10 Strangest Memorials in the World

Oct 24th, 2011

There are few better ways to pay tribute to an important person or event than to build a monument that will be around for generations to come. You can drag your grandkids to it and stand around reminiscing about the way things used to be while they roll their eyes or play games on their phones. But some memorials make you spend less time thinking about what they represent and more time wondering what their creators were thinking. These 10 strange monuments will leave you scratching your head, whether it’s because of the weird thing being memorialized or just the disturbing way it was carried out.

  1. Spomeniks, Former Yugoslavia

    By the time the terror of World War II subsided, more than 1 million people in the former Yugoslavia had been killed. Under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito in the ’60s and ’70s, enormous monuments were designed and constructed on battle sites to stand as a reminder of the strength of the country and what had been lost. The Spomeniks, which means "monuments" in Croatian, are scattered through the area that used to make up Yugoslavia. There were no aesthetic guidelines and no apparent theme for the creators, but most of them turned out looking like a vehicle for aliens or a building that’s been transported from the future. While they used to draw millions of visitors each year, they’ve been largely abandoned and now appear even more like the post-apocalyptic remnants of an intergalactic battle rather than memorials of a historic war.

  2. Kindlifresser (Child Eater) Fountain, Switzerland

    No one is 100% certain what the Kindlifresser Fountain commemorates, but the unpleasant sight of a man stuffing a baby’s head in his mouth is strange enough to make it worth a mention. The fountain was built back in the 1500s, and there are several theories on what it might represent. It could memorialize the Greek god Kronos who ate his children so they wouldn’t steal his throne or a Swiss duke’s brother who is said to have gone crazy and eaten the kids in town. Other ideas suggest it doesn’t represent any one person but rather serves as a warning, either to the Jews in the community or to the children whose parents wanted to terrify them into behaving. Any way you look at it, this fountain is horrifying.

  3. Paul the Octopus Memorial, Germany

    Of course there are plenty of noteworthy people around the world who deserve to be immortalized through a statue, but why do that when you can build a 6-foot-tall octopus on top of a giant soccer ball? The famous fortune-telling octopus who correctly predicted the outcome of all of the 2010 World Cup games became a global phenomenon during the year’s soccer craze, and gamblers were no doubt banking on Paul, as he was called, to come through for them during the next Cup. Sadly, Paul the Octopus died before he would get the chance to prove himself. The aquarium where he lived in Oberhausen, Germany constructed a statue of the cephalopod and placed his cremated remains inside the soccer ball.

  4. Charles La Trobe Monument, Australia

    The statue built in honor of Charles La Trobe, the first lieutenant-governor of Victoria, Australia, looks a lot like any other monument you might find erected for a leader. It’s a bronze cast of La Trobe standing on a pedestal. The only difference between this and every other memorial statue is that this one is totally upside down. The pedestal is up in the air and the whole structure is resting on La Trobe’s amazingly strong head. The idea behind this reversal is that La Trobe, for whom La Trobe University is named, thought that students needed to turn ideas on their heads by questioning the norms and looking for new perspectives. Some have thought this odd metaphor is disrespectful to the leader, but La Trobe remains in an eternal headstand.

  5. Fantasy coffins, Ghana

    Want to be buried in a giant chicken? No problem. How about a 6-foot-long cell phone? Just move to Ghana. The West African country has a tradition of making funerals a big event, and the coffins are the centerpiece of the affair. Many people have coffins made to reflect the dead person’s interests or careers. They can be made in almost any shape, from animals to airplanes to agriculture. This tradition is said to have started with a chair maker who made elaborate seats for rich men. One client died while the man was making a bean-shaped chair for him, so they buried the client in it. Today it’s become a bizarre art form and lucrative livelihood for one tribe.

  6. Saint Wenceslas Riding a Dead Horse, Czech Republic

    For most Americans, Wenceslas is just a king with a funny name that we sing about at Christmas, but he has a pretty interesting back story. The Christian king from the 10th century was murdered by his half-brother (as he was on his way to church, no less) and thus became a saint. He is now considered the patron saint of the Czech Republic and is rumored to be hiding beneath a mountain with his knights and will return when the people really need his help. This statue is far less noble. Created by controversial Czech artist David Cerny, it shows St. Wenceslas sitting on an upside-down dead horse who is strung up from the rafters. It’s a sort of parody of a nearby statue depicting the saint riding a horse properly, and many believe it has other symbolism as the representation of Wenceslas looks a lot like the Czech president.

  7. The Boot Monument, New York

    It’s strange enough to build a monument of just a boot, but even more bizarre that the "most brilliant soldier" that the statue memorializes isn’t named. That’s because this famous man is Benedict Arnold, and the statue is in memory of his heroic efforts on behalf of Americans in the Revolutionary War. Arnold was a major general in the war and helped win the Battle of Saratoga, during which his leg was injured and his military career ended. The imagery of the boot in this memorial is in honor of that wounded limb. Of course, Arnold would later become the most well-known traitor in American history, so the monument avoids mentioning his name.

  8. Circus Showfolks of America Monument, California

    When you’re walking through a cemetery to attend a funeral or visit a loved one’s grave, you probably aren’t expecting to see a creepy clown staring at you. In Colma, Calif. though, the number of circus people buried at one cemetery apparently warrants a light-hearted memorial. The moderately scary clown is surrounded by a bigtop, merry-go-round, and other cheery circus-themed images on top of the granite monument. Ring masters and lion tamers deserve to be honored, but maybe the middle of a graveyard isn’t the best place to remind people of their fear of clowns. Apparently, the marker for the memorial used to be a life-size painting of a clown, so this might be an improvement.

  9. Boy Scout Memorial, D.C.

    The Boy Scouts of America are known for teaching our youth good values and helping old women cross the street, so it seems only fitting that they would be honored with a memorial. But when you think of the proper images to immortalize the Boy Scout ideals, naked people probably aren’t part of that picture. The statue created for the Boy Scouts on the group’s 50th anniversary stands in D.C. and features a sweet, innocent Boy Scout in his uniform, with two people close behind him. These larger figures on either side of him are supposed to represent American manhood and womanhood and the ideals they pass on to the next generations, but these ideals appear to be bodybuilding and nudity. Both the man and woman have bulging muscles and are almost totally bare — not good symbolism considering the sex abuse cases that would later make headlines.

  10. Monument to Pro-Life: The Birth of Sean Preston, New York

    There are so many things wrong with this statue, it’s hard to know where to start. The sculpture is a tribute to Britney Spears, the birth of her first child, and the pro-life movement (apparently just because she had a baby at a relatively young age). The artist created a statue that shows Spears naked on all fours on a bear-skin rug, giving birth to Sean Preston. First of all, who would ever give birth on a bear-skin rug? Secondly, Spears had a C-section. Most photos only show the front of the sculpture, and it’s probably for the viewer’s benefit because the back end shows Sean Preston’s head crowning. A permanent crotch shot of Britney Spears is the last thing America needs.

