Fun Stuff

tractable

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 12/13/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 13, 2014 is:

tractable • \TRAK-tuh-bul\  • adjective
1 : capable of being easily led, taught, or controlled 2 : easily handled, managed, or wrought

Examples:
The couple had hoped to find a tractable and obedient dog that wouldn't cause too much trouble, but instead they got Rufus and their life has never been the same.

"But values have been steadily rising simply because it's such a good driver's car. It's incredibly tractable and usable—more so than any other car I can think of from that period, in fact." — Dylan Miles, quoted in Classic Driver, November 14, 2014

Did you know?
Obedient, docile, and amenable are synonyms of tractable, but those four words have slightly different shades of meaning. Tractable describes an individual whose character permits easy handling, while docile implies a predisposition to submit readily to authority. Obedient is often used to describe compliance with authority, although that compliance is not necessarily offered eagerly. Amenable, on the other hand, is usually used when one cooperates out of a desire to be agreeable. Tractable dates from the early 16th century and derives from the Latin verb tractare ("to handle" or "to treat"). Despite the resemblance, this root did not give us the noun tractor or verbs such as contract or attract—those all derive from a loosely related Latin verb trahere ("to draw or drag").

Categories: Fun Stuff

December 13, 2000: Al Gore concedes presidential election

This Day in History - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:00pm

Vice President Al Gore reluctantly concedes defeat to Texas Governor George W. Bush in his bid for the presidency, following weeks of legal battles over the recounting of votes in Florida, on this day in 2000.

 

In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ''partisan rancor must now be put aside.''

 

"I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College'' he said.  "And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.''

 

Gore had won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 votes, but narrowly lost Florida, giving the Electoral College to Bush 271 to 266.

 

Gore said he had telephoned Bush to offer his congratulations, honoring him, for the first time, with the title ''president-elect.'' 

 

''I promised that I wouldn't call him back this time'' Gore said,  referring to the moment on election night when he had called Bush to tell him he was going to concede, then called back a half hour later to retract that concession.

 

Gore only hinted at what he might do in the future. ''I've seen America in this campaign and I like what I see. It's worth fighting for—and that's a fight I'll never stop.''

 

Among the friends and family beside Gore were his wife, Tipper, and his running mate, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, and his wife, Hadassah.

 

A little more than an hour later, Bush addressed the nation for the first time as president-elect, declaring that the "nation must rise above a house divided." Speaking from the podium of the Texas House of Representatives, Bush devoted his speech to themes of reconciliation following one of the closest and most disputed presidential elections in U.S. history. ''I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation,'' Bush said.

 

Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, took office on January 20, 2001.   They were re-elected in 2004 over Democrats John Kerry and John Edwards.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - December 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:27pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Can you calculate (clue!) which word is the odd one out:

giggle, soil, bells, gobble, gosh, hole, blesses, coil

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - December 12 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:27pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - December 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 10:27pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Red Lead
   UK Comic Relief charity game. Help the red noses bounce across to safety.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Herbert Hoover

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends."
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Rita Rudner

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"Most turkeys taste better the day after; my mother's tasted better the day before."
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Judith Martin

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help."
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Ralph Hodgson

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"Some things have to be believed to be seen."
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flapdoodle

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 12, 2014 is:

flapdoodle • \FLAP-doo-dul\  • noun
: nonsense

Examples:
"Not a trace of academic fustian! Not a line of flapdoodle! Not a hint of college professor! Here was sharp and shrewd judgment." — H. L. Mencken, The Smart Set, June 1917

"Chalk that up to the triumph—rare enough these days—of facts over flapdoodle." — Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2013

Did you know?
Combining the letters f, d, and l is a great formula for creating funny words—witness folderol, fiddlesticks, fandangle, flamdoodle, flummadiddle, and fiddledeedee. To ascribe pedigreed origins to any of those silly syllables would be fiddle-faddle. Flapdoodle certainly can't claim high-flown ancestors. Like many of its nonsensical fellows listed above, it most likely originated as an alteration of some other absurd word (fadoodle is a candidate), but its exact origins are unknown.

Categories: Fun Stuff

December 12, 1980: Da Vinci notebook sells for over 5 million

This Day in History - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1980, American oil tycoon Armand Hammer pays $5,126,000 at auction for a notebook containing writings by the legendary artist Leonardo da Vinci.

The manuscript, written around 1508, was one of some 30 similar books da Vinci produced during his lifetime on a variety of subjects. It contained 72 loose pages featuring some 300 notes and detailed drawings, all relating to the common theme of water and how it moved. Experts have said that da Vinci drew on it to paint the background of his masterwork, the Mona Lisa. The text, written in brown ink and chalk, read from right to left, an example of da Vinci's favored mirror-writing technique. The painter Giuseppi Ghezzi discovered the notebook in 1690 in a chest of papers belonging to Guglielmo della Porto, a 16th-century Milanese sculptor who had studied Leonardo's work. In 1717, Thomas Coke, the first earl of Leicester, bought the manuscript and installed it among his impressive collection of art at his family estate in England.

