Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders—the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobob tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like stepwells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan's 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.
Created by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton, ATLAS OBSCURA revels in the weird, the unexpected, the overlooked, the hidden and the mysterious. Every page expands our sense of how strange and marvelous the world really is. And with its compelling descriptions, hundreds of photographs, surprising charts, maps for every region of the world, it is a book to enter anywhere, and will be as appealing to the armchair traveler as the die-hard adventurer.
Anyone can be a tourist. ATLAS OBSCURA is for the explorer.
Kafka is one of 161 inspired—and inspiring—minds, among them, novelists, poets, playwrights, painters, philosophers, scientists, and mathematicians, who describe how they subtly maneuver the many (self-inflicted) obstacles and (self-imposed) daily rituals to get done the work they love to do, whether by waking early or staying up late; whether by self-medicating with doughnuts or bathing, drinking vast quantities of coffee, or taking long daily walks. Thomas Wolfe wrote standing up in the kitchen, the top of the refrigerator as his desk, dreamily fondling his “male configurations”. . . Jean-Paul Sartre chewed on Corydrane tablets (a mix of amphetamine and aspirin), ingesting ten times the recommended dose each day . . . Descartes liked to linger in bed, his mind wandering in sleep through woods, gardens, and enchanted palaces where he experienced “every pleasure imaginable.”
Here are: Anthony Trollope, who demanded of himself that each morning he write three thousand words (250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours) before going off to his job at the postal service, which he kept for thirty-three years during the writing of more than two dozen books . . . Karl Marx . . . Woody Allen . . . Agatha Christie . . . George Balanchine, who did most of his work while ironing . . . Leo Tolstoy . . . Charles Dickens . . . Pablo Picasso . . . George Gershwin, who, said his brother Ira, worked for twelve hours a day from late morning to midnight, composing at the piano in pajamas, bathrobe, and slippers . . .
Here also are the daily rituals of Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky (he was never able to compose unless he was sure no one could hear him and, when blocked, stood on his head to “clear the brain”).
Brilliantly compiled and edited, and filled with detail and anecdote, Daily Rituals is irresistible, addictive, magically inspiring.
Challenging what most of us assume to be verifiable truths in areas like history, literature, science, nature, and more,The Book of General Ignorance is a witty “gotcha” compendium of how little we actually know about anything. It’ll have you scratching your head wondering why we even bother to go to school.
Think Magellan was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, baseball was invented in America, Henry VIII had six wives, Mount Everest is the tallest mountain? Wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again. You’ll be surprised at how much you don’t know! Check out THE BOOK OF GENERAL IGNORANCE for more fun entries and complete answers to the following:
How long can a chicken live without its head?
About two years.
What do chameleons do?
They don’t change color to match the background. Never have; never will. Complete myth. Utter fabrication. Total Lie. They change color as a result of different emotional states.
How many legs does a centipede have?
Not a hundred.
How many toes has a two-toed sloth?
It’s either six or eight.
Who was the first American president?
What were George Washington’s false teeth made from?
What was James Bond’s favorite drink?
Not the vodka martini.
From the Hardcover edition.
When Hungarian professor Ernő Rubik invented the Rubik’s Cube (or, rather, his Cube) in 1974 out of wooden blocks, rubber bands, and paper clips, he didn’t even know if it could be solved, let alone that it would become the world’s most popular puzzle. Since its creation, the Cube has become many things to many people: one of the bestselling children’s toys of all time, a symbol of intellectual prowess, a frustrating puzzle with 43.2 quintillion possible permutations, and now a worldwide sporting phenomenon that is introducing the classic brainteaser to a new generation.
In Cracking the Cube, Ian Scheffler reveals that cubing isn’t just fun and games. Along with participating in speedcubing competitions—from the World Championship to local tournaments—and interviewing key figures from the Cube’s history, he journeys to Budapest to seek a meeting with the legendary and notoriously reclusive Rubik, who is still tinkering away with puzzles in his seventies.
Getting sucked into the competitive circuit himself, Scheffler becomes engrossed in solving Rubik’s Cube in under twenty seconds, the quasi-mystical barrier known as “sub-20,” which is to cubing what four minutes is to the mile: the difference between the best and everyone else. As Scheffler learns from the many gurus who cross his path, from pint-sized kids to engineering professors, it’s not just about memorizing algorithms or even solving all six sides—it’s about discovering how to solve yourself.
