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Top 20 Strange Events in Popular Culture

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People all over the world celebrate different cultural traditions.  Every society
develops their own accepted norms, which are based on language and
tradition.  Many practiced games and personal jokes that are considered
funny in one area of the world, could be offending in another.  Certain events
in history have helped shape modern societies view of what is acceptable.
This article will be examining some events that have inspired a social
phenomenon, while other entries will include facts that are unique to certain
areas of the world.      

20. elgooG

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elgooG (Google spelled backwards) is the mirror image site of the Google
search engine.  elgooG displays the text on all web pages cached by Google
in reverse.  The site was originally created for fun, but has gained a following
in China.  Because elgooG search terms are printed in reverse, users are
able to perform Google searches without detection by the Chinese
government's search filters.

19. World Famous Bushman

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David Johnson or the World Famous Bushman is a homeless man who has
been entertaining the public along Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco since
1980.  During the Bushman’s act, he hides motionless behind some branches
of a tree or bush and waits for unsuspecting people to wander by.  When
they approach, he jumps out and scares them.  Crowds gather to watch him
work and the Bushman is a popular attraction.  In a "good year" the World
Famous Bushman claims to earn $60,000.  He also employs a bodyguard to
protect him against attacks by people who are not amused by his antics.

The body guard is also used to distract his targets, and to alert the Bushman
when elderly people are coming so that he can avoid scaring them.  The
police have received a number of complaints about the Bushman, and
Fisherman's Wharf merchants have tried to shut him down.  In 2004, he was
charged with four misdemeanors, but he was not convicted.  Next time you
are walking along the waterfront in San Francisco and a big man jumps out
from behind a bush to scare you, remember, it is all in good fun.

18. Royal Mail Rubber Band

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A Royal Mail rubber band is a small red rubber band used by the postal
delivery service in the United Kingdom.  The Royal Mail uses nearly 1 billion
rubber bands per year.  In the last 10 years, many complaints have been
made about the rubber bands littering the streets of Britain.  This has given
rise to many international news stories and press interest in Britain.  Currently
there is a campaign being run by the London Borough of Lewisham's mayor,
who complains that an estimated 5,000 bands are dropped in his borough
each month.

To date, the rubber bands have injured at least one animal, a duck that was
observed with a red rubber band around its head.  More recently, in April
2009, the Keep Britain Tidy campaign has involved itself in the issue as part
of its Big Tidy Up campaign, and intends to return to the Royal Mail some
13,000 bands collected by the public.

17. Eigengrau

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Eigengrau is the color seen by the human eye in perfect darkness.  The color
has also been called dark light or brain gray and is perceived as lighter than
a black object in normal lighting conditions.  Even in the absence of light,
some action potentials are sent along the optic nerve, causing the sensation
of a uniform dark gray color.  People all over the world might not speak the
same language, but we all see the color eigengrau when we open our eyes in
the dark.

16. I Am Rich

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I Am Rich was an application for the Apple iPhone OS.  It goes down in
history as the most expensive Apple iPhone application.  I Am Rich cost US
$999.99 and the app was described as “a work of art with no hidden
function,” it’s only purpose being to show other people that the buyer was
able to afford it.  When the user launched I Am Rich, the iPhone screen
showed a glowing red gem, and when a button was pressed, the screen
displayed the following slogan, “I am rich, deserve it, I am good, healthy &
successful.”

The application was removed from Apple the day following its release.  It
was made available for only one day, August 5, 2008.  During the time the
application was available, 8 people bought it.  However, some of them
claimed the purchase was accidental.  The eight purchases of the product
earned developer Heinrich US $5,600.  Apple has since refunded the users
who purchased the app accidentally.  On February 23, 2009, CNET reported
that a similar app, "I Am Richer" was released on the Android's application
store for the cost of US $200, a limit imposed by Google.

15. The Fantastic Four (film)

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This is not the Fantastic Four film that you are probably familiar with.  In
1992, the German movie production company named Constantin Films was
going to lose the rights to produce a film based on the Fantastic Four comic
book characters.  For this reason, they decided to fund a low budget
Fantastic Four film that they never intended on releasing to the public.
During production of the film, the director, actors, and other participants
were not informed that the movie was only intended to secure the characters
rights and was never going to be released.  The 1994 Fantastic Four movie
was produced by low-budget specialist Roger Corman and Bernd Eichinger
(who also produced another Fantastic Four movie in 2005).

