Fun Stuff

Tom Lehrer

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"On my income tax 1040 it says 'Check this box if you are blind.' I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away."
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 10, 2014 is:

clerisy • \KLAIR-uh-see\  • noun
: intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite: intelligentsia

The book's author claims that a successful society must have both a strong commitment to democratic ideals and a well-established clerisy.

"The situation was so dire that it required nothing less than scientific experts freed from constitutional strictures to run the government and the elevation of intellectuals and artists to the status of a new cultural clerisy." — Daniel DiSalvo, The Washington Times, February 18, 2014

Did you know?
English philosopher-poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) believed that if humanity was to flourish, it was necessary to create a secular organization of learned individuals, "whether poets, or philosophers, or scholars" to "diffuse through the whole community … that quantity and quality of knowledge which was indispensable." Coleridge named this hypothetical group the clerisy, a term he adapted from Klerisei, a German word for clergy (in preference, it seems, to the Russian term intelligentsia which we borrowed later, in the early 1900s). Coleridge may have equated clerisy with an old sense of clergy meaning "learning" or "knowledge," which by his time was used only in the proverb "an ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy."

Categories: Fun Stuff

October 10, 1985: Achille Lauro hijacking ends

This Day in History - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 11:00pm

The hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro reaches a dramatic climax when U.S. Navy F-14 fighters intercept an Egyptian airliner attempting to fly the Palestinian hijackers to freedom and force the jet to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily. American and Italian troops surrounded the plane, and the terrorists were taken into Italian custody.

On October 7, four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Some 320 crewmembers and 80 passengers, were taken hostage. Hundreds of other passengers had disembarked the cruise ship earlier that day to visit Cairo and tour the Egyptian pyramids. Identifying themselves as members of the Palestine Liberation Front--a Palestinian splinter group--the gunmen demanded the release of 50 Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel. If their demands were not met, they threatened to blow up the ship and kill the 11 Americans on board. The next morning, they also threatened to kill the British passengers.

The Achille Lauro traveled to the Syrian port of Tartus, where the terrorists demanded negotiations on October 8. Syria refused to permit the ship to anchor in its waters, which prompted more threats from the hijackers. That afternoon, they shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish-American who was confined to a wheelchair as the result of a stroke. His body was then pushed overboard in the wheelchair.

Yasir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the hijacking, and PLO officials joined with Egyptian authorities in attempting to resolve the crisis. On the recommendation of the negotiators, the cruise ship traveled to Port Said. On October 9, the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities and freed the hostages in exchange for a pledge of safe passage to an undisclosed destination.

The next day--October 10--the four hijackers boarded an EgyptAir Boeing 737 airliner, along with Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front who had participated in the negotiations; a PLO official; and several Egyptians. The 737 took off from Cairo at 4:15 p.m. EST and headed for Tunisia. President Ronald Reagan gave his final order approving the plan to intercept the aircraft, and at 5:30 p.m. EST, F-14 Tomcat fighters located the airliner 80 miles south of Crete. Without announcing themselves, the F-14s trailed the airliner as it sought and was denied permission to land at Tunis. After a request to land at the Athens airport was likewise refused, the F-14s turned on their lights and flew wing-to-wing with the airliner. The aircraft was ordered to land at a NATO air base in Sicily, and the pilot complied, touching down at 6:45 p.m. The hijackers were arrested soon after. Abbas and the other Palestinian were released, prompting criticism from the United States, which wanted to investigate their possible involvement in the hijacking.

On July 10, 1986, an Italian court later convicted three of the terrorists and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 15 to 30 years. Three others, including Mohammed Abbas, were convicted in absentia for masterminding the hijacking and sentenced to life in prison. They received harsher penalties because, unlike the hijackers, who the court found were acting for "patriotic motives," Abbas and the others conceived the hijacking as a "selfish political act" designed "to weaken the leadership of Yasir Arafat." The fourth hijacker was a minor who was tried and convicted separately.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - October 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:11pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

At the annual BrainBashers puzzle discussion conference, 20 people attended.

At the start of the conference, each person shook hands with every other person, how many handshakes took place in total?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - October 9 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:11pm
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 - October 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:11pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Mouse 1.0
   Guide your mouse through all of the different obstacle laden levels.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

John Dewey

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"We can have facts without thinking but we cannot have thinking without facts."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Dennis Miller

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"We need anything politically important rationed out like Pez: small, sweet, and coming out of a funny, plastic head."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Frank Zappa

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Leonard Louis Levinson

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"History is the short trudge from Adam to atom."
Categories: Fun Stuff