1Chuck Norris Facts
Chuck Norris is more famously known as Walker, Texas Ranger. Norris is the object of an Internet phenomenon known as Chuck Norris Facts documenting and proclaiming fictional, often heroic feats and characteristics, which began to circulate in late 2005. Some of them:
- Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
- Chuck Norris doesn’t shower, he only takes blood baths.
- Chuck Norris’ house has no doors, only walls that he walks through.
- Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.
Norris has written his own response to the parody on his website, stating that he does not feel offended by them, and finds some of them funny. He recently read 10 of them on a The Best Damn Sports Show, Period, and said that his favorite one is “They once tried to carve Chuck Norris’s face into Mount Rushmore, but the granite wasn’t hard enough for his beard”. These facts and more are the mere basis of the huge obsession the player community in the immensely popular MMOG World of Warcraft has with Norris, one of the most notable recurring examples being that there exist “Chuck Norris guilds” and their corresponding “missionaries”, who even on role-playing servers spend time travelling around, spreading Chuck Norris Facts and “converting” players to their “religion”.
2The Million Dollar Homepage
The Million Dollar Homepage is a website conceived by Alex Tew, a 21-year-old student from Wiltshire, England to help raise money for his university education. Launched on August 26, 2005, the website is said to have generated a gross income of $1,037,100 USD and has a current Google PageRank of 7. The site’s Alexa ranking as of October 13, 2006 is 11551, having peaked at around 127.
The index page of the site consists of a 1000 x 1000 pixel grid (one million pixels), on which he sells image-based links for US $1 per pixel, in minimum ten by ten blocks. A person who buys one or more of these pixelblocks can design a tiny image which will be displayed on them, and also decide a URL which he or she wants them to link to, as well as a slogan displayed when hovering the cursor over the link. The aim of the site was to sell all of the pixels in the image, thus generating one million dollars of income for the creator, which seems to have been accomplished.
On January 1, 2006, the final 1,000 pixels left were put up for auction on eBay. . The auction closed on January 11 with the winning bid of $38,100.00. This brought the final tally to $1,037,100 USD in gross income.
3Numa Numa Dance
Numa Numa (or “the Numa Numa Dance”) is an Internet phenomenon based on amateur videos, particularly one by Gary Brolsma, made for the song “Dragostea din tei” by Romanian pop band O-Zone. The phrase “Numa Numa” comes from the chorus of the song, “nu mă, nu mă iei,” meaning, roughly, “(you) won’t take, won’t take me.”
A Flash-based video of American Gary Brolsma lip-synching the song energetically on his webcam brought the Numa Numa phenomenon to the US. Brolsma has stated that he first discovered the song in the Japanese flash animation. Brolsma first published his “Numa Numa Dance” on the Newgrounds site on December 6, 2004, where it has since been seen more than 13 million times, and copied onto hundreds of other websites and blogs. He has also received mainstream media coverage from ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Tonight Show and VH1’s Best Week Ever, and, according to The New York Times, was an “unwilling and embarrassed Web celebrity.” He cancelled media appearances, but in September 2006, reappeared with a professionally produced New Numa video.
Save Toby is a humor website, which involves a rabbit named Toby that is being held “hostage”. The site’s proprietor (“James Mceahly”) claims that he found Toby wounded outside his home and has since nursed the rabbit back to health. According to the website, he claimed that, if US$50,000 is not donated to him (the owner) through his website, he would have Toby killed and prepared as a meal. The website raised money through donations and “Save Toby” merchandise.
The owner of bored.com has bought the website and Toby has been saved. The website has reported over $28,000 USD in donations as of 27 June 2005. Urban legend website Snopes.com indicates that the website is a hoax.
The tourist guy, also known as the accidental tourist (a joking reference to the novel and film The Accidental Tourist), Waldo (a reference to the Where’s Waldo? franchise), WTC Guy, or tourist of death, is an Internet phenomenon consisting of a photograph of a tourist (Péter Guzli) that has appeared in many Photoshopped pictures after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The picture became one of the most widely known examples of Internet humor. As its fame spread, other people started to use the same tourist for other pictures. They included the tourist present at the sinking of the RMS Titanic, at the John F. Kennedy assassination, the destruction of Air France Flight 4590 and at the Hindenburg disaster. Other pictures show him present at disastrous events in movies, like the destruction of the White House in Independence Day or as the bus driver in Speed.
