Fun facts about John Wayne

Here are some fun facts about iconic man's man, John Wayne, taken mostly from Wikipedia:

Birth name: Marion Robert Morrison

City of birth: Winterset, Iowa

His name was changed to Marion Michael Morrison when his parents decided to name their next son Robert.

His family moved to California when he was four.

Wayne applied to the U.S. Naval Academy, but was not accepted. He instead attended the University of Southern California (USC), majoring in pre-law.

A bodysurfing injury cut his college football career short.

Without his athletic scholarship he had to drop out of school and start working in the prop department of a film studio.

A director and a studio executive came up with his stage name. Wayne wasn't present for the meeting.

After he started acting, stuntmen taught him horseback riding.

Wayne was married and divorced three times.

All three of his wives were hispanic women.

He was exempt from the WWII draft because of his age (34). Many other actors enlisted, and Wayne considered it, but continually postponed it until "after he finished one more film."

Wayne's third wife, Pilar, wrote, "He would become a 'superpatriot' for the rest of his life trying to atone for staying home."

He was a Freemason.

He smoked five packs a day until he got lung cancer and had his lung removed in 1964. He switched to tobacco and cigars after that.

Wayne actively campaigned for Richard Nixon.

In a 1971 interview, Wayne said, "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility."

Wayne had several high-profile affairs.

Wayne was approached by Mel Brooks to play the part of The Waco Kid in the film Blazing Saddles. After reading the script he said, "I can't be in this picture, it's too dirty...but I'll be the first in line to see it."

Revolutionary and Iraq Wars

Wonkette.com in their usual sarcastic tone, had this to say about a speech Bush gave yesterday:

Bush compares Iraq to the American Revolutionary War. But in the way, obviously, that makes the exact opposite of sense. Apparently the wealthy foreign occupying power are the scrappy colonists, and the local insurgents represent Great Britain.

The Onion weighs in, too.

Keyboard shortcuts

A coworker sent me a link to this article on the Onion. I've been that guy. It's so true, though. You menu clickers are frittering away precious seconds of your life. I posted about one of my favorites a few weeks ago. If I learn a few more shortcuts I'll be ready to tackle one of my life goals: Go through a normal productive day at work without touching my mouse. It's good to have dreams, eh?

Happy keyboarding.

Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney likes his office to operate in secret, starting from his second week as Vice President. Now this:

For four years, Vice President Dick Cheney has resisted routine oversight of his office’s handling of classified information, and when the office in charge of overseeing classification in the executive branch objected, the vice president’s office suggested that the oversight office be shut down, according to documents released today by a Democratic congressman.

The oversight office, a unit of the National Archives, appealed the issue to the Justice Department, which has not yet ruled on the matter.

-- New York Times (June 22, 2007)

Well, at least we know that the Justice Department will be absolutely impartial and apolitical.

Prius mileage

Toyota Prius monitor showing 54.2 MPG

For the first 10,000 miles my fuel economy on the Prius was around 39 mpg. Since then it's gone up steadily until it hit about 45 mpg. I reset the counter and paid a bit more attention to how I was driving for 2 tanks of gas and this is where it ended up. 54 mpg is pretty good, considering the fact that it was mostly on the highway and the EPA rating for this car is 51 mpg on the highway (60 in the city, 55 combined).

With gas at this price, the investment in a hybrid is paying for itself more quickly than I expected.

Nations that don't use the metric system

That's Burma, Liberia, and the US.

(via Digg)

Slaughterhouse-five

I started reading Slaughterhouse-five on Friday night and finished it on Sunday afternoon. It's about a man that comes unstuck in time and experiences his life in a random order. Part of the story follows him through the allied fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, where he was held as a prisoner of war by the Germans in World War II. After the war, the main character is up late one night when this happens:

He went into the living room, swinging the bottle like a dinner bell, turned on the television. He came slightly unstuck in time, saw the late movie backwards, then forwards again. It was a movie about American bombers in the Second World War and the gallant men who flew them. Seen backwards by Billy, the story went like this:

American planes, full of holes and wounded men and corpses took off backwards from an airfield in England. Over France a few German fighter planes flew at them backwards, sucked bullets and shell fragments from some of the planes and crewmen. They did the same for wrecked American bombers on the ground, and those planes flew up backwards to join the formation.

The formation flew backwards over a German city that was in flames. The bombers opened their bomb bay doors, exerted a miraculous magnetism which shrunk the fires, gathered them into cylindrical steel containers, and lifted the containers into the bellies of the planes. The containers were stored neatly in racks. The Germans below had miraculous devices of their own, which were long steel tubes. They used them to suck more fragments from the crewmen and planes. But there were still a few wounded Americans, though, and some of the bombers were in bad repair. Over France, though, German fighters came up again, made everything and everybody as good as new.

When the bombers got back to their base, the steel cylinders were taken from the racks and shipped back to the United States of America, where factories were operating night and day, dismantling the cylinders, separating the dangerous contents into minerals. Touchingly, it was mainly women who did this work. The minerals were then shipped to specialists in remote areas. It was their business to put them into the ground, to hide them cleverly, so they would never hurt anybody ever again.

I thought that was one of the more poignant passages of the book.

Adrian Journal 2.0

This week we launched the redesign of AdrianJournal.com. The site is now powered by Drupal and features a modern look, online classifieds, more interactive features and larger photos (click on the thumbnails). It's much easier to update than the old PostNuke version was, and the pages load faster, too. While b2evolution is still my blogging tool of choice, Drupal is a very nice, flexible web app for making online community sites.

Fake company names

I needed to come up with a list of fake company names for a demo site at work. I started making up company names, but then I realized that there are plenty of company names in popular works of fiction. I found a few lists online and compiled my favorites into this list of 296 fake company names. Feel free to use it if you need something similar. And if you're really bored, look through my list and see how many you can identify.

GMaps feature request

Google, I'm going to give you an idea. I won't even charge you the normal consulting fee you pay when you ask me for ideas. This one's on the house. I like how I can get directions from one point to another and I like how I can search an area of the map or a zip code for businesses, but sometimes I want to use those two together. Sometimes I want to see all the places to eat that are on the way from point A to point B. I don't want to wander very far from my route. Businesses that are just off of the highway are ideal. My route might take me through several zip codes, so the normal business search doesn't narrow the results down enough. I think Mapquest used to try to show hotels that were along a route. Anyway, Google, I'm giving you permission to use this idea for free.

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