World’s Strangest

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Christmas Carol-a-Thon

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is such a classic tale that many, many movie versions, television shows, and stage plays have been produced since the story was published in 1843. Balladeer’s Blog has an ongoing series on those productions, from the forgettable 1923 silent movie to the silly 1983 made-for-tv special “Scrooge’s Rock and [...]

11 Historical Geniuses and Their Possible Mental Disorders

Studies have shown that there are much higher instances of mental disorder in political leaders and creative geniuses than in the general population. And while it’s impossible to be completely sure of a correct diagnosis of a historical figure, that hasn’t stopped researchers from making educated guesses. Here’s a speculative look at the mental health [...]

11 Peculiar Meetings Between Famous People

You’d expect famous people to know other famous people. But maybe not these famous people. 1. Nikita Khrushchev & Marilyn Monroe PA Photos /Landov In September 1959, during Khrushchev’s American tour, he visited 20th Century Fox Studios. At a lunch banquet with hundreds of stars (including Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, and Gary Cooper), he was [...]

The Quick 10: A Christmas Carol

It was 168 years ago this week that Tiny Tim and Ebeneezer Scrooge made their debut. In 1843, Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic was published in England. Despite the fact that it’s been around for ages, there are a few things you might not know about A Christmas Carol: 1. A Christmas Carol must hold some sort [...]

6 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Facts

by Mike Albo Tonight is the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Here are some essential talking points about the Norway spruce. © Dima Gavrysh/Reuters/Corbis 1. The first time New Yorkers put up a Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in 1931, it was like something out of Dickens. The Depression-era workmen building the center were so grateful [...]

Six Seriously Spooky Cemetery Stories

It’s that time of year, when we look to graveyards for tales that scare the Dickens out of us. Ghosts, unexplained phenomena, and even vampires figure in these stories of graveyards from all over. 1. Silver Cliff Cemetery Silver Cliff Cemetery in Colorado took its name from the nearby mining town of Silver Cliff, which was named [...]

Charles Dickens Cat Paw Letter Opener

Charles Dickens’s letter opener with the paw of his cat, Bob, 1862. Berg Collection. Does the handle of that letter opener remind you of something? Perhaps something feline? It’s Charles Dickens’ letter opener and the handle is the paw of his pet cat, Bob. I’m assuming Dickens preserved the paw because he loved the cat. You [...]

Explaining The Kindle To Dickens

Class assignment: “Explain something modern/internet based to someone who lived and died before 1900” Cardiff School of Art & Design student Rachel Walsh decided she would explain the Amazon Kindle to author Charles Dickens and submitted this project. She designed 40 miniature books and placed them inside of a hardcover book, a Victorian age metaphor for a portable [...]

The Wire as a Victorian Novel

You may have thought that the gritty urban drama The Wire is a purely modern invention, but it’s actually a presentation of a serialized Victorian novel written by Horatio Bucklesby Ogden. At least, that’s what Sean Michael Robinson of The Hooded Utilitarian presents in a lengthy essay, excerpted here: The Wire began syndication in 1846, and [...]

Theatre stages Klingon Christmas Carol

A theatre in Chicago is giving Strek Trek fans a treat this Christmas with a production entirely in Klingon. Its a new take on the classic Dickens tal…