Fun Stuff

Douglas Adams

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 6:00pm
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 6:00pm
"It is fun to be in the same decade with you."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Grabel's Law

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 6:00pm
"2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2."
Categories: Fun Stuff

vox populi

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 02/18/2015 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 18, 2015 is:

vox populi • \VOKS-POP-yoo-lye\  • noun
: popular sentiment

Examples:
"Social media is supposed to be an arena that amplifies the vox populi, that makes it easier to know what we the people think. But sometimes it seems as though social media only makes it easier to see what we the people are thinking about." — Kate Allen, Toronto Star, November 1, 2014

"Wheeler is moving forward with support from President Obama and from four million commenters to the FCC—a vox populi partly stirred to action by Oliver's viral HBO piece last summer on 'network neutrality,' the underlying principle that bars network owners from favoring one company's bits over another's." — Jeff Gelles, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 18, 2015

Did you know?
Vox populi is a Latin phrase that literally translates as "the voice of the people." It can be found in the longer maxim, Vox populi, vox Dei, which means "The voice of the people is the voice of God." Many people think that expression means that the people are always right, but it really implies that the will of the masses—right or wrong—is often irresistible. Since the mid-1960s, English speakers, especially British ones, have trimmed vox populi down to the abbreviated form vox pop, an expression used particularly for popular opinion as it is used and expressed by the media.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 18, 1885: Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

This Day in History - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous--and famously controversial--novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Though Twain saw Huck's story as a kind of sequel to his earlier book, the new novel was far more serious, focusing on the institution of slavery and other aspects of life in the antebellum South.

At the book's heart is the journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on a raft. Jim runs away because he is about to be sold and separated from his wife and children, and Huck goes with him to help him get to Ohio and freedom. Huck narrates the story in his distinctive voice, offering colorful descriptions of the people and places they encounter along the way. The most striking part of the book is its satirical look at racism, religion and other social attitudes of the time. While Jim is strong, brave, generous and wise, many of the white characters are portrayed as violent, stupid or simply selfish, and the naive Huck ends up questioning the hypocritical, unjust nature of society in general.

Even in 1885, two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn landed with a splash. A month after its publication, a Concord, Massachusetts, library banned the book, calling its subject matter "tawdry" and its narrative voice "coarse" and "ignorant." Other libraries followed suit, beginning a controversy that continued long after Twain's death in 1910. In the 1950s, the book came under fire from African-American groups for being racist in its portrayal of black characters, despite the fact that it was seen by many as a strong criticism of racism and slavery. As recently as 1998, an Arizona parent sued her school district, claiming that making Twain's novel required high school reading made already existing racial tensions even worse.

Aside from its controversial nature and its continuing popularity with young readers, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been hailed by many serious literary critics as a masterpiece. No less a judge than Ernest Hemingway famously declared that the book marked the beginning of American literature: "There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 17

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 7:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What's the difference between here and there?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 17 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 7:18pm
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 - February 17

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 7:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Solitaire
   Simple version of the classic card game.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Zach Braff

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:00pm
"I'm kind of jealous of the life I'm supposedly leading."
Categories: Fun Stuff

John le Carre

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:00pm
"Coming home from very lonely places, all of us go a little mad: whether from great personal success, or just an all-night drive, we are the sole survivors of a world no one else has ever seen."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:00pm
"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Carl Sandburg

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 6:00pm
"I'm an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way."
Categories: Fun Stuff

superfluous

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 02/17/2015 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 17, 2015 is:

superfluous • \soo-PER-floo-us\  • adjective
1 : exceeding what is sufficient or necessary : extra 2 : not needed : unnecessary

Examples:
The textbook includes so much superfluous information that students often overlook key points.

"Music director Anu Tali's clear direction, free of superfluous gestures, embodied the elegance that shone through, particularly in the increasingly polished blend of string sound that the orchestra has been producing." — Gayle Williams, Sarasota (Florida) Herald Tribune, January 11, 2015

Did you know?
If you think that superfluous must mean "extra 'fluous,'" along the pattern of such words as superabsorbent and superabundant, you're not far off. Superfluous comes from the Latin adjective superfluus, meaning literally "running over" or "overflowing." Superfluus, in turn, derives from the combination of the prefix super- (meaning "over" or "more") and fluere, "to flow." (Fluere also gave us fluid, fluent, and influence, among others.) Since its first appearance in English in the 15th century, superfluous has referred to an "overflowing" of some supply, as of time or words, which hearkens back to its Latin origins.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 17, 1904: Madame Butterfly premieres

This Day in History - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1904, Giacomo Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly premieres at the La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy.

The young Puccini decided to dedicate his life to opera after seeing a performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida in 1876. In his later life, he would write some of the best-loved operas of all time: La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (left unfinished when he died in 1906). Not one of these, however, was an immediate success when it opened. La Boheme, the now-classic story of a group of poor artists living in a Paris garret, earned mixed reviews, while Tosca was downright panned by critics.

While supervising a production of Tosca in London, Puccini saw the play Madame Butterfly, written by David Belasco and based on a story by John Luther Long. Taken with the strong female character at its center, he began working on an operatic version of the play, with an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Written over the course of two years--including an eight-month break when Puccini was badly injured in a car accident--the opera made its debut in Milan in February 1904.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan, Madame Butterfly told the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and abandons a young Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, or Madame Butterfly. In addition to the rich, colorful orchestration and powerful arias that Puccini was known for, the opera reflected his common theme of living and dying for love. This theme often played out in the lives of his heroines--women like Cio-Cio-San, who live for the sake of their lovers and are eventually destroyed by the pain inflicted by that love. Perhaps because of the opera's foreign setting or perhaps because it was too similar to Puccini's earlier works, the audience at the premiere reacted badly to Madame Butterfly, hissing and yelling at the stage. Puccini withdrew it after one performance. He worked quickly to revise the work, splitting the 90-minute-long second act into two parts and changing other minor aspects. Four months later, the revamped Madame Butterfly went onstage at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. This time, the public greeted the opera with tumultuous applause and repeated encores, and Puccini was called before the curtain 10 times. Madame Butterfly went on to huge international success, moving to New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1907. 

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 16

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 7:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

In each case, can you replace the missing number, which appears as a word. For example, one, two, etc.

This sentence contains exactly ==?== E's and not one more.

However, this sentence contains exactly ==?== S's, with a single Z.

Finally, to finish, this sentence has exactly ==?== I's.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 16 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 7:04pm
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 - February 16

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 7:04pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Carnival Jackpot
   Fast pace 'line-them-up' game.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Edward Abbey

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 6:00pm
"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain't nothin' can beat teamwork."
Categories: Fun Stuff

P. J. O'Rourke

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 6:00pm
"Skiing consists of wearing $3,000 worth of clothes and equipment and driving 200 miles in the snow in order to stand around at a bar and drink."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Herbert Rappaport

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 02/16/2015 - 6:00pm
"I hope that while so many people are out smelling the flowers, someone is taking the time to plant some."
Categories: Fun Stuff