" I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don't know what I did before that. Just loafed I suppose. "
P. G. Wodehouse

Back in the day


The Simpsons Debuts

One of the most popular animated TV shows in US history, The Simpsons has earned its spot in pop culture history through its parodies of the "Middle American" lifestyle. The show, created by Matt Groening, is a spin-off of a series of animated shorts originally aired on The Tracey Ullman Show and is currently both the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program. How many episodes of The Simpsons have aired since the show debuted in 1989?



The Song Dynasty

The first government in history to issue paper money, the Song dynasty was the ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279. A culturally rich period for the arts, philosophy, and social life, the dynasty also bolstered naval strength and developed revolutionary new military technology—augmented by the use of gunpowder—to repel invaders. Nevertheless, the Song dynasty was conquered in 1279 by the Mongol ruler Kublai Khan. What nautical tool was invented during the era?

Born on a day like today


John Kennedy Toole

Toole was an American novelist from New Orleans, Louisiana, best known for his novel A Confederacy of Dunces. His mental health began to deteriorate after his manuscript—which Toole considered a masterpiece—was rejected by a publisher, and he committed suicide in 1969. Years after his death, Toole's mother brought the manuscript to novelist Walker Percy, who ushered the book into print. In 1981, Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. What is Toole's only other novel?

Last updated on Wednesday, 17th December 2008

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