After all this time I stopped blogging because many more important business over the past year I finally decided to go back again to here. So don't miss any copy-paste post what I got. OK?
We've all seen countless cases of bad plastic surgery, but the good cosmetic procedures are much harder to We've all seen countless cases of bad plastic surgery, but the good cosmetic procedures are much harder to spot. Celebrities are also reluctant to admit that they're not naturally as gorgeous as they appear, so proving that they had work done is sometimes impossible to do. However, with help from the site Good Plastic Surgery, we've selected a few of our favorite "make-overs" that we're positive came as a result of the surgeon's scalpel rather than the cosmetics counter.
German actress and former fashion model Diane Kruger seems to have gotten some new breast implants. They're not too big and not too small -- perfect! (Link | Photo)
Kate was always beautiful, but her nose job, tooth veneers, and possible gum-reduction (not to mention a good eye brow waxing!) refined her look and made her even more stunning. (Link | Photo)
With just a slight refinement to her formerly-bulbous nose, Scarlett looks amazing. (Link | Photo)
Michael Douglas is currently 66 years old, and considering what he has been through these past few years (he battled cancer, his wife was hospitalized for bipolar disorder, his son went to jail, etc.) we think he looks pretty great! His most recent subtle face lift did not iron out all of his charismatic wrinkles, giving him a more natural look befitting an aging Hollywood icon. (Link | Photo)
In one of the most well-known examples of good plastic surgery, Ashlee Simpson swapped her large Roman nose with a more slim, straight version in 2006. Though she denied having work done at first, her nose job was so obvious that it really changed her entire appearance! While she was always pretty, her new nose suits her face much better. (Link | Photo)
Jennifer Aniston does not deny that she has had not one, but two nose jobs to "correct a deviated septum," (yeah right!) but some people think her plastic surgery addiction goes beyond just slimming down her naturally-wide nose. There are claims that Jen also indulges in face lifts, Botox, and other facial fillers. Some people also think Jen underwent a breast augmentation in 2010, but we're not sure if this is evidence of a boob job or just good old-fashioned Photoshop. (Link 1 | Link 2 | Photo)
In the 1990's, Ginger Spice, AKA Geri Halliwell, was the most buxom of her girl group, The Spice Girls. However, by 2001 Geri had dieted her breasts away, causing her to get a pair of saline implants that suit her petite frame nicely. Geri has also put on a few pounds, which look good on her as well! (Link | Photo)
Hunky actor Timothy Olyphant got himself a new set of veneers, and we think they make his smile even better looking than before! We're also wondering if there's some Botox at work on his line-free forehead and around his eyes? (Link | Photo)
People still love to make fun of Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," but she looks much better after having a nose job! We're glad that the surgeon didn't go overboard; she still looks like herself, not someone else entirely. (Link)
Yes, yes... we are as shocked as you are to find Tara Reid on a list of BEST plastic surgeries! Considering the horrible state of Tara's stomach and breasts, it is nice to see that she found a good plastic surgeon for her recent facial work. The fine lines around Tara's eyes have been completely erased, and the tip of her nose has been slimmed as well. (Link | Photo)
1. Diane Kruger
2. Kate Beckinsale
3. Scarlett Johansson
4. Michael Douglas
5. Ashlee Simpson
6. Jennifer Aniston
7. Geri Halliwell
8. Timothy Olyphant
9. Lady Gaga
10. Tara Reid
I found that my first list of crazy dictators lacked several dictators that were also insane – yes, sadly there have been so many that we can produce multiple lists of them. Here, I put these 10 dictators. Feel free to add any other dictators you feel deserve a mention in the comments.
Hugo Chavez is the leftist president of Venezuela. Known for criticizing the USA, he has called George W. Bush the Devil, and said that the Haiti Earthquake was caused by the US. He said that Israel is “doing what Hitler did to the Jews,” and that the US is “like Count Dracula – always in search of blood and petrol“ .
Hitler’s Ally/Sidekick during WWII was one of the vainest dictators ever. He was commonly called “Il Duce”, which translates to “The Leader”. His administrative building was a huge structure with a giant picture of his head. He said that he would return Italy to it’s greatness during the Roman Empire. However, this proved to be untrue – Il Duce was hanged by rebels in 1945, who proceeded to declare war on Nazi Germany.
