Author Archives: Matt Blitz

How March Got So Mad: The Story Behind the NCAA Basketball Tournament


Every spring, a sort of illness strikes millions of Americans. Symptoms include screaming uncontrollably in celebration, panic sweating, obsessing over hastily filled-out brackets, sitting motionless in front of a television for hours, and wearing the bright colors of a college individuals attended many years ago. It’s called “March Madness” and it’s arguably the most popular sporting tournament in America. But […]

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Charles Dickens’ “Sledge Hammer” for the Poor Man’s Child- The Fascinating Story Behind “A Christmas Carol”


For all the things that Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is known for, Tiny Tim, a relatively minor character in terms of appearances in the story (but, importantly, one of wholesome heart despite his physical condition), was one of the characters that Dickens wanted people to pay the most attention to. After all, he wrote “A Christmas Carol” to bring […]

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Why Do We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?


Katie H. asks: Why do we eat turkey on thanksgiving when the pilgrims didn’t? Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, over three hundred million Americans sit down at a table filled with culinary delights. From overstuffed turkeys to whipped-cream-topped pumpkin pies, it’s probably not a shock to learn that many of the traditional foods we eat on Thanksgiving […]

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The First Horror Movie


The world’s first horror movie begins with a bat flying into a castle then magically turning into a caped demon figure known as Mephistopheles. It ends with Mephistopheles being chased out by someone holding a crucifix. Okay, the Shining or Exorcist, it is not. But this 1896 film entitled Le Manoir du Diable (or “The Haunted Castle”) directed by legendary […]

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That Time Teddy Roosevelt Got Shot in the Chest But Gave a 90 Minute Speech Anyway


To most of the approximately 10,000 people packed into Milwaukee Auditorium on October 14, 1912, nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the moments before Teddy Roosevelt was scheduled to give what was supposed to be a simple campaign speech. The former President of the United States was running for a near unprecedented third term, this time as the Progressive […]

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The Very Canadian Origin of “Hawaiian” Pizza


Jim L. asks: What sick and twisted person invented Hawaiian pizza? On June 8, 2017, Greek-born, Canadian-bred pizza maker Sam Panopoulos died. His career slinging pies was rather unremarkable save for one notable thing – he was the inventor of the popular, yet infamous pineapple-topped “Hawaiian Pizza,” named as such because of the brand of canned fruit he used. Loved by some […]

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Why Do People Eat Whale Poop?

sperm whale

Some refer to the rock-like substance as “floating gold” because of its hue and value. (For reference, 175 pound, 79 kg, lump of it was recently found floating off the coast of Qurayat, netting the fishermen who found it a cool $3 million when they sold it at auction.) Others call it “ambergris,” derived from the Old French “ambre gris,” […]

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Why the Chicago Cubs are Named After a Baby Bear and The Long, Weird History of Their Mascot


It was a weak ground ball to third base that ended over a century’s worth of baseball futility. On November 3, 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. Much like the Red Sox win in 2004 that also put the brakes on a similar streak, it propelled the Cubs into another stratosphere in terms of […]

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