Filmmaker, photo hound, author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. Ransom was a daily contributor to mentalfloss.com for many, many years.
While visiting Hawaii, both Jack London and Mark Twain both tried surfing. London hung ten in 1907 -- pictured below, sometime afterwards -- and fell in love with it,... READ ON
For the benefit of all you cooking show fanatics out there -- and I live with one, so I know you're out there -- this is my humble contribution to the genre; a one-word crash-course in modern Hawaiian cuisine: SPAM. Hawaiians, it seems, eat more of it than anyone else in the U.S., an average of 16 tins per person per year. It's so popular, you can order it at McDonald's in Hawaii and even get it in sushi form. Turns out American G.I.s imported the stuff as rations during WWII, and a... READ ON
Like many media-saturated cinephiles my age, I grew up loving Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, the often-overlooked Elephant Man and the rest of David Lynch's bizarre canon. Lately, though, he's been making less sense than ever -- not always a prerequisite for good filmmaking, making sense, but it helps. To wit: last week, I was lucky enough to get into AFI Fest's gala screening of his new, three-hour, five-years-in-the-making digital video epic, Inland Empire. I went in thinking Lynch was a genius, and three... READ ON
For nearly 80 years, it was dismissed as a folktale. A budding journalist in a male-dominated field, Dorothy Lawrence was nineteen years old, British, and the year was 1915. The way to break through the glass ceiling, she had decided, would be to cover the war, and the only way to do that was to get close to it. The only way she could do that, the young woman reckoned, was to pose as a soldier.
The story was uncovered when Britisher Richard Bennett began a family history project and spoke to his... READ ON
Hello, I'm a volcano. (Well, almost -- I'm a volcanic cinder cone, the simplest kind of volcano. But still.) I live in a city in North America -- the only one of its size to have one of me within its boundaries. I'm named for a mountain in Israel where the Transfiguration of Christ supposedly took place. Can you name the city I live in, and for bonus points,... READ ON
The West Memphis Three
The Seattle Seven
The Birmingham Six
The M25 Three
The Cuban Five
The Chicago Seven
A) Conspiracy to incite a riot in the wake of a violent protest at a Courthouse in 1968. One of the accused was Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, upon whom The Big Lebowski's titular protagonist was based. The charges were never formally settled: aided by an admission by government witnesses that prosecutors said they would "go to any length to combat the... READ ON
I'm generally a sucker for anything cat-related on the internet (hilarious videos of cats surprising babies notwithstanding), though it's rare that I find something Damn Interesting enough to share with the blogosphere-at-large. Today, however, I've got some news cat lovers (and, potentially, haters) can use. Did you know? Cats and high-rises don't mix. Check it out:
Among the feline's numerous predatory gifts is the capacity to fixate on his prey"“a skill useful when chasing a shrew through... READ ON
What a great job: painting islands on the walls of grocery stores. It ain't exactly the Sistine Chapel, but it sure beats bagging. I took this with my camera phone yesterday in a Los Angeles Trader Joe's, and just wanted to... READ ON
One of the great things about languages is that, like our bodies, they tend to regenerate themselves. Words, like cells, die and are replaced just as quickly by new ones, and lucky for etymologists and linguistic scavengers like ourselves, what's left behind makes for some fascinating detritus. With that in mind -- and without using Google -- see if you can guess which of the following were once words in common usage, and which are, as the English used to say, balderdash!
1. Phwoar. As an... READ ON
No, we're not advocating one party over another -- we just thought this "children's" book was particularly hilarious. From its illustration of wealthy people ignoring a homeless man (pictured below) to its rendering of a large elephant protecting children from a pervert, it's at least as fair and balanced as its other-side-of-the-aisle counterpart, Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! But regardless of how your kids lean politically, we thought you'd enjoy a few colorful samples of pre-K voter... READ ON
The most shoplifted food item in the U.S. is candy.