Perhaps no other paranormal situation captures our imagination more than a haunted house. The idea of sharing a home with the dead is unsettling for the current inhabitants, but according to professor Hans Holzer, it can be equally as upsetting to the ghost. In The House Is Haunted, Holzer explores more than eighty haunted houses—all over the United States and abroad—dissects their history, and speculates on the reasons the otherworldly inhabitants continue to stay in their earthly abodes.
Okay, so maybe you know all the stuff you're supposed to know--that there are teenier things than atoms, that Remembrance of Things Past has something to do with a perfumed cookie, that the Monroe Doctrine means we get to take over small South American countries when we feel like it. But really, is this kind of knowledge going to make you the hit of the cocktail party, or the loser spending forty-five minutes examining the host's bookshelves?
Wouldn't you rather learn things like how the invention of the bicycle affected the evolution of underwear? Or that the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to a doctor who performed lobotomies with a household ice pick? Or how Catherine the Great really died? Or that heroin was sold over the counter not too long ago?
For the truly well-rounded "intellectual," nothing fascinates so much as the subversive, the contrarian, the suppressed, and the bizarre. Richard Zacks, auto-didact extraordinaire, has unloosed his admittedly strange mind and astonishing research abilities upon the entire spectrum of human knowledge, ferreting out endlessly fascinating facts, stories, photos, and images guaranteed to make you laugh, gasp in wonder, and occasionally shudder at the depths of human depravity. The result of his labors is this fantastically illustrated quasi-encyclopedia that provides alternative takes on art, business, crime, science, medicine, sex (lots of that), and many other facets of human experience.
Immensely entertaining, and arguably enlightening, An Underground Education is the only book that explains the birth of motion pictures using photos of naked baseball players.
Richard Zacks is the author of History Laid Bare: Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding, which was excerpted in classy magazines like Harper's and earned the attention of the even classier New York Times, which noted that "Zacks specializes in the raunchy and perverse." The Georgia State Legislature voted on whether to ban the book from public libraries. He has studied Arabic, Greek, Latin, French, Italian, and Hebrew, and received the Phillips Classical Greek Award at the University of Michigan. He has also told his publisher that he made a living in Cairo cheating royalty from a certain Arab country at games of chance, although the claim remains unverified. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, The Village Voice, TV Guide, and similarly diverse publications. Zacks is married and busy warping the minds of his two children, Georgia and Ziegfield. He resides in New York City, and can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
From the Hardcover edition.
In their groundbreakingly useless book, The Book of Useless Information, the members of the Useless Information Society proved that knowledge doesn't have to be useful to be entertaining. Now they present a new collection of their most fascinating, hilarious, and wholly trivial findings. The Ultimate Book of Useless Information includes such "did you knows" as:
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite
- The average person spends two weeks of their life kissing
- And giraffes have no vocal cords
Join paranormal expert and storyteller extraordinaire Hans Holzer as he explores ghostly manifestations of every variety and delves into the true nature of “the other side.” In this groundbreaking book—featuring eye-opening photographs of ghostly apparitions and visitations—Holzer presents hundreds of case histories, tips on interpreting sounds and other signals from the beyond, and more.
Everything Is Under Control covers the range of Wilson's kaleidoscopic knowledge, from John Adams to the Voronezh (former Soviet Union) UFO sighting, the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu to the Mothman prophecies, and everything in between. What do the Freemasons, the Kennedys, and Princess Diana have in common? All are at the center of gigantic conspiracy theories with incredibly complex and endlessly multiplying twists, turns, highways and byways. Arranged by alphabetical entries which include cross-references to other entries in the book and also provide addresses to related sites on the Web, this book is truly interactive--you can dip in, read through, or follow one of the URLs from an interesting entry onto the internet.
What some famous people say about Robert Anton Wilson:"A dazzling barker hawking tickets to the most thrilling tilt-a-whirls and daring loop-o-planes on the midway to higher consciousness."
"Wilson managed to reverse every mental polarity in me, as if I had been pulled through infinity."
--Philip K. Dick
"One of the most important scientific philosophers of his century--scholarly, witty, scientific, hip and hopeful."
