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It Was 50 Years Ago Today: ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’

In Jim Croce’s brief career — he died at age 30 in a 1973 Louisiana plane crash — Croce released five Top 10 singles, the first of which was one of the best story songs of modern times.

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The History of Ordinary Things: Steam-Powered Engines – Not So Ordinary

For many of us, summer means outings to the state fair and steam engine shows. But what do we know about the story and significance of steam power?

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Sixties Flashback: Art Weirdo or Business Savant?

As a dominant figure on the 1960s New York avant-garde art scene, Andy Warhol became a tireless self-promoter who straddled a line between bizarre media stardom and the straight-laced business world.

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The History of Ordinary Things: Ladies’ Stockings over Time

Stockings refer to over-the-knee hosiery, a term derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “hosen,” meaning covering.

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The Cautious Consumer Guy: Our Ancestors Drove Electric Cars

The gradual switching over of gasoline-powered cars to electric cars doesn’t bother me, even though I generally oppose technological change and have been called, not unfairly, a curmudgeon.

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The History of Ordinary Things: Burma-Shave Highway Signs

Do you recall the series of six red advertising signs along the country highways? 

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The History of Ordinary Things: Antique Textile Art: Crochet

Bobbin lace was the preferred needlework in the 1700s. It was made by nuns using silk or linen thread on multiple spindles to create complex patterns. In 1806, Napoleon’s blockade on the English Channel stopped the shipments of silk thread from the East.

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Appreciating African American Music This Month

In April, singer Nat King Cole’s 1961 version of “The Christmas Song” was added to the Library of Congress’s 2022 National Recording Registry. Cole (1919-1965) had one of the smoothest voices of all singers.

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Sixties Flashback: The Temporary Utopias

During the ’60s, thousands of young Americans opted for a life in one of about 3,000 “hippie” communes across the country. Who were those mavericks who made such an unorthodox choice?

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