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Hi I’m John Green. Welcome to my salon. Did you know that when I'm not hosting Mental
Floss on YouTube, I have a hobby? I write books! It's just a thing I do in my spare
time, but i even wrote, like, half of the quotes that have been attributed to me on
Now we all know that Justin Bieber fills his spare time by drag racing and Shia Labeouf
likes to plagiarize, but today I’m going to share with you the surprising hobbies of
many well-known people.
Chuck Norris gave former "Price is Right" host Bob Barker karate lessons. For eight
years. Barker once recalled, “He used to come to my home and we’d do karate. We started
out here on my lawn and then I started parking my car on the driveway and made the garage
into a karate studio. I took lessons for eight years. Then Chuck got into acting.”
You'll be surprised to learn that director David Lynch has had some bizarre hobbies over
the years, including musician, coffee roaster, and nightclub owner. Since I’m sure you’ll
want to see for yourself: you can actually buy his coffee at Whole Foods and visit the
Mulholland-Drive-inspired Club Silencio in Paris. And this club has everything, or at
least that's why I heard from Stefon.
Speaking of directors, Stanley Kubrick collected stationary and other letter-writing paraphernalia.
According to his brother-in-law, Kubrick once learned that a line of brown ink was getting
discontinued, so he went ahead and bought every bottle left in existence: a total of
100 bottles.
Another famous collector is Ayn Rand, who had a stamp collection. She even wrote an
article called “Why I Like Stamp Collecting” for the Minkus Stamp Journal in 1971. Spoiler
alert: she liked stamp collecting because it's not a Marxist enterprise that props up
the weak.
Thomas Edison was a huge cinephile. But he wasn’t a fan of talkies, even believing
that sound in the movies “spoiled everything.” He once said, “There isn’t any good acting
on the screen. They concentrate on the voice now and have forgotten how to act.” I don’t
blame you, Edison. That was before acting legends like Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton,
and Nicholas Cage made it to the big screen and combined physical presence with a beautiful
voice. Anyway, nice to know that Thomas Edison was one of those "Get off my lawn" old people.
Former Great Britain prime minister Margaret Thatcher also took in culture as a hobby - she
was a big fan of operas and going to museums.
Warren Buffett plays the ukulele. He told the Today Show that he learned to play in
college so that he could impress a girl. Surprisingly, it didn’t work.
Ernest Hemingway was of course quite the outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. Another famous
outdoorsman, though, Sigmund Freud. He liked to hike and collect mushrooms. Not those kind.
Albert Einstein enjoyed sailing, but many say he never really learned how to properly
swim. His boat was named “Tinef,” which is Yiddish for “junk.” Einstein was also
a violinist by the way. Generally an overachiever.
Emily Dickinson was an excellent baker. A loaf of bread she made even came in second
place for a baking competition in the 1856 Amherst Cattle Show. Her prize? 50 cents.
A lot of famous people love golf, including Condoleezza Rice, Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis
Quaid, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama, and Bill
Murray. Of course we all know that another of Bill Murray’s hobbies is getting arrested
for drunk driving a golf cart. And YES that’s the third time we’ve made that joke on this
show. And I refuse to apologize.
Speaking of sports, NFL running back Arian Foster likes to write poetry and raps in his
spare time. And David Beckham fences with his pals Tom Cruise and Will Smith and no
I am not making that up.
Former Houston Rockets guard (and the shortest player to be inducted into the Basketball
Hall of Fame), Calvin Murphy was a world-class baton twirler. Twirling apparently helped
him refine his dribbling skills. Fellow Basketball hall of famer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar collects
rugs. And current San Antonio Spurs player, Tim Duncan likes going to Renaissance fairs
and playing Dungeons & Dragons. A man after my own heart!
Billionaire Richard Branson likes to kitesurf. In fact in 2013, he even was part of a group
who broke the Guinness World Record for the Largest Parade of Kitesurfers.
Speaking of billionaires, Steve Jobs grew up playing Bob Dylan songs on the guitar.
We can actually partially thank Bob Dylan (who was a painter in his spare time, for
the record) for Apple. According to the company’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, he and Jobs developed
a friendship because they both liked Dylan and would go on shopping excursions together
to buy his bootlegs. Wozniak’s current hobby, by the way: Segway polo.
Brad Pitt has a fairly normal hobby: photography. On the other hand, his wife, Angelina Jolie,
collects daggers. Jolie’s mom took her to buy her first dagger when she was just 11.
And the Jolie-Pitts plan to continue that tradition with their own kids….which is
gonna mean a lot of daggers.
While I’m talking about actors, Susan Sarandon loves ping pong. In fact, she calls herself
a “ping pong propagandist,” and is part owner of SPiN, a company that runs ping pong
clubs in New York, Toronto, LA, and Dubai.
When she’s not busy being nominated for every possible award, Meryl Streep knits.
As does Ryan Gosling.
One of my favorite authors, Zadie Smith grew up tap dancing. In fact, she spent ten years
pursuing the artform and a career in musical theatre before becoming a writer.
Another author, Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain dabbled in fashion. My god, why didn't he
just write books? Anyway, in 1871, he was granted a patent for “Adjustable and Detachable
Straps for Garments,” better known now as suspenders.
Off topic, but I've always believed that Dwight Schrute deep down is a suspenders guy. Oh
my gosh, there's Mark Twain! No, wait, that's Albert Einstein.
And while we're on the wall, Marie Curie and Pierre, not pictured because he doesn't have
a bobblehead. Anyway, they loved bicycling. For their honeymoon in 1895, they took a train
to the coast of France and biked from town to town. And two other famous bicyclists from
the 1890s were The Wright Brothers. Orville Wright was even a champion bicyclist, which
is he ran a bike shop with Wilbur before, you know, they created airplanes.
Let’s finish up by talking about some U.S. presidents. George W. Bush likes to paint
in his spare time. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson liked to play chess...against each
other. The games allegedly lasted for over four hours.
Jimmy Carter made his own wine. And as you’ll remember from our beer episode, Jimmy Carter
was also the president who legalized home-brewing. Coincidence? Probably so. Anyway, he also
made furniture.
John Tyler played the violin. Some sources even claim that he wanted to be a concert
violinist before he decided to study law.
Finally, I return to my salon to tell all of you young people out there that former
president Bill Clinton also played an instrument: the saxophone. In fact in 1992, when he was
running for president, he went on The Arsenio Hall Show and played “Heartbreak Hotel”
on the saxophone. And, I kid you not, Arsenio said, “It’s nice to see a Democrat blow
something besides the election.” Oh Bill Clinton.
Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all these nice
people. Every week we endeavor to answer one of your mind-blowing questions.
This week’s question comes from Jack Hughes who asks “Who came up with the idea for
Mount Rushmore heads?”
Well, we have this today because of Doane Robinson, the state historian of South Dakota
in the early 1900s. He was like, "Well we don't have a lot of actual history here in
South Dakota, but what if we carved some president's faces on a mountain?"
If you have a mind-blowing question, leave it in the comments below. Thanks again for
watching and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome.
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48 Successful People With Unique Hobbies - mental_floss on YouTube (Ep.205)

2887 Folder Collection
Eating published on January 27, 2015
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