You know that story about Dutch settlers buying the whole of Manhattan for $24 (or 60 guilders) worth of junk jewelry? Not true.
What really happened in 1626 is closer in spirit to those old yarns about hapless suckers tricked into buying the Brooklyn Bridge by cunning locals.
Published in 1864, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground has a reputation as the first existentialist novel. It established a template for the genre with a portrait of an isolated man contemptuous of the sordid society around him, paralyzed by doubt, and obsessed with the pain and absurdity of his own existence.[...]
Osamu Tezuka is one of the great creative forces of the 20th century. Known in his native Japan as the “god of manga,” Tezuka was mind-bogglingly productive, cranking out around 170,000 pages of comics in his 60 years of life.[...]
Sophocles and Aeschylus may be spinning in their graves. Or, who knows, they may be taking some delight in this bizarre twist on the Oedipus myth. Running 8 minutes, Jason Wishnow’s 2004 film puts vegetables in the starring roles.[...]
Get me a piano teacher, stat!
When I was a child, my father, enchanted by the notion that I might someday provide live piano accompaniment to his evening cocktails, signed me up for lessons with a mild-mannered widow who—if memory serves—charged 50¢ an hour.
1974 was a cynical time. That was the year that Nixon resigned after the grueling Watergate scandal, Vietnam War was finally grinding to a halt and, thanks to the Oil Shock of ’73, the economy was in the toilet. It was also a time when TV execs were scrambling to keep up with America’s rapidly changing cultural tastes.[...]
Mike Judge first became famous for creating the crude and crudely drawn cartoon series Beavis and Butt-head (find complete episodes online here). The show was about two high school burnouts whose running commentary on the latest music videos was so boneheaded and baldly vulgar that you couldn’t help but laugh.[...]
Founded in London in 1787, The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) began publishing The Laws of Cricket in 1788, and later became the governing body of the game. More than two centuries later, the MCC has passed governing responsibilities to The International Cricket Council.[...]
Before he directed such mind-bending masterpieces as Time Bandits, Brazil and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, before he became short-hand for a filmmaker cursed with cosmically bad luck, before he became the sole American member of seminal British comedy group Monty Python, Terry Gilliam made a name for himself creating odd animated bits for the U[...]
The Sonny and Cher Show aired in the years right before I was born. Not only do I have no memory of it, of course, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an entire episode, either in re-runs or on the internet.[...]