Category Archives: Articles

The Rare Language of Boontling

boontling

At the turn of the 20th century in the isolated little town of Boonville, California, local residents became so enamored with creating and using their unique slang that they essentially developed an entire language. Called Boontling after the town, due to the way the language was formed, it is relatively incomprehensible to all except the initiated. About 50 miles southeast […]

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Hold My Beer- The Story of Tommy Fitz’ and His Drunken Bet

plane

Thomas Fitzpatrick, known to his friends as Tommy Fitz, was a native of Washington Heights, Manhattan, who, although he had moved to New Jersey, still hung out with his old friends from the neighborhood. A “wild bunch,” Tommy’s crew were adventurous and enjoyed frequenting area bars. Late in evening (or rather early in the morning) of September 30, 1956, as […]

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How the Rumor That Paul McCartney Died in 1966 and Was Secretly Replaced by a Look-Alike Got Started

paul-mccartney

For a couple of months in the fall of 1969, a persistent rumor that Paul McCartney had been killed two years earlier and replaced with a look-alike captured the imaginations of Beatles fans and the general public. The rumor began in the winter of 1967 when, after a particularly icy night, reports were flying among Britain’s national press that Paul […]

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Maximinus Thrax: The Giant Who was a Roman Emperor That Never Set Foot in Rome

Maximinus_Thrax

In the third decade of the third century CE, climate issues, civil war, economic depression and plague combined to seriously destabilize the Roman Empire. Beginning a fifty-year period where leadership of the empire passed between at least 26 men was the short reign of perhaps the largest emperor of Rome, Maximinus Thrax. Born Gaius Julius Verus in about 173 CE […]

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Blood and Booty

hugenot

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader American history might have been written in French or Spanish. Here’s part of the reason it wasn’t. PLUNDERERS FOR HIRE In 1562 some French Protestants known as Huguenots landed on what is now Parris Island, near Beaufort, South Carolina. Like the English Pilgrims who would arrive a half century later, […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 90

chingshih

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. Bonsai! Long before the bonsai art form of creating miniature trees came to Japan, the wealthy in China were perfecting their craft known as “penzai” and “penjing.” The former means “tray plant” and the latter “tray scenery.” It is from the […]

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When Did Men Start Getting Circumcised?

circumcision

Mark asks: When did people first start cutting the foreskins off penises? Having served variously as a mark of virility, servility and gentility, circumcision has throughout the centuries, worn many symbolic hats. While anthropologists disagree as to the definitive origins of circumcision, the earliest hard evidence comes from the first ancient Egyptian mummies of considerable vintage, around 2300 BC. That […]

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Bonsai!

bonsai

Long before the bonsai art form of creating miniature trees came to Japan, the wealthy in China were perfecting their craft known as “penzai” and “penjing.” The former means “tray plant” and the latter “tray scenery.” It is from the Japanese pronunciation of “penzai” that the word “bonzai” ultimately derives- “bon” meaning “tray-like” and “sai” meaning “planting.”  (The Japanese equivalent […]

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Weekly Wrap Volume 89

bleeding

This is a weekly wrap of our popular Daily Knowledge Newsletter. You can get that newsletter for free here. The Truth About Your Flammable Farts Contrary to popular belief, it’s probably not methane leaking from behind that reckless “bros” light on fire (known as pyroflatulence); rather, it’s most likely primarily hydrogen. In a typical, healthy body, human farts are comprised […]

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