The Real Names That Famous People Didn’t Want You to Know About

If you were incredibly famous the last thing you would want is for the whole world to know that you had a real name you didn’t like or didn’t want to use. In fact, you would do what these smart people did and change the blooming thing as soon as you could.

John Wayne –Marion Robert Morrison

Real Names of Famous People

The strangest thing about John Wayne’s parents isn’t the fact that that called their son Marion. Oh no, it was the fact that they decided to change his name after he was born but left in the stupid Marion bit. He went from Marion Robert Morrison to Marion Mitchell Morrison in the blink of an eye. You can just imagine his parents sitting up at night looking at the little cowboy sleeping like an angel. “There’s something about that name that ain’t right but I just can’t put my darned finger on it. Hell, let’s lose the Robert. That ought to make it better”.

Elton John – Reginald Kenneth Dwight

Real Names of Famous People

I need to start off by apologizing to anyone out there who has a name anything like Elton’s real name. Come on though; it just sucks, doesn’t it? To be fair, his bizarre use of wigs and hats has ensured that you couldn’t take him too seriously even if he was called Big Daddy or John Wayne.

MC Hammer – Stanley Kirk Burrell

Real Names of Famous People

For about 2 days in 1990 I wanted to be MC Hammer and wear pants that had enough room to fit a couple of dozen live chickens in them. Stop! Hammer Time I would have said to everyone while looking astonishingly cool and not at all like a guy who ripping off some other dude’s funky song.

Vanilla Ice – Robert Matthew Van Winkle

Real Names of Famous People

You can’t have Hammer without Ice. Mr Van Winkle sang about ice and he sang about turtles. I liked him.

Big Daddy – Shirley Crabtree

Real Names of Famous People

Unless you led a sad life watching Saturday daytime TV in the UK in the 1970s and 80s you might not have ever heard of Big Daddy. That’s a shame because…actually, I can’t think of any good reason why that would be a shame. He started his life as Shirley Crabtree, which is a name even Johnny Cash would have struggled to sing about. The good news for young Shirley is that he turned into a hulking young man and become a wrestler known to the world as (drum roll please) Blond Adonis Shirley Crabtree. Hang on; wouldn’t changing his name to Big Daddy be a better move?

Stevie Wonder – Steveland Judkins

Real Names of Famous People

I know absolutely no one who is called Steveland. The surname Judkins is also a new one to me, although I have to admit that I have never come across any other members of the Wonder clan over the years either. What does all of this prove? Sweet Fanny Adams, to be honest.

Dido – Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong

Real Names of Famous People

I always thought that Dido was her real name. Now it turns out that she’s got a name that sounds like a gothic church in Ireland that was founded by French monks on acid.

Martin Sheen – Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez

Real Names of Famous People

I genuinely had no idea that Martin’s parents were Spanish and Irish. I also didn’t know that his left arm was 3 inches shorter than his right due to being crushed by the forceps when he was born. That’s the power of Wikipedia, people.

Fred Astaire – Frederick Austerlitz

Real Names of Famous People

Having a surname that sounds like a famous battle won by Napoleon in 1805 that changed the world obviously didn’t appeal to Fred (jeez, this Wikipedia stuff is addictive).

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet

This article was inspired by The Oldest Living Things in the World, by Rachel Sussman that I’ve recently come across. She reportedly spent the last decade looking for things more than 2000 years old, and photographed them.  It is a highly inspirational book that combines personal stories, scientific data provided by a scientist who co-wrote the book with her. However this post isn’t about her book, but it’s more about an attempt to present the 6 oldest things on our planet.

Trivia: Avocados

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet1

The funny thing is that avocados are the only trees that didn’t become extinct with the dinosaurs a long time ago. They reportedly evolved during the era of the great mammals, when mammoths and giant sloths would eat the fruit whole and disperse the seed through their poop. So, when all these animals went extinct, wild avocados should have vanished with them. How the avocado still exists in the wild after surviving its evolutionary failures remains a puzzle.

