10 Celebrities with Strange Physical Flaws

Sure, they may look perfect on the silver screen, but all ten of these celebrities have a physical imperfection caused by a birth defect, accident or just plain old heredity. Read on to find out which celeb was born with a conjoined twin, whose thumb looks like a penis, and who can swim as well as a scuba diver thanks to his naturally webbed toes.

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Megan Fox was born with a condition called “brachydactyly” thumbs, which means that her thumbs are slightly clubbed or misshapen. Both digits are short and have a very wide nail, though they are perfectly functional. This condition is usually hereditary, though it can also be caused by an injury in childhood.

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Lily Allen is no shrinking violet, so it comes as no surprise that she is extremely open and up-front about her extraneous nipple. Lily has been known to freely show off the tiny freckle-like mark under her left breast, with absolutely no embarrassment. Nor should she be embarrassed; roughly 2-3% of the human population have an extra nipple, including fellow celebrities Mark Wahlberg, Tilda Swinton and Carrie Underwood.

Cuomo

Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo was born with one leg almost two inches shorter than the other. He had the problem corrected as an adult in a grueling procedure that involved the surgical breaking of his leg, followed by months of wearing a brace and physically stretching the leg several times per day. This experience inspired Cuomo to write a song called “The Good Life,” and he featured an x-ray image of his broken leg on the single’s album, Pinkerton.

Garcia

Andy Garcia was born with a conjoined twin attached to his shoulder. Doctors surgically removed the unformed fetus when Garcia was a toddler and still too young to remember the ordeal.

Vaughn

When actor Vince Vaughn was seventeen he lost the tip of his right thumb in a car accident. He is famously unperturbed by this slight physical deformity and has been known to joke that his thumb now resembles a penis with a fingernail.

Corgin

Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan was born with a large port-wine stain birthmark, or Klippel-Trenauney syndrome (KTS), covering most the palm and fingers of his left hand. Corgan does suffer some physical impairment due to this congenital circulatory disorder, though it does not effect his ability to shred on guitar.

Phoenix

Many people assume that Joaquin Phoenix’s scar resulted from the surgical correction of a cleft palate, but Phoenix was actually born this way. His prominent scar was formed in utero as a mild form of cleft palate called a microform cleft.

Butler

When hunky Scottish actor Gerard Butler had to shave his head for a movie role, he was shocked to discover that one of his ears sticks out noticeably more than the other, due to an ear surgery he’d had as a child. Butler, who is deaf in his right ear as a result of the tinnitus that has plagued him since his youth, laughingly says that the costume designers on movie sets now have to routinely glue back one of his ears.

Garner

Jennifer Garner is a beautiful woman, so most people don’t find themselves staring at her feet very often. However, if they did they’d see that Garner has brachymetatarsia, a condition in which one of the five long bones of the foot is shorter than the others, resulting in a shortened toe.

As actor Dan Aykroyd demonstrates in the video above, two of the toes on each foot are webbed almost to the top knuckle. An estimated 1 in every 3000 people has a form of webbed feet. Actor Ashton Kutcher has also shown off his webbed toes on occasion.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/02/18/10-celebrities-with-strange-physical-flaws/

5 Most Mind-Numbingly Atrocious State Songs

There is no state song that’s any good, really. There’s probably not one person in the United States who actually loves their state song, much less that could actually sing their state’s official song. The typical ones are loaded up with words like fertile and verdant, with apostrophes slapped randomly into words like ev’ry and treach’rous. Chances are good that your state song was written by two old battleaxes, probably sisters, named Myrtle and Eustacia Crockpot-Twistlington, and each verse makes less sense than the last.??Those are the good ones. At least, that’s what state songs are supposed to be like, if we’re going by averages. That means that to be one of the truly worst state songs, you have to work extra hard at being exceptionally terrible in some way. These are the ones that are, shall we say, special.??

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?It takes a bold state, one that’s exceptionally sure of itself, to choose a state song with a title that’s self-satirizing. You don’t see Arkansas hustling to make “Proud to be an Illiterate” official, or Utah folks singing “We’re Pretty Much Mostly Mormons.” Florida is cool, though. Kinda like the obese guy nicknamed Fatty: confident enough to roll with it. That’s why the fact that Florida acknowledges its population of retirees is not the bad part.??The bad part is that the song is better known by the title “(Way Down Upon) The Swanee River,” a song that, no two ways about it, is racist as all get-out. Written by Stephen Foster in 1851 as a minstrel song, it references “darkies” and is written in an obvious ethnic dialect. While some contemporary singers like to throw in a “Lordy” in place of “darkies” and modernize the language, the official state song remains as the one in this vernacular:
        

Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
?Far, far away,
?Dere’s wha my heart is turning ebber,
?Dere’s wha de old folks stay.

?For the record, other states with racist verses have adopted new lyrics or modernized versions of their state songs, if not replaced them outright. Florida thought about it in 1997, when a state representative attempted to have it changed. “Nah,” the old white men must have thought. “We like the old one. It’s snappy!”??

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?It’s hard to know whether to admire New Jersey or pity it for being the only state without musical representation. It was the third colony to become a state (in 1787) and yet in all that time has yet to decide on an official state song. Maybe the New Jersey governors are just genius enough to refuse to allow their state to be touted with incomprehensible lyrics.??The author of the song “I’m From New Jersey” has been lobbying for decades to get his song recognized, but the governor has never signed. It could be the fact that the songwriter’s name is Red Mascara. Or, it could be the fact that he has pimped out the song to other cities, substituting their names for New Jersey in the lyrics. His own website has a downloadable version with “Philly” substituted for “New Jersey.”??The lack of a song has led many to unofficially think of Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” as a de facto state song, and the state even named it the “Unofficial Youth Rock Anthem” in 1979. This leads to to questions. First, what is the Official Youth Rock Anthem of New Jersey? And second, why does the government of New Jersey give any kind of recognition to a song that, in a nutshell, says “Let’s get the hell out of town?”

Baby this town rips the bones from your back.
?It’s a death trap; it’s a suicide rap
?We gotta get out while we’re still young.

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?If Maryland really wanted a state song that showed less support for the Confederacy, it could possibly switch to “Dixie.” Written in 1861 as a poem that has been referred to as America’s “most martial” verses, the first line refers to Lincoln as a despot, then goes on to rally the people to “avenge the patriotic gore.” It continues:

She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
?Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!

?A later verse says “‘Sic semper! ’tis the proud refrain.” You may recall that Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth used those words as his refrain too, calling “Sic semper tyrannis” when he shot Lincoln. The song is also a schoolboy’s joke book, as it’s difficult to imagine anyone of school age singing “She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!” with a serious expression.??The bloodiness of the Maryland state song is tempered a bit, though, when you actually hear the song being sung. The song’s tune is an old one. You’ll recognize it as “O Tanenbaum” or “O Christmas Tree.” The first time you hear the tune of a beloved Christmas song with lyrics about a despotic Lincoln, it comes as a bit of a shocker.??

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?Tennesseans must laugh in the faces of the state song-less New Jersey residents. The Southern state never met a song it didn’t like. Tennessee holds the record for number of state songs, with a grand total of seven, plus one hilarious “bonus track.”??The hit list of official Tennessee state songs includes “My Tennessee,” “When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee,” and “The Tennessee Waltz,” which suggests that pretty much any song that has “Tennessee” in the title gets made official, even if it’s a song about your best friend stealing your boyfriend (the waltz). “Rocky Top,” one of the other four official state songs, merely mentions the state, and is otherwise a hillbilly anthem:

Once two strangers climbed ol’ Rocky Top,
?lookin’ for a moonshine still;
?Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top;
?Reckon they never will;
?Corn won’t grow at all on Rocky Top;
?Dirt’s too rocky by far;
?That’s why all the folks on Rocky Top
?get their corn from a jar;

?The eighth song you can find on the official Tennessee government website is the “Bicentennial Rap,” which the local legislature adopted as the Official Bicentennial Rap Song in 1996. It may be the only rap song to reference the Gore family, Elvis and Dollywood. It was supposedly adopted to make history appealing to students, which makes the line “Whisky, whisky, sipping smooth” a bit of a head-scratcher. You can read the full lyrics here. Because no one has been crazy enough to make a recording of this for youtube, you can watch “Rocky Top” above.??

