Category Archives: Arts, Music, and Recreation

9 Things to Know About Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club


Mar-a-Lago, originally built in the 1920s as a residential estate, is in the news quite a bit these days. That’s because its current owner, Donald Trump – make that United States President Donald Trump – is making frequent visits to the property. As president, Trump uses Mar-a-Lago as a getaway, as a site for meetings with foreign leaders and dignataries, as – as he’s called it – his “Southern White House” or “Winter White House.”

The Mar-a-Lago Club is on Palm Beach Island in Palm Beach, Fla., one of he wealthiest enclaves in America. The palatial house is built on 20 acres, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth. The mansion includes nearly 60 bedrooms, more than 30 bathrooms, a ballroom, a theater – 114 rooms total and 110.000 square feet of opulence in all.

In the early 2000s, the LPGA’s Rolex Awards ceremony was held at Mar-a-Lago several times, when nearby Trump International Golf Club was the site of an LPGA Tour tournament. And Trump, even as President, always manages to play golf on visits to Mar-a-Lago.

What else do we know about the Mar-a-Lago Club? What else is not commonly known? Let’s do some exploring around the Mar-a-Lago estate, its history and its present.


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Mar-a-Lago Is Not a Golf Club

An exterior view of the Mar-a-Lago mansion. Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

There are almost no golf facilities at the Mar-a-Lago Club. We say “almost” because there is a single practice putting green on the grounds. But that’s it: no golf course, no other golf facilities.

But wait, you say: Then how is President Trump playing golf every time he goes to Mar-a-Lago?


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Mar-a-Lago Has Reciprocal Agreement with Trump International Golf Club

Donald Trump rides in a limo returning to Mar-a-Lago Club after playing golf at Trump International Golf Club. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Trump International is a golf club, and it’s located less than five miles away from Mar-a-Lago. Donald Trump owns both, which means he can do whatever he wants – including play golf at Trump International during his weekend visits to Mar-a-Lago.

But the two clubs also have what is called a “reciprocal agreement” or “reciprocal arrangement” (golfers often shorten it to “reciprocals”). That means if you become a member of one club, you can request access to the other’s amenities.

Mar-a-Lago Club members are not members at Trump International Golf Club, nor vice-versa. But, through pre-arrangement with their club pro, captain or secretary, they can visit the other club and use its services.

The Mar-a-Lago Club has reciprocals with most other Trump Golf properties, too.


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If Mar-a-Lago Isn’t a Golf Club, What Is It?

Looking across the putting green to the back of the Mar-a-Lago Club. Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

It’s a social club. It’s a club the wealthy join in order to hobnob with other rich people – to, among other things, simply let other rich people know they are members.

While many members of ultra-expensive golf clubs and social clubs do use the facilities at the clubs they join, here’s a not-all-so-secret secret:
Many people who join such clubs rarely – sometimes never – visit them. For those kinds of members, joining a club like Mar-a-Lago (or Trump International Golf Club, for that matter) is a means of collecting status symbols.

The Mar-a-Lago Club is part of the Mar-a-Lago estate, whose grounds include the 110,000-square-foot, 114-room mansion in which club members socialize, dine and lodge.

The Trump family uses a separate, closed-off part of the club as a residence. Other club members can pay thousands of dollars a night for lodging, or may dine at the club or visit the spa.

The club’s huge ballrooms can be rented for parties; its facilities and grounds for galas, weddings and other functions.

The club has tennis courts and croquet lawns, a swimming pool and two acres of private beach access.


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Mar-a-Lago Was Built By a Famous Heiress

The first owner of Mar-a-Lago, heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

The Mar-a-Lago estate dates to the mid-1920s; the three-year construction of the house was completed in 1927.

Who was the original owner, the one who commissioned the building of the mansion? Marjorie Merriweather Post.

Readers today may not recognize that name, but she was once among the most famous Americans. Post was the daughter of and heiress to C.W. Post, the food magnate who name still appears on cereal boxes.

Marjorie Merriweather Post was born in 1887 and died in 1973. She was an art collector and a socialite. Married four times, her second husband was E.F. Hutton, the namesake of the financial services company (remember the TV commercials: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen” – one from the 1970s starred golf legend Tom Watson).

And at various times in her long life, Post was the richest woman in the United States with a fortune estimated at $250 million. Post had three daughters, one of whom was actress Dina Merrill.


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And the Meaning of ‘Mar-a-Lago’ Is …

Why did Post choose Mar-a-Lago as the name of estate? It’s Spanish for “sea-to-lake” – the estate’s grounds stretch from ocean on one side of Palm Beach Island to lake on the other.



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Mar-a-Lago Was Willed to the US Government as a Presidential Retreat

Mar-a-Lago photographed in 1928, one year after its completion. Bettmann/Getty Images

In her later years, Marjorie Merriweather Post came to view her Mar-a-Lago estate as a place whose fame could live beyond her own: She wanted it to become a Presidential retreat, along the lines of Camp David in Maryland.

When Post died, she willed Mar-a-Lago to the National Park Service. The United States government acquired Mar-a-Lago during the Nixon Administration, owned it during the Ford and Carter administrations, and for a couple months into the Reagan Administration.