The Aldabra Giant Tortoise

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet2

Say Hello! to Adwaita (“one and only” in Sanskrit). Well you could’ve have still done that back in 2006, because that’s the year of her death. It lived between 1750 and March 23 2006, and was a 550-pound male Aldabra giant tortoise living in the Alipore Zoological Gardens of Kolkata, India. It is supposedly the oldest known tortoise on record. The tortoise was initially owned by General Robert Clive, an important member of the East India Company, who got addicted to opium and killed himself in 1774. Barely a youngster at that time, Adwaita hovered around for a bit before eventually being transferred to the Indian zoo in 1875.

Charlie the Macaw

Blue Charlie was born in 1899 and is still alive. His current owner said he was a favorite pet of Winston Churchill’s, who supposedly acquired Charlie in 1937 after the bird had already managed to outlive two previous owners. He is said to know some dirty phrases about Hitler and the Nazis.

Ocean Quohog

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet4

This entry serves as the absolute star of our list. The Arctica islandica, commonly named the ocean quahog, stirred quite a fuss when scientists discovered it. Her celebrity name was Ming, named after the Chinese dynasty during which she was born. When she died in 2006, experts believed she was the oldest living animal ever recorded, 507 years.

The sad thing about Ming is the fact that scientists accidentally killed it while dragging it up off the coast of Iceland. Afterwards Ming was also frozen along with many others, for transport back to the lab for climate change research.

“Hanako” the Koi Fish

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet5

Koi fish are ornamental varieties of domesticated common carp (Cyprinus carpio) that are kept for decorative purposes in outdoor koi ponds or water gardens. But this one beat all odds. Hanako, meaning “flower maid”, was officially the world’s oldest koi carp and died on July 7, 1977 at the age of 226 years.

Bowhead Whales

The 6 Oldest Things on Our Planet

They are baleen whales of the right whale family Balaenidae that can grow up to 66 feet in length. They live entirely in fertile Arctic and sub-Arctic waters, unlike other whales that migrate to feed or reproduce to low latitude waters and are listed by the National Marine Fisheries Service as “endangered” under the auspices of the United States’ Endangered Species Act.

One of the whales scientists analyzed was apparently 211 years old, this turning it into the oldest known mammal that still exists to this day.

What Sussman talked about in her book are mostly all plants, lichen or coral, but everything she has photographed for the project is at least 2,000 years old. Well our creatures from the list are not only a bit younger, but they had and some of them still have distinct personalities. Well, maybe not the avocados.

The Best Songs to Learn Spanish With

So, you want to learn Spanish, do you? You could sit down with a dull-as-ditchwater text book or trudge to night college classes once a week, I guess.

Hey, I’ve got a better idea for you. Why not play these fantastic Spanish songs? You could learn while you tap your feet and move those hips? Yeah, that ought to be fun.

Gipsy Kings – Hotel California

The Best Songs to Learn Spanish With

If you have never listened to the Gipsy Kings’ music then there is a massive gaping hole in your life right there. These guys were actually born in France but they are from Spanish gypsy families and sing in Spanish. This is one of their most famous songs. Maybe you heard it in a film about a dude once. Parts are in English and parts are in Spanish with the lyrics translated pretty much directly from the original song by The Eagles.

Jose Luis Perales – ¿Y Como Es El?

Learn Spanish through Songs

I am sure that you had heard of the Gipsy Kings before. But, who in the heck is Jose Luis Perales? He is a singer from Spain who has just about the clearest singing voice you could imagine. You’ll pick up every single word as he tells you all about the bad luck he always seems to suffer in his love life.

Eros Ramazzotti – Cosas de la Vida

Songs and Learning Spanish

Here’s a great tip for you if you want to find the best songs to learn Spanish with: find singers who don’t speak Spanish as a first language. Now, you might want to give Nat King Cole’s slightly tortured version of Quizás, Quizás, Quizás a try. Personally, I would go with this Italian top song. The hard rocking guitar is fantastic in this one and there is even a version with Tina Turner crooning along in English too, if you like that kind of thing.