Ferdinand Marcos was dictator of the Philippines. His wife, Imelda Marcos, had 2,700-3,000 pairs of shoes, the money with which she bought them with was stolen from the country. President Marcos started out as a democratic president, but than turned into a dictator. Eventually, he was overthrown and escaped to Hawaii – but not without 24 bars of gold. He is one of the most corrupt politicians ever, having embezzled billions of dollars from public funds.
Comrade-Chairman-Prime Minister-Foreign-Minister-Minister of War-Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Army Enver Hoxha, was the dictator of Albania. He got that title because he rewarded all cabinet positions to himself. He banned beards, typewriters and color TVs. He built 750,000 bunkers in the nation for a population of 3 Million, out of fear of a Yugoslavian invasion. Each Bunker was big enough to hold 1 person. Hoxha had a close personal relationship with Josef Stalin.
Ne Win was dictator of Burma from 1962-1982. He was very superstitious. He changed the currency to 15,30,45, and 90 – his lucky numbers. The entire Burmese nation lost their savings. He did this because he thought that he would live 90 years if he did this. He crossed bridges backwards, and once changed the nation’s roads from left-way to right, because he was worried that his communist regime was leaning too far left. He apparently bathed in dolphin blood.
This will obviously start a lot of Bush-bashing. Saddam Hussein considered himself the incarnation of Nebuchadnezzar II. His face could be seen on office buildings, schools, airports, shops. All Iraqi currency had his picture. Hussein wrote a book, called Zabibah and the King. In the novel, “Arab” becomes king of Tikrit, the town Mr. Hussein was born in. He represents Saddam Hussein. He falls in love with Zabibah, a peasant woman representing the people of Iraq. Zabibah’s husband, representing the USA, rapes Zabibah. The other antagonists are: Hezkel, an Emir, representing Israel, Shamil, representing Jews, and Nuri Chalabi, representing Ahmed Chalabi, an enemy of Saddam.
Kim Jong-Il’s predecessor, and father, was also insane. He forced everybody in North Korea to wear a badge of himself. He said that he could turn sand into rice, claimed that he could cross rivers on leaves, and erected 30,000 monuments to himself. Kim (The Father) also established Juche, or self-reliance, which cut off trade, travel and cultural exchange with the west almost completely. This turned North Korea into a failing state.
Francisco Macias Nguema was succeeded by his nephew, Teodoro Obiang Nguema. He rules Equatorial Guinea with an iron fist. He is reported to be a cannibal, and apparently eats dissidents testicles to gain “power”. He executed his uncle “101 Times”. He continues to try to have a UN Science Prize named after him. Nguema’s henchmen abducted four nationals living in exile in Benin in January 2010, held them in secret detention, tortured them, and then forced them to confess to an alleged coup attempt, all before executing them, in August, following a kangaroo court military trial.
Gnassingbe Eyadema, president of Togo, thought of himself as a superhero. So, he made a comic book starring himself as a superhero. Every store in Togo had his picture, and $20 wristwatches with his image that disappeared every 15 seconds. The day of his failed assassination attempt was called “the Feast of Victory over Forces of Evil”. He surrounded himself with more than 1,000 beautiful women to sing his praises. He died in 2005, and was replaced by his son.
Jean-Bedel Bokassa was dictator of the Central African Republic from 1976-1979. In his 75 years of life, Bokassa had 17 wives and 50 children. Ironically, Bokassa outlawed polygamy. In 1979, children protested over being forced to buy costly school uniforms from one of Bokassa’s wife’s factories. In revenge, he had 180 children arrested. He visited the prison, where he and the prison guards clubbed the children. He personally smashed five children ’s skulls with his cane. He had himself crowned as emperor, and he spent one-third of the national budget on his initiation ceremony. No foreign leaders attended. He reportedly ate human babies. When Alexandre Banza tried to stage a coup and was caught, Bokassa personally beat him nearly to death. This dictator was not wacky, hilarious or even mildly funny: He was simply evil, cruel and insane.
Japanese animation has become a boom industry in the western world in the last 15 years. Starting with Akira in the late 80′s, through to the huge anime conventions of today, it has gone from being solely the domain of young children, to capture the imagination of people of all ages and backgrounds. This list comprises the top ten most well written anime, the literature of anime, if you will.
