You hear that?

Adventure is calling. The days are getting longer, Mercury is no longer in retrograde, and life is waiting for you to hold on tight for a wild ride.

The journey of life can be rough, with its heart-wrenching loops, stomach-turning curves and vomit-inducing drops that sometimes come at lightning speed.

What’s amazing is that at the intersections of such a jarring and uncertain journey, so many belly laughs can be had and incredible memories made. And these make everything more vibrant.

At Crixeo, we strive to bring you to the intersection of life and art with a carefully curated reading experience every month, with new stories rolled out weekly, to expand your mind, broaden your horizons and restore your faith in humanity.

Our hope is to give you a place to catch your breath, find inspiration and take courage when you set off again.

As you make plans to head out into the warmth of that sweet summer sun, be sure to add a bit of daring to your plans. Try something new. Or quite boldly start off in a new direction without knowing the final destination.

After all, there’s no great adventure in certainty.

—Adam Mock, COO


A Horse Was a Math Wiz: Clever Hans and Animal Intelligence

How one perceptive horse changed the understanding of animal intelligence forever. The human dream to observe animal intelligence finally came true in 1891. In Berlin, a retired math teacher communicated with a horse through a series of nods and hoof taps. Together, they proved to crowds of people that animal intelligence was no hoax. Human/animal conversations were no longer limited to stories, such as the Indian fable with intuitive talking fish or the biblical story of Eve negotiating with a snake. No, Clever Hans, the Orlov Trotter stallion, spelled words and solved math equations with his owner and teacher, Wilhelm von Osten. When the Cat and Bear Failed, He Tried the Horse Clever Hans and Wilhelm von Osten / Landes Bioscience Wilhelm von Osten devoutly believed in greater animal intelligence. Even after his failed experimentation with cats and bears, he maintained his beliefs. As a phrenologist, he claimed the shape        …read more

Harry Potter, Teenage Champion of Secular Humanism

Harry Potter

‘Harry Potter’ flew off its first bookshelf 20 years ago June 26. Here’s why I think the protagonist is a perfect example of humanism. Near the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for those of us in the U.S.), Harry has to make a decision: to do what is right, or to do what is easy. It’s not a particularly extraordinary moment for a fantasy novel — the genre is full of good vs. evil struggles — but it is a meaningful moment for a young boy named Harry. What does it mean to do good? How do we manage to do good in the face of massive evil and overwhelming fear? Harry Potter, it seems, wants to know, and so do we. J.K. Rowling’s seven-novel series wasn’t something I warmed up to right away. When I did finally fall in        …read more

How to Create Space for Art without Being a Starving Artist

starving artist

I was the classic starving artist, but I walked away from my childhood dream. That was just the beginning of my artistic journey. At the age of 19, I packed up all my belongings and left my sleepy Midwestern suburb for New York City and art school. Six months later I would find myself back home, broke and distraught, exhausted by both my choice of education and the city. However, I returned home with only a slight shift in focus: I was still every bit the classic starving artist. “So maybe New York isn’t for me,” I thought, “but I’m still an artist. I’m still a painter.” I reasoned that no degree or certificate could help me achieve my real goal, the life of an accomplished studio artist. So I would find a cheaper city, someplace I could actually feel at home, and there I would toil away, teaching myself        …read more

14 Instagram Comic Artists Who Just Get It

Instagram artists, comic artist

We can’t guarantee you’ll make it through your week if you don’t follow these 14 comic artists on Instagram. Many adults have fond memories of asking their parents for the comics section of the newspaper on sleepy Sunday mornings. Now, however, most people get their news online, and comics are being consumed digitally as well. With more than 200k Instagram posts tagged with the hashtag #comicstrip, it’s never been easier to get your daily dose of art combined with comedy. It may not be exactly the same thing as spreading the colorful pages of the Sunday cartoons across the kitchen table, but we can guarantee that the following Instagram comic artists are funnier and more relatable than your average Garfield cartoon (sorry, Garfield). Be sure to follow these 14 Instagram comics and then warn your friends to prepare to be tagged in dozens of your favorite funny posts. 1. Catana Comics (@catanacomics)        …read more

Kitsch Is Queen with Netflix’s GLOW

GLOW, female wrestling, women wrestling

The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling are ready to rumble in Netflix’s GLOW. In 1986, audiences received a shock when syndicated TV show GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling entered homes. And with the June 23 Netflix premiere of GLOW, a 10-episode fictionalized series based on this cult classic, ladies in the ring are back in action. In the 1980s, wrestling was a male-dominated sport, and the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) had the market. It had women, some who wrestled and others, like Miss Elizabeth, who were used as arm candy and for dramatic effect. But GLOW featured only female wrestlers, who were mostly actresses, models, dancers and/or stuntwomen with showbiz dreams who underwent training. It was groundbreaking as an all-female sports show that attracted millions of viewers. And, oh, what a glorious spectacle it was for the four years it aired. The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling You have to        …read more