Post’s will included money to take care of Mar-a-Lago, but not enough, according to the government. And none of the presidents ever visited the estate.

So in April of 1981, the United States Congress voted to give Mar-a-Lago back, and ownership was turned over to the Post Foundation, a charitable organization endowed by Post.


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Mar-a-Lago Club Is Designated a National Historic Landmark

Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

National Historic Landmarks are, according to their keepers, the National Park Service, “nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.”

More than 2,500 places in the United States are designated as National Historic Landmarks, and Mar-a-Lago is one of them. It was declared so in 1980, with architecture and social history given as the property’s “area of significance.”

The main architect was Marion Wyeth, and Joseph Urban added touches to the interior and exterior, too.

The Mar-a-Lago website describes the architecture of the house:

“The main house is an adaptation of the Hispano-Moresque style, long popular among the villas of the Mediterranean. It is crescent-shaped with an upper and lower cloister along the concave side of the building that faces Lake Worth. A seventy-five foot tower tops the structure, affording a magnificent view in all directions for miles. Three boatloads of Dorian stone were brought from Genoa, Italy for the construction of the exterior walls, arches and some of the interior. … One of the attractions of Mar-a-Lago is the predominant use of Old Spanish tiles throughout. … It was Post’s plan to bring together many Old World features of the Spanish, Venetian and Portuguese styles.”


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How Did Donald Trump Wind Up Owning Mar-a-Lago Club?

Aerial view of the Mar-a-Lago estate in 1991, six years after Donald Trump bought it. Steve Starr/Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

He bought it from the Post Foundation for between $7 million and $8 million in 1985. It’s the only time the Mar-a-Lago estate has been sold.

Why did the Post Foundation sell? Mar-a-Lago was racking up annual tax and maintenance bills of around $1 million.

When Trump bought Mar-a-Lago, he put his then-wife Ivana in charge of running the estate, including remodeling it. Years later, in 2005, Mar-a-Lago was the site of the wedding reception when Trump married his current wife, Melania. At that reception, the entertainment included Billy Joel, Paul Anka and Tony Bennett, and Trump’s son Eric reportedly said during his toast, “I hope this is the last time I have to do this.”

Trump turned the estate into the private Mar-a-Lago Club in 1995, carving out a part of it as private quarters for Trump and family members.


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Mar-a-Lago Club Membership Fees Went Up Following Presidential Election

Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

How much does it cost to join the Mar-a-Lago Club? A lot. And it became more expensive following Donald Trump’s election as President.

Prior to 2017, the initiation fee to join Mar-a-Lago Club was $100,000. In January 2017, after Donald Trump became President Trump, the initiation fee was doubled to $200,000. On top of that are monthly dues of $14,000.

The History of the ‘Alien’ Franchise


20th Century Fox

Ridley Scott returned to the Alien franchise with 2012’s Prometheus, but not without some controversy. The issue with Prometheus wasn’t so much what was in the film, it was what wasn’t in the film. During production of the movie it was revealed that Prometheus would serve as a semi-prequel to Alien. Alien fans were excited to see Scott returning to the sci-fi/horror franchise he started. Prometheus starred Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce.

As it turned out, Prometheus not only didn’t adequately connect the film to the Alien universe aside from a few glimpses of recognizable Alien iconography, but it had plenty of unanswered questions of its own. Prometheus was generally thought of as a solid sci-fi movie, but it wasn’t what fans expected from Ridley Scott returning to the Alien franchise—which was an Alien prequel that tied directly to the beloved sci-fi classic. Prometheus ended up none of those things despite what fans felt they were promised, though it certainly works as a standalone sci-fi movie. It was also the highest grossing Alien movie at the box office.

Michigan’s Rich UFO Sighting History


Those of us who scan over UFO sighting reports on a daily basis normally see witnesses send in reports from all corners of the earth. These reports generally are spread fairly evenly across the United States and Great Britain, with a few from other countries. But, now and then, we begin to see an unusually large number of reports from one location.

Lately, an abnormal number of reports have come from Michigan, which is a state with a rich UFO history.

This recent “flap” of sightings began in August, and continues to this day. Here is a bit of history of famous UFO sightings in Michigan, followed by sighting reports from the recent wave.

1953 -The Loss of Scorpion Aircraft

One of the most well known cases in Michigan involves the loss of the lives of pilot Lieutenant Felix Moncla, Jr., and the normally forgotten radar operator, 2nd Lieutenant R. Wilson. 

When an Air Defense Command Ground Intercept radar controller at Truax AFB picked up an unknown target on November 23, 1953, an F-89C Scorpion jet was scrambled from Kinross Field. Pursuing the UFO at 500 mph, the Scorpion gained ground, but the UFO abruptly changed course.

Moncla had difficulty tracking the UFO on radar, and relied on ground control to point him to the object. After 30 minutes of chasing the UFO, the Scorpion began to bridge the gap on the UFO, now over Lake Superior.

Finally, according to ground control, Moncla and Wilson flew close enough to their target that the two radar blips merged into one.

Thinking that the Scorpion had flown over or under the UFO, it was expected that the one blip would soon become two again. This was not to be.

To the operator’s surprise, there was no radar return at all. Messages to the Scorpion went unanswered, and an emergency message was sent to Search and Rescue.

