Author Archives: Matt Blitz

How Peanuts Became the Defining Comic Strip of Our Time

Today, Snoopy can be found on coffee mugs, greeting cards and blimps, and even has his own amusement park. But Charlie Brown’s lovable black and white spotted dog wasn’t always mainstream. In fact, when the comic strip first appeared in the 1950s, the dog and his Peanut friends were considered, to quote Time Magazine’s David Michaels, “the fault-line of a […]

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That Time Someone Actually Achieved the Alchemists’ Dream of Turning a Different Material Into Gold

While it’s likely others had tried it before, the first surviving documented attempt of someone trying to turn something to gold in a (relatively) scientific fashion occurred around 300 AD. The proto-scientist in question was a Greco-Egyptian named Zosimos. During his lifetime, it’s thought that he wrote nearly thirty books about alchemy, but most of them have been lost to […]

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Why is Pomp and Circumstance Always Played at Graduations?

Nathan K. asks: How did Pomp and Circumstance get to be the tune always played at graduations? Every year, hundreds of thousands of students march across a stage in a gown and a squared hat to receive a piece of paper that says they’ve completed a particular phase in their education. This school graduation will undoubtedly be marked by cheering, […]

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Who was the Red Baron?

It was a century ago when famed World War I German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen was fatally shot out of the sky. Yet, his nickname – “Red Baron” – remains part of American vernacular. Charles Schulz’s comic strip character Snoopy famously took on the Red Baron in his imaginary air battles aboard his doghouse, often yelling “Curse you, Red Baron!” […]

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On The Far Side

For 15 years, Gary Larson took millions of readers over to the “Far Side.” Using anamorphic animals, chubby teenagers, universal emotions, a simple drawing style and a really bizarre, morbid sense of humor, The Far Side became one of the most successful – and praised – comic strips of all time. But like many cartoonists, Larson has remained rather elusive. […]

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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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