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?The runners-up for worst state song are too close to call. Should it be Louisiana, whose “You Are My Sunshine,” (clip above) was written by a man who vehemently opposed integration (one time during his tenure, he rode his horse up the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol to protest integration)? Or should it be Missouri, whose state song was made popular by being associated with Truman, then Truman himself said it was crappy and he hated it???Other contenders include North Carolina, whose state song proclaims that its men are “plain and artless.” Connecticut just said, “What the heck” and picked “Yankee Doodle.” South Carolina isn’t alone in personifying its state as a woman, but things get weird when it talks about what happens when a foe tries to part her skirts.??Perhaps someone should go into the business of writing new state songs, or maybe we should scrap them altogether. We’ve got a national anthem, and it’s not that bad. Sure, it used to be a drinking song, but “home of the brave” beats “plain and artless” any day.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/07/02/5-most-mind-numbingly-atrocious-state-songs/

10 Well Known People and their Phobias

We all have fears, right? They range from the subtler things like a fear of spiders (arachnophobia), to the more serious fear of people (sociophobia). But did you know there are many celebrities and historical figures who have suffered from phobias just like you? While most of them fear simple things like you and me, some are just a little bit more extreme. And by a little, I mean a lot! So please enjoy this list of the top ten well-known people and their phobias!

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George Washington: first president of the United States of America. He commanded forces in numerous battles, defended our country against the British, and risked his life to save others. He seems fearless, right? Wrong! He had a very serious fear of premature burial. This was clearly expressed on his deathbed, in 1799, where he made his attendants promise that his body would be left out for two days, in case he was still alive. This may seem pretty odd for a man like George Washington, but taphephobia was a common fear for noble people, as well as commoners, living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Although the fear is not as well known today as it was back then, primitive medicine meant that premature burial has indeed happened throughout the ages.

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As I stated early, we all have fears. Woody Allen, however, has taken fear to an extreme. The 74-year-old actor and screenwriter is afraid of practically everything. Although he has normal phobias that cause him to fear heights, enclosed spaces and insects, he also has more abnormal fears. Among his weirder terrors are fears of bright colors, animals, elevators and peanut butter sticking to the roof of his mouth! In addition to his countless phobias, he also admits to having very neurotic needs, such as requiring his shower drain to be in a corner rather than the center and cutting his banana into exactly seven pieces before putting them into his cereal every morning. His bounty of fears made him a necessity on this list!

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The 34th president of the United States, a man remembered mostly for his role in the Watergate scandal, had an excessive fear of hospitals. He believed that if he were ever to go into a hospital, he would never come out alive. In 1974, he suffered from a blood clot and refused to be taken to a hospital for treatment. However, he was told that if he didn’t go, he would die, and he had to go. This fear is fairly common among people, and they fear hospitals for much the same reason as Richard Nixon.

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Alfred Hitchcock, a famous Hollywood director and producer known for movies such as Psycho and Vertigo, had an extreme fear of eggs. He said that they are revolting to him! He stated that he never tasted an egg in his whole life, and he refused to even be around them. He claimed that nothing was more revolting to him then seeing a white round thing with no holes spill its yellow liquid. It is unknown why a man like Hitchcock would have such a random fear.

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Sigmund Freud, the neurologist who founded the psychoanalyst school of psychiatry and created many world-changing theories, feared weapons and ferns. He is often credited with saying that a fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity. Also, it is common for people to fear weapons. As for having a phobia of ferns, that is not a very common fear. It is difficult to know where this could have come from, as he said little about it and there is scarce detail about it. It is unlikely that he had a traumatic experience with ferns as a child. However, those who knew him agreed that he did fear ferns, and that he would never eat them.

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Oprah, the queen of daytime television, has a great phobia of gum chewing. This began for her at an early age, when her grandmother would collect gum and keep it in rows on a cabinet. Oprah was so revolted by this that it caused her to fear gum for the rest of her life. One time, she said, she threw out a plate because it had a piece of gum on it! She is so sickened by gum chewing that she has banned it at her television studio. Surprisingly, her employees and studio audience usually cooperate and give her no reason to fear. Who would have thought that a woman such as Oprah would fear something like gum chewing?

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This actress, famous for films such as Miracle on 34th Street and West Side Story, suffered from a fear of water — specifically, being in water. Although it is unknown how this phobia started, it is rumored to have begun when Natalie’s mother tricked her into standing on a bridge for a movie. The bridge had been rigged for Natalie to fall into the water below. This is said to have taken place when Natalie was young, so the fear stuck with her for life. Ironically, she died from drowning one night after falling off of a yacht.

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This actor, director, musician and writer has many fears. For starters, he suffers from chromophobia, or the fear of bright colors. But wait, there’s more! He has a fear of antique furniture! Any furniture that was made before the 1950s totally gives him the freaks. According to him, he was once in a restaurant full of antique furniture, which resulted in him not being able to eat, drink or even draw breath. Last, but not least, he fears clowns, which is also known as coulrophobia. Just the sight of the clowns painted face really frightened him! This fear of clowns is also shared by Johnny Depp.

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Nikola Tesla was a famous inventor, best known for his work on electromagnetism and electricity. He was a germaphobe who avoided touching people, and anything else that contained germs, at all costs. Tesla was known to wash his hands extremely frequently. In addition to his germaphobia, he was very frightened of jewelry, especially earrings that contain pearls. Pearls revolted him to a very high degree. In addition to his fears, he preferred to do everything in threes or multiples of three. For example, he was adamant about staying in hotel rooms that were divisible by three.

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The great Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French, and great military and political leader, feared felines. Don’t wait for a punch line, because there isn’t one. Cats chilled Napoleon to the bone. However, it is unknown why he feared them. But what is known is that the sight of a kitty would put him in panic mode. And it isn’t just Napoleon! Many other men who tried to rule the world feared cats, including Hitler, Mussolini and Julius Caesar. I guess cats and dictators were never meant to get along!

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/11/03/10-well-known-people-and-their-phobias/

Top 10 Reasons the Newspaper is Dying

Looking back upon the heyday of the newspaper industry, images of angry cigar-smoking editors, journalists with fedoras carrying “press” cards and sharpened pencils, and little Dickensian children on the street corner shouting “Read all about it!” are evoked. That was back when nothing MORE than newspapers existed, that is in the form of competition. Yes, the paper was as cutting edge as the refrigerator back when the nation relied on its local street urchin to find out what was new in the world. Nowadays, in spite of a good many paperboys who regularly find summer employment, it’s the tech-savvy youth that are primarily responsible for the undoing of anachronistic traditions. You’d think an industry whose very purpose is to keep regular tabs on the status quo would be able to adapt to an ever-changing environment, but such was apparently not the case as an industry of old dogs failed to learn any new tricks (instead they just continued licking themselves). Here’s a look at the top ten reasons why not all traditions are timeless, and particularly why the newspaper industry is folding under itself (and being held in place with a rubber band).

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Reason: It’s Made By and Aimed at “Old People.”

You’re going to lose a lot of business targeting the most transient demographics, the ones on the way out the door, whereas there is a lot of money in tapping into the prodigal youth. You want to secure a place in the hearts of those that really pull all the strings, the ones that will inherit the earth one day. To simply secure the ports of every hospital feeding tube is extremely short-sighted. Most successful business models aren’t based on a client-base that remembers when things used to cost a nickel (e.g. Facebook, iPods, any beverage ever, etc.). Not only do newspapers adapt poorly to an internet model, they also seem to be completely clueless about what appeals to younger demographics (beyond the extremely topical). That’s a matter of external research, but try telling any stubborn print publication run by complacent old coots to look outside of itself.

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Reason: There’s no Passion in the Journalism.

When you read any front page news story, chances are it’ll be the driest, most cliche-prone pile of bullet points you’ll find outside of a reporter’s notebook. Beyond the basic story elements (the ol’ “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How”) there is rarely any narrative or creative expansion, really no more than the laziest consolidation of a tape recorder’s content. The straight-forwardness is crucial to the relay of the most vital information, but more than being just a journalist (but a bona fide writer), the material should be at least interpreted in a way that would appeal to those otherwise uninterested in bland subject matter (e.g. real estate, finances, etc.). Or just keep on writing to appease the routine-seekers…

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Reason: There’s no Journalism in the Journalism.

How much of the news we receive really matters? Relevance is the crux of the news industry for sure, but is a car accident or local robbery really relevant to anyone who doesn’t confuse breaking news with gossip? There are two types of news: “hard news” and “soft news.” The former would be like a local politician passing a bill or a murder, while the latter would be something like a business profile or feature on a kid in a wheelchair who can do Pee-Wee Herman impressions. The difference is in how immediate or timely a story is. But what should matter most is how much a story resonates with us as humans, not so much as how a story appeals to our lowest instincts to draw us in. When politics enter the newsroom, papers often use common affiliations to solicit to large, generic groups of people. Journalism should be a neutral platform to which everyone can subscribe unequivocally, not just those on the inside of the slant.

