fiberglass still on years later! Sometimes, being a vet is the best thing there is.”

Veterinarians ask people to be aware that if they see a turtle with a cracked shell, it’s best if they seek their assistance. In this case, it seems that the turtle was fully grown, so it was OK to leave it with the fiberglass. But if the turtle is still growing, it’s best to change its cast and apply a new one from time to time. Here’s the post:

Along the wild Pacific coast of British Columbia there lives a population of Sea Wolves. Scientists know from exhaustive DNA studies that these wolves are genetically distinct from their relatives. They are behaviourally distinct, swimming from island to island and preying on sea animals. They are also morphologically distinct — they are smaller in size and physically different from their mainland cousins.

Incredibly, 90% of their food comes directly from the ocean, with 25% of it coming from eating salmon. Hey, in addition to being amazing they have good taste! Another cool fact is that these Sea Wolves are excellent swimmers and have been observed swimming as far as 7.5 miles from island to island.

British Columbia has a relatively low human population, so these Sea Wolves enjoy an isolated wilderness – an area of 21-million acres. There are 25 native species of conifers and grizzly bears, black bears and spirit bears living there as well.*

*Spirit Bears? Cool name. I searched that one up on The Goggle and it turns out Spirit Bears are a rare subspecies of Black Bear, 10% of which are white. Nature, man.

However, here’s the bad news. Sea Wolves are being threatened on all sides by hunting, trapping and industry. Road building and clear cut logging have been harmful to the wolves, not only destroying the forests they live in but making it easier for hunters to gain access to hunt them. Who the hell would want to kill an animal that has adapted and worked so hard to survive? Humans suck, man.

Anyway, Sea Wolves are a real thing, and I had no idea. Just cool as hell. Check ’em out by clicking the gallery below and rolling through the photos.

McMillan TAC-50

A Canadian sniper set what appears to be a record, picking off an ISIS fighter from some 2.2 miles away, and disrupting a potentially deadly operation by the terror group in Iraq.

Shooting experts say the fatal shot at a world-record distance of 11,316 feet underscores how stunningly sophisticated military snipers are becoming. The feat, pulled off by a special forces sniper from Canada’s Joint Task Force 2, smashed the previous distance record for successful sniper shots by some 3,280 feet, a record set by a British sniper.

“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 metres [2.2 miles],” the Canadian military said in a statement.

The new record was set using a McMillan TAC-50, a .50-caliber weapon and the largest shoulder-fired firearm in existence.

The sniper’s spotter would have had to successfully calculate five factors: distance, wind, atmospheric conditions and the speed of the earth’s rotation at their latitude. To get the atmospheric conditions just right, he would have had to understand the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of the air the round had to travel through.

Are you f**king kidding me? I’m pretty sure the only record I hold is fitting 47 Cheez-Its into my mouth at once, and this dude is taking out ISIS assholes from 2.2 miles after considering distance, wind, atmospheric conditions, the speed of the earth’s rotation and the barometric pressure of the air the round had to travel through? Good God, man. That’s intense. Terrorist was probably sitting there eating some hummus and boom, life over. Well done, Canadian sniper. Well done indeed.

Listen, there are cool guys and then there are really cool guys, and when you can jet over, flip a capsized catamaran back to level and follow that with a couple 20-foot high backflips while standing on high-powered jets of water then you are a really cool guy. Kudos, Jet Boarder. Kudos.

Note: Ever type a word and swear you misspelled it? I did that with capsize. Had to search it up on the Goggle to be sure. Still looks wrong to me.

A fisherman has lived to tell the tale of how he ended up with a Great White Shark in the bottom of his boat.

Terry Selwood, 73, was fishing offshore at Evans Head on the New South Wales north coast when the shark launched itself into his boat.

“I caught a blur of something coming over the boat, and the pectoral fin of the shark hit me on the forearm and knocked me down on the ground to my hands and knees,” Mr Selwood said. “He came right over the top of the motor and then dropped onto the floor. There I was on all fours and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him and then he started to do the dance around and shake and I couldn’t get away quick enough,” Mr Selwood said. “I was losing a fair amount of blood, I was stunned, I couldn’t register what happened and then I thought oh my God, I’ve got to get out of here.”

For such a close brush with a shark, Mr. Selwood came off relatively lightly. He was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries.

