A clump of Elvis Presley's hair is on sale this Sunday at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago. Meanwhile, Chris Rock just came out with a documentary called "Good Hair." And two of the most hair-apparent people alive -- Rod Blagojevich and Donald Trump -- are expected to appear on the next "Celebrity Apprentice." Seems like a good time to comb through some hairy details:
1. A $24,000 haircut -- perhaps the most expensive ever -- was given to the Sultan of Brunei in August. The main cost was the airfare of London barber Ken Modestou to Southeast Asia. Modestou's usual fee, when the customer comes to him, is about $45.2. What's a "bar-code hairstyle"? That's when a balding man strings his few remaining hairs across the top of his head, in a pattern resembling a bar code.
3. Beehives are beautiful, according to Playboy magazine, which is featuring cartoon character Marge Simpson on its November cover. The beehive hairdo of another celebrity, British singer Amy Winehouse, came into play at her July trial on charges of punching a fan in the face. Winehouse said she was only 5-foot-3 -- too short to lay a serious blow on her 5-foot-7 accuser -- and argued that her beehive made her seem taller. She was acquitted. Speaking of beehives, that's the name of an Alaska business where former Gov. Sarah Palin got her hair done: the Beehive Beauty Shop in Wasilla. But Palin's style is the updo, so chosen because it made her seem taller and because "Sarah wanted to look more professional and ready to work and not come across as high-maintenance and fussy," according to Beehive owner Jessica Steele.
4. North Korean despot Kim Jong Il is known for his bouffant, but he hates long hair on other men. He ordered followers in 2005 to keep their hair shorter than 5 centimeters (2 inches). The dictum came in a television campaign, titled "Let's Trim Our Hair According to the Socialist Lifestyle," that depicted long hair as a stinky indulgence that left the brain starved for oxygen.
5. Throughout his life, Incan emperor Pachakuti arranged for all of his body hair to be collected as it was cut or fell out. After Pachakuti died, his hair and fingernails were assembled into a statue in his memory.
6. For Lucille Ball's first movie, "Roman Scandals" in 1933, she was ordered to shave off her eyebrows. But after filming, the eyebrows didn't grow back properly, and for the rest of her life Ball had to use an eyebrow pencil.
7. When a St. Louis washerwoman named Sarah Breedlove feared she was going bald around 1900, she developed a hair conditioning product and became a marketing force named Madam C.J. Walker. Though often described as America's first black millionaire and sometimes as America's first female millionaire, she was neither. When she died in 1919, she was worth about $600,000 before taxes and charitable commitments. Though that fell short of a million at the time, it would be $7.5 million today, adjusted for inflation.
8. Joe Pepitone, the hip first baseman for the Yankees, Cubs, Astros and Braves in the '60s and '70s, was believed to be the first major leaguer to bring a hair dryer into a locker room.
9. African-American children are less likely than other American children to get head lice. That's because lice in the United States grasp the round-shaped hair of whites more easily than the oval-shaped hair of blacks.
10. A 9th century warrior hero of Spain's Catalonia region was Guifre el Pelos, aka Wilfred the Hairy, so named because he had hair on a part of the body where it shouldn't have been, according to legend. What part? No one knows, but some think it was the soles of his feet. The Spanish attitude is summed up in an old saying: "Where there is hair, there is happiness."
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune.
SOURCES: "Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History" by Victoria Sherrow; "Hair: Sex, Society, Symbolism" by Wendy Cooper; "Barcelona" by Robert Hughes; "On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker" by A'Lelia Bundles; "Cubs Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876" by John Snyder; "The Incas" by Terence N. D'Altroy; wordspy.com; The New York Times; Irish Times; The Guardian; "Ball of fire: The Tumultuous Life and Comic Art of Lucille Ball" by Stefan Kanfer.
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