It all began at a party in Palm Springs, California in early December 1970.
Elvis’s reign as the “King of Rock and Roll” had been in decline since the “British Invasion”, (led by the Beatles), had jolted America’s pop music market in 1964.
Elvis was still an American idol and had begun a comeback in his singing career.
However, his energies in recent years had been devoted to making a series of forgettable Hollywood films.
In a conversation with Vice President Agnew, Elvis expressed his concern for what he felt were threats to American culture posed by, not only the British Invasion, but also the drug culture, hippies and the Black Panthers.
Elvis wanted to do something about it.
Three weeks later, Elvis, accompanied by two body guards, was bound for Washington, DC aboard an American Airlines flight.
He spent his time writing a letter to the President. “Dear Mr. President, First, I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley. . .” the rock star expressed his desire to be made a “Federal Agent at Large” in order to communicate with and report on what he felt were deleterious factions threatening America.
He believed his star-status would allow him a non-threatening entrance into the closed environment of these groups. A federal law appointment would give him credibility.
Elvis arrived at the White House gate on the morning of December 21 with his two body guards.
He carried some family photos and a commemorative World War II .45 caliber pistol (above) intended as gifts for the President.
He handed his letter to the guards and waited.
Elvis’s arrival ignited a flurry of activity among the White House staff.
White House aide Dwight Chapman sent a quick memo to his boss, Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman.
Chapman attached Elvis’s letter and advised that the President meet with the rock star.
Haldeman concurred and Elvis was scheduled to meet with Nixon at 12:30 that afternoon.
Read more via President Nixon Meets Elvis, 1970.
Touted as the “newest contribution to the enjoyment of living”, news of the ingenious “rowing-bath” comes to us from the pages of a 1916 edition of The Popular Science Monthly.
Consisting of what amounts to some sort of a metal dustpan tied by a rubber cord to the taps, the device promises to secure “the zest which accompanies the pleasant pastime of buffeting surf”.
It seems, however, that the general public did not quite share the excitement of the article, or the ecstatic model it depicts, as nothing much more is heard of the invention again (although we did find mention of a similarly named device from 1904).
To Help Save the Australian Economy the Morrison Government is considering deporting Old Age Pensioners who the Dept. of Deportation and Transport, feels don’t serve any useful purpose living in Australia.
“They have been a burden on all of us for far too long, they just cost the Government so much” said the Prime Minister.
However, the Deportation Scheme has been put on hold because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
When the Scheme resumes the first to be Deported from those oldies left will be old ten pound poms, old trade Unionists, old dole bludgers and old bikies.
“Older people are easier to catch”. “They are “dead set goners”, according to Last Gasp Scott.
The Government is currently negotiating with a reputable gang of people smugglers to take these ‘Australians’ for their final cruise to some uninhabited island in the Pacific.
“There will be massive savings on pensions, welfare payments, concessions, travel and bloody Medicare,’ the Prime Minister said.
Stolen Biro, a former English high profile Proofreader with the Government Printing Office, started to cry when he thought of all those friends he knew who will be deported with him under this Innovative Scheme dreamt up by the Government.
“I’ll see you all on the Goodbye Bus then” the Biro blubbered.
by Rokas L
We all have that one place we want to visit.
Photographer Vicktor Habchy’s dream destination was the Burning Man festival, held in the Black Rock Desert, Pershing County, Nevada.
See more Images at Victor’s Website
Their maximum speed is a lethargic 1.7 miles per hour, many are almost blind, and they are happy to eat rotting carcasses.
They may be common throughout the ocean, but you’ve probably never heard of them. Meet the Greenland shark.
Looking like nothing so much as a chunk of weather-beaten rock, Greenland sharks (Somniosus microcephalus) can grow up to 7.3 metres (24 feet) long, making them one of the largest of all fish, and the biggest in the Arctic.
But they prefer to live in deep, cold water, so humans rarely see them.
Studies in the Arctic have revealed a few snippets of information about Greenland sharks, and more data is now starting to come in from elsewhere.
It turns out that Greenland sharks are bizarre, and may be crucially important for the ocean ecosystem.
Greenland sharks only come close to the surface in places where the shallow water is frigid enough for them – primarily in the Arctic.
In an old hunting lodge on the grounds of an ancient Norman castle in Abergavenny, Wales, a small, extinct dog peers out of a handmade wooden display case.
“Whiskey is the last surviving specimen of a turnspit dog, albeit stuffed,” says Sally Davis, longtime custodian at the lodge.