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Reason: It’s Impractical and Inconvenient.

This is the reason a lot of retro-technology is pushed aside so quickly for the next flashy thing. Vinyl records became immediately more bulky and involved as soon as CD’s came about, as convenience is always preferred to quality or substance. Accordingly, it’s completely impractical to dig through a compost pile of newspapers to ascertain a news story from last year; whereas with the internet, archives exist, and virtually nothing is out of reach with a single laptop or handheld smartphone with internet access. Then there’s the matter of paper waste, the very reason hardcore green-heads don’t read the paper.

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Reason: It Costs Money.

As the old adage goes, why pay for something that’s free? This is the very ideology that devastates the music industry and paper industry alike. Like pirated music, news is very much available for free on the internet, largely from websites pertaining to major city newspapers. With that being the case, news being readily accessible, and streamed to your homepage even, it seems redundant to pay a monthly subscription to hear the same thing from a pile of carbon (or digital equivalent). And that is the central problem with the newspaper, it really offers nothing new.

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Reason: It Requires Literacy.

Simply put, most Americans don’t like to read, recreationally or otherwise. Newspapers endorse literacy implicitly on a daily basis. Granted, the industry is aimed at the least educated-types for a reason, as people don’t often have the attention span to sit down and absorb a single thing without being simultaneously stimulated by 18 others. Truth be told, if the paper didn’t have so many full-page pictures, or a funnies section, it would’ve died a long time ago (some people get all their news from Doonesbury alone).

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Reason: Wasteful Overhead.

Between large headquarters, lofty offices, salaried employees and warehouses containing cumbersome printing presses which use (i.e. waste) all sorts of ink and paper every day, a lot of money goes into the daily newspaper that shows up at your door step every morning. All that money is exactly what keeps the industry from garnering any viable or growth-enabling profit margins, when online-based newspapers (like AOL’s Patch) are accountable for virtually no overhead (operating mostly out of coffee shops and a host website, in lieu of a physical headquarters) and make all their money through ad revenue. This is the Age of DIY, digital music, E-books and reality TV: less material equals more room for profits.

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3. Big Business Pretensions.

Again, the newspaper industry still thinks it’s on the same page as Wall Street, Big Oil and Big Tobacco, and can maintain that Tony Montana business ethos of wasteful expenditures and general impetuosity. It’s almost foolish to think you can keep up a business full of highly-demanding, not to mention overpaid, staff members, providing benefits and the kinds of perks that are usually found in the fluffiest regions of the corporate world. But when starving journalists fresh out of grad school are willing to do the exact same work for a lot less, and with a lot more zeal for the trade as an art form, it becomes a million times more practical to take on a body of freelancers who cut overhead into a fractional value. But if you insist on guaranteeing each employee gets a new jet ski or swimming pool full of caviar for a Christmas bonus, so be it.

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Reason: Cable News.

With cable news, reading is obsolete. This is exciting for people uninterested in maintaining the acuteness of their wits. For those who like doing no work and reaping all the benefits, including a dash of enlightenment, it’s a sheer delight to be able to watch television and effortlessly absorb all the necessary points a newspaper requires you to sift for. This is huge competition for such a literacy-dependent medium as the newspaper. Not only that, the paper only comes once a day, meaning that anything that happens thereafter can’t be reported until the very next day. Cable news on the other hand can report a story on the minute and as it happens, even before it happens; for instance, when the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death hadn’t yet been made official, CNN was there to break it as it was being relayed from various sources and inside informants, who were alluding to some “important announcement” to be made by the President. The paper “broke” this news the following morning.

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Reason: The Internet.

The internet is responsible for a lot of deaths. Primary, the death of humanity. Through it, people no longer need interact face to face or leave their houses to buy things or even work (in some cases). When news can be broken the second it happens, or at least as long as it takes for a witness to type it and publish it online (with Twitter or Facebook, that is only seconds), it’s a remarkable thing. That is unless your business model still operates on a once/day basis. In that case, you come off as perpetually slow to the punch, nothing more than a recap of what’s already been said/revealed. It is for that reason that the newspaper is no longer a practical way to receive information, that is when it comes to the very topical. Since most papers don’t dig much further than the topical, it is not introducing a new element and hardly a fresh perspective. There is a lot to say for a tangible product, but the product in journalism really comes down to a single abstraction: knowledge. That is what needs to be sold effectively. Sadly, there’s nothing effective about a newspaper anymore.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/07/03/top-10-reasons-the-newspaper-is-dying/

10 Forgotten Hollywood Scandals

They just don’t make scandals like they used to. Our instant access, 24/7 news and social media cycles grind out tabloid fodder faster than Apple can slap an “i” on any product. Along the way, the stories lose impact. Once upon a time, however, indignity carried plenty of weight. Long before the vogue of being famous for being famous, Hollywood royalty captured the hearts of the American audience. Fans adored and idolized their favorite stars. Scandals weren’t shocking because of what happened, but because of who they happened to. The shame of fallen stars meant more because the stars meant more.

Maybe Hollywood is a fairy tale, and always was a fairy tale. These are a few of her stories that have faded over time.

10 Elizabeth Taylor: Three’s A Crowd

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Imagine the Brangelina headlines playing out 50 years ago, back when Nikita Khrushchev made Time‘s 1958 man of the year, Eisenhower was in the White House, and Captain Kangaroo was on TV. Oscar winner Elizabeth Taylor, to riff on the old joke, believed in marriage so much that she took vows eight times. Marrying Richard Burton twice remains part of the Taylor legend. But it was her romance with Eddie Fisher that proved the most controversial. Brangelina had nothing on her.

Taylor married mega-producer Mike Todd in 1957. She became widowed when Todd perished in a plane crash barely one year into their marriage. The tragedy earned Todd the sad distinction of being the only husband Taylor did not divorce. The turn also provided Todd’s close pal, singer Eddie Fisher, the opportunity to console Taylor. Despite Fisher’s marriage with actress Debbie Reynolds, sympathy went the way of amour, and Liz and Eddie said “I do” the following year.

The Taylor-Fisher wedlock became unlocked within five years when Taylor came across Richard Burton, and Reynolds eventually forgave Taylor. Looking back on her loves, lost and found, Taylor once commented “I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed, too—for being married so many times.”

9 Lana Turner: Sweating The Sweater Girl

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You may have heard the one about the starlet who was discovered while sipping on a soft drink at a soda fountain—that was Lana Turner. The actress once dubbed the “Sweater Girl” matched Elizabeth Taylor for turns at the altar, but her claim to scandal fame centers on an underworld lover.

Johnny Stompanato—a small-time, Los Angeles hood associated with gangster Mickey Cohen—became Turner’s lover in 1957. The reportedly torrid affair reached white heat on April 4, 1958. As testified in court, Turner’s 14-year-old daughter listened to the lovers quarreling big time at their Bel Air home. When Stompanato threatened to disfigure Turner, Cheryl grabbed an eight-inch carving knife and went to her mother’s defense. The teen fatally wounded the gangster in the gut, a justifiable homicide according to the coroner’s inquest. Within one week of the slaying, personal letters made their way into the press. One Stompanato love letter carried an ironic phrase: “You know, baby, I’m so lonesome for the touch of you, I could die.”

The court sent Cheryl to live with her maternal grandmother while Turner went on to score a box office smash with 1959′s Imitation of Life. Stompanato’s son, John II, brought a $750,000 damage suit against mother and daughter, charging that his father had been slain without cause. Lana and Cheryl settled out of court in the amount of $20,000.

8 Ingrid Bergman: Love, Italian Style

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Ingrid Bergman was supposed to be different. She was supposed to be above the stuff of tawdry gossip. She’d won the Oscar for Gaslight in 1944 and appeared as Joan of Arc in 1949. But an extramarital affair? And becoming pregnant? Say it ain’t so, Joan.

Bergman met director Roberto Rossellini in 1949 on the set of Stromboli and nature took its course. The affair ended her 13-year marriage to Petter Lindstrom, and she left behind 10-year-old daughter, Pia. Her son with Rossellini, Robert, came into the world a matter of days before her divorce became finalized.

