World’s Strangest

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366 Days, 366 Books: How Jeff Ryan Read One Book Per Day in 2012

Jeff Ryan, like a lot of professional writers, spends a lot of time reading. He made a demanding resolution for last year: to read an average of one book per day. Since 2012 was a leap year, that meant 366 books. Ryan was appareantly successful–and not by reading only very short books. Here’s how: No, my [...]

Great Moments in Presidential Debt

Properly managing one’s finances seems like it should be a prerequisite for running a country. But these U.S. leaders could have used more dead presidents in their wallets. HARRY TRUMAN -THE BUCK STOPPED THERE Prior to becoming president, Harry Truman’s ventures in private business earned him more trouble than profit. He lost several thousand dollars investing in [...]

$1 Billion That Nobody Wants

The U.S. Mint is manufacturing, and will continue to manufacture, one dollar coins that just pile up in the Federal Reserve because no one wants to use them. They’ve already stockpiled over a billion dollars in coins, and may reach two billion! In 2005, Congress decided that a new series of dollar coins should be minted [...]

The Quick 10: Pre-Presidential Professions

You already know that Ronald Reagan was president of the Screen Actors Guild before he was President of the United States, and I bet you recall a joke or two about Jimmy Carter being a peanut farmer. Here are a few ways other future presidents paid the bills before they started signing bills. 1. Harry Truman, [...]

When Political Conventions Go Wild: Four Knock-Down, Drag-Out Convention Floor Fights

by Brendan Spiegel 1. The Convention Turned Klanbake For Americans accustomed to today’s tame, scripted political conventions, the 1924 Democratic Convention went down more like a taping of The Jerry Springer Show. On one side was New York Governor Al Smith, supported by urban, Catholic voters who favored his efforts to repeal prohibition. On the other side [...]

The Quick 10: People With Fake Middle Initials

Maybe fake isn’t exactly correct – some of the people on this list really have initials for middle names, they just don’t mean anything. But others have made them up entirely. Read on to see what I mean. 1. Harry S. Truman. His parents were trying to please both grandpas – Anderson Shippe Truman and [...]

How Did the Donkey & Elephant Become Political Mascots?

It all started with an insult. During Andrew Jackson’s 1828 presidential campaign, his political opponents labeled him a “jackass.” Stubborn as he was, Jackson co-opted the insult and began putting a donkey on his election posters. For the rest of his career and even into his retirement, newspapers and cartoonists continued to represent Jackson either [...]