" Circus, n.: A place where horses, ponies and elephants are permitted to see men, women, and children acting the fool. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Miles Davis's Kind of Blue Is Released

Recorded in just two sessions in the spring of 1959, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue is widely considered to be one of the most important jazz albums ever produced. Davis assembled a group of talented musicians—including saxophonist John Coltrane and pianist Bill Evans—and gave them minimal instructions before recording. Possibly the best-selling jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue is notable for having left out something considered to be the backbone of earlier jazz composition—what?



Human Mail

Traveling by mail is both dangerous and illegal, yet several people throughout history braved the risks anyway. One famous case was that of Henry "Box" Brown, who escaped slavery in 1849 by shipping himself to an area of the US where slavery had been outlawed. Just a few years ago, a man escaped a German prison by mail. Though it is fairly rare in actuality, scenarios involving human mail frequently appear in works of fiction. What children's book features a protagonist who travels by mail?

Born on a day like today


Mae West

West was an American stage and movie comedienne who started her career in burlesque and vaudeville. In 1926, she began to write, produce, and star in her own Broadway plays, which were often replete with sexual innuendo. A master of the double entendre, she treated sex with broad humor in popular films such as I'm No Angel. As a result, she constantly battled the censorship of the motion picture Production Code. Many of her one-liners have become classics. What are some examples?

Last updated on Friday, 17th August 2012

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