10. Azumanga Daioh
A lot of anime is about schoolgirls. Schoolgirls with robots, schoolgirls with psychic powers, or just naughty schoolgirls. But Azumanga Daioh is just about schoolgirls, following them as they grow, become friends, and deal with tests, homework, and bizarre teachers. Its potent humour comes not from overblown nonsense, but from how recognizable the situations are. Anyone who has been in highschool will find something to enjoy here.
The impossibly good-natured Tohru Honda meets the mysterious Sohmas, a family with a terrible curse hanging over their heads. They turn into animals of the zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. The magic of the story is revealed alongside the emotional damage of the Sohmas’, as seen through the eyes of Tohru.
The buddy flick has long been a staple of modern cinema, but combine that with a hiphop soundtrack and some awesome samurai action, and you have a stylish and action packed series that throws historical accuracy out the window. As the waitress Fuu, the samurai Jin, and the vagrant ronin Mugen journey across feudal Japan in search of a samurai who smells of sunflowers, the viewer is treated to everything from riotous lampooning, to touching and emotional tales of love and loss.
If there was an anime that could dethrone Evangelion – a show that’s as brilliant as it is entertaining – then that show is Fullmetal Alchemist. Two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, attempt to resurrect their mother using alchemy, losing Ed’s arm and leg, and Al’s Body in the process. They are now searching for the Philosopher’s Stone to fix their bodies. Although there is plenty of comedy, Fullmetal also shows insight into the brutality of war and genocide.
The catalyst for the anime boom, Akira was a calling card for the possibility of animation as an artform. From the opening nuclear destruction of Tokyo, to the climactic battle between out of control psychic Tetsuo, and the laser wielding Kaneda, Akira is fast paced and relentless. It covers a government conspiracy and secret experiments, and as Tetsuo tries to deal with his mental anguish the possibility of an imminent second disaster. A must watch.
The Best of the Lupin the 3rd films, Castle is directed by Hayao Miyasaki of Studio Ghibli fame, and it shows. Featuring a slightly less playboyesque Lupin getting entangled with a runaway princess, and evil count, and (of course) a massive hidden treasure, Castle has all the best qualities of Miyasaki’s work and the Lupin series itself.
Ever since its 1995 debut, it has been analyzed, criticized, glorified, vilified, overrated, undervalued, and talked about in circles. On one level, it’s a giant robot show, with 14 year old Shinji Ikari being drafted into piloting the most technologically advanced fighting machine in the world, to defend it against the Angels who would destroy Mankind as they know it. Yet right in the middle, director Hidaeki Anno strips away the facade, revealing a brutal psychological drama with red herring Christian references, and at its heart a powerfully human story.
No contest, this is the coolest anime ever created by human beings. By filling it with everything that he loved, director Kazuya Tsurumaki created a universal tale of the trials of growing up, which is spectacularly bizarre and entertaining. Naota is already dealing with his older brother’s absence when he is hit on the head by self-proclaimed alien Haruka Haruhara. And that’s when the robots start bursting out of his head. Then come space pirates, arson, a giant hand, and a guy with seaweed for eyebrows. And thank to the efforts of guitar gods The Pillows, the whole thing rocks very hard indeed.
One of the least known of Hayao Miyasaki’s films, why should this rank above the likes of Spirited Away, Naussica, and Mononoke? Because it is, simply put, perfect. A long time lover of airplanes and flight, Miyasaki truly soars in this movie. The main character is Marco, and eponymous pig and former WW1 fighter pilot that became so disgusted with humanity that he literally turned into a humanoid swine. He deals with rival flying gangs, a woman he loves but can never tell, a suave American and others. Maybe Porco is the best because the gruff, disillusioned Marco is the closest character to Miyasaki that has ever appeared in his films.
There is a good reason that Bebop has made the top of the list. It’s run on the cartoon network for four straight years, despite it only being 26 episodes long. It’s more entertaining to watch eight straight times than it is to watch almost anything else. The show revolves around Spike Spiegel, a Bounty Hunter who used to work for organized crime, and together with former cop Jet Black, gambling addict and swindler Faye Valentine, computer genius Ed, and data dog Ein, he deals with killers, space truckers, mushrooms, spoiled food and his past. Add to that the music, where seemingly every genre is explored through the course of the show, and probably some that didn’t exist previously. Whether you just want to see an episode or you’re planning a marathon, Cowboy Bebop is truly have it all.
