Weekly Wrap 134

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navy-gay-prideThe U.S. Navy and Their Hilariously Inept Search for Dorothy and Her Friends

While the Ancient Greeks had their celebrated Sacred Band of Thebes, a legendarily successful fighting force made up of all male lovers, in more modern times the various branches of the United States military have not been so accepting of such individuals, which brings us to the topic of today- that time in the 1980s when the Naval Intelligence Service invested significant resources into trying to locate a mysterious woman identified only as “Dorothy” who seemed to have links to countless gay seamen. The plan was to find her and then “convince” her to finger these individuals so the military could give them the boot. This story all starts with a naval crack down to try to get rid of any gay personnel…(more)

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Bonus Quick Facts

  • On March 13, 1962, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Lyman Lemnitzer, submitted a proposal to the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, developed by the Joint Chiefs and the Department of Defense outlining plans to, among other things, commit various acts of terrorism on U.S. soil and then frame the Cubans for it in order to provide an excuse to go to war with Cuba. In the end, when the plan was presented to President Kennedy for final approval, he rejected it and was reportedly furious over the matter. General Lemnitzer was shortly thereafter let go as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. However, Kennedy’s rejection of this proposal, and others like it, ultimately led to him becoming increasingly unpopular with the military brass.
  • While Ben Franklin is remembered as one of the founding fathers of America, his son, William Franklin, was a staunch Loyalist who was ultimately imprisoned during the war and later released as a part of a prisoner exchange in 1778. At this point, he move to British controlled New York City and became President of the Board of Associated Loyalists there. He eventually left for Britain, never to return to America. Needless to say, the relationship between father and son after that was permanently damaged and the two had little contact from then on, with Ben Franklin also leaving his son almost nothing in his will.
  • Wayne McLaren, David McLean, Dick Hammer, and Eric Lawson all have two major life events in common- they all at one point posed in advertising campaigns as “the” Marlboro Man, and they all died of lung cancer. Marlboro men who escaped this fate include, perhaps the most famous Marlboro Man, Darrell H. Winfield, and William L. Thourlby, the latter of which claimed he never smoked or drank in his life, despite the ads. The Marlboro Man ad campaign was created as a way to make smoking filtered cigarettes more masculine; at the time, many saw them as a feminine form of cigarettes. The ad campaign was wildly successful, and within two years of the campaign’s launch, sales were up 400%, despite growing concerns over health problems resulting from smoking cigarettes.
  • While you’re probably familiar with Type 1 (oral) and Type 2 (genital) herpes, you may not know that chicken pox is also a member of the herpes’ family. In total, there are 25 known viruses that belong to the herpesviridae family, 8 of which can infect humans, with the vast majority of the human population acquiring at least one of them at some point or other. For instance, chicken pox infects about 90% of the U.S. population at some point in each person’s lifetime, though vaccinations are starting to see that number decline a bit.
  • The original title of one of the most popular novels of all time, Pride and Prejudice, was First Impressions. The title change is thought to have happened because Jane Austen wrote much of her novel from 1796-1797, but didn’t publish it until 1814, at which point there were two other works with the same title out by Margaret Holford and Horace Smith respectively. Ultimately, Austin sold the full rights to Pride and Prejudice to Thomas Egerton for a mere £110 (a little over £6000 today). In the first two editions alone published in the same year, Egerton profited £450. Since then, the book has sold approximately 20 million copies.
  • Fifteen year old Spencer Lacey Ganus was originally paid just $926 to voice the role of teenage Elsa in Frozen. The film, of course, went on to gross over a billion dollars. In the end, she received an additional $10,000 in residuals, which she says she put in a college fund. Among other roles, as a toddler Ganus also did the voice of Ike Broflovski in several episodes of South Park from 2002-2004.

Other Interesting Stuff

breakfast-cereal2How Did Cereal Become “Part of a Complete Breakfast”?

For kids who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was sugary cereal commercials that dotted the television landscape, featuring lucky leprechauns, wise-cracking droids and adorable Gremlins. A common theme among all of them was advocating these products were a “magical part of a complete breakfast“, helping to ingrain that idea into our collective mindset. Of course, anyone who has even a modicum of knowledge about proper nutrition knows that regularly partaking in a massive dose of extremely calorie dense, sugary cereal is not at all needed nor advisable in a “complete breakfast”. So how did we get here? What did…(more)

Margaret_Chase_Smith-340x434The First Female Presidential Canidate of a Major Political Party in the United States

On January 27, 1964, then three-term Senator Margaret Chase Smith put the first crack in the “hardest, highest glass ceiling” when she announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Although she never really came close to winning it, Senator Smith’s presidential campaign helped dispel centuries of chauvinism and paved the way for female political leaders in the U.S. today. Senator Smith was born on December 14, 1897, in Skowhegan, Maine to working class parents, George Emery and Carrie Matilda Chase. Margaret attended public school, played…(more)

zz_top2crop1-e1282126491265The Only Member of ZZ Top That Doesn’t Have a Beard is Frank Beard

The only member of ZZ Top that doesn’t have a beard is Frank Beard.  Beard is the drummer for ZZ Top and former band member of the Cellar Dwellers, The Hustlers, The Warlocks, and American Blues. ZZ Top was originally formed in 1969, in Houston Texas.  The band, with the original members, is still making records and touring today, which makes them the second longest running band that still has the same members as when they started.  Those members are Frank Beard (drums), Billy Gibbons (lead vocals and guitar), and Dusty Hill (vocals, bass, and keyboards). The longest running band of all time, that maintained the same members as when they started, is the Four Tops.  The Four Tops played from 1953 to 1997 when band…(more)

dry-cleaning-340x394How Dry Cleaning Works and Who Invented It

What happens to clothes after being dropped off at the dry cleaners is a mystery to most. We know that our clothes come back a whole lot cleaner than when we dropped them off, but how? And who first got the bright idea to clean clothing without water? The earliest records of professional dry cleaning go all the way back to the Ancient Romans. For instance, dry cleaning shops were discovered in the ruins of Pompeii, a Roman city buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Those cleaners, known as fullers, used a type of clay known as fuller’s earth along with lye and ammonia (derived from urine) in order to remove…(more)

CharlesHarrelson-e1287408864852Woody Harrelson’s Father Was a Contract Killer

Woody Harrelson’s father, Charles Voyde Harrelson, was a contract killer. Charles Harrelson is most noted for having been convicted of assassinating U.S. District Judge John H. Wood, Jr. outside of a parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, as well as being convicted of killing a grain dealer, Sam Degalia, Jr., for money. In the latter case, Harrelson received 15 years in prison, but was paroled and released from prison within 5 years, released in 1978. One year later, he was arrested for allegedly killing Judge John Wood. Charles denied having killed the Judge, claiming he was in Detroit at the time. However, a taped conversation…(more)

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