8 Best Professions for Veterans

Oct 21st, 2011

As tens of thousands of American troops return from Iraq by New Year’s, they are going to face the challenges that many veterans find themselves up against after serving abroad. Not only will they have to figure out how to fit back into their family lives and rediscover clothes that don’t involve camouflage, but many of them are also going to have to find relevant civilian jobs in a tough economy. President Barack Obama has started focusing on the importance of providing jobs for the selfless men and women who have served our country, announcing recently that he has lined up more than 250 companies that will hire 25,000 veterans and their spouses in the next two years. As veterans try to market themselves in the civilian world, they should capitalize on the marketable skills they’ve learned during their service and look for careers that use everything they have to offer. If you know (or are) a veteran trying to get back in the work force, these eight professions are a good starting place for a successful job hunt.

  1. Engineer

    If you’ve had any engineering training in the military or before joining, you might be able to land a job with a manufacturer in the defense industry. Several companies throughout the U.S. have defense contracts, like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics, and make parts for weapons and military vehicles. Depending on your area of specialization and your level of education, you’re looking to make between $50,000 and $60,000 when you begin your career and can reach salaries in the six-figure range. The benefit of having military service in your background when applying for defense industry jobs is that potential employers already know that you’re responsible, have knowledge of the field, and won’t have any problems with security clearance.

  2. Contractor

    Any job that involves working under pressure is well suited for most veterans. Contractors and other construction managers use the skills taught by the military in their daily routines as they see a building project through from start to finish. They face tight deadlines, organize workers, and have to think on their feet when problems arise. Plus, there’s always the danger of falling through a roof or getting shot with a nail gun, which is nothing compared to the threats veterans have encountered. About half of all contractors work for themselves — great news for anyone who wants the freedom of choosing his own jobs and leading a team of people — and there are expected to be more positions available in the next few years than there are qualified candidates.

  3. Logistics coordinator

    Many veterans have the valuable ability to understand the big picture of a project and visualize each step that is necessary to reach the end goal. Logistics coordinators are professional multi-taskers, keeping track of each part of an assignment down to the smallest detail. Depending on what kind of company you work for, you might be managing the handling and distribution of raw goods or finalizing plans for an event. It’s this broad range of possibilities, however, that makes the profession so attractive. You will likely be able to find a position in any state and your skills will transfer to other company’s logistics departments when it’s time for a job change. Servicemen and women who were tasked with procuring equipment and keeping track of inventory will transition to this career without any problems.

  4. Police officer

    What better profession to take on after serving your country than to serve your community? Police officers work in much the same way as those in the military: there’s a hierarchy with room for promotion, your main duty is to protect your fellow citizens, and you get to wear a slick uniform and carry a gun. The discipline learned in the military makes veterans extremely marketable to police forces and many units build the same kind of camaraderie veterans are used to. Cops normally earn between $35,000 and $60,000 a year, but that doesn’t include the respect you’ll get from the people in your city. If you decide you need to go back to school to land the law enforcement job of your dreams, you could even qualify for discounted or free tuition under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

  5. Data communications analyst

    Becoming a data communications analyst is one of the most highly recommended career paths for retired military members. Not only does it use skills that directly translate from military positions like information security technician, but jobs in the field are expected to increase more than 50% by 2018. Add in the fact that the average salary is somewhere around $90,000 and you probably don’t even care what the job description is. Data communications analysts work in the information technology field and help maintain communications systems by testing and analyzing them, helping clients troubleshoot problems, and designing software and hardware. Computer knowledge and solid communication skills are a must for this position, but at least you can play around on the Internet all day.

  6. Training manager

    Teamwork and leadership skills are some of the most important tools gleaned from a person’s military service, but many veterans often downplay them and focus only on their technical training. The marketplace is full of jobs that veterans are likely to land just by highlighting their experience managing people, especially if they ever helped train new recruits in the military. Training managers are responsible for educating new employees on company policies and procedures and organizing on-the-job training for them. There is also room to be creative and teach classes for all employees on new technologies or provide one-on-one training to bring a worker up to speed. The mark of a good trainer is building loyalty to the company and enthusiasm in the workplace, which is a trait trainers in all branches of the military seem to possess.

  7. Railroad conductor

    Admit it: you just pictured a guy in a striped hat and overalls or imagined someone yelling "All aboard." Railroad conductors don’t get enough credit for all they actually do. Working as a railroad conductor means coordinating all the activity on your train, including the crew, inspection of equipment, and schedule. Communication skills, like the kind used in military operations, are also essential to prevent disasters with other trains that we hope to only see in movies and math problems. Yard masters perform the same function but on the ground rather than on the train, making sure yard workers are safe and hard at work and handling the unloading and rearranging of train cars. Railroad companies are some of the most veteran-friendly employers in the U.S. so they are known for making the transition back to civilian life as easy as possible.

  8. Field service technician

    Becoming a field service technician or engineer is ideal for the person who doesn’t want to sit at a desk all day (or maybe ever). You can work in a variety of industries, from oil and gas to mobile communications, so the job opportunities are widespread, and you’re never stuck in one place as you travel from site to site installing and maintaining complicated equipment. The job carries a lot of responsibility since you often work with little supervision and are expected to be an expert on the machines, which normally requires a strong interest in mechanics or electronics. Veterans who like to build and fix things would fit this hands-on position like a glove.

10 Coaches Who Stole the Headlines

Oct 20th, 2011

Most coaches do a good job of staying out of the spotlight, but some just can’t help themselves when the opportunity arises. A recent example of this headline-stealing behavior was Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz’s fight, which proved to us that coaches are just as emotional as players, and sometimes they let it show. Here are 10 coaches who stole the headlines:

  1. Hal McRae

    Former Kansas City Royals manager Hal McRae may be more widely known for his temper than his baseball career. In 1993, McRae stole the headlines when he lashed out at reporters and had one of the biggest meltdowns in baseball history. The manager went berserk when a reporter asked him a "stupid question" about his batting lineup decision. McRae started cursing and throwing objects off his desk, including a telephone, a bottle of vodka and a tape recorder, which struck a reporter and cut his cheek. After trashing his room, McRae continued to berate the reporters and ended the interview with the zinger "put that in your pipe and smoke it."

  2. Bryan Murray and Lindy Ruff

    NHL coaches Bryan Murray and Lindy Ruff stole the headlines when they started a brawl during a Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators game. Few people actually remember who won the game, because most people only recall Murray and Ruff fighting between glass walls and a rinkside reporter who picked up some of the smack-talking on his microphone. Although the coaches never actually got physical, the incident turned out to be a memorable fight that helped fuel the longstanding hockey rivalry.

  3. Mike Gundy

    Oklahoma State University head coach Mike Gundy managed to stay out of the limelight for the first few years of his coaching career, but all of that changed in 2007, when he went on a major media rant. Gundy’s famous postgame tirade was over a newspaper article that was critical of the former starting quarterback Bobby Reid. The three-minute, 20-second rant uttered the famous line "I’m a man! I’m 40!" The meltdown became a YouTube hit and has spurred many parodies.

  4. Rex Ryan

    The New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan is bold and brassy and never fails to find his way in the headlines. Ryan’s reputation as an outspoken coach with a great deal of confidence has gotten him in the headlines on multiple occasions. Ryan also found himself in the media for a non-football related incident involving a series of foot-fetish videos that featured a woman who appeared to be Ryan’s wife and he was the alleged cameraman. And for once, Ryan had no comment for the media.

