Everyone has a little bit of celebrity worship in them. Even me, who is vocal to a fault about wanting to punch most of them in their respective necks. If there is an upside to that creepy stalkerish need to know everything about famous people, it's that sometimes if you dig long enough, you find that they've been hiding one of their insanely talented relatives in the secret well in their basement. For instance ...
#5. Steve Jobs' Sister Is an Award-Winning Author
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Steve Jobs single-handedly invented the arrogant computer douche who wrecks any normal conversation about technology by turning it into a Mac vs. PC debate, defining himself by what brand of machine he uses to watch scat porn. And also Apple. He was also the subject of the greatest Epic Rap Battles of History ever produced:
The Talented Sibling:
Mona Simpson is Steve's sister, and she has a pretty impressive list of awards under her belt, including a Guggenheim Award, a Whiting Book Award, and a literature prize from the American Academy for Arts and Letters.
On top of that, she's an English professor at UCLA, fighting the good fight against criminally stupid Internet word mangling. On top of even that, she's also a professor of literature and language at Bard College. Holy shit. When does she even have time to sit back and admire her boobs? I ... assume that's what women do in their spare time? I don't talk to many women; that's just what I'd do if I were one.
Here she is without her trademark katana. Women always carry swords, right?
In 1986, Simpson wrote an award-winning book titled Anywhere But Here, which was eventually turned into a movie starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon. Here's the crazy part: She didn't even know her brother was Steve Jobs until she was 25 years old. By that point, she had worked her way up from abject poverty to middle class on her own, busting her ass to make it in the writing world, which I can tell you from personal experience is a feat in and of itself.
I would suggest waiting until you're done with this article before you do it, but if you click that last link, you'll see why she's special. It's an emotional piece -- a eulogy for her brother, in fact. I just don't want you all teary eyed while I'm trying to make juvenile jokes about turds or balls. I have my own living to make, and as wonderful a woman as she is, I don't want Mona Simpson ruining my middle school humor.
Via Evan Sung for The New York Times
Look at her -- you know she's just dying to. She hates me, I can feel it.
#4. James Cameron's Brother Is a Genius Engineer
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You know who James Cameron is. Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, explosions and asses. He's also apparently a huge, childish dick who loses his temper at the drop of a hat and has been known to confiscate cellphones when they ring on his set, grab a nail gun, and tack those fuckers to the wall.
Actually, now that I think about it, I kind of want to see that.
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"I will shove that so hard into your ass that when you pull it out, it will sound like you just opened a bottle of champagne."
The Talented Sibling:
Mike Cameron is James' younger brother, and he happens to be crazy smart. How smart? Well, for one, he's an aerospace engineer. That alone is enough to net him a spot on this list, but it goes much further than that. And if I wrote for a newspaper, they would fire me in a frenzied rage for not using the word "deeper" instead of "further," because newspapers are stupid.
The crazy, mind-blowing accomplishment by Mike sounds unimpressive at first. He invented a way to film professionally while extremely deep underwater -- 12,600 feet, to be precise. Big deal, right? We've seen plenty of documentaries that explore the ocean floor. National Geographic explores deep water all the time like it ain't shit. They've definitely got him beat in that department ... except for the part where Mike's technology is so far advanced from anything we've ever seen, Jet Propulsion Laboratory wants to use it to explore Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have the best chance of supporting oceanic extraterrestrial life.
And if they thaw it out, maybe -- just maybe -- Ewoks.
So what did he do that's so amazing? First, he eliminated the need for thousands of pounds' worth of power cables that fuck up most deep water expeditions, replacing it with a single fiber optic strand smaller than a human hair. Then, he designed a camera robot that is able to squeeze through openings smaller than 2 feet. According to that Wired article above, normal deep sea rovers are six times that size. Then Mike modified the lighting system so it's not filming a bunch of stirred-up sediment and floating fish turds, tweaked the communications problems that plague extreme ocean exploration, and boom: We now have a robotic film crew that is capable of exploring the 30-mile-deep saline oceans of Europa.
I think it's time to live in a world where we refer to James as "Mike Cameron's brother."
Then again, that might be the reason he is the way he is.
#3. Leslie Nielsen's Brother Was a Highly Successful Politician
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If I have to explain who Leslie Nielsen is, you need to stop what you're doing right now and go watch the Airplane and Naked Gun movies, and the Police Squad! TV show. Call in a sick day to work or school, explaining that you just discovered his body of work. They'll understand. In fact, the only punishment you might receive would be a dock in pay or grades for not having done it sooner. Here's a short compilation of clips from various movies to get you started:
The Talented Sibling:
Erik Nielsen was Leslie's older brother, and he served in the Canadian Parliament for 30 straight years, uninterrupted. He was a staunch, hardass conservative who was often called "Velcro lips" because of his habit of holding back information from his colleagues and the public. Which in itself is pretty damn funny, since his brother was a certifiable comedy genius who didn't seem to hold anything back at all (including busting ass on morning talk shows).
But Erik wasn't just a face in the political crowd. During that big, mean fucker's time, he served as opposition house leader, leader of the opposition (which is evidently ... different?), deputy prime minister, president of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, and minister of national defense. In reading down the list of positions he's held, I'm starting to think that he looked around the room on his first day in office and said, "I can't make up my mind which one I like the most. I think I'll just try them all. Leslie, come over here and fart in this dickhead's face."
"I'll just stand here and look disappointed."
Eventually, his hardass nature and his refusal to answer questions about important things like politicians fucking the government and its people got his ass flat-out fired. Of course, a dude like that doesn't just fade away into retirement. He took his lumps like a man and settled down with a modest job as chairman of the National Transportation Agency and eventually president of Solar Engineering, Hawaii Inc. and Solar Electric Engineering Distributors of Canada.