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Stanley Burrell got his first break in 1973 at the age of 11. Stanley lived in Oakland, California with his eight siblings. To help his family earn money, Burrell danced and beat boxed with his brother in the parking lot before Oakland A’s baseball games. One day the team's owner, Charlie Finley, saw Burrell and his older brother Louis dancing and offered them bat boy jobs on the spot. Louis became an actual bat boy. But Finley took such a liking to Stanley that he created a special job for the boy. Since Finley lived in Chicago, he missed many games. So he had Stanley call him on the phone and given him play by play of the games. He became so instrumental that Finley started calling him his “Executive Vice President.” Some players called him “Pipeline,” since he was the conduit to the boss. A few other players noticed he looked and swung like “Hammerin’” Hank Aaron, then the all time home run leader. So they started calling Burrell “Little Hammer” or “Hammer” for short. That name stuck. After Stanley's dream of playing professional baseball was smashed--he tried out for several teams but got no interest--he went back to his dancing roots. After borrowing $20,000 from two A’s players, Stanley started his own record label and self-produced an album, which he then sold to Capital Records for a whopping $1.75 million advance. MC Hammer's first album sold over 50 million records worldwide!
Today's Lesson Old School DJ Scratching Techniques with Spin Academy Stanley Burrell got his first break in 1973 at the age of 11. Stanley lived in Oakland, California with his eight siblings. To help his family ...
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Wedding superstitions are as old as the institution of marriage itself. There’s the "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" one. And the bride’s bouquet toss, with the receiver predicted to be next in matrimony. Then there's the one where the groom carries the bride over the threshold of their marital house/apartment/yurt. One of the most universal superstitions--across many cultures--is that the groom shouldn’t see the the bride before the ceremony. This tradition dates back centuries to when arranged marriages were the norm. In many cases the bride and groom weren’t allowed to see each other ever before the wedding. Weddings were more of a business transaction between two families than a symbol of love. The father of the bride, wanting his daughter to marry into a wealthy, land-owning family, feared the groom seeing the bride before the wedding. Better to meet at the ceremony making it as tough as possible for the groom to halt the proceedings. Which explains the veil. That prevented the husband from seeing the bride's face until the very last second before the vows were taken. So this whole bad luck thing was literally an "old wives' tale" created to make sure the deal was sealed. In case you needed another reason not to like arranged marriages...
Lesson of the Day Designing a Wedding Invitation with Teela C Graphic Design Wedding superstitions are as old as the institution of marriage itself. There’s the "something old, something new, something borrowed a...
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It's Memorial Day weekend here in the US, which means summer is almost here! It also means 15% of all Americans will jump in their cars and drive at least 50 miles, according to AAA. I've never understood the relationship between road trips and remembering our fallen soldiers, but anyway.... a good time to give you some updated driving science. When I took driver’s ed, they told us hands were supposed to be on the steering wheel in a “10 and 2” position--as in hands on a clock. That is apparently all wrong. Thanks to airbags and smaller steering wheels, safety officials now recommend holding the wheel at “9 and 3," with your thumbs on top of the wheel rather than looped around it. The main idea is to keep your hands clear of the airbag, so they aren't propelled into your face if it deploys. This will almost certainly break your nose, possibly your hands or wrists, and any glasses you are wearing--which will then cut your face. Some safety organizations have been recommending this for 30 years, and The US Department of Transportation has recommended “8 and 4" for a decade. They have even put out a helpful rhyme: “10 and 2, bad for you. 3 and 9, that’s just fine. 4 and 8, also great." (I'm learning this kinda late, I've been doing it wrong since '88!)
Lesson of the Day How to Make a Vinyl Record Clock with The Green Workbench It's Memorial Day weekend here in the US, which means summer is almost here! It also means 15% of all Americans will jump in their cars ...
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They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was Le Palais Ideal, or “The Ideal Palace,” which was built over 33 years by a rural French postman named Ferdinand Cheval. Back in the late 1800s, Cheval spent each day traveling the same 18 mile route to deliver mail in southeastern France. One day he stumbled over a rock and decided to keep it because it was such an interesting shape. The next day he went back to the same place, and found more interesting stones to bring home. Cheval certainly had a lot of time to daydream on his long walks, and soon decided he would build a castle out of all the beautiful stones. Over the next 33 years, he continued collecting more and more stones on his route, and eventually he even started bringing a wheelbarrow along with him. After the first decade of collecting rocks, Cheval began to put the palace together in his garden. Stone by stone, he worked to build the castle from the bottom up, along with some cement, wire, and mortar. Amazingly, Cheval had no training in carpentry, masonry, or architecture, and he didn’t have any instructional videos to help him either! In 1912, his life’s project was finally complete, and people from all over the world soon began traveling to see his beautiful castle. Today, the palace draws about 150,000 visitors a year. It’s definitely one of the longest DIY projects in the world, and a true testament to the fact that you can do anything with time and passion!