Despite his close encounter, Mr. Selwood said he was desperate to get back out to wet a line.

“It won’t deter me from fishing, no way in the world,” he said.

Terry Selwood, man. Dude was on all fours, looking a shark in the eye who had just leaped into his boat, and only then did it occur to him to get the hell out of there. Seriously though, we’re not safe in boats anymore? That was the safe refuge, man. Now the sharks are coming right into the boats like Jaws? Sweet Jesus. What’s next, Land Sharks?

 

 

So I ran across this nugget in a book I was reading the other day and found it quite fascinating. It seems that about 2,500 years ago some dude named Hanno the Navigator (cool name, man) became one of the first Europeans to see a band of gorillas. He had been sent off to explore Africa and had gotten used to bumping into strange and exotic tribes. Weird looking folks if you will.

So, when he found an island full of gorillas he figured that they were simply the weirdest, funniest-looking group of people yet. Hanno wrote that he’d found “savage people, whose bodies were hairy, and whom our interpreters called Gorillae.”

He and his men actually tried to introduce themselves to the gorillas, but the gorillas weren’t too communicative. That had to be an awesome attempt at conversation to witness though, amirite? Instead, the apes just threw rocks at the humans and ran away. Incredibly, Hanno’s men caught three of the gorillas and tried to talk them into going back to Carthage with them. Shockingly, it didn’t work. Hanno said the gorillas “could not be prevailed upon to accompany us.”

Eventually and unsurprisingly, when the gorillas got violent Hanno and his men do what humans do and killed them. Then Hanno went a little batshit crazy: “We flayed them,” he wrote, talking about what he thought were human beings, “and brought their skins with us to Carthage.

People were savage back in the old-timey days, man. Just brutal. Anyway, thought I’d share.

Source The “Alien” signals have been pinpointed. New research has identified a cradle of young stars 2.4-billion light years away as the source of mysterious fast radio bursts detected on Earth.

These bursts – which each lasted just a few milliseconds – come from dense neutron stars just 12-miles across in the constellation Auriga.

Experts are baffled about these strange bursts, with some speculating it could be a sign of alien life trying to contact us.

And so it begins. The people of Auriga just shooting signals to us like an extra-terrestrial boss, and we’re too damn dumb to interpret them. We need to get our best minds on this immediately, guys like Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan (no idea if he’s still alive), or Bill Nye the Science Guy. Somebody’s gotta decipher those radio bursts, and I mean now. Hell, they could have been a warning, a heads-up telling us the Auriga Armada is on its way to Earth to destroy us all. And spare me with the “2.4-billion light years away is too far away” garbage. Who knows what kind of technology these space people possess? Now excuse me while I go make preparations for the end of mankind.

Thought: I wonder if anybody has tried Morse Code?

Florida: Officials on Monday released a 911 call from the alligator attack over the weekend that left a 10-year-old girl with an injury to her leg.

The girl was sitting down in 2-foot-deep water in a designated swimming area at Moss Park about 2:30 p.m. Saturday when the 9-foot gator attacked her, according to a report by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The gator bit the girl’s calf and knee, but she was able to pry open its jaws to get her leg free, the report states.

Her injuries were not life threatening. The girl’s father told deputies that she was doing fine at the hospital.

Of course she’s doing fine. She’s badass, what would you expect? No big deal, it’s just a 9-foot gator. Hold on a sec while I unpry its massive jaws from my leg. Seriously, a lot of people would have just checked out and called it a day once the gator grabbed their leg. Not this chick. She took the offensive. Girl’s probably enjoying fried gator as we speak.

Honestly though, this gator has to be getting scorched by his buddies right now, huh?

“Hey Hank, tell us again how that 10-year old girl pried your jaws open and sent you swimming home to mommy. That’s weaksauce, man.”

Great look for little girls, bad look for gators, man.

Hollywood character actor Dick Elliott. Old people will recognize him.

So yeah, this is the ghost lamp everyone is going all kooky over. It’s in the already spooky town of Salem, Massachusetts. I’ve been to Salem, and although I saw no ghost lamps I’m pretty sure I was haunted by Hollywood character actor Dick Elliott, who grew up there. Anywho, if we didn’t have internet sensations like the Dancing Baby or Keyboard Cat, where would we be really?

