Remembering John F. Kennedy’s Life and Legacy

President John F. Kennedy served just shy of three years as president before his assassination on November 22, 1963. Young, good looking, and the first Catholic president, JFK’s untimely death left the US in a state of shock.  As the 55th anniversary of the 35th American President’s death approaches, we look back on  indelible moments from his time in the White House.

1.  Inauguration Day

Poet Robert Frost reading his poem, “The Gift Outright,” at President John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Ceremony, 1961. (Photo by George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)

On January 20, 1961, Kennedy spoke the now famous phrase during his inauguration speech: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” He went on to call for all to band together against “common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.” Kennedy selected members to his staff who were both seasoned and inexperienced. “We can learn our jobs together,” JFK once stated.

2. Creation of the Peace Corps

President John F. Kennedy hands the pen to Sargent Shriver after signing the bill creating the Peace Corps. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Prior to his presidency, Kennedy had been an outspoken advocate of helping others in need– domestically and internationally. It came as no surprise when one of his first official Oval Office acts was creating the Peace Corps. Established on March 1, 1961, the mission of the special volunteer program is to “promote world peace and friendship … and shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.” Since launching, over 220,000 citizens have joined the ranks of Peace Corps volunteers.

3. The Great Space Race

German-born American rocket scientist Werner von Braun (1912 – 1977) (center left) and US President John F. Kennedy (1917 – 1963) tour Cape Canaveral, Florida, November 16, 1963. (Photo by NASA/Interim Archives/Getty Images)

During the 1960s, America looked to space for a new adventure. If we didn’t move quickly the Russians would be leaving the United States in their interstellar dust. JFK vowed to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade (and before the Russians).

During the summer of ‘62 Kennedy gave his famous “moon speech.” “For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace,” JFK said at Rice University in Houston. “We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.”

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong hopped along the lunar surface, making good on JFK’s 10-year deadline to rocket a man to the moon.

4. The Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty

President Kennedy signs the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in the Treaty Room at the White House. 7th October 1963. Photo: Robert Knudsen, White House. Washington D.C., USA. (Photo by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

By 1955 radioactive fallout had become a major public talking point. The Cuban missile crisis proved just how dangerous war, atomic or not, can be for not just the parties directly involved, but for the entire global population.

On August 5, 1963, the United States, the UK and the Soviet Union signed the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty to limit the testing of nuclear weapons to underground testing facilities. Atomic bombs were not to be tested under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space. A short time after JFK signed the treaty more than 100 other global governments signed on.

Although a treaty on testing was signed, world governments could still stockpile and utilize nuclear weapons during wartime.

5. JFK & Civil Rights

28th August 1963: American President John F Kennedy (1917 – 1963) in the White House with leaders of the civil rights ‘March on Washington’ (right to left) Roy Wilkins (1910 – 1981), Walter Reuther (1907 – 1970), Vice-President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908 – 1973), John F Kennedy, A Philip Randolph (1889 – 1979), Rabbi Joachim Prinz, John Lewis, Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) and Whitney Young (1922 – 1971). (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

 In July of 1963 JFK addressed congress, calling the civil rights movement a “moral crisis,” in what some believe to be his finest speech.  “I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents,” he said. “This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”

The president went on to say, “Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality. Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law. The Federal judiciary has upheld that proposition in a series of forthright cases. The executive branch has adopted that proposition in the conduct of its affairs, including the employment of Federal personnel, the use of Federal facilities, and the sale of federally financed housing.”

Rare photos of John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy with his son, John F. Kennedy, Jr., walking from the South Lawn to the West Wing Colonnade of the White House on October 10, 1963. (Courtesy RR Auction)

Part Mars Rover, Part Muscle Car, 100% Up for Auction: The Mysterion Recreation

Imitation, as they say, is the sincerest form of flattery.

If that’s the case, then Ed “Big Daddy” Roth fanatic Jeffrey Jones essentially created a driveable compliment.

Specifically, a banana-yellow one that looks like it should be piloted across Mars by a Minion.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

A California gearhead with a great fondness for the creations of the cartoonist/car customizer Ed “Big Daddy” Roth (which include animated hot rod driver Rat Fink and other characters), Jones was a particular fan of a UFO-like show car Roth designed called the Mysterion.

Built by Roth – who Tom Wolfe once called “the Salvador Dali of hot rodding” – in 1963, the Mysterion, which wasn’t actually driveable, made it to a number of hot rod shows and appeared in magazines before it was damaged during transport and ultimately stripped for parts later in the decade.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

Jones fell in love with the Mysterion and, even though no specs or blueprints for the model existed outside of Roth’s imagination, he vowed to build a replica model of the car when he was able. 

A petroleum engineer by trade, Jones began his recreation in the early 2000s and used everything from interviews and magazine articles to photographs and model kits as sources for information about the mysterious car.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

What Jones did know about the original custom creation is that Roth had installed a twin-engine set-up featuring two Ford V8s paired with two transmissions at the front of the Mysterion.

In front of the exposed engines, Roth installed an oblong front grille and an asymmetrical nose with a single large headlight mounted on the left. Behind all of that, Roth installed a hydraulically operated bubble cockpit onto the foundation he had previously crafted from welding together two rear ends.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

In his new model, Jones used a frame covered in pre-polished stainless steel and added several inches of clearance and a coil-spring suspension so the car would actually be able to drive.

Jones also installed both engines but hollowed out the one on the passenger side to conceal the car’s alternator. He did install a cross belt to make it appear as if both engines are functional, but only the one on the driver’s side works.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

Jones became so familiar with the legendary car during the build process, he could’ve written the book on it. So he did, penning the 2016 tome Ed Roth’s Mysterion: The Genesis, Demise, and Recreation of an Iconic Custom Car.

“Ed, like all great artists, did not rely on tape measures for his creations,” Jones wrote in the book. “This emphasizes that Ed was not a car customizer as his contemporaries were. He was an artist who used the automobile as his medium.”

Documenting the car as well as providing a bolt-by-bolt look at how Jones fashioned the replica from custom parts, hand-sanded fiberglass and materials bought on eBay, the book offers tons of insights about Roth and his thinking as well as hundreds of “how-to” illustrations.

The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)
The 1962 Ed Roth “Mysterion” Recreation (Karissa Hosek 2018, Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s)

“I was forced to make a few tough decisions on some big changes to several details,” Jones wrote. “The first obvious decision was, do I honor Ed’s blatant refusal to use a tape measure and build in the huge variations from symmetry he built into the body, or succumb to the urge to make them uniform? The next big difference in the cars is I wanted mine to run and be somewhat drivable.”

Up for sale at the Petersen Automotive Museum Auction on December 8 along with more than 50 other blue-chip automobiles, the RM Sotheby’s lot includes a custom trailer and production molds for the recreation model in case the buyer wants to make more.

RM Sotheby’s hasn’t given a price estimate for the car but it’ll probably be, ahem, out of this world. Considering the replica is the only one of its kind and the original is no longer in existence, we’d estimate at least six figures.

Meet a Real-Life Lara Croft: Dani Cessna, Park Ranger, Bear Guru and Outdoors Guide

I first met Dani Cessna a few years back at Sequoia National park on a shoot for the Travel Channel. I was hosting a show and she was the park ranger giving me insight into the magnificence of some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world. These majestic giants can live more than 3,000 years and grow from a seed so tiny you could mistake it for one from a simple wildflower. As Dani held the tiny germ in her palm for me to marvel at, I remember thinking she had a dreamy job and a whimsical life full of scented pine needles swaying in the breeze and wildlife shadowing her every step like Snow White. Her office was the great outdoors and that in itself is the fantasy of the Benjamin Button in my soul who longs for wide open spaces on a daily basis.

Reading Dani’s answers in this story makes me respect her path and perspective all the more. Her words ring with passion, commitment and effervescence. She’s the readily conscious interpretation ranger who keeps our wild places wild and the delicate humans who have become unfamiliar with true wilderness safe from their own transgressions. She is essentially the buffer between the two-legged and the four-legged creatures that wish to luxuriate in the same commanding undomesticated spaces offered to us by the park systems.

She has mastered the philosophy that a hunter-gatherer lifestyle is not mutually exclusive to a lifestyle dedicated to conservation practices. She describes this balance beautifully below as well as painting pictures of her life that are both envy-inducing and hilarious. The visual of Dani, a petite blonde, chasing a bear from a campground with fireworks and paintballs resonates like a fabulous SNL skit.

Her passion for the great wide open and its inhabitants echoes in every sentence she shares. From educating the public about co-existing with apex predators like bears and sharks in the habitats where they make their home—a skill rather buried in todays city-centric lifestyles—to teaching urban dwellers the art of a successful campfire, Dani has dedicated herself to every aspect of protecting one of the greatest gifts this country offers, public lands.

The history of women serving as rangers in the national park system dates back to 1918, when 18-year-old Claire Marie Hodges became the first female ranger at Yosemite National Park. Her position came about as a stroke of good fortune due to a shortage of young men preoccupied with the demands of WWI, but also through the innovative mindset of a park superintendent who encouraged her to apply. For the next 30 years, Hodges was the only official female park ranger in the system.

Dani is as much a steward of the flora and fauna of our nation’s wildest corners as she is of the vital wild spark whose embers flicker in our collective consciousness like stars on a moonless night. She is there to guide us when our hearts long for the peace that only the cool green of the forest and the deep blue of the ocean can offer.

