This Is Why Teens Generally Don’t Get to Choose Their Names

In 2008 19-year-old George Garratt legally changed his name to "Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined." He said he wanted to "be unique." Not to be outdone, these guys went a step further a couple of years later.  They still didn't match the complexity of this fellow, whose given... Continue Reading →

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Was Tycho a Psycho? Weird Facts About One of History’s Greatest Astronomers

Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) was one of the greatest astronomers to ever live. He was also probably at least a little bit off his gourd, if history is to judge. The Danish astronomer who brought a new level of exactitude to astronomical observations and applied that specificity to the theories and observations of Copernicus and Ptolemy,... Continue Reading →

Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean Everyone Isn’t Out to Get You

Label someone as a "conspiracy theorist" and you might as well be calling that person a "wacko," "nut job," or any other phrase that questions his or her rationality. Of course, depending on who you talk to, you might find out that this is all part of the biggest conspiracy yet. In his book Conspiracy Theory... Continue Reading →

Maintaining Propriety With Gentleman’s Gloves

One of President Theodore Roosevelt's favorite pastimes was called "scrambles." This activity involved point-to-point walks, where the participants were allowed to move forward only in a straight line. Upon meeting an obstacle, they could go over or through it, but never around. “While in the White House I always tried to get a couple hours'... Continue Reading →

The Terror of London Cabbies — the Strange Case of Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers

Readers of the May 23, 1890 edition of the Chicago Tribune may have expressed amused curiosity at the following item in the Personals section: “Mrs. Giacometti Prodgers, the terror of London cabmen, is dead.” Who was this fearsome Mrs. Prodgers, and what did she do to cause even the heartiest of London's cabbies to flee at the... Continue Reading →

When Dogs and Cats are Too Boring

  Are dogs and cats too ordinary for you? Does it seem like EVERYONE has a guinea pig? If you are looking for a pet that reflects your distinctiveness, you might consider the following pets from history: Tycho Brahe, the celebrated 16th century astronomer, had a pet moose who was allowed free access to his residence.... Continue Reading →

Bare Diplomacy

  Prime Minister Winston Churchill was staying at the White House as a guest of President Franklin Roosevelt. They had been discussing their vision for a new-and-improved League of Nations that would help secure the post-war peace. The President had a sudden inspiration for a name for this organization -- the United Nations. He was excited... Continue Reading →

Can’t Get Elected as President? Why Not King of the World?

Homer Aubrey Tomlinson (1892-1968) wanted to be a great leader. He tried running for President of the United States in five consecutive elections, beginning in 1952. When that didn't pan out (nationwide, he got about 20 votes in 1964), he didn't get discouraged; in fact, he set his sights even higher by declaring himself King... Continue Reading →

The Original Absent-Minded Professor

Oxford Professor William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930) is best remembered for his tendency to swap letters, words, or parts of words when he spoke. The result -- known as spoonerisms -- are generally more memorable than the originally-intended phrase. Some of Spooner's more-famous examples include: Spoken Intended fighting a liar lighting a fire you hissed my... Continue Reading →

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