PS: Don’t let your grandparents tell you this didn’t happen back in the day. Ask them about Hula Hoops and Coonskin Caps. Oh, and Panty Raids. Those were supposed to be fun.

Ghost Lamp!

Ghost Lamp Close-Up!

(Source)A psychic fatally stabbed himself in the heart while trying to prove his immortality. Clairvoyant Theprit Palee, 25, was performing a folk ritual to honour ancestral spirits when he tried to impress spectators by pressing a sword into his chest in a bid to appear superhuman. But tragedy struck when he accidentally plunged the blade into himself. Horrified onlookers watched on as crowds of rescuers attempted to revive him but he later died at hospital.

Man, tough look for Theprit Palee, huh? There’s nothing worse than killing yourself while trying to prove your immortality. That really blows. Kinda shows you how the ol’ ancestral spirits feel about Theprit, amirite? Yikes. And shouldn’t a psychic have seen this coming? Do your job, psychic.

Sometimes, it’s all in the marketing. And a shitty name always hurts as well. Here’s the story.

Kids, there once was a cookie brand called Hydrox, and it is the original “sandwich cookie.” Hydrox debuted in 1908 and a cookie you may have heard of, Oreos, began in 1912. Oreos have been the knock-off brand all along, man.

Be honest. Did you know that?

It’s a familiar story. A small, fledgling company comes up with a great new product, so great that a bigger, more powerful company copies the idea. The larger firm flexes its better distribution and promotional muscles, the smaller outfit watches helplessly as its business slips away, and suddenly it’s all over. Another case of the strong running roughshod over the weak. It’s the American Way really, when you think about it.

Hydrox cookies were originally the signature product of a small company called Sunshine Biscuits. The public loved them and they single-handedly ruled the sandwich cookie market for four years, until they looked around and saw a giant peeking through their window.

National Biscuit, the massive company that would later become Nabisco, took an interest in this strange new product and created their own ripoff version, using their vastly superior, already established distribution channels and massive advertising budgets to steamroll the good old USA with it. Sunshine was a cool little company and all, but they didn’t have a real good strategy to fight this other than saying, “Hey! We were first, man!” with ads like this:

Yeah, that’s pretty weaksauce. Sad really. Plus that kid is terrifying.

The problem is, after a few years Oreos had become so popular that Hydrox began being perceived as the imitation. It probably didn’t help that Hydrox sounds like something you’d buy to clean your toilet or to bleach your dirty linen, so there’s that as well. Branding, man. It’s important.

So anyhoo, Sunshine was eventually bought by other companies and their products discontinued, while that filthy imitation product known as “Oreo” went on to become a cultural icon, which I happen to adore.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is to always be looking over your shoulder, trust nobody, and never give a food you invented a name that sounds like a cleaning solvent.

You’re welcome.

Sweet Mother of God.

65-million years ago, an asteroid is believed to have crashed into Earth. The impact wiped out huge numbers of species, including almost all of the dinosaurs. One group of dinosaurs managed to survive the disaster.

Today, we know them as birds.

The idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs has been around since the 19th century, when scientists discovered the fossil of an early bird called Archaeopteryx. It had wings and feathers, but it also looked a lot like a dinosaur. More recent fossils look similar.

But these early birds didn’t look the same as modern ones. In particular, they didn’t have beaks: they had snouts, like those of their dinosaur ancestors.

To understand how one changed into another, a team has been tampering with the molecular processes that make up a beak in chickens.

By doing so, they have managed to create a chicken embryo with a dinosaur-like snout and palate, similar to that of small feathered dinosaurs like Velociraptor. 

There are no plans to hatch any more eggs.

Well, here we go. We all saw this coming, amirite? Damn scientists start sticking their noses where they don’t belong and we end up with that monster in the photo up there. Thing looks like it’s gonna leap out of the photo, pull a vein out of my neck and kill me, which is what those DinoChickens are all going to do once these scientists start hatching those eggs, which we all know they’re going to do. Sorry for the long sentence but I’m a little upset. Didn’t they watch Jurassic Park? Good God man, kill the eggs! Kill them with fire!

And here’s how we’re all going to die. Remember that Monster Chicken video I showed you a couple weeks ago? How long before somebody turns one of those beasts into a Monster DinoChicken? We’re doomed, I tell you. Doomed.

PS- Sparky just growled at my computer screen. He’s ready for the inevitable War with the Chickens.