When we heed our own call of the wild, we allow ourselves the freedom to see pure inspiration in the beauty of nature. The symmetrical swirl of a seashell that inspired Antoni Gaudí to creative greatness in designing the spiral staircases of the Sagrada Familia. The captivating black-and-white landscapes captured by the lens of Ansel Adams. Even the bizarre becomes wonderful when viewed through the lens of wonder. In Dani’s own words, “Even strange gelatinous blobs that wash up at low tide bring me joy, because they’re mysteries I can puzzle out. I’m always looking for adventure even in the mundane, and because of that I rarely have a bad day.”

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KP: Passion is a powerful driving force for people. How did yours develop and mold who you are and what you do?

Dani Cessna: Some of my earliest memories are of walking through the Pennsylvania woods only steps behind my dad (sometimes many steps behind him. He still out-hikes me to this day). I grew up in a big hunting and fishing family. We rarely bought meat from the grocery store, and I was skinning game by the time I was in elementary school. My family also did wildlife rehabilitation for the state of Pennsylvania, so I spent much of my youth feeding baby birds off of popsicle sticks, bottle-feeding whitetail deer fawns, and carrying baby flying squirrels around in my sports bra. It never occurred to me that it would appear odd for a hunting family to also be so dedicated to wildlife rehab.

But as I grew older, I learned that others saw this to be a contradiction. To this day, I argue it isn’t. Both of these things, hunting and wildlife rehab, instilled in me an utter passion for wildlife. One activity is an active participation in the cycle of life, a natural and responsible way to obtain your food, and to have a complete understanding of where your food comes from. Wildlife rehab, on the other hand, is rescuing animals that are victim to human development—the unnatural obstacles humans have brought to the natural world. So many of the baby animals we raised and released into the wild came into our care because they lost their mothers to a car, a domestic cat, a tree felled for development, or some other unnatural fate.

So for me, it was as natural to be a passionate hunter, a part of the natural cycle, as it was to be a passionate wildlife rehabber. Still today, as a dedicated park ranger who believes in preservation of our public lands, you’ll find me in my free time backpacking into the wilderness of Colorado with the hopes of killing an elk. If I’m lucky, I pack out every pound of meat on my back across a monstrous canyon. Nothing tastes better than a meal you had to carry out of the woods yourself.

KP: Are there any female predecessors in your field who have inspired you?

DC: Denise Robertson, the superintendent at Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Aztec Ruins National Monument in New Mexico, and Stephanie Sutton, North District Resource Education Supervisor at Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Steph and Denise hired me into my first permanent position as a park guide, and they’re still the ones I turn to for guidance. Denise supervised me when she was a District Interpretation Supervisor (the equivalent of my position now). I remember watching her and thinking I could never be as badass as she is. And now that she’s a superintendent and I’m the district supervisor, I look at her and think the same.

Both these ladies taught me my voice and my ideas deserve to be heard, no matter who else is in the room. They instilled in me a need to innovate and to push the envelope, and taught me it’s alright to fail, as long as I’m willing to regroup and try again. As a supervisor, I am my staff’s biggest supporter. My attitudes, my habits, and priorities directly impact their success and wellbeing. The team I’ve built is my greatest success as a ranger, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the example Denise and Steph set for me years ago.

KP: What is the process of becoming a park ranger, what has your career trajectory been in terms of where you have worked and any specifications you may have gravitated towards?

DC: I fell into the National Park Service on accident. I started out my undergrad at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania as an English Education major, because I have always enjoyed reading and writing, and thought being a teacher would fulfill that interest. My first semester, I found myself glazed over in a Composition and Rhetoric class, and knew I had to find something else.

My second semester, I had picked an environmental geology class as an elective, and we went out to study the hydrology of the local watershed. I’ll never forget it because it was an unusually warm day in early spring, and I could smell the melting snow, and I was hooked. I changed my major to environmental studies with hopes of more classes outside. I ended up in a wildlife management internship at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where I was the only woman in the wildlife division. I trapped and shot invasive, feral pigs. I trapped and relocated black bears as part of an elk calf mortality study. I hiked the Appalachian Trail along the North Carolina-Tennessee border, packing cases of sardines for miles and miles for bait station surveys. (We would hang sardines every half mile, and then check back a couple days later to see if a bear had found them. It was supposed to be a basic bear density study, but I often wondered the data implications when one bear would catch on and hit ever sardine can on the trail. Black bears are brilliant that way.) I was in love with the National Park Service after that summer. I knew I had found my calling.

I went from Tennessee to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, where I worked another season in black bear management. I would run through campgrounds at night, screeching at bears and shooting them with paintball guns. The goal of bear management is to keep bears wild, so when a black bear would start to find food in campgrounds and picnic areas, we would apply a negative stimulus (like yelling, shooting paintballs, or setting off firecrackers) to cause the bear to associate developed areas with something negative. (We call this aversive conditioning.) This only really works though if the food rewards are eliminated, because often a campground or picnic area provides such a significant food reward for a bear, they find it worth the trouble of getting chased by a twenty-something girl with a high-pitched voice and a bouncing ponytail.

So really, the first and most successful tool in bear management is education. If people learn to properly store their food and scented items in bear country, it greatly minimizes the risk of a black bear becoming food conditioned and/or habituated to people. This is what led me to the next step in my career. So much of bear management was reactive. I was working with park visitors most often over a ravaged cooler or just after a bear took off with their picnic lunch (it’s not just Yogi who does this), or in the middle of a traffic jam where visitors were crowding a bear who was grazing in a meadow, minding his own business.

My point is, my interactions with the public were always after mistakes were made. Out of concern for keeping the bears wild, I was yelling at folks, correcting them, sometime calling law enforcement to ticket them. I don’t doubt I negatively impacted a few vacations. I’m a people person. I realized that bear management was more so people management than anything, and if I wanted to make a difference, I needed to get to the people before they were out making mistakes with the wildlife. So I became an interpretation ranger, where my job was to educate and connect visitors to the resources of our national parks. Still to this day, I help folks answer the “why care?” and “how do I care?” questions. Why should I care about the bears? How do I care for the bears? And after that, I became a supervisor, where my staff and I organized and led ranger led walks and talks under the largest trees in the world. And when I was itching for new horizons, I applied to Cape Cod National Seashore, where I becme a District Interpretation Supervisor. I’ve left the bears behind, but I would never move on to another park without a new wildlife love. Here, it’s all about the white sharks.

KP: What are the intricacies of being a woman in this profession?

DC: Now that I’ve been with the NPS a decade, I reflect on this particular aspect a lot more than I used to. First of all, I’d like to say that I’ve been very lucky and have overall experienced nothing but very supportive supervisors, coworkers and staff during my time in the NPS. In the earlier days, I rarely thought twice about being a woman park ranger. Recent coverage of events in other national parks has made me realize that not all women with this agency or in other land management agencies have been as lucky as I have. It’s made me much more aware of the tiny cultural aspects that allow these bigger problems of harassment and discrimination to exist.

There was a time where I was a woman who laughed a lot of things off, shrugged my shoulders and said “that’s no big deal” when one of those border-line inappropriate comments was made. Part of my change in perspective is because I’m growing older, the other part of it is I’m realizing that these little things contribute to the bigger cultural issue, and I can no longer shrug them off. Every day I work hard to create a culture of inclusivity in my operation. Even above my dedication to protecting our public lands is my goal of making the park service a more diverse, inclusive agency, and the only way to do that is by speaking up every single time I see behavior that contradicts that mission. There’s been a couple instances where this has required me to muster major courage, but it’s absolutely necessary.

KP: What is an average day like for you? What is a more demanding day like for you?

DC: On a regular day, I might head to the beach to coach a sharks and seals program for one of my seasonal rangers. Or I might film a video on how to have a safe and successful beach fire. As a supervisor, I have my fair share of administrative work that seems far less glamorous than other aspects of park “rangering.” But I take pride in hiring outstanding employees and building a team that reaches thousands of visitors at Cape Cod National Seashore. My team is passionate about the National Park Service mission, and the most fulfilling aspect of my job is supporting them as they connect visitors to our park, and supporting them as they grow and thrive as rangers.

On a demanding day, we might have 2,000 people show up to the visitor center for an eclipse program that we expected would only have around 200 (only 60% percent of the eclipse was visible on Cape, but somehow it still went viral). That’s the kind of day that puts the positivity and resiliency of my team to the test—we did an awesome job considering it looked like the apocalypse on our front lawn, and everyone seemed very pleased with the experience!

KP: What are some of the more unusual, interesting, odd, funny, unnerving or otherwise unexpected things that have fallen under your job description in the course of your career?

DC: I think the more unnerving side of this job can be when accidents happen. All of my career has been working with visitors as they recreate and learn about our national parks and wild spaces, which most of the time ends very happily. But there are dangers in our wild spaces. I’ve worked on search and rescues. I’m a trained peer supporter for Critical Incident Stress Management, which means when one our NPS staff has to respond to a visitor fatality, I’m their support when they need to debrief after the incident. Our park is still grappling with a recent fatality due to a white shark bite. I’ve spent so much time in this job educating the community and our visitors about how amazing white sharks are. But now we have to take into account this new perception, this new reality for people. The risks of recreating in white shark habitat haven’t changed, but everything feels different now that we’ve had a fatality (the first on Cape since 1932). White sharks are still amazing, but I think the risks are more real to people now.

