“In general, the straight line of a joke sets up a premise, an expectation. Then the funny ending – the punch line – in a sense contradicts the original assumption by refusing […]
Mark Twain was at the height of his popularity when he received a request to dramatize Tom Sawyer. The director of a theater company asked the author’s permission to use his name […]
The weather couldn’t have been better for travel. As Charlie made his way home by train, neither he nor his fellow passengers had any clue that they were headed toward an unspeakable […]
Who could have anticipated the dire consequences of the pharmacist’s experiments? It started so innocently. Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès was participating in a challenge that was sanctioned by none other than Emperor Napoleon III. […]
Many of our readers are students, preparing to return to school after Christmas break. They will undoubtedly encounter essay and research paper assignments with strict requirements concerning the number of words. For […]
It goes without saying that legal documents tend to be boring. If they were interesting, people would actually read the fine print before signing contracts and thereby eliminate the need for the […]
Among the most beloved Christmas carols is “O Holy Night. It was written to commemorate the renovation of the church organ in Roquemaure, France. Town native Placide Cappeau wrote the lyrics in […]
One of the most magnificent passenger liners of the 20th century was the RMS Queen Mary. Its name became synonymous with luxury travel. Its name was also a mistake.
What is the difference between a real word and a made-up word? OK, admittedly all words are made-up. We should probably ask what it takes to transform a newly manufactured word into […]
For those who watch the Super Bowl, commercials are often more enjoyable than the game. Advertisers spend good money and dedicate a significant part of the year to developing memorable 30-second Super […]
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was a man without a home, a country, or a culture. He was an outsider everywhere he went. He simply wanted a chance to make a life […]
The countries of Europe had been invaded. The attack had come swiftly, and the invaders were winning. These desperate times called for extreme measures if there was going to be any hope […]
Nations have fought wars over seemingly insignificant objects. There was the bloody war about a bucket, the revolution that began with a dispute about an unpaid wig, and the big kerfuffle over […]
If you have ever wanted to pull your hair out in frustration over the complexity of trying to figure out your income taxes, you are not alone.
There is much about the worst maritime disaster in United States history that is counter-intuitive. For one thing, the story is largely forgotten. It has been overshadowed by events that were smaller […]