The last position marked was off of Keweenaw Point. The Search and Rescue team, though making an all out effort, came up empty.

The official conclusion to this mystery was: “… the pilot probably suffered from vertigo and crashed into the lake.” Several alternative explanations were offered, all without evidence. One even claimed that the Scorpion exploded in mid air. But, if so, what happened to the UFO? Or was there a mid air collision? We may never know.

1966 – UFO Lands at Vicksburg

On March 31, 1966, Hungarian refugee, Jeno Udvardy, was driving home from work in the early morning hours near Vicksburg. As he came over the crest of a hill, he was shocked to see a grouping of lights on the road ahead. He thought it might be an ambulance, or other emergency vehicles.

He slowed down as he edged closer to the lights ahead. He soon realized the lights were coming from a disc-shaped object, hovering just above the road.

When within about 10 feet of the lights, he suddenly realized that they were not on any recognizable vehicle. Instead they were on a disc-shaped object hovering a few feet above the road and blocking his passage. The lights were so intense it made it was difficult to discern the exact shape of the UFO.

He soon felt his car moved by what seemed to be a great gust of wind. Looking behind his car, he saw what he thought was another UFO, but looking back, he realized the first object had somehow moved from the front to the rear of his vehicle. Trying to make an escape, he found that his car would not start.

Sticking his head out of the window, he could hear a low, humming sound. Shortly thereafter, the UFO rose up, and sped away. He later reported his encounter with the Kalamazoo Sheriff’s office, but his report received only skepticism. His case was never properly investigated

1966 A Giant Wave

How many UFO cases have you seen where authorities made a statement similar to this?

Washtenaw County deputies B. Bushroe and J. Foster formally stated: “This is the strangest thing that [we] have ever witnessed. We would have not believed this story if we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes. These objects could move at fantastic speeds, and make very sharp turns, dive and climb, and hover with great maneuverability.

We have no idea what these objects were, or where they could have come from. At 4:20 AM there were four of these objects flying in a line formation, in a northwesterly direction, at 5:30 these objects went out of view, and were not seen again.”

This was the aftermath of a massive wave of UFOs over Michigan, March 14-20, 1966. Following is the log of “Complaint No. 00967,” signed by Cpl. Broderick and Deputy Patterson of the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department:

3:50 AM – Received calls from Deputies Bushroe and Foster, car 19, stating that they saw some suspicious objects in the sky, disc, star-like colors, red and green, moving very fast, making sharp turns, having left to right movements, going in a northwest direction.

4:04 AM – Livingston County [sheriff’s department] called and stated that they also saw the objects, and were sending car to the location.

4:05 AM – Ypsilanti Police Dept.

also called stated that the object was seen at the location of US-12 and I-94 [intersection of a U.S. and an Interstate highway].

4:10 AM – Monroe County [sheriff’s department] called and stated that they also saw the objects.

4:20 AM – Car 19 stated that they just saw four more in the same location moving at a high rate of speed.

4:30 AM – Colonel Miller [county civil defense director] was called; he stated just to keep an eye on the objects that he did not know what to do, and also check with Willow Run Airport.

4:54 AM – Car 19 called and stated that two more were spotted coming from the southeast, over Monroe County. Also that they were side by side.

4:56 AM – Monroe County [sheriff’s department] stated that they just spotted the object, and also that they are having calls from citizens. Called Selfridge Air Base and they stated that they also had some objects [presumably on radar] over Lake Erie and were unable to get any ID from the objects. The Air Base called Detroit Operations and were to call back as to the disposition.

5:30 AM – Deputy Patterson and I [Cpl. Broderick] looked out of the office and saw a bright light that appeared to be over the Ypsilanti area. It looked like a star but was moving from north to east.

The Swamp Gas Explanation

During the rest of the week, the sightings continued, culminating in one of the most controversial cases of UFOs, and the most unusual explanation of Project Blue Book, stating the objects seen were only “swamp gas.” See a detailed account at 1966 – Michigan Swamp Gas Case.

Project Blue Book sent Dr. J. Allen Hynek to investigate the sighting reports. At first,Hynek agreed that there was something going on in the Michigan skies. But after consulting with the Blue Book headquarters, he changed his mind, and said that the sightings were nothing more than “swamp gas.”

This controversial and embarrassing report by the US government caused the then Congressman Gerald Ford to make this statement:

“In the firm belief that the American public deserves a better explanation than that thus far given by the Air Force, I strongly recommend that there be a committee investigation of the UFO phenomena. I think we owe it to the people to establish credibility regarding UFOs, and to produce the greatest possible enlightenment of the subject.”

The Mini-Wave of 2009

In the last six weeks, there have been a very large number of reports coming from Michigan.

Here are some of those.

Michigan – 08-07-09 – My husband had taken the dog out. I was standing on the balcony of the house that attaches to our bedroom. My husband said to me “Honey, come down here. There’s a weird planet. You’ll probably know what it is.”

Then he asked me if I knew if there was a cell phone tower nearby, and I replied that I thought there was indeed one nearby and that could be it. When I came down and met him outside, I realized that the direction where he was pointing there was no cell phone tower.