Rossellini played it mum when approached in Italy, despite swirling rumors. Once the story hit the States, the self-appointed guardians of the day’s morality had a field day. Religious groups, censorship boards, and various levels of government rallied the faithful. Charging that the love affair “tends to glorify adultery,” the call went out to ban Bergman off the cinematic map.

Even the U.S. Senate got in the act. Edwin C. Johnson (D-Colo.), chair of the body’s Commerce Committee, slammed Bergman, Rossellini, and the RKO film studio. The legislator accused Bergman of taking a “nose dive from the highest pinnacle of respectability, fame and glory, to the role of common mistress.” He summed up Rossellini as “vile and unspeakable” and “a common love thief.”

Six years, two more kids, and one divorce later, Bergman returned to triumph over Hollywood. She divorced Rossellini in 1956, the same year she starred in Anastasia, for which she received her second Academy Award. In 1972, Sen. Charles H. Percy entered an official apology to Bergman into the Congressional Record.

7 Jean Harlow: The Honeymoon Is Over

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Paul Bern’s suicide note made it short and sweet:

“Dearest Dear, unfortunately this is the only way to make good the frightful wrong I have done you and to wipe out my abject humiliation. I love you. Paul. You understand that last night was only a comedy.”

The butler discovered the producer’s unclothed body—with a pistol in his hand and a gunshot wound in his head—on September 5, 1932. The event left his wife of two months, Jean Harlow, devastated.

The actress known as The Blonde Bombshell professed, “I can’t understand why this terrible thing should have happened. As for the note left by Paul, I have no idea what it means.” That wasn’t good enough for the police, reporters or movie audiences in 1932. Everyone and their mother wanted to know the reasons why the 42-year-old wanted to make a widow out of this sexy, 21-year-old star. Peculiarities thread their way through the story. Bern was notorious for being on the arm of the screen’s greatest sirens, but behind the public image, many considered him an incomplete man. There was plenty to be read between the lines, including that he never consummated his marriage to Harlow.

Then there was Dorothy Millette, Bern’s common-law wife from his New York days. Millette’s body was discovered in the Sacramento River two days following Bern’s suicide. Rumors persisted that she visited his home shortly before his death, as did the rumors that studio execs and assistants essentially ransacked the death scene to remove any embarrassing evidence long before the police arrived.

Years later, playwright, screenwriter, and former journalist Ben Hecht attacked the story in the pages of Playboy. His November 1960 article sparked enough controversy to compel District Attorney McKesson to re-probe the original probe, but he found nothing to investigate. For his part, Hecht admitted to Toronto newsmen, “My story was based on rumor and gossip. I have no evidence whatsoever. My report was based on a story that has been circulating in Hollywood for a long time.”

6 Jackie Coogan: Stealing From A Baby

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Can you picture Uncle Fester as a child star? Actor Jackie Coogan made his first splash 43 years before the Addams Family TV series. He became a star at age seven when he supported Charlie Chaplin in 1921′s The Kid. More significantly than that, he helped reform child labor laws by dragging his parents into court.

Coogan’s childhood success translated into plenty of scratch. In addition to acting fees, he also took in a pretty penny from product endorsements. In 1938—married to starlet Betty Grable and trying to make a comeback—he wanted his folks to show him the money, so he filed a legal action against his mother and stepfather that sought a reckoning of all those earnings. Exactly how much? By Coogan’s accounting, he should have socked away $4 million.

The story made the pages of Life magazine. The publication pitched their coverage in full support of Coogan, quoting his mother as saying “No promises were ever made to give Jackie anything.” His stepfather came off even more bluntly: “Every dollar a kid earns before he is 21 belongs to his parents. Jackie will not get a cent of his earnings.”

Coogan never made out. He eventually reached a settlement that netted him about $125,000, a far cry from the millions he claimed. His action, however, set a legal precedent. The California Child Actors Bill, popularly known as The Coogan Law, became state law in 1939.

5 Errol Flynn: In Like You-Know-Who

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Bad publicity isn’t all bad. At least it wasn’t for the Warner Bros. swashbuckling hero, Errol Flynn. On October 16, 1942, police arrested Flynn on charges of sexually attacking 17-year-old Betty Hansen. The actor regained his freedom by posting a $1,000 bond.

With her sights set on breaking into Hollywood, Hansen candidly explained to authorities how she left her Lincoln, Nebraska home for a stint as a drugstore waitress in Hollywood. She admitted to having illicit relations with several studio employees in order to land an invitation to the September 27 Bel Air affair. “It was an afternoon swimming and dancing party. My boss wouldn’t let me off, so I quit my job to go.” According to Hansen, after a short rest from one too many cocktails, she allowed Flynn to escort her to an upstairs bedroom where they became intimate. “With my consent?” Hansen asked out loud. “Why, of course, with my consent.”

The minor claimed she never intended to charge anyone. Her sister, with whom she lived, brought the matter to the police. The state doubled-down the proceedings by adding in the statutory rapes charges brought by Peggy La Rue Satterlee from an August 1941 incident aboard Flynn’s yacht, Sirocco.

A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 13 hours before acquitting Flynn. The actor had this to say: “My confidence now has been justified in essential American justice. I really mean it. I didn’t become an American citizen for nothing. The fair play I received during the trial proves that. I want to thank all those who stood by me during the trial.”

After the verdict, authorities sent Hansen home to her parents in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before leaving for her home in Applegate, California, Satterlee told a reporter, “I hate Flynn more than anybody else in the world. Maybe I’m better off the way it turned out, but I didn’t want it this way.” She added, “I knew those women on the jury would acquit him. They sat there and looked at him adoringly, just like he was their son or something. They never did believe he was guilty.”

The trial and all its coverage didn’t hurt Flynn’s career or reputation one bit. It even added a new phrase to our lexicon: “in like Flynn.”

4 Charlie Chaplin: A Boot For The Tramp

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Charlie Chaplin’s film-making career began in 1914 and ran until 1967. Between his legendary status and longevity, “The Little Tramp” received his share of bad ink, deserved and otherwise. His expulsion from the United States tops them all.

In September 1952, Chaplin sailed for Europe to promote his latest flick, Limelight. Two weeks after his departure, the US attorney general ordered immigration services to refuse the actor-director re-entry, pending his agreeing to an investigation into his political activities.

In October, Chaplin surrendered his re-entry permit. The star proclaimed, “I have been the object of lies and vicious propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and with the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted . . . I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States.”

Chaplin returned to a forgiving US government and a sentimental Hollywood in 1972. He received an honorary Oscar that year, upstaging the likes of Jane Fonda and Gene Hackman. At the same time, Limelight finally received a full release in the states, including Los Angeles, and qualified for Academy Award nominations. In 1973, Chaplin received his one and only “regular” Oscar when Limelight won best music score.

3 Thomas H. Ince: Remembered By Rumor

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Ince’s death will forever overshadow his accomplishments. Among his credits, Ince is cited as helping to establish the studio system, defining the role of producer, and developing the use of the continuity script. Instead, he’s not remembered so much for how he died, but rather for how he could have died.

The official story goes that Ince joined the party on William Randolph Hearst’s yacht on November 16, 1924. Other guests included Hearst’s mistress Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, New York movie columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor Glyn, and Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman. Ince grew terribly ill that evening, perhaps from severe indigestion, and Dr. Goodman escorted him off the yacht. They traveled by train toward Los Angeles, departing for a hotel room in Del Mar due to Ince’s worsening condition. Ince’s wife, Nell, was contacted, and she joined them at the hotel where another physician was called before Ince returned home. On November 19, Ince died of a heart attack.

The series of events play screwy enough, but hardly appear worthy of scandal, conspiracy theories, or worst of all, suspicions of murder. But that’s the gossip that’s forever surrounded the death of Thomas Ince.

Prevailing legend puts it that Hearst became suspicious of Davies and Chaplin. A case of mistaken identity occurred on board, and Hearst shot Ince. As one of the most powerful media moguls of his day, Hearst could theoretically have covered up anything he liked. Maybe all those maneuverings from boat to train to hotel to home don’t add up to the smoothest of conspiracies, but it’s hard to ignore other details.

Since the death certificate claimed natural causes, there was no inquest, no autopsy. Funeral services were held on November 21 and the body summarily cremated. Nell Ince left shortly for Europe after a trust fund had been set up for her by Hearst. Parsons received a lifetime contract from Hearst after the incident, along with boosted syndication. Add to that conflicting reports from nearly every guest involved, and we get a legend that’s too large to ignore. It’s large enough to blot out the achievements of one of Hollywood’s true pioneers.

