Sound pretty ballsy? Try doing all that while unarmed and wearing a dress.
Some organizations spend their entire history trying to convince the world they're badass. Nobody would dare mess with a bunch of Navy SEALs, for instance, and if your girlfriend says her dad is a member of the Hells Angels, you're going to watch your ass. But some of the most badass groups on the planet don't put nearly as much effort into maintaining that kind of reputation.
Therefore, we shall do it for them.
When we think about the Salvation Army, we get a heartwarming image of little old ladies in red aprons doing their bit to serve the community one bake sale at a time, which is why you'll probably be alarmed to discover that the "Army" part of their name isn't just a metaphor.
The roots of the Salvation Army play like something out of Gangs of New York. Although founded as a Christian mission by Reverend William Booth in 1865 in East End London, their "salvation" caused so much trouble for local pimps, brewers and other ill-merchants that they armed themselves and formed an anti-Salvation Army gang they called The Skeleton Army.
The Salvation Army's eternal foe.
At a time when the Salvation Army was in its infancy and essentially fighting to stay alive, they were forced into a confrontation with the Skeleton Army gang on August 17, 1884, who rioted and tried to burn down their headquarters. The soldiers of the Salvation Army managed to outlast their adversaries, first with hope, and then with gunshots.
Then, presumably, with bells and buckets.
And they were victorious.
But even that doesn't trump the action they saw in the trenches of World War I. It was during this time that the Salvation Army deployed 1,065 women onto the battlefield, "in the face of danger, with death striking all about them."
Although this meant having to offer their services while "under fire, day after day and night after night" from a host of technological terrors ranging from machine guns to planes to poison gases, these young soldiers in the Salvation Army "coolly went about their work, giving first aid to the injured or, as the occasion offered, serving hot drinks and sandwiches."
"Did she say BLTs?"
Sound pretty ballsy? Try doing all that while unarmed and wearing a dress.
The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and Due South combined did enough of a job on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to make them fodder for our mockery well into the 21st century.
Though the Dudley Do-Rights of the Canadian border may dress like nutcrackers in Crocodile Dundee hats, many Americans tend to forget that silly costumes and funny nicknames aren't necessarily an accurate gauge of strength or ability.
When you consider just how vulnerable the vast Canadian border is to everything from syrup-smugglers to bears, you have to figure that it must take one hell of a security system to keep Canadians sleeping soundly at night. Especially when you consider that the USA has tried to conquer Canada several times, and each time the Canadians kicked our flag-waving asses.
And took our belt!
The RCMP are actually something like the FBI of Canada. If they ride into any crime scene, anywhere in the country, they have automatic authority to boss everyone around. You'll want to listen to them not just because they're the highest authority, but also they're armed with MP5 submachine guns because "it is hard as hell to hit someone with a handgun."
If you commit a crime in Canada and try to evade the Mounties by slipping over into the States, then you've fundamentally misunderstood the power of the Mounties. They can just gallop over the border and shoot you in Maine, because they have international jurisdiction. Not to mention their paramilitary hoard of weaponry and vehicles including trucks, snowmobiles, aircraft, sea vessels and a goddamn train.
Apparently, they also have camels.
In short, the Mounties alone compose a force fear-worthy enough to, at the very least, conquer Alaska if Sarah Palin ever tries to make a comeback.
Of the words that come to mind when we hear "Boy Scouts," "badass" isn't one of them. Words like "nerdlinger" and "snot-nosed little knot-tying wieners" are probably closer to the mark. Don't say it to their pimply little faces though or they might cut you up with a Swiss army knife. Or without one.
We could regale you with all kinds of stories about Scouts who went beyond the call of duty to achieve feats that grown men couldn't dream about--like 13-year old Jimmy Kennedy, who saved his entire family when Hurricane Katrina struck his home; Chris Malasics, 14, who survived a run-in with a bear; or when two unknown Boy Scouts in 1921 fought against the worst flood in Colorado history to save a half dozen people from a burning, "exploding" lime plant... using canoes.
In the original draft of Die Hard, John McClane was a boy scout trying to get his pottery badge.
But that all somehow pales in comparison to the time the Boy Scouts answered the call to fight in the biggest worldwide free-for-all in history. Back before the Scouting organization was even in its teens, the world came down with a fever known as World War I. After boning up on their emergency preparedness skills, the Scouts competed for their Hun-killing merit badges under a sky black with artillery shells.
Tales abound of junior MacGyvers putting their scouting skills to the task of ruining Germany's day, such as the case of 12-year-old Ukrainian scout Andrew Mironenko, who crossed over enemy lines in the dead of night, unscrewed the bolts of a bunch of artillery guns and wheeled them right the hell back to the Russian front line. Or consider the Belgian Scout, Leyson, who "killed one of the enemy with his own hand and captured no fewer than 11 spies."
And finally, there's Boy Scout Mohammed Jaisham Ibrahim. While in full Boy Scout uniform, he spotted and seized an assassin's knife just as he was about to plunge it into the stomach of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the President of the Maldives. The Boy Scout, who instantly became a Man Scout, received serious injuries and had to be airlifted, but he gets to spend the rest of his life with all of the Maldives knowing that he saved the president's life. At age 15.
We usually think of the Treasury as the nerdy, straight-laced sibling in the family of jocks that is the United States of America. While the FBI is beating up kids for their lunch money and the CIA is boning a cheerleader in the back of a sports car, the Treasury is at home studying for the extra credit section of his math homework.
The Treasury Department is like the Richie Cunningham to the CIA's Fonzie.
That is true, in the sense that the U.S. Treasury is also a powder keg of vengeance and pent-up geek angst. Consider that up until very recently, the Treasury was the parent department of the Secret Service. These are the guys who wear dark sunglasses, take bullets for the President, disappear miscreants in the night and maintain alien conspiracies.
See that dude with the machine gun and kickass mustache? U.S. Treasury.
But that's not the only kickass bastard child spawned into the world from the Treasury's immense balls. By the time Prohibition came around, the Department of the Treasury exercised more jurisdiction over raids of mobsters than the Department of Justice or even the FBI. It was the Department's own Bureau of Prohibition that fielded Treasury agent Eliot Ness and his Untouchables: an elite squad of the 11 toughest, ballsiest law enforcers in the country, deliberately selected so that their collective strengths made them as unstoppable as Voltron.
They conducted raids with door-smashing snow plows, had plants and spies within the heart of the Capone empire, were public enemy #1 for the country's mobsters and--unlike their cinematic equivalents--scored a flawless victory, living their whole Timespiltters 2-esque career busting distilleries and nailing mobsters while sustaining zero casualties.
You know those guys with the huge, furry hats at Buckingham Palace? Every single American movie in which the protagonists go to England includes at least one scene mocking the fact that these guys don't move or do anything, even if you kick them in the balls.
In actual fact, it's well worth your while not to test out that particular cliche because it's not necessarily true. There's no real rule stating that the Queen's Guard aren't allowed to move, they're just so used to American asshole tourists by now that your mockery and mimicry rolls right off their backs... most of the time.
A Buckhingham guard remaining calm after a public mockery.
Rest assured, beneath that giant bearskin hat lies the highly disciplined mind of a trained professional killer, and he is just waiting, desperately hoping, for your tourist ass to step an inch out of line so that he can rip your spleen out and beat you to death with it.
A Buckingham guard, moments after strangling a tourist with their own entrails.
Yes, they may dress like shoe-buffers and Victorian-era vibrators, but the Queen's Guard are armed with machine guns, the same amount of training as any spec-ops in the British military and have seen action in engagements like the Battle of Waterloo. That's right, these dapper Dans helped ice Napoleon.
"CHIM-CHIMINEY, CHIM CHIMINEY, CHIM, CHIM, CHA-ROO!"
In sum, they're just as hardass as any other Brit with an automatic rifle. More so because they're the life guards of the Queen of England herself and, less importantly, Prince Charles. It might almost seem like those funny outfits are designed purely to distract the enemy with hilarity. Put them in regular military uniforms and you'd be less tempted to dance around them, blowing raspberries and mocking their cold emotionless stare.
The American cheerleading phenomenon seems little more than a bizarre teenage mating ritual, not to mention a vicious re-establishment of archaic gender roles. While the boys beat each other senseless on the field, the girls dance around in miniskirts.
"Look! A real sport!"
Actually, in many ways, cheerleading is the most Spartan high school sport the law allows. Its members put their lives in each others' hands, its hazard is without equal and the promise it has to offer? GLORY.
Cheerleading is hands down the most dangerous sport in high school. The intense gymnastics, lack of padding and fiercely competitive nature associated with today's routines puts cheerleaders at greater risk of catastrophic injury than pretty much anyone else, from football players to flaming sword swallowers.
Tossing a human being haphazardly into the air to spin and flip is not safe.
"Catastrophic" is exactly what it sounds like. Cheerleaders suffer broken limbs, spinal injuries, paralysis and even death. It's not just more dangerous than any of those pussy male-dominated sports, it's actually the leading cause of catastrophic injury for young women. It kind of makes you feel inadequate as a fan of your sports team; You're just cheering them. These girls are willing to die for them.
And look pretty doing it.
So, the next time you see these girls in your neighborhood knocking on doors to shore up funds, reach for your wallet and support your local cheerleader in whatever way your state or commonwealth approves.
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For more hidden awesomeness, check out The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses and Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: The Badass Roots of 5 Sissy Dogs.
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