William McGonagall — Staggeringly bad 19th-century Scottish poet with, ironically, a taste for human and natural calamity. His most famous poem, “The Tay Bridge Disaster,” ends thusly:
It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards M— Bottle-spectacled last-place English entrant in the 70-meter and 90-meter ski-jump competitions at the 1988 Winter Olympics. Charted in the UK with his single “Fly Eddie Fly.” Has also been immortalized in “Eddie” by English folksinger Elaine Samuels:
As he raced to needless death the crowd all held its breath,
And when he took the jump into the sky,
No longer tied to earthly things this hero soared on shining wings,
And the crowd all shouted, “Fly, Eddie. Fly.”
Ed Wood — Angora-sweater-loving screenwriter and director with an ear for twisted dialogue, best known for his science-fiction epic “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” Also created such gems as the tranny classic “Glen or Glenda?” (“Pull ze string!”) and the stripper flick “Orgy of the Dead” (“Torture! Torture! It pleasures me!”). Immortalized in Tim Burton’s brilliant “Ed Wood,” featuring vivid performances by Johnny Depp, Martin Landau and Bill Murray.
William Shatner — Actor-writer-wighat enthusiast who talks like a teenager learning to drive stick shift. (If. He. Played. KingLear ... You’d. Be. There. All night.) Has also made ridiculous spoken-word covers of pop hits.
Ralph Nader — Heroic American consumer activist. Inexplicably persistent presidential candidate. — Mark Mobley
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