Steaming and Dreaming: A Light-Hearted Look at Early Automobiles

The steam-powered giant tarantula from "Wild Wild West" (1999)

The steam-powered giant tarantula from “Wild Wild West” (1999)

Artemus Gordon: We have the element of surprise. What does Loveless have?

[They look down into a canyon]

Artemus Gordon: He has his own city.  

[Loveless’ mechanical spider walks up over the edge of the cliff on which they are standing]

Capt. James West: He has an 80-foot tarantula.

Artemus Gordon: I was just coming to that.

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Twisted Symbols

The Twisted King of TupeloThere are certain things about life in America that I just don’t understand. Perhaps tops on my personal miscomprehension hit parade is my failure to understand how actions contrary to the public good can either lead the offender(s) to assume the mantle of respectability or fail to remove them from that desired perch. With that stated, I’ve decided to put my confusion to paper and relay to you, the reader, the long list of just what confounds me so. And since I’ve never shied away from controversy, the series of examinations in this article begins with a beloved American icon: Elvis Presley.

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That Sinking Feeling

You know the story. A large, “unsinkable” ship struck an iceberg while crossing the icy Atlantic; the hull was pierced, water flooded in unchecked, the ship sank, and thousands of people suffered a cold, watery death. What most don’t know is that this particular tale is not only the story of the RMS Titanic, but the much earlier story of the Titan, a fictional vessel created by Morgan Robertson and told of in his 1898 tale of disaster-at-sea, Futility.   Amazingly, what was originally a fictional tale of human nature, water, and death became a thing of terrible reality when the RMS Titanic (pictured above, in drydock) disappeared beneath frigid Atlantic waves on the night of April 14, 1912. Later that same year, avarice overruled decency and Robertson’s Futility was renamed The Wreck of the Titan in an attempt to capitalize on the morbid popularity of all things Titanic.

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