World’s Strangest

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10 Places and the Words They Inspired

1. Buncombe County, North Carolina Just before the U.S. House was set to vote on allowing Missouri into the Union in 1820, North Carolina Rep. Felix Walker requested a chance to speak. When his exhausted colleagues tried to cut him off, he told them that his speech wasn’t actually for the House at all, but for [...]

7 Political Disagreements Settled With Fists and Hair-Pulling

Getty Images Anyone with even a fleeting relationship to political news these days has probably noticed that partisan bickering in the U.S. Congress has reached a bit of a crescendo of late. So we got to thinking: When do politicians just give up on the vitriolic rhetoric and throw a punch? The answer: more often than you’d [...]

The Defense Rests (in Peace): How a Civil War Rabble-Rouser Went Out With a Bang

Clement Laird Vallandigham was never a household name, but during the era of the Civil War, he led an interesting and amazing life that ended abruptly and bizarrely. Over the course of his career, Vallandigham edited the Dayton Empire, practiced law, served as a brigadier general in the Ohio militia, and was elected to the U.S. [...]

Paying the Piper a Little Something Extra: A Short History of Payola

© Bettmann/CORBIS Payola became a household word in 1959, thanks to a high-profile trial that made examples of two legendary disc jockeys – Alan Freed and Dick Clark (above). In 1959, Alan Freed, the most popular disc jockey in the country, was fired from his job at WABC after refusing to sign a statement that he’d never [...]

R.I.P. Electron Boy

Erik Martin, better known as Electron Boy, the super hero who saved Seattle, succumbed to liver cancer on Friday. Neatorama featured his story last year, and again just last week in a link about the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition to his Seattle exploits, Electron Boy will also be remembered for the boost he gave to [...]

The Number of the Day: 435

Today marks the 100-year anniversary of the passage of The Apportionment Act of 1911 (AKA Public Law 62-5), which established 435 as the fixed number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives. Related Fact: The longest serving member in the history of the House is current Representative John D. Dingell of Michigan, who has been [...]

4 Dead Politicians Who Still Got Elected

California State Senator Jenny Oropeza easily won re-election yesterday – despite having passed away back on October 20th from complications caused by a blood clot. Although the illness left her largely absent from the campaign trail, Oropeza still managed to claim victory by a 58%-36% margin. Oropeza’s story is rare, but certainly not unprecedented in the [...]