Bud Shaw's Year in Review

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images
Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

In 2010, retired heavyweight Mike Tyson appeared on Animal Planet.

As a pigeon racer.

The Pittsburgh Pirates fired a pierogi mascot for ripping the team on Facebook.

A Norwegian cross country skier blamed failing to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics on watching too much porn.

A Phillies fan purposely threw up on a man and the man's daughter during a game.

An NFL executive asked a draft prospect if his mother was a prostitute.

Baltimore Orioles player Brian Roberts missed the last six games of the season with concussion-like symptoms after hitting himself in the helmet with a bat in frustration after a ninth-inning strikeout.

Joslyn James, one of Tiger Woods' mistresses, complained that Woods led her to believe she was the only one in his life...other than his wife.

And thus was the sanctity of adultery compromised.

We come today not to salute the last 12 months as much as shake a finger at the sky and blame it on the heavens.

In November, Buffalo Bills receiver Steve Johnson dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone in overtime. The Steelers prevailed over his Bills.

Johnson did not blame his hands, a case of nerves or even the sun (this was Buffalo after all). He blamed God.

Tweeted Johnson: "I praise you 24/7!!! And this how you do me!!! You expect me to learn from this??? How??? I'll never forget this!! Ever!!"

As if to mitigate the fallout of angering a vengeful deity, he added:

"Thx tho."
* * *
Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White tweeted that the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl last February because "the grace of god gave them tht championship so tht city wouldn't wouldn't fall apart."

White apologized (sort of), saying, "I'm sorry. I really didn't say anything about the hurricane but they took it that way."

So what did he mean? Mardi Gras?

Not all the signs from above were divinely inspired.
Tiger Woods, who talked of his re-commitment to Buddhism after months of scandal linked him to women all over the country, was greeted on the first tee at The Masters in April by a plane trailing the following message:

"Tiger: Did you mean bootyism?"

Some people showed they literally do not know what "literally" means.
After losing lots of weight, golfer John Daly signed a deal with Slix underwear.

The press release called Slix "thoughtfully designed garments that literally change lives" and that "literally put a spring in your step."

Ben Roethlisberger, for one, literally changed one aspect of his life.
That was his vow after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for another off-field incident.

So the former pride of Findlay, Ohio, reportedly changed his biographical information in the Steelers' media guide.

The Associated Press said Roethlisberger was upset with some unflattering things said about him in his hometown after he was accused (but not charged) in a sexual assault incident in the offseason. So he dropped Findlay and listed Corey Rawson, Ohio as his hometown.

Introducing the greatest, unparalleled, best-ever, life-changing "Overstatements of the Year."
"Tim Tebow is 250 pounds of concrete cyanide." -- Jon Gruden, before the April NFL draft.
* * *
"He came from a team that was always looking for a savior to a team that knows how to win. No one would understand what he's been through unless you've been drowning." -- Malesa Plater, Braylon Edwards' mom, to the New York Times on the tribulations her son endured while playing in Cleveland.
* * *
Sociologist Harry Edwards explained the cultural divide between white college coaches and black players this way to Yahoo! Sports.

"At the end of the day, you have a situation where it's Lawrence Welk and Pat Boone talking to Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Vanilla Ice in the locker room. They don't get it. They don't understand it."

At least not like they get Lawrence Welk references.
* * *
Curtis Wenzlaff, the man who supplied steroids to baseball slugger Mark McGwire, told ESPN's Outside The Lines the combination of steroids McGwire used would make anybody bigger, stronger and faster.

"Will it help you hit a baseball?" Wenzlaff said. "Let me put it to you this way. If Paris Hilton was to take that array, she could run over Dick Butkus."
* * *
And the winner is...
"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butts in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would've called off the game? People would've been marching down the stadium. They would've walked and they would've been doing Calculus on the way down." -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell after the NFL canceled Vikings-Eagles this past Sunday due to a blizzard.

Of all the reasons the U.S. has fallen behind China, not being willing to risk life and limb to get to a football game is somewhere down the list.

When some athletes don't feel the love, they make up for it by taking a hard look at themselves...in the mirror.
"I feel love for me. I love me." -- baseball player Milton Bradley on Milton Bradley.

"People love me everywhere I go. I'm excited to bring a lot of joy to a lot of people." -- Manny Ramirez.

"I am a complete football player. If anybody wonders about me I'm a complete football player. I can say that twice. You can't do better than me." -- wide receiveer Michael Crabtree.

"I mean, even my family gets spoiled at times watching me doing things that I do, on and off the court," LeBron James telling GQ Magazine he didn't regret saying during a season-ending playoff loss to Boston that he spoiled Cleveland fans with his "greatness."

Sometimes logic was downgraded from "probable" to "ridiculously doubtful."
Bengals' receiver Chad Ochocinco said he jogs naked on the wooded property he owns.

