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 Treasure of the Sierra Madre was written by a German author under the pseudonym B. Traven. Who was he? We don’t know.
In Mexican wrestling the mask is sacred, and its loss in the ring is the ultimate insult. The first Mexican wrestler to lose his mask was El Murciélago Enmascarado, The Masked Bat, and it all happened eighty years ago.
When a location is abandoned by humans, nature returns. Sci-fi author Bruce Sterling calls these feral landscapes involuntary parks.
In 1983 a Boeing 767 with 61 passengers ran out of fuel while twelve thousand metres off the ground. The metric system was to blame.
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House was built across the border between the United States and Canada. Yes, there is a thick black line on the floor between the two countries.
In 1941 Disney animators went on strike in an attempt to unionise. Walt Disney fought back with speeches, fists, firings, and Dumbo.
Two men were tried and one was executed for bestiality in early New Haven. The evidence: the birth of piglets that looked suspiciously like the accused.
On September 17, 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States. He would reign for 21 years.
Topsy the elephant was famously electrocuted in 1903. History has not been kind to her, so let’s set the record straight. No, she was not a victim of the AC vs. DC wars. No, she was not a killer elephant. Yes, she killed one man, but in clear self defence.
Manuel Noriega was the CIA-funded dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989. When the United States invaded Panama, they drove him out with The Clash’s cover of I Fought the Law.
Mary and William Brewster, passengers on the Mayflower, had five children: Jonathan, Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling. Their descendants included Julia Child, Bing Crosby, Richard Gere, Katharine Hepburn, and Thomas Pynchon.
According to 1917 Roman Catholic canon law, any newly discovered territory fell under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the “port of departure.” So, after the 1969 moon landing, was the Bishop of Orlando also the Bishop of the Moon?
Traffic is so bad, why don’t we build more roads to deal with it? Since the 1940s, city planners have known (and often ignored) one counterintuitive rule: more roads means more congestion.
Who can we blame / credit for the creation of the Hawaiian pizza? Apparently, the Italians, Greeks, Canadians, Chinese, and maybe the Germans. But not Hawaiians.