  5. Bob Knight

    Retired college basketball coach Bob Knight is known as much for his sideline outbursts and tirades as he is for his coaching achievements. The legendary coach earned a reputation as a hothead who yelled profanities, berated officials and allegedly grabbed and verbally abused players. Knight was full of insane, spotlight-stealing moments, but none was as great as his infamous chair throw during the 1985 Indiana-Purdue game. Knight continued to entertain audiences and anger referees, but his abuse of the "zero-tolerance" policy got him canned from Indiana University.

  6. Ron Washington

    The Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington may be known as a strong leader in baseball, but 59-year-old surprised everyone when he confessed to using cocaine. Washington admitted to his "stupid" error after failing a MLB drug test and said that he only used it once. Washington’s confession stole the headlines of MLB pre-season and, unfortunately, took the initial focus away from what would be one of the Rangers’ best seasons.

  7. Lou Piniella

    Lou Piniella may be nicknamed "Sweet Lou," but this former Chicago Cubs manager has had his fair share of not-so-sweet moments throughout his baseball career. Piniella developed a reputation for having outrageous meltdowns and tirades on the field that would result in dramatic ejections from games. Piniella became famous for yelling in the faces of umpires, kicking dirt on them and throwing down his baseball cap in anger while cheering fans egged him on. Piniella’s outrageous outbursts may have gotten him ejected from a few games, but he definitely won the spotlight.

  8. Lloyd McClendon

    Former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon had a long history of challenging umpires on close calls, but it was his reaction during a 2001 Pirates-Brewers game that really stole the headlines. In his traditional argumentative fashion, McClendon walked on to the field to dispute the call and got ejected from the game, but this time he took a souvenir – first base. McClendon tore up first base and walked back to the dugout with it. McClendon never lived down the meltdown, and we never forgot it.

  9. Mike Leach

    Mike Leach was a one-of-a-kind college football coach who didn’t hold back from saying exactly what was on his mind. The former Texas Tech head football coach stole the headlines on multiple occasions, mostly for his outrageous commentary and odd fascination with pirates. Sportswriters called him the "mad scientist of football." Leach was notorious for lecturing his players on everything from Apaches to pirates, and told them to "swing their swords" before games. His peculiar behavior and snide comments about other teams didn’t sit well with a lot of people, but it was his alleged mistreatment of Adam James in 2009 that got him the boot.

  10. Phil Jackson

    Phil Jackson may have won more NBA championships than any other coach in league history, but his well-known feuds with Kobe Bryant have frequently stolen the show from the otherwise successful team. Jackson’s supposed pompous attitude and arrogant behavior caused problems on the team and affected some of his player realtionships.

10 Famous People Who Flourished After Being Laid Off

Oct 19th, 2011

Being fired is by far one of the worst experiences a person can go through, but one thing’s for certain – you’re not alone. Some of the most talented people in Hollywood, politics and sports have been laid off at some point in their careers, but their resilience and strong work ethic helped them move past the loss and keep their eye on the prize. Here are 10 famous people who flourished after being laid off:

  1. Walt Disney

    It’s hard to believe that the man who created Mickey Mouse and co-founded one of the biggest motion picture production companies ever faced rejection, but in 1919, Walt Disney was fired from his job at the Kansas City Star because he supposedly lacked imaginative ideas. Disney later set his sights on creating a cartoon series that spurred the mega media conglomerate known as The Walt Disney Company.

  2. Mark Cuban

    Mark Cuban wasn’t always a successful Internet mogul and NBA owner. In the ’80s, Cuban worked as a salesman at a computer store, but found himself more interested in working on computers and developing business plans rather than manning a cash register and sweeping the floors. Cuban was laid off, and this was the last time he worked for someone else ever again.

  3. Michael Bloomberg

    Billionaire businessman and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t reach this level of success without failing a little here and there. When Bloomberg was a partner at the investment bank, Salomon Brothers, he and 62 colleagues were fired because the company was bought out. Bloomberg used his severance check to develop his own financial services company, which has made him the 18th richest person in the country.

  4. Oprah Winfrey

    Long before Oprah Winfrey became the most successful female talk show host in television history, she was working as a TV news reporter at WJZ in Baltimore. After seven and a half months of co-anchoring at WJZ, Winfrey was pulled off the air because the producer felt she was too emotionally invested in her stories and was "unfit for television news."

  5. Bill Belichick

    Bill Belichick may be best known for leading the New England Patriots to several victories, including three Super Bowl championships, but this isn’t the first NFL team Belichick has coached. From 1991 to 1995, Belichick was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, but after facing a losing season, Belichick was let go. Although the chances of Belichick getting another head coaching job looked bleak, he got the opportunity to join the Patriots in 2000.

  6. Anna Wintour

    Anna Wintour is best known as the successful and cut-throat editor-in-chief of American Vogue. Despite her success, this hard-nosed leader has been laid off before. When Wintour was starting her career as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, her work was heavily criticized by editor Tony Mazzola, and she was fired nine months later. Shortly after working at Harper’s, Wintour went on to work at a couple different magazines before landing her spot at Vogue.

  7. Thomas Edison

    Today, Thomas Edison is regarded as one of the most prolific inventors in history. However, during Edison’s early years, he was called stupid by his teachers and was fired from his first two jobs for not working hard enough. Despite his failures and firings, Edison went on to invent some of the most remarkable devices like the light bulb, the phonograph and the motion picture camera.

  8. J.K. Rowling

    Before J.K. Rowling was writing about wizards and warlocks, the best-selling author was working as a secretary for the London office of Amnesty International. When Rowling’s dreams of becoming a writer got in the way of her secretarial work, she got laid off. Rowling used her severance check to support her as she began to write the book series that would change her life forever.

  9. Lance Armstrong

    Cycling star and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong didn’t always come out on top. In 1997, Armstrong was fired from the French racing team Cofidis while he was undergoing cancer treatment. The team refused to give Armstrong the rest of his salary and medical coverage. Obviously, Armstrong went on to lead the United States Postal Service squad and take home a handful of victories.

  10. Robert Redford

    Award-winning actor and director Robert Redford didn’t always shine on the job. When Redford was a teenager he worked as an unskilled worker at Standard Oil. After he got caught falling asleep on the job and making several mistakes, Redford got fired. This incident led the young man to pursue his dreams of going to college and eventually becoming an actor.

10 Most Bizarre Trades in Sports History

Oct 17th, 2011

A cleverly conceived trade can make a general manager’s career and launch a middling team into a new stratosphere of competitiveness. The Herschel Walker trade, for example, also known as "The Great Train Robbery," involved 18 players, the most effective of which were procured in the draft by the Cowboys. Of course, the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the ’90s, thanks, in part, to Emmitt Smith, Darren Woodson, and Alvin Harper. On the less conventional side, the Pats obtained Bill Belichick from the Jets in exchange for draft picks, setting up their 2000s dynasty. The following trades are more like the latter — those weird ones that made you think "is that really possible?" and realize that there’s more to being a GM than merely plugging players into a trade simulator.