PPS- Now that I think about it, he may have started it.

Dean Smith was a legendary basketball coach at the University of North Carolina. He won 879 games and coached players like Michael Jordan, Vince Carter and James Worthy. He’s widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball coaches of all-time. But there’s more . . .

In the late 1940s, there was a young player at Topeka High School in Kansas, which had been integrated from the time it was founded in 1871 but was fielding an all-white team known as the Trojans.  The other teams at Topeka High were integrated, but not basketball.

There was also an all-black team, the Ramblers, made up of students from the school. African American students were banned from attending school dances and other activities at the time.

Topeka High did not fully support the Ramblers. The Trojans were the school’s team and the Ramblers couldn’t even use the school’s gym to practice. They played their games and held their practices at East Topeka Junior High. They also had their own all-black cheerleading squad.

Topeka High did help the Ramblers a little. It provided them with uniforms and with buses for away games, as they played in an all-black conference against teams from Kansas and western Missouri. Wherever they played, the Ramblers faced segregation. Meals on the road were served by the families of the opposing teams in gyms or churches. On overnight road trips, the players stayed in the homes of local African-American families.

In 1948, the Trojans placed third in the state tournament. The next year, a member of the Trojans went to Buck Weaver, the principal, to try to get the two teams merged; and he would not give up after initially being told no.

That player was Dean Smith, the same Dean Smith who later helped integrate ACC basketball by recruiting Charlie Scott to play at the University of North Carolina in 1966.

Keep in mind that this was 5-years before the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that led to the desegregation of America’s schools.

But there’s more.

In the 1960s, Dean Smith helped integrate a local restaurant in Chapel Hill and assisted an African-American graduate student’s purchase of a home in an all-white neighborhood. In a profession in which most coaches are either conservative or not political at all, Dean Smith opposed the Vietnam War, the death penalty and called for a freeze on nuclear weapons, among other causes.

And he wasn’t afraid to tell you about it.

Want more? Dean Smith graduated over 96% of his players and he was the coach who first taught his players to point to the teammate who passed them the ball after a basket. Players all over the world are still doing it to this day.

After Dean Smith died on February 7th, 2015, every player who ever lettered for him was sent a check from his estate for $200.00. And the legend himself, Michael Jordan, released this statement:

“Other than my parents, nobody had a bigger impact on my life than Coach Smith. He was more than a coach – he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life. My heart goes out to Linnea and their kids. We’ve lost a great man who had an incredible impact on his players, his staff and the entire UNC family.”

Dean Smith, more than a basketball coach. Much, much more.

 

 

Because he was a real person. And he was related to that other, more famous Hitler –  Adolf. You see, William “Willie” Patrick Hitler was Adolf Hitler’s nephew.

Want another mind-blowing fun fact? Hitler’s little nephew served in the United States Navy in World War II.

It’s true. Here’s the story . . .

William “Willie” Patrick Hitler was born to Adolf’s brother, Alois Hitler, Jr. and his wife in Liverpool, England, in 1911. Ironically, the family lived in a flat that was eventually destroyed in the last German air raid of the Liverpool Blitz in January of 1942. Anyway, Willie ended up moving to Germany in 1933 right after Uncle Adolf had risen to power. It seems young Willie was trying to use his uncle’s influence to get a better job. Adolf in fact helped Willie get several jobs, but none stuck.

Then Willie did something that, in retrospect, wasn’t too bright. He began writing to his Uncle Adolf with blackmail threats, saying that he would sell embarrassing stories about the family to the newspapers unless his “personal circumstances” improved. Among these stories was Willie’s allegation that Adolf’s paternal grandfather was a Jewish merchant.

Uh-oh. That didn’t go over well.

Incredibly though, soon after the threats Adolf asked William to relinquish his British citizenship in exchange for a high-ranking job. Willie wasn’t buying it for a second and expected a trap. He bolted Nazi Germany and skedaddled back to London.

As crazy as this sounds now, Willie then wrote an article for Look Magazine. It’s title? “Why I Hate My Uncle.” I’m dead serious right now.

Meanwhile, Uncle Adolf was beginning his quest for world domination in earnest.