"What's wrong with that?" Ochocinco told SI.com. "I take a shower naked."

Indianapolis Colts' punter Pat McAfee was arrested for public intoxication after he appeared to take a pre-dawn swim in a canal. The shirtless McAfee was soaking wet. He blamed it on rain even though it hadn't rained for days. Asked by police how much he had to drink, said McAfee, "A lot cause I'm drunk..."

A 69-year-old Michigan man delayed getting a pacemaker so he could watch Michigan State play Michigan in football. "Whatever happens," he told The Detroit News, "I want to see the game."

Joseph Rimmer, an amateur English soccer player, didn't like a referee's call. So he drove his Range Rover onto the field and got the ref in his sights.

That upped the discipline from a yellow card to a six-month jail sentence.

No marijuana was used (that we know of) in the making of this statement.
Snowboarder Graham Watanabe was asked what it was like to make the U.S. Olympic team.

"Try to imagine Pegasus mating with a unicorn and the creature that they birth. I somehow tame it and ride it into the sky in the clouds and sunshine and rainbows. That's what it feels like."

If only mulligans applied off the golf course...
Oprah Winfrey got up out of her chair to wipe at the smudge she thought was lipstick on the side of New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees' face during a post-Super Bowl guest appearance.

It was a birthmark.

(Fortunately, she fought the urge to scream to her audience, "You get a permanent blemish, you get a permanent blemish, e-ver-y-bod-y gets a permanent blemish.")

"The pregame altercation got us going. We were like pit bulls, ready to get out of the cage." -- Eagles' receiver DeSean Jackson on a pre-game scuffle with the Washington Redskins.

(Come on, your teammate is Mike Vick. Do I have to say more?)

"You can't have the cavalry come in and save your butt every time you feel a little stiff shoulder, sore elbow," Washington Nationals TV analyst Rob Dibble on his XM Sirius Radio show after Stephen Strasburg grabbed his elbow and left the field.

(A week later, Strasburg was scheduled for Tommy John surgery and will miss at least a year. Dibble was fired.

LeBron James denied he said contraction in the NBA would be good for the league.

"That's crazy, because I had no idea what the word 'contraction' meant before I saw it on the Internet," James said. "I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the '80s and how it could be good again. I never said, 'Let's take some of the teams out.'"

As comedian Jay Mohr pointed out, James' statement that he didn't know the meaning of the word "contraction" contained three contractions.

The stone-cold lock of the year...
Sept. 11, 2010 was the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all-time record for hits.

Rose is banned from his sport for life for betting on baseball but the Reds got clearance to honor him.

Except they had to move the celebration to Sept. 12 because Rose had a previous engagement.

He was making an appearance in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

At a casino.

Some showed razor-like focus and child-like tendencies.
Guard Larry Hughes reportedly grew his beard in protest of his diminished playing time with the Knicks.

Hughes has played for seven teams. After the beard incident, his fan club consisted only of ZZ Top band members.

NBA big men Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard actually spent time debating which of them should get to call himself "Superman."

Once again, it was good advice to be wary of false advertising.
A website dedicated to Major League Umpire and self-proclaimed Renaissance man Joe West describes him as a "true Patriot, Humanitarian, a Believer and a person with millions of funny stories to tell but also a man that will give an answer to any question."

After getting fined by Major League Baseball for his antagonizing a situation during the White Sox-Indians game, West was asked for a comment: "I will say that's none of your business," was his non-answer.

The Surgeon General warns you could put a hole in somebody'e ear lobe with one of those things.
Nine Miami Dolphins' players raked the field in search of defensive end Kendall Langford's diamond after Langford forgot to remove his earrings and lost one during practice.

The size: 2.5 carats.

The value: $50,000.

Knowing you out-blinged Zza Zza Gabor: priceless.

The fine line between sharing athletic insight and giving too much personal information. Norwegian cross country skier Odd-Bjoern Hjelmeset attributed his disappointing silver medal in the 4x10-kilometer relay at the Winter Olympics to less than focused preparation.

"I think I have seen too much porn in the last 14 days," he said.

At least he didn't blame God.

10 Products for a Better Night's Sleep

Amazon/Comfort Spaces
Amazon/Comfort Spaces

Getting a full eight hours of sleep can be tough these days. If you’re having trouble catching enough Zzzs, consider giving these highly rated and recommended products a try.

