World’s Strangest

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17 More Offbeat Holidays and Anniversaries to Celebrate in January

Forget weight loss and penny-pinching, make a resolution to keep this year a little more unconventional. What better way to start than with a few offbeat holidays and anniversaries you can easily observe? 1. January 1: First Foot Day A Scottish New Year tradition, the first person to step into someone’s home is called the “first-footer” and [...]

Air Force One

The following is an article from the book Uncle John’s Absolutely Absorbing Bathroom Reader. You’ve heard of Air Force One, but what do you really know about it? Here’s a short history of what’s now considered the “flying White House.” HOMEBOUND Nowadays we take for granted that traveling around the world is part of the president’s job. But [...]

Law School Dropouts Who Became President

Who says a dropout can’t lead the nation? Though 25 of our former and current 44 Commanders in Chief were practicing lawyers at some point before taking office, some others just didn’t seal the deal, leaving law school before earning a degree. Business Insider has their stories, from Woodrow Wilson (shown here) to Harry S. [...]

Awkwardness and Bawdy Talk: 7 Tales of Presidential Courtship

You may be surprised to learn that not every politician is equipped with romantic game. Here are the stories of a few presidents who had a little difficulty garnering the affections of the first lady – or at least had a few awkward moments during the courtship. Learn from their fumbles, and be grateful that [...]

Four Years Before Women Had the Right to Vote, Jeannette Rankin Was Elected to Congress

In 1916, four years before the Constitution recognized her right to vote, Jeannette Rankin was elected to Congress. While women had not achieved suffrage across the U.S. yet, there were no laws barring them from holding office in the Capitol. So Rankin, with her belief that “men and women are like right and left hands; it [...]

On This Date in 1886, Grover Cleveland Married 21-Year-Old Frances Folsom in the White House

© CORBIS The only president to serve two non-consecutive terms was also the only president married in a White House ceremony. Grover Cleveland was 49 and a little more than a year into his first term when he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom. The wedding was a simple affair, attended by close friends, family, and cabinet members [...]

5 Things You Didn’t Know About John Foster Dulles

Today would have been John Foster Dulles’ 123rd birthday. To honor this key figure of the early Cold War, let’s take a look at five things you might not know about the diplomat who served as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Secretary of State and lent his name to a major airport in Washington. 1. He Got [...]

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: 10 Ghosts Lurking at the White House

We live in an old house, and I occasionally see things out of the corner of my eye that make me wonder. There are many totally logical explanations for this, including paranoia, a mirror in a built-in wall cabinet that catches my reflection, and three dogs who move in and out of my line of [...]