Friday, May 22

 

Thursday, May 21

 

Wednesday, May 20

 

Tuesday, May 19

The Debunker: In "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," Does Dorothy Wear Ruby Slippers?

by Ken Jennings

The month of May is come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom and to bring forth fruit! If you're literary enough to recognize that quote from Thomas Malory, you might also know that May is one of the best months of the year to be a bookworm, what with Independent Bookstore Day and National Library Legislative Day, not to mention the birthdays of Whitman, Emerson, and Thomas Pynchon. But you might be surprised by how much of what you think you remember about American literature is wrong. Luckily, Jeopardy! champ and man of letters Ken Jennings is here to set us straight. Let every lusty brain begin to blossom and bring forth fruit!

The Debunker: In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Does Dorothy Wear Ruby Slippers?

Dorothy's ruby slippers from the 1939 MGM musical The Wizard of Oz are one of the most famous props in movie history. Not only do they protect the wearer from wicked witches, but clicking the heels together will transport you magically to Kansas. There's no place like home! No wonder one of the few surviving pairs of slippers sold at auction in 2000 for $660,000. That's not a record for a movie prop (Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch sold for a cool $4.6 million in 2011) but it's still pretty impressive.

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Monday, May 18

Music Monday: Good Bye To The King

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Last week a blues hero passed on. The great B.B. King went up to that great back porch in the sky. His music is great and you should all find some and listen to it, but today's Music Monday isn't about the man himself. It's about his cultural legacy. Scott's chosen five songs about B.B. King that illustrate just how many different genres he's influenced. Here's a spoiler: it's everything.

The Beatles - Dig It

 

Even in this stream of consciousness album filler, John Lennon still takes a moment to namecheck one of his favorite artists. If that's not good enough to make you take notice, what is?

More cultural references coming after the jump.

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Tuesday, May 12

The Debunker: Were the Reports of Mark Twain's Death Greatly Exaggerated?

by Ken Jennings

The month of May is come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom and to bring forth fruit! If you're literary enough to recognize that quote from Thomas Malory, you might also know that May is one of the best months of the year to be a bookworm, what with Independent Bookstore Day and National Library Legislative Day, not to mention the birthdays of Whitman, Emerson, and Thomas Pynchon. But you might be surprised by how much of what you think you remember about American literature is wrong. Luckily, Jeopardy! champ and man of letters Ken Jennings is here to set us straight. Let every lusty brain begin to blossom and bring forth fruit!

The Debunker: Were the Reports of Mark Twain's Death Greatly Exaggerated?

Well, not in April 1910, when the great American humorist Samuel Clemens actually died. Then they were right on the money. But you're probably thinking of 1897, when Twain is reputed to have read a newspaper account of his death and announced, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." In fact, there are two problems with this story. First, there were no such reports. And second, Twain said no such thing.

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Monday, May 11

Music Monday: The Birthday Burdon

by Scott Lydon


Happy Music Monday! Who doesn't love The Animals? Well, if the answer is you, maybe you want to sit this Music Monday out. Because today we're paying tribute to the one and only Eric Burdon. To wit...

Eric Burdon & The Animals - When I Was Young

 

I'm gonna say even less than usual this week, because most of what I have to say is evident in the music itself. Eric Burdon led bands that were interesting, gritty, screamy, blues-based and just a tad bit rough. And they were all pretty darn good, too. This particular dystopia isn't something one could praise, but what a great story! Sort of like, you know, gangsta rap.

More to come after the jump.

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