2 Fatty Arbuckle: A Bad Rappe

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Scandals can be murder, even when a charge is dropped to manslaughter. In the case of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, scandal murdered his career.

The rotund comedian had shot to Hollywood’s heights in a matter of five years. In 1918, he signed a three-year contract for the outrageous payout of $3 million, but his meteoric rise crash-landed for good three years later. A high-profile court case thick with melodrama brought him down—a Hollywood superstar, murder accusations, a politically ambitious district attorney, dubious witnesses, and more than its share of sexual overtones.

On September 11, 1921, police arrested Arbuckle after Virginia Rappe fell seriously ill at his September 5 party. Four days later, she died at a nearby hospital. Originally charged with murder, Arbuckle suffered accusations of violent sexual assault, and he remained in jail three weeks before receiving bail on a reduced rap of manslaughter. Three trials held over the following seven months ended in Arbuckle’s acquittal.

The jury went out for six minutes and deliberated for only one. According to foreman Edward Brown, “Acquittal is not enough for Roscoe Arbuckle.” That turned out to be too true. The studios ran from Arbuckle like smallpox. Legal fees and related costs wiped out his fortune. An attempted reconciliation with his wife ended in failure.

A ruined Arbuckle found little success for the next 10 years, whether in Hollywood or abroad. Hope finally returned to the comic filmmaker after completing a series of two-reelers that impressed Warner Bros. The studio decided to give him a shot at directing a feature film on June 28, 1933. That same evening, Arbuckle died in his sleep from a heart attack at the age of 46.

1 Peg Entwistle: The Dream Is Over

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Oscar Levant once said, “Behind the phony tinsel of Hollywood lies the real tinsel.” The death of actress Peg Entwistle is an ugly, symbolic expression of that thought.

On September 16, 1932, Entwistle found herself a flop at the age of 28. In the previous two years, she’d landed only one film role, and RKO had declined to renew her contract. That evening, she decided to pay one last visit to the famous Hollywood sign. Next to her neatly folded coat, she set her purse on the ground. She climbed up the maintenance ladder until she reached the top of the “H.” Then she leaped to her death.

Two days later, a hiker discovered the tragedy, finding this note in Entwistle’s purse: “I am afraid I am a coward. I am sorry for everything. If I had done this a long time ago, it would have saved a lot of pain. P.E.”

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/11/30/10-forgotten-hollywood-scandals/

10 Bizarre Beauty Products

The lengths some people go to in the pursuit of beauty (failing that, youthfulness is pretty popular too) is really quite surprising. Even though we have been hearing for decades of the ridiculous-sounding things that our ancestors did to improve their looks and laughing derisively (seriously, the Egyptians used crocodile dung as a type of facial mask!), some of the products we use today are no less weird and disgusting. The list covers 10 of the most bizarre beauty products that are in use today – many of them can even be purchased online. While the top two items on the list are among the most well-known contemporary beauty products we hope you’ll see the reasoning behind their placement. In no particular order:

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Collagen injections are used to smooth out frown lines, crows feet wrinkles, and smile lines as well as to give the appearance of full lips. Like botox, this procedure is quite common but where the main ingredient comes from is just bizarre. Notwithstanding the ninth item on this list – there are two main sources of collagen, a protein responsible for skin strength and elasticity, bovine (cow) and… human. About three in 100 people experience an allergic reaction to bovine-derived collagen which has prompted manufacturers to source collagen from aborted fetuses, placentas, and donated cadavers as the probability of an allergic reaction is virtually non-existent. Possibly the most morally outraging source of collagen is the rumored harvesting of collagen from executed prisoners in China, taken without the consent of the prisoner or their family and exported to the UK for socialites to shoot into their faces.

Botox

While the botox procedure to prevent frown lines and wrinkles may sound fairly familiar and commonplace if you think about what you’re having injected into your skin it really is quite bizarre. Botulinum toxin (bo + tox = botox) is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring substances on the planet and the single most toxic protein. Eating food contaminated with Clostridium botulinum can lead to serious food poisoning (the fatality rate is 5 to 10%) if there is toxin present. One microgram (1/1000000 of a gram) is lethal to humans. The amounts used in cosmetic procedures are consequently very small.

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The neurotoxins produced by members of the cobra family of snakes (and some vipers and rattlesnakes) act on prey by blocking the nerve impulses to the muscles and inducing paralysis. Realizing that snake venom could produce a similar effect to that of Botox, the beauty industry has come up with a synthetic form of snake venom that is applied to the face as a cream rather than injected. It is meant to be safer and less invasive. The venom that was used to create the synthetic version comes from ‘snake farms’ in Brazil where thousands of snakes are ‘milked’ for their venom.

Antiwrinklecream

According to manufacturers of the product, placenta wrinkle cream derived from bovine placentas can slow down the appearance of visible signs of aging by moisturizing skin and combating wrinkles. Some companies also use plant placenta (yes, flowering plants have placentas!) and even human. Claims were first made in the 1940s (when this idea was first marketed) that the nutrient rich placenta gave off the benefits of hormones and stimulated cell growth. Since the FDA quickly decided that this constituted a medical claim, saying this became illegal in the US. The manufacturers changed these claims to say that the proteins present in the placenta moisturize one’s skin and hair.

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How dedicated are you to having smooth, shiny hair? If you’re serious enough there’s the option (in the UK at least) to have a hairdresser massage bull semen into your scalp. The reasoning behind this “ewww” inducing idea? Hair is made up of protein, although essentially your hair is dead, and some proteins can help form a protective layer around the hair. Some people thought it would be a good idea to market protein treatments as a way of keeping your hair healthy anyway. The supposedly ultimate source of concentrated protein? Bull semen.

Nightengale Dropping Face Cream

There is an old Japanese beauty secret making its way over to the western world. It’s called ‘uguisu no fun‘ or sterilized nightingale droppings. An enzyme called guanine (also added to various make up products for its pearly sheen) found in the nightingale’s droppings apparently does a good job of bleaching and exfoliating skin. Kabuki actors and geishas have been using uguisu no fun for hundreds of years to remove make up and to keep their skin soft. The joy of spreading bird excrement on your face doesn’t come as cheap as a jar of Olay though. It’s around twenty US dollars for one ounce. If you’d rather have someone else do the smearing, you can go to the Shizuka Day Spa in New York and $180 later your face will be smooth and soft.

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If you’re willing to give the leeches a go, you might also be interested in letting a school of small fish nibble the dead skin cells off your toes. The idea is that you put your feet into a tank containing a species of carp (doctor fish) and wait 15 to 30 minutes while they feast on your calluses. Because the fish are toothless the process is meant to be very safe, as they can only suck off pieces of dead, flaking skin. In Turkey, where the treatment originated, the fish live in natural hot springs and are a popular skin care option for the people who bathe there.

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Letting blood-sucking parasites attach their slimy bodies to you as a ‘detox’ sounds like a questionable idea. However, leech therapy, or hirudotherapy, has been practiced since 1020 AD for treating skin disease and helping patients recover from surgery. These days, leeches can be used in the treatment of varicose veins, reducing blood coagulation, and helping stimulate blood circulation in reattached organs that require critical blood flow. If you are more adventurous you can follow in the footsteps of celebrities, such as Demi Moore, and make your way to Austria to have your blood feasted on by the medicinal species of leech, Hirudo medicinalis.

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This odd treatment isn’t plastered on your face, or combed through your hair, but eaten instead. Pig’s feet are being marketed as an edible way to combat wrinkles by New York restaurant Hakata Tonton’s owner. He figures that since the tootsies of the pig contain a high amount of collagen (which is used in anti wrinkle creams and lip injections) a person might as well eat them to gain similar benefits. Although collagen is one of the major proteins involved in maintaining skin and muscle tone, consuming a meal of pig trotters is almost certainly a less effective method of keeping the scalpel away than simply maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and staying out of the sun.

Cream Of Snail Slime

Because snails can heal and regenerate their shells using the slime they secrete the beauty industry is now using the slime of the common garden snail species (Helix aspersa) in beauty products. The myriad of claims for its efficacy range from getting rid of acne to improving stretch marks and scarring. The snail secretion, which is also used by the snail to reduce friction as it moves, seems to have anti-bacterial in addition to antioxidant qualities. If it works for the snail, why not put it on your face?

Contributor: downhighway61, and Tempyra

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/08/06/10-bizarre-beauty-products/

Top 10 Worst Marketing Gaffes Ever

Advertising is a part of life whether we like it or not. It is on TV, in Movies, on the Internet, on Buses and practically anywhere it can be seen by prospective customers. Sometimes ads are funny, sometimes they are poignant, but mostly they are annoying. And sometimes, ads are downright stupid. This list looks at 10 marketing gaffes, and blunders, or just downright bad commercials.

