" He did each single thing, as if he did nothing else. "
Charles Dickens

Back in the day


Saddam Hussein Is Executed

During his presidency of Iraq from 1979 to 2003, Hussein instituted a brutal dictatorship, launching wars against Iran and Kuwait and directing campaigns against Iraqi minorities, particularly the Kurds. After an Anglo-American force invaded Iraq in 2003 and drove him from power, he spent several months in hiding but was captured by US forces. In 2006, the Iraqi High Tribunal sentenced him to death for crimes against humanity. What hobby did Hussein take up while in prison awaiting execution?



Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

Considered the father of modern conjuring, Houdin was a French magician after whom Harry Houdini named himself. Originally a clockmaker, he was celebrated for his optical illusions and mechanical devices. He was the first to use electromagnetism for his effects, and attributed his magic to natural instead of supernatural means. In 1856, he was sent to Algeria by the French government to counter the influence of the dervishes by outdoing their feats. What are some of his famous illusions?

Born on a day like today


Bo Diddley

Diddley was a pioneering African-American rock-and-roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was known for his pounding signature beat, guitar effects, and jive talk, and he was a powerful influence on generations of rockers, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones. Nicknamed after the single-stringed folk instrument called a diddley bow, he studied the violin at his Baptist Church in Chicago and began performing in South Side clubs, playing what unique type of guitar?

Last updated on Friday, 30th December 2011

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