Category Archives: Rarities

The Birth of the Trailer

The history of book trailers dates back to the arrival of broadband Internet access and personal computers, for good reason—how else would you watch them? But there were a few outliers: TV spots for mass market blockbusters back in the early days of cable, and, apparently, some on film as well. Remember those odd shorts […]


Color Picker, Circa 1692

It’s always fun to pull rank on the whippersnappers: Back when there was no cut-and-paste, back when there was no Undo command, back in the days of 3×5 notecards and rubber cement and Wite-Out—you kids don’t even know how to spell Wite-Out anymore, do you? But then there are those who, in turn, put me […]


Special Collections and Monkeys

You’ve got to give it to Buzzfeed—they do the lowest common denominator like nobody else. Even when they’re unpacking the quality stuff, you still have to pay attention to figure out which level of brow they’re aiming at. I know, I’m saying that like it’s a bad thing. It’s not—it’s what they do—but the sheer […]


When in Doubt, Ask the Past

Everybody needs advice sometimes. Whether everybody wants it is another matter, but there’s a reason so many people love Cary Tennis, Dan Savage, and Dear Prudence (although I do NOT like the videos, Prudence—such a lack of intimacy). In my day, kids, we had the choice of Ann Landers and Dear Abby, and god forbid […]


The Copiale Cipher Deciphered

There’s nothing like a secret code to get the blood racing. From the Rosetta Stone to the Enigma Machine, cryptography is one of those pursuits with the “a-ha” moment built right  in. We all want to be Encyclopedia Brown, and even the easy cryptograms in the back of the paper hold a whole lot more […]


Magical Mystery Tour: The Conjuring Arts Research Center

OK, are we all a little Harry Pottered-out by now? I know, I know—for many of our bookish friends there is no such thing as too much Harry Potter, and who am I to say otherwise? But I don’t think anyone, not even the most curmudgeonly muggles among us, would argue about the extreme coolness […]