This advert by McDonald’s – which was meant to “adultify” the fast-food joint used Mack the Knife as its theme. Mack the Knife (the character) comes from The Beggar’s Opera in which the he typifies the anti-establishment sentiments of its writer John Gay. The more famous song as we know it was written by Kurt Weill for The Three Penny Opera based on a reworking of the tale by Bertolt Brecht – a Marxist who, ironically for McDonald’s, despised capitalism – the very thing which enabled McDonald’s to become what it is today.

McDonald’s isn’t the only company to make marketing gaffs – in December 2008, Burger King purchased the rights to an advertising campaign that centered on a taste-test marketing campaign, dubbed “Whopper Virgins.” The test claimed to target participants who were unaware of the existence of Burger King or McDonald’s, and had never eaten a hamburger. Opponents of the campaign called it exploitative and racist. As one would expect from a campaign such as this, Burger King was chosen as the favorite by all of the “poor foreigners” involved.

Skittles are wonderful colorful candies that everyone loves to eat. In fact, they are awesome. Not so this ad. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to make an ad which parodies the suffering caused by disease. Yes – it appears amusing, but after watching this, the thing I want is a razor blade, not a packet of skittles.

Frankly, I don’t find the idea of a creature which looks like a cross between a rat and a coughed up hairball to be an appealing mascot for a fast food store. And I am not alone in this. When Quizno’s released this series of ads (basing them on a popular Internet Meme at the time), there was such a backlash from consumers that they had to pull them – fast. Poor Quiznos also caused controversy with this ad for its sexual innuendo.

In the fast paced world of computer software, every opportunity to advertise is significant. Such was the case in the press conference above in which Microsoft had Bill Gates demonstrate Windows 98 to the entire world. Unfortunately for Bill, in the middle of the demo, Windows crashed and showed the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. There is a very uncomfortable pause while both of the men on stage try to think of something witty to get passed it.

Poor Gary Coleman has had some bad luck in his life. Despite the illness which rendered him short for life, he became one of the most popular child actors on Different Strokes in the 1980s. At the peak of the show he was earning $100,000 per episode – but his parents, lawyers, and the taxman stole the majority of it leaving him penniless. But then, during 2006 and 2007, he appeared in commercials for a cash-advance loan company called CashCall. He ends the commercial by saying, “Pay your bills on time and everyone will love you.” He even remarks in one commercial that “no one would lend [him] money, not even [his] relatives.” and “What’choo talkin’ ’bout CashCall?” in another. Demeaning.

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When McDonald’s came up with this marketing campaign, their ad executives didn’t know what the phrase “I’d hit it” meant. They simply heard kids using the jargon and decided it would be their next big slogan. Unfortunately for McDonald’s, it means (according to Urban Dictionary): “I’ll have sex with her but I’ll be damned if I respect her.” Even worse, the full phrase of the slogan was “Double Cheeseburger? I’d hit it. I’m a Dollar Menu guy.” Nice.

This one has featured on listverse before, but it is simply too bad not to include. Obviously when it was first released the AIDS virus was not known, but it is definitely one of the most cringeworthy ads in history. Not only is it named after one of the worst diseases in humans at the present time, it advocates diet pills for weightless rather than exercise and portion control. “Lose weight deliciously with the aid of Ayds!”

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Album covers have long been used as advertising gimmicks – to attract buyers by the often unrelated artwork. Unfortunately for the Beatles, the 1966 US release of their album “Yesterday and Today” featured the above album cover. Upon release, reaction was immediate, and Capitol received a storm of complaints from dealers. The record was immediately recalled and all copies were ordered shipped back to the record label, leading to its collectibility. Despite all of the controversy, the album reached number one in the United States.

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This one is on the list for its sheer awfulness – for the company it may be a success – for every person that has to suffer it – it is an abomination. The smiley central ads usually make annoying noises and the worst thing about it is that if you do click the ad and install their smileys – it installs spyware which tracks your web habits for advertising purposes. [JFrater: These awful things even appeared on listverse causing hours of wasted time being spent tracking down the host advertiser to have it blocked. Smiley central is evil.] Smiley Central is owned by Ask.com – previously AskJeeves.

Hire a social media agency to reach the website audience you want with relevant targeted ads.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/06/08/top-10-worst-marketing-gaffs-ever/

Top 25 Famous Redheads

Gentlemen prefer blondes (or so the saying goes) but from time to time they prefer brunettes (take the 90s for example). In earlier history they preferred redheads. These days redheads get a bad wrap – being referred to as “gingers” and other unpleasant names. This list is their redemption! A focus entirely on redheads. So, here are the 25 most significant redheads in history. This list is in no particular order.

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1. Carol Burnett (b. 1933) – American comedienne and actress most famous for her own variety show, The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978). She also appeared on Mama’s Family in a few episodes reprising the role of Eunice that she created with co-star Vickie Lawrence, and as Jamie’s mother on Mad About You. In addition, she’s done several films and voice-overs. However, she will most likely be remembered most for her ear-tugging salute to her grandmother, her hilarious Tarzan call, and her parody of Gone with the Wind called Went with the Wind.

2. Lucille Ball (1911 – 1989) – American comedienne and actress most famous for the historic early sitcom she created with real-life husband Desi Arnaz called I Love Lucy (1951-1957). I Love Lucy was memorable for being the first American TV show to star a female and one of the first American TV shows to present a pregnant woman, although they weren’t allowed to say the word “pregnant.” The most watched episode in American TV history during that time was when Lucy gave birth to Little Ricky during the show’s second season. Many of the famous situations on the show are old vaudeville routines, and one of the most memorable is the Chocolate Factory. [Pictured above]

3. Margaret Sanger (1879 – 1966) – She ushered in the modern age of women’s liberation by fostering birth control. She successfully mobilized American women to take an active role in the decision to have or not have children. One of her organizations would eventually become Planned Parenthood, and she lived long enough to actively campaign for the legalization of the birth control pill.

4. Judas Iscariot (d. 29-33) – One of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ who betrayed Him and identified Christ for Roman soldiers with a kiss in the Garden of Gethsemane for 30 pieces of silver. According to most biblical accounts, Judas was later overcome with guilt and returned the silver and hanged himself, although some accounts have him living several years longer before dying.

5. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme (b. 1948) – One of Charles Manson’s family members who had a passive role in the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969 and an active role in the attempted assassination of US President Gerald Ford in 1975. For the latter, she received a life sentence which she is serving in Texas despite a two-day escape in 1987.

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6. Geri Halliwell (b. 1972) – Otherwise known as Ginger Spice, she is the most musically successful of all the former members of the Spice Girls, releasing three acclaimed solo albums and participating in the Spice Girls Reunion Tour of 2007.

7. L. Ron Hubbard (1911 – 1986) – Science fiction writer and founder of the Church of Scientology. An exceptional con artist who hooked up with Jack Parsons and Aleister Crowley after WWII, Hubbard switched from writing science fiction to publishing his definitive work, Dianetics, which would eventually lead directly to the creation of Scientology. [Pictured above]

8. Bernadette Peters (b. 1948) – American actress, singer, and Broadway star, probably best known for her role as Marie in Steve Martin’s 1979 film The Jerk, and as Annie Oakley in the 1999 Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun.

9. Napoleon Bonaparte (1761 – 1829) – French military and political figure who had a significant hand in the French Revolution, then turned around and declared himself Emperor of France in 1804. Napoleon was despised by both Beethoven, who originally dedicated his Third Symphony in Eb Major (Eroica) to Napoleon and then changed his mind, and Tchaikovsky, who depicted the French defeat in Moscow with the 1812 Overture. He was exiled twice and eventually died on the island of St. Helena.

10. Lizzie Borden (1860 – 1927) – Famous accused American hatchet murderess of her father and step-mother in Massachusetts in 1892. She was tried and acquitted of the murders although public scorn punished her for the rest of her life. She remains immortalized in American folklore with an infamous jump-rope rhyme about the murders, as well as a humorous folk song.

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11. Cleopatra (69BC – 30BC) – Female Egyptian ruler who formed political liaisons and romantic relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After being defeated by Augustus, she famously committed suicide by allowing herself to be bitten by an asp.