I did see the large globe on the horizon. It pulsed and glowed a very bright red, but when it got closer (coming from the west) to us, it seemed to pulse back and forth between red and orange almost at the same time.

Michigan – 10-01-09 – My dad is 82 and this is what he told me just recently. He seemed excited and this was his first ever sighting. In late September or early October of 2009 he saw an object.

He was not going to call or write, but I told him that I would.

At about 9:30 AM, he was sitting in the living room of his condo and saw odd lights through the skylight. It was a fairly sunny morning and he wondered what this could be. It was not a reflection through the skylight. He watched the lights and decided to get out his binoculars.

Looking up, he saw a triangular-shaped object, tilted at an angle with lights at the corners. They were very bright. The object appeared to be gray in color, and it remained in the sky above his home for approximately 1 hour. He told me that it was cloud level, fairly high up, but he could definitely see the object pretty well. He watched on and off over the hour and eventually it was gone.

Michigan – 10-04-09 – As I looked west out the window, a rising orange light caught my eye. At first I wondered if it was a planet. I stepped outside to take a closer look, and noticed that it was moving.

I watched the light quickly move upward, arching slightly.

My first reaction to this object was that it was moving abnormally quick. After watching it for a few seconds, I went inside to find my roommate, who was asleep.

I noticed that the object had blinking lights of two different colors as it moved closer to me.

The object was headed east. I watched the object move across the sky until it moved outside of my sight. I am not sure if it was in space, our inside our atmosphere.

It passed right above the moon, so its silhouette was not reflected. I’m not sure if this was a true UFO. I was just extremely bewildered about its speed. Not only was this aircraft moving very fast, but as it had passed over me, it produced hardly any sound.

I would estimate this object as being over a mile away. I continued taping until the object could not be seen as it passed behind the trees. There was no noise that I could detect. It also looked to be shimmering, or reflecting light. It was very puzzling to me.

Michigan – 10-04-09 – I went out on the balcony of the cottage overlooking Round Lake to smoke a cigarette. As soon as I stepped outside, I noticed a bright, tall, box-shaped object moving across my view from the left. I saw it very clearly.

It had three sets of multi-colored, blinking lights. It suddenly made a sharp right turn and the lights went out, and I could not see it. I went inside to tell my wife what I had seen.

Then I grabbed my cell phone to use its camera in case I saw it again. I went back onto the balcony and almost instantly noticed another very bright object moving in the night sky towards my location.

This object was a bright, white, disc-shaped object that had a round center.

I was able to get a picture of this object before it turned, and then went straight up and at a high rate of speed. I have attached the picture I took.

Michigan – 10-05-09 – I went out my backyard to a field that is an old golf course. I had my camera with me as I usually do. I noticed a bright white round ball in the sky. I began shooting pictures and then took some video footage of this object as it went from right to left (west to east).

Michigan – 10-05-09 – An Ishpeming man is looking for answers to a strange sight in the September skies. It was a bright looking object over Hovey Lake in Alger County that caught the eye of Mark Perala. He took several photos on September 19 just after 8:00. He’s not sure what they are, so he showed them to NMU Physics Professor David Lucas.

“I started clicking pictures and that’s when all of a sudden there’s a bright object up here,” explains Perela. “Then it’s a ways out and then it’s right here in front of me, and then I went and sat down and reviewed the pictures with my friends and showed them and they said “What the heck is that?”

The History of Maserati Automobiles


The history of Maserati began at the end of the nineteenth century in Bologna, Italy, where Rodolfo Maserati and his wife Carolina had seven sons: Carlo, Bindo, Alfieri (who died as an infant), Alfieri (named for his deceased brother), Mario, Ettore, and Ernesto. Five of the surviving boys became auto engineers, designers, and builders. Mario was the lone painter–though he is believed to have designed the Maserati Trident.

The brothers spent years working for Isotta Fraschini, following in the footsteps of Carlo, who also worked for Fiat, Bianchi, and others before his death at age 29. In 1914, Alfieri Maserati left his position in customer service at Isotta Fraschini to start Officine Alfieri Maserati on Via de Pepoli in the heart of Bologna.

The Racing Era

But the brothers still worked on cars for Isotta Franchini, and Alfieri designed and raced Diattos. It wasn’t until 1926 that the first all-Maserati car in history came out of the shop, the Tipo 26. Alfieri himself drove the car to its first victory in its class in the Targa Florio.

Throughout the 1930s, Maserati produced several record-setting racers, including the 1929 V4, with its 16-cylinder engine, and the 1931 8C 2500, the last car designed by Alfieri before he died.

But the Depression years were hard on the company, and the brothers sold their shares to the Orsi family and moved Maserati’s headquarters to Modena.

During World War II, the factory produced machine tools, spark plugs, and electric vehicles for the war effort, then returned to building race cars with the A6 1500 at the end of the conflict.

Maserati picked up legendary Formula One driver Fangio in the 1950s. He piloted the 250F to a win in the car’s debut at the Argentine Grand Prix.

He was the driver of a 250F in 1957, too, when Maserati took home the World Title for the fifth time. The company decided to exit the racing scene on that high note. It kept its hand in, though, by producing the Birdcage and prototypes for private teams and supplying Formula 1 engines for other builders, such as Cooper.

