“Holy shit, I can’t believe I got killed by Uncle Fester.”
~An Actual Murderer
“Actors aren’t as tough as they used to be” sounds like a sentence you’d hear an angry old man shouting from his porch, possibly to children gliding down the sidewalk on Heelys. But there is some truth to it. Sure, a lot might have to do with the times we live in, but it’s easy to forget that Hollywood wasn’t always full of glamour and George Clooneys. The Golden Age of Hollywood was pretty much fueled by animal deaths on set and carefully regimented drug cocktails forced upon strung out teenage actresses off it, and if you managed to pull through that minefield relatively successful and sane, then you had to be made of some pretty solid stuff.
We mention that because while we (correctly) look back at groundbreaking actors such as Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, and Humphrey Bogart as visionaries and badasses, there’s one actor who probably was the toughest son of a bitch to step in front of a camera (yes, we know that list includes Danny Trejo) if for no other reason than the fact that his childhood, we’re pretty sure, was haunted. Which probably helped him prepare for the role of Uncle Fester.
Yes, we’re going to talk about Jackie Coogan, who could totally beat you up.
Jackie Coogan: Uncle Fester Was Kind of a Badass
“I’m too drunk and full to talk about politics.”
~Someone doing Thanksgiving right
Thanksgiving is two days away, which means that some of you are definitely using that as an excuse to eat unhealthy and drink on weekdays. And that’s good! The best holidays are the ones you can kind of streeetch into a full week or more of unhealthy behavior, sort of like how Halloween almost always has a party for the weekend before and after the 31st of October.
But some people might not like Thanksgiving as much as our staff does. While we enjoy spending time with our families, carefully navigating the “when do I switch from beer to wine so I’m not double fisting at the dinner table” dynamic and watching football games where people fumble off of butts, some Americans aren’t that lucky, and have to spend most of their time biting their tongue at Uncle Richard’s assertion that “Anderson Cooper’s one of those damn lizard people” as their Aunt Edna passive-aggressively criticizes all the dishes that she didn’t make. So for those of you who view Thanksgiving as a time to take a deep breath and mumble, “Okay, let’s get this over with” we humbly offer a few suggestions to make your Thanksgiving tolerable. Or even kind of okay!
Your American Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving
“*gets hit by lightning* *chugs a beer* Don’t worry guys, I’m good.”
Most history curriculums are pretty bad at telling us about the crazy things that have actually happened in the world, if you think about it. Sure, McCarthyism during the Cold War is “something we should know” but how come no one talks about the time we tried to build a military base on the moon in 1959? Hell, even when history tries to get edgy (like, for instance, the existence of Teddy Roosevelt) it somehow manages to leave out some of the best parts (like how his daughter was a pet-snake keeping badass). This goes double for history. We know about Babe Ruth and his philandering, boozy ways, but we don’t know about the pure insanity that was Charlie Sweeney. Likewise, everyone and their mother knows at least the name “Cy Young” when it comes to pitchers, but was Cy Young an alcoholic who once was struck by lightning during a game that he stayed in and finished? We didn’t think so.
So we here at America Fun Fact of the Day have decided to do history a favor and help them spice things up a bit by telling you a little bit about Ray Caldwell, one of the most badass pitchers to ever play professional baseball, and one of the few people who can give Charlie Sweeney a run for his money.
Ray Caldwell: The Alcoholic Lightning Rod of Major League Baseball
“This is our national anthem, nobody likes me L”
~Huh, How Do You Get an Emoji in a National Anthem?
We’ve spent the last few weeks telling you about countries that aren’t America, which we know is very jarring for many of you. But in our attempts to be cultured (read as: making fun of other nations) we’ve found a broad spectrum of National Anthems that range from “Okay that’s pretty badass” to “please stop crying, please stop crying, it’s making us very uncomfortable.” Make no mistake, a National Anthem is supposed to be your country at its most very badass. But that’s not always the case. So we’re going to close out our series with a handful of nations that, just, really need to boost that self-esteem. Come on guys, chins up!
The National Anthems Of The World Series: Part 4- National Anthems With The Lowest Self Esteem
“I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.”
~Bangladesh’s National Anthem, Basically
For the past few weeks we’ve been looking at various National Anthems, and judging their lyrics in our own judgey way. We started off with those anthems that we deemed to be particularly “metal” because that’s by far the most fun thing to read, but there are all sorts of National Anthems out there. Some are origin stories. Some are proud. Some are, meh, boring (sup Canada).
But, notably, a lot are surprisingly depressing. Let’s all get sad together, shall we?
The National Anthems Of The World Series: Part 3- The Most Depressing National Anthem Lyrics
“Give me a break!”
~Um, That’s Not The Theme Song To Captain Crunch…
When Captain Cap’n Crunch first hit the shelves in 1963, we didn’t worry ourselves with the fact that he’s not an actual Captain, and instead went wild over the corn-based cereal that was the first to be coated in a thin layer of oil to give it an additional boost of flavor. The cereal itself was developed by Pamela Low, a flavorist (shut up, it’s a thing) (no it actually is) at Arthur D. Little who tried to make a cereal that tasted like her grandmother’s recipe of brown sugar and butter melted over rice. Now, as far as “tasting like sugar butter over rice” goes, Captain Cap’n Crunch was an abject failure. But if we look at the product through a “holy shit, this is really good, let’s put some crunch berries in it” lens, it was a roaring success.
Now, Cap’n Crunch is everywhere, and you’ll hear no one complain about that fact because Cap’n Crunch is goddamn magical. That is, when they’re not trying to showboat.
Yes, much like Marshmallow Peeps, Oreos, or, God help us, M&Ms, Cap’n Crunch has tried many times to fly to the sun, only to see their waxen wings melt away. That was a very elegant metaphor about how you shouldn’t sell Cap’n Crunch that comes with fucking pop rocks in it.
Cap’N Crunch’s Grossest Flavors of All Time
“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