The Sunday Funnies & Factoids
May 3/14 The List Edition
Happy first week of May one and all. Tis nice to feel that Spring is in full swing. A tad grey and cool but in no time summer will be upon us and we will have something entirely different to bitch about…. the heat and humidity.
Well, without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here is this weeks installment of the Sunday Funnies and Factoids.
Four very cool things Harper Lee did after penning To Kill a Mockingbird:
1. ROASTED A SMALL-MINDED SCHOOL BOARD In 1966, a Virginian school board elected to remove all copies of To Kill a Mockingbird from their libraries, citing the book as “immoral.” Outraged, Lee wrote a fiery letter to the Richmond News Leader condemning the group’s actions. “Recently,” she asserted, “I have received echoes down this way of the Hanover County School Board’s activities, and what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.” Lee went on to compare the officials in question to Orwellian dictators and capped off her epic beat-down by enclosing “a small contribution … that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.”
2. HELPED TRUMAN CAPOTE WORK ON IN COLD BLOOD Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote asked her to accompany him on a trip to the small town of Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 to investigate the recent murder of a wealthy family under mysterious circumstances. It didn’t take long for Capote to discover that his companion had a much easier time talking to the locals, an ability which proved invaluable to his efforts. Lee was so dedicated to the case that she not only wrote 150 pages of notes for Capote, but also took a week-long vacation during the pre-production of To Kill a Mockingbird ‘s film adaptation to rejoin him in Kansas so they might further examine the suspects. Truman’s best-selling account of the incident, In Cold Blood, became an instant sensation.
3. WAS AWARDED THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM Though she generally declines interview requests, Lee made a rare public appearance in 2007 to accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Fellow recipients that year included geneticist Francis Collins and former House Foreign Affairs committee chairman Henry Hyde.
4. WROTE AN IMPASSIONED DEFENSE OF BOOKS AND LIBRARIES In 2006, Lee composed an open letter to Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine that discussed her love of books. Her thoughts should be required reading for bookworms of all ages: “[In] an abundant society where people have laptops, iPods, and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books. Instant information is not for me: I still prefer to search library stacks because when I work to learn something, I remember it. And Oprah, can you imagine curling up in bed to read a computer? Weeping for Anna Karenina and being terrified by Hannibal Lecter, entering the heart of darkness with Mistah Kurtz, having Holden Caulfield ring you up–some things should happen on soft pages, not cold metal.”
7 Priceless Items People Sold on eBay:
1. ONE OF ALBERT EINSTEIN’S HANDWRITTEN LETTERS
2. THE ORIGINAL “HOLLYWOOD” SIGN
3. A CHUNK OF MARS
4. A NEW SPECIES OF SEA URCHIN
Starting Price: $9.50
Sold For: $138.00
5. THE TUSCAN VILLAGE OF PRATARICCIA
6. THE TOWN OF BRIDGEVILLE, CA
7. THE MEANING OF LIFE
BONUS: A LONG-LOST STATUE FROM ANCIENT GREECE
Happy May! Check out all the quirky holidays you can celebrate.
1. MAY 1: LEI DAY You’ve heard of May Day, but this is the Hawaiian equivalent. Celebrate the islands’ culture with lei-making contests, Hawaiian food and music, and even the crowning of the Lei Queen.
2. MAY 3: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY Ever since 2002, the first Saturday of May has seen participating independent comic book stores across the country hand out their wares for free. Over 3 million comic books are given away each year!
3. MAY 4: STAR WARS DAY “May the fourth be with you.” Get it?
4. & 5. MAY 6: NO DIET DAY AND NO HOMEWORK DAY Although they weren’t created in conjunction, these seem appropriately paired for both children and adults to let loose a little and just indulge.
6. MAY 8: NO SOCKS DAY The pitch for this holiday cites the lighter load of laundry foregoing socks will create. This seems specious at best–how big are your socks?–but let’s all hope it will be sandal weather by this point, in which case you should definitely do without socks.
7. MAY 9: FINTASTIC FRIDAY: GIVING SHARKS A VOICE! Not to be confused with Shark Week, this is a day sponsored by WhaleTimes Inc. and the Shark Research Institute to promote awareness of the plight of sharks and update their image.
8. MAY 10: NATIONAL TRAIN DAY This is the seventh annual National Train Day, which celebrates the day on which the “golden spike” was driven into the final tie that connected the Central Pacific and Union Continental railroads, creating a country unified by train travel.
9. MAY 11: MOTHER’S DAY But not just Mother’s Day–the 100th anniversary of the creation of Mother’s Day by Congressional legislation in 1914 as a response to Anna Jarvis’ letter-writing campaign.
10. MAY 12: LIMERICK DAY Observed annually on the birthday of English author Edward Lear, whose 1846 A Book of Nonsense helped bring the lyrical form to popularity.
11. MAY 16: NATIONAL PIZZA PARTY DAY Last month we had a day dedicated to Chicago’s deep dish, but this is a little different. Designed to mark the school year winding down, celebrate with the one thing sure to make even the surliest student happy: a pizza party.
12. MAY 18: INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM DAY This will be the 37th annual celebration of the many cultural institutions around the world.
13. MAY 19-26: NATIONAL BACKYARD GAMES WEEK Break out the bocce, horseshoes, and croquet mallets! The weather will (hopefully) be warm enough to spend your free time outdoors by the end of May, so this is the week to try out as many silly lawn games as you can.
14. MAY 22: WORLD GOTH DAY I don’t know if Hot Topic is still in business, but this would be the day to find out.
15. MAY 23: INTERNATIONAL WORLD TURTLE DAY You can be sure mental_floss will have the fun facts.
16. MAY 24: INTERNATIONAL TIARA DAY Embrace your inner princess.
17. MAY 25: TOWEL DAY Carry a towel with you wherever you go on this day to honor the life and work of Douglas Adams because, as any good interstellar hitchhiker knows, a towel “is about the most massively useful thing”.
Stay happy and healthy all week long and I will see you back here next Sunday.