“Get me off your fucking mailing list.”
~David Mazières and Eddie Kohler
If you put a gun to our head and told us to tell you one thing that’s wrong with America, we’d press our forehead into the barrel and say, “That pussies like you don’t have the stones to pull the trigger.” But if you asked nicely, and weren’t a dick about it, we’d say, “probably the existence of companies and publications employing predatory tactics to gain profit.” And while businesses that gain all their profits through legal-but-shady means are a global phenomenon, America does unfortunately have its fair share of assholes who trick the gullible, frightened, and elderly into giving them money.
One surprising and somewhat unsettling form this has taken involves, of all things, science. Specifically, “academic journals” that solely exist to mill out publications for graduate students and members of STEM academia. These publications spam academics and will post just about anything so long as they get their publication fee. One of those publications is the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology which is the equivalent of us calling our website the International Publication of Extraordinary Patriotic Informative Studies, which is to say it’s a bullshit name for a bullshit publication (yes we are including ourselves in the “bullshit” category). And that’s why it was so wonderful when, in 2014, Peter Vamplew, Associate Professor at Federation University Australia, decided to fuck with this publication, to amazing effect. This is his story.
Great Moments in Spam Responses: International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology
“You can’t both be called the Tigers. Or you can. Whatever. We’re kind of making this up as we go along.”
~Jim Thorpe, the first president of the NFL
The NFL is part of our nation’s DNA, exhibiting everything we stand for. Teamwork. Perseverance. Struggle. Old white men punishing people when they dance too much in celebration. A shocking inability to properly handle domestic abuse. And, of course, Tom Brady’s cleft chin. Imagining America without football is almost impossible. What would we do with our winter Sundays? Football is in the bible, you guys. “On the seventh day, the Lord kicked back a 12 pack on his recliner and watched NFL Red Zone with a close eye on his fantasy team.”
We think. Listen, just like most Americans, we like to use the bible to make our point, despite not having really “read it.” But we digress.
The point is, as much as we assume that football has always been with us, there was a time when the league was brand new and very, very ridiculous. So let’s hop in a time machine of words and go back to 1920, where the first season of a National Football League took place. It was sloppy as hell.
The First Season of the NFL was Ridiculous
“Leggo my Lego!”
~That’s not their slogan…
Legos are so ingenious we’re frankly surprised they’re not from America. They were actually invented in Denmark or Sweden or one of those countries way up over there, we don’t really care, we have a hard enough time figuring out if it’s Vermont or New Hampshire that borders Maine to care about where other countries are. That being said, Lego is kind of the perfect toy—it encourages creativity in children, and Asperger-level concentration and commitment in adults. The genius of Lego lies in its adaptability—if The Lego Movie taught us anything, it’s that Will Ferrell is kind of an asshole of a dad. No, wait, it’s that you shouldn’t limit your imagination. Well, that imagination is alive and well in America, in the form of custom Lego sets, for sale, by third party vendors. Okay, so maybe you’re not using your imagination by buying them, but they are at the very least…unique.
The Strangest (Unofficial) Lego Sets You Can Actually Buy
“This would be so much better if there was a bar here.”
Museums are an important part of American culture. They unite us to our history and offer a serviceable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Museums are mostly fine! Some are actually pretty cool! Museums, or institutions that conserve and collect objects of various historic, cultural, artistic, or scientific significance, have been around for thousands of years. Literally every nation that isn’t ISIS has museums, because people want to feel connected to their past, present, and future, and looking at the leather jacket worn by the Fonz is a great way to help you do that.
Naturally, America does museums as well as anyone else. According to Trip Advisor, for example, 6 of the 25 best museums in the world are in the United States, including the #1 and #3 museums out there (the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Chicago Art Institute, respectively) which is frankly astonishing considering that we’re competing against countries such as England, Greece and France who have literally thousands of more years of cultural history than we possess. We’re kicking ass even when we’re competing with places like the Louvre and the Acropolis!
So yes, America knows how to do classy, important museums. But there is one category where no other nation is even close to catching up to us in. America is by far the master at museums that are utterly pointless to the point of hilarity. We have a museum for everything here. Everything. To prove our point, we’re here to present you with…
America’s Most Absurdly Pointless Museums
“Squack, I’ll keep whatever pet I goddamn well please, squack.”
~Andrew Jackson’s Pet Parrot
It’s almost an unwritten rule that America’s President take care of a pet during their stay in the White House, even if the only reason is that having a pet is a good way to make the man with more power than anyone else in the free world just a tad bit more relatable. And also because pets are adorable. Currently, the White House is home to two Portuguese Water Dogs, and dogs and cats are pretty typical presidential pets because they’re pretty typical regular pets. But that’s not always the case. Throughout our nation’s histories, some presidents have decided, “I’m the President, goddamn it, I can choose any pet I want” before taking care of the best and most insane pets ever.