Bought and Sold … and Bought and Sold

In the 60s, Maserati focused on production cars, like the 3500 GT, which debuted in 1958, and the 1963 Quattroporte, the company’s first four-door sedan. (“Quattroporte” is literally “four door” in Italian.)

In 1968, French auto maker Citroen bought the shares of the controlling Orsi family. Thanks to Maserati’s engine, a Citroen SM won the 1971 Morrocco Rally.

Some of the most famous cars in Maserati history, like the Bora, Merak, and Khamsin, were produced in the early 70s before the global gas crisis took full effect. The auto maker, like many others, hit the skids, and Maserati was saved from closure by the Italian government. Argentinian Formula 1 driver Alejandro De Tomaso, along with the Benelli company, helped resurrect Maserati, and in 1976, they launched the Kyalami.

The next decade was a quiet one for Maserati, with the introduction of the lower-priced Biturbo.

It was 1993 before the company saw light at the end of the tunnel, when it was bought by Fiat. That arrangement didn’t last long, though; Fiat sold Maserati to Ferrari in 1997. Maserati celebrated by building a new, updated plant in Modena and producing the 3200 GT.

The New Century

Maserati continued to hitch its fortunes to the Quattroporte’s star, making it the centerpiece of the model lineup in the new century. It also made a modest return to racing with the MC12 in the FIA GT and American Le Mans series.

But the transfers of ownership were not over in the incestuous world of European auto makers. In 2005, control of Maserati was transferred back to Fiat by Ferrari, which meant the two Italian powerhouses could team up with a third under Fiat’s umbrella: Alfa Romeo.

And so, with a little help from its friends, Maserati history continues to push forward, building more than 2,000 cars each year–a record for the Modena company–including the GranSport.

Foot Fetishists Who Lurk Under Library Tables


People visit libraries for many reasons. Some go to find a book or other research material. Some go for the Internet access, and some just want a quiet place to study. And then there’s a small, select few who go for the feet.

These are the foot fetishists. For them libraries are crammed full of sensory delights, because here you find women (so many of them!) who absentmindedly slip off their shoes as they sit reading at desks.


The temptation is irresistible. The foot fetishist crawls beneath desks like some kind of strange library predator, seeking out his prey. His presence, once discovered, can be unnerving, but because he moves with such stealth, it can be very difficult to realize he’s there.

Below we look at some of the most famous cases of library foot fetishists.

1971: The Sauce Man of Chicago

The Sauce Man, as the media called him, lurked beneath tables in the University of Illinois library at Chicago Circle. His MO was to seek out women who had slipped off their shoes as they read and quietly pour ketchup into one of the shoes. Then he would crawl away. When a victim put the shoe back on, she would look down when she felt something wet and then often start screaming and yelling, thinking her foot was bleeding.

The Sauce Man later switched to using barbecue sauce. Police speculated this was because barbecue sauce pours easier.

Eventually the Sauce Man was caught when police noticed a man carrying a bottle of barbecue sauce into the library. He turned out to be a student. No charges were pressed after he confessed and promised to stop doing it.

1980: Leonardo da Toenail

This character got turned on by surreptitiously painting women’s toenails.

He came to attention of the media after a young woman who had been studying in the Doheny Library at the University of Southern California walked outside and noticed that her toenails were painted green. This was odd since when she had gone into the library they had been pink.

Initially the woman thought she had been the victim of a fraternity prank, but when she described the incident to her roommates, she discovered that the same thing had happened to one of them. So she called the police who soon picked up a man outside the library carrying a bag containing fifteen bottles of fingernail polish. They didn’t release his name to the media but referred to him as “Leonardo da Toenail.” However, they let him go since painting toenails without permission is only a misdemeanor, and officers have to witness a misdemeanor to make an arrest. [Pittsburgh Press, 3/6/1980]

Research by reporters then uncovered that the “phantom pedicurist” had been active the previous year as well, at the library of California State University. His MO there had been to locate a female student working alone at a desk with her shoes off. He would sit down across from her, set himself up as if working on a project, and then pretend to drop a pen.

As he reached down to pick it up, he would surreptitiously brush a stroke of paint on one of her toenails. Then he might pretend to drop something else, and brush again. 

Despite his run-in with the law, Leonardo da Toenail couldn’t stop himself, and he was apprehended a second time in 1981 when a male student spotted him beneath a table at USC’s Von KleinSmid Library. Again he was trying to paint a woman’s toenails. The woman had been completely unaware of his presence.

This time he was booked for a possible battery complaint and ordered to show up at the city attorney’s office for a hearing to determine if he would be charged. But he never showed up, and that was the last he was ever heard of. [, 6/17/1981]

1989: Sniff Freak

Multiple female patrons at the Boston Public Library complained that their shoes had been stolen as they worked.

The pattern was always the same. After making themselves comfortable at a table, they would slip their shoes off and later discover that one shoe was missing. The victims all described having seen a man sitting at a desk nearby who was in his early 20s with earrings in his nose and one ear. Security officer George Butner said, “You have to tell it like it is. He’s a sniff freak. He must have a closetful [of shoes] by now.” The suspect was not caught. [Victoria Advocate, 8/24/1989]

2014: Foot Kisser

A middle-aged woman was sitting in the Leamington Spa Library, in Warwickshire County, UK, when 33-year-old Luke Rudge approached her and told her that she had beautiful legs and feet. When the woman ignored him, Rudge lay down on the floor and began kissing her feet. He then directed his attention to her boots and began smelling them.