Joaquín Sabina – Y Sin Embargo

Spanish Songs to Learn From

If you want clever lyrics and memorable turns of phrase then Joaquín is your man. This guy writes brilliant lyrics and has some songs that are completely unmissable for anyone learning the language. His use of complex wordplay means that this isn’t for beginners. Once you feel confident, he’ll have you singing along happily.

Marcelo Morelo – La Fuerza del Engaño

Learn Spanish through Songs

There are a lot of brilliant Argentine songs to learn Spanish with. Fito Paez bashes his piano like a maniac, Leo Dan sings amazingly clear, and Andrés Calamaro is so cool you could chill a beer on his head on a balmy day in Buenos Aires. However, if you want some classy native instrumentation then this lady has some great songs with panpipes, charangos and other instruments you may have never heard before. Best of all, her songs sounds like modern, top class pop and rock efforts.

Gloria Estefan – Hoy

Songs and Spanish

Gloria has a wonderful voice when she sings in English. She sounds even better in Spanish. Hoy was actually written about the beauty about Peru, by a Peruvian writer (which is why the video is filmed in Machu Picchu). However, Gloria gives it a new breathe of life and her version of it will have you looking up some new words in order to better understand this glorious song. There’s an English version of this song called Wrapped. The Spanish version is much more interesting in my opinion.

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever

Are you happy? Do you smile all the time? Optimism and generosity are your middle names? Well maybe you should listen to some depressing music for a change. It’s summer, it’s hot, and it’s way too sunny. Here are the 5 most depressing songs ever. Take a look at these people and consider yourself lucky for a change. Or, you could even join in all of “the fun.”

# 5. Gloomy Sunday – Billie Holiday

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever

This song is also known as the ‘Hungarian Suicide Song’. Gloomy Sunday was written by a Hungarian composer called Rezso Seress while he was living in Paris in 1932. It has reportedly led to a suicide phenomenon, especially in Hungary. People would jump into the Danube carrying the sheet music. Afterwards it was banned from public performances.

The most popular version of the song belongs to Billie Holiday, and it dates back to 1941: “Angels have no thought of ever returning you. Would they be angry if I thought of joining you?”  It was translated into Russian, French and Japanese. I bet the latter version sounds interesting…

# 4. Vincent/ Starry Starry Night – Don McLean

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever2

Don McLean wrote this song as well as its lyrics as a tribute to the famous Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. Its title is a reference to Van Gogh’s famous painting The Starry Night. McLean pays tribute to Van Gogh throughout the whole song by mentioning his best known creations. He also reflects upon his lack of recognition: “They would not listen / they did not know how / perhaps they’ll listen now.” In the final chorus, McLean says “They would not listen / they’re not listening still / perhaps they never will.” This is the true story of Van Gogh’s life: unrecognized as an artist and treated like a weirdo until after his death.

# 3. Everybody knows – Leonard Cohen

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever3

Everybody Knows was first released on Cohen’s album I’m Your Man, February 1988. Featuring phrases such as “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded” and “Everybody knows that the good guys lost,” the song absolutely bursts with pessimism delivered in Cohen’s cynical manner. According to critics, it’s a “bleak prophecy about the end of the world as we know it.” Here’s a small sample: And everybody knows that you’re in trouble / Everybody knows what you’ve been through / From the bloody cross on top of Calvary / To the beach of Malibu  / Everybody knows it’s coming apart / Take one last look at this Sacred Heart / Before it blows / And everybody knows.”