5 Tony Award–Winning Scores for Your Spotify Playlist

Tony Award

The Tony Awards are coming soon. Here are 5 Tony Award–winning scores to belt out in celebration. Recognizing over seven decades of excellence in theatrical performance, the Tony Awards — named for Antoinette Perry, cofounder of the American Theatre Wing — are considered the height of prestige for a Broadway production. And the most important aspect of that recognition is a standout musical score. From the romanticized ballads of Rodgers & Hammerstein to the eclectic overtures of Andrew Lloyd Webber to the sharp-witted refrains of Lin-Manuel Miranda, a transcendent spark of unity, nostalgia, conviction and belief in the human spirit resounds from the crescendo of a poignant show tune. In fact, given the wide-ranging impact of Broadway on our public consciousness, these harmonies and lyrics have been the soundtrack to American culture for decades. With the Tony Awards approaching, here is a brief guide to some of the most belt-out-worthy scores that earned theater’s        …read more

Explained: 5 Plot Twists We Missed the First Time

plot twist

Another look at 5 movies with mind-boggling plot twists. Among the suggested searches that pop up when you type their names into Google, every single one of these movies pulls up something like “explained” or “plot twist true meaning” beside them. From Richard Kelly’s cult classic (and every millennial’s go-to angsty teen movie) Donnie Darko (2001) to Stanley Kubrick’s reticent sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), some movies continue to baffle and confound us. By no means exhaustive, the following list brings together some of the explanations and excavations I’ve stumbled upon over the years and after many hours of trawling through forums. Of course, often it’s precisely a movie’s ambiguity that keeps our interest intact. However, that isn’t to say we should write them off as inherently “without meaning” or something. If anything, twist endings and elusiveness can be all the more reason to ponder a movie’s various potential messages        …read more

Can’t Deal? Stick a Meme on It

meme, memes

Once associated with the sillier side of the web, memes are leaping into the contemporary art world. There’s no point in sugarcoating the situation. It’s already been a tough old year. Long, unspooling and gargantuan, it’s been a car crash of a situation and no matter the angle you take on the events, there’s no getting around the fact. When times are tough, though, humanity has a habit of rising from the ashes, phoenixlike, and making something out of the mess. Such has been the job of the meme this year. Once ironic and laden in barely-disguised sarcasm, the meme came into its own, helping artists and creatives alike make sense of a world that has become increasingly confusing. How many times do you receive memes throughout the day? Once? Ten times? A hundred? Whatever your number, the digital crumb probably features somewhere in your inbox. Sprinkling a touch of universal        …read more

It’s Just a Shot Away: The Art of Rock Concert Photography

concert photography

Enter the adrenaline-laced adventure of rock concert photography. As the concert begins, the average concertgoer pulls out his phone and clicks away. With the help of upgraded camera technology, he believes he’ll be able to capture the most definitive rock photos ever, and once in a great while it works out. For the most part, however, he ends up with 23 somewhat out-of-focus pictures, one shot of the floor and one shot that snags a lasting memory of the night. When capturing that perfect shot is your job, though, the stakes become much higher. Concert photography has always been a complicated and challenging occupation. Lighting conditions and the artists’ constant movement require split-second decisions, knowledge of your equipment and exceptional hand-eye coordination. Looking back to when photographers such as Jim Marshall, Henry Diltz, Mick Rock, Bob Gruen and so many others were working with film under considerably more difficult conditions, one can        …read more

Happy Father’s Day to a Hero of the Foster Care System

foster care system

How a corrections officer ran a home within the foster care system, and how his boys beat the odds. When I hit middle school, I was less than unpopular. But with the help of my foster brothers, I found my niche: stealing cigarettes and Swisher Sweets from the gas station and selling them out of my locker. Not only was I making money to buy my own BMX gear, but I was learning how the world works. There was a demand, and I supplied. It was a month before I learned the kids weren’t smoking the Swisher Sweets but using them to roll blunts. Life lessons of this sort aren’t Rockwellian, but they’re necessary for those of us in need — that is, in need of knowing not merely how to survive but how to be relevant. And in my home, where my parents took in boys from juvenile corrections        …read more