--Dr. Timothy Leary
* HUMANS ARE THE ONLY ANIMALS THAT ENJOY SPICY FOOD (there’s a reason no one sells Tabasco-flavored cat food)
* NAPPING CAN SAVE YOU FROM A HEART ATTACK (assuming you are not operating heavy machinery at the time)
* PSYCHOLOGISTS CAN ASSESS YOUR PERSONALITY FROMHOW YOU DIP FRIES IN KETCHUP (nice fries, sociopath)
* SURFING THE INTERNET ACTUALLY MAKES YOU SMARTER (but not as smart as reading this book will)
Now the next time someone tells you smugly that Pluto isn’t a planet,you can counter with any one of these hundreds of weird facts and remain king or queen of the cocktail (or kegger) chatter.
The Darwin Awards shares the stories of those human beings who improve the gene pool by removing themselves from it in a sublimely idiotic fashion.
Marvel at the thief who tries to steal live electrical wires. Gape at the lawnchair jockey who floats to a height of 16,000 feet suspended by helium balloons. And learn from the man who peers into a gasoline can using a cigarette lighter. All contend for Darwin Awards when their choices culminate in magnificent misadventures.
These tales of trial and awe-inspiring error-verified by the author and endorsed by website readers-illustrate the ongoing saga of survival of the fittest in all its selective glory. The Darwin Awards vividly portrays the finest examples of evolution in action, and shows us just how uncommon common sense can be.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In the inevitable event of a vampire attack, the average citizen will be forced to engage in vicious hand-to-hand combat. To avoid serious injury, disfigurement, or death by exsanguination, you need to know the proper combat strategies and techniques to ward off a stronger, faster, more agile undead opponent looking to drain the life from your body. Are you prepared? With detailed illustrations and firsthand accounts from vampire combat veterans—as well as interviews with actual members of the undead—this manual provides you with the information you need to survive with your life and blood supply intact, including:
• Debunking myths, i.e.: vampire flight, animal metamorphosis, physical attraction to humans
• Crafting the most lethal vampire weapons from everyday materials
• The pros—and cons—of decapitation
• Weaponizing Ultraviolet (UV) light against an undead opponent
• Using the Domicile Histodiscordant Reaction (DHR), otherwise known as “The Vampire Invitation,” to your advantage
• Solo attacks, team-based combat, and much more…
The Vampire Combat Manual is your indispensable key to survival, whether in a one-on-one battle for blood or a face-off against multiple attackers. Don’t wait until the sun goes down—prepare yourself now!
A treasure trove filled with fascinating anecdotes about the tiny ripples that created big waves in history, Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids is much more than just a trivial fact book; it is an astonishing historical-fate book revealing how our most famous incidents, best-loved works of art, and most accepted historical outcomes are simply twists of fate.
Phantom panthers haunting eastern North America
Bay State ghosts and spirits
Mad gassers in Illinois
Champ, the famous Lake Champlain monster
The Minnesota Iceman
The Missouri Momo and the infamous Eastern Bigfoot
And many more!
Coleman's witty insight and astonishing experiences will captivate followers of Charles Fort and just-plain-curious readers alike. For, as Coleman frankly reveals, these strange creatures and unimaginable wonders may lie just beyond your own backyard....
• The ancient Egyptians applied electric eels to cure gout.
• Medieval dentists burned candles in patients’ mouths to kill invisible worms gnawing at their teeth.
• Renaissance physicians timed surgical procedures according to the position of the stars, and instructed epileptics to collect fresh blood from the newly beheaded.
• Dr. Walter Freeman, the world’s foremost practitioner of lobotomies, practiced his craft while traveling on family camping trips, cramming the back of the station wagon with kids—and surgical tools—then hammering ice picks into the eye sockets of his patients in between hikes in the woods.
Strange Medicine is an illuminating panorama of medical history as you’ve never seen it before.
The Big, Bad Book of Botany introduces a world of wild, wonderful, and weird plants. Some are so rare, they were once more valuable than gold. Some found in ancient mythology hold magical abilities, including the power to turn a person to stone. Others have been used by assassins to kill kings, and sorcerers to revive the dead. Here, too, is vegetation with astonishing properties to cure and heal, many of which have long since been lost with the advent of modern medicine.
