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What Were They Thinking? Really Bad Ideas Throughout History

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Why would a Boston shoplifter hide stolen lobsters in his underwear? What would possess a California physician to give a cadaver’s severed hand as a romantic gift? What mental misfire led an Atlanta Braves pitcher to iron his shirt—while he was wearing it? Renowned bad idea connoisseur Bruce Felton examines these unanswerable questions and many others in What Were They Thinking?, revised for this edition to include recently unearthed harebrained schemes, useless products, and misguided obsessions. You’ll learn ...

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Overview

Why would a Boston shoplifter hide stolen lobsters in his underwear? What would possess a California physician to give a cadaver’s severed hand as a romantic gift? What mental misfire led an Atlanta Braves pitcher to iron his shirt—while he was wearing it? Renowned bad idea connoisseur Bruce Felton examines these unanswerable questions and many others in What Were They Thinking?, revised for this edition to include recently unearthed harebrained schemes, useless products, and misguided obsessions. You’ll learn the stories behind:

 

•  The World War II plot to attack Buckingham Palace with exploding ­chocolate bars
•  The zoo that encouraged visitors to shoot the animals (and even supplied rifles for an extra charge)
•  The travelers’ phrase book that translates “The cockroaches have eaten my shirt,” “Is there a taboo on your house?” and “Where can I defecate?”
•  The British plan to tear down the Taj Mahal and sell the pieces to interior decorators
•  The Elvis Vegiform, a plastic mold that turns any vegetable into a bust of the King      

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599211329
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Series: Humor
  • Edition description: Revised Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Felton, an award-winning writer and editor, has written for numerous magazines and newspapers and has authored five books. He lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Elvis has left the crisper

Bell peppers that look like Elvis? It's possible with the Elvis Vegiform, a plastic mold that fits over garden produce, casting it in the king's shape as it grows. Vegetables shaped like Elvis "are more weighty," claimed inventor Richard Tweddell III, "and the flavor is enhanced."

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Table of Contents


Introduction     ix
Thousands Flee As Mutant Cheese Attacks White House: Bad Ideas in American Politics and Government     1
Making the Whole World British: Bad Ideas in Politics and Government beyond U.S. Shores     27
The Plot to Kill Hitler's Mustache: Bad Ideas in War-and Peace     39
The Strange Journey of Haydn's Head: Bad Ideas in Arts and Letters     59
"Officer, Arrest That Projectionist!": Bad Ideas in Popular Culture     87
Nuking the Moon: Bad Ideas in Science and Medicine     105
Selling the Babe: Bonehead Plays in the Field of Sports     125
"Honey, I Drained the Canal!": A Miscellany of Moronic Stunts, Pointless Heroics, and Unsafe Practices     147
Board Games from Hell: And Other Marketplace Excesses     169
Thanks, but I Had a Big Lunch: A Smorgasbord of Unappetizing Ideas     183
Monsieur Sauvage's Flying Egg: Transportation Ideas That Hopped the Track     197
Look Younger - and Have Fewer Hemorrhoids!: Bad Ideas for Better Living     215
When Tommy Dorsey Played for the Apes: Bad Ideas in Flora and Fauna     241
Fat Men in Chimneys: Lamebrained Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Legal Pronouncements     257
The End: Death As the Ultimate Bad Idea     281
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