Let’s Unwrap Mummy Movies ahead of Tom Cruise’s Film

mummy movies

A retrospective of mummy movies, a horror franchise that just won’t stay buried. Ancient curses, dusty tombs, a shriveled corpse bound in cloth strips who — provoked by some adventurer hungry for fame and fortune — comes back to life to seek revenge. These are the standards we’ve come to expect from any movie with Mummy in the title. And stories about accursed sarcophagi are about as old as Hollywood itself. In this piece we’ll cover the good, the bad and the downright hilarious — seriously, there is something absolutely magical I want to show you toward the end — that make up the whole legacy of Hollywood mummy movies, including the latest featuring Tom Cruise due out June 9. So grab a roll of your favorite cloth wrappings, spin around a bunch to wind yourself up tight, and just make sure to leave one hand free to scroll. From the        …read more

10 Thrilling New Theme Park Rides Worth Vacationing For

theme park

From Disney World to Star Trek: Operation Enterprise, discover 10 theme park rides opening around the world in 2017. The sun is shining, school’s out, and it’s time to find something fun to do. A theme park vacation is a great idea, as they have something for everyone. Around the world, there are new, exciting rides and experiences to enjoy. So grab your passport (you’ll need it for some of these destinations) and Dramamine (a must-have), and embark on an adventure to one — or more — of these new theme park rides for 2017. 1. The Extraordinary Journey When in France, see the Eiffel Tower and enjoy a baguette, then head to Futuroscope for The Extraordinary Journey. On the ride, you’ll be seated on a vertical platform and flipped 90 degrees. With your feet hanging free, a curved screen in front displays real and computer-generated images with on-board effects        …read more

Shy Bladder: The Phobia Your Friend Is Hiding from You

paruresis, shy bladder, shy bladder syndrome

A life shaped by shy bladder syndrome illustrates a unique take on social anxiety. MauiMark:      We’re all on here for a reason, right? LocalSofia:      I never thought of it that way, but yeah. Ugh, are we swapping secrets? MauiMark:      Why not? Let’s be honest with each other. For once, let’s air out our dirty laundry beforehand. LocalSofia:      OK, then. I had two kids before age 25. Two different fathers. Then another guy gave me herpes, the cold sores kind, not genital. Most guys can’t deal with that. MauiMark:      That’s no big deal. LocalSofia:      What?! I’m not dateable. Most guys run away so fast, especially after the herpes part. MauiMark:      I’m pee shy. LocalSofia:      ?? MauiMark:      It’s something that started when I was young and got worse as I got older. It’s hard for me to relax enough to pee anywhere, except at home. LocalSofia:             …read more

Lena Horne, the Woman Who Lived through Everything

Honoring the memory of Lena Horne, born June 30, 1917. Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington treated her like a little sister. She went on dog dates with Billie Holiday. In 1919, at two years old, she was named the youngest member of the NAACP. She was the first Black woman to front a big swing band full of white men. She sang “It Ain’t Easy Being Green” with Kermit the Frog. Lena Horne was a force so subtle and sophisticated, people never saw her coming. “Big Like an Ocean, Important Like a River” Lena Horne during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom political rally in DC, August 28, 1963. Getty Images Lena Horne descended from freedom fighters, artists and government officials. Many in her family were the first of their kind, making changes in a closed-minded and prejudiced America. Her uncle Frank Horne was a Harlem Renaissance poet        …read more

This Pride Month, Learn about 8 Historic LGBTQ+ Events

June is Pride Month and the perfect time to learn about these historic events. This Pride Month, learn the true stories of Stonewall, the White Night Riots after Harvey Milk was murdered, and more. 1. Compton Cafeteria Riots Via Screaming Queens, Frameline In 1966, in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, the gay and lesbian community was not welcoming of the transgender community. Additionally, strict laws prevented the wearing of any articles of clothing for what was considered the “opposite gender” one had been assigned at birth. Since transgender people could not freely go to the bars designated for gay people, they often congregated at Compton Cafeteria. The staff of the cafeteria began calling the police, who were notoriously violent toward transgender people. The trans community picketed the cafeteria, and when the police were called again, the situation escalated into a riot. Though Stonewall gets all the love as the event that inspired the LGBTQ+        …read more

Mad Science for Singles: Fancy French Fish Recipe

This beautiful French fish is flavorful and fantastique! I’m back in the lab preparing another Mad Science recipe for you, and this one is not just fancy-looking — it’s delicious! Having company? This scrumptious French fish will wow your guests too. What’s so fancy about this French fish recipe? It’s baked en papillote — that is, in parchment paper. This method keeps the fish tender and full of flavor and nutrients. You get to prepare your fish (salmon, mahi-mahi, whatever you like) with your side dish, and it’s all ready at once. It’s a French culinary treat, but don’t worry — it’s simple and almost foolproof. Just give yourself enough time! Use your favorite protein, vegetables and herbs to make this recipe your own. Let’s get started, shall we? Fancy French Fish Recipe You’re so fancy! 2 precut sheets or one long sheet of parchment paper 1 or 2 6-oz. fish fillets, such as salmon or mahi-mahi 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely julienned vegetables, such as        …read more