Organized alphabetically, The Big, Bad Book of Botany combines the latest in biological information with bizarre facts about the plant kingdom’s oddest members, including a species that is more poisonous than a cobra and a prehistoric plant that actually “walked.” Largo takes you through the history of vegetables and fruits and their astonishing agricultural evolution. Throughout, he reveals astonishing facts, from where the world’s first tree grew to whether plants are telepathic.
Featuring more than 150 photographs and illustrations, The Big, Bad Book of Botany is a fascinating, fun A-to-Z encyclopedia for all ages that will transform the way we look at the natural world.
In this groundbreaking book, Hans Holzer tracks down the most famous and infamous ghosts who lurk among national monuments, historical houses and mansions, and even museums. Holzer searches for true encounters with eminent politicians such as Alexander Hamilton and Woodrow Wilson; literary ghosts such as Robert Louis Stevenson; and Hollywood ghosts, including Jean Harlow. Each new encounter is more fascinating than the last, as Holzer investigates notable souls who have moved to the world beyond.
As the Xerox Corporation's official webmaster, Bill McLain often fielded as many as 1,000 questions a day on just about everything under the sun -- and beyond. The wildest, funniest, and even most astute are collected here (along with their answers) in McLain's second volume that's as fascinating and enlightening as his first, Do Fish Drink Water? A "veritable Internet legend known for having all the answers" (San Francisco Chronicle), McLain explains what keeps squirrels from toppling off telephone wires; why the skin on your fingers and toes shrivels up in the water; how seedless watermelons are created; and more. Whether it's animal, vegetable, mineral, or something completely different, the answer is bound to be as interesting as the question itself, and certain to satisfy the trivia hound in everyone.
Creative, alternative, and esoteric philosophical concepts of existence.
How did the universe really begin? Can we fluidly access our subconscious and communicate with each other? Did the Egyptians build pyramids differently than previously conceived?
These questions, along with many more, are addressed in Mysteries of the Universe; J.C. Vintner's second volume of the Ancient Earth Mysteries series. Volume II: Philosophy covers selected topics examining ancient cultures and their philosophical influence on the world while touching upon mankind's position in the universe. Explore new avenues of thinking through the mind's eye, and find out how we can change our future for the better. Mysteries of the Universe provides food for new thought as compelling inspiration for understanding our quantum purpose in the cosmos.
Not your average research book, How to Find Out Anything shows you how to unveil nearly anything about anyone. From top CEO’s salaries to police records, you’ll learn little-known tricks for discovering the exact information you’re looking for. You’ll learn:
•How to really tap the power of Google, and why Google is the best place to start a search, but never the best place to finish it.
•The scoop on vast, yet little-known online resources that search engines cannot scour, such as refdesk.com, ipl.org, the University of Michigan Documents Center, and Project Gutenberg, among many others.
•How to access free government resources (and put your tax dollars to good use).
•How to find experts and other people with special knowledge.
•How to dig up seemingly confidential information on people and businesses, from public and private companies to non-profits and international companies.
Whether researching for a term paper or digging up dirt on an ex, the advice in this book arms you with the sleuthing skills to tackle any mystery.
Anyone can be a success, but it takes real and original genius to foul up big time. These are the all-time greats, Gods in the field of failure, surreal artists, who spurn mere drab success ('I'm a winner, Lord Sugar') to explore the vast, magical, life-enhancing possibilities of getting it wrong. Any of us could make a mistake, but these great souls can turn the simplest everyday task into a scene of jaw-dropping wonder. These are the immortals.
Stephen Pile, President of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain and author of the number-one best-seller The Book of Heroic Failures, takes us on an all-new and mind-bendingly hilarious tour to celebrate the most spectacular and absurd failures of the last twenty-five years.
Failure is everywhere. There are 235 stories in total spread from the Outer Hebrides to America, Ireland, Australia, Europe and Africa. The Syrian entry, for example, holds the world all-comers record as the driver who got most lost under satnav direction (5000 miles).
From the most driving test failures (959), the most pointless election (in Dakota, in which not even the mayor voted), the worst robbery (when two different sets of bank robbers struck simultaneously) and the worst mugger (who left his victim $250 better off), to the holidaying rugby team of fifty-somethings from Dorchester who, due to a mis-translation, ended up playing the top team from Romania live on state TV, this is the ultimate book to make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
The Ultimate Book of Heroic Failures fails miserably at failing to be a runaway success amongst funny books.
Do you want to know what a cockroach’s favorite food is, or how long it would take to drive to the sun?
Amaze your friends and family by telling them that a baby giraffe is six feet long when it is born, or that tigers have striped skin!
From the creators of The Book of Useless Information, this is an amazing collection of the wildest, oddest, funniest facts about history, science, food, animals, and more!
The “stay-behind,” a term coined by professor Hans Holzer, is a ghost who is not prepared to move to the “other side,” but prefers to remain among loved ones and its former home. In Stay-Behinds, Holzer reveals some of the most famous cases of these beings, including the haunting of Rose Hall Plantation in Jamaica and the strange case of Mrs. C.’s late yet lively husband.
One for the grown-ups, this quirky new Ripley’s book is filled with bizarre and hilarious "Believe It or Not!" stories, trivia and lists— perfect for any fan of the unusual, and the ideal Father’s Day gift. Some of the utterly stupefying stories within include:
• Joseph Puyol, professional farter and highest paid entertainer in 19th-century France
• the craziest true CIA plots
• a divorce settlement that included a kidney
• the college student jailed for insulting a horse
• Iceland’s penis museum
• the gambler who broke Monte Carlo
• a man who removed his own appendix
The perfect gift for the man in your life. This title will engage its audience with stories, facts and charts that men can relate to. This title takes the unbelievable and strange facts that Ripley's is known for and expands upon these stories to make a fun and entertaining book for men. Did you know that military hot-air balloons and submarines were used in the American Civil War? Did you know that the Japanese Earthquake shortened a day? What about before Madoff? What was the first ponzi scheme? How about the craziest true plots of the CIA? This title will engage an adult male audience with all the unique and fun stories that Ripley's is famous for.
You probably never knew…
• Ronald Reagan is the only president who has been divorced.
• It is estimated that half of the world’s spider species have yet to be discovered.
• November 15 is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.
And did you really ever have to know…
• The whiskers on a harbor seal are known as “vibrissae”?
• Modern scholars believe Isaac Newton may have had Asperger’s syndrome?
• In the 1920s, Hollywood made twice as many films a year as it does today?
Prepare to be amazed, appalled, disgusted, and hugely entertained by this compendium of indelicate oddities. Nothing is too inane, too insane, too bizarre, or too distasteful for this incredible, seemingly impossible, but absolutely true collection of facts from across the ages and around the world.
Did you know…
…that Pope Benedict XII was such a hardened boozer that he inspired the expression “drunk as a pope”? (From “10 Historic Drunks”)
…that as a special honeymoon treat, Prince Charles read Princess Diana passages from the works of Carl Jung and Laurens van der Post? (From “History’s 10 Least Romantic Honeymoons”)
…that the best-dressed gentlemen in medieval England exposed their genitals below a short-fitting tunic? (From “History’s 10 Greatest Fashion Mistakes”)
…that Alfred Hitchcock suffered from ovophobia—fear of eggs? (From “10 Phobias of the Famous”)
…that King Louis XIV only took three baths in his lifetime, each of them under protest?
(From “10 Great Unwashed”)
…that in 1930, Sears customers became enraged when the catalog was first printed on glossy, non-absorbent paper?
(From “12 Magical Moments in Toilet Paper History”)
Questions about matters great and small, from ancient times to yesterday.
Illustrated with illuminating technical drawings and unusual vintage photographs.
How did they spend $40 million making Heaven's Gate?
How did they decide the length of a mile?
How did Beethoven compose when he was deaf?
How did they discover the Hope diamond?
How did they know the size of the Earth over 1,700 years before anyone sailed around it?
How did they set the price of the Louisiana Purchase?
How did the FBI devise the "Ten Most Wanted" list?
How did they decide which horses were Thoroughbreds?
How did they pick the Four Hundred?
How did they start the Guiness Book of World Records?
How did the Indians decide that cows were sacred?
How did they discover penicillin?
How did they build the Great Pyramid at Giza?
How did they decide how tall to make the Empire State Building?
