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I have always enjoyed learning more about the world around me. I find real life events to be more interesting than fictional ones, by virtue of the fact that they really happened. Lesser known people and events have often sparked my interest because – let’s face it – the more well known ones have pretty much been done to death. I also enjoy teasing out things that were previously hidden. (Sometimes “hidden” means “things that were right there in plain sight but I was oblivious to”). It makes me feel all smart and detective-y, I guess.

All this started from one file, kept merely as a dumping ground to save any articles that caught my schizophrenic attention, for further investigation. After a while, I realized my “collection” had grown to the point where it seemed I ought to do …something… with it. This, I guess is that “something”.

While it might seem this whole thing is an exercise in schadenfreude, I have mixed feelings about finding humor in these articles. Much of the subject matter here is of a serious -sometimes tragic- nature. There is nothing inherently funny about poverty, ignorance, crime, prostitution, depression or substance abuse. At the same time, one can’t help but feel a sense of incredulity at some of the absurdity. It’s also a bit of an eye-opener to realize the staid, stuffy, upright Victorians were every bit as guilty of vice, crime and infidelity as people today. I think it also helps us see them as people, rather than sepia-toned cardboard cutouts.

So when you get a curious guy with an interest in history, an internet connection and a bit too much time on his hands…

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