10 Most Extraordinary Hotels to Satisfy Your Wanderlust


Got a case of wanderlust? From tree houses to caves, check out 10 of the most fascinating hotels in the world. Step aside, food porn. We’ve got the most drool-worthy hotels. These rooms are so fabulous they’re worth traveling across the world just for the pleasure of resting your heads in their beds for a night. We’re taking you everywhere from Chile to Chicago, from rooms made out of ice to suites made in a cave. All it takes is a little inspiration and some cash, and you could be on your way to satisfying your wanderlust in the most incredible hotels on earth. 1. The Nomad Hotel (New York City, New York, USA) Bibliophiles flock to this edgy New York hotel because it’s one of the only ones that’s got two levels of floor-to-ceiling bookcases (and we all know how much real estate costs in the Big Apple). It’s an intimate        …read more

7 Skills the Human Race Is Unlearning

Unlearn as if you were to live forever. Whether or not it’s due to technology, there are certain things society doesn’t know how to do anymore. “Unlearning” may seem like it has a negative connotation; however, research indicates it’s clearly a part of adapting to change — and even learning. Simply put: We tend to forget how to carry out practices that we don’t need and that fellow humans aren’t pushing us to use (Vanderbilt University researchers call it “reciprocal behaviors”). But enough of that mumbo jumbo. Here are seven things that we are unlearning at breakneck speed: 1. Telling Time iStock Though most of us had the little-hand, big-hand conundrum solved by kindergarten, when’s the last time we’ve actually looked at a traditional clock over our cellphones to get the time? Our body may have a circadian rhythm to fall back on, but telling time on an analog clock        …read more

8 Urban Legends That’ll Bring You to Tears (of Laughter or Fear)

urban legends

Looking for the perfect campfire story with those s’mores? Break out these 8 urban legends. Whether you’re headed off the grid and need screen-free entertainment or you just love a good story to tell, urban legends are excellent source material. Even better is when you can adjust the story to your current location, adding to the scares or laughter it may provoke. And of course a healthy debate over whether it’s true or completely fabricated (that’s what makes them so much fun to share). Here are eight urban legends to turn to when imaginative storytelling is in order. 1. Deadly Candy ‘Ms. Davis’ candy wrapper collage on canvas by Laura Benjamin. If you want to keep your kids away from candy, share this urban legend while road-tripping through unfamiliar terrain. When children started going missing in a small rural county in Texas, the community blamed The Candy Lady. She would        …read more

‘Adventure Time: Islands’ Explores Gnarly Concepts

Adventure Time Islands

‘Adventure Time: Islands’ reunites Finn with presumed-extinct humans while exploring ideas about reality, safety and freedom. With the show’s scheduled 2018 departure, I knew Adventure Time: Islands would have to provide some of the biggest answers the show had concealed for years. Adventure Time, a postapocalyptic, surrealist Cartoon Network series, follows the adventures of Finn, a teenage boy who for most of the show believes he’s the last human on Earth, and his brother Jake, a talking dog who can stretch into any shape he wants. While the first season teetered on nonsensical plots and wrapped-in-a-bow endings, season two of Adventure Time found its niche with catchy half-songs, a complex mythology and philosophical musings often mixed with dark humor. Cartoon Network Even after the sixth season, when Finn stumbled upon his long-lost father, viewers still didn’t know what happened to all the other humans. Did they turn into zombies? Or were they eaten        …read more

‘S-Town’ and the Ethics of Storytelling

‘S-Town’ is a fascinating work of art capturing one hidden genius’s view of the world from his small town in Alabama. But it raises ethical questions. If you haven’t heard of the recent podcast S-Town (short for “Shit Town,” a colorful descriptor used frequently by the even more colorful star of the podcast), then get ready to spend a day or two immersed in its world. It was downloaded 16 million times in the first week of its release, and it’s been streamed countless more. It is mystery after treasure hunt after mystery — the podcast equivalent of a page-turner. “Years ago, an antique clock restorer contacted me and asked me to help him solve a murder.” S-Town Podcast via Facebook An eccentric man named John B. McLemore contacted This American Life host Brian Reed in 2014 with an interesting premise. The world-renowned antiquarian clock repairman (who was building an        …read more