6Star Wars kid
Ghyslain Raza (born 1988), from Canada, became known throughout the Internet in May 2003 as the “Star Wars Kid” when a video clip he recorded of himself was leaked online.
On November 4, 2002 Raza made a video of himself swinging a golf ball retriever around as if it were a weapon. Most believe he was imitating the Star Wars character Darth Maul with a lightsaber. The video was filmed at the studio of Séminaire St-Joseph high school. The tape was left forgotten in a basement for a few months. On or around April 19, 2003, the original owner of the videotape discovered Raza’s recorded acts and immediately shared it with some friends. Thinking that it would be a funny prank, they encoded it to a WMV file and shared it using the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network, calling the videofile Jackass_starwars_funny.wmv.
Within two weeks, the file was downloaded several times. An adapted version of the video was created, adding Star Wars music, texts, and lightsaber lights and sounds to Raza’s golf ball retriever. According to Waxy.org, this was done by Bryan Dube, an employee from Raven Software. Several gaming, technology and Star Wars-related sites began to host the video, which caused the video to be downloaded more and more. Soon, people all over the world picked up the original and began making conversions of it, adding music, visual effects, and sounds, combining it with other well-known videos or scenes from films, for comic effect.
Raza reportedly suffered considerable embarrassment, in part because the video showed him to be overweight, and not particularly graceful. The case raised privacy issues and was extensively reported in mainstream news media worldwide, including the New York Times, CBS News and BBC News. The boy had to undergo therapy and counseling that began on October 12 and is currently still suffering chronic depression.
Beatallica is a satire tribute band that plays music made from combinations of songs of The Beatles and Metallica. A Beatallica song is typically a blend of a Beatles’ song and a Metallica song with a related title (e.g. “The Thing That Should Not Let It Be”, combining The Beatles’ “Let It Be” and Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be”). The lyrics slip back and forth between the two songs while the scansion and melody are usually Beatles-based, but the music is played metal style with some Metallica riffs and solos thrown in.
To avoid legal problems, the band maintains a strict non-commercial policy (all songs are available for free download) and shrouded themselves in anonymity (all names mentioned above are of course stage names, but their real names were revealed in interviews, and hence also appear in this article). Metallica are aware of the spoof band’s existence and have so far not threatened to take any legal action; Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett have all publicly stated that they enjoy Beatallica’s music.
8Ate my balls
Ate my balls was an early example of an Internet meme. In the late 1990s, many web pages were created to depict a particular celebrity or fictional character saying how they liked to eat balls. Often, the site would consist of a story or comic featuring edited photos about the titular individual eating balls. The photo editing was often intentionally crude to emphasise the parody. Usually the editing would go no further than a speech bubble or two added to each photo.
The “Mr. T Ate My Balls” web page was the original “Ate my balls” site. It was started in 1996 by a college student named Nehal Patel and became a popular Internet fad. It has now all but fallen out of popular Internet culture.
9Mahir Cagri: “I KISS YOU!!!!!!”
Mahir Cagri, a resident of Turkey, became an Internet celebrity in 1999. His picture-laden personal homepage, which exclaimed in broken English his love of the accordion and travel, was visited by millions and spawned numerous fansites and parodies.
Mahir claimed in various interviews that his personal webpage was hacked, with additions such as “I like sex” embedded into his webpage. His website was quickly spread through word of mouth on the internet. The website came at a time when “Internet phenomenon” was a new concept for Internet users, media, and the curious public.
Some quotes from his site:
The Dancing Baby, also known as “Baby Cha-Cha”, is a video file of an animated, 3D-rendered baby dancing for several seconds. The video, one of the earliest examples of an Internet phenomenon, became popular in 1996-1997 after being distributed widely over the Internet. The dancing baby originated as a motion capture demo file for the 3D modeling program 3D Studio Max; it sometimes dances to the intro of Blue Swede’s cover of the song “Hooked on a Feeling (Ooga Chaka).” Several edited versions and parodies were created shortly thereafter, including a drunken baby and a Rasta Baby.