Friday, September 6th, 2013



In 1941, almost exactly five months after Hitler had offered to end the war and a few nights before Christmas, a 2,750-pound German bomb fell into a married London couple's wooden kitchen, which was already "flimsy." But the bomb did not explode. Alf Fry and his wife waited four weeks for the bomb to be dug up from the clay, dismantled, and hauled away. But before that, they came to call the bomb "Max."

Max's impotence was both normal and odd. As the war progressed, bombs that large—named, quite literally, blockbusters—were more commonly used by the Royal Air Force in night raids on German military centers along [...]


Six Authors Who Were Copywriters First

For many writers struggling for publication, advertising has proven a useful field (it does pay, after all): F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salman Rushdie, Dorothy Sayers, Don DeLillo, Joseph Heller and Helen Gurley Brown all worked as copywriters early in their careers—some with more success than others. Rushdie came up with "Naughty. But nice" cream cakes for Ogilvy & Mather; Sayers introduced "Just think what Toucan do" to Guinness and founded a dotty, fictional (and wildly popular) "Mustard Club"; and, thanks to Fitzgerald, streetcars in Iowa once ran with the promise "We keep you clean in Muscatine" sparkling on their sides.

Yet for all six, advertising was mostly just a means [...]


A History of the New York Times, Summer Camp and Rich People

Right now, many young summer campers are frolicking beneath the open sky, the wind on their faces perfumed by the rough fragrances of pine and their parents' jet exhaust; on the horizon, the mountains shrug, "whatevs." Their families will pay one-fifth of the median national household income so they can go "rough it." And The New York Times has been on it.

The modern tales are ghastly—and not just that now-infamous tale of chartered planes and rural runways. Because of the economy, some owners have to deal with lower enrollment this year; in July, the Times told the story of one camp that hit only 98 percent capacity [...]


Some Cures For The Hiccups

So you have the hiccups, and you'd like to get rid of them. Chances are, if you're out, that your companions will have advice to offer (hold your breath, drink backwards from a glass, etc.). But how can you know which folksy cure works best? Science.

Most studies on curing hiccups employ hedging words like "probably" and "might" as a means of reporting that there is "no sure way" of stopping the things. But sift through enough of them and you'll get some insight into what's going on in your body when you have a case of hiccups, which "may" in turn help you find your own personal fix. So, [...]


Learning To Lip Sync: Five Early (Really Early!) Music Videos

Back in 1940, some bars and nightclubs began replacing their jukeboxes with a newfangled contraption called a Panoram that could play short musical videos. Patrons couldn't choose the order of the movies they saw; they'd plunk in a dime and whichever of the eight three-minute videos was next on the reel would be projected onto the machine's two-foot screen. Although the reels sometimes featured sketch comedians, most of the movies showed quite literal enactments of a pre-recorded song, some by musical greats in their prime like Louis Armstrong, others by artists who were then still on their way to stardom, like Duke Ellington, Doris Day, Lena Horne and a [...]


What A Pack Of Cigarettes Costs, State By State

This list has been updated with new data in August 2014! Click here for the latest!

51. West Virginia: $4.74 50. Louisiana: $4.82 49. North Dakota: $4.91 48. Kentucky: $4.97 47. Idaho: $4.99 46. California: $5.19 45. Alabama: $5.27 44. Georgia: $5.29 43. South Carolina: $5.42 41-42. Indiana, Wyoming: $5.50 40. North Carolina: $5.51


A List Of Things President Obama Has Thrown “Under the Bus”

Israel, according to Mitt Romney

Palestine, according to Walter Russell Mead at The American Interest

Rev. Jeremiah Wright, according to Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Christianity, according to Tara Wall, deputy editor at The Washington Times

Hosni Mubarak, according to Foreign Policy's Shadow Blog, pretty much any FOX guest


15 Facts About Our Shrinking News Media

Yesterday the FCC issued a report saying that, despite that Internet thing with all those “websites,” there's less news being created at the local level. But you already knew that, right? (The report was also supposed to give recommendations for righting the trend, but it didn’t really.)

So just how bad is it? Let’s take a look at some of the numbers contained in that 470-plus-page—1.8 inches-thick—study on shrinkage.

"It has been tempting to think that Americans are paying less for content." But in 2003, people spent on average $740 a year to consume media and information—on cable and Internet service bills, for print, and on [...]