  1. Indians trade manager Joe Gordon to Tigers for manager Jimmy Dykes (1960)

    Baseball’s original version of "Flash" Gordon is regarded as one of the greatest second basemen of all time, winning five World Series titles during his Hall of Fame career. After he retired, he worked his way up to manager of the Indians, but his new job was made more difficult as he feuded with general manager Frank Lane, who often second-guessed his decisions. In 1959, Gordon was fired and rehired, leading up to his trade for Jimmy Dykes, the first transaction of its kind, during the 1960 season. He managed just 57 games for the Tigers, leaving them for the Kansas City Athletics following the season.

  2. Athletics trade manager Chuck Tanner to Pirates for catcher Manny Sanguillen (1977)

    Both Tanner and Sanguillen were accomplished at their respective positions. Tanner won Manager of the Year in 1972 when his White Sox pushed the vaunted A’s to the limit during the regular season, ultimately succumbing to a second place finish. Sanguillen earned three All-Star appearances and was an instrumental member of the Pirates’ 1971 World Series title-winning team. A year after their trade, Sanguillen was reacquired by the Pirates and assisted Tanner in securing his only World Series title on the "We Are Family" squad.

  3. Mariners trade manager Lou Piniella to Devil Rays for outfielder Randy Winn (2002)

    Ready to return home to the Florida Gulf Coast, an aging Piniella was warm to the idea of being traded from rainy Seattle to sunny Florida to manage the Rays. In return, the Mariners received Randy Winn, who was named to his only All-Star game in 2002. Two years removed from guiding the Mariners to a 116-46 record — tied for the most wins ever in a single season — Piniella received criticism when the team fizzled out in the playoffs. He endured three seasons in which his team lost 90 games or more as he was tasked with building the Rays into a winner. He departed after the 2005 season, critical of the front office’s lack of commitment to fielding a competitive squad.

  4. White Sox trade manager Ozzie Guillen to Marlins for two minor leaguers (2011)

    It took just eight years, a period in which he won a World Series title, for the always volatile Ozzie Guillen to wear out his welcome with the White Sox. His contentious relationship with general manager Ken Williams had been well-documented, and change seemed to be forthcoming regardless of the circumstances. As talks of a contract extension deteriorated, he was released from his position with the understanding that the team would receive compensation if he manages in 2012. The Marlins pounced on the opportunity, enabling Guillen to work where he keeps his offseason home.

  5. Patriots trade Bill Parcells to Jets for 1999 first-round draft pick, 1998 second-round pick, 1997 third-and fourth-round picks, and a $300,000 donation to the Patriots’ charitable foundation (1997)

    While in New England, Parcells’ famously once said "They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." Discontent over his lack of say in personnel matters, he sought to leave the Patriots after the 1997 season, but his contract prevented it. The moribund Jets, determined to secure the services of a proven winner, attempted to work their way around the impediment by hiring Bill Belichick as head coach and Parcells as an adviser. Recognizing the festering confusion and anger, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue oversaw the arrangement of the blockbuster trade that placated both sides.

  6. Jets trade Bill Belichick, 2001 fifth-round draft pick, and 2002 seventh-round draft pick to Jets for 2000 first-round draft pick, 2001 fourth-round draft pick, and 2002 seventh-round draft pick (2000)

    As it turned out, Belichick continued to serve as Parcells’ top assistant and defensive coordinator during Tuna’s stint with the Jets from 1997 to 1999. When Parcells retired, Belichick served as the Jets’ head coach for one day before resigning during his introductory press conference and subsequently accepting the same position with the Patriots. Because he was still under contract with the Jets, the Patriots were forced to provide compensation, which ended up being draft picks.

  7. Raiders trade Jon Gruden to Buccaneers for 2002 first-and second-round draft picks, 2003 first-round draft pick, 2004 second-round draft pick, and $8 million (2002)

    Al Davis certainly isn’t known for doing things by the book, and the manner in which he orchestrated Gruden’s departure is no exception. The Bucs were in desperate need of someone who could propel them to the Super Bowl after the firing of Tony Dungy, a move that was questioned by many in the NFL community and media. After being rejected by Bill Parcells, they turned their sights to Gruden. Davis initially refused to allow him to negotiate, but later relented and settled for a nice compensation package. Both teams seemed to benefit, as they met in Super Bowl XXXVII. Gruden’s Bucs won 48-21.

  8. Jets trade Herm Edwards to Chiefs for 2006 fourth-round draft pick (2006)

    In four seasons with the Jets, Edwards guided the team to three playoff appearances, but sank into hot water when he oversaw a miserable 4-12 season in 2005. Undeterred, the Chiefs proceeded pursue Edwards anyway. In an effort to secure a contract extension, Edwards embraced the attention, accelerating his eventual departure from New York. Emotionally, Jets owner Woody Johnson reached a point of no return, and allowed his front office to negotiate a deal with the Chiefs. Edwards tallied an underwhelming 15-33 record in three seasons in Kansas City.

  9. Heat trade Stan Van Gundy to Magic for 2007 second-round pick and 2008 second-round pick (2007)

    Despite being essentially run out of town by Pat Riley as the Heat struggled to meet lofty expectations, Van Gundy was viewed as a hot coaching commodity. The Magic, fresh off of the quick hiring and resignation of Florida Gators coach Billy Donovan, wanted a big name, and therefore offered the position to Van Gundy. He accepted, but the Heat didn’t want to give him up to their instate rival for nothing, demanding compensation in return. Two years later, the Magic reached the Finals while the Heat were in the process of clearing cap space for a big 2010 offseason.

  10. ABC trades broadcaster Al Michaels to NBC for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Ryder Cup matches, and Olympics highlights (2006)

    Believe it or not, the most bizarre trade in football history involved an Emmy Award-winning sportscaster and a Disney character. When NBC Sports secured the rights to Sunday Night Football, which essentially became the "game of the week" in place of Monday Night Football, chairman Dick Ebersol wanted an A-list crew — Michaels and John Madden, who previously worked on MNF, were considered the best tandem in the business. Michaels initially opted to continue calling MNF games for ESPN, but later asked to be allowed to move to NBC. The two networks struck up a deal centered on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit — who was developed by Walt Disney — enabling him to settle in to his rightful home.

5 Ways Steve Jobs Changed Online Education

Oct 7th, 2011

Steve Jobs was a tremendous innovator whose influence on modern society is immeasurable. The technology created by Apple has shrunk the world and made the pursuit of knowledge — any kind of knowledge — incredibly simple. His work has also had a profound effect on online education, which has evolved with the introduction of tools such as the iPod and iPad. Students who enroll in online courses value attributes such as mobility and portability so they can pursue their dreams while carrying on with everything else in their lives. Here are five ways Jobs changed online education, or more specifically, how we learn.

