Fun Stuff

November 14, 1851: Moby-Dick published

This Day in History - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: "Call me Ishmael." Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville's sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville's friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick's disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn't paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville's final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Peter Ustinov

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Indira Gandhi

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Henny Youngman

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Segal's Law

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure."
Categories: Fun Stuff

threnody

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 12:00am

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

threnody • \THREN-uh-dee\  • noun
: a song of lamentation for the dead : elegy

Examples:
Christina wrote the poem as a threnody for her grandmother, who had died the previous spring.

"Ian Hobson will lead the Sinfonia strings in Strauss' 'Metamorphosen,' his threnody on the destruction of German musical monuments at the end of World War II." — John Frayne, The News-Gazette (Champaign, Illinois), September 11, 2014

Did you know?
Threnody encompasses all genres. There are great threnodies in prose (such as the lines from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House upon the death of Little Jo: "Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead…."), in poetry (as in W. H. Auden’s "Funeral Blues": "The stars are not wanted now: put out every one, / Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun…."), and in music (Giovanni Pergolesi’s "Stabat Mater," for one). Threnody, which we borrowed from the Greek word thrēnōidia (from thrēnos, the word for "dirge"), has survived in English since the early 1600s. Melody, tragedy, and comedy are related to threnody through the Greek root that forms their ending—aeidein, which means "to sing."

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

A mother recently arranged a children's party and had 187 sweets to give out equally to the children.

Each child had more than one sweet and there were more children than there were sweets per child.

How many sweets did each child end up with?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 12 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
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 - November 12

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 11:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Seascape
   A scuba diving game with beautiful 3D graphics.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 13, 1982: Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated

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

Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.

The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans' groups were opposed to Lin's winning design, which lacked a standard memorial's heroic statues and stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial's dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation's capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it "a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct," and a veteran declared that "it's the parade we never got." "The Wall" drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict's end.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Michael Crichton

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had."
Categories: Fun Stuff

David Russell

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Henri Poincare

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is everything."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Oscar Levant

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 6:00pm
"I envy people who drink. At least they have something to blame everything on."
Categories: Fun Stuff

hallowed

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

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

hallowed • \HAL-ohd\  • adjective
1 : holy, consecrated 2 : sacred, revered

Examples:
"He who enters a university walks on hallowed ground," declared Harvard President James Bryant Conant on the celebration of that institution's 300th anniversary.

"People pass Richards Memorial Park every day, many without knowing the amount of rich Talbot County history buried in its hallowed grounds." — Josh Bollinger, Sunday Star (Easton, Maryland), October 12, 2014

Did you know?
The adjective hallowed probably doesn't give you the shivers—or does it? Hallowed is the past participle of the verb hallow, a term that descends from the Middle English halowen. That word can in turn be traced back to hālig, Old English for "holy." During the Middle Ages, All Hallows' Day was the name for what Christians now call All Saints' Day, and the evening that preceded All Hallows' Day was All Hallow Even—or, as we know it today, Halloween.

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 12, 1954: Ellis Island closes

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

On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.

On January 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the first person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America's first federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states.

Not all immigrants who sailed into New York had to go through Ellis Island. First- and second-class passengers submitted to a brief shipboard inspection and then disembarked at the piers in New York or New Jersey, where they passed through customs. People in third class, though, were transported to Ellis Island, where they underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they didn't have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Only two percent of all immigrants were denied entrance into the U.S.

Immigration to Ellis Island peaked between 1892 and 1924, during which time the 3.3-acre island was enlarged with landfill (by the 1930s it reached its current 27.5-acre size) and additional buildings were constructed to handle the massive influx of immigrants. During the busiest year of operation, 1907, over 1 million people were processed at Ellis Island.

With America's entrance into World War I, immigration declined and Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws and the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country and also enabled immigrants to be processed at U.S. consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention and deportation center for illegal immigrants, a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II and a Coast Guard training center. In November 1954, the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman, was released and Ellis Island officially closed.

Beginning in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a $160 million renovation, the largest historic restoration project in U.S. history. In September 1990, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened to the public and today is visited by almost 2 million people each year.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:50pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

In farmer Brown's hay loft there are a number of animals, in particular crows, mice and cockroaches.

Being bored one day, I decided to count the animals and found there were exactly 150 feet and 50 heads in total, and there were twice as many cockroaches as mice.

How many of each animal were there?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 11 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:50pm
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 - November 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 10:50pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Pirate Chains
   Help Barbarossa, the great pirate, find The Lost Treasure; bring the Key to the Lock to the Purple Vial.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

William Shakespeare

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"O, what may man within him hide, though angel on the outward side!"
Categories: Fun Stuff