Author Archives: Matt Blitz

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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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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