Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is primarily known as a classical composer of Christian music. It was rare that he strayed from religious themes in his music, but when he did it was for a purpose. One such occasion was when he wrote "Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht" ("Be still, Stop Chattering"), a composition devoted to coffee... Continue Reading →
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were inseperable friends, but despite that, Tolkien felt the need to put his friend on notice prior to reading one of his newest works: "I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge."
The next time you are in Denmark and see a traffic sign that says, "Fartkontrol", don't be so quick to hold your nose and snicker. It actually is warning you that the speed limit is highly enforced.
Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was a master of words and knew how to use them to make a point. As a critic, poet, and essayist, everything and everyone was fair game for her brilliant and ruthless prose. She once observed, "The first thing I do in the morning is... Continue Reading →
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”—Groucho Marx
He may have been the most powerful man in the world, but John F. Kennedy learned that there are some things even the President of the United States can't do. He commanded a military of nearly 3 million people who would follow his orders without question, but there was one person to whom he needed to... Continue Reading →
When an actress asked Father Mugnier if it was a sin for her to look at herself naked in a mirror, the priest gave a cursory glance at her decidedly unfit figure and responded, "No, madame, it's an error." source: Skinner, C. O. (1963). Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals: Paris - La belle epoque. London:... Continue Reading →
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 →
In 2012 the editors of Centralia, Illinois' Morning Sentinel learned the value of one little letter. Red-faced, the editors ran the following correction: "Due to a typing error, Saturday’s story on local artist Jon Henninger mistakenly reported that Henninger’s band mate, Eric Lyday, was on drugs. The story should have read that Lyday was on... Continue Reading →
Fans of television's The Big Bang Theory are familiar with the memorable episode where Howard's space toilet, the Wolowitz Space Disposal System, went horribly wrong and threatened to turn into a waste distribution system. As it turns out, such a scenario was more closely grounded in fact, rather than comedic fiction. In May 1969 Apollo... Continue Reading →
Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his... Continue Reading →
Senator Robert Dole, upon seeing a picture of former presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Richard Nixon lined up at an official event, pointed them out and identified them, in turn, as "See no Evil. Hear no Evil. And Evil." source
Irish playwright Brendan Behan was known for his sardonic wit. It is unknown whether it was this quality or distraction by his circumstances that led him to utter his last words to the astonished nun who attended him: "Bless you, Sister. May all your sons be bishops."
Theodore Roosevelt was a man's man -- the very image of individualism, strength, and courage. It is hard to imagine anyone making fun of the man who would become the 26th President of the United States. There was a period of time, however, when Roosevelt less resembled the Rough Rider of legend and looked a... Continue Reading →
Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) had an impatience for bureaucracy and a wonderful sense of humor. Sometimes these two qualities came together with memorable results. When asked how many people work at the Vatican, the pontiff famously replied, "About half of them."