In 1992, Constantin Films did not have the budget to produce a mainstream
Hollywood movie, so they used only $1.98 million to produce the 1994
Fantastic Four film.  The cast and crew acted in the film for low salaries after
being told that if the movie did not get released to theaters, it would be used
as the pilot for a potential television series.  Retaining the rights to the
Fantastic Four movie franchise proved to be a great business decision for
Constantin Film, as over a decade later, Constantin Film made a $100
million Fantastic Four film and its sequel, the $130 million Fantastic Four:
Rise of the Silver Surfer.     

14. The Game (mind game)

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The Game is a mind game where the objective is to avoid thinking about The
Game itself.  Thinking about The Game constitutes a loss, which, according
to the rules of The Game, must be announced each time it occurs.  It is
impossible to win The Game and players can only attempt to avoid losing
for as long as possible.  Many people feel that The Game is pointless and
frustrating, while others enjoy the challenge and think it is fun to play.

You have to be an honest person to play this game, and as of 2010, The
Game is played by millions of people around the world.  Some players have
developed strategies for making competitors lose, such as writing about The
Game.  Be sure to post a comment if this article forced you to lose The
Game.

There are three rules to The Game:

1. Everyone in the world is playing The Game.

2. When one thinks about The Game, they lose.

3. Losses must be announced to at least one person.

13. Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!

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”Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch!" is an advertising
slogan which appeared in magazine, newspaper, and television ads for
Tareyton cigarettes from 1963 until 1981.  In America, it was one of the
most recognizable ad campaigns in the 1960s and 1970s.  During the
campaign, the models were people from all walks of life and they used
makeup to create "black eyes" to demonstrate their willingness to "fight"
instead of switching from the Tareyton brand.

The first printed advertisement with the slogan appeared in Life magazine on
October 11, 1963.  In 1966, the first television ad with the slogan aired.  The
target of the campaign was to create a sense of loyalty amongst Tareyton
smokers. The black makeup that the models and actors used made it seem
as if they had black eyes, probably earned in battles with smokers of other
cigarettes.  Due to the success of the advertising campaign, Tareyton brand
briefly enjoyed robust sales, which put them in the Top 10 of all American
cigarette brands during the 1960s and 70s. 

12. New Car Smell

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New car smell is the term used to describe the odor found in a new
automobile.  Some people regard the smell as a pleasant one.  However,
you probably didn’t realize that the chemicals in the “new car smell” pose a
significant health risk to humans.  Most of the interior of an automobile
consists of plastic held together with a number of adhesives and sealers.
When the car is first manufactured, these materials are left unstable, and
continue to release organic compounds into the air.

This includes the release of plastic softening chemicals.  When you inhale the
new car smell, these toxic chemicals enter your system.  Scientists who
have studied the chemicals have strongly recommended keeping new cars
well ventilated while driving, especially during the summer.  A 1995 study of
the air found in a new Lincoln Continental reported over 50 volatile organic
compounds.  Do your part to help change popular culture and the perception
that the “new car smell” is a good one.

11. Ghost-Ride the Whip

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Ghost-riding, frequently called "ghost-riding the whip” is when a person puts a
vehicle in neutral, exits the car, and then dances beside it or on the roof of
the car while it is still moving.  Ghost riding is an activity that has been
practiced in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years during what are
called sydeshows.  The term "ghost ride the whip" was given nationwide
exposure in rapper E-40's 2006 song "Tell Me When to Go.”  A true ghost-
ride has no other person riding inside of the vehicle when it is moving and it
can be dangerous if you don’t get back into the car before it runs off track.

The act has resulted in two known deaths in North America.  However, some
websites claim that ghost-riding is responsible for up to eight deaths in the
United States.  Oakland rapper Mistah F.A.B. further popularized the term
with his hit song "Ghost Ride It.”  The song references actor Patrick
Swayze, who was the star of the 1990 film Ghost.  This has sparked an
Internet references to ghost riding as "going (Patrick) Swayze.”

10. Dagen H

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On September 3, 1967, the Swedish government decided to switch from
driving on the left-hand side of the road to the right.  The event became
known as Dagen H (H day).  The H stands for Högertrafik, the Swedish
word for "right-hand traffic.”  As you would expect, many people were upset
with the change.  How would you like it if your government changed the side
of the road you traveled on?  The change was made because neighboring
nations, including Norway, drove on the right hand side of the road.  Also,
most Swedes drove left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles.

