World’s Strangest

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Does the Key to the City Actually Open Anything?

LOUIS LANZANO/Landov The short answer: no. The long answer: Once upon a time, being presented with the key to the city served a real function. In ancient times, when it was common for European towns to be ringed by walls, visiting dignitaries were presented with a key to the city gate as a gesture of trust [...]

4 BR, 2 BA, 1 Ghost: What the Law Says About Selling Haunted Houses

My girlfriend and I have been watching FX’s new horror-drama American Horror Story for the last few weeks (we agree that it’s OK, and any shortcomings are made up for by the presence of Mrs. Coach Taylor and Ruth Fisher). In just a few episodes, it’s been made very clear to the audience that numerous people [...]

Hamilton’s Dueling History, a Haunted Bar and the Bank That Owns the Pistols: Your Guide to the Hamilton-Burr Duel

Image courtesy of Bill Coughlin/The Historical Marker Database So, you want to impress your friends with your extensive knowledge of the Hamilton-Burr duel. First, you’ve got to somehow bring Alexander Hamilton and/or Aaron Burr into the conversation. In response, your listeners are going to think, and hopefully say, something about the famous duel, because that’s the [...]

Hudson River Fish Evolve Incredibly Quickly

Fish in the Hudson River (US) have developed an immunity to polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of toxic chemicals developed in 1929. They’ve done so at an amazing speed: “This is very, very ra­­­­­­­­­­­­pid evolutionary change,” said Isaac Wirgin, an environmental toxicologist at New York University’s School of Medicine, and the study’s lead investigator. “Normally you think [...]

A Brief History of Bugs Bunny

The following is an article from The Best of the Best of Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. Who’s your favorite cartoon character? Ears ours. IMPRESSIVE STATS Bug Bunny is the world’s most popular rabbit: * Since 1939, he has starred in more than 175 films. * He’s been nominated for three Oscars, and won one -in 1958, for “Knighty Knight, Bugs” [...]

Birds of a Feather

GETTING GOOSED The events of January 15, 2009, gave new meaning to the fear of flying. At 3:27PM, a flock of Canadian geese struck an outbound plane leaving LaGuardia, blowing out both engines and sending the aircraft plummeting to the ground. The incident made a hero of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, who safely piloted the plane into [...]

Traffic Pilot Lands on Jersey Turnpike

Last year, Chesley Sullenberger saved the day when he landed a crippled passenger jet on the frigid Hudson River. This year we have Frank Vogt, a traffic reporter’s pilot whose Cessna lost oil pressure 1200 feet off the ground. In the early dawn darkness, that ground looked like one big mass of black void… except [...]

Plane for Sale, Some Water Damage

The US Airways Airbus 320 that landed in the Hudson River just a year ago is for sale. In the story known as “Miracle on the Hudson”, Captain Sully Sullenberger brought the plane down with no loss of life only 23 minutes into the flight when a flock of geese jammed the engines. Now the [...]

Dave Barry’s Year in Review: 2009

You can find a serious look back at the news of 2009 just about anywhere. A lot of those stories can be downright depressing. Meanwhile, Dave Barry reminds you of what happened while putting his ridiculous spin on 2009. Elsewhere in politics, a team of specially trained wildlife agents equipped with nets and tranquilizer darts manages, [...]