"Southern Fried Scholars" in Mental Floss | Ninja Poodles Local

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Southern Fried Scholars" in Mental Floss

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2006 at 11:21 PM

I admit it:  I'm a magazine junkie.  I read a lot of books, but I also have a great love for the entertaining, bite-sized "browsing" style of reading that can only be had with a good magazine in your hands.  Plus, there are pictures.  I love At Home In Arkansas (OK, I admit, the content seems to have been getting thinner and thinner in that one, but ...oh, I have no excuse.  Pretty pictures.), The Oxford American (pssst--the annual Music Issue is out now!), and one of my favorite, squeal-with-delight-upon-opening-the-mailbox times is that special day each month when the new Southern Living arrives. 
My feelings about Southern Living have been very well documented.  I practically  inhale the thing.  I don't even remove the stiff advertising "overshoe" from my copies, lest the beautiful covers get damaged before I can finish reading, ogling the gorgeous photography, and extracting all the recipes and flower-growing and decorating tips I want.  My magazines almost never make it to my coffee table, because I ultimately read them to bits.   And if you are one of those wise people who  refuses to waste money on something as frivolous as  magazine subscriptions, never fear; Southern Living Online is one of the most amazing free resources on the internet, with deep archives in several categories.

(We will not, at this point, discuss the "showdog publications," such as Dogs In Review, Show Sight, and, I kid you not, Poodle Review and Poodle Variety, that may or may not be found in this house at any given time.  I have given you quite enough fodder for mocking me for now. And besides, many of these were gifts.  *ahem*   I'm just proud to have broken my expensive Arabian Horse World and Arabian Horse Times habits.)

My husband Alex, while not as addicted as myself, has not escaped this affliction, either.  Most of his top selections revolve around sports (Hawgs Illustrated, anyone?), and he shares my love of the sheer freedom-of-spirit  journalism that makes up just about any Rolling Stone feature articleAnd we cannot make any substantial purchase without first consulting the venerable Consumer Reports But for one of our absolute favorite "info-tainment" periodicals, which neither of us are capable of reading in the presence of the other without  repeatedly reading pieces aloud, to each other, The Husband receives full discovery-credit (even though I have a blogging buddy who is a regular contributor -- well, to that and apparently everything else):  I give you the magazine,  Mental Floss, whose tag-line is, "Feel Smart Again."

And there, we've finally come to the point of this post.  Because I just love it when Arkansas gets any mention in national or international media that does not involve an urban legend about a guy accidentally blasting off his own reproductive organs after a night of frog-gigging, bat-infested elementary schools, extra-fertile cows, the "Toe-Suck Fairy," or, well...oh, heck.  Just sit back, put your feet up, relax, and take your pick.

So it was that I got a nice warm feeling from reading this little blurb from Mental Floss' annual "10 Issue," in their regular "Scatterbrained"  feature, this time with a "College" theme.

SOUTHERN FRIED SCHOLARS
The state that brought us Wal-Mart and Johnny Cash has also produced some impressive politicians--three of whom were Rhodes Scholars at Oxford University in England.  The first Arkansas-raised bigwig, J. William Fulbright, served 30 years as a senator and established the famed Fulbright Fellowships.  Second was a man from Hope, Ark., who served five terms as governor of Arkansas and two terms as U.S. president.  (Um, that would be Bill Clinton.)  Finally, four-starred General Wesley Clark, who grew up in Little Rock, made a bid for the presidency in 2004 (and might return in 2008).  And for what it's worth, the military isn't the only group that decorated Clark.  The Audubon Society once presented him with an award for saving a species of turtle.


If you enjoy, as the magazine's tag-line suggests, "feeling smart," but you're not all uptight and snobbish about your intellect or education, and you like to laugh while you learn, and you believe, like us, that  no trivia is "useless trivia," then Mental Floss might just be a suitable every-other-month diversion for you.


Belinda also writes from her "home base" at NINJA POODLES!, which is a member blog of the BlogHer.org "family and parenting" network.  You can email her at ninjapoodles@gmail.com.

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