Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Scientists managed to double the size of monkeys’ brains by injecting fetuses with human genes.

Our future overlords.

The study was carried out by researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, with colleagues at Japan’s Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Kawasaki and the Keio University in Tokyo.

The gene has been used in the past on mice and ferrets, with results showing that it causes an expanded neocortex in the animals, but its relevance for primate evolution was unclear until now.

A release about the study published by EurekAlert explains that the expansion of the human brain during evolution – specifically the neocortex – is linked to our cognitive abilities such as reasoning and language.

The findings, published in the journal Science, showed that the modified brains had nearly doubled in size approximately 100 days into gestation.

Oh for the love of God. WHY? Like Ian Malcomb said in Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” I mean, we all know the endgame here, right? We’ve all seen Planet of the Apes. Sweet Jesus. As far as I’m concerned the researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany and trheir buddies at Japan’s Central Institute for Experimental Animals in Kawasaki and the Keio University in Tokyo can go straight to hell.

Note: Seriously, messing with nature never ends well. Click here to read all about it. I’ve been to this place and recommend it highly.

Funny us funny though, right? Right?

Check out that Indian Flapshell Turtle, man. Dude looks like he fell into one of those cheese fountains at really tacky wedding receptions (sorry Heather and Chad). This guy is actually an extremely rare Albino Flapshell Turtle which has been spotted in the wild only once before. This type of turtle can also be found in other South Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Seriously though, that turtle looks like it’s made of cheese. Anywho, Indian Flapshell Turtle.

NYTOn Saturday just past noon, Leonard Shoulders strolled up to a bus stop in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx. A handful of people stood around, waiting for their rides or looking down at their phones — an unremarkable scene.

But then a hole suddenly opened up on the sidewalk and Mr. Shoulders, 33, plunged into it. Stunned bystanders who rushed to the edge of the chasm faced a ghastly sight: Mr. Shoulders had dropped 12 to 15 feet into an underground vault teeming with rats.

“Rats crawling on him, he can’t move,” his brother, Greg White, told CBS New York. “He didn’t want to yell because he was afraid there were going to be rats inside his mouth.”

For about 30-minutes, Mr. Shoulders remained in the vault as firefighters tried to pull him out of the hole. Videos of the scene show him eventually being wheeled away on a stretcher by emergency workers. He suffered injuries to his head and arm, Mr. White said.

Cindy White, Mr. Shoulders’s mother, told NBC New York: “He’s traumatized. He said he went straight down, and he was falling, falling, but the debris was falling and hitting him in the head.”

Imagine this – you’re standing there on a crisp fall day, minding your own business, maybe checking your phone for messages or chatting up a homeless dude on the sidewalk, when suddenly you’re plunging straight down into the Depths of Hell. As you float downward into the darkness you have zero idea how far you’re going to fall, so you brace for the impact. Suddenly you land, but it’s a shockingly soft landing. You survived! But then, that soft, thick furry blanket under you begins to move. You’ve fallen onto a mass of teeming New York City sewer rats. Good God almighty that had to be horrifying. And how about Cindy White? She says her son is “traumatized.” Man, is she insightful or what?

Anyway, next time time you’re having a bad day remember that it could be worse – at least you’re not Leonard Shoulders.

Note: This has lawsuit written all over it, so here’s my question – Would you fall 12 to 15 feet into an underground vault teeming with rats and lay there for 30-minutes unti you were rescued for a couple million bucks?

The Beatles first arrived in America in early February of 1964, and their press conferences were surprising to put it mildly. The American reporters were ready to pounce on these odd looking dudes with the weird haircuts and many fully expected to make fun of them. They believed they’d be interviewing dumb musicians. What they found, however, was four charming, engaging and intelligent young men. In no time The Beatles had won them over with comments like you’ll soon read below. Check ’em out:

Reporter: How do you find America?

Ringo: We turned left at Greenland.

Reporter: Where do the haircuts come from?

George: Our scalps.

Reporter: Does it bother you that you can’t hear yourself singing at concerts?

John: No, we don’t mind. We’ve got all the records at home.

Reporter: You’re not married.

George: No, I’m George.

Reporter: Some people have been calling your haircuts “Un-American.” How do you respond to this?

John: Well, that’s very observant of them because we aren’t American.

Reporter: What are some of your favorite programs on American television?

John: Popeye, Bullwinkle. All the cultural stuff.

Reporter: What do you call your haircut?

George: Arthur.

Reporter: A U.S. psychologist said your music had unresolved leading tones, a false moral frame ending up as a plain diatonic. What do you say to that?

John: We’re going to see a doctor about that.

Reporter: Will you sing something for us?

John: No. We need money first.

Reporter: The French have not made up their mind about The Beatles. What do you think of them?

John: Oh, we like The Beatles.

Reporter: How does all the adoration from teenage girls affect you?

John: When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo and know perfectly well we’re not supermen.

Reporter: You’ve got fame and fortune. If this were all to disappear overnight, and you were left with one thing you’d like to hang on to, what would that be?

The Beatles, in unison: THE MONEY.

Reporter, to John: What type of women do you prefer?

John: My wife.

Reporter, to George: What type of women do you prefer?

George: John’s wife.

Reporter: Has success changed your life?

George: Yes.

Reporter: Detroit has a movement called Stomp Out The Beatles. What do you say to that?

Ringo: We have a movement to stop out Detroit.

So yeah, all four were pretty damn funny in addition to being amazing musicians. Here’s a video of some of their interviews:

I got nuthin’ here. Nuthin’ at all.

PS- Good God.

Click on one, then scroll for the burns.

Looks like she did her due research, but I’m wondering if it was once a team project.

Anyone who’s been involved in education over the past 20-30 years can tell you how much things have changed. I won’t get into all the requirements of teachers today but trust me when I say it’s a lot. Back in the day? Let’s just say things were a little looser. Does that mean they were worse? Not at all, at least in my opinion. Some so-called educational experts will tell you that that all the rules and requirements have simply been implemented to hold teachers more accountable, and I suppose that’s true. However, I believe they’ve been responsible for taking a lot of creativity out of the classroom.

That said, there are plenty of great teachers out there today who figure out how to be innovative despite having their hands tied, and there were plenty of teachers 30-years ago who used the lack of stringent requirements to cut a lot of corners. Bottom line, a good teacher is a good teacher. Still, it’s fun to look back and recall all the stuff I did that I could probably never get away with today.

My first year of teaching was at Greenfield McClain and I loved everything about it. The students, the teaching staff, my principal, all of it. I was hired as a Junior High Reading teacher and since there was no Course of Study written for it yet they told me to do it myself. That, former students, is why we broke down a lot of Beatles lyrics like these:

No one I think is in my tree,

I mean it must be high or low.

That is you can’t, you know, tune in

But it’s alright

That is, I think it’s not too bad.

So yeah, I was sort of winging it but I think it all turned out alright.

I think.

I used to play music in the classroom all the time back then, and in the mid-80s almost nobody did it. I recall a lot of quizzical looks from teachers passing in the hallway as we had not-so-silent-reading on Fridays with R.E.M., The Beatles or The Replacements playing in the background. Hey, I maintain to this day that rather than getting my students worked up, music actually calmed them down. Once I hit play everyone knew it was time to get quiet and to work. Music soothes the soul, hence its use in classrooms today. But let’s move on to some other things I did that, shall we say, might raise a few eyebrows today.

THE AIR HORN

Oh, the memories.

I had one of those air horns that were actually supposed to be used by guys driving boats, I mean the really loud ones. If I saw a kid nodding off or otherwise not paying attention, out came my air horn. I’m telling you man, there were times I scared the absolute bejesus out of kids with that monster. It’s a miracle someone didn’t pee their pants. And yes, of course I sometimes used it to sneak up behind a fellow teacher and give them a hearty blast as well. Why? Because it was fun.

HANK THE ANGRY CLOWN

Looks harmless enough.

I taught Elementary Physical Education for a few years, and I’d always have to go down and get kids out of the locker room. See, they’d go down there to use the bathroom and end up goofing off with another kid or kids. It was usually the younger students.

What do do? Well, for some reason my weird mind came up with Hank the Angry Clown. Soooo, I decided to tell my students the story of Hank the Angry Clown. In my mind Hank was a clown (somehow angry) with big orange hair, giant shoes, and a bulbous nose. He lived in the ceilings of our school and had been seen several occasions by the staff and maintenence people. And yes, even I had seen him. He had once even been seen riding down the hallway late at night on a tiny tricycle, beeping the horn as he went. I even told them if you looked up at the classroom ceilings you might see him lifting a panel and peering down at you. And here was the kicker – he was often seen in the locker rooms, hiding in lockers or lurking above. Yes folks, it seems a little twisted now, but I was trying to scare the kids to keep them from going to the locker rooms. On a related note kids, I’m sorry.

Note: In retrospect I see what I was doing. I was transferring my fear of clowns to the kids.

Note 2: Thats awful.

Note 3: However, many students still talk about Hank. Hank’s a legend.