12. Oliver Cromwell (1599 – 1658) – Here’s a touchy one. He’s known as either an English military and political genius, or the scourge of Ireland. He helped create the English Commonwealth in 1649 after the execution of Charles I and then mounted a brutal campaign to subdue the Irish the next year. He died of natural causes in 1658 and was then exhumed and posthumously executed in 1661. [Pictured above]

13. Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) – American poet known for her reclusive behavior as well as her quietly prolific poetry. Although she had some of her writings published during her lifetime, it was not until after she died that the bulk of her massive output was finally made available to the public by her family.

14. Willie Nelson (b. 1933) – Texas native Willie Nelson began his career as a country singer/songwriter trying to break into the standardized world of Nashville country and western, and he wrote several hits for other artists including Patsy Cline’s immortal Crazy. However, after being unable to break into the Nashville inner circle for himself, Nelson returned to his native Texas and helped create the outlaw country movement with fellow Texan Waylon Jennings in the 1970’s.

15. Antonio Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) – Vivaldi was an Italian composer of the late Baroque era. Although he was originally trained for the priesthood, he is probably best known for his brilliant concerti (and concerti grosso) including The Four Seasons.

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16. Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826) – Third U.S. President from 1801 to 1809. A native Virginian, Jefferson was the chief author of the Declaration of Independence. He was primarily an agrarian-minded president, and would serve as an inspiration to a generation of secessionist Southerners. He negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with fellow redhead Naplolean Bonaparte, and died on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

17. Vincent Van Gogh (1853 – 1890) – Dutch post-Impressionist painter who lived in relative obscurity, yet, his paintings routinely fetch the largest sums at auctions. Probably best known for Starry Night, he was beset by a myriad of mental disturbances, and famously cut off the lobe of his ear in 1888.

18. James Joyce (1882 – 1941) – Irish 20th Century writer, best known for Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake. Joyce was an expatriate, living in Paris and fleeing the Nazi invasion in 1940 to find safety and death in Switzerland.

19. Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) – Pen name of American humorist and author Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Many of his stories are about the 19th century American riverboat culture (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn), and his pen name was taken from a common call by a riverboat leadsman.

20. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) – Italian astronomer and physicist, perhaps best known for advancing the use of the telescope to verify the theories of Copernicus and describing the laws of motion for falling bodies and projectiles. Galileo was forced to recant his astronomical findings by the Church, and lived the remainder of his life under house arrest. [Pictured above]

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21. Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) – British politician who served as the indomitable bulldog Prime Minister during World War II. His inspiration and tenacity served to solidify British willpower during the German bombings of 1940.

22. Vladimir Lenin (1870 – 1924) – Russian revolutionary politician and statesman, born Vladimir Ilrich Ulyanov. Lenin was the architect of the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution of 1917, and he was the first Soviet premier until his early death. His preserved body is still on display at his mausoleum in Red Square in Moscow.

23. Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) – African American spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam during the American Civil Rights movement. Born Malcolm Little, he converted to Islam while in prison and became a powerful activist for black Americans until his unsolved assassination in 1965.

24. Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) – English queen and daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was the last Tudor queen, and her reign included the contributions of William Shakespeare and Francis Drake. [Pictured above]

25. King David (1037 BC – 967 BC) – King of Israel who succeeded Saul, and slayer of the Philistine giant Goliath. David was an accomplished lyre player and is credited with composing the majority of the Book of Psalms.

Contributor: warrrreagl

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/10/12/top-25-famous-redheads/

10 Creative Ways Famous People Got Their Revenge

Revenge is cathartic. A good revenge story is also something many people enjoy reading about—we relate to the wronged person who takes matters into their own hands and seeks justice.

Truth be told, most revenge involves a drunken brawl and a restraining order. However, there have been a few memorable instances worth mentioning.

10Michael Crichton Uses The Small Penis Rule

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Writers have always liked to include in their works subtle and not-so-subtle jabs at people they dislike. Oftentimes, this comes in the form of a reprehensible character—a killer, a coward, rapist—who is a thinly veiled copy of a real person. This presents a legal problem because the writer could be sued for libel if the accuser can show a definite link in the mind of readers between them and the characters.

That is how the “small penis rule” was born. It is a clever way for writers to slyly mock a real person but also protect themselves from libel allegation. Simply make it very clear that the character has a really small penis, and you don’t have to worry about libel suits. Men don’t really want to go on record as being the inspiration for such characters.

This trick has been employed successfully by writers. In 2004, Michael Crichton released State of Fear, which received a bad review from critic Michael Crowley. Then Crichton took it upon himself to create a character in his new novel, Next, called Mick Crowley, a child rapist with a very small penis. Besides the obvious similarity between names, both the character and the critic are Yale graduates and Washington-based political journalists.

9Judd Apatow Turns Freaks And Geeks Cast into Superstars

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Judd Apatow has worked on some of the most successful comedies of the last decade, like Anchorman, Knocked Up, Superbad, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and many more. Before this, though, he was making a little program called Freaks and Geeks. The show still has a cult following, but it never had strong ratings, which is why NBC canceled it after 12 episodes.

The issue that bothered Apatow the most was the accusation that he’d cast the wrong people. He wanted to prove to the NBC executives that they were wrong and he was right. So when he went on to success in Hollywood and made movies he knew would be hits, he stuck with the crew from Freaks and Geeks.

Throughout most of his career, Apatow has continued to work with the same actors, writers, and directors, determined to turn them into success stories. And by looking at some of the people involved in that show, it looks like he managed to do just that: Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Paul Feig, James Franco, and Jason Schwartzman.

8Lord Byron Brings A Bear To College

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Lord Byron was one of the most successful poets of all time. He made a fortune off his work and wasn’t afraid to spend it, soon developing a reputation as a man of excess and someone who didn’t like being told “No.”

Byron was also a huge animal lover. All of his life, he kept exotic pets such as monkeys, foxes, peacocks, crocodiles, badgers, geese, and goats along with numerous dogs and horses. Of them all, his favorite was a beloved Newfoundland dog named Boatswain who now has a giant marble monument at Newstead Abbey next to Byron’s. It’s inscribed with “Epitaph to a Dog,” one of Byron’s most successful works (which he didn’t actually write).

Naturally, when Byron attended Cambridge Trinity College, he wanted to bring a dog with him as a companion. Unfortunately, this was not possible because the rules explicitly stated “no dogs allowed.” However, the statutes failed to make mention of other animals. So Lord Byron brought along a bear instead.

Obviously the university didn’t want to keep the bear, but they had no legal recourse. The bear was allowed to stay on campus for the entire duration of Byron’s stay.

7Peter James Creates Multiple Characters For Revenge

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Crime writer Peter James has made a habit out of creating characters based on people who have annoyed him. He also makes sure to give them a grim fate. One critic said something bad about him. Her character wound up on a slab in his next book where, by his own admission, James “took great pleasure in her dissection.”

When the need arose, Peter James also made use of the “small penis rule” to get revenge on fellow writer Martin Amis. After a particularly unpleasant exchange between the two, James took to Twitter to vent his frustration, claiming that his next book would feature a character with a very small penis. The result was Amis Smallbone, a character with a penis so small that a prostitute laughs at it and compares it to a “stubby pencil.”

On another occasion, James used as inspiration a reader who blurred the lines between devoted fan and stalker. She appeared at all of his events, emailing him personally when she couldn’t. Eventually, at a book signing, James forgot her name, and this caused the woman to storm out furiously and then send him a 10,000-word rant. This was so disturbing that he got the authorities involved. She became the basis for a character—a crazed fan who stalks and murders a famous actress.

6Jonathan Swift Creates Alter Ego To Prank Astrologer

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Back at the beginning of the 18th century, John Partridge was one of the most successful astrologers around. He authored many popular almanacs, but he unknowingly also made an enemy out of writer Jonathan Swift, who disliked Partridge for his attacks against the church. At the same time, Swift was a known prankster. In February 1708, he went to work on a revenge scheme that would only be resolved a few months later.

He created the persona of Isaac Bickerstaff, another astrologer who published his own almanac out of nowhere. It had all kinds of typical assertions, but among them was a very unusual prediction: On March 29, at about 11:00 PM, John Partridge would die of a fever. Partridge responded, dismissing Bickerstaff as an amateur and a charlatan.

This rivalry captured the public’s attention. People were counting down the days, wondering who would turn out to be right on March 29. Swift was prepared for this, and on that day, he published a pamphlet saying that Partridge had died. Many people believed this to be true, and Partridge had to publish a letter to assure everyone that he was still alive. A few decades later, Ben Franklin would be inspired to pull the very same prank on a rival writer.