  1. Powerbook revolutionizes the laptop, portability: Prior to the early ’90s, laptops were less user friendly and more difficult to lug around. But, the addition of a palm rest and the installation of a trackball (pointing device) in the Powerbook created new standards for mobile PCs, and set forth rapid improvements that changed the industry. A decade later, laptops became essential workplace items, and today, every online student owns one — the Macbook, for example, has been the best-selling Macintosh in history and the best-selling laptop because of its comfortable usability and impressive power. Need to churn out a brief research paper? You can now do it at home, at the library, with a study buddy, or at the coffee shop thanks, in large part, to Jobs.
  2. Podcasting enables students to view lectures anytime, anywhere: Students can view or listen to lectures conducted by their professors thousands of miles away. Podcasting has been one of the best additions to online education because of its simplicity for both the person uploading the content and the person downloading it. Professors can upload supplementary material without wasting too much time, enhancing their students’ overall educational experience. What’s more, it supplements learning by offering access to a variety of expert sources covering a multitude of topics.
  3. iPad makes textbooks, learning easily accessible: And perhaps just as important — less expensive. Educators on all levels have been warming up to the iPad, which can download textbooks, notes, homework, practice games and other online resources, transforming into an all-in-one educational device. For example, Inkling works with education experts to develop more engaging content in their interactive textbooks, which range from essential neuroscience to the pathophysiology of heart disease. They’re better than the average textbook, and they cost about half the price — what’s not to love if you’re in college?
  4. iCloud on the horizon: A lot of hype has surrounded the development of iCloud, a cloud computing service that enables users to store data on remote servers and download it on devices such as the iPhone, iPod, iPad and laptop. Excellent for students and teachers, it makes it easier for them to access documents and videos — think notes and lectures. Of course, it’s only available for Apple products, but that could change with time. Many educators project that it’ll be the next major innovation to influence education.
  5. Jobs proves it’s okay to challenge the status quo: Online educators challenged the status quo in education, and Steve Jobs challenged the status quo in technology. He provided access to technology in the classroom, and he made the classroom accessible with technology. As a result, online education has evolved and become more valuable. Online students are accustomed to adopting unconventional methods for achieving success and overcoming challenges, which is why they especially should respect the work and impact of Steve Jobs.

Baseball’s 10 Most Dramatic Division Series

Sep 29th, 2011

Old school baseball fans still bemoan the addition of the division series. To them, the extra playoff action devalues the six-month-long marathon of a regular season, which meant a little more when baseball consisted of fewer teams. But, expansion has brought forth the realization that things can’t remain the same forever. For the past 16 years, winning the pennant and winning the World Series have been a bit more difficult, as teams have fought tooth and nail to overcome comparably talented opponents in the short, opening-round series. The following dramatic division series prove that baseball, in its current format, is as healthy as ever, and October is even more captivating than it was two decades ago.

  1. Mariners defeat Yankees, 1995

    The introduction of the division series was delayed a year by the strike, which eliminated the postseason in 1994. So anticipation was especially high as the Yankees, who hadn’t reached the postseason since 1981, faced an upstart, star-studded Mariners squad in a five-game set. Game 2 consisted of four lead changes in 15 innings, then the longest game in terms of elapsed time in playoff history. The Yankees took a commanding 2-0 series lead when Jim Leyritz, whose propensity for playoff clutchness was still unknown, hit a two-run walk-off home run. The Mariners demonstrated their resolve by winning the next two games, including a Game 4 in which Edgar Martinez tallied seven RBIs, forcing a Game 5. Remarkably tense, the decisive game culminated with Martinez’s series-clinching two-run double in the 11th inning, which scored Ken Griffey Jr. from first base. Three outs from advancing, the Yankees went home heartbroken and determined to rebound in ’96.

  2. Red Sox defeat Indians, 1999

    Even though the defending World Series champion Yankees would be heavily favored in the ALCS against the eventual winner, both the Sox and Indians had the star power and confidence to make a deep postseason run. A Game 1 back injury to Pedro Martinez, who left in the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead, enabled the Indians to log three runs, enough for Bartolo Colon to secure an opening-game victory. Down 2-0 in the series, the Sox staged a ferocious rally in the next two games, scoring a combined 31 runs, 23 of which came in Game 4 as a still-tired Bartolo Colon started on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. Because both teams were beset by fatigued pitchers, Game 5 was another high-scoring contest. Three heroic scoreless innings in relief from the ailing Martinez enabled the Sox to capture and maintain the lead and advance to face their archrivals in the next round.

  3. Mets defeat Giants, 2000

    A wide open race for the NL pennant increased the stakes in the division series, in which two of the four games between the Mets and Giants, appropriately, reached extra innings. In Game 2, the Mets’ 4-1 lead in the ninth inning was erased by a three-run home run from JT Snow off of Armando Benitez. Jay Payton’s RBI single in the top of the 10th gave the Mets the lead again, and John Franco’s dramatic strikeout of Barry Bonds with the tying run aboard secured the victory. With the series tied, neither team wanted to surrender Game 3. The Giants’ Russ Ortiz took a no-hitter and 2-0 lead into the sixth inning before the Mets mustered a run. In the eighth, Edgardo Alfonzo’s RBI double off of Giants’ closer Rob Nen tied the game, and in the thirteenth, Benny Agbayani hit a towering walk-off shot to give the Mets control of the series. Game 4 is best remembered for the masterful performance by the Mets’ Bobby Jones, who one-hit the Giants to end the series, setting the record for fewest hits allowed a division series game — Roy Halladay broke it in 2010 when he no-hit the Reds.

  4. Yankees defeat A’s, 2000

    A young team that seemed destined to challenge for an AL pennant, the A’s were undaunted by the two-time defending World Series champions. Their Game 1 victory over the Yankees, who had swept their previous two division series opponents, caught the baseball world by surprise, as the Yankees were almost never in vulnerable positions. Not surprisingly, the veteran squad proceeded to win the next two games with excellent pitching performances by Andy Pettitte and Orlando Hernandez, the latter of whom boasted a remarkable 6-0 career playoff record. The A’s responded in resounding fashion by posting an 11-1 victory in Game 4, a game that pitted legend Roger Clemens against rookie Barry Zito. Game 5 was a dominated by the Yankees’ bullpen, which allowed just three hits, no walks and no runs in 5.1 innings of relief, baffling the Athletics’ inexperienced bats.

  5. Yankees defeat A’s, 2001

    One year later, the two teams dueled in a hotly-contested rematch in which four of the five games were decided by two runs or fewer. Poised to avenge last season’s loss and make a World Series run, the A’s took a 2-0 series lead as Mark Mulder allowed one run in seven innings in Game 1, and Tim Hudson pitched eight shutout innings in Game 2. With the chance to sweep the Yankees in Game 3, Barry Zito tossed eight innings of two-hit, one-run ball, but was outdueled by Mike Mussina, who tossed seven shutout innings. Memorably, during the seventh inning, the Athletics’ Terrance Long hit a line drive that almost scored Jason Giambi, who decided not to slide to home plate. In turn, Derek Jeter bare-handed and redirected a poor relay throw to Jorge Posada, who tagged out Giambi, maintaining the Yankees’ lead. The 1-0 victory sparked the Yankees’ series comeback and incredible postseason run, which ended with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Diamondbacks in the World Series.

