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 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.

5 Ingenious Tricks for Saving Burnt Cookies

"Please bake our brethren on the middle rack next time."
"Please bake our brethren on the middle rack next time."
cnicbc/iStock via Getty Images

It doesn’t take long for cookies to go from an irresistible golden brown to a dispiriting black (especially if you're baking at a high altitude). But before you toss them in the trash and start rummaging around in your pantry for a store-bought snack, we have a few suggestions for saving that imperfect batch.

1. Grate off the burnt bits of cookie with a zester or cheese grater.

As PureWow explains, all you have to do is slide the cookie along your cheese grater to get rid of the burnt layer on the bottom. The smaller the holes, the better, so a lemon zester works well for this, too.

2. Scrape the burned part of the cookie off with a knife.

If you don’t have a cheese grater, you can get the same results with a regular knife—it just might take you an extra minute or two. Instead of slicing off the entire bottom of the cookie, hold your knife blade perpendicular to the bottom of the cookie and carefully scrape away the burnt crumbs.

3. Store the burned cookies in a jar with a piece of bread.

Even after you’ve shaved off the blackened evidence of your culinary blunder, your cookies might still be crispier than you’d prefer. Store them in an airtight container with a slice of bread—they’ll soak up the moisture and soften right up.

4. Make ice cream sandwiches with your burned cookies.

Snobby snackers won’t scoff at your grated cookies if they can’t even see the bottoms. Slather one with a nice, thick layer of ice cream, slap another one on top, and roll the edges in your favorite topping for a treat that’s better than any cookie—burnt or not.

5. Transform your burned cookies into a cookie crust.

For charred, crunchy cookies that seem beyond salvation, you can completely cut off the burnt bottoms, crush the remains, and turn them into a cookie crust for a pie or cheesecake. Here’s a simple recipe from the Pioneer Woman that calls for three ingredients: cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar.