Made In America

Honeymoons Of The Presidents

Now that we've looked at presidential pets and favorite foods, let's explore their honeymoons. It's difficult to judge which has been the most romantic presidential honeymoon in history; possibly a draw between the Nixons' canned pork-and-beans for breakfast or the honeymoon hours spent by the newlywed wife of Woodrow Wilson compiling the index of a new edition of his book Congressional Government, A Study in American Politics. In any case, if we were to rank presidents in order of greatness of their honeymoons, it would give us a system that might place otherwise mediocre or downright awful presidents at the top, and America's best leaders near the bottom. [...]


11 Completely Scientific, Not At All Dubious Diets From Our Recent Past

In 1918, Lulu Hunt Peters’ Diet and Health, with Key to the Calories introduced Americans to the concept of “calorie counting,” and the modern diet was born. Realizing that counting calories was no fun, America took the concept and turned it into a game to see who could promise the best results for the least effort in the shortest amount of time—while also making the most money off it! You know, the American way. Dieters in this country spend $40 billion per year on weight loss programs, many of them fad diets. Here are some of the most questionable to have appeared along the way; if any of them [...]


The Real Story Of The Salem Witch Trials

Nine year old Betty Parris rolled over in bed. Her heavy fur blanket flopped over her face and she gagged. “This thing smells like smoke, fur trapper B.O. and beaver asshole,” she said, pushing it away. “I can’t believe that guy Pierre had the nerve to tell Father it would come out.”

Her cousin and bedmate, Abigail Williams, age 11, rubbed her eyes and sat up. “It really does stink,” she said. “But don’t worry. That place where Pierre lives is going to be called Canada someday, and every time he turns around he'll see this stupid restaurant with bad coffee called Tim Hortons. Everyone will tell him the donuts [...]


Eating Out At Four Of TV's Best-Known Restaurants

Holsten’s in Bloomfield, New Jersey ("The Sopranos") In the final episode of "The Sopranos," the family meets up at Holsten’s in Bloomfield, New Jersey, to eat (among other things) onion rings that are, according to Tony Soprano, “the best in da state.” Last year, for my birthday and shortly after my girlfriend Nadia and I finished watching the show—a time during which we lived and breathed all things Johnny Cakes and Ralphie—we rented a car and drove from Brooklyn to Jersey, with the simple goal of sliding into the same booth that Tony, Carmela and A.J. once shared.


Three Of New York's Odder Patriotic Relics

As much as New York City has its own peculiar history, it's well mixed-up with America's, too: The Battle of Brooklyn was the largest of the Revolutionary War, and there was that one glorious year when the city was the nation's capital. You can visit Lady Liberty, of course, but if you'd prefer something more off-the-beaten track, here are three patriotic, NYC-based relics you could pilgrimage to this weekend For America.

Hair And Dentures Of George Washington, Fraunces Tavern

Walking up to Fraunces Tavern causes a sort of temporal vertigo: You turn the corner of a sleek skyscraper; you push past the financial-district suits; and there's a [...]


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 [...]


Fun With Maps: Seven Peculiar U.S. Borders

Is Colorado a perfect rectangle? The borders are defined by strict latitude and longitude lines, so by all accounts it should be; but thanks to a surveyor error back in 1879, it isn’t. The kink in the western side of America’s Otherwise Squariest Landmass is just one example of the kind of cartographic aberrations that have made for oddball borders in today's United States. Kalawao, HI Hawaii is composed of five counties: four counties of comparable size and one 13-square-mile blip, Kalawao County. This small size is because Kalawao County (on the island of Molokaʻi) governs the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement and National Historical Park and nothing else. The two even [...]


State Slogans: Ranked And Saluted

51. Washington—"SayWa!" The worst part of "Take Your Kid to Work" day is that this came out of it.

50. Maryland—"Maryland of Opportunity" Maryland of Awful Puns.

49. Rhode Island—"Unwind" Sounds suspiciously like a chance to nap. See also: Things this slogan will make you do.

48. Nevada—"The Battle Born State" This slogan is only cool if it refers to Harry Reid's career as a boxer.

47. Wisconsin—"Live like you mean it" A bad inspirational mini-poster from a Wheaties box. It would be on a shelf next to the 1992 Olympic Basketball Dream Team cups from McDonalds, but even John Stockton and Scottie Pippen would eye it [...]


Football And Nachos, The Texan Way

In a marriage otherwise marked by acrimony and the hurling of dishes, my parents always agreed on one thing: that we rooted for the Cowboys. The allegiance was, to say the least, unpopular in Miami, where we moved from Texas in 1973, much too soon after Dallas crushed the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. I was two then, and some of my earliest memories involve the three of us gathering in front of the TV to watch the star-helmeted men stand around kicking the grass, amble into formation, and then tear across the field, chased by or chasing men in some other kind of helmet. From time to time my [...]


The Shocking True Tale Of The Mad Genius Who Invented Sea-Monkeys

"Sea-Monkeys, do monkeys / Story of my life / Send three bucks to a comic book / Get a house, car and wife"—Liz Phair, “Gunshy"

In a 2002 interview with Erik Lobo of Planet X magazine, Harold von Braunhut comes across as the kind of charming old guy who might detain you in conversation a bit too long if you were volunteering at a home for the aged. An inventor and entrepreneur who brought us legions of wonderfully gimmicky toys before he died, at 77, in 2003, von Braunhut holds forth about times gone by, interrupted only when his cockatoo chews at the wire connecting his hearing aid [...]