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Mix ‘n’ Match

Posted by on October 27, 2010

1) Jayne Mansfield

2) Saddam Hussein

3) Henri Poincaré

4) Edna St. Vincent Millay



A) This dictatorial diva was obsessed with making his hair resemble that of a toy “Treasure Troll,” with a torch-like neon green or pink mane that sometimes extended as high as three feet above his head.  A rotating cast of barbers and stylists lived in fear of his displeasure (Amnesty International estimates up to 15 hair care professionals may have been executed between 1979 and 2003 for crimes against this royal pompadour).  In his spare time he was also known for constructing a facsimile of the ancient city of Babylon, fathering a pair of sons who later became a well-known pop music duo, and exterminating Kurds. 

B) This Jazz Age flapper’s skill at taxidermy and huge collection of same gave rise to the myth, after her death, that she had used the body of another woman, surgically modified, to fake her death.  This body, discovered already preserved and mounted on an attractive mahogany headboard and described as “uncannily life-like,” has been for years displayed at Madame Tussauds Las Vegas. 

C) This actress, the winner of two Golden Globes, was secretly the author of a number of violent, transgressive, avant-garde novels ranging in style from trailer-park minimalism to hallucinatory surrealism to hysterical, hyper-lush, manic postmodernism.  Published as paperback originals and featuring the most lurid, prurient, pulp-ish covers imaginable, they were for many years passed along like samizdat among the itinerant, the depraved, and psychiatrists, but recently a number of literary critics, seeing precedents in Huysmans, Mirbeau, and Jarry, have sought to rehabilitate the works, and they are today counted among the most innovative, ground-breaking, and audacious writings of the twentieth century.  She also played semi-professional baseball in Venezuela for several years before becoming a popular star of stage and screen. 

D) Although remembered today for his discoveries in mathematics and psychics, this hypochondriac and amateur ventriloquist was proudest of his achievements in organizing Second Empire boy bands.  A pioneer of Europop, he founded a famous nightclub which became a favorite of Napoleon III.  He was known to joke that the real “three body problem” was getting three coeds into the sack at once.  His frenetically dissolute and decadent lifestyle led to his death at 58, when he was found in skin-tight leathers, dusted with cocaine, in the empty, claw-footed bathtub of his 16th arrondissement penthouse.

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