Wednesday, April 16

 

Tuesday, April 15

The Debunker: Did King John Sign the Magna Carta?

by Ken Jennings

Put on a purple hat and rent some Corgis: Queen Elizabeth II is turning 87 years old this month! (Actually, the queen celebrates her official public birthday in June, because the weather is likely to be nicer then. That is a true fact. But she was actually born in April.) In honor of Her Majesty, we’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-arse Ken Jennings to spend the month debunking misinformation about the monarchy. Apparently we’ve been royally misled for years.

The Debunker: Did King John Sign the Magna Carta?

In 1215, a group of feudal barons had enough clout to get King John on board with the Magna Carta, a document that for the first time limited the powers of the English crown. The charter enshrined rights like due process of law, making it the direct ancestor of the many future constitutional documents both in Britain and abroad, including the U.S. Bill of Rights. So powerful is the symbolism of the Magna Carta even overseas that in 1957 the American Bar Association placed a monument to the Magna Carta at Runnymede, the meadow near the Thames where the document was signed.

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Monday, April 14

Music Monday: Rapping Celebs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! We hip hip hop and we don't stop! Much like a great many celebrities who recorded rap songs over the years. Thankfully, Scott's found a couple of them who didn't just rip off The Sugar Hill Gang. Not a lot. Just a couple.

David Bowie feat. Mickey Rourke - Shining Star (Makin' My Love)

 

Bowie's pretty open about being lost in the late 1980s. So, you know… here's proof. Sort of the bookend to "Dancing In The Streets" in a way, you know?

Maybe it gets better. Maybe it gets worse. You won't know unless you dare. See you after the jump!

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Friday, April 11

The Trivial Eye: Mad Boys & Girls

by Jason Toon

The period costumes and hairstyles of Mad Men are so perfectly done, and the '60s production design so pervasive, that it's startling to be reminded that the cast members have lives outside the show. And that some of them have the same history of ludicrous hairstyles and inadvisable outfits that the rest of us do. As Mad Men begins its final season (or next-to-final half-season? or whatever) this weekend, can you recognize these eight cast members in their pre-Sterling-Cooper days?

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Wednesday, April 09

 

Tuesday, April 08

The Debunker: Do Londoners Check the Time on Big Ben?

by Ken Jennings

Put on a purple hat and rent some Corgis: Queen Elizabeth II is turning 87 years old this month! (Actually, the queen celebrates her official public birthday in June, because the weather is likely to be nicer then. That is a true fact. But she was actually born in April.) In honor of Her Majesty, we’ve asked Jeopardy! smart-arse Ken Jennings to spend the month debunking misinformation about the monarchy. Apparently we’ve been royally misled for years.

The Debunker: Do Londoners Check the Time on Big Ben?

When I got married back in 2000, we spent our honeymoon in London. A friend of my wife’s asked her, “What are you guys going to do all day, besides look at Old Ben?” I was a little aggrieved at this description of my anatomy, until I realized she had meant to refer to “Big Ben,” which as everyone knows is the clock tower at the north end of the Houses of Parliament, right? Wrong. Yes, the clock tower is an iconic symbol of London. But no, it’s not called Big Ben.

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Monday, April 07

Music Monday: Conspiracy Songs

by Scott Lydon

Happy Music Monday! In today's weird, messed-up world, we're surrounded by conspiracy theories each and every day. So it should be no wonder that we've all heard songs about that very concept. Today Scott's spoken with some shadowy figures from the Illuminati and gotten permission to do a list of conspiracy songs. Check it out… before they make him take it down!

Soul Coughing - Unmarked Helicopters

 

A team of special helicopters with no markings that answer to no one? Pffft. Next you'll say that the Pentagon has a Black Ops budget nobody can account for! Face it, as conspiracies go, these spooky helicopters are pretty easy to accept. All it takes is a can of paint and a General saying "need-to-know" a few times!

The truth is after the jump. See you there, if you think you can handle it.

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Thursday, April 03

The Trivial Eye: Young Adult Novels

by Jason Toon
Today, the day after International Children's Book Day, seems like a good time to celebrate Young Adult novels. Of course, in a better world, they would just be called novels. Those who judge a book by which section it's shelved in are missing out. The best YA fiction can be as serious, as funny, and as moving as anything on the latest prize shortlist - and I'm sure at least one of these classics has left an indelible impression on you, too.

 

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