Fun Stuff

George Carlin

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?"
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 07/11/2014 - 1:00am

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

unregenerate • \un-rih-JEN-uh-rut\  • adjective
1 : not spiritually reborn or converted 2 a : not reformed : unreconstructed b : obstinate, stubborn

"She sings … in a voice that could melt the heart of the most unregenerate musical hater." — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, May 18, 2008

"A string of revivals later known as the Great Awakening blazed up and down the eastern seaboard—although scholars suspect that many of these new converts soon backslid into their unregenerate ways." — Molly Worthen, The Daily Beast, June 1, 2014

Did you know?
One long-standing meaning of the adjective "regenerate" is "spiritually reborn or converted." By the late 1500s, English speakers had added "un-" to "regenerate" to describe someone who refused to accept spiritual reformation. Since then, "unregenerate" has taken on a life of its own, gaining the extended specific meanings of "unconverted to a particular doctrinaire viewpoint," "persisting in a reactionary stand," or just plain "stubborn." "Regenerate" and "unregenerate" trace back to the Latin word "genus," meaning "birth" or "descent."

Categories: Fun Stuff

July 11, 1804: Burr slays Hamilton in duel

This Day in History - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 11:00pm

In a duel held in Weehawken, New Jersey, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots his long-time political antagonist Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, a leading Federalist and the chief architect of America's political economy, died the following day.

Alexander Hamilton, born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, came to the American colonies in 1773 as a poor immigrant. (There is some controversy as to the year of his birth, but it was either 1755 or 1757.) In 1776, he joined the Continental Army in the American Revolution, and his relentless energy and remarkable intelligence brought him to the attention of General George Washington, who took him on as an aid. Ten years later, Hamilton served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he led the fight to win ratification of the final document, which created the kind of strong, centralized government that he favored. In 1789, he was appointed the first secretary of the treasury by President Washington, and during the next six years he crafted a sophisticated monetary policy that saved the young U.S. government from collapse. With the emergence of political parties, Hamilton was regarded as a leader of the Federalists.

Aaron Burr, born into a prestigious New Jersey family in 1756, was also intellectually gifted, and he graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the age of 17. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and distinguished himself during the Patriot attack on Quebec. A masterful politician, he was elected to the New State Assembly in 1783 and later served as state attorney. In 1790, he defeated Alexander Hamilton's father-in-law in a race for the U.S. Senate.

Hamilton came to detest Burr, whom he regarded as a dangerous opportunist, and he often spoke ill of him. When Burr ran for the vice presidency in 1796 on Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican ticket (the forerunner of the Democratic Party), Hamilton launched a series of public attacks against Burr, stating, "I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career." John Adams won the presidency, and in 1797 Burr left the Senate and returned to the New York Assembly.

In 1800, Jefferson chose Burr again as his running mate. Burr aided the Democratic-Republican ticket by publishing a confidential document that Hamilton had written criticizing his fellow Federalist President John Adams. This caused a rift in the Federalists and helped Jefferson and Burr win the election with 73 electoral votes each.

Under the electoral procedure then prevailing, president and vice president were not voted for separately; the candidate who received the most votes was elected president, and the second in line, vice president. The vote then went to the House of Representatives. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality--handing Jefferson victory over his running mate--developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. After a remarkable 35 tie votes, a small group of Federalists changed sides and voted in Jefferson's favor. Alexander Hamilton, who had supported Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, was instrumental in breaking the deadlock.

Burr became vice president, but Jefferson grew apart from him, and he did not support Burr's renomination to a second term in 1804. That year, a faction of New York Federalists, who had found their fortunes drastically diminished after the ascendance of Jefferson, sought to enlist the disgruntled Burr into their party and elect him governor. Hamilton campaigned against Burr with great fervor, and Burr lost the Federalist nomination and then, running as an independent for governor, the election. In the campaign, Burr's character was savagely attacked by Hamilton and others, and after the election he resolved to restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel, or an "affair of honor," as they were known.

Affairs of honor were commonplace in America at the time, and the complex rules governing them usually led to an honorable resolution before any actual firing of weapons. In fact, the outspoken Hamilton had been involved in several affairs of honor in his life, and he had resolved most of them peaceably. No such recourse was found with Burr, however, and on July 11, 1804, the enemies met at 7 a.m. at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey. It was the same spot where Hamilton's son had died defending his father's honor two years before.

There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. According to Hamilton's "second"--his assistant and witness in the duel--Hamilton decided the duel was morally wrong and deliberately fired into the air. Burr's second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. What happened next is agreed upon: Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach, and the bullet lodged next to his spine. Hamilton was taken back to New York, and he died the next afternoon.

Few affairs of honor actually resulted in deaths, and the nation was outraged by the killing of a man as eminent as Alexander Hamilton. Charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, Burr, still vice president, returned to Washington, D.C., where he finished his term immune from prosecution.

In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr, presumably, would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.

In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate U.S. investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a U.S. court. In September, he was acquitted on a technicality. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him forgotten. He died in 1836.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - July 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:14pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

As part of an entry test into BrainBashers academy a special test was devised.

50 applicants were placed into a darkened room, each with a coloured baseball cap upon their head. These baseball caps came in two colours, red and green, however, no applicant knew the colour of their own cap. The applicants were not allowed to communicate in any way.

Their task was to assemble outside, in a line, with those wearing red caps on one side and those wearing green on the other. How did this achieve this?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - July 10 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:14pm
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 - July 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:14pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Pretty Pretty Bang Bang
   Psychedelic chain-reaction, ball exploding fun.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Joseph Conrad

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"Being a woman is a terribly difficult task since it consists principally in dealing with men."
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Isaac Newton

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy."
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Eric Hoffer

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Laurence J. Peter

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 07/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"Equal opportunity means everyone will have a fair chance at being incompetent."
Categories: Fun Stuff