I think of it like any national park wildlife, like grizzlies in Yellowstone or alligators in the Everglades. We still enjoy these spaces, but we also have to be educated about what it means to recreate in the habitat of large predators. And then we make choices about our activities based on our understanding. White sharks are a natural part of our ecosystem, but they are a relatively new reality to our community due to the rebounding of the seal population after the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. The return of the seals has brought the sharks closer to shore to utilize this natural food source. Many folks here grew up never thinking twice about going into the water, but that has changed. Because of this, I think my team and I have to be extra diligent about reaching our park visitors. There’s so much misinformation out there about sharks. We want people to care about them, and understand that while there are risks, white sharks don’t want to attack people. They’re here for the seals. We’re striving to strike a balance in our messaging so that people aren’t terrified, but they’re also not unaware. It’s a big job in a community where sharks are the hot button issue. We’ve been collaborating with the local community leaders, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy to make sure that the entire Cape is educated on white shark safety, the importance of white shark research, and the role of sharks in our marine environment.

KP: What are some of the insights into the natural world and our human footprint on it that you have garnered from being a park ranger?

DC: I think our biggest mistake as humans is forgetting that we’re just as much a part of nature as any wildlife. Separating ourselves so completely from the natural world has more of an impact on our wellbeing that we realize. Listen to the stories we tell. All of them are tied to landscapes in some way. Having a sense of place is essential to our lives. I don’t expect people to leave the city and disappear into the wild. But I do think that people need to find a green space if they don’t have one. Maybe it’s an old lone oak in a tiny city park, or a bench along the river that runs through downtown. Find somewhere you can go to center yourself, find peace, and remember that we are part of something much bigger. Part of a natural cycle that is tried and true. In the chaos of modern life, nature is a constant we can depend on, and we need to see the value in caring for it. These places nurture the spirit.

KP: Can you describe one of your favorite experiences in nature using the five senses?

DC: When I worked bear management, we would often trap and chemically immobilize problem bears for research, tagging, and to install a radio telemetry collar on them for monitoring. One of my favorite experiences ever was monitoring the respirations of a drugged black bear. I would put my hand on his back and count each breath. I’ll never forget rise and fall of those breaths under my hand, and the deep, rumbly nature of them. It made my breathing seem so shallow and inconsequential compared to his. But it was familiar. My life and the bear’s, so different, but more similar than I could have imagined. I’d lean in and breath in his scent—ferns, and dirt, and other spicy unknowable things. A smell so wild and satisfying. It was a moment that opened up a world for me.

KP: Clearly, your profession begs the question…do you have a favorite national park, state park, BLM land?

DC: This is always such a tough question because my answer is always changing. I once thought I’d always be a mountain girl, whether it be the old mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or the jagged peaks of the Sierra Nevada in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Now that I have the ocean here at Cape Cod National Seashore, it’s hard for me to imagine life without the salt air and the perpetual layer of sand in my car. These places are all so special in different ways, but the one thing they have in common is the way I carry them with me wherever I go. The different landscapes of my life have really shaped who I am, literally broadened my horizons. Now my love might be with the ocean, but five years from now I might have discovered somewhere new and wild.

KP: What are some of the fun facts about our natural lands that people may not realize?

DC: There are 417 units in the National Park Service. I tend to be more of a naturalist, but not all these units are about nature. They’re about our stories, and our values as human beings. Whether you love history, nature, culture, science, or any combination thereof, you can find a place that inspires you, that speaks to you, in our public lands. Maybe it’s at the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Or the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Maybe it’s on the battlefields of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, or at Stonewall National Historical Site in New York. Maybe it’s the condors of Pinnacles National Park, or the volcanoes of Hawaii. Find your park.

KP: Everyone has a message they put out into the world through their words, actions and lifestyle. What is yours?

DC: I think my main message is to find magic in the everyday. Partly due to lucky brain chemistry I’m sure, but also partly because I find utter glee in the sight of a blue heron gliding across the salt marsh like a modern-day pterodactyl. Or in the scurry of a gray squirrel up a tree trunk. I love the smell of rainy days, and the sound of the wind in the trees. Even strange gelatinous blobs that wash up at low tide bring me joy, because they’re mysteries I can puzzle out. I’m always looking for adventure even in the mundane, and because of that I rarely have a bad day.

KP: What future life goals do you have for the next five years? Any big bucket list items, travels, career goals, etc.?

DC: Most of my bucket list items involve wildlife in some way. I want to dive with white sharks off of Guadalupe Island. There’s an elephant sanctuary in northern Thailand I want to visit. I want to climb the mountains in Brazil, and see the grizzlies feed on salmon in Alaska.

Also, I’m always working on new writing projects in my free time, and I devour any book I can get my hands on. So really, I can boil down my life goals to exploring and creating. As long as I’m doing both of those, I’m happy wherever life takes me.

Kinga Philipps

Never one to sit still, Kinga Philipps has tested herself for the past decade by traveling the globe, rappelling, caving, scuba diving, jumping out of airplanes and diving with the sharks as a writer, producer and on-camera host. In her rare bits of free time, Kinga explores her singular fascination with sharks followed by a love for the beach, surfing, motorcycles, cars, charity work, travel, food and action sports.

Some Of Our Favorite Male Celebrities Who Also Served In The U.S. Military

Today is Veterans Day, a day Americans devote to thanking those who have served in a branch of the United States military. The day falls on November 11, which is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and the Central Power in 1918.

And though we likely all know someone who has severed, you might not know that many celebrities got their start in the military. The military provides a steady paycheck for those who are not yet selling out shows and some much-needed discipline required to live on the road.

So in honor of Veterans Day, take a look at some celebs who served.

Elvis Presley

American singer and actor Elvis Presley, aka “The King”, posing during his military service at a US base in Germany. (Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis via Getty Images)

Branch: Army

The “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” answered his nation’s call to duty during the peak of his popularity, serving from 1958 to 1960 with the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany.

Clint Eastwood

Director Clint Eastwood served in the Army. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Branch: Army

Long before he became famous playing “Gunny” Tom Highway in Heartbreak Ridge, Eastwood served at a real-life post in Northern California for most of his brief military career.

Jimi Hendrix

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Evan Clark

Branch: Army

In 1961, Hendrix joined the Army after being given the ultimatum to choose between it and jail for joyriding in stolen cars in Seattle. He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a paratrooper but, according to the Los Angeles Times, was discharged early for “homosexual tendencies,” a ruse he employed to get released before having to serve his full term.

Bob Ross

bob ross
TV painting instructor/artist Bob Ross jubiantly holding up paint pallette and brushes. (Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Branch: Air Force

Ross actually discovered his love for painting while serving. He worked his way up to the rank of master sergeant in the Air Force.

Adam Driver

Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren in the latest Star Wars trilogy, speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Branch: Marines

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away from his starring role as Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, in the latest Star Wars movies, Driver served a few years in the Marines. He enlisted after 9/11, and was medically discharged a few years later.

Ice-T

Ice-T spent four years in the army. (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Branch: Army

Before his music career, Ice-T spent four years in the army, including a stint as a squad leader in Hawaii.

Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Branch: Army

Kristofferson grew up in a career military family—his father, Lars, was a U.S. Army Air Corps officer. After Kristofferson completed the Army’s notoriously difficult Ranger school in 1960, the future Country Music Hall of Famer followed in his dad’s footsteps and briefly became an Army helicopter pilot.

Drew Carey

Actor/comedian Drew Carey served in the United States Marine Corp Reserve. (Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Branch: United States Marine Corps Reserve

Served for six years.

Johnny Cash

Country singer/songwriter Johnny Cash plays acoustic guitar as he performs onstage at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 11, 1978 in Anaheim, California. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Branch: Air Force

The famous singer served in Texas and Germany for four years before receiving an honorable discharge in 1954.

Rob Riggle

Retired Lt. Col. Robert Riggle, Jr. (center), poses with the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr. (left), at the presentation of the Meritorious Service Medal to Riggle during the Reserve Officers Association Stars Foundation Gala in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tia Dufour)

Branch: Marines

Riggle joined the Marines in 1990 and served in the reserves until he retired at the rank of lieutenant commander retirement in 2013. The stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live and Daily Show cast member mostly served in a public affairs unit in New York City. During his career, he deployed to Liberia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner at Playboy’s 60th Anniversary special event on January 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy)

Branch: Army

Hefner was an infantry clerk in the Army from 1944 to 1946.

Oliver Stone

Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, stoops over to greet Oliver Stone (left) at House Government Operations Committee hearing on April 30, 1992. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Branch: Army

Stone served in Vietnam with 2nd Platoon, B Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Infantry Division and was twice wounded in action. Stone went on to make the Academy Award-winning movie Platoon based on his combat experiences.

Morgan Freeman

Actor Morgan Freeman served in the Air Force. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Branch: Air Force

He joined in 1955 and became an Airman 1st Class before leaving after nearly four years in the service.

Mr. T

Mr. T served in the U.S. Army military police. (Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank)

Branch: Army

Before he became Mr. T, Lawrence Turead served as a squad leader in the U.S. Army military police.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
Singer/songwriter Willie Nelson performs to a sold-out crowd during his 4th of July Picnic at The Backyard on July 4, 2010, in Austin, Texas.

Branch: Air Force

Nelson enlisted at 17 and served until he suffered a back injury.