The change included a four year education program.  The Dagen H logo
appeared on various commemorative items, including milk cartons, men's
shorts, and women's underwear.  As Dagen H neared, every intersection
was equipped with an extra set of poles and traffic signals.  On Dagen H
Sunday, all non-essential traffic was banned from the roads from 1:00 to
6:00.  Trams in Stockholm were withdrawn and replaced by buses.  New
buses were purchased with doors on the right-hand side.  On the Monday
following Dagen H, there were 125 reported traffic accidents, with no
fatalities.

9. The Dozens

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The dozens is an element of the African American oral tradition in which two
competitors, usually males, go head-to-head in an improvised competition
of trash talk.  During the contest, the pair takes turns insulting each other.  In
history, this was called playing the dozens or sometimes dirty dozens.  The
dozens is a contest of personal power, wit, self-control, verbal ability, mental
agility and mental toughness.  Each put-down or “snap” ups the ante of the
competition.  Defeat can be humiliating, but a skilled contender, win or lose,
may be given respect.  Interestingly, the dozens is one of the contributing
elements in the development of hip hop music, especially the practice of
battling.

The dozens was originally developed to defuse conflict nonviolently.
However, a good match can lead to violence.  “Your momma” jokes have a
history in the competition.  In 1959, Bo Diddley released "Say Man" on
Checker 931, which featured him trading insults with his percussionist
Jerome Green.  The lyrics are not sung, but spoken conversationally over a
musical background.  The track has been described as a precursor of rap. 

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Bo Diddley

Alternative hip hop group The Pharcyde released a song on their debut
album entitled "Yo Mama", the lyrics of which consist entirely of snaps.  In
2004, the Wayans Brothers released The Dozens, a game for mobile
phones.  Richard Pryor referenced the dozens in his 1975 comedy routine
"That Nigger's Crazy,” saying that "white folks" don’t know how to play.  In
1999, rapper Jay-Z referenced the contest saying "Every time we play the
dozens, he's buggin out."

8. Nasal Sebum

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Jennifer Grey Before Her Nose Job

All humans produce nasal sebum or nose grease/oil.  It can be removed from
the surface of the human nose.  The nose creates and stores more oil and
grease than any other pores in the human body.  This is interesting, but the
fascinating facts about nasal sebum are its strange and surprising
applications.  Nose grease is an incredibly durable lubricant that can be used
to minimize scratches in optical surfaces, for example when cleaning
photographic negatives.  The oil fills in small cracks and scratches, forming
a smooth, polished surface.

Nose grease can be used to reduce skipping in CDs that have become
scratched.  Just spread the grease around evenly and then finish with
strokes that go from the middle to the edge.  To aid while assembling a fly-
fishing rod, saturate the male extension of the connector with nose grease.
Nose grease has antifoaming properties and can be used to break down a
high head on freshly poured beer.  If a person wipes nose grease on their
finger and then touches or stirs the beer foam, it will dissipate rapidly.  Nose
grease is used by many musicians, including banjo and bagpipe players.
The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies suggests using nasal sebum as a
remedy for chapped lips.

7. Flatulist

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French Flatulist Le Petomane

A flatulist or professional farter is a comedian or actor whose routine
consists primarily of farting in an amusing or musical manner.  Throughout
history, there have been numerous references to ancient and medieval
flatulists, who could produce various rhythms and pitches with their intestinal
wind.  The professional farters of medieval Ireland were called braigetori.
Roland the Farter was a medieval flatulist who lived at Hemingstone manor
in Suffolk and held 30 acres of land in return for his services as a jester for
the king.

Every year, Roland was obliged to perform "Unum saltum et siffletum et
unum bumbulum" (one jump, one whistle, and one fart) for King Henry II at
Christmas time.  Evidence of deliberate farting at social occasions
continued into the Modern Age.  Paul Oldfield or Mr. Methane is a British
flatulist who started performing in 1991.  He claims to be the only current
performing professional flatulist in the world.

6. Kancho

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Kancho is a prank that is often played by Japanese people.  It is performed
by clasping the hands together so the index fingers are pointing out and
attempting to insert them sharply into someone's anal region when the victim
is not looking.  A Kancho is often executed as the person loudly says "Kan-
CHO!”  The word is a slang adoption of the Japanese word for enema.  The
prank is widely used in Japan and is performed by mainly teenagers.  In
Japan, there is even a TV game show where a celebrity routinely kanchōs
random people.