1. Everlasting Comfort Pure Memory Foam Knee Pillow; $25

Everlasting Comfort Knee Pillow
Everlasting Comfort/Amazon

For side sleepers, keeping the spine, hips, and legs aligned is key to a good night’s rest—and a pain-free morning after. Everlasting Comfort’s memory foam knee pillow is ergonomically designed to fit between the knees or thighs to ensure proper alignment. One simple but game-changing feature is the removable strap, which you can fasten around one leg; this keeps the pillow in place even as you roll at night, meaning you don’t have to wake up to adjust it (or pick it up from your floor). Reviewers call the pillow “life-changing” and “the best knee pillow I’ve found.” Plus, it comes with two pairs of ear plugs.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Letsfit White Noise Machine; $21

Letsfit White Noise Machine
Letsfit/Amazon

White noise machines: They’re not just for babies! This Letsfit model—which is rated 4.7 out of five with nearly 3500 reviews—has 14 potential sleep soundtracks, including three white noise tracks, to better block out everything from sirens to birds that chirp enthusiastically at dawn (although there’s also a birds track, if that’s your thing). It also has a timer function and a night light.

Buy it: Amazon

3. ECLIPSE Blackout Curtains; $16

Eclipse Black Out Curtains
Eclipse/Amazon

According to the National Sleep Foundation, too much light in a room when you’re trying to snooze is a recipe for sleep disaster. These understated polyester curtains from ECLIPSE block 99 percent of light and reduce noise—plus, they’ll help you save on energy costs. "Our neighbor leaves their backyard light on all night with what I can only guess is the same kind of bulb they use on a train headlight. It shines across their yard, through ours, straight at our bedroom window," one Amazon reviewer who purchased the curtains in black wrote. "These drapes block the light completely."

Buy it: Amazon

4. JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock; $38

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock
JALL/Amazon

Being jarred awake by a blaring alarm clock can set the wrong mood for the rest of your day. Wake up in a more pleasant way with this clock, which gradually lights up between 10 percent and 100 percent in the 30 minutes before your alarm. You can choose between seven different colors and several natural sounds as well as a regular alarm beep, but why would you ever use that? “Since getting this clock my sleep has been much better,” one reviewer reported. “I wake up not feeling tired but refreshed.”

Buy it: Amazon

5. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light; $200

Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Philips/Amazon

If you’re looking for an alarm clock with even more features, Philips’s SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is smartphone-enabled and equipped with an AmbiTrack sensor, which tracks things like bedroom temperature, humidity, and light levels, then gives recommendations for how you can get a better night’s rest.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Slumber Cloud Stratus Sheet Set; $159

Stratus sheets from Slumber Cloud.
Slumber Cloud

Being too hot or too cold can kill a good night’s sleep. The Good Housekeeping Institute rated these sheets—which are made with Outlast fibers engineered by NASA—as 2020’s best temperature-regulating sheets.

Buy it: SlumberCloud

7. Comfort Space Coolmax Sheet Set; $29-$40

Comfort Spaces Coolmax Sheets
Comfort Spaces/Amazon

If $159 sheets are out of your price range, the GHI recommends these sheets from Comfort Spaces, which are made with moisture-wicking Coolmax microfiber. Depending on the size you need, they range in price from $29 to $40.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Coop Home Goods Eden Memory Foam Pillow; $80

Coop Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods/Amazon

This pillow—which has a 4.5-star rating on Amazon—is filled with memory foam scraps and microfiber, and comes with an extra half-pound of fill so you can add, or subtract, the amount in the pillow for ultimate comfort. As a bonus, the pillows are hypoallergenic, mite-resistant, and washable.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Baloo Weighted Blanket; $149-$169

Baloo Weighted Blanket
Baloo/Amazon

Though the science is still out on weighted blankets, some people swear by them. Wirecutter named this Baloo blanket the best, not in small part because, unlike many weighted blankets, it’s machine-washable and -dryable. It’s currently available in 12-pound ($149) twin size and 20-pound ($169) queen size. It’s rated 4.7 out of five stars on Amazon, with one reviewer reporting that “when it's spread out over you it just feels like a comfy, snuggly hug for your whole body … I've found it super relaxing for falling asleep the last few nights, and it looks nice on the end of the bed, too.” 

Buy it: Amazon 

10. Philips Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band; $200

Philips SmartSleep Snoring Relief Band
Philips/Amazon

Few things can disturb your slumber—and that of the ones you love—like loudly sawing logs. Philips’s Smartsleep Snoring Relief Band is designed for people who snore when they’re sleeping on their backs, and according to the company, 86 percent of people who used the band reported reduced snoring after a month. The device wraps around the torso and is equipped with a sensor that delivers vibrations if it detects you moving to sleep on your back; those vibrations stop when you roll onto your side. The next day, you can see how many hours you spent in bed, how many of those hours you spent on your back, and your response rate to the vibrations. The sensor has an algorithm that notes your response rate and tweaks the intensity of vibrations based on that. “This device works exactly as advertised,” one Amazon reviewer wrote. “I’d say it’s perfect.”