Here are five times that American Presidents thought a bit outside the box when it came to pets.
The 5 Best Presidential Pets in American History
Posted in America Fun Fact of the Day, Obscure American History, Our Greatest Presidents, Strange America
Tagged America, Andrew Jackson, Calvin Coolidge, Cats, Dogs, Herbert Hoover, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Pets, Presidential Pets, Presidents, Thomas Jefferson
“I’m totally signing that fire ants petition, though.”
~Johnny Roosevelt, AFFotD.com Editor-in-Chief
Back in May, we went through change.org to find some of the most absurd petitions in existence. It was fun. One dude wanted to rename the planet Uranus to Planet Reagan, because Uranus sounds like a dirty word. See, the best thing about change.org is that there’s no real oversight or accountability, which means that when we posted absurd petitions, it was not the result of some deep search through the entire history of the site. Those were all created within a day of each other. We decided, hell, that was fun, so let’s do it again. Because, honestly, change.org is the best website on the internet if you want to find a healthy mix of people clearly posting joke petitions, and those who are both insane and angry. That’s why we’re here to present…
More of the Most Absurd Change.org Petitions in America
“We could do tacos…we could do thai…Oo, how about sushi?”
~Matthew McConaughey to TWO GODDAMN DOGS
This year, Matthew McConaughey continued his confusing commercial work with the Lincoln Motor Company, because he was in that one Lincoln lawyer movie, A Time to Kill. For those of you who have not seen a McConaughey Lincoln commercial, who are you and what pleasure do you get lying to websites on the internet? The the rest of (all of) you who know what we’re talking about, we’ll still run down the basics. There’s McConaughey driving a Lincoln. Soft music plays. He’s saying something that sounds folksy but really isn’t (“I used to drive this kind of car and now I get paid to drive this kind of car”) and then he gives the camera a sly look through the rear view mirror that’s all, “Ha ha, I got my statue I can do whatever the fuck I want.”
America has stood behind that. Nay, America has united behind that. But then McConaughey had to go ahead and film a commercial that proves that he is a terrible Dog Dad, and his dogs must be taken away from him before he causes them irreversible harm.
“It’s like an entire century decided to find a name funnier than Seymour Butts.”
~American Historians Looking at Goofy American Names
In the past, when we spent time looking into baseball players of the 19th century to find some really goofy name, it was primarily to talk about how silly, yet delightful, the Wild Wild West days of early Major League Baseball truly was. But the more we thought about it, the more we wondered—what if it wasn’t just baseball players that had strange, laughable names back then? What if the era was responsible for ridiculous names more than just the sport of baseball? It seemed plausible, and so we did a little digging (read as—we found a list on tumblr and did some googling to make sure the names weren’t just made up). And because very little gives us more joy in life than making fun of people whose parents really should not have tried to get “creative” coming up with a word to describe a human for their whole fucking life, we’re going to make fun of some names that are goofier than your name.
Except for you, Brandalynn. Your name is white trash garbage.
6 of the Goofiest American Names From the 19th Century
Oh for fuck’s sake, it’s a gender neutral name too?
“*crashes and dies horribly*”
~The average airplane pilot in the 1920s
On the grand scale of human endeavors, we as a species have only recently mastered the art of flight. We’ve been able to stay in the air in a contraption of our own design for only a little over 100 years at this point, and we’re still trying to work out the kinks (consider- Spirit Airlines). But in the early days of flight, we really had no clue what the hell we were doing. Like, at all. Flying was something done by a very select group of crazy people with a death wish—listen, Amelia Earhart was a pioneer and an inspiration and blah blah blah, but it’s safe to say that part of her legacy comes from the fact that she partook in a profession that all but guaranteed that we’d never got to see what she looked like as an old lady. The fact that Charles Lindbergh lived to be 72 is almost as shocking as the fact that he had a secret Nazi family.
The early days in aviation were filled with daring attempts to do something that had never been done before using planes that were made out of balsa wood, fabric, and a lot of praying. The ambition often exceeded the technology, and when we weren’t trying to milk sky cows, we were trying to fly to parts of the world that we had no right trying to fly to.
Which sets the scene for 1927, when James D. Dole, the “he actually was called this” Pineapple King, decided he would sponsor an air race from Oakland to Hawaii, a trip that had never been successfully flown before. The Dole Air Race that followed would end up going down in history as one of America’s finest and most tragic moments of “What the fuck did you think would happen?” Just always remember- the reason you are alive today is that your great-grandparents did not try to fly airplanes in 1927.
The Dole Air Race: Crash and Burn, Repeat