World’s Strangest

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12 Proposed U.S. States That Didn’t Make the Cut

The road to 50 states was littered with wannabes who couldn’t wait to declare themselves—but never quite got to full statehood. Here are 12 states that could have been. 1. Franklin Wikimedia Commons After the Revolutionary War, it became common for states to gift their westernmost lands to the newly-founded (but broke) American government to repackage and sell [...]

9 More 2012 Presidential Candidates

The third party presidential candidates we told you about a couple of weeks ago were only the top of the list of those running for president in 2012. There are plenty more, but as you go down the list, information becomes harder to find. Here are a few that are either on the ballot somewhere [...]

The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished

Years after she founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis was dining at the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia. She saw they were offering a “Mother’s Day Salad.” She ordered the salad and when it was served, she stood up, dumped it on the floor, left the money to pay for it, and walked [...]

The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Tried to Abolish It

Years after she founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis was dining at the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia. She saw they were offering a “Mother’s Day Salad.” She ordered the salad and when it was served, she stood up, dumped it on the floor, left the money to pay for it, and walked [...]

The mental_floss Guide to the NCAA Tournament: The East

We’re going region by region, giving you one fun fact about each team in the tournament. (1) Syracuse Syracuse’s colors were originally pink and blue, but the class of 1890 changed it to orange. A member of that class explained the switch at his 50th reunion in 1940: “What kind of ‘whoopee’ can be made with [...]

Morgan Spurlock Sells His Soul in a TED Talk

“YOUR NAME HERE Presents: My TED Talk that you have no idea what the subject is and depending on the content could ultimately blow up in your face especially if I make you or your company look stupid for doing it — that being said, it’s a very good media opportunity.” This was [...]

Christmas Blogs and Other Niche Blogs

It’s not hard to find Christmas blogs. It is, however, hard to find Christmas blogs that are still active, really dedicated to Christmas, and aren’t trying to sell you something. I’ve found an interesting few for your perusal, although I feel this is only scratching the surface. Mistletunes is dedicated to Christmas music, particularly the rock-and-roll [...]

What Was Nixon’s “Checkers Speech”?

Fifty-nine years ago today, Republican VP candidate Richard Nixon went on TV to give what’s known as the “Checkers Speech.” Why does a speech named after a dog live on in our cultural subconscious all these years later? Let’s find out. Checkers, the Speech After practicing law and serving in the Navy during World War II, Nixon’s [...]

8 Weird and Wonderful Local Festivals

Some years ago, I wrote about 8 Wacky Fall Festivals, which didn’t even scratch the surface of the roster of odd municipal celebrations around the USA. At one time, most of these fairs and festivals were scheduled for harvest season, to show off the bounty and recognize the finest produce and livestock with ribbons. Now, [...]

Idiot Control Now: MST3K Movie Musical Moments

Best Brains Inc., the eponymous minds behind Mystery Science Theater 3000, had a fabulous creative team that came up with many hilarious song parodies and musical tributes over the course of the series’ 10 year run. But that’s not our topic today. Instead, we’re going behind the scenes to find out about some fan-favorite musical [...]