World’s Strangest

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Debate Prep: A Brief History of American Political Debates

by Maggie Koerth-Baker Getty Images From the Revolution up to the turn of the 20th century, America preferred that its presidential candidates be seen and not heard. The presidency was regarded as so solemn an office that it was considered indecent and prideful to aspire to. Instead, candidates were to approach nomination as if it were something [...]

For Sale: Check Out Card Signed by Elvis Presley

Some Neatoramanauts may be old enough to know what this is. It’s a checkout card for a library book, used in the days when library circulation was handled by bear skins and stone knives instead of computers. In 1948, the Man Who Would Be King checked The Courageous Heart, a biography of Andrew Jackson, out of [...]

10 Scandalous VP Stories Worth a Warm Bucket of Spit

Getty Images This morning Mitt Romney tapped Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. John Nance Garner, FDR’s first vice president, either said the VP position wasn’t worth “a warm pitcher of piss” or “a warm bucket of spit.” Whatever body fluid and receptacle he really used, you get the idea. But that doesn’t mean [...]

Every Product Billy Mays Ever Pitched

Billy Mays, America’s favorite infomercial star, died three years ago today. He began his career selling the WashMatik, a car-washing brush that siphoned water through the bristles without electricity. He moved from that to the Ultimate Chopper, and some of his other products not featured here include The Ding King (dent and ding repair kit), Turbo [...]

8 Celebrities Arrested for Obscenity (and What It Was They Said or Did)

Freedom of speech? Not if it’s deemed “obscene.” These celebrities found that out the hard way. Though they weren’t all convicted, they did end up fighting costly battles in court and had their names dragged through the mud, though in some cases – looking at you, Hugh Hefner – it only helped their causes. Read [...]

11 Notable Patients at the Government Hospital for the Insane

St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., provided mental health care services to members of the U.S. armed forces and District residents when it opened as the Government Hospital for the Insane in 1855. Founded by social reformer and mental health advocate Dorothea Dix, St. Elizabeths treated more than 7,000 patients at its height during the [...]

Why Does Your Nose Get Stuffy One Nostril at a Time?

Nose-blowing image via Shutterstock Because your nostrils split their workload. Throughout the day, they each take breaks in a process of alternating congestion and decongestion called the nasal cycle. At a given moment, if you’re breathing through your nose, the lion’s share of the air is going in and out of one nostril, with a much [...]

He Wanted to Better Understand Hanging, So He Hanged Himself 12 Times

Gallows image via Shutterstock Hanging is a pretty simple way to kill someone. All you really need is a length of rope, someone who can tie a decent knot, and something from which to hang the victim. If you’re having a fancier execution, you can dress things up with gallows and use the victim’s height and [...]

The Unauthorized Biography of the Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny is a beloved springtime character, but look deeper and you’ll realize nobody gives away that much chocolate unless they’re hiding something. KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters /Landov He Can’t Even Cover the Whole World! Say what you will about Santa Claus, but at least he’s delivering presents the world over. The shiftless Easter Bunny outsources egg and candy [...]

Who Was Murphy and Why Is There a Bed Named After Him?

Image credit: Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets The Murphy Bed, also known as a wall bed, fold down bed or pull down bed, is a bed that’s hinged at one end so it can be folded up and stored vertically against a wall or in a closet. It’s useful in situations where floor space is at [...]