Fun Stuff

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 7:00pm
"I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 10/12/2014 - 1:00am

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

megillah • \muh-GHIH-luh\  • noun
: slang a long involved story or account

Instead of just saying she was running late, Lynette went into the whole megillah of why her appointment would have to be rescheduled.

"It takes place far below the surface of the earth, among dripping stalactites, and if you're a fan of Tolkien's mythos in any of its versions, you know it's perhaps the most pivotal moment in the whole megillah: the scene where Bilbo gets his paws on That Ring." — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe, December 13, 2012

Did you know?
Although megillah is a slang word in English, it has perfectly respectable Hebrew origins. Megillah derives from the Yiddish megile, which itself comes from the Hebrew word mĕgillāh, meaning "scroll" or "volume." (Mĕgillāh is especially likely to be used in reference to the Book of Esther, which is read aloud at Purim celebrations.) It makes sense, then, that when megillah first appeared in English in the mid-20th century, it referred to a story that was so long (and often tedious or complicated) that it was reminiscent of the length of the mĕgillāh scrolls. The Hebrew word is serious, but the Yiddish megile can be somewhat playful, and our megillah has also inherited that lightheartedness.

Categories: Fun Stuff

October 12, 1492: Columbus reaches the New World

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

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus' day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world's size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his "Enterprise of the Indies," as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - October 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Imagine a bottle recycling skip, empty other than one lonely bottle.

Every hour, on the hour, people come and put bottles into the skip.

The first hour, at Noon, one person came and put a bottle in.

One hour later, two people placed a bottle each into the skip.

An hour later four people placed a bottle each into the skip.

This doubling of people continued until 11pm, when the skip was finally full.

When was the skip exactly half full?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - October 11 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
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 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

   Duplicate the polygons as closely as you can.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

George Lucas

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable."
Categories: Fun Stuff

James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Steven Wright

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"What's another word for Thesaurus?"
Categories: Fun Stuff