History Is an Awful, Bloody Mess

You should see what I didn't include.

It's an awful thing what people do to each other. Sometimes the only solace is the fact that we've been doing it for centuries and just have to deal with it. Looking back, you might even start to think we've been getting more peaceful. Starting from sweet home Chicago, The Gang is a 1927 study detailing the behavior […]

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I Have Money. Take My Money.

I Have Money Take My Money

People are stupid. Yes, you are. So am I. When you get a bunch of stupid people rushing together in crowds to make major financial decisions, the results are hilarious and awful and everything in between. The classic example is Tulipomania. In the backrooms of Dutch taverns in the 1630s, amateur speculators knocked back a few […]

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DIY: Etsy!

computer 1

For those of you who don't know, Etsy is an online community and shopping site. It's a great way to sell hand made and vintage items. Also, it can be a good way to start a small business with relatively few investment costs and overhead.  As an aspiring Etsy entrepreneur myself, I did the sensible thing and […]

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Not Every Cook Is a Jerk

Not Every Cook Is a Jerk

Cooking for strangers can be difficult, and telling other strangers how to cook for even more strangers can be incredibly difficult. It takes a lot of guts to make a successful career of the culinary arts. This is probably why we think that chefs are the sort of people who could yell at children for a living. But they're not all that […]

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Living and Loving with Annotations

Annotations

Nothing sets a man's heart aflame quite like some glorious footnotes. First you're reading something and learning stuff, and then you see a number and you go to the bottom of the page and you learn more stuff, and sometimes the footnote takes you to another book, which has more stuff, and maybe more footnotes, […]

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Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

Fireworks around Le Tour Eiffel on Bastille Day 2011

Tuesday, July 14 is Bastille Day. Why does Bastille Day invoke so much pride and what is the meaning? The Bastille was a well-known prison in Paris built in the late 14th century. During the reign of King Louis XVI—and throughout the reigns of previous Louis—it was used to hold political prisoners, often arrested by […]

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L.A.’s Killing Streets

Police Line 1

In the eyes of John Skaggs, a homicide detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, once a person becomes a murder victim, they are no longer a gang member or a prostitute or whatever else bad they may have had in their past, they are somebody's child, and they deserve justice. I would say that […]

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Always Judge a Book by Its Title

Judge Books By Their Titles

It is, without doubt, juvenile and superficial to judge a book by something so insubstantial as a title. That's why I love to do it, and sometimes my poor judgment has led me to a worthwhile read. The classic example is Steal This Book, Abbie Hoffman's 1971 guide to living like a cheap, thieving hippie. I'm surprised […]

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Not So Pretty Pictures

Not So Pretty Pictures

I love me some gritty pictures. A few years back, when everyone discovered Vivian Maier's photographs of day-to-day life in Chicago, I couldn't get enough of them, but it doesn't stop with her. There's a lot of dirt in the world and plenty of photographers to capture it. Gangsters & Grifters is a series of gloriously reproduced newspaper pictures displaying the awful things […]

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Making Movies Is Hard

How to Make a Movie

Movies are fun. They have to be. They want your money. Making one, on the other hand, can be quite more difficult. That's why it's so entertaining to find out how a crowd of unrelated people pile together to set up pretty pictures on a screen. Pure Imagination is a genial retelling of the making of Willy Wonka and the […]

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