How did they know there was an El Dorado?
How did they start the Chicago fire of 1871?
How did Hannibal cross the Alps?
The world is full of secret places that we either don't know about, or couldn't visit even if we wanted to. Now you can glimpse the Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan, visit the Tucson Titan Missile Site, tour the Vatican Archives, or see the Chapel of the Ark. This fascinating guide book takes a look at 100 places around the world that are either so hard to reach, so closely guarded, or so secret that they are virtually impossible to visit any other way.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Did you know that your odds of dying from drowning are higher than the odds of meeting your mate on a blind date? That the odds a child has seen Internet porn are the same as the odds a person is right-handed? That nearly one in three adults believes in UFOs and nearly one in six has reported seeing one?
Drawing from a rigorously researched trove of more than 400,000 statements of probability, based on the most accurate and current data available, The Book of Odds is a graphic reference source for stats on the everyday, the odd, and the outrageous—from sex and marriage, health and disease, beliefs and fears, to wealth, addiction, entertainment, and civic life. What emerges from this colorful and captivating volume is a rich portrait of who we are and how we live today.
—The Wall Street Journal
All made in America: The skyscraper and subway car. The telephone and telegraph. The safety elevator and safety pin. Plus the microprocessor, amusement park, MRI, supermarket, Pennsylvania rifle, and Tennessee Valley Authority. Not to mention the city of Chicago or jazz or that magnificent Golden Gate Bridge.
What is it about America that makes it a nation of inventors, tinkerers, researchers, and adventurers—obsessive pursuers of the never-before-created? And, equally, what is it that makes America such a fertile place to explore, discover, and launch the next big thing?
In America the Ingenious, bestselling author Kevin Baker brings his gift of storytelling and eye for historical detail to the grand, and grandly entertaining, tale of American innovation. Here are the Edisons and Bells and Carnegies, and the stories of how they followed their passions and changed our world. And also the less celebrated, like Jacob Youphes and Loeb Strauss, two Jewish immigrants from Germany who transformed the way at least half the world now dresses (hint: Levi Strauss). And Leo Fender, who couldn’t play a note of music, midwifing rock ’n’ roll through his solid-body electric guitar and amplifier. And the many women who weren’t legally recognized as inventors, but who created things to make their lives easier that we use every day—like Josephine Cochran, inventor of the dishwasher, or Marion O’Brien Donovan, who invented a waterproof diaper cover. Or a guy with the improbable name of Philo Farnsworth, who, with his invention of television, upended communication as significantly as Gutenberg did.
At a time when America struggles with different visions of what it wants to be, America the Ingenious shows the extraordinary power of what works: how immigration leads to innovation, what a strong government and strong public education mean to a climate of positive practical change, and why taking the long view instead of looking for short-term gain pays off many times over, not only for investors and inventors, but for the rest of us whose lives are made better by the new.
America and its nation of immigrants have excelled at taking ideas from anywhere and transforming them into the startling, often unexpectedly beautiful creations that have shaped our world. This is that story.
Readers will be stimulated to read more about the remarkable men--explorers, admirals and trawlermen--who have shaped our world.
The sea has had a remarkable effect upon our language. We hear the terms "steer clear," "hit the deck," "don't rock the boat," "to harbor a grudge" and the like, and give little thought to them. In the pages of this book, the reader will find the origin of "bumpkin," a "brace of shakes," "born with a silver spoon," "booby prize," "to take on board," "above board," "bombed" (in the sense of being drunk), the "blues," "blind-side," "blind drunk," "the pot calling the kettle black," "reach the bitter end," "wasters," "ahoy," "all at sea," "to keep aloof," "piss-artist," "taken aback," "barbecue" and "bamboozle."
Other colourful terms, which have passed out of common usage, such as "bring one's arse to anchor" (sit down), "belly timber" (food) and "bog orange" (potato) are also included, as well as important pirate haunts, technical terms, famous battles, maritime inventors and ship speed records.
Alpha and Omega is a dispatch from the front lines of the cosmological revolution that is being waged at observatories and laboratories around the world-in Europe, in America, and even in Antarctica--where scientists are actually peering into both the cradle of the universe and its grave. Scientists--including galaxy hunters and microwave eavesdroppers, gravity theorists and atom smashers, all of whom are on the trail of dark matter, dark energy, and the growing inhabitants of the particle zoo-now know how the universe will end and are on the brink of understanding its beginning. Their findings will be among the greatest triumphs of science, even towering above the deciphering of the human genome.
