No, Not Another Article on that &$#* Virus
No sagas of toilet paper snatching. No at-home recipes for hand sanitizer. No depressing pictures of grocery store shelves. Schools are closing, events are cancelled, and Americans are hunkering down across the nation. Folks, we’ll be all right. Think of this as your chance to show your friends and family how cool you stay under pressure.
Instead of COVID-19 talk, here’s 10 minutes of welcome distractions from the media barrage. Sometimes 10 minutes is all you really need.
Bill Murray Addresses the Nation
Comedian, actor, and native-Chicagoan* Bill Murray crashed the White House press briefing on October 21, 2016, to address the nation on an issue of real national importance: the Chicago Cubs chances of winning that year’s World Series. Possibly because of his appearance, the North Siders came back from a three-to-one deficit and won the Series for the first time in 108 years.
*Murray was actually born in Evanston, Illinois, but “Chicagolandian” sounds clunky.
Andy Kaufman’s Legendary Elvis, 1977
His humor was surreal, original, and, for some, an acquired taste, but when the controversial funny man Andy Kaufman grabbed seven minutes on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1977, his Foreign Man character rattled off a few terrible impressions and then—to the surprise of television and live audiences—performed an Elvis impression that was so dead-on the King himself later said it was, by far, his favorite.
“Mr. Dynamite” James Brown Upstages the Stones
In 1964, American International Pictures sponsored, filmed, and distributed a concert filmed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in October of that year. Called The T.A.M.I. Show, the concert featured a variety of the most popular bands in the 60s. The film’s featured act was a volcanic English blues rock band named the Rolling Stones, who would finish out the film with a six-song set. Little did anyone expect that James Brown and the Famous Flames, the R & B band preceding the Stones, would become the highlight of the film. Stones guitarist Keith Richards later said that following James Brown that evening had been the biggest mistake of the Stones’ career.
President Andrew Jackson’s Pet Parrot
When President Andrew Jackson died at the age of 78 in 1845, he had long since abandoned the caustic and combative personality both famous and infamous in his lifetime (killing a man in a duel, beating a would-be assassin nearly to death, Trail of Tears). At the end, the president was quiet, pious, and distanced himself from public and political affairs. During his funeral sermon, Andrew Jackson’s beloved pet African-grey parrot Poll loosed a shower of cussing so offensive the bird was immediately removed not only from the funeral, but from Jackson’s house.
Albert Einstein Never Impressed Himself
Albert Einstein—universally admired and respected for his insights into speed of light motion, the fabric of spacetime, and his almost singlehanded creation of modern physics—never thought that much of his intellect. A perpetual dreamer, often absent and unfocused, Einstein held disdain for the pomp and circumstance of the scientific world and simply wanted to focus on “strange ideas.” When a reporter asked Einstein to explain relativity as simply as possible, the physicist famously said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”