Last year we conceived of the idea of collaborating with artists to produce infographics (information graphics) based on some of our more controversial or interesting lists. This infographic of the most evil women in history is our first. We are publishing it here to get your feedback on whether this is something you would like to see more of in the future. Please let us know in the comments. Click the image for a super-sized version.
With this list I’m counting only works I read before I, personally, hit puberty, which means that anything published after 1975 is automatically excluded! By “classic,” I mean for us old farts. This list also includes Young Readers, which I chose to interpret as having no true lower age limit, except that, obviously, very young Literature isn’t part of it — no Dr. Seuss. And no young-adult drama (Judy Bloom shall not appear).
Next, you will note that many of the entries are for series (or at least books with sequels), to which I state only that even more than other genres, here we see that success breeds success. The entries, except for entries 1, 2 and 3, are in alphabetical order. Item 1 is elevated because of its impact on so many generations of young people, item 2 is elevated because no other book had such an impact on me, at an age when the world was still full of wonder, and item 3 is elevated because of its impact on Fadefact Team.
15. Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Huckleberry Finn is too advanced in actual reading level to include here, but Tom Sawyer has entertained young readers for way more than a century. A decent case could be made for the argument that Twain penned the epitome of American children’s literature, in this rousing tale of pre-pubescent life along the river in the antebellum South. It would be an insult to summarize the plot.
Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo
If you’ve never read an Asterix adventure, PLEASE buy one which has both Goscinny and Uderzo credited (generally speaking, the lower the number, the more likely it’s gonna be great, but there are exceptions). Anyway, these were graphic novels long before the term was invented. Full of puns (especially regarding Roman names), these books are lavishly illustrated in fantastic color. They are set near the end of the Roman Conquest. Only one small village in Gaul (France) is holding out, because they have a druid-brewed magic potion that makes them nigh-invincible. The books are astoundingly popular all over Europe, and the translations into English are normally superb (meaning the puns come through). It is almost pathetic how much money I have spent seeking these out as an adult… of all entries in the list, Asterix definitely takes the prize as being the most readable by old farts.
13. Charlotte’s Web
Who doesn’t know this one? With literally millions of copies sold, Charlotte’s Web is as iconic as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Wilbur is a pig, the runt of the litter, and therefore destined to be killed. But eight-year old Fern intercedes on his behalf. That’s not good enough, however, as he next becomes slated for Christmas dinner. Enter Charlotte, a wise and intelligent spider, with a plan to forestall the inevitable. All of the barnyard critters are portrayed with excellent characterization skills… a genuine classic if anything is.
12. Childhood of Famous Americans
Still going strong, with subjects as recent as Mr. Rogers, this series dates back to at least as early as 1942 (George Washington). Revisionist history at its finest. What we have here is novelization-biography, but with it all being about childhood and the “experiences” that shaped a person into the greatness that they became. The final chapter typically takes place in adulthood, where the lessons learned early on are applied as it becomes apparent that boy-or-girl-made-good.
11. Encyclopedia Brown
Donald J. Sobol
It always pissed me off when I didn’t see the clue and thus had to read on to find out how Encyclopedia Brown solved the case. It was always so obvious, in hindsight. You get to where you can spot the page on which the clue must occur, and sometimes still can’t solve the mystery ahead of time. At least in the earlier works. World famous boy-detective how-did-he-know series.
10. The Hardy Boys
Franklin W. Dixon
Perhaps the most popular childhood series of all time. But if the list were not alphabetical, it would rank pretty low. Boy detectives who frequently get bailed out in Scooby-Doo fashion by their father. The brothers often start out doing something adventurous, like ice sailing on a frozen lake, or surf casting. The series has been around since 1927. A staple of American boyhood.
9. Heinlein Juveniles
Robert A. Heinlein
Probably responsible for getting more people hooked on reading science fiction than any other body of work. From 1947 to 1958, Robert A. Heinlein published one novel a year for Scribner’s, aimed at a young male audience. All were written with a breezy style that made them agreeable, yet not condescending. Legions of Heinlein fans re-read their juveniles constantly in adulthood. The only question is, which Heinlein juvenile do you give a child FIRST?