Montel Williams

Talk show host and former Navy lieutenant commander Montel Williams interviews Cmdr. James Morgan, commanding officer of guided-missile cruiser USS Howard (DDG 83), on December 5, 2006. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy, by Specialist 2nd Class Kitt Amaritnant)

Branch: Marines, Navy

The well-known talk show host enlisted in the Marines in 1974 and served two years before matriculating to the U.S. Naval Academy. Once he was commissioned in 1980, he served as a officer in Naval Intelligence, specializing in cryptology. He left the military in 1989, having risen to the rank of lieutenant commander.

Gene Wilder

American film star Gene Wilder in London. 28th September 1984. (Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Branch: Army

He served for a year in the medical corps before deciding to commit to acting full-time.

Jimmy Stewart

(Original Caption) Commands Bomber Squadron. England: Captain James Stewart has changed his occupation from making feminine hearts throb to making bomber motors roar over occupied territory. The popular film star has arrived in Britain where he commands a squadron of liberator bombers. Captain Stewart, who enlisted in the United States Army nearly three years ago, was a private for nine months.

Branch: Air Force

Stewart was already a known actor when he enlisted and was a pilot in World War II. He started as a flight instructor until he became the commander of  the 445th Bombardment Group. He twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat. Before the war ended, he was promoted to colonel. Stewart was promoted to brigadier general in 1959 and finally retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1968.

Inside King Kong, the Massive 2,000lb Gorilla Roaring Across Broadway

There’s a wild animal inside New York’s Broadway Theatre. Eight times a week, a 2,000-pound ape is brought to life, its arms and legs stretched, its vocal cords practically shredded. It sniffs and snarls and unleashes earsplitting roars in front of an audience of 1700, and, especially in low light, it’s easy to forget that King Kong is not alive. He is, in fact, an expertly crafted puppet controlled by no fewer than 14 people.

He’s also the show’s leading man.

The $35 million rendition of the 1933 classic film, “King Kong,” officially opens on Thursday, November 8. In advance of the premiere, RealClearLife caught up with the show as well as Jacob Williams, Jon Hoche and Danny Miller, the “voodoo operators” behind various elements of the massive man-made gorilla. We wanted to know what goes into animating a 20-foot-tall puppet — and giving it a sonic boom of a voice.

King Kong holds Ann in the Broadway rendition of “King Kong” (Courtesy of “King Kong”/Joan Marcus)

THE FACE, Danny Miller

RealClearLife: How is Kong brought to life?

DM: It bamboozles quite a few people to know and try to understand how it all works, because it’s so technical. It takes 14 of us.

Ten people on the stage that we call the King’s Company, they are the ones who are actually physically moving him around. They’re directly maneuvering him, they can feel him, they’re puppeteering him onstage. There’s three of us called voodoo puppeteers, and we are taking control of all the animatronics. There’s Jacob, who’s our Kong captain, and he’s communicating with everybody on stage, and us as well. He’s calling the shots. He’ll be directing Kong, where he’s moving, counting in movements that he’s doing, “right arm go,” or something like that. He also controls the shoulders and the wrists and the hands, they have some air compressors in them, so he engages all of that.

There’s Jon who stands next to me and he’s the voice, he’s got a microphone that he’s actually roaring into, and then it gets modulated into that system. It’s all live.

I’m on the end directly in sync with Jon. There’s a one second delay [and] I’m reacting to everything that he’s doing. There’s 16 different motors in his face to create all that emotion you see — individual eyebrows, the blinks that you see, the sniffs, the lip snarls — they’re all individually controlled. As soon as he roars, I’m opening the jaw with a foot pedal. There’s a lot of expressions on his face, and it’s not like I do just one movement of each movement. Everything has to sort of flow into each other. So it might be raising an eyebrow and a lip at the same time.

The 14th person is a guy who is actually moving Kong around the stage. There’s actually a marionette, strings on cables. So the fourteenth guy, that’s Stefan, he’s moving him around, so he comes on in a x-y axis at the top.

King Kong and Ann Darrow (Courtesy of “King Kong”/Joan Marcus)

RCL: Kong is extremely heavy, and there are times he’s physically carrying Ann. Is it safe?

DM: There are a lot of people that are looking out for those sorts of things, the safety is the first and foremost important thing about something that weighs 2000 pounds and is 20 feet tall. He is very much — he could be a liability, for sure. So lots of safety precautions go into that, we have riggers and everything’s checked and doublechecked, and the cables that he’s on are extremely strong and could obviously withstand things probably 4 or 5 times his weight.

Because he’s live, everything needs to be well choreographed, down to the finest detail because we do have the big guys, but we have girls as well controlling the puppet. The people that are on the legs and the arms and pulling on the ropes, every movement is very well rehearsed and so, when Ann’s in the hand, she’s clipped into the hand as well. She’s got a harness on, so if anything did drop, she’s actually connected. The big guys are actually holding the hands, so they’re almost carrying her as well. We have a guy on the elbow who’s pulling the rope.

We also have a thing called a counterweight, which is when Kong first grabs Ann and kind of shakes her up and down, she’s 30 feet in the air or whatever — there are stunt Anns. It’s another performer who is dressed like Ann, being shaken up and down, so they’re trained in stunt background. They know what they’re doing, they’re all harnessed in, everything is very well thought through.

King Kong roars (Courtesy of “King Kong”/Joan Marcus)

THE VOICE, Jon Hoche

RCL: Is that really your voice? It’s inhumanly deep.

JH: Anything that comes out of Kong’s mouth comes out of my mouth first. I’m growling and snarling and roaring, and I have a microphone that I do all my voices into, and then that’s put through a modulator, which kind of makes him go from a 6’1 man into a 20-foot tall larger-than-life gorilla. But at the core, the creatives always wanted there to be that human real seed within the voice, and then it can be put through a modulator to make it larger than life. That was a really important decision that the creatives made because they could have very easily had Kong onstage and had a puppeteer just pushing buttons, we need a roar here, we need a growl here. But then he can’t really interact with the people onstage, and he’s not truly an actor.

I take it on as a great responsibility to make sure that he is living and he’s reacting in the moment, and that’s kind of the beauty of live theater. It’s not 100% the same every night because audiences are different, people’s energy levels can fluctuate, how they’re feeling. We obviously try to give a great performance but there are certain levels within the performance. Consistency obviously is key, but you never know what you’re going to get with live theater.

RCL: What are the coolest moments of voicing Kong?

JH: Coolest moments are the tender moments that I get to act with Christiani (Pitts) who plays Ann Darrow onstage. Yes, there are a lot of big, huge almost action-set pieces, but then there are a lot of moments where it’s just Kong and Ann on stage, and those are the moments that I really cherish because it’s not about the big movements that Kong does, it’s a small movement makes a big statement in those scenes. Not only do I do the voice, but I control the head and the direction of where the head goes — just a micro headtilt to the left says so much when it’s done with a 20-ft gorilla. I love those little micro-moments that we have together.

RCL: How do you explain your job to people at a party?

JH: It’s funny, I think are a lot of actors who kind of are a bit introverted except when they get on stage, I try not to talk too much about my job, but I’m just kind of like: I’m the voice of King Kong on Broadway.” What is that — what? What? There’s a bit of an explanation that has to go through that, but people are just kind of excited for me, excited at the idea of King Kong on broadway in and of himself, so it’s a fun kind of job description.

Jacob Williams, THE KONG CAPTAIN

RCL: What’s the hardest part of your job?

JW: Probably generally just keeping a consistency in the puppet between what is essentially 14 performers working within an automation track, and if anything faults in that automation track, then my responsibility is to call the action on stage to either go into kind of a holding pattern and improvise while that gets solved.

Because Jon and Danny are very much located on the face and the head, my job is to see the full picture, and I make a lot of onstage calls. There’s a particular scene where a giant cobra fights Kong, so I’m looking at both puppets, keeping calm if anything goes wrong. Luckily I’ve done the performance more than 300 times.

RCL: What will audiences be most impressed with?

JW: They’ll be amazed by the puppet, it is quite awe-inspiring and something they’ve never seen before onstage. The work is six years in the making (it first opened in Australia) and five years coming to Broadway —how many hours and work it takes to make something look so seamless, and so emotive. People have been in tears watching the creature. And they feel it’s human.

(The show itself) sort of stands outside the traditional musical genre, it’s a piece of theater, it’s a musical, the choreography is amazing. It’s not just a show with amazing people, it’s an amazing creative team and ensemble, that have tried to bring a new twist to the story and make it a modern day story.

(And) it’s extraordinary to be a part of. It really is wonderful to come to America because Australian audiences are absolutely lovely, but we have a very English sensibility, and we’re a quiet audience. Americans, they wear their standing ovations on their sleeves, they hoot and holler, and it’s really fantastic to perform this particular show on Broadway in front of American audiences.

“King Kong” opens on Broadway on November 8, 2018, with tickets starting at $49. Glimpse King Kong in all his glory, live on stage, here.

World’s 10 Best Ice Fishing Spots—and What to Catch There

Here’s a thing universally understood by even the most amateur of anglers: Much of the time fishing—most of it, in fact—a sunk line is still and silent, taut only from the ebb and flow of currents beneath the surface. Hours trickle with few nibbles to show for time spent, and, barring exception for commercial or professional fisherman, landing the perfect catch every other cast is scarcely the point.

Fishing is about connecting with friends, the Earth, and the self. During winter months otherwise spent indoors, ice fishing elevates this distinctive connection and provides a unique adventure and escape. There’s the sitting on four inches of frozen water, atop hundreds of feet of decidedly not frozen water. Then there’s the tantalizing possibility of bagging a tasty trout, perch, or whitefish. Unless you’re a black diamond skier, it’s arguably the most exciting thing you can do all winter—and the most time you’ll spend outside the confines of your home. Take a look at our round-up of where you can find some of the best ice fishing the world has to offer, and what you should be casting for once you get there.