Today's Lesson Building a Custom Wooden Shelf with The Green Workbench They say Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither was Le Palais Ideal, or “The Ideal Palace,” which was built over 33 years by a rural French ...
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Don't count public libraries out just yet. While it's a struggle to stay relevant in a digital age filled with the internet and e-readers, libraries still play a crucial role in modern society. They lend things many people can't access otherwise. And increasingly that isn't books. Libraries around the world have started lending non-literary items such as GoPros, fishing poles, iPads--even pots and pans. At a library in Michigan you can rent telescopes and musical instruments. An Oakland library has thousands of tools available to borrow. Now libraries around the US are testing out renting people. Aptly called the Human Library, the concept is to provide a different kind of story: real life ones told face to face by real people in the community. One library has a collection of 40 human books that can be "checked out" for 20 minutes at a time. An expert human will meet with the library client in person and converse on a specific topic. These Human Books can even be renewed once for an extra 20 minutes. Hmm, interesting. If you don't return them after that do they become "overdue" and technically isn't that kidnapping?
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Wanna go Hollywood? There are two ways to get screen time in Hollywood that don't require good looks or acting talent. The first is to become an “extra” on the set of a movie. Extras are critical to making movies look realistic by populating scenes at restaurants, streets, and sports arenas with normal looking people. Extras endure long waits and no pay, simply for the thrill of being in a movie. The second option is to be a "seat filler" at the Academy Awards. Seat fillers ensure there is never an empty seat when the camera pans the audience at the Oscars--which takes place at the 3,000 seat Dolby Theater in LA. Since the ceremony lasts over three hours, and A-list celebrities are not known for their timeliness or patience, audience members come and go. So the Academy hires well-dressed “seat fillers” to occupy the empty seats until the actual audience member returns. The job isn’t as easy as it sounds. Rules include no waving, no drawing attention, and no speaking to anyone unless spoken to first. Oh, and no bathroom breaks. Not surprisingly, their are still plenty of volunteers. The best bet is to have a relative who works for the Academy, or to volunteer with one of the few agencies the Academy works with. But if you don't have Hollywood "talent" or aren't dating an A-lister, this is probably your only shot at attending the Oscars!
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Happy Memorial Day! If you’re like many Americans, you’re spending today’s holiday having a barbecue--after the Fourth of July, today is the second-most popular holiday for outdoor grilling. If you’re barbecuing today, you might want to try combing two of America's favorite treats--beer and steak. A new, and very welcome, study has found that marinating your meat in beer could reduce your risk of cancer! A beer bath reduces the amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the carcinogens that form on meat cooked on a grill or BBQ. In a tasty experiment, scientists marinated steaks in different beers, and had a control steak with no beer. They found that the darker beers reduced net PAHs by 53% compared to the control. Non-alcoholic pilsner reduced 25%, and alcoholic pilsner performed the worst, reducing only 13%. The scientists believe that the extra antioxidants in the dark beer are the trick. PAHs form with the help of free radicals, and the antioxidants can slow that process. So grab an extra Guinness this weekend for your steak--it's for your health!
Lesson of the Day Top 10 Tips for Backyard Cooking with Sunset Seminars Happy Memorial Day! If you’re like many Americans, you’re spending today’s holiday having a barbecue--after the Fourth of July, today is the...
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Dogs aren't the sweetest smelling animals to begin with. But when they get wet, watch out! Why do wet dogs smell so bad? For something to emit an odor, odiferous molecules must travel from the smelly object to our nose. There they trigger sensory neurons which signal the olfactory center of our brain. Which determines if it’s sweet, toxic--or a wet dog. Dog fur is swarming with bacteria and yeasts that excrete smelly compounds. When dry, these microscopic molecules don’t emit a scent (just like cow dung doesn't smell when it's dry). But adding H20 breaks the chemical bonds holding the yeast and bacteria poop together. This unleashes the pungent scent we know as “wet dog smell." What's more, as the water on the dog evaporates, it carries these smelly molecules with it. Creating even denser stinky air for your nasal neuron pleasure!