The Canis vertigus, or turnspit, was an essential part of every large kitchen in Britain in the 16th century.
The small cooking canine was bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in cavernous kitchen fireplaces.
“They were referred to as the kitchen dog, the cooking dog or the vernepator cur,” says Caira Farrell, librarian. “The very first mention of them is in 1576 in the first book on dogs ever written.”
The turnspit was bred especially to run on a wheel that turned meat so it would cook evenly. And that’s how the turnspit got its other name: vernepator cur, Latin for “the dog that turns the wheel.”
Back in the 16th century, many people preferred to cook meat over an open fire. Open-fire roasting required constant attention from the cook and constant turning of the spit.
“Since medieval times, the British have delighted in eating roast beef, roast pork, roast turkey,” says , author of Amazing Dogs, a Cabinet of Canine Curiosities, the book that first led us to the turnspit dog.
“They sneered at the idea of roasting meat in an oven. For a true Briton, the proper way was to spit roast it in front of an open fire, using a turnspit dog.”
When any meat was to be roasted, one of these dogs was hoisted into a wooden wheel mounted on the wall near the fireplace. The wheel was attached to a chain, which ran down to the spit.
As the dog ran, like a hamster in a cage, the spit turned.
“Turnspit dogs were viewed as kitchen utensils, as pieces of machinery rather than as dogs,” says Bondeson. “The roar of the fire. The clanking of the spit. The patter from the little dog’s feet. The wheels were put up quite high on the wall, far from the fire in order for the dogs not to overheat and faint.”
On 31 March, 1923, the first U.S. dance marathon ended in New York City but began a strange fad with sometimes fatal consequences!
Less than a decade later, in 1932, a young woman dropped dead after dancing non-stop for 48 hours in a dance marathon!
And when the people raided a ballroom during a Marathon World Championship, the promoters simple transferred the contestants, who were still dancing, into a van.
From there they were taken onto a sloop, a small sailing ship, which sailed out of territorial waters and so beyond the area of police control. The plan worked perfectly, until the contestants got seasick.
Marathon dancing competitions brilliantly depicted in the movie “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?”, which were the rage in the 1930’s, were more than just tiring, and often torturous, dance sessions.
Contestants had their teeth extracted during these marathons; others got married. A few even went mad!
If you are wondering why so many people bothered to take part in these competitions, it is because the prizes were simple too good to resist – the top prize was as much as $2,000!
You may not think that large enough a sum to entice thousands of people to sacrifice sleep and food for days on end.
But remember, 60 years ago, $2,000 was a lot of money. Plus, these marathons took place during the period when times were hard.
To win or survive almost to the end of a marathon usually meant that one could become an instant celebrity. The rules of these seemingly endless dancing sessions were strict: out of every hour, contestants had to spend 45 minutes in constant motion.
Only 15 minutes were allowed for rest (not sleep), first aid and toilet needs. And this grueling schedule went on for 24 hours a day.
It was pure entertainment for the large audience which often turned up to watch. Many brought presents for their favorite contestants.
Other placed bets on the final outcome. And there were some who simple enjoyed watching the judges mercilessly torture the weaker contestants by speeding the music and flicking with towels at their swollen legs.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest marathon lasted over 30 weeks; however, in 1933, this form of ‘entertainment’ was banned in the USA.
When I was 12 years old my Dad would regularly take me down to the Henley Beach Square at Henley Beach (a seaside suburb of Adelaide).
There I would stand open mouthed, staring upwards at the grown up adults sitting on top of poles.
They were crazy, but why did they do it?
Evidently, pole sitting competitions were all the rage in the United States in the early 1920s.
People were desperate for money and so they sat up on the top of poles to win some lousy competition.
Like most things the craze took another 20 years or more to reach the shores of Australia.
The Square would be packed with families enjoying the summer nights as they wandered from pole to pole.
There was a lot of good natured banter between pole sitters and those gawking up at them.
Because Adelaide was a small city there were a lot of people who knew each other and to me a visit to the square was exciting.
We might want to revise that age-old saying about judging books by their covers.
The TerribleBookCovers subreddit has a few recommendations for you.
Highlighting the best of the worst in book design, title choice and overall presentation, the subreddit features a stunning collection of bad photoshop, creepy models and — err — niche hobbies.
From guides on knitting with dog fur to novel-length manifestos about the endless benefits of leeches, these books are basically impossible to not judge.
Take a look through some of our favorites below, coming to a bookstore hopefully nowhere near you (The Hobbit notwithstanding, of course).