1. Lule River, Sweden

The Lule River in Sweden originates near the Norwegian border and is teeming with some of the tastiest salmon and trout you can find in Scandinavia. During the rest of the year, the river’s “hot areas” are only reachable by boat. Not so in winter, when the ice is secure. Take a look at available accommodations, licensing and bait here.

Photo taken in Sweden, Lule (Getty)

2. Devils Lake, North Dakota

The state of North Dakota sure knows how to sell this lake. Touting it as “a fishing destination unlike anywhere else,” the tourism board brags that its fish are large and healthy, its winter season is long, and the “huge” size of the lake means you can avoid tangling your lines with any other overeager anglers. Grab a 3 or 10-day license to search for jumbo perch, walleye and big pike.

An ice fisherman waits to catch another jumbo perch on Devil’s Lake in North Dakota. (Getty)

3. Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Welcome to the self-proclaimed Walleye Capital of the World, and perhaps the most commercialized location on this list. We say that affectionately, though— Lake of the Woods has the accommodations and resources to turn an ice-fishing trip into a full-blown vacation, complete with snowmobiling and cross country skiing for anyone who isn’t keen on staying on the ice all day. We don’t know why they wouldn’t, though — there are dozens of pre-heated fish houses, and if you opt for a sleeper fish house, there’s a chance you can glimpse the Northern Lights.

Frozen burbot fish in snow during ice fishing on Lake of the Woods in Minnesota (Getty)

4. Kathleen Lake, Yukon Territory

This is a locale reached best by snowmobile, and this secluded spot in Canada’s Kluane National Park & Reserve is the only part of the park that allows open fires on the ice surface. While anglers describe the trout as “medium-sized,” the sheer amount of them “more than makes up for it.” Expect to have a busy day on the ice, with an afternoon barbecue to boot.

Kathleen Lake (Getty)

5. Lake Champlain, Vermont

Vermont is a lovely place to visit, with the type of hospitality you’re more likely to encounter in the Midwest or the South. In addition to a warm welcome, you can expect to find a healthy variety of fish in Lake Champlain on its western border with New York. Boasting bluegill, perch, pike and the occasional walleye, the winter fishing season is open from January to March 15 every year. Shanty rentals with optional wood stoves inside are available for rent, and it’s not hard to find gear if you need a little something extra.

Ice Breakup on Lake Champlain (Getty)

6. Lake Simcoe, Ontario

If you glance at a Google Map of this lake, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Fishing huts, fishing outfitters and fishing charters pepper nearly every inch of shoreline—and that’s for good reason. Known for jumbo perch, whitefish and pike, the real holy grail here is the Lake Simcoe lake trout, and there are plenty of places on the ice to drop a line. Starting in January, you can fish seven days a week, in deep or shallow water, in the open, in a hot box hut, or even an ice bungalow if you’re keen on sleeping on the water overnight. Not far from Toronto, this is a perfect international jaunt for a mid-level angler.

Ice fishing teepees camped on the frozen surface of Kempenfelt Bay, Lake Simcoe. (Getty)

7. Antero Reservoir, Colorado

This isn’t exactly the place to go for peace and quiet.

A reservoir operated by Denver Water, it’s described by locals as “truly a circus” on the weekends. But if you find yourself in Denver and want to skip away for a day to scratch your ice fishing itch, you’ll find plenty of trophy-sized fish waiting to be caught. Thanks to an abundance of freshwater shrimp, rainbow trout, brown trout, Snake River cutthroat, greenback cutthroat, cutbows, kokanee salmon, brook trout, and splake are all caught in the reservoir. Just make sure to find a break in the weeds, as the water can run a bit shallow, and no one likes to get tangled.

Colorado’s Antero Reservoir, still wearing its winter coat of ice, from the air. (John Krzesinski/Getty)

8. Birch Lake, Alaska

Coined one of the region’s “Big Three” lakes by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Birch Lake is the perfect place for novice ice fishers because there are a ton of “catchable fish” here. Rainbow trout, coho salmon, Chinook salmon, arctic char and arctic grayling are present, though the grayling is fairly rare. The ADNR says this is a good place for introducing children and older people to ice fishing, so if you were considering a place to make ice fishing a family affair, this is your spot.

Lt. Col. Nick Sengstacke, chief of education, Medical Department Activity-Alaska, chills out and waits for the elusive nibble during Saturday’s ice fishing trip to Birch Lake (Photo by Sheryl Nix/Fort Wainwright PAO/Flickr/Creative Commons)

9. Fort Peck Lake, Montana

Fort Peck Lake in Montana is huge: There’s no way around it. You’ll find more than 1500 miles of shoreline, depths that stretch to the 200-foot mark, and more than 50 kinds of fish in the reservoir. It’s the fifth largest man-made lake in the country, with only one major drawback: It’s not close to much of anything. The closest town, Jordan, has a population of less than 400 people, and the lake isn’t within a half-day’s drive of any major cities or airports.

But Fort Peck’s remoteness is part of what makes it so incredible. Lax regulations mean you can go a full 24 hours between tip up checks (tip ups are a device that let you fish multiple spots simultaneously; the rig sits over the hole and a flag pops up if you hook a fish). Also, tip ups can be spread as far and wide as you want, but there is a limit of six per angler. However, Fort Peck is known for having pressure cracks and thin spots at various parts of the lake, so this site isn’t for novice fishers. Talk to locals, pay attention, and bring a depth sonar. You won’t regret it.

Ice fishing hole, fishing rods and trout. Stock photo. (Getty)

10. Caples Lake, California

Contrary to popular belief, you can ice fish in California, and Caples Lake is a perfect (and accessible) place to do so. Rainbow and brook trout are plentiful in this locale, situated high in in the Sierra Nevada mountains near South Lake Tahoe. For productive baits, ESPN recommends you use Rapala ice jigs, small Crippled Herring, Megabait Live Jigs, Gold Label Balls O’ Fire eggs and nightcrawlers. For more of a challenge—and a less developed spot— hit Silver Lake, just 10 miles away. 

Caples Lake, California in winter. (Getty)

What Voting and Elections Look Like Around The World

Voting is one of the foundations of American democracy, but voter turnout is always a highly contentious topic. As this year’s midterms draw near, there are serious questions on everyone’s mind: Will young people actually turn out to vote? Will the”blue wave” that Democrats keep talking about gain them control of the House for the first time since 2011? Is the country about to break a record for successful women candidates?

Quartz writes that in the United States, presidential election participation is pretty high: Over six in 10 eligible Americans voted in the last three quadrennial elections. But in midterm elections, like this year, only four in ten voters actually make their voices heard. This means half the time, control of the U.S. congress is decided by a minority of voters. There are, of course, major and minor voting issues that come up every election, including problems with polling machines, laws that try to prevent certain groups of people from voting, or just general confusion about the process.

And of course, voting is not limited to the United States. Elections happen around the world. But according to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, voter turnout has been declining across the globe since the beginning of the 1990s. There has, however, been a rise in other forms of citizen activism, like mass protests, political occupations, and increased use of social media.

To combat citizen apathy, voting has been made mandatory in 22 countries, such as Australia, where failing to exercise your franchise will get you fined. In 2014, The New York Times reported that more than 85 percent of the voters in Australia, Belgium and Bolivia turned out to vote. All three countries are among the roughly two dozen that make voting compulsory.

Then there are the many countries were voting is limited or not allowed at all. United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and Brueni all have limited suffrage, according to MicIn Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, members of the armed forces cannot vote.

In honor of the midterm elections, we look at the some photographs of what voting looks like around the world.

Brazil

Brazilian soldiers stand guard as people wait to vote, at a polling station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the second round of the presidential elections, on October 28, 2018. (DANIEL RAMALHO/AFP/Getty Images)

The president in Brazil is elected to a four-year term by absolute majority vote through a two-round system. Meanwhile, the country’s National Congress has two chambers. One, the Chamber of Deputies, has 513 members, elected to a four-year term by proportional representation. The second, the Federal Senate, has 81 members, elected to an eight-year term, but there are elections every four years for alternatively one-third and two-third of the legislative seats.

On Oct. 28, Brazil elected Jair Bolsonaro, a longtime far-right politician who has been likened to Donald Trump.

New Zealand

Tarikura Kapea, dressed in World of WearableArt garment ‘Cambrian Regeneration’ by Ran Xu of China, votes at Wellington City Library on September 23, 2017 in Wellington, New Zealand. Voters head to the polls today to elect the 52nd Parliament of New Zealand. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand has been using a mixed-member proportional electoral system since 1996 — this means voters get two votes: one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency, and one for a political party.

The country has a single-house legislature, the House of Representatives, which usually has 120 members. The country was the first to give women the right to vote, in 1893.

The most recent general election took place in September 2017, and it determined the 52nd New Zealand Parliament.

South Africa

A South African voting hall in Pretoria on April 8, 2018. (GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1994, South Africans of all races took place in the first fully democratic elections after the racist apartheid government finally ended. The new nation instead enshrined principles like “universal adult suffrage, a national common voters roll, regular elections and a multi-party system of democratic government” in its 1996 Constitution.

Elections in South Africa are held for National Assembly, provincial legislatures, and municipal councils. Elections follow a five-year cycle, and parties are represented in proportion to their electoral support.