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

8 Surprising Facts About Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris.
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

For decades, martial artist and actor Carlos Ray Norris Jr. has been kicking his way into the hearts of action film fans. In addition to his competitive karate career, Norris has starred in a string of successful movies as well as the long-running CBS drama Walker, Texas Ranger. With Norris having reached the milestone age of 80 years old back in March 2020, we’re taking a look at some of the more interesting facts about his life and career.

1. Chuck Norris is a military veteran.

Chuck Norris in Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)
Chuck Norris stars in Lone Wolf McQuade (1983).
MGM Home Entertainment

Born on March 10, 1940 in Ryan, Oklahoma, Norris was the oldest of three boys and a self-described “shy” child. After a move to California, Norris attended North Torrance High School. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he became a member of the military police in the hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement. It was in the service, while being stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea, that Norris first discovered the martial arts. When he once found himself unable to control a rowdy drunk in a bar while on patrol duty, Norris realized he needed combat skills. He studied Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do before returning to California. When he was discharged from the Air Force in 1962, Norris began teaching the skills he had acquired to students.

2. Steve McQueen got Chuck Norris into acting.

Norris became a world champion in karate contests, which lent credence to his abilities as a martial arts instructor. He taught several celebrities the finer points of self-defense, including the Osmonds, Priscilla Presley, and Steve McQueen. Norris even trained Price Is Right host Bob Barker. But not all his schools were doing well, and after retiring from competition in 1974, Norris was looking for other opportunities. McQueen suggested that Norris try his hand at acting. McQueen was right—eventually. It took several years and nine films, but Norris had a breakthrough with 1982’s Lone Wolf McQuade.

3. Chuck Norris needed to obey a producer’s request in order to face off against Bruce Lee.

While Norris didn’t become a household name until the 1980s, his turn as a villain in 1972’s Return of the Dragon (also known as Way of the Dragon) opposite Bruce Lee wound up being a seminal meeting of two onscreen martial arts legends. When Lee was looking for an adversary for the climactic fight, he called Norris, whom he knew and was friends with. But the film’s producer insisted that Norris gain 20 pounds so that he would appear to be much larger than Lee on camera. “That’s why I don’t do jump kicks [in the movie],” Norris told Empire in 2007. “I couldn’t get off the ground!”

4. Chuck Norris founded his own martial arts system.

Taking the knowledge he had acquired over many years of training in Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do, Norris developed his own unique martial arts system and philosophy that he eventually dubbed Chun Kuk Do. In addition to combat techniques, the system encourages students to develop themselves to their maximum potential and look for the good in other people. It was renamed the Chuck Norris System in 2015.

5. Chuck Norris once marketed Chuck Norris Action Jeans.

Thanks to his fame in the martial arts world, Norris was sought after to endorse athletic products. In 1982, martial arts equipment company Century recruited Norris to be a spokesperson for their Karate Jeans, which featured flexible fabric sewn into the crotch that would presumably allow the wearer to deliver a bone-crunching kick while looking fashionable. Eventually renamed Action Jeans, Norris promoted them for years.

6. Chuck Norris had his own cartoon series.

At the height of his popularity in the 1980s, Norris teamed with animation company Ruby-Spears for an animated series, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos. The show featured Norris and a team of martial artists fighting villains like Superninja and The Claw. Although 65 shows were planned, just a few aired. “We only did six of them, and then a woman at CBS said, ‘Those are too violent,’” Norris told MTV News in 2009.

7. Chuck Norris is a real Texas Ranger.

For eight seasons, Norris pummeled bad guys as the star of the 1990s CBS television series Walker, Texas Ranger, which became the first primetime show shot on location in Texas at Norris’s insistence. In 2010, Norris was named an honorary member of the Texas Rangers by state governor Rick Perry in acknowledgment of Norris’s work in raising awareness for the elite unit and for his work helping underprivileged youths via martial arts programs. Norris’s brother, Aaron Norris, who was an executive producer on the show, also received the designation.

8. Chuck Norris’s role in Dodgeball was a surprise to Chuck Norris.

Norris is generally good-humored about his persona and is often willing to poke fun at himself. But when he was asked to do a cameo in the 2004 comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, he passed because he didn’t feel like driving three hours to the movie’s set in Long Beach, California. When star Ben Stiller called to ask personally, Norris agreed, but didn’t read the script. He simply shot his scene where he offers a thumbs-up to the dodgeball competitors.

When Norris saw the movie in theaters, he was surprised at the context. “But in the end, when Ben’s a big fatty and watching TV, the last line of the whole movie is, ‘F***in’ Chuck Norris!,'” Norris told Empire in 2007. “My mouth fell open to here… I said, ‘Holy mackerel!’ That was a shock, Ben didn’t tell me about that!”