As for Willie, he left Germany in early 1939 to visit the United States with his mother. Problem is, a little thing called World War II broke out and they were stranded here. Willie grew to like the place, moved to Queens, New York, and eventually joined the US Navy. He actually had to get special permission from President Franklin Roosevelt because his uncle was, you know, the freaking leader of the Third Reich.

But there’s more. Willie Hitler was wounded in action during the war and given the Purple Heart, awarded to those wounded or killed while serving with the US military. Amazing really.

Here are some other fascinating facts about Willie Hitler:

  • Willie had a brother named Heinz. Heinz, in contrast to William, became a committed Nazi and in 1942 died in Soviet captivity.
  • After being discharged from the Navy, William Hitler changed his surname to Stuart-Houston.
  • Willie married a woman named Phyllis and they had four sons, the first of which they named . . . wait for it . . . Alexander Adolf. Go figure.

Focus and concentration. Boom.

296d13f578b281b9e6b8a272e6163655

Tasty?

This is a rarity, but I’m going to use real names and places in this story. Why? Because I’m pretty sure all involved will just laugh about it. Read on . . .

It was early in my coaching career and I was coaching junior high basketball at Greenfield Middle School. We had a really good team, and we had a big game coming up against Circleville, who was also really good.

When I got to the school for the game that evening, though, I got some bad news – our best player was sick.

Yep, Marcus was our best player and MVP of our team, and he was sick as a dog. When I walked into our locker room he was doubled over, pale, and clearly not well. I mean, the kid could barely walk.

Uh-oh. This was bad. Really bad. I mean, we were good, but no way could we win without Marcus. I walked up to him and asked him if he could make it, and at that point he reached behind him and grabbed a jar of Vicks VapoRub from his locker. Then he said, “This will fix me up, coach. Don’t worry about it.

Ah, OK. A little Vicks VapoRub on the chest was always good for what ailed ya, right? Hey, if Marcus thought it would work we’d be good to go!

Oh, it was probably 10-minutes later when another player, Jeremy, came running up to me with a look of horror in his eyes.

Coach, he ate it! HE ATE IT!

Wait. What?

He ate it? Ate what? Certainly not the Vicks VapoRub. I mean, it said, “NOT TO BE TAKEN INTERNALLY” right on the lid there.

I had to find out though, so I went to the man himself.

“Uh, Marcus, you didn’t eat that did you?” 

“Sure, Coach. My family eats it all the time. It’ll clean me out. I’ll be fine. Give it a few minutes.”

At that point I saw it, on the bench beside him, the empty jar of Vicks VapoRub, just sitting there empty and clean as a whistle.

Oh, for the love of God. He ate it.

Bottom line? As I coached from the sideline waiting for him to die, Marcus played a great game and led us to victory. Guess he was cleaned out.

Who knew that Vicks VapoRub was such a miracle cure?

Note: I actually researched this and found that it was not uncommon for people to eat Vicks VapoRub back in the day. Still not recommended though.

Yep. This guy.

duke

Not Duke but awfully close.

Looking back, growing up in the small southern Ohio town of Bourneville wasn’t a bad way to go. Everybody knew everybody else, everyone looked after each other, and we were sort of unaffected by what was going on in the turbulent 1960’s. Oh, I knew about the Vietnam War and all the protests, but that was mainly because of my oldest sister Karen. Sis, always the rebel, made sure her little bro knew about the injustices of the world. As far as the Civil Rights movement down south, my father had made all that clear to me years earlier during our vacations to Florida. I distinctly remember him pointing to the “Whites Only” signs over bathroom doors in Georgia and explaining how it was wrong. All-in-all though, my daily life was pretty idyllic, to be honest.

I say all that because it’s pertinent to the story that follows.

For a few years in the mid-60’s I had a dog named Duke. Unlike all the dogs I’ve owned as an adult, Duke was an outside dog. We didn’t really know what kind of a dog he was, he sort of looked like a Greyhound with longer, collie-like hair. He was light brown with some white on his face and tail, and he could run like the wind.

How do I know this, you ask? Because he chased every car that drove by our house. Pull in our driveway? Fine. Drive on past? Get chased.

Anyway, Duke was a great dog.  He went with me everywhere, followed me whether I was on my bike or walking. He’d wait patiently outside the local store or gas station while I was inside, hang with my friends and I, or just generally be a great companion for a kid growing up in Southern Ohio.

And everyone in town knew my dog Duke.