THE GREAT CHRISTMAS TREE HUNT (AND ITS GLORIOUS DEMISE)

I taught at Rainsboro for a couple years, and it was a small rural school. It was a couple of weeks before Christmas and alas, my room had no Christmas Tree. For reasons known only to me at the time, I sent three 8th grade boys into the woods behind the school on a Christmas Tree search. Oh, I might mention they were armed only with a hammer which was all I could find in my desk. What can I say, it seemed like a good and funny idea at the time. They’d been gone about 45-minutes when one of my students yelled, “Mr. Shoe! They’re back!” We all looked and sure enough, there they were, dragging what appeared to be a beautiful 6-foot Douglas Fir behind them. As they drew nearer you could see where the bottom of the trunk was splintered from when they chopped the tree down with the claw end of the hammer. Long story short we fashioned a tree stand out of some books, decorated the tree with some really ugly ornaments, and we were in business. Oh, and one more thing. It was only after we returned from Christmas Break that I learned where they’d found the tree . . . in someone’s backyard.

If that wasn’t enough, when we came back in January we took the tree out to the playground and set it on fire with all the ornaments still on it as the class sang “Oh Christma Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, oh how we love to burn you.” This happened, folks. There are many living witnesses plus we videotaped it. You can’t make this stuff up I tell ya.

THE KID AT THE LIQUOR STORE

When I was a High School Athletic Director I was making the rounds passing out some paperwork to my coaches.  One of my coaches taught 3rd Grade, and I have to say she was, well, a bit conservative. Keep this in mind as you read the conversation that took place between me and a little kid as I walked into her room:

Kid: “HEY! I saw you in the liquor store!”

Me, startled: “Huh? What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Kid: “Yeah, it was you. It was on Thursday in Greenfield. You were at the liquor store.”

At this point I remember that I was in fact in Greenfield on Thursday, and that it was, in fact, at the liquor store.

Me, thinking fast: “Oh yeah, a buddy of mine owns the place so I was stopping in to say hello.”

I’ve no idea why I felt compelled to lie to the kid, being an adult an all, but he had me on the ropes. Alright, I admit it.  I panicked. Anyway, the kid wasn’t convinced . . .

Kid, skeptically: “Huh.”

At that point I’d given the papers to the teacher and was on my way out. Hey, I’d covered my ass and was good to go. But as the door was about to shut behind me I heard this:

“That’s funny. I thought I saw him buying a fifth of Grey Goose Vodka.”

Good God. Damn kid was probably flunking 3rd Grade but he remembered every damn detail of my trip to Joe’s Party Shop.

Note 4: Not sure if that qualifies as something that would get me fired today but it’s still funny.

THE INSIDE OUT T-SHIRTS

You know how retro rock and roll shirts have been in vogue the past 10-20 years? Yeah, you can buy Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or Ramones shirts at Walmart now. Not like the old days when you had to actually go to a concert to buy one of your favorite band’s shirts. Believe it or not I had a rule for whenever I saw a kid with one of those on, and it was this – if you couldn’t name three songs sung by the band you had to go to the bathroom and turn it inside out. And no, I’m not kidding. Somehow, not one parent complained plus the kids learned about music! Win-win!

THE SALUTE

The Salute.

As is often the case with these things, I’ve no idea where I came up with the idea. I believe it all started when I was teaching at Greenfield Middle School and a pretty good kid did something stupid. It should come as no surprise that this happens often, good kids doing dumb things. Anyway, I didn’t want to punish the kid too severely for what he’d done, just rip his ass and scare him a little bit.

However, for some reason I gave this student three options regarding his discipline. His options were:

1. One week of detention.

2. I’d make a call to his mom and dad.

And for reasons unbeknownst to me . . .

3. He had to promise to salute me every time he saw me for the rest of his life.

Yeah, I know. Makes no sense on any level. I’ve never been in the armed forces or anything. Like I said, the kid made a dumb mistakea and I don’t even remember what it was.

Update: I remember. He’d found a beer can by the playground with a little beer left in it and he chugged it. The horror!

Bottom line I wanted him to remember what he’d done without really getting him into trouble, ya know?

And of course he picked #3. Who wouldn’t? For the next several years every time I saw this kid in the hallway, at sporting events, anywhere, he stopped and saluted.

I ended up using this form of “discipline” several times over the years at Greenfield, Rainsboro, Twin and Paint Valley. You’d think in most cases Option #3 would be forgotten pretty quickly, right?

Wrong.

Here are some examples of students sticking to their promise way beyond its expected expiration date . . .

When the kid I just mentioned was probably in his early twenties, I was stopped at a stoplight in Greenfield and the girl I was with said, “Uh, Dave, what’s that guy doing?” I glanced over and there, catty-cornered across the street, standing on the sidewalk, was my guy. He was standing at attention, saluting me.

Once I was coaching a varsity basketball game at Paint Valley and something caught my eye across the court. There, standing at mid-court, was a 30-year old man saluting me.

Another time I went to a funeral in Bainbridge, had left the funeral home and was pulling into the graveyard for the burial. There, standing by the entrance, was one of the funeral home workers, saluting me as I passed.

I was once at a restaurant in Columbus with a group of people. At one point everyone at my table got sort of quiet. I looked up to see everybody staring at something a couple tables away. Yep, there was a former student, standing quietly, at attention, and saluting.

Perhaps my favorite memory is this one –  while visiting friends at the Outer Banks one summer, I took a moment to step out on the balcony of their condo to take in the view. At some point I glanced down, and there, standing in the surf and saluting, was a former student.

What were the odds?

All these salutes in weird places were from former students who’d taken Option #3. The odd thing is, nobody ever yells first or anything. They just stand there quietly, waiting patiently for me to notice them. Odder still is the fact that other people notice them first. It’s often another person who points them out to me.

So, if you choose to attend my funeral someday (and I hope it’s a l-o-n-g way off), don’t be surprised if the occasional person stops at my casket, smiles, and gives me a short salute.

After all, they’re just fulfilling a promise.

THE NICKNAMES

Oh, the nicknames. I’ve given hundreds, perhaps thousands, of nicknames over the years, and many were questionable or names that parents might not particulary like. Among those are Rat, Sally (his real name was Chris), Cowhead, Carp 1, Carp 2, Doody, Hairball, Schmidt Happens, Grinch Dog, Weiner, Hooter, Schmedlap, Home School, The Amish Outlaw, Suicidal Tendencies (not because he had any but because he looked like a member of the group), Pig Pumper, and Doofus. Hey, kids love nicknames. It makes them feel unique and special. Still, some of those I just listed could have raised an eyebrow or two but did not. I actaully wrote about this in the spectaculary titled story called Apologies to Egg, Tweet, Harley, Grinch Dog and Many More: Nicknames I Have Bestowed. Read it. You just might find yourself in there.

RED SOLO CUP

Remember that Toby Keith song about Red Solo Cups? Well, since I played music in class that song came up a lot in 2011. Anywho, as I led my kids back from the library to our class one day we were singing the song (probably too loudly). Then, just as we rounded the corner to my classroom, there standing by my door, was . . . wait for it . . . the D.A.R.E. officer that was there to teach my kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. 

Oops.

Thank God the officer was cool about it.

THE CONCUSSING OF HUD

As every kid I ever had in class knows, I always had my room filled with an assortment of crazy stuff like toys and noisemakers and posters and stuffed animals and other wacky thingamajigs, doodads and whatchamacallits. Kids were always bringing me new toys.

With this in mind, one day one of my students brought me a cool Nerf sword, about 3-feet long. I was standing by the door to my room one morning and he just handed it to me as he walked by (for you trivia buffs, the kid was Hairball). Of course I was thrilled because, well, who wouldn’t want a Nerf Sword with which to beat students over the head?

With great joy I immediately began looking for suitable prey. It so happened that a kid named Hudson was destined to become my first victim. He was among the line of kids walking by me into the room, and why he was The Chosen One I’ll never know. Luck of the draw I guess. Plus the kids I liked got picked on the most, ya know?

Anyway, as he sauntered by unsuspectingly I reared up, held the sword high and smote him upon the head with great force. Seriously, I walloped him right on the crown of the old melon.

Upon contact, though, I immediately realized something was amiss. I never felt the soft, delicate, satisfying whack of a Nerf sword. Instead it sounded as if I’d hit a granite countertop with a croquet mallet.

It was only then that I checked out the sword blade with my hand. In retrospect, perhaps I should’ve done this prior to whacking a 5th grader over the head with it, but I was ecstatic over my new toy. What can I say?

Alas, it turns out the Nerf sword was only Nerf on the outside, and on the inside it was, well, some sort of wooden bar or something. Perhaps a type of lightweight aluminum alloy. Whatever it was, it was hard and unbendable.

Well, apparently neither was Hud’s head. I became aware of this because, after the crack of the impact he stopped, turned to look at me through glazed eyes, and sort of wobbily staggered backwards into the awaiting arms of a classmate.

The watching crowd’s reaction went from amusement to shock to horror, all in quick succession. There may have been some revulsion thrown in as well, I can’t be sure. Oh, and a few kids with the coldest hearts were still laughing.

Stunned (but not as much as Hud), I apologized profusely and made sure he was OK. Lucky for me there was no huge lump emerging, nor was there any sign of blood. That said, we watched for signs of a concussion the rest of the morning, just to be certain. Other than Hudson asking where he was a couple times and at one point coming to my desk and requesting a Ham and Cheese Omelette and a Strawberry Milkshake, he seemed fine.

I kid.

Seriously, I counted my blessings for having had Hud’s mother in class years before, though. She was familiar with my shenanigans and was unsurprised that I’d nearly knocked her first-born unconscious with a large weapon. In fact, she found it hilarious.

Thank God for that. In this day and age teachers have been fired for much less.

Bottom line, Hud survived and so did my career. I guess I have Hud’s hard head (for surviving the blow) and Hud’s mom (for not pressing charges) to thank for that.

Note 5: A few years later Hud had a growth spurt for the ages, shooting up to maybe 6′-6″. Was a blow to the noggin the cause? We may never know.

THE BOUNCY BALLS

Like I mentioned before, kids were always giving me toys and stuff, and  because of this I always had a drawer full of various sized bouncy balls. That said, for some reason I got the bright idea for a game (always at the end of the day before we went home) where I’d whip a bouncy ball off the walls. One year I even had a kid (it was Cruz) pitch the ball to me and I’d hit it with an aluminum bat, sending it flying at about 100 mph around the classroom. A kid had to grab the ball without leaving his or her seat and to get a point. As you can imagine this led to some rather aggressive battles to get the bouncy ball. Anyway, one day I threw the ball, it ricocheted off the walls a couple times . . . and vanished. It got real quiet for a second and everyone sort of looked around, befuddled. And then we heard it. A low, sort of gurgling, choking sound. To my horror I then spotted a kid we called Wormy, apparently choking to death on the bouncy ball. Thankfully, just as I rose to go perform the Heimlich Maneuver she spat out the ball, saving herself from death and me from certain dismissal. 

THE GIANT BALL OF DEATH

Again, let’s go back to my P.E. days. Remember that I was never a certified P.E. teacher so I was basically winging it again. Because of this there was a lot of dodgeball, kickball, basketball and other assorted fun and games. We had a game I invented called Thrill Kill (yeah, that name wouldn’t go over well today, amirite?) and we loved to bring out something called the Giant Ball of Death. The Giant Ball of Death was one of those gigantic gym class balls that were about 4-5 feet tall. Of course we used this monstrosity in a myriad of inapropriate ways, such as playing soccer with it. In our game you could use your hands since the ball was so big. Trust me, few sights are funnier than watching 2-3 kids pushing a giant ball really fast down the gym floor and then seeing a kid come running up to stop it, only to be knocked back about 10-feet and then being run over by said ball. Hence the name Giant Ball of Death. Oh, and sometimes it would bounce high and some nitwit would try and hit with with his head like a real soccer player, which resulted in many a crushed vertebrae sore neck. Good times. On a related note, my class was hard on the school nurses.

The Giant Ball of Death.

Note 6: I also wrote about that in a story called Dodgeball: A Microcosm of Life). Read it man!

THE NEW PERSPECTIVE

I always loved the film Dead Poet’s Society, where the late great Robin Williams starred as a rather unconventional teacher at a private college. He ends up getting canned for his behavior, but I always loved his character’s courage and how he taught his students to see life through different perspectives. Somehow, this led to me placing a desk on top of some file cabinets so kids could, you know, actually see the classroom from different physical perspectives. Trust me, I tied it all in somehow. Anyway, if you got the highest grade on a test or something you got to sit up there looking all cool and whatnot. Anyway, turns out putting a student on a desk that’s sitting on file cabinets 6-feet off the ground would not be a good idea today because it was not a good idea back then either since my principal politely requested that I stop doing it. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

A DAY IN THE CHAIR

This was something else I did as sort of a reward system that would probably somehow piss someone off today. In my room I always had a recliner, which a kid could earn a day in by doing something good. I called it A Day in the Chair, and if you won it you could spend the whole day chilling in the chair during class with whatever beverage or snack you brought from home. They still had to do the work, they just got to do it more comfortably. Today? I’m sure someone would complain about a kid getting preferential treatment or for eating a roll of Twizzlers in Social Studies class. ‘Tis a shame I tell you.

So I’m sure some former students will come up with some other shenanigans that went on, but off the top of my head those are some I remember. What can I say? It was a different, and quite possibly better, time.

I really like random, odd videos that make no sense and I know not why. I just do. One of my favorites is that weird video from Russia where this happened:

See? Hilarity. I know you smiled. Anywho, check out my latest find:

Don’t like it. Love it.

A British wildlife sanctuary has been forced to separate five parrots who wouldn’t stop swearing at visitors. Keepers say the birds encouraged each other to keep cursing, and had to be moved from the main outdoor aviary.  

Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie were removed from view this week, The Associated Press reports. They recently joined the Lincolnshire Wildlife Centre’s colony of 200 African gray parrots in August, were put in quarantine together and quickly overwhelmed the staff with their naughty language.  

“We are quite used to parrots swearing, but we’ve never had five at the same time,” the center’s chief executive, Steve Nichols, told AP. “Most parrots clam up outside, but for some reason these five relish it.” 

Nichols told BBC News that the parrots “swear to trigger reaction or a response,” so seeing people shocked or laughing only encourages the birds to curse more. 

“With the five, one would swear and another would laugh and that would carry on,” he said. 

“I’m hoping they learn different words within colonies,” Nichols added. “But if they teach the others bad language and I end up with 250 swearing birds, I don’t know what we’ll do.” 

How about these birds, huh? Just cursing like sailors at their animal sanctuary. Not like most parrots that clam up when they go outside, man. These guys relish in it. And they’re teaching each other, which makes it even cooler.

But listen, we all know what happened here, right? I read that the five birds were brought in by seperate owners and quarantined together for a couple weeks. One of them (I’m guessing Billy) knew some cuss words and taught the others. Then, when the group was put out in the zoo and started cussing at people those people started cussing back, inadvertantly teaching the parrots new curse words. It’s the age old cussing parrot problem.

Anyway, Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie, just ruffling feathers like you read about.

PS- Free the cursing parrots!

Ever wonder what was happening the year you were born? Me too. I even looked up what was happening the day I was born and it wasn’t too exciting. It was a Saturday, and apparently some dude named Osvald Harjo returned to Norway after 13-years in a Soviet prison camp. Meh. Anywho, if you’re between 18 and 80-years old I’m here for ya. Read on . . .

1940

  • First McDonald’s opens in Cali, people worldwide begin getting fatter.
  • Penicillin invented. Eat it, syphillus.
  • Morton Salt is patented.
  • The Jeep makes it’s debut, just in time for World War II. In fact it was made for World War II.
  • Hitler invades Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. It has begun.
  • The debut of none other than Bugs freakin’ Bunny.
  • I’ll Never Smile Again by Tommy Dorsey was the top song in America. Rock is still 15-years away. Ish.

1941

  • Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor, is about to get their asses kicked.
  • USA declares war on Japan, Japan in some deep shit.
  • Superman movie released, the first of a gazillion.
  • Edward Hopper finishes Nighthawks, one of my favorite paintings ever.
  • Amapola by Jimmy Dorsey was the top song, making it two years in a row for Jimmy D.

1942

  • Nazi leaders attend the Wannsee Conference to coordinate the systematic genocide of Jews.
  • Duct Tape invented! Woot!
  • The Coconut Grove nightclub fire in Boston killed 491 people.
  • The U.S. government established the Manhattan Project, which would turn out to be bad news for Japan.
  • White Christmas by Bing Crosby topped the charts, and it’s still a banger.

1943

  • The Slinky is here! And get those plastic Slinkys out of here. The metal ones were the bomb.
  • The Pentagon is completed.
  • I’ve Heard That Song Before by Harry James was the best selling song, and I’ve never heard that song.

1944

  • D-Day happens as the baddest sumbitches to ever live land in France with the sole mission of kicking Nazi ass.
  • The Mark 1 Computer is invented and weighs a 9,445 pounds. Dead serious.
  • Swinging On A Star by Bing Crosby rocks the charts, and I’ve actually heard it. Take your moonbeams home in a jar and whatnot.

1945

  • Atomic Bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan says oh hell nah and quits.
  • Hitler commits suicide because he was a coward and the US of A and Russia was closing in.
  • ‘Til the End of Time by Perry Como was the top song.

1946

  • Electric Blanket invented, toasty comfort ensues.
  • Microwave oven invented, tasty goodness ensues.
  • It’s a Wonderful Life hits theaters, and oh what a movie it was.
  • First meeting of United Nations happens.
  • The Gypsy by the Ink Spots leads the charts.

1947

  • Elmer’s Glue invented! Not sure if the inventor was named Elmer.
  • Jackie Robinson joins Brooklyn Dodgers, and it was about goddamned time.
  • The Black Dahlia Murders happened in Los Angeles.
  • Near You by Francis Craig topped the charts.

1948

  • First LP (long playing album) made it’s debut! The LP was 25-minutes per side, the previous record, the 78, was 4-minutes. So, big deal.
  • The Polaraoid Camera was invented.
  • President Harry Truman ends segregation in the military, a very big deal at the time.
  • Buttons and Bows by Dinah Shore topped the music charts. Rocker.