Eventually, Swift himself put an end to the hoax through another publication titled A Vindication of Isaac Bickerstaff. Even so, the notoriety of the hoax haunted Partridge for the rest of his life.

5Mark Twain’s Petrified Man

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Before there was Mark Twain, the famous writer, there was Samuel Clemens, a new employee at the Territorial Enterprise newspaper. Though young, Twain already had a knack for playing pranks and getting even with people who annoyed him. In this case, it was the new justice of the peace for Humboldt County, Judge Sowell, who Twain considered a pompous fool.

At the same time, Twain was also annoyed with all the petrification stories that were present in every newspaper—tall tales of perfectly preserved human bodies. He decided to kill two birds with one stone and write his own story involving the discovery of a petrified man in the mountains near Gravelly Ford. Twain gave a detailed description of the creature and made sure to mention that Judge Sowell was the one in charge of the body.

Twain saw his work purely as satire, but nobody else did. The story was soon republished in newspapers across the country. After a few months, it even appeared in a London publication. Twain made no effort to hide his misdeeds and was actually quite pleased with the result. According to him, he sent all newspapers mentioning the petrified man to Sowell to spite him. The judge received about half a bushel of newspapers each day, which he ended up burying in his backyard.

4General Meigs Turns Robert E. Lee’s Home Into A Cemetery

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Montgomery Cunningham Meigs is not one of the first names associated with the American Civil War, but he was Quartermaster General of the US Army during that time. More than that, though, he was an unwavering patriot who considered anyone who sided with the Confederacy a traitor to the nation. In his mind, perhaps nobody deserved that title more than the Commander of the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee. Meigs had previously served under Lee, but he now thought that only a death sentence was fitting for him and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Though that didn’t happen, Meigs had another opportunity to take revenge on his former commanding officer. During the war, mounting casualties provided a need for a new military cemetery. Meigs had his men scout the area to find the best spot, and that spot was Lee’s former house. It actually belonged to his wife, a descendant of Martha Washington. The name of the estate was Arlington House.

Meigs wasted no time in turning Lee’s beloved home into a cemetery with the expressed intention of making it uninhabitable should the Lees ever get it back. This home went to become Arlington National Cemetery, the famous 624-acre cemetery reserved for military personnel and their families. Meigs himself was buried here along with his father, wife, and son.

3Friz Freleng And Chuck Jones’s Cartoon Classics

It’s possible that you have never heard of Friz Freleng or Chuck Jones, but you are certainly familiar with their work. They were animators for Warner Brothers and helped create such iconic characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and many more. They are also responsible for creating some of the most successful cartoons the studio has ever made, and many of them were done to spite one producer.

That producer was Eddie Selzer, head of Warner Brothers Cartoons from 1944 until 1957. The first time he really clashed with the animators was in 1947. Sylvester the Cat was a new character who Freleng wanted to pair up with another newcomer—Tweety. However, Selzer wanted Sylvester paired with a woodpecker because woodpeckers are funnier, apparently. Freleng had to threaten to quit to make Selzer relent. The result was not only one of the studio’s most popular pairings but also Tweetie Pie, a cartoon that won Warner its first Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

Soon, the animators simply started doing exactly the opposite of what Selzer said. As Chuck Jones put it, Selzer’s judgment was “impeccable. He’s never been right yet.” Another one of his decisions was that a French-speaking skunk wouldn’t be funny. The result: Pepe Le Pew in 1950′s For Scent-imental Reasons and a second Oscar. Selzer happily went on stage to receive both Oscars, of course.

2Dante Alighieri Condemns The Pope To Hell

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Pope Boniface VIII isn’t going to make anyone’s 10 Best Popes list any time soon. He seized power when two factions, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, were feuding over whether to support the pope or the Holy Roman Emperor. The Guelphs were further divided between Black and White factions based on different ideologies. The Black Guelphs, who completely supported the power of the pope, eventually won, and Boniface VIII soon started taking revenge against the White Guelphs.

One of the most prominent White Guelphs was Dante Alighieri, who eventually found himself exiled from his native Florence. Dante completely despised the pope, but this exile did allow him a lot of free time. He spent it creating the most famous Italian literary work in history—The Divine Comedy. The epic poem details Dante’s travels through purgatory and heaven, but it’s mostly remembered for Inferno, its depiction of the nine circles of hell.

Dante took revenge on Boniface by placing him in hell. Specifically, he is found in the eighth circle of hell, guilty of simony, which is the act of selling church roles and offices. Boniface was still alive when Dante wrote The Divine Comedy, but the poet got around this minor detail by merely foreseeing Boniface’s eventual damnation.

The revenge wound up being greater than Dante could have even intended. Nowadays, Boniface is better known for his poem appearance than for anything he ever did as pope.

1Peter I Makes His Dead Lover Queen

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This is a story of forbidden love that blows Romeo and Juliet out of the water. It takes place in 14th-century Portugal between Prince Peter I and the beautiful aristocrat Ines de Castro. Peter had already been married by his father, King Afonso IV, to Constanza, the daughter of a powerful ally. Still, this didn’t stop him and Ines from carrying on with a torrid love affair.

Everyone tolerated this relationship until Constanza’s death in 1345. The king, fearing political repercussions, forbade Peter from seeing Ines, but the son disobeyed. In time, the king saw no other option—he ordered Ines’s assassination. Three men captured her at the Santa Clara-a-Velha monastery and carried out the sentence.

Peter revolted against his father but was far outmatched and was defeated within a year. He then chose a different approach and feigned complete forgiveness. He was actually merely biding his time. After another year, Afonso died, and Peter became the king of Portugal.

He sought revenge against the men who’d killed Ines. One of them managed to escape, but Peter executed the other two by ripping their hearts out of their chests.

The king then asserted that he had married Ines in secret and posthumously named her Queen Consort of Portugal. Her body was moved into a sumptuous mausoleum at the palace.

An apocryphal addition to the story states that Peter had her corpse placed on the throne and made every courtier kiss her hand.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/12/08/10-creative-ways-famous-people-got-their-revenge/

Top 10 Shockingly Bad Tech Ads

Consumer technology has to be cool to succeed – which is why many advertising companies try to produce cool adverts for them – unfortunately though, advertising companies are seldom cool and we end up with extremely embarrassing adverts. This is a list of the 10 worst.

10. Knockoff Nigel

Another attempt by the powers that be (the movie and audio industries) to demonize people who copy videos. In this advert we see a jolly old man singing at the local pub implying that a person who copies movies is also probably buying stolen televisions, and scrounging free drinks from his friends. If the video was actually based on reality, his friends would be telling the old man to shut up, and copying Nigel’s DVD.

9. Amstrad Studio

Amstrad (who also made computers) feel in to the trap of believing the advertising companies when they were told to include rap in their campaign – it never works – ever!

8. Slimtel

This is an advertisement for a push button slim line telephone. The advertising company seemed to think that lycra clad bouffant hairstyled women would sell a lot of these phones. Unfortunately the English advertising industry has not improved much since then.

7. Atari Pole Position

I do not generally believe in revisionist history, but clips like this really make me think that we should expunge all knowledge of the nineteen eighties from our communal memories. This clip “will bust your crack and leave skidmarks on your soul”.

6. Piracy is a Crime

So is taking away peoples rights to copy things they own! This ridiculous video clip appears on the start of most DVDs. The ironic thing about it is that when you download a movie, this is always removed – so the only people who actually see this are the people who have PAID for their copy.

5. MS DOS 5

This is astoundingly bad – and not the first time Microsoft has used rap music to promote their software: “we’re introducing something new, it is essential for the many and the few” – great lyrics Microsoft.

4. Keeping up with Commodore

Are you keeping up with Commodore? Unfortunately Commodore couldn’t keep up either – they went bust. These were very popular computers – I loved playing on my brother’s Vic 20 as a kid.

3. Don’t Copy the Floppy

You knew this would be on the list didn’t you? This is an advertisement designed to teach kids not to pirate software.

2. Steve Ballmer Sells Windows 1

This was not actually broadcast as an advertisement outside of Microsoft but it is just so bad it has to be included. Can you believe this guy is now running Microsoft? If you want to see more of this guy, here is a clip and here is a pretty good musical parody.

1. Windows 386

This is a promotional video for Windows 386 – the clip here is only the second half – but it is the worst half. This really has to be seen to be believed. Watch it all the way through – it is worth it. The best bit starts around 02:00.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2007/11/12/top-10-shockingly-bad-tech-ads/