The real 10 most fascinating people of 2014, from StoryCorps

TED Blog

StoryCorps-Most-Fascinating-People-NumberedBy Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps (and 2015 TED Prize winner)

Last week, I saw Barbara Walters’ list of “The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014.” It included interesting thinkers like Elon Musk (watch his TED Talk) and George R.R. Martin (the author of Game of Thrones), along with crowd-pleasers like Taylor Swift and Oprah. But reading this list of almost exclusively marquee names made me think about some of the people who StoryCorps celebrated this past year. While these are names you almost certainly have never heard before, I’d venture to say that they stand up pretty darn well against the Walters’ picks. I hope you’ll agree that these 10 people deserve a little year-end love.

Here, the people I found most fascinating this year:

  1. Yelitza Castro. Yelitza (right) is an undocumented house cleaner from North Carolina who was driving with her kids one day when they saw a homeless man with a sign that…

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Who Rules April Fools?

Spot On TV

Unless you’re a student attending Greendale Community College where April 1st is officially March 32, it is in fact the first of April, every tricksters favorite day of the year, April Fools’ Day.

A day once dedicated to general tomfoolery with hand-buzzers and whoopie cushions has become an opportunity for brands to really flex their creativity muscles delivering a mix of innovative gadgets straight out of out favorite Sci Fi movies, trailers that are too good to be true, edible pizza boxes and products you’ll wish were real come April 2nd.

So far, April 1, 2014 has been far from disappointing. Here’s a list of some of the Kings of April Fools’ Day:

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Don’t Piss on This

Well, another St. Patrick’s Day weekend is upon us, Chicago. Prepare yourself for these next 48 hours as #Chirish and selfies of people day drinking by the Chicago River clutter your newsfeed. Before you hit up Wrigley for a ceremonial Irish car bomb, paint yourself green and wrap yourself in an Irish flag because you can claim you’re like 5% Irish on your Mother’s side, please take the following into consideration.

As a city, we have a reputation to uphold for one crazy weekend. Individually, we have our own reputations to consider, so let’s cut to the chase: WATCH WHERE YOU PEE.

(Photo courtesy of http://deadairfm.com/)

(Photo courtesy of http://deadairfm.com/)

 I’ve lived through many a St. Patty’s Day weekends in Chicago, and I’ve seen things. So, I’ve made a list of “Things Not to Pee on This St. Patrick’s Day.”  

  1. Don’t pee on your friends. Don’t pee on strangers. Just don’t pee on people. It’s rude.
  2. Don’t pee on animals.
  3. Don’t pee on the train. It smells like urine enough on its own.
  4. Basically, if it moves or breathes, don’t pee on it.
  5. Don’t pee off the bridge.
  6. Don’t pee on people’s windows. (Allow me to clarify, I used to live in a Garden Unit in Wrigley and my bedroom window faced an alleyway. Need I explain more?)
  7. Speaking of alleys, don’t pee in them either.
  8. And don’t pop a squat in the middle of the sidewalk. Your tiny green tutu can only cover so much.
  9. Don’t pee in beer bottles.
  10. Don’t pee in beer bottles and leave them behind.
  11. For those of you who plan on donning the green man spandex suit, don’t try to pee through that and risk serious chafing.

This weekend, remember the old saying, “There’s a Starbucks on every corner.” Utilize this. You’ll make the bladder gladder and a whole lot of other people too. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

“#SwimmyFallon” Will Take the Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge Challenge

Mayor Emanuel presents a wetsuit for Jimmy Fallon. Photo posted by @ChicagosMayor on Feb. 21

So it has been tweeted, so it shall be! Jimmy Fallon has accepted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Polar Plunge challenge.

It all started last week when Emmanuel received an open invitation from Fallon to appear as a guest on The Tonight Show because the Chicago mayor “scared” him. Emmanuel told him to “toughen up” and that he would appear on Fallon’s show if he would take on the Chicago Polar Plunge with him. After an exchange of clever hashtags and a photo of the mayor posing with a wetsuit (posted above), Fallon accepted.

I’d say the lesson here is, treat any challenge you post via social media like the “Triple Dog Dare” scene from A Christmas Story. Like a tongue to a frozen pole, you’re stuck. The commitment is real, no cold feet (figuratively speaking, or course!)

Good thing both Emmanuel and Fallon took on these challenges to benefit the greater good. Emmanuel agreed to take on the Polar Plunge when he challenged children in the city’s schools to read two million books.

While the event is cold, the cause is heart warming. The Chicago Polar Plunge benefits programs for The Special Olympics enjoyed by nearly 5,000 athletes. Interested participants can still register and set up a fundraising page. Last year, more than 2,300 people participated. This will be the 14th year for the Polar Plunge and it will take place on March 2nd at North Avenue Beach.

I’ll Take a Fallon on Ice, Please!

Based on the ratings that put The Second City at number one with the most viewership of Jimmy Fallon’s debut episode hosting The Tonight Show, Chicagoans enjoy their comedians the way I like my mojitos: tall, newly minted and on ice!

It took less than 140 characters to put the new host between a rock and a cold place when Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to Fallon’s open invitation to appear on the show with a challenge of his own:

That’s the deal. A quick dip in the Chiberian lake at the 14th Annual Polar Plunge, and Emanuel will help Fallon conquer his Rahmaphobia. Fallon was hesitantly suspicious responding back to Emanuel’s terms:

Fallon's Response

Rest assured, Emmauel delivered a mayoral and playful response:

Rahm's Mayoral Response

As the two work out the details, Chicago has a little over a week to prepare favorable weather for the Polar Plunge on Sunday, March 2nd. Rumor has it this week’s average is a solid 20 degrees.

If this all pulls through, my Chicagoan contribution to having Jimmy’s back will be creating a signature cocktail called “The Fall-On Ice.” It’ll take the edge off the whole, you know, freezing in the lake thing. Of course you can have one, Jimmy!

These Star Wars Dresses Are the Only Things From Fashion Week That Anyone Should Actually Wear

A wardrobe from a galaxy far, far away!

NewsFeed

The thing about Fashion Week — at least for us plebs — is that it showcases articles of clothing that we not only can’t afford, but that we’d never want to wear anyway. Not so with this latest collection from Rodarte, which features several Star Wars-themed dresses. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to wear these? We definitely would, and noted Star Wars fan Liz Lemon definitely would too.

Here are our favorites, featuring Luke Skywalker, Yoda and even C-3PO:

Rodarte - Runway - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

Rodarte - Runway - Fall 2014 Mercedes - Benz Fashion Week

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Rodarte - Runway - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

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