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Education circus


Tents appear outside a town in early 20th century rural United States. It’s not the circus, it’s the circuit chautauqua: teachers, preachers, musicians, and orators, ready to bring education and religion to the masses.

The Oxford “er”


I say, after brekkers do you want to see if Tollers from the Bodder wants to play some rugger or soccer for eccer? This “er” slang abbreviation came from Oxford University, where it has been in use since the 19th century.

The engineer’s ring

Iron Ring

After years of toil and study, the Seven Wardens call you to attend a sacred ritual. At that ceremony, you swear a secret vow and are awarded a ring of iron. Classical cult? Medieval guild? Nope, you’re now a Canadian engineer.

Clown college

Penn Jillette

Tuition was free but entry was difficult. Buster Keaton and Bugs Bunny were on the curriculum. You graduated with a wig, giant shoes, and full makeup. Welcome to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.

Cowboy college

Deep Springs

102 years ago, a tiny junior college was founded in Deep Springs Valley in eastern California. Despite having under 30 students at a time, alumni have received three MacArthur “genius grants,” two Pulitzer Prizes, and an Emmy award.