Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
Everybody wants to be a winner, right? Even if the prize for winning stinks, being a loser stinks even more. But now, the competitive-spirited among us have a really compelling reason to avoid loser-dom: according to a recent study, winners live longer than losers, who die sooner. The study looked at Oscar-winners and two different kinds of Nobel prize-winners, and in every case, winners outstripped losers by several years. For instance:
Life expentancy for Oscar-winners is 79.7 years, vs. 75.8... READ ON
These days, Kazakhstan has more to worry about than the odd British comedian. Somewhat more pressing is the overwhelming ecological and public health crisis that is (or was) the Aral Sea, which the nation shares with supposed arch-rival Uzbekistan. The Aral has been shrinking dramatically throughout much of the twentieth century -- with dire consequences. Once the world's fourth-largest lake, it's now little more than a salty, toxic puddle.
In 1918, the Soviets decided they wanted to farm the arid... READ ON
They don't make 'em like Robert Altman anymore. Stubborn and brilliant, he spent his more than 50-year career building a rep as a maverick who did whatever he wanted to, the consequences -- and audience opinion -- be damned. Just look at the critical reception to what would be his last-ever film, A Prairie Home Companion, which ranged from lauds ("What a lovely film this is, so gentle and whimsical, so simple and profound," said eponymous critic Roger Ebert) to razzes from the likes of USA Today... READ ON
With so many creepy entries, it was tough to pick a winner -- if that's what you'd call it -- for our little captioning contest. But these three made us chuckle despite a bad case of the willies, and we wanted to share... READ ON
Generally speaking, if I haven't had my morning cup of coffee yet, it's too early to talk politics. But now there's a new way to stir up political controversy and get my cup o' mud at the same time -- all without saying a word.
"Brewing with the fresh-roasted beans of Contra CafÃ© will show you that drinking coffee is about more than getting a caffeine fix. It's about experiencing a beverage of exceptional taste and vibrant flavor, handcrafted for you by former freedom fighters deep in the... READ ON
If part I and part II of our creepy found photo captioning contest haven't already given you nightmares, this one's sure to have you cowering under the futon. All it needs to become a one-frame masterpiece of silent horror is a great caption, so bring 'em on. (After your mind-bending captions for the other photos, we're expecting genius!) As ever, the best responses will be posted next week.
By the way, if anyone has a great, creepy found photo of their own, send a pic (or link) to us at ransom dot... READ ON
Matching game time! See if you can identify the celebrity, historical figure or famous fictional character from their shoes... READ ON
We got lots of fun and creative responses to yesterday's creepy photo captioning contest. Way to use your noggins, readership! Here's yet another nightmare-inducer from my family album, circa 1955. Give it an apropos caption and we'll print the best of the bunch next... READ ON
This is an old family photo, recently found in a drawer brimming with thousands of other random pictures of vacations, weddings, holidays and kids' birthday parties. I went through every one, and found several I thought were unintentionally fascinating; even vaguely frightening. I thought this one was downright Lynchian.
Anyone care to take a stab at a caption for this photo? I'll post a few more fascinating finds in the next few days, and next week will post them thumbnail-sized with the best... READ ON
That was what Teri Horton, a now-retired truck driver from California, said when a friend suggested that a painting Horton had bought at a garage sale looked like the work of the uber-famous artist. That was more than 10 years ago, and by now, Horton most definitely knows who Jackson Pollock is. That's because the painting she paid only $5 for -- knocked down from $7 -- may well be an original Pollock, and in this hyper-inflated art market (in which David Geffen just sold a Pollock masterpiece, "No. 5,... READ ON
Fredric Baur invented the Pringles can. When he died in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.