5 Historical Facts That Were Way Too Stupid For The Movies
History is a vast, fascinating, and occasionally very stupid thing. Sometimes there are real events that are too stupid even for Hollywood, a place whose official motto is "Nothing is too stupid -- especially not history!" But while Hollywood has no problem casting Tom Cruise as the Last Samurai, even they know to draw the line at how ...
The CIA Used Sex Dolls To Trick The KGB
Cold War thrillers are tense games of cat and mouse featuring high-tech gadgets that range from the slick to the wildly cartoonish. In real life, though, the CIA opted for something a little simpler when they wanted to avoid detection by the Soviets: inflatable sex dolls.
It was nearly impossible for CIA operatives to move through Moscow incognito in the '70s, because the KGB had mastered identifying and tailing their cars. But the agency still needed a way to slip out undetected and meet their contacts, complete their missions, or spend some alone time with their sex dolls. Wait, that's the answer! Blow-up dolls would replace an agent in their car after they snuck out while their tail wasn't looking. This was before the internet, so the dolls had to be purchased from sex shops by the agents themselves -- according to one agent, he was too embarrassed to ask his secretary to do it for him. To be fair, "That's classified, ma'am" has never worked as a sex-toy-related excuse in all of history.
"But wait," you might be thinking, "wouldn't a sex doll be pretty conspicuous in the car before the agent slipped out?" Sounds like somebody hasn't seen Airplane! They simply manufactured rigs from airbags that could be hidden in a car until they needed the doll to pop out, fully inflated, like a jack in the box. That's actually what the CIA called them -- "JIBs," for "jack in boxes." They giggled every single time they said it. We don't have a source for that last claim, we just know it to be true.
Peeing And Pooping In Fighter Jets Is An Absolute Nightmare
Picture any gritty WWII movie -- that long, slow pan over the crew of a long-range bomber, their engines in flames, their escorts destroyed. They know they have to carry out their mission, and they know they won't be going home. And now picture all of that, but covered in shit. That was the reality of long-range bombers during World War II. They often had to fly extremely long missions, and airborne lavatory technology was still ... rudimentary, at best.
The British Lancaster Bomber had one makeshift chemical toilet sitting out in the open, right in the middle of everyone, and it would constantly overflow. That's bad enough, but when they hit turbulence, the laws of physics teamed up with the vengeful toilet to give as good as it got. That dramatic closing monologue about young Gunner Wilson's bravery is spoiled a little bit when you zoom in and see the toilet paper behind the pilot's ear.
Peeing in modern-day jets isn't much easier. At least two F-16 pilots have crashed while trying to go. Pilots have to stay well-hydrated to withstand heavy G-Forces, and there are only so many ways a human can relieve themselves while strapped into a tiny bubble. They have to either take a "piddle pack" up in the air with them, or hook up "relief tubes," which are exactly what they sound like. Imagine Luke Skywalker bravely hopping into his X-Wing, checking all the thrusters, hearing Obi-Wan's voice in his ears, then hooking up a tube to his wang. Imagine it, damn you!
Samurai Wore Massive, Silly Balloons
When you picture a samurai, a few things come to mind: regal armor, cool weapons, bitchin' topknots. You probably don't picture some dork riding around with a giant balloon strapped to his back like a toddler whose mom doesn't want to lose him in a crowd.
A horo was made from strips of cloth or silk stitched together into the rough shape of a bag, sometimes draped over a wooden or wicker frame, and was worn by messengers and high-ranking samurai to protect them from arrows. When riding a horse, the bag would fill up with air and inflate, creating the world's very first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cosplay.
Greco-Roman Men Regularly Tied Their Foreskins Shut In Public
The Olympics of Ancient Greece were one of the true wonders of the ancient world, and perhaps best embody the enduring dignity of sport to this day ... just as long as you don't ... look ... down ...
What you're trying not to look at is the ancient Greek athletic practice of tying one's foreskin shut with a little cord called a kynodesme, which is a cute name for a dong string. The name literally translates to "dog leash," and for once, we are aggressively uninterested in the etymology.
To answer your question -- which is obviously "Dear god, why?" -- the Greeks thought that chastity would improve an athlete's performance, and the kynodesme helped avoid any unfortunate training boners. The kynodesme also made sure that a proudly nude Greek athlete didn't show the head of his penis in public, which was considered very shameful. It seems like there might be easier solutions for that than foreskin laces, but we didn't invent philosophy, so we'll have to give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
The Romans went a step further and threw in dick clamps as well. Roman gladiators scorned dainty little ribbons like the kynodesme, instead employing iron rings, metal clasps, or even plain old safety pins. Imagine the scene in Gladiator in which they arrive in Rome and stare in awe at the Colosseum, but then Oliver Reed rushes in and jams a safety pin through Russell Crowe's dick. That's history.
Agnes Sorel Started A Trend Of Walking Around 15th-Century France With One Breast Out
Agnes Sorel made history as the first official mistress of a French king. Obviously, there had been plenty before her, but she was the first one to really make a career out of it. She hit the court like an absolute hurricane, leaving awed contemporaries to declare her "the most beautiful woman in the world" and "a bad example to modest and honest women" -- two of the nicest compliments a 15th-century writer could give. That last one was probably due to her habit of going around with her boobs hanging out, most famously depicted in this painting of her as, ironically, the Virgin Mary.
That's not to breastfeed -- it was more likely meant to be a reflection of her own dress sense, which a shocked chronicler described as "open robes in the front where one sees her breasts." This style was widely imitated, leading a bishop to decry the new trend for "front openings through which one sees the teats, nipples, and breasts of women."
Agnes' fashion-forward approach led one unkind historian to declare her "history's first bimbo," but she was much more than that. Charles VII was totally overwhelmed by her, to the point where a future pope observed "whether at table, in bed, or in the council chamber, she must needs be always at his side." She used that influence to encourage the underwhelming king to fight against the English invaders, and she may have died for her country. In 2005, a French study revealed that she died from acute mercury poisoning at age 28. Of course, that doesn't mean she was intentionally poisoned -- 15th-century nobles would basically gargle mercury every time they got a headache -- but it is interesting in light of contemporary rumors that the king's son poisoned her to get her out of the way.
In any case, Agnes will always be remembered for two things: hating the English and rockin' tits. It's a wonder she's never appeared on any French currency.
Taylor Daine is not an '80s one-hit wonder, but rather a Midwest comedian and writer who tweets at @turtledovejones.
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