Russia

Pensioners visit a polling station to vote in the second round of the 2018 Russian gubernatorial election in the Vladimir Region. (Artyom GeodakyanTASS via Getty Images)

Russia has a Federal Assembly, which is made up of two chambers. The State Duma has 450 members, elected for five-year terms, using a system of proportional representation, which means parties gain a percentage of seats proportional to the amount of national votes they receive. The  country’s other chamber, the Federation Council or Senate, is not directly elected. Instead, each of the 85 federal subjects of Russia—the country’s top-level political sub-states—sends two delegates to the Senate, for a total of 170 members.

The country also elects a president as head of state, while an appointed Prime Minister functions much like a vice president. Now, the president of Russia is elected to six-year terms by popular vote, but up until 2012, presidential terms were four years. The most recent presidential elections were held on March 18, 2018, and incumbent Vladimir Putin won reelection for his second consecutive term in office with 77 percent of the vote. (Putin had previously won two terms as president in office from 2000 to 2008 ; he served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012.)

Belgium

People stand in line to cast their votes for the local elections in Brussels, Belgium on October 14, 2018. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Belgium is one of the countries with compulsory voter laws, so Belgians who are 18-years-old or over and registered non-Belgian voters are obligated to vote in elections. Those who fail to show up at their polling station can face prosecution or a fine. On top of that, if Belgians fail to vote in four elections, they can lose the right to vote for 10 years.

Mexico

Mexican Otomies ethnic group women cast their vote during the general elections in Solalpan village in Mexico state on July 1, 2018. (MARIO VAZQUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Elections are held in Mexico to determine the president and the legislature. The President of Mexico is elected for a single, six-year term by the people, and no president can serve more than one term in office.

The Congress of the Union has two chambers. The Chamber of Deputies has 500 members, each elected for a three-year term. The Chamber of Senators has 128 members, elected for a six-year term. Mexico has a multi-party system, with three dominant political parties and a number of smaller ones. General elections were held in Mexico on July 1, 2018, and voters elected a new President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the coalition party National Regeneration Movement.

Indonesia

Indonesian youths in a heavily Islamic neighborhood pray in the main street after quick count results showed their candidate decisively ahead of the incumbent on April 19, 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Ed Wray/Getty Images)

The Indonesian presidency was first established during the formation of the 1945 Constitution. The president is both head of state and head of government of a multi-party system. But for much of the country’s history since 1945, presidents have ruled for extended periods while delegitimizing political opposition. (Two men, Presidents Sukarno and Suharto, led the country between 1945 and 1998.)  In May 1998, riots in Indonesia finally precipitated President Suharto’s resignation. Following this, several amendments were made to the Constitution of Indonesia which resulted in changes to all branches of government. In 2004, the country directly elected its president for the first time (prior to this, the president and vice president were elected by the nation’s legislature).

Local elections were most recently held in Indonesia on June 27. Joko Widodo is currently serving as the seventh president of Indonesia, after winning his first term in 2014. The presidential term of office is five years and the constitution allows for a president to be consecutively re-elected only once.

Spain

People gather to stage a demonstration in Barcelona, Spain on October 3, 2017 after the Catalonia independence referendum. (Albert Llop/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

There are four types of elections in Spain: General, elections to the legislatures of the autonomous communities, local elections, and elections to the European Parliament.

In 2017, more than 2.2 million people turned out to vote in an referendum in Catalonia, a region in the northeast of Spain that seeks independence. The Catalonian regional government reported that 90 percent of voters favored a split from Madrid. However, the turnout was low—only around 42 percent of the voter roll—in part, because Spain’s highest court had ruled the vote illegal under the Spanish constitution. Madrid cited judicial authority and flooded Catalonia with thousands of national police in advance of the vote, and officers seized millions of ballot papers. The Spanish government also sealed schools and other buildings that were being used as polling stations for the referendum.

Bolivia

People line up to vote on Referendum day held on Feberuary 21, 2016 in La Paz, Bolivia.(Jose Luis Quintana/LatinContent/Getty Images)

All Bolivian citizens at least 21-years-old, or eighteen if married, are guaranteed the right to vote. In addition, Bolivia also requires by law that its citizens vote in every election.  All citizens must register with neighborhood poll notaries established prior to an election. Bolivia elects a national head of state—the president—as well as a legislature.

Turkey

Election committee members count ballots at a polling station during the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections in Istanbul on June 24, 2018. ( ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

This year was the first year that presidential and parliamentary polls were held simultaneously in Turkey, a consequence of last year’s constitutional changes that are tranforming the country’s parliamentary system to an executive presidential one, according to Al Jazeera. The changes will take place after the next round of elections and will greatly expand the subsequent president’s power. In what is a significant step backwards for Turkish democracy, the new government structure will also abolish the prime ministry as well as remove the monitoring role of parliament, and give the presidential office the power to appoint vice presidents, ministers, high-level officials and senior judges.

 

Behind-the-Scenes Photos and Surprising Facts from 13 Classic TV Series

Though there are plenty of great TV shows to watch right now (like The Americans, Killing Eve or Insecure) there are of course plenty of shows from decades ago that we wish were still around.

Since everyone can use a trip down memory lane every now and then, we decided to look at some behind-the-scenes shots of the best shows from the ’80s and ’90s, along with little-known facts about each show.

Cheers

“Cheers”: Ted Danson (left), played Sam Malone, Shelley Long, played Diane Chambers, and James Burrows was the show’s creator. (NBCU Photo Bank)

Cheers, that Boston bar where everybody knows your name, captured viewer’s hearts from 1982 to 1993, with a total of 275 episodes. It became one of the most popular series of all time, even though it almost didn’t make it through its first seasons because it was not an immediate hit. In fact, the show had terrible ratings right after it premiered. Luckily, it was left on air and we all got to know former Red Sox pitcher Sam Malone (played by Ted Danson, who actually went to bartending school as part of his training for the role).

Diff’rent Strokes

“Diff’rent Strokes” Muhammad Ali (second from right) had a guest starring role on the show’s “The Hero” episode, which aired 10/24/79. Dana Plato (left) played Kimberly Drummond, Gary Coleman (second from left) played Arnold Jackson, and Todd Bridges (center) played Willis Jackson, read script lines with Ali and an unknown crew member. (Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Diff’rent Strokes ran for eight seasons and, at times, the sitcom tackled very serious themes, including alcoholism, bulimia, epilepsy, and the dangers of hitchhiking. And in 1983, Strokes aired a two-part episode about child molestation. Episodes like this were denoted as “very special” episodes, writes Mental Floss, and the series ended on one featuring Arnold Jackson (Gary Coleman) investigating a steroid scandal for the school newspaper.

Married…with Children

Married…with Children (Imdb)

Married…with Children had a decade-long run from 1987 to 1997. It wasn’t very successful at first, but then a family activist started a letter writing campaign that complained about the show’s subject matter and anti-family values. That story put the show in the media spotlight and ultimately made it a hit. The show, which ran for 260 total episodes, was Fox’s first primetime show, and it is the longest-running, scripted live-action show in Fox’s history.

Family Ties

“Family Ties” Michael J. Fox (left), played Alex P. Keaton and Justine Bateman played his sister, Mallory. (Ron Tom/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank)

With a star like Michael J. Fox, how could this show not be a hit? Family Ties thrust the wholesome, adorable Fox into the spotlight, and audiences loved him. But originally, the executives of Family Ties did not think Fox could carry the role of Alex P. Keaton because he “didn’t have a face you could put on a lunchbox”—basically meaning they didn’t think he was good looking enough. But Fox excelled at the role, and Brandon Tartikoff, one of the executives, later wrote to Fox and apologized.

The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — On the “Bang the Drum Ashley” episode, air date 09/17/1990, political activist Jesse Jackson (left) guest starred, with Jeffrey A. Townes (center) playing Jazz, and Will Smith, playing William ‘Will’ Smith. (Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank)

The street-smart Philly teenager Will Smith moved into the opulent Bel-Air home of the Banks family in 1989. The TV show was originally cancelled after the fourth season, when Will moved back to Philadelphia, but letters from fans poured in to Will Smith and NBC, urging them to keep the show going. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was then resurrected continued for two more seasons. The show won 13 awards and received 23 nominations during its run. But Will Smith actually only agreed to the role, which shot him to stardom, because of IRS issues. When Smith started making it as a rapper, he blew through all his money and didn’t pay his taxes. And then his second album flopped. Quincy Jones offered him the part after an impromptu audition at Jones’ home.

Golden Girls

“The Golden Girls” — Bea Arthur (left) played Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak, Estelle Getty (right), played Sophia Petrillo (Alice S. Hall/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Golden Girls, starring Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan, focused on four women sharing a Miami home—and was an instant hit. All four stars won Emmys. The show had multiple writer groups over its run though, so there are differences between seasons in number and names of kids, distant relatives, and character histories. The house’s layout even changes occasionally. The show hit on controversial topics, including AIDS, gay marriage, and teen pregnancy.

Friends

“Friends” — Actor David Schwimmer (center), who played Ross Geller on the series, directing an episode of “Friends.” (NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Friends is still a hit, with syndicated reruns playing on TV and all 10 seasons available on Netflix. It wasn’t always supposed to have such a short series name, though, the working titles included Insomnia Cafe, Friends Like Us, and Six of One. A couple fun facts about the show: David Schwimmer did not have to audition for Ross, while when Matt LeBlanc auditioned for the role of Joey, he only had $11, and he has said that the role saved his career. Meanwhile, the roles of Phoebe and Chandler were actually supposed to be supporting roles, and the group was supposed to be of four friends. It has been reported that Monica and Joey were supposed to get together, not her and Chandler, but the studio audience’s response to Monica and Chandler first getting together was so overwhelming they pursued that storyline instead.

