Tuesday, September 16

The Debunker: Did the Band Play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the Titanic Sank?

by Ken Jennings

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? The catchy government slogan is "Be disaster aware! Take action to prepare!" But how disaster-aware are we really? Lots of the things we know about life's worst calamities are actually wrong--and in some cases, dangerously so. Luckily, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! survivor and professional know-it-all, is here to set us straight. Because what could be more disastrous than ignorance? Well, maybe a big volcano. Ignorance, and also a big volcano.

The Debunker: Did the Band Play "Nearer, My God, to Thee" as the Titanic Sank?

More than 1,500 people lost their lives on April 15, 1912 when the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic. Among them were all eight of the ship's on-board musicians, who normally played in a quintet and trio, respectively. Many, many survivor accounts attests that some or all of these musicians kept playing at the top of the Titanic's grand staircase as the ship gradually lowered into the sea, in an attempt to keep passengers calm during the evacuation.

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Monday, September 15

Music Monday: Scottish Independence

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Thursday, September 18th is the day that Scotland could begin the processing of being an independent nation. Which way will they go? Which way will the people lean? Scott’s gathered some exciting Scotland-connected bands to celebrate the eventful week to come.

God Help The Girl - Come Monday Night

 

God Help The Girl was born out of Belle & Sebastian, the Scottish band much loved by the hip and the cool. I don’t know their feelings on the vote, but I am so very happy they didn’t redo this song as “Come Thursday Night” with lyrics all about the referendum.

Democracy will prevail! See you after the jump?

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Monday, September 08

Music Monday: Royalty Songs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! Today we’re gonna celebrate the royalty of the world. They’ve got it hard, don’t they? Poor royalty. Will no one ever think of your sacrifices?

Thompson Twins - King For A Day

 

Kings are the top of the royalty heap. To be King for a day implies one could do anything one wanted! And yet, real royalty can’t just do anything they want. Because an unpopular King very quickly breeds a popular rebellion. Or, possibly, an independence referendum. But that’ll be next week.

It’s all about royals this week! See you after the jump!

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The Debunker: Should You Stand in a Doorway During an Earthquake?

by Ken Jennings

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? The catchy government slogan is "Be disaster aware! Take action to prepare!" But how disaster-aware are we really? Lots of the things we know about life's worst calamities are actually wrong--and in some cases, dangerously so. Luckily, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! survivor and professional know-it-all, is here to set us straight. Because what could be more disastrous than ignorance? Well, maybe a big volcano. Ignorance, and also a big volcano.

The Debunker: Should You Stand in a Doorway During an Earthquake?

If you feel the earth move under your feet, don't head for a doorway, despite everything you've heard. This colossally bad idea is all California's fault. When earthquakes hit the unreinforced adobe homes of old California, the mud bricks would crumble completely, leaving only the wooden doorway-- the lone reinforced part of the house --standing. The idea that the doorway was the safest part of any house became the collective local wisdom.

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Wednesday, September 03

 

Monday, September 01

Music Monday: Happy Birthday, Freddie

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! There was no front man like Freddie Mercury. There will never again be a front man like Freddie Mercury. For a big chunk of his life, Freddie Mercury wasn’t even Freddie Mercury! That mustached rock god didn’t turn up until well after Queen was an established band, but now? How could he have been anything else? Today Scott’s paying tribute to a true rock-n-roll hero. Happy Belated Birthday, Freddie. This post’s all about you.

Queen - Stone Cold Crazy

 

Yeah, this long-haired metal king IS the same guy who’d be singing fond ballads near the end of his life! And it IS an incredible song! The best part about Freddie Mercury is that he could sell almost anything. A rock song about a water gun might get laughed off the stage today, but with Queen? People are throwing devil horns and singing along.

More tribute, after the jump!

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The Debunker: Did Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Really Start the Great Chicago Fire?

by Ken Jennings

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? The catchy government slogan is "Be disaster aware! Take action to prepare!" But how disaster-aware are we really? Lots of the things we know about life's worst calamities are actually wrong--and in some cases, dangerously so. Luckily, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! survivor and professional know-it-all, is here to set us straight. Because what could be more disastrous than ignorance? Well, maybe a big volcano. Ignorance, and also a big volcano.

The Debunker: Did Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Really Start the Great Chicago Fire?

On the night of October 8, 1871, a terrible fire laid waste to Chicago, at the time the fifth largest city in the nation. Nine square miles of the city were wiped off the map, leaving a third of the city's infrastructure down and over 100,000 Chicagoans homeless. The causes of the fire are easy to see in hindsight: a crowded city built almost entirely of wood, drought conditions, high winds to carry cinders aloft. But what set off the first spark?

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Wednesday, August 27

 

Tuesday, August 26

The Debunker: How Often Did Lassie Have to Rescue Timmy from a Well?

by Ken Jennings

Dog lovers: could there be a better month than August to salute our canine companions? After all, August 10 is the day poor Rin Tin Tin died, and it’s the day Snoopy celebrates his birthday, in a 1968 Peanuts strip. Two weeks later, on August 26, it’s National Dog Day, according to the Animal Miracle Foundation & Network. To celebrate the dog days of summer, we’ve unleashed Jeopardy!’s Ken Jennings, who will correct some of man’s worst misconceptions about man’s best friend.

 

The Debunker: How Often Did Lassie Have to Rescue Timmy from a Well?

Comedians have often poked fun at the remarkable communication skills of TV’s heroic collie, Lassie. Despite not speaking English or having opposable thumbs, Lassie is always able to get help appropriate to the specific evil has befallen her master. In the traditional version of this joke, a few quick barks from Lassie are enough for owners to get the picture: “What’s that? Timmy fell down a well?”

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Monday, August 25

Music Monday: The Final Beach Songs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! We’re sad to say that summer’s pretty much come to a close. It was grand, wasn’t it? We’ll always remember those special times. However, there’s still a BIT more time for one last beach run. So hurry up! Make the most of it! And maybe use some of these songs as inspiration.

Martha & The Muffins - Echo Beach

 

The beach is somewhere nobody forces you to visit (usually) so it’s got those special childhood memories attached to it. Unlike, say, your desk at the office. Sigh.

See you after the jump!

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