Then one day, for some reason I was all by myself at home. This wasn’t unusual, parents left their kids home all the time back then. Hey, we could fend for ourselves. Compared to now it was a totally different world.

Anyway, the phone rang and it was the guy who owned the gas station in the middle of Bourneville. He basically said to get down there, that Duke had been in an accident. Obviously, I was distraught. I raced down there on my bike, and as I rounded the corner I saw a group gathered, maybe 8-10 people. When I got near they sort of separated so I could see, and there, on the ground, was Duke.

He looked normal, no visible injuries at all, and no blood. He was breathing normally and just looked very at ease and peaceful. Still, something was clearly wrong.

What happened next could only happen in a small midwestern town. Somebody backed up a pickup truck, and some of the men helped me place Duke gently in the bed. Somebody put my bike in as well, and we were driven back to my house where we carefully lay Duke on a blanket on my garage floor.

At that point everybody sort of backed away and left, leaving me there with my buddy.

And so here I was, a 10 or 11-year old kid, sitting on my family’s garage floor, with my dying dog’s head on my lap.

After maybe 10 or 15-minutes Duke sort of gave a sigh, and I knew he was gone.

I then held Duke, waited for my father to get home, told him what had happened, and he and I proceeded to bury Duke in our backyard.

Was it a tough moment for a kid my age? Hell, yes. But it was a different time, a different era. What happened wasn’t unusual for a small midwestern town in the 1960s. While people looked out for each other, ultimately you had to be independent and deal with life on your own.

And I did.

And in the end, I was better off for it.

 

Lewis, Perkins, Presley and Cash.

The jam session to end all jam sessions started innocently enough on December 4th, 1956,* at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. But before the day was over, rock legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins would end up singing and recording together.

*By the way, that was exactly 1-year and 1-day after yours truly was born. Weird to think I was hanging out in my crib 586.9 miles to the northeast that day.

The session pretty much happened by pure chance. Carl Perkins, who by this time had already recorded a big hit with “Blue Suede Shoes,” had come into the studios to record some new material. Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, had brought in his latest signee, a cat by the name of Jerry Lee Lewis, to play piano on Perkins’ record. Jerry Lee was pretty much unknown at the time. Interestingly though, his first Sun single would be released just a few days later.

Then, sometime later in the early afternoon, 21-year-old Elvis Presley, a former Sun artist now with RCA Victor, arrived to pay a casual visit. Elvis already had hits with “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

After chatting with Phillips in the control room, Presley listened to the playback of Perkins’ session, which he thought was very good. Then he went into the studio and the historic jam session began.

Then incredibly, a little later Sun artist Johnny Cash showed up. Johnny had already had a few hits on the country charts by this point, including “I Walk the Line.”

An engineer named Jack Clement was working that day and had the good sense to hit the record button, saving much of the session for posterity.

During the session, Sam Phillips called a local newspaper and alerted them of what was going on. Bob Johnson, the newspaper’s entertainment editor, came over to the studios with a photographer. Johnson wrote an article about the session, which appeared the following day in the Press-Scimitar under the headline “Million Dollar Quartet,” hence the name.

Amazingly, on an otherwise unremarkable early-December day in 1956, four artists who would each go on to contribute greatly to popular music all ended up on the same studio, just jamming and doing what they loved.

It was to be the one and only time they’d sing together.

In the Civil Rights movement, even children became public figures, such as a little 6-year old girl by the name of Ruby Bridges. Ruby integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960.

Ruby was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, to Abon and Lucille Bridges. When she was 4-years old her parents moved to New Orleans, hoping for a better life in a bigger city. Her father got a job as a gas station attendant and her mother took night jobs to help support their growing family.

Ruby Bridges was born the same year that the Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education decision desegregated schools, and it was a notable coincidence in her early journey into civil rights activism. When Ruby was in kindergarten, she was one of many African-American students in New Orleans who were chosen to take a test determining whether or not she could attend a white school. The test was written to be especially difficult so that students would have a hard time passing. The idea was that if all the African-American children failed the test, New Orleans schools might be able to stay segregated for a while longer. Ruby lived a mere five blocks from an all-white school but attended kindergarten several miles away at an all-black segregated school. Incredibly, Ruby Bridges was one of only six black children in New Orleans to pass this test.

The faces of hatred.

