Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is being hailed as a brave vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency, and he will certainly bring a fresh, young face to a party often associated with gouty old men. But he has some unusual, controversial and even downright weird hobbies and personal history to contend with. Here are six weird facts to know about Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's newly announced vice presidential running mate.
1) Paul Ryan is a dedicated catfish noodler, according to the Houston Chronicle. Catfish noodling, which is as horrifying as it sounds, is a method of catching the bottom-feeding fish barehanded. The expert catfish noodler sticks his bare arm into a "catfish hole," shoves his hand down the fish's throat, and pulls the fish out of the water. "I'm going to go out with some of my Okie friends, and I'm going to do something that I've been doing for a number of years, and that's called noodling catfish," Ryan told an audience in Texas.
2) Ryan drove the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile to sell Lunchables to supermarkets while a college student. He cruised around Minnesota in the car shaped like a hotdog and bun to sell Oscar Meyer meat products, according to Fox News and NPR.
3) Ryan is a little obsessed with libertarian guru and novelist Ayn Rand, so much so, in fact, that he requires staffers to read "Atlas Shrugged," according to NPR, although in recent months he has sought to distance himself from Rand -- an outspoken atheist -- and buff up his Catholic credentials. But a recent open letter from the faculty of the nation's oldest Jesuit university, Georgetown, said Ryan's budget proposal "appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love."
4) He's a cheesehead. That's right, Paul Ryan is a confessed Green Bay Packers fan. While a Google image search doesn't return any photos of Ryan wearing the notorious wedge-of-cheese hat, he has appeared on TV wearing a Green Bay Packers necktie, according to Celebuzz.
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5) The Ryan men die young. When he was 16, Ryan found his father dead of a heart attack at 55. Moreover, Ryan's grandfather and great-grandfather also died of heart attacks before they were 60. Ryan, now 42, himself is understandably a health nut who does the P90X workout program every morning with other lawmakers, according to The Daily Beast.
6) Ryan has a history with the color brown. In high school he was voted the "biggest brown noser," according to The Atlantic (he was also voted Prom King). A brown noser is an individual who kisses butt to gain advantage from people in power. Coincidentally, Ryan later went on to work as legislative director for Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback from 1995 to 1997, according to Fox News.