This is the book you need to help understand the frequent front-page headlines heralding dramatic cosmological discoveries. It makes cutting-edge science both crystal clear and wonderfully exciting.
The classic book on legends, lore, and unvarnished truths surrounding New Orleans' most famous Voodoo mistress—now in a modern, legible format. It also features other tales from surrounding parishes of days long gone by, an illustrated guide to palm-reading, humorous asides, and over 30 fascinating drawings and images.
In addition to facts and folklore about Laveau—including revealing research into some debunked myths and unanswered questions—the book offers entertaining stories of her life and the people around the New Orleans area, such as:
• Lafayette's visit to New Orleans . . . and to Marie Laveau herself?
• How Marie Laveau turned hate into love for some wishful suitors
• How she earned her free house on St. Ann Street, and how her death made city newspapers go wild
• The man with two wives—in two languages—and therefore a roosterhead in his coatpocket
• Why New Orleans doorsteps are so clean
• How an utter idiot won the election for mayor of Burley Landing
• The proper use of gris gris, and the meaning of palm mountains and lines
• How an honest thief fooled an unsuspecting Yankee
• Why zombies are created to be used as farmhands
This book is presented in a quality new edition with all the illustrations from the original properly presented, as well as additional images found only in the Quaint Press edition of this well-known look into the folklore of old New Orleans.
If you find yourself transfixed by the most trivial of trivia, or mesmerized by the most minor of minutiae, The Useless Information Society's latest findings can satisfy your every need. This wide-ranging collection will fill every nook and cranny of your brain with information you'll surely never need, but will enjoy learning anyway!
Did you know...
- that penguins can jump six feet out of the water?
- that everyone is color-blind at birth?
Would you care to know...
- what the first meal eaten on the moon was?
- what country drinks the most Coca-Cola? (Hint: It's not the United States.)
In 1995, a secret society was formed comprising Britain's foremost thinkers, writers, and artists to trade and share in useless information (or, as founding member Keith Waterhouse, playwright and journalist, would have it, "totally bloody useless").
Set the record straight!
Learn the truth behind fallacies, falsehoods, hearsay, and lies!
Isn’t it time you knew the honest-to-goodness truth? We’ve all come to believe hundreds of “false facts”—myths that we’ve blindly accepted as truth, misconceptions that we’ve ignorantly retold to others—Contrary to Popular Belief provides an instant remedy for your pounding head full of misinformation, giving you quick relief with enlightening and entertaining facts.
Inside you’ll learn:
George Washington was not the first president of the United States.
Leap year does not occur every four years.
The ostrich does not bury its head in the sand.
Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb.
Ship captains cannot perform marriages at sea.
Sound does not travel at the speed of sound.
The needle on a compass does not point to the North Pole.
Leonardo da Vinci did not paint the Mona Lisa.
And more than two hundred other bits of conventional “wisdom” that are completely bunk.
Ghosts have been known to haunt not only houses but other locations as well—such as dark forests, trains, ships, and even airplanes. Professor Hans Holzer looks at several of the most menacing of these cases, from the ghost bride of Nob Hill in San Francisco to the “gray man” of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina and the haunted organ at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.
The tales of gods and heroes are often turned into tedious discourse that even Ovid would reject. This easy-to-read guide cuts out the boring details, and instead, provides you with a thrilling lesson in classic mythology.
From the heights of Mt. Olympus to the depths of the Underworld, this book takes you on an unforgettable journey through all the major myths born in ancient Greece and Rome, such as Achilles's involvement in the Trojan War; Pluto's kidnapping of the beautiful Proserpina; and the slaying of Medusa by Perseus, the heroic demi-god. You'll also learn all about the wonders of the world as well as the greatest creatures ever recorded in history.
Like Charon navigating the River of Wailing, Mythology 101 will guide you through the most glorious (and completely terrifying) tales the ancient world has to offer.