  6. Diamondbacks defeat Cardinals, 2001

    The Diamondbacks and Cardinals had both been eliminated by the Mets in each of their previous playoff appearances, and were hoping to take advantage of a weaker NL playoff field. Game 1 was a classic pitching duel between the Cards’ Matt Morris and the D-Backs Curt Schilling, who earned the 1-0 win with a three-hit shutout. The teams traded wins in the next three games, each of which were decided by three runs or fewer, before reaching Game 5, which featured a rematch between Morris and Schilling. Entering the bottom of the ninth, the game was tied 1-1, and the D-Backs had a chance to end the game and series. After they initially failed to manufacture a run, Tony Womack singled in pinch runner Danny Bautista from second base, giving the franchise its first-ever playoff series victory. Schilling again notched a win with a complete game.

  7. Marlins defeat Giants, 2003

    Two winning seasons, two World Series championships. The Marlins’ second improbable October run began with a difficult test versus the defending NL champs. In Game 1, Josh Beckett kicked off his outstanding postseason by pitching seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball, but the Marlins failed to score on Jason Schmidt, who tossed a complete game shutout. The Marlins won Game 2 in a relatively high-scoring 9-5 affair, and claimed the series lead after an 11-inning 4-3 win in Game 4 in which Pudge Rodriguez drove in the game-tying and-winning runs. Game 4 featured the defining moment of the Marlins’ postseason and Pudge’s career. Up 7-6 with two outs in the ninth, he withstood a collision at the plate with JT Snow, tagging him out and securing the series victory for the Marlins.

  8. Red Sox defeat A’s, 2003

    No team has suffered as much division series heartache as the "Moneyball" A’s. Two years after two consecutive five-game losses to the Yankees, they faced another big-market AL East team with pitching equally as strong. Oakland again won the first two games, the second of which came on the heels of Zito’s seven-inning, one-run and nine-strikeout performance. Two questionable calls in Game 3 prevented the A’s from taking a lead, and the contest eventually ended in the 11th inning with a two-run walk-off home run by Trot Nixon. In Game 4, the A’s bullpen picked up the slack for Tim Hudson after he left the game in the first inning with a strained oblique, but the Sox, resilient as ever, scored two runs in the eighth on David Ortiz’s double, giving them the 5-4 win. Fittingly, Game 5 was the series’ third one-run game, as Manny Ramirez’s three-run home run provided most of their scoring, and Derek Lowe escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to close out the game and series.

  9. Astros defeat Braves, 2005

    Game 4 might as well have served as Games 4 and 5. The 18-inning affair featured a late-inning rally from the Astros, who erased the Braves’ a five-run deficit with an eighth-inning grand slam by Lance Berkman and ninth-inning, two-out solo home run from Brad Ausmus. The scoring ceased for the next eight-and-a-half innings, during which Roger Clemens made just the second relief appearance of his career, as the Astros were out of pitchers. He allowed just one hit in three innings, eventually logging the win. Chris Burke’s solo home run in the bottom of the 18th inning ended the longest game — in innings and time — in postseason history and advanced the Astros to their second consecutive NLCS appearance versus the Cardinals.

  10. Angels defeat Yankees, 2005

    Few playoff series in baseball history were as evenly matched as this one. Four of the five games were decided by two runs or fewer, including the nerve-racking Game 4, in which Al Leiter and Mariano Rivera surrendered no hits in the final 2.2 innings, enabling the Yankees to rally in the bottom of the seventh with RBI singles from Ruben Sierra and Derek Jeter. The 3-2 win forced a Game 5, giving the Yankees a chance to upset the Angles in Anaheim. This time, the Angels staved off the rally — and overcame Bartolo Colon’s second-inning hand injury — with gutsy impromptu relief work from Ervin Santana followed by the usual exemplary work from Kelvim Escobar and Francisco Rodriguez.

10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women

Sep 28th, 2011

Over the past 100 years, women have completely reinvented themselves. Gender boundaries are consistently being erased, and women continue to make huge strides in gaining the skills, recognition and compensation that they deserve. We are not far away from the end of the glass ceiling and true equality for women in all fields of work. While there is still a difference in pay between men and women in some fields, many industries have come to be dominated by women who make a very lucrative living. Here are the top 10 most lucrative industries for women:

  1. Law

    Some of the most effective lawyers in the country are women. Being a lawyer demands patience, persistence and the ability to fight for what you believe in, and many women excel in all of these areas and more. As a result, women can earn a lucrative living in the field of law. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), female lawyers earn a median salary of $78,468 per year. As more and more women earn law degrees, these earnings are likely to increase, and this makes being a lawyer an attractive and lucrative career option for women.

  2. Healthcare

    Nearly 78% of healthcare workers are women, and these women tend to make a lucrative living as healthcare professionals. The term healthcare is a broad one, and many different job titles fall under its umbrella, including nurse and physician. As a nurse, a woman can earn an average median salary of $62,450 per year, according to BLS. Physicians can make more than this, and some other fields make substantially less. Overall, healthcare is a stable field with high levels of job satisfaction and employment growth, which makes healthcare a very lucrative industry for women who want to earn more and enjoy what they do.

  3. Computer Management and Information Systems

    Women have the potential to make a lot of money as computer and information systems managers. Computer and information systems managers are involved in the management and administration of technology at organizations in order to help companies meet their business goals. According to BLS, women in this position can make median yearly earnings of $65,520. Most computer management and information systems managers are required to have a bachelor’s degree in subjects like business administration management, information technology and management information systems.

  4. Sales

    A recent study found that women are coming to dominate certain areas of sales, a traditionally lucrative field for those who excel. In fact, the study seemed to show that women tend to have better selling skills than men, translating into substantial earnings for saleswomen. Recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make around $54,000 per year on average, but certain fields, such as pharmaceutical sales, can bring in double or even triple that amount with a few years of experience. It’s no wonder that women are entering the sales workforce in record numbers. Stable job openings and substantial earnings make sales a very lucrative career for women.

  5. Human Resources

    Many women excel in the field of human resources and have come to earn a very lucrative living as human resource managers. Almost every person will deal with human resources at one point in their working life, and it takes dedication, patience and understanding to truly excel as human resources professionals. BLS lists the median salary for female human resources managers at $59,124, and this number is likely to go up as companies are forced to make difficult hiring decisions in the years to come.

  6. Executive Management

    Not long ago, the field executive managers were almost always male. Much has changed in the past 100 years, and one of those changes includes women taking senior executive management roles, such as the role of CEO or CFO. BLS lists the median salary for female Chief Executives as $83,356, but the highest earners can make up to millions of dollars. These salaries prove that having the right skills and knowledge to manage a large corporation has nothing to do with gender.

  7. Speech-Language Pathology

    Speech-language pathology is an increasingly popular field for women because it provides a high level of job satisfaction, favorable job opportunities and a lucrative salary. According to BLS, women in speech pathology can make a median yearly salary of $58,448, but this number can vary from state to state and depend on the employer. Most speech-language pathologists are required to earn a master’s degree, as well as obtain licensure and certification. The job also requires sensitivity, support, patience and compassion, which may come easy to many women. This exceptionally rewarding job does require a demanding level of schooling, but the pay off of helping patients develop or correct their speech is well worth it.

  8. Pharmacy

    Women are increasingly entering the field of pharmacy with lucrative results. According to Forbes, female pharmacists earn a median salary of $85,644. While that median salary is very lucrative, pharmacists must complete a rigorous graduate level program and post-graduate training in order to practice. The job requires exceptional skills in the fields of math and science, as well as a caring and personable demeanor for dealing with customers. Women are proving to exhibit all of these skills, and as a result they are making a lucrative living serving their communities as pharmacists.

  9. Computer Software Engineering

    Computer software engineering has long been a predominantly male career field, but in recent years women have stepped into the industry and have made a good living working as a computer software engineer or computer programmer. According to BLS, computer software engineers can make median yearly earnings of $70,252. Not only is computer software engineering a highly lucrative occupation, but the field is also projected to grow at an exponential rate, resulting in greater job prospects for both women and men. Most computer software engineers earn their bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering.

  10. Education

    Women have traditionally dominated the field of education, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. But while women have traditionally dominated the field of teaching, they are now infiltrating leadership positions within education, such as school counselor and principal positions. These positions are more lucrative than the traditional teaching position. According to BLS, an elementary school principal can make an average salary of $85,905 per year. With salaries like this, it’s likely that women will continue to enjoy the lucrative opportunities a career in education can offer.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Firefighters

Sep 25th, 2011

If you were once a little boy (or maybe even a little girl), there’s a good chance you wanted to be a firefighter at some point. And who could blame you? Firefighters get to run stoplights in their shiny red trucks, carry axes, and save people from burning buildings. Those of you who didn’t quite reach your firefighting dreams are probably missing out on information about the men and women who risk their lives each day to keep us safe and fire-free. Some facts make firefighters sound even more awesome than we already know they are, and some highlight the sacrifices they make for their communities. Here are 9 things, both good and bad, you didn’t know about our heroic firefighters.

  1. They used to use buckets

    Before fire hydrants and huge tanker trucks were available to help firefighters extinguish flames, men had to rely on buckets of water passed down an assembly line. These units were called bucket brigades. In the 1680s, people in New York were required to have a certain number of buckets on hand depending on their building’s risk of fire. For example, bakers needed three and brewers had to keep six handy. When there was a fire, people would throw out their buckets and form two lines between the town’s well and the fire. One line would pass buckets full of water to the fire, and the other would pass empty ones back to the well to be refilled. Luckily, the equipment we use today is much more sophisticated and effective so we don’t have to put out fires one bucket at a time.

  2. Benjamin Franklin contributed to firefighting

    What didn’t Benjamin Franklin do? The man who invented the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove is also responsible for the first fire company in Philadelphia. The firefighters were known as the Union Fire Company or sometimes Benjamin Franklin’s Bucket Brigade. The men would meet every month to discuss firefighting techniques, and each was required to bring buckets and bags to fires in the city to tote water and protect valuables from theft. Though it was the first in Philadelphia, the Union Fire Company wasn’t the only fire club after long. Others sprang up later that year and the years that followed, and soon all of Philadelphia was protected pretty well from spreading fires — a major concern in a time of thatched roofs, wooden structures, and open hearths.

  3. Most are volunteers

    Of the more than 1 million firefighters in the nation, 73% are volunteers. Many fire stations use both volunteer and career firefighters to serve the community, and there are only about 2,000 career-only stations of the 30,500 stations in the country. This means that most of the firefighters that serve your community probably have other jobs on top of keeping their towns safe. Many of them have full-time jobs just like you do and volunteer their free time when someone’s in trouble. And don’t think that volunteer firefighters don’t face the same danger as career firemen. They have to undergo the same rigorous training and die in the line of duty just as frequently as those who fight fire full time.

  4. They started using Dalmatians for a reason

    If you thought firefighters chose the Dalmatian as their mascot because their white coats with black spots totally go with the red fire trucks, think again. While color coordinating may be a great way to choose your personal pets, firefighters used to have a specific use for the Dalmatian. Dalmatians were often referred to as "carriage dogs" in the days when horse-drawn carriages were the best way to transport goods and highway robberies were a common occurrence. The dogs got along extremely well with horses, protected the goods when the coach driver was away, and could run alongside the carriage for long distances. This made the dog perfect for firehouses, because the Dalmatian could guard the horses and equipment at the firehouse and on location at fires. Many fire stations still have Dalmatians, though their role has changed from guard dog to companion.

  5. Women firefighters have been around since the 1800s

    Even though firefighters are still often called "firemen," this term disregards all the ladies out there who put their lives in danger for their community. Men still dominate the field (just under 4% of firefighters are women), but the number of women firefighters is expected to increase. The first known female firefighter in the U.S. was Molly Williams, a slave from New York, who fought fires side by side with the men in the early 19th century. Another woman, Marina Betts, volunteered with the fire department in Pittsburgh in the 1820s. Since the early 1900s, there have even been several all-woman fire companies in Maryland, California, Texas, and other states. Women today still face many hurdles to becoming full-time firefighters, such as equipment that doesn’t fit feminine curves correctly and a lack of facilities for women to shower without having to endure male locker-room talk.

  6. They carry an extra 60 pounds

    Firefighters have to keep in tip-top shape to perform their jobs well. Not only do they have to run, climb stairs, and carry people, they have to do it all while wearing up to 60 pounds of equipment. That’s like lugging around a 9-year-old. The exact weight of the equipment varies depending on the materials used by the producers, but when you think of all the gear a firefighter has, it’s not surprising that it adds up. When responding to a fire, firefighters don thick pants, steel-toed boots, and a heavy jacket, which weigh at least 30 pounds on their own. Many wear a protective flame-proof hood and then put the helmet on top of it. Depending on the situation, a firefighter might use an air pack, comparable to the breathing apparatus used when scuba diving, or water tank, which allows those fighting wild fires to go where a hose can’t reach.

  7. They plan for fires in some buildings

    OK, so they don’t actually predict that certain buildings will catch fire (though that would be pretty awesome), but they do make plans for some buildings before a fire occurs. Places like schools and hospitals, as well as locations with highly flammable or hazardous materials, are normally at the top of the list for planning. These pre-incident plans contain information that helps the commander make important decisions when a fire or some other kind of disaster occurs. Knowing things like the floor plan, access points, hydrant location, and contents of the building has actually lowered the number of firefighter deaths.

  8. Heart attacks are their No. 1 killer

    You would probably think that the most frequent cause of death for firefighters would be, well, fire. At the very least, you would expect it to be buildings falling on top of them. But the top killer of on-duty firefighters is heart attacks. In fact, more than 45% of firefighters who die while on duty die from heart disease. A lot of Americans have heart problems, like high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but most Americans don’t have the sudden stress in their everyday jobs of dealing with life-threatening situations. When a firefighter has heart disease, they are putting themselves at risk of a heart attack every time they respond to an emergency. They are at least 12 times more likely to have a heart attack when they are putting out a fire than when they are doing non-emergency duties.

