World’s Strangest

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Air Force One

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Absolutely Absorbing Bathroom Reader. You’ve heard of Air Force One, but what do you really know about it? Here’s a short history of what’s now considered the “flying White House.” HOMEBOUND Nowadays we take for granted that traveling around the world is part of the president’s job. But [...]

After Elections in Delaware, Politicians Literally Bury Hatchets

Image credit: A Chesapeake Journal As the election season kicks into gear and all that negative rhetoric hits the airwaves, it’s worth remembering that politics isn’t always so nasty. And no place is that more clear than in one Delaware town, where politicians mark the end of campaigning by literally burying the hatchet. It’s part of [...]

On This Date in 1886, Grover Cleveland Married 21-Year-Old Frances Folsom in the White House

© CORBIS The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms was also the only president married in a White House ceremony. Grover Cleveland was 49 and a little more than a year into his first term when he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom. The wedding was a simple affair, attended by close friends, family, and cabinet members [...]

What Do Snakes and Sticks Have to Do With Doctors?

If you’ve ever seen the World Health Organization or American Medical Association logo, or the “star of life” on the side of an ambulance, you might have wondered what a snake wrapped around a stick has to do with those who fix what ails us. Well, that stick is the asklepian, or rod of Asclepius. In [...]

What Made People Think Dewey Defeated Truman?

Truman isn’t just gleeful in that famous photo because he had been reelected, but because it was egg on the face of a paper he hated, the Chicago Tribune. The paper had a conservative bent, disapproved of most of his policies, and had once even called him a “nincompoop” in an editorial. The Tribune was suffering [...]

What Did Grover Cleveland Do Between Terms?

Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States. He was first elected in 1884, coming off a successful stint as Governor of New York. Then in 1888, thanks to a shady election and controversy over tariffs, Cleveland lost reelection to Benjamin Harrison. By all accounts, Cleveland really thought he was done [...]

Presidents Day

Today is the U.S. federal holiday officially called Washington’s Birthday, but most Americans now call it Presidents Day. Schools often take the day to learn more about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln (whose birthday is February 12), and other presidents from history. If you want to do the same, there’s a lot of great articles in [...]

12 Creative Campaign Slogans to Inspire the 2012 Candidates

Christine Lusey runs Retro Campaigns, the internet’s premier source for historical campaign t-shirts and memorabilia. We asked if she could compile some memorable slogans from past elections. She did not disappoint. These days it seems like every campaign slogan is just a series of political buzzwords: Hope! Change! Values! Newt! But it wasn’t always this way. [...]

The Bush Family Posing on an Elephant in 1964

<p><img src=”http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/bush-family-on-an-elephant.jpg” alt=”" title=”bush-family-on-an-elephant” width=”570″ height=”489″ class=”alignnone size-full wp-image-93674″/></p> <p>OK, it’s a statue. But it fooled me long enough to start searching for other pictures of future presidents posing with extra large animals. Unless someone has a good pic of young Grover Cleveland with a rhinoceros, I guess I’ll shelve the idea.</p> <p>Here’s the caption from the [...]

5 Foods People Die For

Gathering Iwatake at Kumano. Woodblock print by Hiroshige II. When making soup requires scaling a cliff, and grabbing a few olives involves avoiding gunfire, it’s time to find some comfort food that’s a little more comfortable. 1. Iwatake The annals of Arctic exploration are filled with accounts of frostbitten limbs and near starvation. In fact, many adventurers have [...]