Doctor Who: The Whoniverse is a never-before-seen history of the Human Race—from the formation of the Earth around the Racnoss eggs, and the creation of life by the destruction of the last Jagaroth spaceship, through to the eventual expansion of the sun and end of the world and beyond to the New Earth, and Utopia.
Along the way, the book explores the untold histories of other planets and other lifeforms as they have interacted with humanity. We examine the Daleks and Cybermen, the Time Lords and the Sontarans, the Ice Warriors, Silurians, Weeping Angels, and many, many more. Additionally, we visit Gallifrey and Skaro, Mondas and Telos, Mars and Sontar.
Filled with full-color illustrations, maps, charts, and artifacts throughout, Doctor Who: The Whoniverse is a treasury of accumulated knowledge, scholarly erudition and accumulated folk wisdom from the worlds of Doctor Who.
Doctor Who: The Whoniverse explores:Early History—From 10,000 BC and the discovery of the secret of fire, through the Roman Empire;Gallifrey—The rise of the Time Lords;The UNIT Era—Earth under attack from alien invasions;The Cyberwars—The Wheel in Space and Revenge of the Cybermen;Earth’s Galactic Empire—Starting in present day through the rise of Earth’s Empire as seen in Frontier in Space;And much more!
Like its compulsively readable predecessors, The Intellectual Devotional Biographies is organized into seven categories, one for each day of the week. With their trademark wit and style, authors David Kidder and Noah Oppenheim offer an array of fascinating facts about major figures from Atilla the Hun to Desmond Tutu.
In this daily devotional, learn about:authors and artists, from Homer and Ovid to Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolfleaders, such as Queen Elizabeth I, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, and Napoleon Bonaparteinnovators, from Johannes Gutenberg to Isaac Newton to Werner Heisenbergphilosophers, including Socrates, Epicurus, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartrerebels and reformers, from Joan of Arc and Spartacus to Galileo and Che Guevarapreachers and prophets, including Lao-tzu, John the Baptist, Martin Luther, and Gandhivillains, such as Benedict Arnold, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper
This volume shares the personal histories, accomplishments,and troubles of 365 people who have left an indelible mark on the world.
However, once you perfect the art of terminological inexactitude, you’ll be the one manipulating and one-upping everyone else! And here’s the beauty part: Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf, authors of the New York Times semi-bestseller The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, have compiled this handy yet astonishingly comprehensive lexicon and translation guide—a fictionary, if you will—to help you do just that. If you want to succeed in business (or politics, sports, the arts, or life in general) without really lying, this is the book for you! (Your results may vary.)
Spinglish includes these nifty bits of spurious verbiage and over a thousand more:
aesthetic procedure – face-lift
dairy nutrients – cow manure
enhanced interrogation techniques – torture
“For your convenience.” – “For our convenience.”
hands-on mentoring – sexual relations with a junior employee
incomplete success – failure
rightsizing – firing people
zero-tasking – doing nothing
With each and every entry sourced from some of the greatest real-life language benders in the world today, you’re virtually guaranteed to have the perfectly chosen tried-and-untrue term right at the tip of your forked tongue. Wish you could nimbly sidestep a question without batting an eye? Not sure how to apologize while also . . . not apologizing? Spinglish has you covered. Simply consult this convenient, shoot-from-the-lip glossary, and before you know it, you’ll be telling it like it isn’t, it wasn’t, and it couldn’t ever have been.
According to Hans Holzer, only perhaps ten percent of all ghostly manifestations are true ghosts. The rest maybe impressions left behind by an emotional event in the past, which can be felt or seen by a sensitive person in the living world. Here Holzer explores several cases of various kinds of “non-ghosts” that are often confused with real ghosts, but are nevertheless remarkable, each in it’s own way.
Why are tennis balls fuzzy?
How come birds don't tip over when they sleep on telephone wires?
What makes yawning contagious?
Why, oh why, do roosters have to crow so early in the morning?
Pop-culture guru David Feldman demystifies these topics and so much more in When Do Fish Sleep? -- the unchallenged source of answers to civilization's most baffling questions. Part of the Imponderables® series and charmingly illustrated by Kassie Schwan, When Do Fish Sleep? arms readers with the knowledge about everyday life that encyclopedias, dictionaries, and almanacs just don't have. And think about it, where else are you going to get to the bottom of why Mickey Mouse has only four fingers?