8. Homer Price
Really old-school here. Homer is that quintessential young reader hero — the kid who is smart enough to see what the bumbling adults miss. There are only a couple of books, but they contain several adventures each. Of particular note is the story “Ever So Much More So,” which is a quaint retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes, only centering around a supposedly magical spice that affects everything.
7. The Mad Scientists’ Club
Bertrand R. Brinley
Absolutely first-rate stuff. Told in the second person, what we have here is a bunch of boys using radio and ingenuity to get the best of both the town and a rival gang of misfits. And sometimes the Air Force. Reads pretty well as an adult. Each chapter of the first two books is its own adventure; one of the latter books is a novel-length “origins” story. Four in all.
6. Mrs. Coverlet Novels
There’s a lot going on in While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away and its two sequels. Even young readers will have no problem suspending their disbelief (we all know Toad couldn’t really hex Miss Eva, don’t we?). Regardless, the characterizations are amazingly rich for books in which the author has to write to an age 9-12 reading level. Among fans, there is a debate as to whether WMCWA is better than the second book, Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, but there is general agreement that the third installment is the weakest. This would easily be in the top five if we weren’t going in alphabetical order. The theme is classic: resourceful kids persevere without adult supervision (their family name is Perserver!), but that theme has never been handled in quite this manner. Original and highly recommended.
5. The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree
If you don’t know it, get a boxed set of three books. 20 out of 20 five-star Amazon reviews. It should be as well known as Alice in Wonderland, but alas, too many people have experienced sheltered childhoods. This is science fiction… but in a deceptively adult manner, it’s first and foremost a story about the meaning of friendship. It just makes young hearts sing. First published way back in 1952, it taught celebration of differences long before society even grasped the concept of diversity.
4. Tom Swift, Jr.
Victor Appleton, Jr
Way back in the day, Tom Swift books were published. These featured such derring-do activities as piloting an “aero-plane.” But then came Tom Swift, Jr., just in time for the space age. It must be said that the science in this science fiction series was whatever the author wanted — some of the stuff in the 33 books was admirably worked out, but more often, the author took the low road. No matter. Here we have several cherish able (albeit one-dimensional) characters who could always be counted upon to use a fantastic new invention to frustrate the bad guys. And governments — Swift Enterprises seems to have an inexhaustible supply of private research dollars. As usual, the earlier books are generally superior.
3. The Three Investigators
Earlier books in this 43-book series are generally superior, mainly because Robert Arthur is a better writer than those who came later. And because Alfred Hitchcock wrote the introductions, and appears as himself as a character. Kudos must also be given to excellent illustrations by Harry Kane in the early works. But to speak of the books themselves, there is perhaps no better example of the “kid detective” genre. Jupiter Jones is rotund but the brains of the outfit. Pete Crenshaw is athletic but prone to overexcitement. Bob Andrews is studious and level-headed. Between the three, no mystery can go unsolved. Especially in the Robert Arthur installments, the mysteries are remarkably well-plotted. In fact, the second book, The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, holds up to even adult readers… you probably won’t be able to solve it ahead of time, and “that’s a lead-pipe cinch.” The various secret entrances into Headquarters alone are worth the read. Truly, a “thinking kid’s” series and the all time favorite childhood books of Listverse’s founder, Jamie Frater, who openly admits that he loved the books so much he set his bedroom up to look like the Three Investigator’s secret office!
Pretty much the ultimate in opening the eyes of a young boy. Unfortunately, the film version drastically deviated from the book. Even though the acting is fine, the screenwriters simply did not capture the thrust of what is arguably one of the best young reader novels ever written. This is one of the few books that is capable of instilling a genuine sense of awe. Speaking of the book (not the movie), a young boy abandons his beloved family and sets off to live alone in the Catskills Mountains. Lots of “survival tech” here, including sketched illustrations of animal snares and fire-building. But that is not what elevates this novel. What really makes this one rock is the poignant juxtaposition of a successful boy, alone on the mountain with his undeniable basic need for simple human contact. Superb in all aspects.
1. Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children, and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope.