Fun Stuff

George Meany

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:00pm
"Anybody who has doubts about the ingenuity or the resourcefulness of a plumber never got a bill from one."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Douglas Adams

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:00pm
"It is no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an Airport' appear."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Unknown

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:00pm
"Fashion is something that goes in one year and out the other."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ambrose Bierce

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 7:00pm
"Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen."
Categories: Fun Stuff

iota

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 25, 2016 is:

iota • \eye-OH-tuh\  • noun

1 : the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet

2 : an infinitesimal amount : jot

Examples:

"The rooms were impeccably decorated, with not an iota of clutter." — Judy DiForte, AnnArbor.com, 21 Mar. 2011

"The 'my way or the highway' representatives couldn't care one iota about those who do not share their specific values and goals." — Diane W. Mufson, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, West Virginia), 21 July 2016

Did you know?

The words iota and jot share a lot more than just a common meaning—both ultimately derive from the same word. When Latin scholars transcribed the Greek name of the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, they spelled it as either iota or jota (the letters i and j were simply variants of each other), and these spellings eventually passed into English as iota and jot. Since the Greek letter iota is the smallest letter of its alphabet, both words eventually came to be used in reference to very small things.



Categories: Fun Stuff

September 25, 1957: Central High School integrated

This Day in History - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 11:00pm

Under escort from the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nine black students enter all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Three weeks earlier, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus had surrounded the school with National Guard troops to prevent its federal court-ordered racial integration. After a tense standoff, President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and sent 1,000 army paratroopers to Little Rock to enforce the court order.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that racial segregation in educational facilities was unconstitutional. Five days later, the Little Rock School Board issued a statement saying it would comply with the decision when the Supreme Court outlined the method and time frame in which desegregation should be implemented.

Arkansas was at the time among the more progressive Southern states in regard to racial issues. The University of Arkansas School of Law was integrated in 1949, and the Little Rock Public Library in 1951. Even before the Supreme Court ordered integration to proceed “with all deliberate speed,” the Little Rock School Board in 1955 unanimously adopted a plan of integration to begin in 1957 at the high school level. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed suit, arguing the plan was too gradual, but a federal judge dismissed the suit, saying that the school board was acting in “utmost good faith.” Meanwhile, Little Rock’s public buses were desegregated. By 1957, seven out of Arkansas’ eight state universities were integrated.

In the spring of 1957, there were 517 black students who lived in the Central High School district. Eighty expressed an interest in attending Central in the fall, and they were interviewed by the Little Rock School Board, which narrowed down the number of candidates to 17. Eight of those students later decided to remain at all-black Horace Mann High School, leaving the “Little Rock Nine” to forge their way into Little Rock’s premier high school.

In August 1957, the newly formed Mother’s League of Central High School won a temporary injunction from the county chancellor to block integration of the school, charging that it “could lead to violence.” Federal District Judge Ronald Davies nullified the injunction on August 30. On September 2, Governor Orval Faubus—a staunch segregationist—called out the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School and prevent integration, ostensibly to prevent the bloodshed he claimed desegregation would cause. The next day, Judge Davies ordered integrated classes to begin on September 4.

That morning, 100 armed National Guard troops encircled Central High School. A mob of 400 white civilians gathered and turned ugly when the black students began to arrive, shouting racial epithets and threatening the teenagers with violence. The National Guard troops refused to let the black students pass and used their clubs to control the crowd. One of the nine, 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, was surrounded by the mob, which threatened to lynch her. She was finally led to safety by a sympathetic white woman.

Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Mann condemned Faubus’ decision to call out the National Guard, but the governor defended his action, reiterating that he did so to prevent violence. The governor also stated that integration would occur in Little Rock when and if a majority of people chose to support it. Faubus’ defiance of Judge Davies’ court order was the first major test of Brown v. Board of Education and the biggest challenge of the federal government’s authority over the states since the Reconstruction Era.

The standoff continued, and on September 20 Judge Davies ruled that Faubus had used the troops to prevent integration, not to preserve law and order as he claimed. Faubus had no choice but to withdraw the National Guard troops. Authority over the explosive situation was put in the hands of the Little Rock Police Department.

On September 23, as a mob of 1,000 whites milled around outside Central High School, the nine black students managed to gain access to a side door. However, the mob became unruly when it learned the black students were inside, and the police evacuated them out of fear for their safety. That evening, President Eisenhower issued a special proclamation calling for opponents of the federal court order to “cease and desist.” On September 24, Little Rock’s mayor sent a telegram to the president asking him to send troops to maintain order and complete the integration process. Eisenhower immediately federalized the Arkansas National Guard and approved the deployment of U.S. troops to Little Rock. That evening, from the White House, the president delivered a nationally televised address in which he explained that he had taken the action to defend the rule of law and prevent “mob rule” and “anarchy.” On September 25, the Little Rock Nine entered the school under heavily armed guard.

Troops remained at Central High School throughout the school year, but still the black students were subjected to verbal and physical assaults from a faction of white students. Melba Patillo, one of the nine, had acid thrown in her eyes, and Elizabeth Eckford was pushed down a flight of stairs. The three male students in the group were subjected to more conventional beatings. Minnijean Brown was suspended after dumping a bowl of chili over the head of a taunting white student. She was later suspended for the rest of the year after continuing to fight back. The other eight students consistently turned the other cheek. On May 27, 1958, Ernest Green, the only senior in the group, became the first black to graduate from Central High School.

Governor Faubus continued to fight the school board’s integration plan, and in September 1958 he ordered Little Rock’s three high schools closed rather than permit integration. Many Little Rock students lost a year of education as the legal fight over desegregation continued. In 1959, a federal court struck down Faubus’ school-closing law, and in August 1959 Little Rock’s white high schools opened a month early with black students in attendance. All grades in Little Rock public schools were finally integrated in 1972.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Albert Einstein

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 7:00pm
"Yes, we have to divide up our time like that, between our politics and our equations. But to me our equations are far more important, for politics are only a matter of present concern. A mathematical equation stands forever."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Voltaire

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 7:00pm
"Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes."
Categories: Fun Stuff

John Gaule

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 7:00pm
"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Frank Zappa

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 7:00pm
"Art is making something out of nothing and selling it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

reconcile

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 24, 2016 is:

reconcile • \REK-un-syle\  • verb

1 a : to restore to friendship or harmony

b : to settle or resolve (differences)

2 : to make consistent or congruous   

3 : to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant

4 : to check (a financial account) against another for accuracy

Examples:

"The trailer shows his earliest struggles to reconcile his religious convictions with his duty to his country, as he gently explains to his Army higher-ups that he can't, and won't, touch a gun." — RollingStone.com, 28 July 2016

"The Korean War veteran—who once made a trip to Pyongyang, North Korea, with a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea to reconcile with his old adversaries—is now penning fundraising emails for Democrats trying to win the U.S. Senate." — Javier Panzar, The Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2016

Did you know?

Adapt, adjust, accommodate, conform, and reconcile all mean to bring one thing into agreement with another. Adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances ("they adapted to the warmer climate"). Adjust suggests bringing something into a close and exact correspondence or harmony ("we adjusted the budget to allow for inflation"). Accommodate may suggest yielding or compromising to form an agreement ("he accommodated his political beliefs in order to win"). Conform suggests coming into accordance with a pattern, example, or principle ("she refused to conform to society's values"). Reconcile implies the demonstration of the underlying compatibility of things that seem to be incompatible ("I tried to reconcile what he said with what I knew").



Categories: Fun Stuff

September 24, 1789: The First Supreme Court

This Day in History - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:00pm

The Judiciary Act of 1789 is passed by Congress and signed by President George Washington, establishing the Supreme Court of the United States as a tribunal made up of six justices who were to serve on the court until death or retirement. That day, President Washington nominated John Jay to preside as chief justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson to be associate justices. On September 26, all six appointments were confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The U.S. Supreme Court was established by Article 3 of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution granted the Supreme Court ultimate jurisdiction over all laws, especially those in which their constitutionality was at issue. The high court was also designated to oversee cases concerning treaties of the United States, foreign diplomats, admiralty practice, and maritime jurisdiction. On February 1, 1790, the first session of the U.S. Supreme Court was held in New York City’s Royal Exchange Building.