On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Ruby and her mother five blocks to her new school. While in the car, one of the men explained that when they arrived at the school, two marshals would walk in front of Ruby and two would be behind her. The image of this small black girl being escorted to school by four large white men inspired Norman Rockwell to create the painting “The Problem We All Live With”, which graced the cover of Look magazine in 1964 (photo at bottom). As soon as Bridges entered the school, white parents pulled their own children out; all the teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. Finally, one person agreed to teach Ruby  –  a courageous female teacher named Barbara Henry, from Boston. For over a year Miss Henry taught Ruby alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” Here’s a photo of the amazing Miss Henry with Ruby:

That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. On the second day, however, a white student broke the boycott and entered the school when a 34-year-old Methodist minister, Lloyd Anderson Foreman, walked his 5-year-old daughter Pam through the angry mob, saying, “I simply want the privilege of taking my child to school.” Another hero right there – Mr. Lloyd Anderson Foreman.

A few days later, other white parents began bringing their children, and the protests began to subside. Every morning as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her; because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, allowed Ruby to eat only the food that she brought from home. So damn sad.

The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary. Her father lost his job, the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land.

However, Ruby has since said that many others in the community, both black and white, showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.

Ruby graduated from a desegregated high school, became a travel agent, married, and eventually had four sons.

Ruby later wrote about her early experiences in two books. A lifelong activist for racial equality, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Ruby Bridges, along with teacher Barbara Henry, parent Lloyd Anderson Foreman and many others, are true American heroes.

Gurkha soldiers.

Ever heard of the Gurkhas? No? Well, here at Shoe: Untied my crack staff is committed to educating our readers on literally everything, from sports to politics to history to asshat parkers. Hey, we’re here for y’all. Just broadening your world horizons if you will.

Here are four stories about Gurkha bravery and courage. Read on, loyal readers, and be amazed . . .

In 1815, the British Army tried to conquer Nepal. However, the Nepal’s Gurkha Warriors had something to say about that, and what they said was “No freaking way, British pansies.” They easily defeated the British. So the British officers decided that, if they couldn’t beat them, they’d get the Gurkhas to join them. A peace agreement ceased all British fighting in Nepal, and the Gurkhas agreed to be recruited into the Crown’s military. Since then, the Gurkhas have fought in several wars, including both world wars and the Falklands War. Known as some of the most skilled and fiercest warriors in the world, the Gurkhas have terrified the bejesus out of everyone around them. Want some examples of Gurkha badassness, you say? You got it, kids. What follows are some of the bravest soldiers and stories to ever come out of the Gurkha ranks.

In 2010 in Afghanistan, Sergeant Dipprasad Pun single-handedly fought off 30 Taliban soldiers. As Pun was keeping guard on the roof of a checkpoint, the attackers came at the complex from all sides with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

It took less than 60-minutes for Pun to kill them all.

He went through all of his ammo—400-rounds and 17-grenades, as well as a mine that he detonated—to defeat each attacker. A Taliban soldier climbed up to the roof, only to be clubbed over the head with a machine-gun tripod by Pun.

Bad. Ass.

In WWII, Rifleman Lachhiman Gurung was stationed in a trench with only two other men when attacked by over 200-Japanese soldiers. Gurung’s comrades were all severely wounded. As grenades flew in one after another, Gurung started throwing them back.

He was successful with the first two, but the third exploded in his right hand. His fingers were blown off and his face, body, and right arm and leg were badly wounded.

As the Japanese stormed the trench, Gurung used his left hand to wield his rifle, killing 31-soldiers and preventing the Japanese from advancing.

Gurung survived.

planets(CNN) Astronomers have found at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The findings were also announced at a news conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

This discovery outside of our solar system is rare because the planets have the winning combination of being similar in size to Earth and being all temperate, meaning they could have water on their surfaces and support life.

“This is the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around the same star,” said Michaël Gillon, lead study author and astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium.

Wow. One month of Trump and NASA is announcing we already have seven potential back-up Earths. Sweet. They might just come in handy soon. Honestly though, shouldn’t this be bigger news? I mean, we just discovered seven planets like ours that could support life. Holy mother that’s terrifying. Then again, they’re 40 light years away so I suppose we’re safe for now. Wait. I just had a thought. What if one of the seven earth-like planets discover us?

Chills, man.

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