1949

  • Silly Putty invented! I loved Silly Putty!
  • First Emmy Awards held and Shirley Dinsdale wins for Most Outstanding TV Personality. Wait. Who?
  • Cable TV introduced but it wouldn’t became popular for 30-years ish.
  • 45 rpm record invented, and boy did I own plenty in my time. Factoid: 45s cost 72 cents in ’72.
  • George Orwell’s 1984 published and totally predicted the future. Love that book.
  • First around the world nonstop flight took place.
  • Riders in the Sky by Vaughn Monroe rocked the airwaves.

1950

  • The first Credit Card makes an appearance, intense personal debt soon follows.
  • Korean War begins, although it was referred to as a “conflict.” Sigh.
  • Saturday morning kids programming starts, and it was glorious.
  • Peanuts comic strip begins, Charlie Brown begins climb to immortality.
  • First Xerox machine produced.
  • Goodnight, Irene by the legendary Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers tops the charts.

1951

  • Super Glue is invented!
  • Videotape Recorder invented!
  • Power Steering in cars invented! I actually remember driving cars without it and it was a bitch.
  • Color TV introduced, and I didn’t see one until around 1963.
  • DJ Alan Freed coins the term Rock ‘n’ Roll in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Alan Freakin’ Freed.

  • One of my favorite books, The Catcher in the Rye is published.
  • Too Young by Nat King Cole is released, is actually a great song.

1952

  • Velcro invented but won’t be used until its patent expired in 1978 and everyone could use it. True story.
  • Mr. Potato Head rears his ugly head! The first Mr. Potato Heads used actual potatoes and you just stuck the ears, nose and eyes into it. Not kidding.
  • Barcodes were invented but for some reason weren’t used until 1974. Life’s little mysteries, man.
  • The Today Show premiered on NBC and was hosted by Dave Garroway. He committed suicide in 1982. Bummer.
  • WWII war hero Dwight Eisenhower elected President of the USA.
  • Blue Tango by Leroy Anderson topped the charts.

1953

  • Radial Tires invented, and I’m still not sure what they are.
  • The synthesizer is invented, hits its peak in the rad 80s.
  • The transistor radio is invented.
  • Playboy hits the newstands with Marilyn Monroe on its cover.
  • The Song From Moulin Rouge (Where Is Your Heart) by Percy Faith is the best selling song.

1954

  • The Pill becomes available to women, sexual revolution on horizon.
  • Teflon is invented.
  • Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka occurs, Supreme Court unanimously bans racial segregation in public schools.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring and Lord of the Flies books are both released.
  • Little Things Mean A Lot by Kitty Kallen tops the charts, Rock and Roll just around the corner.

1955

  • Optic Fiber invented.

    Bill Haley and His Comets.

  • I was born!
  • Rosa Parks refuses to sit at the back of the bus. You go RP.
  • James Dean dies in car accident.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. leads a bus boycott in Montgomery.
  • Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and His Comets released and here comes Rock.
  • Cherry Pink by Perez Prado tops the charts although Rock Around the Clock actually the best song.

1956

  • Go-Cart racing becomes a thing.
  • The Hovercraft is invented!
  • Liquid Paper is invented by future Monkee Michael Nesmith’s mother and I swear to God that’s true.
  • Elvis Presley breaks out with Heartbreak Hotel, music as we know it changes forever.

1957

  • The Sugar Packet is invented! Woohoo!
  • Bubble Wrap is invented! Woohoo!
  • Leave It To Beaver debuts on CBS.
  • All Shook Up by Elvis Presley tops the charts as Rock and Roll takes root.

1958

  • The Zip Tie is invented.
  • The Hula Hoop is invented and a national craze follows.
  • The very first video game is invented. Physicist William Higinbotham created it. It was a very simple tennis game, similar to the classic 1970s video game Pong, and it was quite a hit at the Brookhaven National Laboratory open house. They had no idea.
  • NASA initiates Project Mercury, aimed at putting a man in space within two years. They did.
  • Volare by Domenico Modugno leads the charts.

1959

  • The Pacemaker is invented.
  • Barbie makes her first appearance!
  • The first Weather Satellite is put into use.
  • Fidel Castro takes over Cuba.
  • Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states in the USA.
  • The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton tops the charts.

1960

  • John F. Kennedy elected President.
  • Psycho hits theaters, terrifies masses.
  • First Child Safety Seat sold.
  • Astroturf invented, will soon be used at Astrodome.
  • First Laser Beam used.
  • First Etch-a-Sketch sold, and I became proficient at using it. Perhaps the best ever. Seriously. I was good. Very good. Legendary even.
  • A French company called Feudor invented the first disposable lighter. This was named “The Stick” until eventually being bought out by Gillette and renamed “The Cricket.” “The Stick” seems somehow cooler to me.
  • Theme From a Summer Place by Percy Faith tops charts. Beautiful song.

1961

  • Slurpees are invented!
  • Valium is invented!
  • Cordless Tools are invented!
  • The first US astronaut, Alan B. Shepard, rocketed 116.5 miles up into space on a 302-mile trip, and more importantly made it back.
  • Tossin’ and Turnin’ by Bobby Lewis tops charts, Crazy by Patsy Cline is actual best song. JMO.

1962

  • The first audio cassette is invented.
  • Silicone Breast Implants are invented.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis scares the bejesus out of America.
  • James Meredith registers at the U of Mississippi.
  • Marilyn Monroe dies, supposedly of an overdose.
  • Ohio’s own John Glenn orbits the Earth.
  • Big Girls Don’t Cry by The Four Seasons is the best selling song.

1963

  • The Lava Lamp was invented by Edward Walker, who had been a WWII pilot for England. I don’t see the connection either.
  • The Post Office introduced Zip Codes, which amazes me because I thought it would have happened a lot sooner.
  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas and a nation mourned.
  • Nightclub owner Jack Ruby shoots Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on national television as he was being transported from the Dallas Police Headquarters.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington D.C.
  • Beach Music hits the airwaves as Surfin’ USA  by the Beach Boys tops the charts.

1964

  • The Beatles arrived in the USA on February 7th, changing the face of music forever. For a nation still reeling from the Kennedy Assassination just 6-weeks prior it was an arctic blast of fresh air.
  • Bob Dylan hits the big-time with his powerfully and intelligently written folk music.
  • Harvey Ross Ball was hired by State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts to create something to raise the morale of its employees. Ball created the design in 10-minutes and was paid $45.00. That design was the Smiley Face.
  • The Ford Mustang rolls off the assembly line, and it was awesome.
  • Buffalo Wings were invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, when co-owner Teressa Bellissimo cooked leftover wings in hot sauce as a late-night snack for her son and his friends. They loved it and boom, chicken limb tasty goodness was born.
  • First VCR is sold for use in the home.
  • 8-Track Tape invented, would surpass albums sales in about 10-years.
  • Nelson Mendela sentenced to life in prison in South Africa.
  • Civil Rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Cheney are murdered in Mississippi. There’s a great book about it called “We Are Not Afraid” that should be required reading for all.
  • US Surgeon General Luther Terry affirms that cigarette smoking causes cancer, nation basically turns a deaf year.
  • I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles was the #1 song in the USA. They’re h-e-e-e-e-r-e!

1965

  • Superball invented by some dude named Norman Stingley. The ball was made of a synthetic material he called Zectron. Cool.
  • The first American combat troops arrive in Vietnam. Ugh.
  • Malcom X was murdered in Harlem.
  • The Watts Riots erupt in Los Angeles.
  • I Can’t Help Myself by the Four Tops is the nation’s best selling song and it was a good one, but . . .
  • Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan is the nation’s actual best song.

1966

  • Kevlar, the lightweight fiber used in bulletproof vests and body armour, is invented by chemist Stephanie Kwolek.
  • Star Trek premiers, nerds everywhere rejoice.
  • Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood hits the bookshelves, I read it as a 10-year old and was scarred for life. Chills, man.
  • First Insulin is made made in China.
  • Richard Speck murders 8 nurses in Chicago.
  • The Ballad of the Green Berets, a patriotic, pro-war song by soldier Sgt. Barry Sadler, tops the charts.
  • We Can Work It Out by The Beatles is the actual best song. Just my opinion but I’m right.

1967

  • Light Beer was invented by the Rheingold Brewery in New York State and was called Gablinger’s Diet Beer.
  • First ATM debuts in northern London.
  • Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as first black US Supreme Court justice.
  • Astronauts Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee were killed in a fire during a test launch.
  • Rolling Stone magazine debuts with John Lennon on the cover.

    Yeah, it looked a lot different back then.

  • Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles is released, shocking the music world.
  • Surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first successful human heart transplant in South Africa.
  • Respect by Aretha Franklin tops the charts, and I can’t argue with that one. Classic.
  • However, I still have to mention that Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones, Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane, Sunshine of Your Love by Cream, Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, For What It’s Worth by Buffalo Springfield, Light My Fire by The Doors, Strawberry Fields Forever by The Beatles, and Purple Haze by The Jimi Hendrix Experience were all released this year. So, you know, take your pick.