Lesson of the Day Train Your Dog to Stop Barking with Treatpouch.com Dogs aren't the sweetest smelling animals to begin with. But when they get wet, watch out! Why do wet dogs smell so bad? For something to emit ...
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A few days after the Civil War ended, Abraham Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Where, of course, he was killed by the actor John Wilkes Booth. But it was not the first life-threatening encounter between a Booth and a Lincoln. Earlier in the Civil War, Lincoln’s son Robert was traveling by train home from Harvard. Robert hopped off the train at Jersey City onto an extremely crowded platform. His back was pressed against an idle train car, which suddenly began to move. The young Lincoln fell into the treacherous gap between the platform and the train. A stranger yanked Lincoln up by his coat collar, saving him from almost certain death. The do-gooder was Edwin Booth--a famous actor later judged by some as the best American dramatist of the 19th century. And also the brother of John Wilkes Booth. Robert recognized the celebrity actor and thanked him prodigiously. After Edwin's younger brother John assassinated the elder Lincoln a year later, Edwin realized he had saved the son of the fallen president. Edwin, a unionist, never forgave his Confederate brother John; but he apparently took some solace that one Lincoln life had been spared by a Booth.
Lesson of the Day Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation with Tom Richey A few days after the Civil War ended, Abraham Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Where, of course, he was killed by the ...
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What to do if your startup company is running out of cash? If you’re Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, you go to Vegas. Smith founded the world’s first overnight delivery company in 1971. Shortly after, FedEx nearly went bankrupt due to rising fuel costs. The company was losing over $1 million a month, and couldn't attract a loan or investment. At the end of one week, they had only $5,000 left in the bank, meaning they couldn't afford the fuel necessary for planes to take off. Instead of calling it quits, Smith cashed out his account and headed for the Blackjack tables in Las Vegas for the weekend. By Monday, he had turned it into $32,000 which was enough to cover a few more days of air deliveries. The other executives were upset he risked the company funds, but his literal gamble turned out to be life saving. Later that week, Smith secured $11 million in funding. By 1976, they turned their first profit of $3.6 million. Four years later profits were $40 million! Today, FedEx delivers more than 1 billion packages every year and the company has a market capitalization of $50 billion. That makes Smith worth about $4 billion, which makes that the luckiest weekend of blackjack ever played!
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During WWII, roughly 10 million American men were drafted into military service regardless of background or profession. Except for one unit, officially known as the “23rd Headquarters Special Troops.” It consisted of 1000 men, selected because they were artists, designers, actors and sound engineers--and all had an IQ of at least 119. Their mission? To deceive Hitler's armies in the field by impersonating larger military units. Their weapons? Inflatable tanks, high-tech sound equipment, and their dramatic abilities. The so-called "ghost army" used their creativity to deceive the German army. At night, the men would inflate rubber tanks, jeeps and weapons, and broadcast fake military recordings from huge speakers. The goal was to feign large Allied troop presences in certain areas, causing the Nazi war machine to mistakenly deploy critical resources where there wasn't actually a threat. The Ghost Army staged more than twenty such deceptions, which included spending time at cafes and bars in nearby towns to strategically spread misleading gossip to German spies. The Ghost Army was a military secret until 1996, when it was finally declassified. In 2013 it became a PBS documentary. Click below to see the trailer. Acting! Brilliant! Thank you!
Free Daily Lesson Choosing the Right Camouflage for You with Nature Reliance School During WWII, roughly 10 million American men were drafted into military service regardless of background or profession. Except f...
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7500 pounds of sun-baked flesh? That's the plight of the African hippopotamus. In order to escape the sweltering sub-Saharan heat, hippos spend around 16 hours a day submerged in water. The water magnifies the already intense African UV rays, putting them at serious risk for sunburn. Except they don't burn. Hippo skin secretes its own sunblock! Because of it's red color, it is sometimes called "blood sweat" but it is neither blood nor sweat. It’s an orangish-red, mucus-like substance secreted by glands below the skin. The secretion has a molecular structure which absorbs UV light and helps regulate body temperature. It is also highly acidic, giving it antiseptic properties. It even works as an insect-repellent! Scientists are studying the properties of hippo "blood sweat" with the hope that they may create a synthetic version for humans. While it would be great to have a 3-in-1 sunscreen/antiseptic/insect-repellent, I'm not sure a balm that feels like mucus and looks like blood is going to find a large market?
Today's Lesson DIY Natural Homemade Lotion with Dr. Mir Dermatology 7500 pounds of sun-baked flesh? That's the plight of the African hippopotamus. In order to escape the sweltering sub-Saharan heat, hippos spend ...
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