This prank is not exclusive to Japan.  In South Korea, it is known as "ttong
chim" and in the Philippines, the prank is known by many words, including
"katsibong", "bembong,” or "pidyok.”  In certain countries, the act of kancho
may be illegal and considered sexual harassment or even sexual assault.  In
South Korea there have been cases of people being arrested for this prank,
while in Japan it is widely seen as only a childish joke.  The word “kancho”
means many different things in the Japanese culture.

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5. Garden Gnome Liberation Front

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Garden Gnome Liberationists are individuals and groups of people
advocating for the freedom of garden gnomes, which are small decorative
ceramic bearded statues.  The liberationists often times steal garden
gnomes and move them to new locations.  The Garden Gnome Liberation
Front is the first and most predominant gnome liberating force.  The
organization was introduced to the French public in 1997.  That year, the
Front stole over 150 gnomes, contending that garden gnomes deserved the
same freedoms with which they were blessed.  In 1998, there was a gnome
"mass suicide” in Briey, which is a small city in eastern France.

The town’s citizens woke up to find 11 garden gnomes hanging from a bridge
with nooses around their necks.  A nearby note stated, "When you read
these few words we will no longer be part of your selfish world, where we
serve merely as pretty decorations."  In 2000, a garden show in Paris
displayed 2,000 garden gnomes.  This infuriated the Gnome Liberation Front
and they conducted a surprise night attack to free 20 garden gnomes.  The
group claimed responsibility for the attack, demanding that the “Garden
Gnomes be released into their natural habitat, and not be ridiculed as cheap
garden decorations.”

4. Crazy Frog

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Crazy Frog, originally known as The Annoying Thing, is a computer animated
character created by Erik Wernquist and marketed by the ringtone provider
Jamba!.  The frog’s voice was originally created to imitate the sound of a
two-stroke moped engine, but then Crazy Frog became a rock star.  In 2005,
Crazy Frog remixed the song Axel F, which is the electronic instrumental
theme from the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop.  The tune became known as the
"Crazy Frog song” and was the characters first and most successful single.
The song reached the #1 spot in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Turkey, New
Zealand, Australia and most of Europe.

The subsequent album named Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits also enjoyed
worldwide chart success.  The Crazy Frog has spawned a range of
merchandising and toys.  The character was broadcast for the first time on
Belgian Television in mid-2004.  In February 2005, viewers submitted a
number of complaints saying that Crazy Frog appeared to have a visible
penis. 

The Jamster! Company also received a large amount of criticism because
people complained that they were not made aware of the fact that if you
purchased the Crazy Frog ringtone, you were forced to subscribe to a
yearlong service.  In 2005, the television advertising campaign used for the
Crazy Frog was enormous.  In May 2005, 87% of the British population saw
the Crazy Frog advertisements an average of 26 times.  This has led many
people to label the Crazy Frog annoying.

3. Chandre Oram

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Chandre Oram is an Indian tea estate worker who lives in the Alipurduar
district of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.  Oram was born on the date known as
Rama Navami, which is the birthday of legendary Hindu King Rama.
Chandre Oram has become one of the most famous men in Jalpaiguri
because he was born with a tail.  Oram’s tail has led many people to believe
that he is a reincarnation of Hanuman.  Hanuman is a monkey-like Hindu
deity that is a strict devotee of King Rama.  Hanuman is an incarnation of
the divine, whose fate is to aid the hero Rama in the struggle against the
demon King Ravana.

Thousands of people visit Chandre Oram every week in hopes of spiritual
enlightenment.  It has been claimed that if you touch Oram’s tail it will cure
many ailments.  Chandre Oram has set up a shrine to honor Hanuman, on
top of which there is a red silk flag, which is Hanuman's symbol.  The
offerings he receives from his followers are given to the deity.  Chandre
Oram’s tail is a rare medical anomaly.  It has been scientifically explained as
a congenital malformation known as spina bifida.  Oram's tail is located near
his lower back and it consists of a 13 inch (325 mm) long and 1 inch (25
mm) thick appendix.  It is also covered by hair.

2. Mojave Phone Booth

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The Mojave phone booth was a lone telephone booth located deep in the
Mojave National Preserve, which is in the Mojave Desert of San Bernardino
County, California.  The phone booth became an Internet phenomenon in
1997 due to its isolated location.  The booth was created in the 1960s and
was located fifteen miles (24 km) from the nearest numbered highway and
many more miles away from any buildings.  Strangely, the booth was eight
miles (13 km) from the nearest paved road, basically in the middle of the
desert.

