World’s Strangest

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11 Athletes Who Had Their Own Cereals

Plenty of athletes have adorned boxes of Wheaties. But only the best can take it a step further and market a brand of cereal dedicated entirely to themselves. Several athletes have used a limited edition cereal line to raise money for their favorite charities or boost their profiles — here are 11 of the stars [...]

Who Killed American Kitsch?

After World War II, collecting whimsical ceramic dishes, accessories, and figurines became very popular in the U.S. -and for a while they were all made in America. Some designers became more popular than others, and their works were in high demand. Collectors Weekly talks to Donald-Brian Johnson, author of the book Postwar Pop: Memorabilia of [...]

14 Super Bowl Sideshows and Subplots

At Super Bowl XV in New Orleans — my first Super Bowl — wildman defensive lineman John Matuszak of the Oakland Raiders nominated himself as a most unlikely Bourbon Street chaperone. “I’m going to see that there’s no funny business,” The Tooz said. “I’ve had enough parties for 20 people’s lifetimes. I’ll keep our young fellows [...]

The Twisted History of Twister

Of course you remember the game Twister. Everyone wanted to play it at parties just to get close to someone of the opposite sex. And win or lose, you ended up looking so ridiculous everyone had to laugh! But how did this ingenious idea come about? “The game that ties you up in knots” sprang from [...]

The Wet and Wild History of the Super Soaker

For generations, kids spent their summers chasing each other around the backyard with simple water pistols that barely shot more than a few feet. But squirt guns got a major upgrade in the 1990s when the Super Soaker was introduced by Larami Toys. For over 20 years, these high-powered water guns have dominated [...]

Will the Real Nucky Thompson Please Stand Up?

If imitation is really the sincerest form of flattery, Nucky Johnson should be pleased as punch. If he hadn’t died 43 years ago, I mean. That’s right – Nucky Johnson. The carnation-wearing county sheriff-turned-treasurer was the real-life inspiration for the character Steve Buscemi plays on Boardwalk Empire. In 1908, 25-year-old Nucky Johnson took over the sheriff [...]

Children’s Books for Children: The History of Little Golden Books

There’s a good chance you grew up reading the adventures of The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle, or Scuffy the Tugboat in the pages of Little Golden Books. Come along as we look at the history of these tiny tomes with the gold foil spine that have helped generations of kids learn to appreciate the [...]

Steven Johnson on Where Good Ideas Come From (Hint: Coffee!)

“The English coffee house was crucial to the development and spread of … The Englightenment, … in part because of what people were drinking there.” So begins author Steven Johnson’s excellent TED Talk about ideas, and in part about how the rise of coffee changed the world. Another quote: “The water wasn’t [...]

The Origins of Weird State Park Names (Part One)

My brother sent me this screenshot of Trip Advisor’s information on Moses Lake, Washington. A friend had noted the “Top-rated things to do” section and found it particularly depressing. I’m sure that Potholes State Park and the House of Poverty Museum are perfectly wonderful things to see, but the names aren’t exactly inspiring. Badlands image by [...]

The Late Movies: Jump Blues

Jump blues is a type of up-tempo blues that first gained popularity in the 1940s and experienced a renewal in interest during the (dreaded) 1990s swing revival. Billboard has described jump tunes as having a “bright bounce in the medium tempo and a steady drive maintained.” I usually think of it as Big Band [...]