The U.S. Supreme Court grew into the most important judicial body in the world in terms of its central place in the American political order. According to the Constitution, the size of the court is set by Congress, and the number of justices varied during the 19th century before stabilizing in 1869 at nine. In times of constitutional crisis, the nation’s highest court has always played a definitive role in resolving, for better or worse, the great issues of the time.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Samuel Johnson

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:00pm
"People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed."
Categories: Fun Stuff

George Burns

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:00pm
"The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tom Masson

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:00pm
"Think of what would happen to us in America if there were no humorists; life would be one long Congressional Record."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Sir William Bragg

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 7:00pm
"God runs electromagnetics by wave theory on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Devil runs them by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday."
Categories: Fun Stuff

mettle

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 23, 2016 is:

mettle • \MET-ul\  • noun

1 a : vigor and strength of spirit or temperament

b : staying quality : stamina

2 : quality of temperament or disposition

Examples:

"People aren't trying to hide their prosthetics like they once did. There is a sense of community, being proud of who you are and showing off your mettle." — Rebekah Spielman, quoted in The San Diego Union Tribune, 21 Aug. 2016

"In the dozen years since Fantasia Barrino claimed victory on 'American Idol,' the singer has more than proved her mettle. She has sold millions of records, released a New York Times best-selling memoir, won a Grammy, anchored a hit reality series and become a Broadway star." — Gerrick D. Kennedy, The Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2016

Did you know?

Originally, mettle was simply a variant spelling of the word metal (which dates to at least the 13th century), and it was used in all of the same senses as its metallic relative. Over time, however, mettle came to be used mainly in figurative senses referring to the quality of someone's character. It eventually became a distinct English word in its own right, losing its literal sense altogether. Metal remained a term primarily used for those hard, shiny substances such as steel or iron, but it also acquired a figurative use. Today, both words can mean "vigor and strength of spirit or temperament," but only metal is used of metallic substances.



Categories: Fun Stuff

September 23, 1875: Billy the Kid arrested for first time

This Day in History - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1875, Billy the Kid is arrested for the first time after stealing a basket of laundry. He later broke out of jail and roamed the American West, eventually earning a reputation as an outlaw and murderer and a rap sheet that allegedly included 21 murders.

The exact details of Billy the Kid’s birth are unknown, other than his name, William Henry McCarty. He was probably born sometime between 1859 and 1861, in Indiana or New York. As a child, he had no relationship with his father and moved around with his family, living in Indiana, Kansas, Colorado and Silver City, New Mexico. His mother died in 1874 and Billy the Kid—who went by a variety of names throughout his life, including Kid Antrim and William Bonney—turned to crime soon afterward.

McCarty did a stint as a horse thief in Arizona before returning to New Mexico, where he hooked up with a gang of gunslingers and cattle rustlers involved in the notorious Lincoln County War between rival rancher and merchant factions in Lincoln County in 1878. Afterward, Billy the Kid, who had a slender build, prominent crooked front teeth and a love of singing, went on the lam and continued his outlaw’s life, stealing cattle and horses, gambling and killing people. His crimes earned him a bounty on his head and he was eventually captured and indicted for killing a sheriff during the Lincoln County War. Billy the Kid was sentenced to hang for his crime; however, a short time later, he managed another jail break, murdering two deputies in the process. Billy the Kid’s freedom was brief, as Sheriff Pat Garrett caught up with the desperado at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, on July 14, 1881, and fatally shot him.

Although his life was short, Billy the Kid’s legend grew following his death. Today he is a famous symbol of the Old West, along with such men as Kit Carson, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, and his story has been mythologized and romanticized in numerous films, books, TV shows and songs. Each year, tourists visit the town of Fort Sumner, located about 160 miles southeast of Albuquerque, to see the Billy the Kid Museum and gravesite.

Categories: Fun Stuff

e e cummings

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 7:00pm
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Katharine Whitehorn

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 7:00pm
"The easiest way for your children to learn about money is for you not to have any."
Categories: Fun Stuff