In 1997, a man noticed a telephone icon located in the middle of the Mojave
Desert, so he decided to visit the area.  After writing an article on the
Internet, the phone booth became an underground tourist attraction.  People
started calling the phone booth, which had a published number.  Others
visited the site and camped out next to the booth, so that they could answer
the incoming calls. 

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Over time, the booth became covered in graffiti, as many travelers would
write messages on it.  In 1999, the Los Angeles Times writer John Glionna
wrote an article on a man who claimed the Holy Spirit had instructed him to
answer the phone. The man spent 32 days there, answering more than 500
phone calls.  The Mojave phone booth was removed by Pacific Bell on May
17, 2000, at the request of the National Park Service, who cited
environmental impact as the reason.

1. Dark Side of the Rainbow

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Dark Side of the Rainbow or The Wizard of Floyd refers to the pairing of the
1973 Pink Floyd music album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual
portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.  When you play the album and
watch the movie, it produces moments where the film and the album appear
to correspond with each other.  It an extremely creepy way, the two famous
mediums make a music video of sorts.  The phenomenon was first
discovered in 1995 and became somewhat of an Internet sensation, with
many websites being dedicated to finding the specific moments where the
album corresponds with the movie and documenting them. 

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In 2004, Saturday Night Live featured a parody of the Wizard of Oz.  At the
end, actor Darrel Hammond stepped onstage and said, "Now, if you want a
truly awesome experience, rewind this sketch to the beginning, light up a
fatty, and put on Dark Side of the Moon.  Trust me, its mind blowing."  Fans
have compiled more than one hundred moments of perceived interplay
between the film and album, including links that occur if the album is
repeated through the entire film.

Pink Floyd band members have repeatedly insisted that the reputed
phenomenon is coincidence.  On the cover of the band's 1995 live album
Pulse, in the background you can see a bike with a basket on it and a girl
with ruby slippers, both references to The Wizard of Oz. 

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This is not the first time that Internet controversy has arisen from a Pink
Floyd album.  The Publius Enigma is an obscure mystery involving a riddle
proposed in connection with the 1994 Pink Floyd album The Division Bell.  In
1994, an Internet poster named “Publius” challenged Pink Floyd fans to
search for the hidden meaning behind the band’s album The Division Bell.

Some people have asserted that the “Publius” postings were nothing more
than a fake web-based contest implemented to promote the album and its
tour, while other feel that Pink Floyd uses a lot of subliminal messaging in
their music.  The true nature of the puzzle has never been discovered and
the contest seems to have been abandoned by its creators.  The challenge
remains unresolved as of 2010. 

Honorable Mention

Leck mich im Arsch (Lick me in the arse)

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Leck mich im Arsch (literally "Lick me in the arse") is a canon in B-flat major
composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with lyrics in German.  In 1782,
Mozart wrote “Lick me in the arse” in Vienna.  The melody is meant to be
sung by six people and is thought to be a party piece.  Mozart died in 1791
and his widow Constanze Mozart sent the manuscripts of the song to
publishers Breitkopf & Härtel in 1799.  The publisher changed the title and
lyrics of the canon to "Laßt froh uns sein" ("Let us be glad!").  The lyrics of
the tune clearly state “lick me in the arse.” 

Boss Key

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A boss key is a keyboard shortcut (button) used in computer games or other
programs to quickly hide the program and possibly display a special screen
saver that appears to be a normal application.  In computer games, the
purpose of the boss key is to make it appear to superiors and coworkers
that an employee is doing his or her job, when they are actually playing
games or using the Internet for non work-related tasks.  The boss button
was a common feature in early computer games and was often represented
by the F10 key.

In modern computing, the most prominent example of the boss key is used
by CBS Sports during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which offers
a “boss button” option.  Outside of gaming, Utorrent has implemented a
customizable boss key that exits the program with a stroke of a key
combination.  On modern operating systems, applications may be
minimized or switched to the background with a keyboard shortcut.

Follow The List Blog - Top 10 on Twitter

Nicholas - May 27, 2010

THE GAME

Anonymous - October 22, 2010

Thanks a lot for this posting.

TheDudeAbides - January 31, 2011

I lost the game.

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted May 26, 2010