Five Potentially Great Power Couples (and why they never made it)

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1. Bobby Fischer and Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand, the future Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner, actually attended the same Brooklyn high school as Bobby Fischer, who at the time was already competing in and winning international chess tournaments. Streisand later confided that she had a crush on the chess player, saying that he "was always alone and very peculiar. But I found him very sexy." And how did Fischer feel about her? In an interview with a Japanese radio station, Fischer said, "I remember some mousy looking girl."

In the end, the fact that Streisand's crush went unrequited was probably for the best. She went on to marry Elliott Gould and James Brolin, while Fischer disappeared from the public eye and eventually fled the country, wandering around Europe and Asia.

Interestingly, Streisand and Fischer were not the only notable alums of Erasmus High School. Among the other notable former students: Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, Three Stooges member Moe Howard, actress Mae West and singer Neil Diamond. To our knowledge, none of them shared Streisand's romantic interest in Fischer.

2. William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor

It's amazing enough that one Stanford law school class produced two Supreme Court justices. It's even more amazing that the two of them dated. Despite their future differences, Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist actually struck up a good friendship while at Stanford Law and, according to later accounts, went on a few dates. In a biography by Ann Carey McFeatters, O'Connor recalled that the two "went to a few movies and one thing and another," adding that Rehnquist was "a star" on campus (he would later claim to be first in the class, although Stanford didn't rank students at the time).

Although their dates never resulted in history's only Supreme Court power couple, the friendship did pay off later. O'Connor's friendship with Rehnquist helped her elevate herself to a Supreme Court nominee and their families remained close until Rehnquist's death in 2005.

3. Jennifer Aniston and Jon Stewart

On a recent Daily Show appearance, Jennifer Aniston and Jon Stewart recalled an unsuccessful date they shared at an Italian restaurant as both were on the cusp of fame. Aniston was filming the first season of Friends at the time, while Stewart was developing a show for MTV and asked the actress out on a date. So, what went wrong?

“It was lovely,” Stewart said. “I remember you brought so many people ... and I remember thinking ‘she’s so excited to be on a date with me, she wants me to get to know her posse.’"

Aniston, meanwhile, remembered things a bit differently. She said the date had always been a group event to begin with, but that she didn't mean any offense to Stewart. The two never had a chance for a second date, whether in a group or not.

4. Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell

This dream matchup of poets was actually close to becoming a reality: Robert Lowell was actually ready to propose to his friend and pen pal, Elizabeth Bishop. But circumstances got in the way: Bishop was living with a lover in Brazil, while Lowell was married to writer Elizabeth Hardwick. The two poets had met years earlier at a dinner party after Lowell had just won the Pulitzer Prize and Bishop said she "loved him at first sight." She later said "I remember thinking that it was the first time I had ever actually talked with some one about how one writes poetry."

Although they never married, the two had an intense relationship, revealed through a series of letters published in a 2008 collection called Words in Air. They were quick to praise the other's work and point out where it was succeeding: he liked her attention to detail, while she commended his use of his personal experience. The letters don't get into too much personal information, but did provide an outlet for the two poets to simply discuss their craft.

5. Condoleezza Rice and Gene Washington

Condoleezza Rice has never been shy about her love for football and has even expressed an interest in one day becoming commissioner of the NFL. So it’s no surprise that she’s been linked to former wide receiver and NFL director of football operations Gene Washington. The two met while Washington was an assistant athletic director at Stanford, where she was teaching (and even sat on the school’s search committee for a new football coach), and have stayed friends ever since. When Washington accompanied Rice for a 2007 state dinner with Queen Elizabeth II, rumors were rampant that the two were dating. Even though they’ve been spotted together since, both Rice and Washington insist that they’re just friends.

Washington, who retired from his NFL post last year, is not Rice’s only (rumored) football beau. She was engaged to Denver Broncos wide receiver Rick Upchurch in the 1970s, although she broke it off because she knew the relationship wouldn’t work. But of course, no potential Rice coupling could ever be as powerful as her unfortunately unsuccessful pairing with 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.