More than two centuries later, the notebook--by now known as the Leicester Codex--showed up on the auction block at Christie's in London when the current Lord Coke was forced to sell it to cover inheritance taxes on the estate and art collection. In the days before the sale, art experts and the press speculated that the notebook would go for $7 to $20 million. In fact, the bidding started at $1.4 million and lasted less than two minutes, as Hammer and at least two or three other bidders competed to raise the price $100,000 at a time. The $5.12 million price tag was the highest ever paid for a manuscript at that time; a copy of the legendary Gutenberg Bible had gone for only $2 million in 1978. "I’m very happy with the price. I expected to pay more," Hammer said later. "There is no work of art in the world I wanted more than this." Lord Coke, on the other hand, was only "reasonably happy" with the sale; he claimed the proceeds would not be sufficient to cover the taxes he owed.

Hammer, the president of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, renamed his prize the Hammer Codex and added it to his valuable collection of art. When Hammer died in 1990, he left the notebook and other works to the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Several years later, the museum offered the manuscript for sale, claiming it was forced to take this action to cover legal costs incurred when the niece and sole heir of Hammer's late wife, Frances, sued the estate claiming Hammer had cheated Frances out of her rightful share of his fortune. On November 11, 1994, the Hammer Codex was sold to an anonymous bidder--soon identified as Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft--at a New York auction for a new record high price of $30.8 million. Gates restored the title of Leicester Codex and has since loaned the manuscript to a number of museums for public display. 

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - December 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:13pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

From 6, 5, 2, 3 grows an oak.

I 6, 8, 9, I 6, 8, 9, I 6, 8, 9, it's no joke.

7, 5, 1 rhymes with you.

4, 2, 1 rhymes too!

What am I?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - December 11 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:13pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - December 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 10:13pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Jig Circle
   A circular twist on the jigsaw puzzle.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ernest Hemingway

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"That is the greatest fallacy, the wisdom of old men. They do not grow wise. They grow careful."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Calvin Coolidge

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"Never go out to meet trouble. If you will just sit still, nine cases out of ten someone will intercept it before it reaches you."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Sir Francis Bacon

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tallulah Bankhead

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time."
Categories: Fun Stuff

allege

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 11, 2014 is:

allege • \uh-LEJ\  • verb
1 : to assert without proof or before proving 2 : to bring forward as a reason or excuse

Examples:
She alleges that her roommate stole hundreds of dollars from her.

"The Chicago lawsuit … alleges a two-decade-long campaign by the industry to persuade doctors to make the use of painkillers routine for chronic pain by obscuring the drugs' risks and misrepresenting their efficacy." — David Armstrong, Businessweek, November 14, 2014

Did you know?
These days, someone "alleges" something before presenting the evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all), but the word actually derives from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning "to submit (something) in evidence or as justification." Alleggen, in turn, traces back to Anglo-French and probably ultimately to Latin allegare, meaning "to send as a representative" or "to offer as proof in support of a plea." Indeed, allege once referred to the actions of someone who came forward to testify in court; this sense isn't used anymore, but it led to the development of the current "assert without proof" sense.

Categories: Fun Stuff

December 11, 1936: Edward VIII abdicates

This Day in History - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:00pm

After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, "I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love." On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI.

Edward, born in 1894, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. Still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, he socialized with the fashionable London society of the day. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward's married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died, in January 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.

The new king proved popular with his subjects, and his coronation was scheduled for May 1937. His affair with Mrs. Simpson was reported in American and continental European newspapers, but due to a gentlemen's agreement between the British press and the government, the affair was kept out of British newspapers. On October 27, 1936, Mrs. Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce, presumably with the intent of marrying the king, which precipitated a major scandal. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Winston Churchill, then a Conservative backbencher, was the only notable politician to support Edward.

Despite the seemingly united front against him, Edward could not be dissuaded. He proposed a morganatic marriage, in which Wallis would be granted no rights of rank or property, but on December 2, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected the suggestion as impractical. The next day, the scandal broke on the front pages of British newspapers and was discussed openly in Parliament. With no resolution possible, the king renounced the throne on December 10. The next day, Parliament approved the abdication instrument, and Edward VIII's reign came to an end. The new king, George VI, made his older brother the duke of Windsor. On June 3, 1937, the duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield married at the Château de Cande in France's Loire Valley.

For the next two years, the duke and duchess lived primarily in France but visited other European countries, including Germany, where the duke was honored by Nazi officials in October 1937 and met with Adolf Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the duke accepted a position as liaison officer with the French. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and Edward and Wallis went to Spain. During this period, the Nazis concocted a scheme to kidnap Edward with the intention of returning him to the British throne as a puppet king. George VI, like his prime minister, Winston Churchill, was adamantly opposed to any peace with Nazi Germany. Unaware of the Nazi kidnapping plot but conscious of Edward's pre-war Nazi sympathies, Churchill hastily offered Edward the governorship of the Bahamas in the West Indies. The duke and duchess set sail from Lisbon on August 1, 1940, narrowly escaping a Nazi SS team sent to seize them.

In 1945, the duke resigned his post, and the couple moved back to France. They lived mainly in Paris, and Edward made a few visits to England, such as to attend the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and his mother, Queen Mary, in 1953. It was not until 1967 that the duke and duchess were invited by the royal family to attend an official public ceremony, the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Queen Mary. Edward died in Paris in 1972 but was buried at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. In 1986, Wallis died and was buried at his side.

Categories: Fun Stuff