The woman alerted the library staff who called the police. Officers soon showed up and arrested Rudge, who had not attempted to flee. (It’s not reported whether he was still fixated on smelling the shoes.) Because he had prior convictions for sexual offenses, he was sentenced to fourteen months in jail. [Daily Mail, 12/10/2014]

2015: Surreptitious Foot Smeller

Students who were studying in the library of Florida International University were disturbed when they noticed a man crawling beneath tables, trying to “smell women’s feet without consent.”  Some students managed to snap photos of the perp before he got away. The photos showed a bald man wearing a red shirt. 

The police put out a flyer and soon picked up the foot smeller. It turned out he was a registered sex offender. He was charged with violating his sex offender registration. [, 9/14/2015]

12 Poetic Steps to Memorizing Any Poem


Memorize any poem in 12 steps

Tara Moore/Stone/Getty Images

Reading poetry is enlightening and enjoyable. Every now and then, a poem catches you, captivates you, and you just have to set it to memory because you want to live with it and share its wondrous phrases with others. Yet, how do you begin to memorize the verse?

It’s quite simple: start at the beginning and memorize the poem line by line. Some poems will be more of a challenge than others and the longer the poem, the longer it will take to memorize.

Don’t worry about that and take your time to really enjoy the memorization process and understand every hidden meaning within the poem.

The reward of being able to cite a poem with deep personal meaning is worth the effort. Let’s look at the process of memorizing a poem (in poetic verse, of course).

How to Memorize a Poem

Has memory become a vestigial organ like the appendix? The battle over writ/spoke, poem working on page or stage, rages. Let’s breathe hot oxygen on the conflagration with this, Step-by-Step-by-Heart.

You memorize because you have to. The poem you are reading makes you stop dead. You hear the voice of the poet meld with your thought-process, the poem was written especially for you… 

Boom! You have to make this poem your own. You Have to Memorize It.

  1. Read the poem over, slowly. Read it to yourself, aloud.
  2. Try to understand the mystery of why it works for you using the same words that pass by unremarkably every day.
  1. Try to understand the poem by understanding the poem inside the poem; to understand the mystery by letting the mystery retain its mystery.
  2. Read and say the poem over, slowly and aloud.
  3. Understand the poem by knowing every word’s meaning: etymological investigation.
  4. Don’t shirk the architecture: the form, the look of the poem on the page. Understand?
  1. Dive off the line breaks themselves, into the abyss, cutting the shape of the page around the poem. The poem contains its opposite.
  2. Read and say the poem over, slowly, aloud. Feel its shape in your lungs, your heart, your throat.
  3. With an index card, cover everything but the first line of the poem. Read it. Look away, see the line in the air, and say it. Look back. Repeat until you’ve “got it.”
  4. Uncover the second line. Learn it as you did the first line, but also add second line to first, until you’ve got the two.
  5. Then it’s on to three. Always repeat the first line on down, till the whole poem sings.
  6. With the poem now internalized, you are free to perform it. This is to find the voice(s) of the poem, to find yourself there, and the poet, and to relate to the audience.

Two Final Thoughts

  • Memorizing balances by heart and by rote (mechanical repetition). Think about this. Step-by-step you learn’t by heart.
  • As the Duchess says in Alice in Wonderland, “Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.”
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Where Are They Now? The People Behind The Memes


Yes, there IS life after meme-dom!

A meme is a virally-transmitted cultural symbol, image, video, or idea.  Just like the flu, a meme gets passed from one web user to another through sharing until it goes viral.  We’ve all seen some of the more popular memes for years, from Good Girl Gina to the Ermahgerd Girl, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the people behind the memes?

Here’s a short list of some of the most popular image macro memes from the past few years, along with what the people behind those famous faces have been up to in their real lives.


of 10

Success Kid

Via Imgur.

Sammy Griner may well be one of the internet’s most beloved babies. His mom uploaded a picture of little Sammy clenching his fist with a determined scowl back in 2007, and his face has since become synonymous with fist-pumping victory. 

In 2015, now-eight year-old Sammy Griner leveraged his internet fame to raise over $90,000 in a Go-Fund-Me for his father, who needs a kidney transplant.  Now that’s what we call SUCCESS.


of 10

Scumbag Steve

Via Know Your Meme.

The Scumbag Steve meme makes fun of that one guy we all know; the one who’s a bit of a mooch.  The man behind the  meme is Blake Boston, an aspiring rapper who was once a member of the rap group Beantown Mafia. Blake says no one really recognizes him from the meme these days… although something tells me he kind of wishes they did.


of 10

Overly Attached Girlfriend

Image via Imgur/YouTube.

Back in June of 2012, twenty year-old Laina Walker uploaded a song parody called “JB Fanvideo” to enter a contest sponsored by Justin Bieber.  Stills from Walker’s video quickly went viral, mostly because she looked totally cray-cray with her wide eyes and eager expression.  Dubbed “Overly Attached Girlfriend (OAG),” the meme was omnipresent for the past two years, and for her part, Laina Walker has been awesome at handling her internet fame.

