Tag: Pop culture

The Original Dungeon Masters

As Dungeon & Dragons turns 40 years old, here is a look back at
the history of how this game came to be.

History of Dungeons and DragonsROLLING THE DICE

Gary Gygax (pronounced GHEE-Gax) was an insurance underwriter living in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in the late 1960s. He made his living calculating the probabilities that an individual seeking to buy insurance would become sick or disabled or die, and he used these estimates to set the premiums and payouts on the policies he reviewed. Every policy was like a roll of the dice: If Gygax calculated correctly, the individual received sufficient coverage at a fair price, and the insurance company had a good shot at earning a fair profit. If he was incorrect, either the individual or the insurance company would lose.

Same Product, Different Name

What some popular American products are called overseas…and why.

Coca-Cola_light_logo• In many countries, Diet Coke is sold under the name Coca-Cola Light. It’s essentially the same product, although the calorie-free sweetening agent varies. Diet Coke in the U.S. contains NutraSweet or Splenda. In other countries, cyclamates may be used, which is an artificial sweetener banned in the U.S. in 1969 due to its link to cancer in lab rats.

And the Razzie Goes To…

The Academy Awards will be handed out to the year’s best films on March 2. Who cares? The night before, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation gives out the Razzies—as in they “razz” the year’s worst films and film performances.

The Razzies• In the 1970s and early 1980s, Los Angeles publicist John Wilson hosted a potluck dinner for his friends every year on Oscar Night. At his 1981 party, after the Oscars were over, Wilson asked his friends to vote on the worst movie of the previous year—it had some standouts. Wilson was inspired to crown the worst movie after watching a double feature of two stinkers: the Village People musical Can’t Stop the Music, and the roller-disco-based, Olivia Newton-John musical Xanadu. The winner: Can’t Stop the Music. As Wilson was a publicist, he put out a press release to announce it. The news was picked up around Hollywood, and it soon became an annual tradition, except they’re now awarded in an L.A. theater, not Wilson’s living room.

Real Life Lightsabers?

Yes, it’s really happening.

Real life lightsabersIf you thought the lines were bad at your local Apple Store every time they roll out a new iPhone, just wait until they start selling lightsabers. Scientists recently declared that they have developed technology that could one day lead to the construction of the iconic weapon from the Stars Wars films.

5 More Headscratching Golden Globe Nominations

The 2014 Golden Globes have finally been awarded. Usually, they are a precursor to what films and performers will receive Oscar nominations. Other times, they’re completely out of left field. (Bonus: Take a look back at our list of headscratching Golden Globe TV nominations.)

Golden Globe Statue• While the Oscars may nominate up to 10 movies for Best Picture, the Golden Globes nominate five films for Best Picture, Drama, and Best Picture, Comedy or Musical. That categorization is sometimes confusing, because musicals aren’t always comedies. For example, in 2012, the tragic, incredibly serious Les Miserables won the Globe for Best Picture, Comedy or Musical. Also, Hollywood releases so few musicals these days that they’re almost assured a nomination in that category. In 2010, the critical and commercial bomb Burlesque, starring Cher and Christina Aguilera as singing strippers, earned a nomination. (It lost to the comedy-drama The Kids are All Right.)