Fun Stuff

November 30, 1886: Folies Bergere stage first revue

This Day in History - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 11:00pm

Once a hall for operettas, pantomime, political meetings, and vaudeville, the Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate revue featuring women in sensational costumes. The highly popular “Place aux Jeunes” established the Folies as the premier nightspot in Paris. In the 1890s, the Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows. The theater spared no expense, staging revues that featured as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes, and an off-stage crew of some 200 people.

The Folies Bergère dates back to 1869, when it opened as one of the first major music halls in Paris. It produced light opera and pantomimes with unknown singers and proved a resounding failure. Greater success came in the 1870s, when the Folies Bergère staged vaudeville. Among other performers, the early vaudeville shows featured acrobats, a snake charmer, a boxing kangaroo, trained elephants, the world’s tallest man, and a Greek prince who was covered in tattoos allegedly as punishment for trying to seduce the Shah of Persia’s daughter. The public was allowed to drink and socialize in the theater’s indoor garden and promenade area, and the Folies Bergère became synonymous with the carnal temptations of the French capital. Famous paintings by Édouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were set in the Folies.

In 1886, the Folies Bergère went under new management, which, on November 30, staged the first revue-style music hall show. The “Place aux Jeunes,” featuring scantily clad chorus girls, was a tremendous success. The Folies women gradually wore less and less as the 20th century approached, and the show’s costumes and sets became more and more outrageous. Among the performers who got their start at the Folies Bergère were Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett. The African American dancer and singer Josephine Baker made her Folies debut in 1926, lowered from the ceiling in a flower-covered sphere that opened onstage to reveal her wearing a G-string ornamented with bananas.

The Folies Bergère remained a success throughout the 20th century and still can be seen in Paris today, although the theater now features many mainstream concerts and performances. Among other traditions that date back more than a century, the show’s title always contains 13 letters and includes the word “Folie.”

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Tom Stoppard

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else."
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Dave Barry

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."
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Barbara Bush

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"War is not nice."
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James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else."
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cabbage

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 29, 2016 is:

cabbage • \KAB-ij\  • verb

: steal, filch

Examples:

"When these ruffians were in a relatively mild mood they were content to chase us off the diamond, but when their glands were flowing freely they also cabbaged our bats, balls and gloves." — H. L. Mencken, Happy Days, 1940

"More and more people are trying to get their 'news' free from online sources, unreliable as some of these fly-by-night wanna-bes are. In truth, the information is usually cabbaged from the website (or the print edition) of the local paper." — Kim Poindexter, The Tahlequah (Oklahoma) Daily Press, 24 Aug. 2015

Did you know?

Does the "filching" meaning of cabbage bring to mind an image of thieves sneaking out of farm fields with armloads of pilfered produce? If so, you're in for a surprise. Today's featured word has nothing to do with the leafy vegetable. It originally referred to the practice among tailors of pocketing part of the cloth given to them to make garments. The verb was cut from the same cloth as an older British noun cabbage, which meant "pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites." Both of those ethically questionable cabbages probably derived from cabas, the Middle French word for "cheating or theft." The cabbage found in coleslaw, on the other hand, comes from Middle English caboche, which meant "head."



Categories: Fun Stuff

cabbage

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 29, 2016 is:

cabbage • \KAB-ij\  • verb

: steal, filch

Examples:

"When these ruffians were in a relatively mild mood they were content to chase us off the diamond, but when their glands were flowing freely they also cabbaged our bats, balls and gloves." — H. L. Mencken, Happy Days, 1940

"More and more people are trying to get their 'news' free from online sources, unreliable as some of these fly-by-night wanna-bes are. In truth, the information is usually cabbaged from the website (or the print edition) of the local paper." — Kim Poindexter, The Tahlequah (Oklahoma) Daily Press, 24 Aug. 2015

Did you know?

Does the "filching" meaning of cabbage bring to mind an image of thieves sneaking out of farm fields with armloads of pilfered produce? If so, you're in for a surprise. Today's featured word has nothing to do with the leafy vegetable. It originally referred to the practice among tailors of pocketing part of the cloth given to them to make garments. The verb was cut from the same cloth as an older British noun cabbage, which meant "pieces of cloth left in cutting out garments and traditionally kept by tailors as perquisites." Both of those ethically questionable cabbages probably derived from cabas, the Middle French word for "cheating or theft." The cabbage found in coleslaw, on the other hand, comes from Middle English caboche, which meant "head."