Walker frequently poses for photos with fans, raises money for charity, makes funny YouTube videos, and is generally very approachable and funny about her status as the OAG.


of 10

Suburban Mom

Via Quickmeme.

In 2011, romance novelist and real-life mom Carly Phillips got a message on her Facebook page letting her know that her face had become a meme. The “Suburban Mom” meme made fun of parents who were hypocritical and kind of dorky, so Phillips was understandably sad when she found out. Eventually Phillips learned that the meme isn’t really about her at all, just her “look.”

“I never want anyone who sees it to think that I, the real mom/person … believes any of that stuff, especially the derogatory, inflammatory, prejudiced things in there,” Phillips stated on Facebook.


of 10

College Freshman

Courtesy: Imgur.

Griffin Kiritsy was just another freshman at the University of New Hampshire when he agreed to pose for a series of shots that would be used as stock photos for college life and financial planning brochures. The “College Freshman” meme first hit Reddit in June of 2011, and Kiritsy took to his blog a month later to ‘fess up that the picture was of him.

Kiritsy is now out of college and still living in New Hampshire, where he seems to be living a life offline, for the most part.  Aside from his Twitter account, which is protected, he doesn’t have much of a web presence to speak of.


of 10

Skeptical Baby

Via Know Your Meme.

In 2011, redditor Dave and his wife Rhiannon took their son Mason to the Museum of Natural Sciences. The goal was to have family photos taken by photographer (and fellow redditor) Jarod Knoten. When Dave got the photos back, he couldn’t resist uploading a funny pic of his son to Reddit, and before you can say “viral” the Skeptical Baby meme was born. 

These days Skeptical Baby is doing his now-five year-old kid thing, and hopefully he’s still blissfully unaware that he is the face of skepticism on the internet.


of 10

Hipster Barista

Via Can You Ever.

The image started on Quickmeme, and before long real-life barista Dustin Mattson became the face of annoying hipsters everywhere. At first, Mattson was way LESS than thrilled about becoming a web meme, telling, “I do find it discouraging and disappointing that there was so much exposure brought to an attempt at making a joke of a culinary industry and the professional barista.”

Hopefully he’s loosened up a bit more these days. 


of 10

Good Girl Gina

Good Girl Gina is the antithesis of Scumbag Stacy.  She’s the girlfriend everybody wants to have: she’s gorgeous, cool, and down with a little kink.  
The person behind the meme is Emma Kathrine, a Danish model who had posed for this image for a photographer, who then sold it as a stock image.  A Redditor used the image to create the Good Girl Gina meme in 2011, and soon Emma Kathrine became internet-famous.  The twenty-two year-old model has given a Reddit AMA and has her own website.


of 10

Bad Luck Brian

 The Bad Luck Brian meme came about in 2012, and it shows a kind of dorky-looking blond guy along with a caption about something disappointing or tragic that happened to him.  The image was uploaded to Reddit by Brian’s friend, who thought the high school portrait was too funny not to share.
These days, the real Brian has capitalized on his internet fame.  He currently lives in Ohio and has his own YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, and he gave a great Reddit AMA in 2013 as well.


of 10

Ermahgerd Girl

The Ermahgerd Girl, also called “Gersberms” or “Berks,” shows a girl with lots of headgear clutching an armful of Goosebumps novels.  The meme hit Reddit 2012, and variations of her slurred speech (due to the braces she wears) took over the web.
While other people have claimed to be the Ermahgerd Girl in real life, those claims were all debunked until this one came along.  Turns out, the real Berks girl is Maggie Connelly, a football player who has her own Tumblr blog.  Connelly is still a mysterious character, however, and not much is known about whether she will jump onto the web fame bandwagon.

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Want to Stop Biffing In? Work on These Techniques


“Landings are mandatory,” as paragliding instructors love to say. When you learn to paraglide, you’ll certainly learn the basic PG landing techniques. Moving forward in the sport, however, requires much refinement.

While the landing areas below most training hills (and “beginner” sites) are huge, obstacle-free and kitted out with enormous wind socks, most “sport” LZs are not. When an advancing pilot begins to travel with his (or her) paraglider, it becomes immediately apparent how ridiculously luxurious those student LZs really were.

So — especially if you just stepped up to a higher-performance (or acro) wing — you need to get comfortable landing your new equipment. If you want to nail the precision landings required to practice the hike-and-fly discipline, you’ll need to be extra-excellent.

While you’re convenient to a capacious landing area, you can safely start to build the skills that will allow you to land in any LZ you may find yourself over. Commit to some sled runs and get to work.

1. Fight the laziness.

Get out on the hill and do sled run after sled run until you can execute a perfect spot landing every time. It’s well worth the effort.

Make your huge LZ smaller: in your mind, that is. “Shrink” its borders to the size of a small soccer field by choosing border features with which to measure, and approach it as though there were power lines, trees, fences and other dangerous obstacles at your imagined edges.

If other pilots don’t mind, place flat, removable markers in the LZ to keep you accountable with your spot landings.