  9. They are twice as likely to get cancer

    If the increased risk of heart attack wasn’t bad enough, firefighters are also twice as likely to get cancer than the average person. When a building and the stuff inside go up in flames, the materials that are burning often emit dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde or sulfur dioxide. These can be absorbed into the firefighters’ lungs and through their skin if they’re not protected well enough or if they don’t clean their gear thoroughly after a fire. Combine this with the increased risk of asbestos exposure as firefighters deal with older structures, and you’ve got a profession that’s even more dangerous than you would’ve thought.

10 Former Stars Who Never Should Have Left Television

Sep 21st, 2011

When a TV star makes it big, it’s normal that they would start dreaming of a career in movies. Who wouldn’t want to see their face 1,000 times larger than life on the big screen? Other TV actors end a show and just try to find anything to do with their careers. But the entertainment business isn’t as fabulous as it seems (well, besides the limousines and entourages). If you stop showing up in people’s living rooms once a week, they sometimes forget about you. Here are 10 former TV stars who found that out the hard way.

  1. Shelley Long

    Everyone knows your name at Cheers, but everyone in the world knew Shelley Long’s name from her time on the hit show. Her character, Diane Chambers, was loved as the beautiful but stuck-up Cheers waitress and had a sexual chemistry with bartender Sam Malone that the audience ate up. She is often considered one of the best TV characters of all time and was on the show for five seasons before Long decided to pursue a film career. Since she had won two Golden Globes and an Emmy for her work on Cheers, Long probably thought she would find similar success on the big screen, but the closest she came was Troop Beverly Hills. She also appeared in the Brady Bunch parodies, which cemented her place as a washed-up actress.

  2. Jason Alexander

    Seinfeld was one of the most successful sitcoms of all time, an amazing feat for any show but especially for a show about nothing. Jason Alexander as tactless slacker George Costanza helped the show skyrocket to never-before-seen levels of awkwardness and viewership. But the cast of Seinfeld was rumored to suffer from the Seinfeld curse after the show ended in 1998 after nine seasons. Alexander was definitely a victim of this curse. He tried two other sitcoms, Bob Patterson and Listen Up!, but they failed and now he does a lot of stage acting. Alexander may not have chosen to leave television, but we wish he could’ve stayed on as George Costanza forever.

  3. Joe Piscopo

    In the early ’80s when people worried that Saturday Night Live would die after the original cast left, a few comedians resurrected the sketch comedy show. Standing beside Eddie Murphy, funny man Joe Piscopo brought memorable characters and laughs to the show’s set. The two of them left SNL in 1984 to pursue careers in the movie business, and one of them made it. Hint: it wasn’t Piscopo. Piscopo acted in a couple of terrible films, like Johnny Dangerously and Sidekicks, before becoming nothing more than a punchline because of his alleged steroid addiction. You’re more likely to hear his name in a Simpsons joke today than see it in the credits of a movie.

  4. Danica McKellar

    As Kevin Arnold’s love interest in The Wonder Years, Danica McKellar was everyone’s favorite girl next-door. Her character, Winnie Cooper, and Kevin spent six seasons trying to figure out love and growing up, and when the show ended, Americans everywhere felt like their childhood had just ended, too. But after the show, McKellar had a tough time landing any good roles. She filmed some Lifetime movies, which were obviously awful, and appeared in lingerie in Stuff magazine. Most recently, she’s had some guest appearances on TV shows and a made-for-TV movie called Inspector Mom, but she’s best known for her bestselling books that encourage girls that math is cool. That’s a far cry from the Winnie Cooper we knew.

  5. Jennifer Aniston

    Though Jennifer Aniston may still be considered a huge star, her life definitely started to go downhill after Friends ended in 2004. As Rachel on Friends, she ended up with the man she was meant to be with, a successful career, and a family. In reality, she became the topic of tabloids when she divorced Brad Pitt in 2005 and still appears on covers every time she starts or ends a relationship. Her acting career hasn’t dropped to the level of made-for-TV movies, but most people will agree that the movies she’s starred in haven’t lived up to her Friends hype. Her best works seem to be the ones where she takes a supporting or minor role in a film or guest stars on a sitcom, a sad step down from her Mrs. Pitt and Friends days.

  6. Jonathan Taylor Thomas

    As far as ’90s icons go, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, or JTT for those in the know, was the cream of the crop. As the smart-mouthed Randy Taylor on Home Improvement, Thomas won the hearts of girls across America and we all thought he’d go on to do spectacular things in the movie business. He left the show a year before it ended in order to focus on academics, but didn’t graduate from Columbia University until 2010. In the meantime, he took on various roles in pretty disappointing movies, like I’ll Be Home For Christmas, Speedway Junkie, and Walking Across Egypt, which you’ve probably never heard of. If he could find a spot on TV again, there are probably plenty of women who would watch just to remember his glory days.

  7. Dave Coulier

    Almost as famous for being Alanis Morissette’s ex-boyfriend as he is for playing Uncle Joey on Full House, Dave Coulier disappeared from our lives after he left our TV sets. He played the jokester best friend to a widowed dad who talked in funny voices and took care of the Olsen twins just because he was a nice guy. But when the show ended in 1995 (and he broke Morissette’s heart and was immortalized in "You Oughta Know"), Coulier’s career never really recovered. He has appeared in some Disney movies, done some voice work, and hosted a few cheesy comedy shows, but worst of all, he was on The Surreal Life and Skating With Celebrities. You’re better than that, Dave. As Uncle Joey would say, cut it out.

  8. Jessica Biel

    Jessica Biel got her big break in the long-running family show 7th Heaven, which dragged on for 11 seasons. In 2003, when Biel realized she was more attractive than the rest of her co-stars, physically and to directors, she jumped ship to pursue a movie career. She’s been mildly successful and appeared in a number of wide-release films, like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and The A-Team, but she’s still as forgettable as ever. At least when she was on 7th Heaven, she stood out as the star. Now she fades into the background whenever she’s on screen with another actor. Her biggest recent success was dating musician-turned-actor Justin Timberlake, and even that is apparently over now.

  9. Ben Savage

    He was never exactly a teenage heartthrob but Ben Savage and his character Cory Matthews on Boy Meets World grew up with a generation. The show ran from 1993 to 2000, and Savage seemed to have mountains of star potential. Maybe the show went on a little too long or Savage stopped being cute after puberty, but after Boy Meets World finally went off the air, Savage was basically out of starring roles. His mistake wasn’t necessarily leaving television on purpose, but holding onto one role so long that he couldn’t find any others. He’s had some guest spots on prominent shows and found his way into some made-for-TV movies, but nothing he can do will ever top Cory Matthews.

  10. Kelsey Grammer

    After 20 years of playing the same character, it’s not surprising that Kelsey Grammer has had a hard time doing anything else. The celebrity known for playing Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers and its spin-off Frasier was finally done with that role (except the occasional reprisal for a commercial) in 2004. Since then, Grammer has attempted to find his way back into television through some directing, producing, and then acting again, but his shows have been canceled after a season or less. His latest contribution to the entertainment world has been his ex-wife, who stars on the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Grammer will be making his return to TV in October in a new show, Boss, and let’s hope that works out because he says his next move will be politics.

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