November 13, 2008 9:56 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite anecdotes? I am hosting a party this weekend with a diverse group of people and wouldn't mind adding a few interesting or humorous stories to the evening. I am not looking for jokes. Anecdotes I like are the bench-pressing snowman, Cialdini's mispriced jewelry, and Benjamin Franklin's chess game.
posted by kaizen to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
A Story about 'Magic'
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:45 AM on November 13, 2008

If you have time, I would pick up this book. I used to pour over it incessantly. Sadly, I can't remember any anecdote of worth.
posted by msali at 11:37 AM on November 13, 2008

Barbara Walters tells a story about a live interview with Charles DeGaule's wife. The President was out of government office for the first time in forever. Walters asked 'What are your plans for the future? The reply was (think HEAVY French accent) 'All I want is a penis!' Walters was stunned; totally speechless and had to call for a commercial.

One time, I thought I would be appropriate and witty, and told this story (over dinner) to a visiting group of about 10 French journalists. Perfect! Bad, bad mistake. Dead silence. Totally didn't get it. I had to explain quirks of the French accent (insulting). I had to explain penis (rude). It sort of went like this: 'You know...French drop the h...and, uh, so happiness sounds like, you know A PENIS. You know, they've had no time for sex....umm, so it was an understandable answer and she was FRENCH.' Horrible, horrible memory.
posted by Pennyblack at 11:52 AM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Broadswords in a pit: Lincoln vs. Shields
posted by carsonb at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2008

I've always loved the story about Hamilton Jordan, Carter's Chief of Staff, and the wife of the Egyptian ambassador. As I heard it, they were at a state dinner, and Jordan, seated next to the ambassador's wife, spent a good deal of time drinking and admiring her cleavage. When he was sufficiently tanked, he crooked his finger, tugged at her bodice, took a long stare, and said, "I always wanted to see the pyramids."

Details vary about whether it was a state dinner, whether he actually pulled on her dress or merely made the comparison, and exactly what he said (some sources have it as a comment on the "twin pyramids of the Nile." Still, of all the versions, the above is my favorite.

Are you looking for these anecdotes to be about public figures only or personal ones as well?
posted by averyoldworld at 1:21 PM on November 13, 2008

One my favorite stories comes from a This American Life episode. The story's called "Squirrel Cop." I remember hearing it when it first aired about 10 years ago and have always remembered it. I got lucky the other day and it was on one of the podcasts my boyfriend downloaded.
posted by radiomayonnaise at 1:43 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pennyback, not sure if it matters, but your story is highly suspect.
posted by piratebowling at 2:03 PM on November 13, 2008

It won't help for this weekend but The Moth Podcast has lots of stories.
Or you could just skim tkchrist favorites.
posted by pointilist at 11:12 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

"We're out of toilet paper, sir!"

(More phreaker stories from Captain Crunch here.)
posted by Upton O'Good at 6:46 PM on November 14, 2008

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