Try a hula hoop, a plastic tray or a piece of fabric tacked to the ground with tent stakes (pounded flush with the dirt and carefully covered to prevent tripping or wing-snagging).

2. Hold off on committing.

Practice commitmentphobia in your landing pattern. One of the most common PG landing mistakes is to commit to the field too soon, invariably leading to an overshoot that’s awkward (and sometimes injurious) to correct.

Once a pilot is in the airspace over the landing area – especially, a small one – the options for safe, graceful footfall are much reduced. To prevent that situation, “flirt” with the landing area, bleeding off the last bit of altitude either in front, behind or at the side of the field before you initiate your final approach. As you do so, determine the clearest spot on the border of the landing area (preferably, oriented on the upwind side) and identify it as your entry point. When you’ve lost the altitude you need to lose, head to that spot and let your wing go into full flight to gather energy for a strong flare.

3. Try to resist “flapping.”

Lots of pilots “flap” on final approach, tugging the brakes quickly and consecutively to bleed off altitude. While this often works out in straightforward conditions, it generally indicates a poorly executed approach. In some cases, it can initiate a stall close to the ground – one of the most serious situations you can be in as a paraglider pilot.

Proponents of the technique tend to argue that “flapping” mimics the landing technique of a bird. Unfortunately, unlike our feathered friends, we can’t move the leading edge of our wing on multiple axes to increase its relative flight path – so the argument falls flat (and so might you, if you habitually flap your way to the ground).

Continued in Part 2 >>

13 Great Hip-Hop Albums You’ve Never Heard



of 14 Jneiro Jarel – Three Piece Puzzle

Omar Jarel Gilyard is a rapper, producer, philosopher, all around awesome artist. The rapper known as Jneiro Jarel was born in Brooklyn to a military mom, who trotted around the globe for work. Jneiro lived in Houston for a hot second, which is why you’ll hear H-town references throughout his work.

He moved to Philly in 2004, where he met Rich Medina and King Britt and started building the blocks that would form his most potent release yet, 2005’ss Three Piece Puzzle. It arrived loaded with sun-dried grooves, jazz beats rendered as atmospheric stuff, goofy rhymes and catchy hooks. If you like your hip-hop smart, cool and swathed in polyester, you’ll dig Three Piece Puzzle.

How to Play (and Win) Ultimate Texas Hold’em


Ultimate Texas Hold’em was designed by Roger Snow of ShuffleMaster. The game is played on a Blackjack-style table that can accommodate several players. The players do not compete against each other. Instead, they are playing heads up with the dealer. On the layout in front of each player is an area marked:


The Play

Players make equal bets in the Ante and Blind circle on the layout.

An additional side bet may be made by placing a bet in the area marked Trips. Each player and the dealer are dealt two cards face down. After these are dealt the player may check or bet three to four times the Ante Bet by placing the bet in the circle marked Play. The dealer then turns over the three card Flop. If the player has no bet he can again check or bet two times the Ante bet. The dealer then turns over the last two community cards and the player MUST make a bet equal to the Ante if he has not yet bet, or Fold and lose the Ante and Blind bets.


The earlier the player bets, the more total they can wager including both rounds.
Before the Flop, a player may bet three or four times the Ante wager.
After seeing the Flop the player may bet two times the Ante wager.
After the River if the player has not bet they may place a bet equal to the Ante wager.

Win or Lose

After the River card is dealt the dealer and players will turn over their hole cards and make the best five card hand.

If the player’s hand beats the dealer his Ante and Play bets win even money. If the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, the player will lose the Ante, Blind, and Play bets. If the player and dealer tie it is a push. The Blind bet is paid only if the player’s winning hand is a Straight or better and based on the odds posted on the layout.

These may vary from casino to casino. If the player beats the dealer with less than a Straight the Blind bet is a push. If the player makes a wager on the Trips bet and has Trips or better the bet is paid even if the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand.

Dealer Qualification

The dealer must qualify by having a pair or better. If the dealer does not qualify the Ante bet is returned to the player. The Play bet and Trips bet (if there is one) are still live and will be paid accordingly.


Because you are playing heads-up with the dealer you will be playing differently than if you were playing a live game of Texas Hold’em. Remember, there is no bluffing in this game, you are simply trying to make a hand higher than the average dealer hand. And, you’ll bet more when the odds are in your favor of doing so. The easiest and most effective strategy is to simply bet four-times your pre-flop wager when you hold a reasonable hand. These are listed below: 

  • Any hand with an ace.
  • Unsuited king and 5 or higher.
  • Unsuited queen and 8 or higher.
  • Suited king with any other card.
  • Suited queen with 6 or higher.
  • Suited jack with 8 or higher.
  • Any pair threes or higher.

Pay Table

Pay tables will vary from casino to casino, so the house edge will also vary.

Listed below is a sample pay table found at many of the casinos in Las Vegas where the game is offered.

Pay Table
Hand Blind Bet Trips Bet
Royal Flush 500 to 1 50 to 1
Straight Flush 50 to 1 40 to 1
Quads 10 to 1 30 to 1
Full House 3 to 1 8 to 1
Flush 3 to 2 6 to 1
Straight 1 to 1 5 to 1
Trips NA 3 to 1