The Jeffersons

“The Jeffersons”– (bottom, right to left), Paul Benedict (as Harry Bentley), Isabel Sanford (Louise Jefferson), Sherman Hemsley (George Jefferson), Zara Cully (Mother Jefferson); and (top, right to left) Franklin Cover (Tom Willis), Roxie Roker (Helen Willis), Berlinda Folbert (Jenny Willis), and Damon Evans (Lionel Jefferson).

The Jeffersons spent 11 seasons on air and is the second longest-running American television series with a predominantly African-American cast. It aired in 1975 as an All in the Family spin-off, starring the Bunkers’ next-door neighbors, the Jeffersons. But the show ultimately spent more time on air than the series that spawned it.

Magnum P.I.

Magnum, P.I. – Behind the scenes photo of Tom Selleck (center, left), who played Thomas Magnum, Larry Manetti (left), who played Orville ‘Rick’ Wright and Roger E. Mosley (center, right), who played T.C. Jones. (Pinterest)

Tom Selleck starred in this popular detective show, which ran for eight seasons, from 1980–88. However, by taking on the role, Selleck lost the opportunity to be Indiana Jones. Selleck had been the top choice for the whip-wielding archaeologist when production of Raiders of the Lost Ark began, but since he had committed to Magnum, P.I. he couldn’t take the role. We doubt Selleck regrets it though, since the show ended with one of the most-watched finales of all time, and it currently sits as the fifth most-watched series finale of all time, with 50.7 million viewers.

Growing Pains

“Growing Pains” — Kirk Cameron (left), played Mike Seaver on the hit ABC sitcom. (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

Growing Pains ran for seven seasons, getting only more popular as time went on. Jeremy Miller, who played Ben Seaver, was only eight years old when Growing Pains started filming, so he’d start to cry when the seasons were over and he had to leave his TV family. The series was actually the first American sitcom to be shown in China, and it was popular in the country.

Seinfeld

“Seinfeld” — Jerry Seinfeld (center, seated) starred in the 1990s NBC sitcom based loosely on his life as a stand-up comic. (Joseph Del Valle/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Seinfeld started out as the poorly received The Seinfeld Chronicles in 1989, but ended nine years later as a beloved sitcom, one that forever shaped pop culture and is still popular to this day. But the show ends in a similar way to how it begins: Jerry’s last conversation with George in the series mirrors his first conversation with George in the series. In both, Jerry is criticizing the button placement on George’s shirt. But in the series finale, George says, “Haven’t we had this conversation before?”

Saved by the Bell

“Saved by the Bell” — Pictured: Tiffani Thiessen, who played Kelly Kapowski on the series. (Joseph Del Valle/NBCU Photo Bank)

Almost called When the Bell Rings, Saved By the Bell was originally a spin-off of the show Good Morning, Miss Bliss. The same set was later used in That’s So Raven and iCarly. The character Samuel “Screech” Powers, played by Dustin Diamond, is the only character in every single original Saved By the Bell episode, spin-off, and movie. He was cast at age 12, but the show’s creator, Peter Engel, did not know that, and said he wouldn’t have cast him if he had known his true age.

Family Matters

Family Matters (Imdb)

Steve Urkel and the Winslow family were the main characters in Family Matters, the third longest-running sitcom with an African-American cast in television history. The show ran for nine seasons and 215 episodes (only Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and The Jeffersons beat it). The show was originally a spin-off of Perfect Strangers, and Steve Urkel was only supposed to appear on one episode of the series. However, Jaleel White’s character stole every scene he was in and became the center of the show with the Winslows acting as supporting cast. This made things a little tense at the beginning of the show, but obviously, relationships get better when a show is a hit.

Nine Freddie Mercury Stage Looks Will Still Rock You

Freddie Mercury‘s bold, bright, and often bedazzled stage looks were the ultimate complement to his band’s powerful music. They were outfits that accessorized Queen’s pulsating songs in a way only he and his commanding stage presence could. Out-there costumes were a match for Mercury’s over-the-top performances, the former never overshadowing the latter.

Over the course of Queen’s run with Mercury at the helm — until his untimely death in 1991 due to complications from HIV/AIDS at just 45-years-old — the band’s concerts were part musical extravaganzas and part visual spectacles. They drew crowds in the tens of thousands for decades.

As the new biofilm Bohemian Rhapsody opens today in multiplexes, take a journey through time with Mercury’s best stage looks.

New York City, 1977

Freddie Mercury and John Deacon performing live on stage at Madison Square Garden on February 5, 1977. (Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

The 1997 Day at the Races Tour was the first time Queen hopped across the Pond to New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Some of Mercury’s plunging neckline leotards were said to have been inspired by the legendary Polish male ballet dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky.

Oakland, 1982

Freddie Mercury of Queen, 1982 Tour at the Various Locations in Oakland, California (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage)

Freddie Mercury’s signature style often showed a proclivity for skin. While performing in Oakland’s Coliseum during the Hot Space Tour of 1982, the Queen frontman donned a rainbow bolero covered in feathery strips of colorful fabric.

London, 1986

Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium, London, July 1986. (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

Queen played two nights at London’s Wembley Stadium as part of the Magic Tour, on July 11th and 12th 0f 1986. An iconic photo from one show that captured Mercury in a bright yellow, military-style jacket was immortalized on the cover of Greatest Hits III. The tour would be Mercury’s last ever with the band.

Multiple cities, 1978

Queen on tour in 1978. (Brad Elterman/FilmMagic)

While criss-crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the breakneck, 46-show News of the World Tour, Mercury donned red and shite striped short shorts with matching suspenders — and not much more. The look proved so popular, it  made return appearances at several locations.

Rio de Janeiro, 1985

Freddie Mercury on stage during Queen’s performance at the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil, 1985. . (Dave Hogan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Queen played the Rock in Rio festival in Brazil in 1985. Over the course of two back-to-back 2 a.m. stage times, the band performed for nearly 750,000 people. While in South America, Freddie brought back his signature skin-tight leotards of the 1970s. He refrained from dressing in drag for the band’s performances of I Want to Break Free because of mixed reactions from the fans.

Tokyo, 1976

Queen Live at Nippon Budokan. Freddie Mercury in kimono, Tokyo, March 22, 1976. (Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

Mercury elected to wear a traditional kimono while the band toured in Japan in 1976. They played the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo for a crowd of just under 15,000 people. Tickets went for about $26 a pop.

Oakland, 1978

Queen performs at the Oakland Coliseum in December 1978 in Oakland, California. (Ed Perlstein/Redferns/Getty Images)

Mercury often incorporated leather into his looks, despite the climate. Toward the end of 1978 in Northern California during the Jazz tour, the Somebody to Love singer opted for a more covered-up look. He might have been warmed by the 320-light “pizza oven” display that followed the band across the world between 1978 and 1979.

New York City, 1980

From left to right, musician John Deacon and Freddie Mercury (1946 – 1991) of British rock band Queen in concert, 1980. (Photo by Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The Game Tour of 1980 was Killer Queen at their most popular, traversing the globe with some of their biggest classic rock hits — and Freddie’s new mustache — in tow. The band incorporated songs like Another One Bites the Dust into every show. It was also a period in which Mercury began wearing a lot of pants and small accents like this matching red tie, sans shirt.

London, 1977

On 11th June 1977, the band finished up its UK tour with two sell-out concerts at London’s Earls Court. (Photo by Gary Merrin/Keystone/Getty Images)

Queen wrapped its 1977 tour of the U.K. with two performances at London’s Earls Court on back-to-back June evenings. All proceeds from these shows went to the the Queen’s Silver Jubilee appeal, a charitable celebration of the Queen of England’s 25th year on the throne. Mercury matched the grandeur of the show’s honoree with a crystal-covered onesie.

Fastest McLaren Ever Built Can Go 0-180 in a Dirty Dozen Seconds

Two decades ago, a McLaren F1 achieved a top speed of 240.14 miles per hour at the Ehra-Lessien Proving Ground in Germany, setting a record for road-going production cars that would stand for nearly seven years.

That mark smashed the previous record which was held by a Jaguar XJ220 by almost 30 MPH and helped establish the F1 as one of, if not the most significant supercars of the modern era.

So a diesel-loving descendant of the F1 and McLaren’s latest road car, the McLaren Speedtail, has some big tires to fill.

Judging by its preliminary speed specs, it will … and quickly.

Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)
Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)

With a teardrop-shaped three-seat cockpit that puts the driver in front on their lonesome and is reminiscent of the interior of the F1, the Speedtail is the fastest McLaren ever built and is capable of hitting a top speed of 250 MPH.

Built from lightweight carbon fiber and featuring other weight-reducing options such as an aluminum active suspension and carbon-ceramic brakes, the Speedtail is McLaren’s most aero-drag efficient road car and is modeled after the “streamliners” of land speed racing. 

Often custom built, streamliners are sleek high-speed vehicles used to set world speed records at venues like the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)
Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)

Billed as McLaren’s “first Hyper-GT” and a member of the marque’s Ultimate Series, the Speedtail has a hybrid powertrain — although the exact ratio of how much power will come from gas and how much from electricity has not been made clear.  