1968

  • The Pocket Calculator is invented and it was amazing. I recall somebody bringing one to school around 1972 and we played with it, amazed you could punch in stuff like 919 x 77 + 505 and getting the answer immediately. It was a simpler time, kids.
  • Richard M. Nixon is elected president in a landslide.
  • American soldiers massacre between 347 and 504 civilians at My Lai. Victims included men, women, children, and infants. Some of the women were gang-raped and their bodies mutilated. It was the most shocking event of the Vietnam War.
  • Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Senator Robert F. Kennedy are assassinated. King is murdered on April 4th. Kennedy is shot on June 5th and passed away a day later. Shocking times for sure.
  • Tommie Smith and John Carlos bow their heads and raise glove fists during the National Anthem at the Olympics in Mexico City.
  • 60 Minutes debuts.
  • Senator Rankin Fite completed the first 9-1-1 call made in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama of all places.
  • Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders are the first humans to orbit the moon.
  • Hey Jude by The Beatles tops the music charts, because by God it should have.

1969

  • Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon. I watched it with my father, then I walked into the yard and looked up at the moon, amazed that people were actually standing on it.
  • The Taser was invented and it still doen’t seem like we use it instead of bullets enough.
  • Four Manson Family members murder 7 people, including actress Sharon Tate.
  • Unleaded Gas is introduced into the United States.
  • The Woodstock Rock Festival took place in Bethel, New York on Max Yasgur’s farm.
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid hits theaters, and damn it was one helluva movie. “Who are those guys?”
  • Mario Puzo’s book The Godfather is published.
  • The first in vitro fertilization of a human egg is performed in Cambridge, England.
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency goes online in December, connecting four major US universities. It’s the beginning of the internet!
  • Sugar Sugar by The Archies, who were not a real band but a Saturday morning cartoon band, is the best selling song of the year.
  • Hot Fun in the Summertime by real band Sly and the Family Stone was the actual best song of 1969.

1970

  • Four students at Kent State University are slain by Ohio National Guardsmen during riots protesting the Vietnam War.
  • The Beatles break up after a decade of amazing music.
  • Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both die drug related deaths.
  • Monday Night Football debuts.
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel tops the charts but The Long and Winding Road or Let It Be or Get Back by The Beatles or perhaps James Taylor’s Fire and Rain should have.

1971

  • The first email is sent by some cat named Ray Tomlinson. He said that most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar since it was just a test message. Bottom line, “That’s one small step for man” it was not.
  • US Supreme Court rules unanimously that busing of students may be ordered to achieve racial desegregation.
  • All in the Family debuts.
  • Jim Morrison dies in Paris, probably of a drug overdose but it’s never been proven.
  • Duane Allman dies in a motorcycle wreck.
  • Joy to the World by Three Dog Night tops the charts. “Jeremiah was a bullfrog . . .”

1972

  • Hamilton introduced the world’s first commercial electronic digital wristwatch. It retailed for the pricey sum of $2,100.00. Today you can get one for $12.99 at Walmart.
  • Hacky Sack is created by John Stalberger (an Oregon athlete) to help rehabilitate his injured knee. He also coined the awesome name Hacky Sack.
  • Eleven Israeli athletes are murdered at the Olympic Games in Munich by the terrorist group Black September.
  • Alabama Governor and presidential candidate George Wallace is shot in Maryland. He lives but is left paralyzed from the waist down.
  • The Supreme Court rules that the Death Penalty is unconstitutional.
  • Five men are arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate Hotel in Washington DC. We didn’t know it at the time, but President Nixon’s downfall had begun.
  • Time Incorporated transmits HBO, the first pay cable network. It’s only the beginning.
  • Atari introduces the arcade version of Pong, the first video game. The home version will come out in 1974.
  • M*A*S*H debuts on CBS and I loved that show.
  • Deliverance hit the theaters and scarred me forever. If you don’t know what I’m talking about go to YouTube, type “Squeal like a pig Deliverance scene” in the search box and wait for the cringe.
  • Let’s Stay Together by Al Green tops the charts, and deservedly so.

1973

  • Global Positioning System is invented, and I can’t believe I didn’t use one until the late 90s.
  • The first BIC disposable lighter was invented. Before this people had those cool silver Zippo lighters you could snap open and close. So cool.
  • Kawasaki released the first Jetski.
  • The mobile phone was invented! Motorola was the first company to produce a handheld one. On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper made the first mobile telephone call. He placed a call to Dr. Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs, his rival. Ultimate burn, man. On a related note, I think the battery life was about 37-seconds.
  • Answering Machines become widely popular. You youngsters have no idea of the joy of coming home, seeing that little light blinking on your answering machine, and thinking, “I have a message!”
  • A ceasefire is signed, ending involvement of American ground troops in the Vietnam War.
  • American Graffiti, The Exorcist, The Sting, Last Tango in Paris all debut in theaters. Helluva year for movies.
  • Skylab is launched as America’s first space station.
  • Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye tops the charts. Wise choice.

1974

  • The first Barcode appeared. It was on a pack of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum and I know not why.
  • Henry Heimlich invents his maneuver, and it seems odd it took until 1974 until someone thought of it.
  • Post-It Notes were invented. Fun Fact: They were invented accidentally when someone was trying to develop a super strong adhesive.
  • Erno Rubik invented his cube.
  • Patty Hearst, granddaughter of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army as case rivets nation.
  • President Nixon resigns over the Watergate Scandal.
  • People magazine hits the stands.
  • The Way We Were by Barbara Streisand tops the charts, beating more worthy songs such as Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens and The Bitch is Back by Elton John.

1975

  • The first Digital Camera is invented by Kodak engineer Steve Sasson.
  • The Vietnam War ends to the relief of many, including me since I had no interest in being drafted.
  • President Ford escapes two assassination attempts, one by Charles Manson follower Squeaky Fromme.
  • The Cincinnati Reds, known as the Big Red Machine, win the World Series.
  • Saturday Night Live premiers and it was spectacular.
  • The movie Jaws debuts and nobody wants to go in the ocean anymore.
  • Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain & Tennille outsells Shining Star by Earth, Wind and Fire, Listen To What The Man Said by Paul McCartney, and I’m Not In Love by 10cc and damn people were stupid in 1974.

1976

  • Basketball Breakaway Rim invented.
  • First Ink Jet Printer invented in Japan.
  • US Supreme Court changes its mind and rules that death penalty is not inherently cruel or unusual and is a constitutionally acceptable form of punishment.
  • USA celebrates its Bicentennial. 200-years man!
  • Jimmy Carter elected President of the USA.
  • Reds win World Series again, sweeping the New York Yankees
  • The movies Rocky and Taxi Driver premier and they are awesome. “You talkin’ to me?”
  • Viking I lands on Mars.
  • Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney and Wings is the top seller, is Sir Paul’s 109th best song. Ish.

1977

  • MRI is used for the first time.
  • President Carter pardons all Vietnam draft evaders.
  • Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever and Close Encounters of the Third Kind premier. Great movies all.
  • Elvis Presley dies at Graceland.
  • Serial killer who calls himself Son of Sam is loose in New York City.
  • Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s the Night tops the charts. Hated it. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and Queen’s We Are the Champions were much better.

1978

  • Breakaway Rim first used in college basketball at the Final 4.
  • Microwaveable Popcorn Bag invented, wouldn’t be approved until 1981.
  • The video game Space Invaders is created!
  • 909 people die as Jim Jones’s followers commit mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana.
  • The first test-tube baby is born at Oldham Hospital in London and people freaked out.
  • Mass murderers John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy are arrested and the details that emerged were horrifying.
  • Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb is the top song, horrifyingly. I’d pick Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good to Me So Far but whatevs. I’m numb to these poor song choices by now.

1979

  • The first Sony Walkman is sold.
  • A nuclear power plant accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania happens, scares the bejesus out of everyone.
  • It’s Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson in the NCAA Title game, Magic wins.
  • The first music CD is sold and it was a collection of Chopin waltzes by Claudio Arrau but I’m sure you knew that.
  • The Sugar Hill Gang release “Rapper’s Delight,” most likely the first rap song ever recorded.
  • Hostages are taken at the American Embassy in Iran, beginning a 444 day seige.
  • ESPN debuts. Sports!
  • My Sharona by The Knack tops the charts. Shockingly, I liked it.

1980

  • Personal Computers began to make their way into households.
  • John Lennon is murdered in New York City.
  • Ronald Reagan elected President of the USA in a landslide.
  • Ted Turner launches CNN. News!
  • Blondie’s Call Me is the USA’s best selling song, and I cannot complain.

1981

  • Microwaveable Popcorn Bag hits the market, bachelors everywhere rejoice.
  • MTV hits the airwaves, first video is Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles (MTV used to play videos). Music!
  • The world sees its first official game of Paintball. Still have never played it.
  • Iran hostages are freed just as Reagan takes office.
  • Pope John Paul II is shot, survives.
  • President Reagan is shot, survives.
  • Pacman sweeps the nation!
  • Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes is the top seller, wasn’t that bad.

1982

  • Princess Grace tragically dies in a car crash in Monaco.
  • Michael Jackson releases Thriller.
  • John Belushi dies of a drug  overdose.
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is released and Steven Spielberg is on an absolute roll.
  • A permanent artificial heart is implanted in a human for the first time.
  • The space shuttle Columbia makes its first mission.
  • Physical by Olivia Newton-John is the best seller and I cannot make this shit up. Personally I’d take John Mellencamp’s Jack and Diane, The Clash’s Rock the Casbah or The Alan Parsons Project’s Eye in the Sky.

1983

  • Sony releases the first camcorder.
  • A terrorist explosion killed 237 US Marines in Beirut.
  • Sally K. Ride becomes first US woman astronaut in space.
  • The last episode of M*A*S*H was viewed by 125-million people.
  • Crack cocaine is developed in the Bahamas and soon appears in the United States.
  • Every Breath You Take by The Police tops the charts. Good tune but I’ll take the entire R.E.M. album Murmer any day and twice on Tuesday.

1984

  • DNA Testing is perfected.
  • Ronald Reagan re-elected in landslide.
  • Apple introduces the user-friendly Macintosh PC.
  • Prince’s When Doves Cry tops the charts, but I’ll take Van Halen’s Jump or U2’s Pride (In the Name of Love).

1985

  • Microsoft Windows is introduced.
  • Rock Hudson dies of AIDS.
  • Live Aid concerts are held in London and Philadelphia. In London, Queen steals the show.
  • Careless Whisper by George Michael is the top seller, incredibly, because Money for Nothing by Dire Straits and Can’t Get There From Here by R.E.M. were also released. Amazing.

1986

  • DNA testing is first used in criminal cases.
  • The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded, shocking the nation.
  • Major nuclear accident at Soviet Union’s Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.
  • Nintendo makes its debut, marking the day kids stopped playing outdoors.
  • We Are The World is recorded, featuring most of the major musical artists of the day. It’s organized by Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones.
  • The first disposable camera was developed by Fujifilm.
  • That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick featuring Elton John, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder tops the charts and oh my Lord it was awful. Especially since the songs Don’t Get Me Wrong by The Pretenders, Dear God by XTC and the album Lifes Rich Pageant by R.E.M. were all released this year.

1987

  • Prozac invented.
  • President Reagan and Russian President Gorbachev meet in Washington D.C.
  • Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles sells the most copies, although I preferred Suzanne Vega’s Luka or Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths. On a related note, 1987 was a really slow year for world events.

1988

  • Prozac is made available to the public.
  • Caller ID is made available to the public, people can now ignore people they don’t want to talk to.
  • Wheeled luggage with retractable handles go on sale for the first time, and HOW THE HELL DID IT TAKE SO LONG?
  • George H. Bush elected president.
  • CDs outsell LPs for the first time.
  • Faith by George Michael tops the charts, but I’ll take Fast Car by Tracy Chapman or the album Green by R.E.M.

1989

  • World Wide Web is born, porn industry explodes, dirty magazines begin an agonizing death spiral.
  • Nintendo Gameboy released.
  • Tiananmen Square Rally for Democracy is held in China, famous photo of Tank Guy emerges.
  • Berlin Wall opens to west, people flee from East Germany to West Germany.
  • Earthquake erupts in San Francisco during World Series game, killing 67 people and causing more than $5 billion in damages.
  • Look Away by the new and sappier Chicago ruled the charts, whilst albums like Doolittle by The Pixies, Bleach by Nirvana, The Real Thing by Faith No More, Don’t Tell a Soul by The Replacements, and The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses all included better songs.

1990

  • South Africa frees Nelson Mandela after 27½ years.
  • East and West Germany are reunited.
  • Reds sweep the World Series, defeating the Oakland A’s of Tony LaRusso, Mark McGwire and Jose Conseco.
  • The Simpsons debut on Fox and they’re still going strong 30-years later.
  • Seinfeld debuts on NBC.
  • The Gulf War begins.
  • Hold On by Wilson Phillips tops the charts even though Birdhouse in Your Soul by They Might Be Giants was released this year. Abomination I say.

1991

  • CDs outsell cassettes for the first time and nobody under the age of 25 will understand what that means.
  • The Gulf War ends quickly as the USA kicks ass in record time.
  • The Soviet Union crumbles, which would have been unimaginable 10-years earlier.
  • Nirvana releases the album Nevermind and includes the song Smells Like Teen Spirit. The song helps to popularize Grunge music.
  • Serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer arrested in Milwaukee.
  • Queen’s Freddie Mercury dies of Aids.
  • (Everything I Do) I Do It For You by Bryan Adams outsells all songs, including Smells Like Teen Spirit, R.E.M.’s Losing My Religion and Pearl Jam’s Alive. Ladies and gentlemen, this was something that actually happened.

1992

  • George H. Bush and President Boris Yeltsin of the Soviet Union declare the end of the Cold War (look it up, kids).
  • Bill Clinton elected President of the United States.
  • Spinner Wheels on cars are introduced. Spinners!
  • Four officers acquitted in Los Angeles beating of Rodney King; all hell breaks loose in Los Angeles.
  • CDs outsell cassettes for first time.
  • Johnny Carson’s last Tonight Show airs.
  • End of the Road by Boyz II Men is the top seller and I can live with that. However, I’d take the entire album by R.E.M. called Automatic For the People. I mean, Man on the Moon? Everybody Hurts? Nightswimming? Find the River? Come on, man.

1993

  • Paint Valley Boys Basketball wins its first SVC boys basketball title in 28-years.
  • The Waco Seige takes place at the Branch Davidian Complex in Texas as David Koresh and 75 of his followers perish.
  • The World Trade Center basement is bombed, six people die.
  • I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston tops the charts. As for me, I’ll take The Ugly Truth by Matthew Sweet or Dream All Day by The Posies.

1994

  • Apartheid in South Africa ends!
  • South Africa holds first interracial national election and Nelson Mandela is elected President.
  • Skater Nancy Kerrigan attacked 2-days before the Olympic Trials, turns out rival Tonya Harding hired the men responsible.
  • NFL Football Hall of Famer, Announcer and movie actor OJ Simpson arrested in double homicide after a chase through Las Angeles.
  • Major League Baseball players strike on August 12th, settle 232 days later.
  • Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain commits suicide.
  • Friends debuts on NBC.
  • Woodstock ’94 is held, lamely.
  • A calf is cloned, world as we know it begins downfall.
  • The Sign by Ace of Base tops the music charts and I cannot make that up.

1995

  • OJ Simpson trial begins as nation watches.
  • Bomb explodes at the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City as 168 people die and over 680 are injured. American terrorist Timothy McVeigh is soon arrested as planner.
  • OJ Simpson found not guilty, nation is split after hearing the verdict.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens in Cleveland.
  • A sheep cloned as humanity inches closer to extinction.
  • Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio tops the charts and I’m cool with it.

1996

  • Unabomber arrested, identified as Ted Kaczynski.
  • Bill Clinton re-elected as US President for a second term.
  • Rapper Tupac Shakur is murdered in Las Vegas.
  • Braveheart beats Fargo and Sling Blade for Oscar in gross display of injustice.
  • 6-year old JonBenet Ramsey is murdered in Colorado and nation is riveted by the case, still unsolved.
  • Macarena by Los del Rio tops the charts as nation hits an all-time low in its musical taste. For the love of God, Novocaine for the Soul by Eels, A Long December by Counting Crows, Follow You Down by Gin Blossoms and Radiation Vibe by Fountains of Wayne were all released in ’96. Get it together, people.

1997

  • Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh sentenced to death.
  • Titanic hits theaters, nation loses its collective mind.
  • Princess Di killed in car wreck in Paris.
  • Notorious B.I.G. is murdered.
  • Gianni Versace is murdered outside his home in Miami.
  • Mike Tyson fights Evander Holyfield, bites off chunk of his ear.
  • Something About the Way You Look Tonight by Elton John tops the charts, is clearly one of his all-time worse songs.

1998

  • Seinfeld airs final episode, wasn’t very good.
  • Google is founded.
  • Microsoft becomes the biggest company in the world.
  • Too Close by Next is the best selling record and I promise you this is the first time I’ve ever heard of it.

1999

  • World awaits Y2K disaster as everyone is worried computers aren’t prepared to make the switch from 1999 to 2000.
  • US Senate rejects President Clinton’s impeachment.
  • 15 people die in the Columbine High School Massacre, including the two shooters who committed suicide.
  • John Kennedy Jr. is lost at sea in a plane crash.
  • The Blair Witch Project premiers, everyone loves it for some reason.
  • Woodstock ’99 kicks off in Rome, New York. The crowd set fires, destroys property and there were several reports of sexual assaults. A love-in it was not.
  • Believe by Cher topped the charts, giving her a #1 song in four straight decades. Cher, man.

2000

  • Y2K was nothing, turns out everyone was worried for no reason.
  • George W. Bush elected President of the USA in controversial election.
  • Survivor premiers as reality shows start to catch on.
  • Peanuts creator Charles Schulz dies.
  • Breathe by Faith Hill is the #1 song, but The Eels album Daisies of the Galaxy was top to bottom outstanding.

2001

  • Timothy McVeigh, American terrorist who planned Oklahoma City Bombing, is excecuted.
  • 9/11 happens. 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people are killed.
  • 20,000 die in an earthquake in India.
  • Segway goes on the market but never changes the world as promised.
  • Hanging by a Moment by Lifehouse is the #1 song, and I say meh. Average song.

2002

  • Snipers John Allen Muhammad (aged 41) and Lee Boyd Malvo (aged 17), commit murders and robberies in the states of Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Washington and Washington DC. The snipers killed 17 people and wounded 10 others total.
  • The Maryland Terrapins win the NCAA Basketball Championship and I couldn’t have been happier.
  • Elizabeth Smart kidnapped outside Salt Lake City, nation captivated by case.
  • How You Remind Me by Nickelback is the top selling song and I’ve never heard it.

So there ya go. Anything cool happen in the year you were born?

 

We’ve all been embarrassed by old photographs. Hey, I live in mortal fear of that racy pic of myself and Ellen DeGeneres surfacing after all these years. Plus, a lot of these band photos are from the 80s and everyone dressed funny back in those days. Big hair on both women and men, lots of bright colors and sparkly stuff, scarves tied around both arms and legs, those God awful parachute pants (look ’em up), and men grew their hair into something called a rat tail, which looks exactly like you think it would look.

Keep all this in mind as you check out these rock band photos from the past, along with my insightfully snarky comments. As always click, scroll and enjoy the awesomeness.

Note: I wrote a couple similar stories on this subject called Album Covers from Heaven: Sweet Dreams are Made of These and Album Covers From Hell: They’re Here to Haunt Your Dreams. Enjoy. 

Let us proceed . . .

TORONTO — A Spanish athlete is drawing praise online after he gave up his win in the 2020 Santander Triathlon to his competitor who took a wrong turn towards the end of the race. Diego Mentrida allowed Britain’s James Teagle to finish ahead of him despite Teagle making a wrong turn less than 100-meters from the finish line. Mentrida had been behind Teagle for the duration of the race but overtook him after Teagle mistakenly ran towards spectators in a fenced area. The 21-year-old noticed his opponent’s mistake, slowed his pace and eventually stopped to allow Teagle to cross the finish line before him and claim third place.

Speaking after the race, Mentrida told Eurosport that his rival “deserved” a place on the podium as he was ahead for most of the race. “When I saw that he had missed the route, I just stopped. James deserved this medal. He didn’t notice the signs” Mentrida said.

The race winner Javier Gomez Noya described Mentrida’s gesture as “the best in history” while Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian San Miguel said on Twitter that it demonstrated “the real values of sport.”

Race organizers awarded Mentidra an honorary third place on Friday and gave him the same $469 prize winnings as Teagle, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Come on, Diego Mentrida. You were right behind the guy. And nobody else in the race took a wrong turn and ran into barricade. Isn’t knowing directions a part of the race? Good God man. Michael Jordan would have stormed past James Teagle with my arms raised whilst laughing maniacally. Seriously, there is no competitive athlete I’ve ever coached who wouldn’t have kept running.

Hollow 3rd place showing, Jamee Teagle. Hollow indeed.

PS- Giving Diego Mentrida an “honorary” 3rd place trophy is the most millenial thing ever.

PPS- Teague should have never accepted the gesture. Weak move.

So somebody on the Worldwide Interweb came up with a Shopping Cart Theory, and in the glorious tradition of this site I have thusly read it, stole it, made some changes, vastly improved upon it, and heretofore declared it to be mine. You’re welcome in advance. Here we go . . .

The shopping cart is the ultimate test for whether a person is a basic human being and not an ignorant, lazy, savage barbarian. To return a shopping cart to its proper place in the cart receptacle is an easy, convenient task and one which we, as all civilized human beings, recognize as the correct, appropriate, kind and humane thing to do.

There are no situations other than dire emergencies (such as, oh, you’re having a seizure or heart attack or something) in which a person is not able to return their shopping cart to its shopping cart home.

It is not a crime to abandon your shopping cart or to roll it away like discarded trash. No one will punish you for not returning the shopping cart (although in a perfect world a person would be flogged about the head and shoulders for the offense), no one will fine you, nobody will murder you for not returning the shopping cart, and you yourself gain nothing by returning the shopping cart. You return the shopping cart out of the goodness of your own pure and beautiful heart and yes, because it is the right thing to do.

My fellow Americans, a person who refuses to return their shopping cart is worse than a wild animal and is unfit to live in a civilized society. 

To conclude, the shopping cart presents itself as the apex example of whether a person will do what is right without being forced to do it.

Amen.

Thank you and goodnight.

Because, you know, this guy . . .

New York Post: A Thai teen lived out every man’s worst nightmare after a python sunk its fangs into his penis while he was on the john.

“I looked down and saw there was a snake hanging in the toilet,” Siraphop Masukarat, 18, told Viral Press. His near-serpent circumcision occurred Tuesday, approximately 12 miles north of Bangkok, after the reptile allegedly infiltrated the plumbing.

Masukarat recalls watching smartphone videos on the toilet when all of sudden he felt a searing pain in his nether region. The university student looked down to discover a nightmarish sight — a 4-foot python with its jaws clamped around the tip of his penis.

Good God Almighty that’s horrifying. Listen man, I’m not even going to try to make fun of this. Merely reading the story makes me wince. He’s lucky it wasn’t a King Cobra I guess?

PS- I was going to make a sucking the venom out joke but I couldn’t pull the trigger.

 

 

A massive wildfire burning in California was started during a gender-reveal party, officials said.
A “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” used at the party sparked the El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino County, Cal Fire said in a statement.

The fire started Saturday at 10:23 a.m. PT at the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa and spread from the park north on to Yucaipa Ridge, according to the release.

The blaze has since grown to a staggering 8,600 acres plus as of Monday and it’s just 7% contained, according to sources from the San Bernardino National Forest.
Video from the party showed a couple with several children walking into the grass at the edge of the El Dorado Ranch Park in Yucaipa. Another person is seen in the video appearing to light the device. Soon after, the family can be seen on video scrambling and grabbing water bottles as the flames grow.

“It really is a tragedy, it’s sad. They were hoping to remember the day in a different way,” said CalFire investigator Capt. Bennet Milloy, adding that over 80% of fires are caused by humans and that people need to be more aware of their surroundings. “You need to be extra cautious because you could be liable.”

Good God man, can we stop it with these attention-getting-look-at-us celebrations for every little event we experience in our lives? Gender reveals, prom invitations, “HoCo” invitations, kindergarten graduations, everything has to be a damn production with smoke and fire and confetti and dry ice and God knows what else. I’m pretty sure most people didn’t know my mother was pregnant with me until she told them privately and I damn sure know they would’ve been afraid to ask before that. Now look at these idiots out in Cali, making a big to-do out of their baby’s gender and burning down the state. What was supposed to be a celebration of your baby’s gender has gone horribly wrong due to your thirst for social media attention. Now? Little Aldrich or Margaux will look back when they’re older and see that mommy and daddy were responsible for the destruction of 8,600 acres ( and growing) of land, animals and God knows what else, all because they wanted some hits on the Facebook.

Gender reveal parties, man. Get that crap out of here.

PS- Not sure if I should be the guy making fun of people searching for social media attention but whatever.

Yep, it was actually predicted in 1900 that we’d all be walking on water, supported by balloons,  by the year 2000. Even the horses! Awesome.

Note: That wheel thingy that dude is pedaling is cool.

Listen, I know this is a terrifyingly harrowing video, but I gotta be honest – man, that looked fun. Once in a lifetime thrill for that kid. Had to be 100-feet up, just flyin’ like a damn condor. Plus the soft landing made for a great ending. What a ride, man. What. A. Ride.

PS- The Taiwan Kite Festival looks like a blast.

PPS- Now that I watch it again I’m thinking this might have a been a regular kiddie ride.  

PPPS- Eat your heart out, Balloon Boy.

As many of my readers know, I used to have weird run-ins with seemingly crazed people, randomly but somewhat regularly.

Note: Sentences like that are what seperates this site from the others, man. Admit it.

Anyway, I wrote about a bunch of these in a creatively titled collection of stories called Shopping Adventures, which you can read by clicking on that title there. Another time I barely avoided brouhahas at gas stations, which I called Terror at the Gas Station and Pain at the Pump. Again, click. However, the past couple years have been relatively peaceful.

Until the last couple days.

You see, I was leaving a local sporting goods store the other afternoon, minding my own damn business, when I found an angry woman standing by my car. She had her hands on her hips and did not look happy. Had I dinged her car when I’d gotten out? Parked too close? Treated her poorly in high school? Had she mistaken me for someone else? My mind was reeling.

However, all became clear when she started her rant:

Crazy Lady: “Do you realize it’s 95 degrees today? YOUR DOGS ARE IN THE CAR WITH THE WINDOWS UP! I’m calling the police! It’s a wonder they’re still alive! How long have . . .”

Me: “The car’s running. It’s 65 degrees in there.”

At this point, right on cue, Sparky has heard the yelling and jumped on the steering wheel, which blew the horn and scared the woman half to death. Attaboy Spark. And then . . .

Crazy Lady, touching the hood of my car and finding that it was indeed running: “Oh. I didn’t realize.”

And then she left without an apology.

Which leads us to today.