Categories: Fun Stuff

November 29, 1947: U.N. votes for partition of Palestine

This Day in History - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 11:00pm

Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.

The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.

Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.

The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine’s population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority.

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Fran Lebowitz

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"Ask your child what he wants for dinner only if he's buying."
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Charles M. Schulz

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it."
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Lily Tomlin

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs."
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Nancy Reagan

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"I believe that people would be alive today if there were a death penalty."
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vicissitude

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 28, 2016 is:

vicissitude • \vuh-SISS-uh-tood\  • noun

1 : the quality or state of being changeable : mutability

2 a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition

b : a difficulty or hardship usually beyond one's control

Examples:

"The vicissitudes of life strike us all. But when life gets difficult for the poor, economically or emotionally, or most often both at once, it can pitch them into complete chaos." — The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 22 Aug. 2016

"A good coach on tour is at once a friend and a taskmaster, a psychologist and an emotional buffer against the vicissitudes of competing at the highest level of the game." — Geoff Macdonald, The New York Times, 1 Sept. 2016

Did you know?

"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better," wrote British theologian Richard Hooker in the 16th century. That observation may shed some light on vicissitude, a word that can refer simply to the fact of change, or to an instance of it, but that often refers specifically to hardship or difficulty brought about by change. To survive "the vicissitudes of life" is thus to survive life's ups and downs, with special emphasis on the downs. Vicissitude is a descendant of the Latin noun vicis, meaning "change" or "alternation," and it has been a part of the English language since the 16th century. In contemporary usage, it most often occurs in the plural.



Categories: Fun Stuff

vicissitude

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 28, 2016 is:

vicissitude • \vuh-SISS-uh-tood\  • noun

1 : the quality or state of being changeable : mutability

2 a : a favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance : a fluctuation of state or condition

b : a difficulty or hardship usually beyond one's control

Examples:

"The vicissitudes of life strike us all. But when life gets difficult for the poor, economically or emotionally, or most often both at once, it can pitch them into complete chaos." — The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 22 Aug. 2016

"A good coach on tour is at once a friend and a taskmaster, a psychologist and an emotional buffer against the vicissitudes of competing at the highest level of the game." — Geoff Macdonald, The New York Times, 1 Sept. 2016

Did you know?

"Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better," wrote British theologian Richard Hooker in the 16th century. That observation may shed some light on vicissitude, a word that can refer simply to the fact of change, or to an instance of it, but that often refers specifically to hardship or difficulty brought about by change. To survive "the vicissitudes of life" is thus to survive life's ups and downs, with special emphasis on the downs. Vicissitude is a descendant of the Latin noun vicis, meaning "change" or "alternation," and it has been a part of the English language since the 16th century. In contemporary usage, it most often occurs in the plural.



Categories: Fun Stuff

November 28, 1520: Magellan reaches the Pacific

This Day in History - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 11:00pm

After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.

On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.

On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named “Pacific,” from the Latin word pacificus, meaning “tranquil.” By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam.

Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu—they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebu, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.

After Magellan’s death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Hansell B. Duckett

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to."
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Ambrose Bierce

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another."
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Robert Heinlein

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"A motion to adjourn is always in order."
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Woody Allen

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying."
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dynasty

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 11/26/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 27, 2016 is:

dynasty • \DYE-nuh-stee\  • noun

1 : a succession of rulers of the same line of descent

2 : a powerful group or family that maintains its position for a considerable time

Examples:

"A scion of the Patterson-Medill publishing dynasty (her great-grandfather and her father founded the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News, respectively), [Alicia] Patterson launched Newsday in 1940, on Long Island, quickly building it from a small suburban daily to an influential national paper." — Jocelyn Hannah, The New Yorker, 12 Sept. 2016

"Mark down 2016 as the year the Republican Party under a new standard-bearer divorced itself from the Bush dynasty." — Dan Janison, Newsday (New York), 10 Oct. 2016

Did you know?

Dynast and dynasty both descend from the Greek verb dynasthai, which means "to be able" or "to have power." Dynasty came to prominence in English first; it has been part of our language since at least the 14th century. Dynast took its place in the linguistic family line in the early 1600s, and it has been used to describe sovereigns and other rulers ever since.



Categories: Fun Stuff