What is known is that the engine setup will be powerful, as it is capable of churning out 1,035 horsepower and propelling the stylish touring car from 0 to 186 MPH in just 12.8 seconds. (McLaren’s previous Ultimate Series hybrid, the P1, did 0 to 186 in 16.5 seconds.)

Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)
Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)

In order to hit those top speed numbers, the 17-foot Speedtail must be placed into its specifically developed “Velocity” mode. Once Velocity is activated, the car’s digital rear-view cameras retract to reduce drag and the Speedtail’s active chassis lowers by 1.4 inches so that the highest point of the vehicle is just 3.7 feet above the road.

The driving force behind all of these features seems to be to allow passengers to travel long distances smoothly and quickly, but also in style. The carbon fiber, leather, and metalwork that’s present within the interior of the Speedtail earns that status and the car coming with a bespoke luggage set for three only enforces it.

Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)
Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)

“McLaren has never built a vehicle like the Speedtail before,” said McLaren Automotive CEO Mike Flewitt. “The Speedtail is the ultimate McLaren road car; a fusion of art and science that combines an astonishing maximum speed with an iconic central-driving position and a truly pioneering approach to bespoke personalization.”

McLaren design director Rob Melville added: “The McLaren Speedtail is a vehicle unlike any other, not simply because of the astonishing visual drama, extreme speed and aerodynamic excellence that distinguish it, but because it sets unprecedented standards in technical luxury and bespoke customization.  The same boundless innovation and creativity that drives McLaren to push the limits of physical performance have challenged us to craft an exquisite interior defined by pioneering design and the absolute pinnacle of materials quality.”

Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)
Press images of the McLaren Speedtail released upon its reveal. (McLaren)

Sounds pretty good, right? Well here’s the bad: Only 106 Speedtails will be produced and they are all already accounted for.

But don’t feel too bad. Unless you have $2.22 million lying around, you couldn’t have snagged one anyhow.

Celebrities Whose Political Rants Came Back to Haunt Them

Kanye West has been making headlines recently for his political rants, posts and tweets. The 40-year-old rapper performed three songs on Saturday Night Live in September and then, while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, spoke of his support of President Trump in a rant that didn’t make it to air.

But Kanye is not the first celeb to make headlines because of their strong political beliefs, rants or comments. As the midterm elections get closer and Democrats and Republicans hold their breath to see who gets control of the House, we take a look at some of the times public figures and movie stars took their political protests and rants too far and, ultimately, regretted their words.

Jane Fonda

A photo dated 25 July 1972 of U.S. actress Jane Fonda visiting Hanoi, the capital of Communist North Vietnam, during the Vietnam War. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Jane Fonda drew bitter criticism after being photographed atop an anti-aircraft gun during a controversial 1972 visit to North Vietnam. In an interview this year, Fonda said she is still confronted by Vietnam War veterans over her 1970s anti-war activism. The photograph earned her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” She also addresses the incident in her documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts.

“I’m proud that I went to Vietnam when I did, but what I say in the film is true: I am just so sorry that I was thoughtless enough to sit down on that gun at that time,” she said at the Television Critics Association panel, according to Variety. “The message that sends to the guys that were there and their families, it’s horrible for me to think about that. Sometimes I think, ‘Oh I wish I could do it over’ because there are things I would say differently now.”

Clint Eastwood

Actor Clint Eastwood talks to an empty chair during the 2012 Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Lucian Perkins/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

In 2012, Clint Eastwood got on stage at the Republican National Convention and spoke to an empty chair. He started the speech by pointing at said chair and announcing, “So I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here.” For 12 minutes, Eastwood “rambled nonsensically” to the empty chair, The Washington Post wrote after the event occurred. Eastwood and the chair talked about Guantanamo and Afghanistan and consulting the Russians.

“I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think,” Eastwood said at the beginning of his speech. “That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people, by the nature of the word itself, play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot-dogging it.”

Time called the speech “one of the most baffling and iconic moments of the 2012 election” in a story wondering what happened to the chair, while The Guardian wrote that it “turned Republican stomachs.” In 2016, in an interview with The Washington Post, Eastwood admitted to regretting the speech.

Mel Gibson

Director Mel Gibson attends the premiere of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ during the 73rd Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 4, 2016 in Venice, Italy. (Claudio Lavenia/Getty Images)

Mel Gibson was formally a Hollywood powerhouse, who had plenty of box office hits and two Oscars to his name. But in 2006, Gibson went viral for an anti-Semitic rant, which occurred while he was getting arrested in Malibu, in which he said “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” according to the New York Daily News. He was also caught on audiotape threatening his then-girlfriend with rape and other physical abuse as well as dropping the N-word.

A decade after his fall from grace, however, Gibson received a 10-minute standing ovation at the premiere of his film, Hacksaw Ridge.

Roseanne Barr

roseanne barr
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and Roseanne Barr attend live podcast at Stand Up NY on July 26, 2018 in New York City. (James Devaney/Getty Images)

Roseanne Barr made headline after headline after she went on a racist and vitriolic Twitter rant, which seemed to take aim at Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman was is a former adviser to President Barack Obama. The tweet identified the administration official by her initials, saying, “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” The Roseanne star later claimed it was “a joke,” and even later issued a fuller apology after she faced intense criticism.

“I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans,” she wrote. “I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks. I should have known better. Forgive me-my joke was in bad taste,” she tweeted, according to The Washington Post. 

Barr was quickly dropped by her talent agency and then ABC cancelled her Roseanne reboot, which was coming back after a 21-year hiatus. It was later replaced with The Conners, which focuses on the family minus the matriarch.

Gloria Steinem

Activist Gloria Steinem speaks at the Opening Night of the Massachusetts Conference for Women at the Boston Convention Center on December 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Massachusetts Conference for Women)

Feminist icon Gloria Steinem offended a large group of Bernie Sanders supporters when she said that many of his young female supporters are only backing the senator because of “boys.”

“Women are more for [Clinton] than men are. Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, women get more radical because they lose power as they age,” she said on Bill Maher’s show during the run-up to the 2016 election, according to The Guardian“They’re going to get more activist as they grow older. And when you’re younger, you think: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.'”

She later said that her comments were “taken wildly out of context.”

“I didn’t understand that he had taken it a different way, otherwise I would have stopped him,” Steinem said during an interview with Time. “I was just talking about how angry young women were that they were graduating in debt. But the second part of the sentence got cut out.”

She continued, saying, “If I had only said what the Twitter-length version said I’d said, I’d be mad at me too. It was very frustrating, to put it mildly. Especially because if you’d been saying the same thing for years, you can’t believe that people think you think what you don’t think.”

This Two-Seater Is the Oldest DIY Project on Four Wheels

“I got it one piece at a time
And it wouldn’t cost me a dime
You’ll know it’s me when I come through your town
I’m gonna ride around in style
I’m gonna drive everybody wild
‘Cause I’ll have the only one there is around.”
FromOne Piece at a Time” by Johnny Cash

In that Cash tune, the protagonist assembles a one-of-a-kind Cadillac by permanently borrowing pieces off the assembly line and taking them home from his job at the General Motors plant in Detroit via his extra-large lunchbox.

It takes a quarter of a century to accumulate all the parts, but by the end of the Billboard hit the singer has a unique “psychobilly Cadillac” made up of components from a number of different Caddy models.

And the best part is that it cost him elbow grease but no cash.

While it was built legally and for a slightly higher price point, the 1900 English Mechanic you see here was also built a little bit at a time by an aspiring motorist who was long on automotive ambition but short on funds. 

The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)
The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)

Published in a motoring magazine bearing the same name, the instructions for assembling the so-called English Mechanic were released in a series entitled “A Small Motor-Car and How to Build It.”

Including diagrams, written descriptions, engine drawings, and cylinder cast patterns the series released the instructions for constructing the car over a period of 31 weeks.

Like the front picture on a box containing puzzle pieces, the schematic for the DIY car showed a simple two-seater with single-cylinder horizontal motor and a belt transmission meant to be quieter than a gearshift model.

The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)
The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)

“While fully recognizing the desirability of having plenty of power, yet it must not be forgotten that a very powerful motor mounted in a light car gives rise to unpleasant vibrations and tends to shake the carriage to pieces very rapidly,” the author wrote. “Therefore, for our carriage, which is intended to carry two persons only, I believe the happy medium will be a three-brake horsepower engine.”

Originally anonymous, the author was building his own model of the vehicle at the same time as his readers using the same instructions. As the project went along, the author revealed himself to be 29-year old engineer Thomas Hyler-White and also made subtle tweaks to the design as he discovered flaws in his original instructions.

The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)
The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)

As you might expect, construction on many of the DIY models was halted at some point during the 31-week process and many of them were never finished.

That wasn’t the case with registration no. A 166 and it is the oldest-known surviving English Mechanic that is still in one piece.

In addition to the way the car was built, that’s also somewhat surprising thanks to the way it was found in 1921 after being abandoned. Discovered in a field in Kent, the classic model had a tree growing through its chassis.

In order to move the car, lumberjacks had to be called to remove the tree.

The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)
The 1900 English Mechanic which is headed to auction on November 2. (Bonhams)

Hitting the market for the first time publicly across the pond on November 2 at a Bonhams auction, the car will take part in the London to Brighton Run – the world’s longest running motoring event -on the 4th.

Featuring an engine that was rebuilt within the last year, the DIY model is expected to fetch anywhere from $84,000 to $110,000.