Lady Liberty Almost Ended Up in the Desert

The majestic image of the Statue of Liberty is so firmly connected with the United States that it is hard to imagine it being anywhere else. In fact, the USA received Lady Liberty only when its designer's first choice rejected the gift. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi visited Egypt as a young man and became captivated by... Continue Reading →

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Court Rules that Marvel Mutants Are Not Human

Mutants are not human and are not worth as much as humans. So was the ruling of the United States Court for International Trade, not in the Marvel Universe where mutants have to fight for equality and basic human rights, but in the real world case of Toy Biz, Inc. v. United States. The Harmonized... Continue Reading →

Picasso’s Art Warms the Heart and Once Warmed His Apartment

Although Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is now recognized as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his rise to fame was not immediate. In order to heat his Paris apartment, he was forced, by poverty, to burn many of his paintings. In 2015 his painting Women of Algiers sold for $179.3 million. One can... Continue Reading →

Meet the Artist of the Underwater Crop Circles

Scientists were long baffled by the appearance of beautiful, intricate underwater artwork that resembled crop circles. These phenomena appeared up to 80 feet below sea level and can be up to six feet in diameter. The mystery was solved in 2012 when an underwater photographer captured the images of the puffer fish carefully carving the... Continue Reading →

This Tree Leaves Tunes

Fans of BBC's Doctor Who might think they have encountered earth's answer to the Singing Towers of Darillium when they visit Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Unlike that fictional place, where the Doctor and his wife spent their last night together, and where reservations have to be made four years in advance, this place is open to... Continue Reading →

Long-Lasting Laughs

Readers of the December 12, 1897 edition of the New York Journal had no idea that they were seeing something their great-great-grandchildren would still be reading more than a century later. That was the day The Katzenjammer Kids debuted, starting a run that would earn it the distinction of being the longest-running comic strip in history. Rudolph... Continue Reading →

Tuning the Helicopters

Musical instruments can be costly, and any band student who has had to lug a tuba or bell set on a school bus knows they can be unwieldy, too. The Sousaphone or cello is nothing, however, compared to the principal instruments in  Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Helikopter-Streichquartett" -- four operational and flying helicopters. "Helikopter-Streichquartett" (German for "Helicopter String... Continue Reading →

Coolidge’s Battle with the Bald and the Brilliant

No one could doubt the brilliance of President John Quincy Adams. His remarkable mind and rich life experiences qualified him to speak knowingly on almost any subject. You might be surprised to learn that his twentieth century successor, Calvin Coolidge, resented Adams' brilliance. It wasn't the intellectual brilliance that was an issue, however; Coolidge's problem... Continue Reading →

You Can Buy a Lot of Fries for That

Someone really likes potatoes -- or at least pictures of potatoes. Someone likes them enough to shell out a lot of money for one particular potato picture. Kevin Abosh, an Irish visual artist and portrait photographer sold his picture of a potato against a black background to an unnamed European businessman for €1 million ($1,095,850). The... Continue Reading →

Meeting Death on His Feet — Just to Prove a Point

Branwell Brontë was the brother of Wuthering Heights author Emily Brontë. He is historically noteworthy in his own right as a painter and writer. He would perhaps be better remembered had he not hastened his death through abuse of alcohol and opium. The approach of his own death really illustrated his tenacity. Although suffering from depression and... Continue Reading →

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