# 2. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley Version

 

The 5 Most Depressing Songs Ever4

This song actually belongs to Leonard Cohen as well. But, I find this particular version more depressing than the original. Well the guy who sings it passed away in 1997. When I hear him sing this particular song, I really just want to cry. The lyrics are incredible. Cohen’s writing skills again! Maybe there’s a God above / But all I’ve ever learned from love / Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you / It’s not a cry you can hear at night / It’s not somebody who has seen the light / It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

# 1. She’s Lost Control – Joy Division

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This one has a different story. The title of the song was referred to in the film biopic of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, which was entitled Control. This song is actually about a young woman having an epileptic fit. It refers to how desperate and powerless she feels during her seizure. Curtis himself suffered from this terrible illness and lived with the fear of the attacks. She’s Lost Control is a dark and trance-like song. It certainly reflects the way Curtis himself felt about epilepsy. Well I had to phone her friend to state my case, / And say she’s lost control again. / And she showed up all the errors and mistakes, / And said I’ve lost control again. / But she expressed herself in many different ways, / Until she lost control again. / And walked upon the edge of no escape, / And laughed I’ve lost control. / She’s lost control again. / She’s lost control. / She’s lost control again. / She’s lost control.

Feeling better? No? Now that the list is complete, it’s time to go out and enjoy that beautiful sunlight. Smile once in awhile!

The Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

I’m really quite nervous about typing this. I feel apprehensive because the Grammar Police are everywhere! When you write about bad grammar, they crawl out of the woodwork to study every word and punctuation mark. Still, if you find any mistakes here, I’ll just pretend that they were made with a big dollop of irony. Without any further wait, let’s dive into our list of the best and worst Grammar Police examples.

The People and Their Spelling Fail

Spelling Fails and the Grammar Police

Can I propose a simple yet useful suggestion to the English speaking world? We should just spell they’re, there and their the same freaking way. I realize that learning how to spell each of these three short words correctly doesn’t seem like a huge task. But, it really would make this world a better place to live in.

The Double Grammar Fail

Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

The only thing worse than a Grammar Nazi correcting you is the said Grammar Nazi making incorrect corrections. Thankfully, the person correcting the corrector didn’t make any mistakes. We could have been caught up in a never-ending series of correction notes. Each note would become more pedantic than the previous one.

The Pumps Fail

The Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

The most interesting thing about this sign is that pre-pay pumps exist somewhere in the world. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before now? I have no idea what liquids or solids are pumped out of said pumps. If the product is payed for before I arrive, you won’t find me complaining.

The Passed Away Grammar

Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

A lot of people seem to have trouble telling the difference between past and passed. This infraction appears to be a huge area of concern for Grammar Police all over the planet. Surely, this should be the subject of international conferences and documentaries. However, I believe it is safe to say that a note telling you that a colleague passed away isn’t really an appropriate place to discuss the subject.

The Grammar Police Fail

Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

Even the Grammar and Spelling Police make mistakes. In this case, we can see how two different agents of these fine organisations made mistakes of their own. Correcting other people’s mistakes all day long is a tough and tiring job. But, someone has to do it!

The Backwards Swastika

Best and Worst Grammar Police Examples

The Grammar Police and Grammar Nazis are pretty much the same. If you fall foul of either party, you will soon realize all of your misplaced commas and erroneous apostrophes. What about the Graffiti Police, though? In this case, a member of the organization was a bit too quick to write a reply when he found a backwards swastika.

The Terrible Grammar Fail

Worst Grammar Police Examples

To be honest, I failed the exams to join the Grammar Police. They offered me a position in the Superfluous Comma Squad. But, I felt like the role wouldn’t allow me to show off my full range of skills. Having said all of that, even I would need to jump in and make a citizen’s arrest on this awful speller. He may be suffering a serious case of unrequited love (she isn’t remotely interested in you, buddy), but that doesn’t excuse horrible pile of errors.

The Punctuate Fail

Punctuation Fails and the Grammar Police

Have you spotted any of my deliberate mistakes yet? I bet you haven’t. Anyway, this is a pretty good example of the power of commas. They save lives and prevent forest fires!