I was driving along a side street in town when I got a text I felt I needed to respond to. Trying to be a responsible driver, I pulled over to the side of the street to respond. I was mid-text when I was startled by a rap on my window. Of course the dogs went crazy, so I got out of the car to have this conversation:

Crazy Lady #2: “May I ask what you’re doing?”

Me: “Uh, sitting in my car?”

Crazy Lady #2: “Why?”

Me, still being polite: “I pulled over to respond to a text.”

Crazy Lady #3: “Well, it looks suspicious. You should probably do it somewhere else.”

Me, done with the politeness: “You know what? It’s a public street and a busy one at that. I can park wherever the hell I want.”

At that point I thought it would be a good time to casually take the pups out of the car for a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Then, a couple houses down, a guy I know yells this from his front porch, much too loudly:

“Hey Shoe! Don’t judge our neighborhood by one jackass, man!”

He then laughed uproariously, clearly enjoying the moment.

Glad I could help you out, brother.

PS- Though I’ve brought several of these incidents upon myself, in these two I decidely did not. Bonus points for me I guess?

PPS- Hopefully this isn’t the start of another rash of incidents. Stay tuned.

 

Listen, I’m no expert but hiding your loot in something that has a good chance of ending up in the fireplace seems like a bad idea to me.

As regular readers of Shoe: Untied know, I’m a big cartoon guy. I love the old Warner Brothers stuff especially, but I really like all cartoons. Hey, one of the very first things I ever wrote was called Here’s Your All-Time Cartoon Football Team. Other cartoon related stuff you can find on this site was called Old-Timey Cartoons Were Excessively Violent, Wildy Inappropriate and Did Cartoons Predict the 9/11 Attacks? Wild and eclectic I know but hey, that sort of describes this site anyway.

I believe we can say with certainty that all cartoon characters have one thing in common, and that is a distinguishing voice. Think Porky Pig or Elmer Fudd. But could we go so far to say that certain cartoon characters have speech disorders? Indeed we can. Cartoon characters are notorious for their extreme and high pitched voices which may be an effort to attract a child’s attention. Still, others are characterized by slurs, stutters, or lisps. According to research by Shoe: Untied’s crack staff the following cartoon characters could be diagnosed with these disorders:

Bugs Bunny – Dysfluent. The disruption of the forward flow and timing of speech by repetition of sounds, syllables or words, sound prolongation and/or blocking on sounds, silent or audible. Not sure I understand what that means but Bugs has always sounded snarkily fine to me.

Porky Pig – Stutter. The Porkster was actually voiced by a real stutterer in early toons, but when the legendary Mel Blanc took over a bunch of the voices he kept the stutter.

Note: I have Mel Blanc’s autograph. Long story. 

Sylvester – Lisp. Can you say “Thufferin Thuccotash”? Because Sylvester couldn’t.

Also, Sylvester also spit on everyone. Can I say that?

Wyle E. Coyote – Selective Mutism. Yep, that’s a thing. It’s usually found in children who won’t talk in social settings.

I interrupt this story to give you a Looney Tunes Fun Fact: Yosemite Sam’s actual name was Samuel Rosenbaum. I kid you not.

Tweety Bird – Rhotacism (couldn’t say his Rs) and several other disorders. I mean, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat” was Tweet’s signature line.  Also, I’ve never been able to tell if Tweety is a boy or a girl. Unrelated but still.

Elmer Fudd – Rhotacism (couldn’t say his Rs). Again, this was his big line: “Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits.” On a related note, Elmer had a rather unsettling laugh.

Daffy Duck – Lisp. Wait. Did Daffy and Sylvester have the exact same voice? I’m thinking they did. No? I’m getting a headache.

Foghorn Leghorn – Dysfluent. This I get because Foghorn repeated himself a lot. “I say, I say, I say . . .” In any event, I loved Foghorn Leghorn. In one of his episodes there was a good example of how cartoon humor was sometimes written for adults. Check it out:

Stellar, and a little deep for the kiddos.

Tazmanian Devil – I don’t even know where to start with this guy:

So, what is the reasoning behind this? Obviously to make the characters funny, right? And the more important question, what impact do these cartoon characters have on the children who watch them? Is it possible that children pick up bad speech habits from their favorite cartoon character? Maybe they feel bad because people are laughing about it? Or, do they make speech disorders more relateable? What say you? Maybe some of my professional friends can provide some insight?

PS- And what about Pepe LePew, man? Dude was a sexual predator like you read about. Also a cross species lover. Pepe had issues.

PPS- Can’t conclude without this, now can I?

 

 

Everyone knows I love a good conspiracy theory. Hey, I went down a YouTube rabbit hole one night and came away convinced that the movie Back to the Future predicted the 9/11 attacks. Seriously, I know that 99.9% of this stuff is BS but it nevertheless fascinates me endlessly. That said, the latest conspiracy I came across takes the cake, man, and that is the theory that birds aren’t real.

I’m not kidding.

According to the Birds Aren’t Real official website, the CIA took out 12-billion birds because directors within the organization were annoyed that birds had been dropping fecal matter on their car windows. The targets were eradicated between 1959 and 1971 with specially altered B-52 bombers stocked with poison. They were then supplanted with avian-like robots that could be used to surveil Americans.

Sounds feasible, amirite?

Seriously, you need to click on that link. Wild stuff indeed. Here’s more from the Birds Aren’t Real movement:

In 1953 Allen Dulles was made the first civilian director of the Central Intelligence Agency and made it his mission to ramp up the surveillance program; hiding cameras in thousands of locations and ordering his staff to plant them in areas that would be impossible to detect. He knew that the possibilities for this camera program were endless, and on April 15, 1956 met with President Dwight D. Eisenhower and proposed a plan that would put cameras in the sky. Dulles knew that the sky was the future for his surveillance program, as you could truly track someone with a moving camera – much easier than having to switch between cameras on street corners and hidden in storm drains. One camera in the sky could do the work of hundreds on the ground. Eisenhower approved the initial idea and asked him to return when he had figured out how to make it possible. Dulles left the oval office and immediately flew to an undisclosed location, meeting with various members of his inner circle, to discuss the plan in more intricate detail. It is believed that the initial plan for killing all of the birds and replacing them with flying cameras was thought up one weekend in May of 1956. Dulles and his team hated birds with a passion, and were heard on many occasions calling them,” flying slugs” and,” the scum of the skies,” as they would often poop on their cars in the parking lot of the C.I.A. headquarters, and quite frankly all over the D.C. Metro area. I believe this was one of the driving forces that led Dulles to not only implement robots into the sky, but actually replace birds in the process. They did not need to kill all of the birds, and could have launched a quarter of the robot birds that they did, but the pigeons in D.C. at the time were absolutely ruthless. They were eating very well, as people were feeding them much more in public parks and on the street. This in turn created huge amounts of pigeon feces, that would inevitably find its way to the windshield of many men and women- all of whom grew to not only hate pigeons, but all birds. In a stolen transcript from an ex-CIA deputy, she says,” Yeah, the higher ups were so annoyed that birds had been dropping fecal matter on their car windows that they vowed to wipe out every single flying feathered creature in North America.”

In this meeting they sought to kill two birds with one stone and remove all birds from the United States (thus eliminating their fecal problem), but also replacing these birds with billions of sophisticated robot look a likes capable of mimicking real birds in every way. Dulles and his team wanted to create the greatest surveillance system ever imagined, with the capability of tracking someone on foot, in a vehicle, or even in their personal home.

Listen man, I may never watch those cute little finches I feed outside my living room window the same way again. Same for those sneaky little so-called hummingbirds. I had no freakin’ idea they were all spying on me all this time. And I must admit that although I’ve seen many a dead bird, I never actually cut one open to look for cameras and microphones and whatnot.

To conclude, next time you see a bird (which will probably be any second now because they’re everywhere), take a closer look and check to see if it’s looking j-u-u-u-s-t a little too closely at you.

PS- Listen, I’m not naive. I’m pretty sure these guys are having fun with this and that’s cool. However, if you don’t think I’m ordering a Birds Aren’t Real t-shirt you’re out of your gourd.

PPS- Sparky has always hated birds with a passion, much worse than cats, rabbits or anything else. Sparky knows.

PPPS- I need to call my friend with the pet parakeet post haste.

Man, for the life of me I don’t recall suits being that damn big in 2003. I swear they had enough fabric in that photo to clothe the population of Zimbabwe. There were extra buttons and too many pant cuffs scraping the floor. It has been said that Steve Harvey deserves blame for this style. That it was Michael Jordan’s fault. That maybe it was P. Diddy and Sean John, the origins are murky. Check out Kirk Hinrich (front, third from left). Dude looks like a kid on his way to his First Communion. Jarvis Hayes (front, second from left) looks as if he might have thought, “Screw it, I’m gonna button all of these, I don’t know where to start or end.” Carmelo Anthony (front, far left) inexplicably only buttoned the top button of his jacket. But the collars had to be the worst part. Wait. Maybe it’s the length of those pants. Good God man. The mind reels.

PS- This was a hell of a draft class, except for #2 pick Darko Milicic there in the back middle. He sucked. Otherwise LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade turned out to be pretty good. Steal of the draft? Maryland’s Steve Blake at #38.  

Some characters just leap off the screen. Jean Ralphio is one of those characters.