World’s Strangest

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Music History #2: “Smoke on the Water”

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of Bill DeMain’s new column, where he explores the real historical events that inspired various songs. “Music History” will appear twice a month. “Smoke on the Water” Written by Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice (1972) Originally performed by Deep Purple The Music It’s the riff that will not [...]

How a Friendly Writing Contest Resulted in Three Literary Classics

These days, damp, rainy spells usually inspire us to curl up on the couch and watch an American Pickers marathon (tell me that’s not just me). But back in 1816 – also known as “The Year Without a Summer” – the results were much different. The summer was rainy and abnormal because India’s Mount Tambora (“Pompeii [...]

The Gary Gygax Memorial

Gary Gygax was, perhaps more than any other single individual, responsible for inventing the role-playing game and Dungeons & Dragons specifically. He failed his last saving throw three years ago, to the lament of the gaming community. Now there’s a project to build a grand monument to his life and work. The government of Lake [...]

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

It was a dark and stormy night… no, it really was. And that was the perfect setting for telling one of the scariest stories of all time. Here’s how it happened. CABIN FEVER It all started in the summer of 1816. Percy Bysshe Shelley, the famed English poet, was vacationing along the shores of Lake Geneva in [...]