Fun Stuff

P. J. O'Rourke

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Blaise Pascal

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room."
Categories: Fun Stuff

captious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 26, 2015 is:

captious • \KAP-shuss\  • adjective
1 : marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections 2 : calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument

Examples:
Befuddled by the captious question, the suspect broke down and confessed to the crime.

"During the past 15 years Mr. Maxwell has established himself as one of the few sui generis voices in experimental theater, and like all truly original talents, he has been subject to varied and captious interpretations." — Ben Brantley, New York Times, October 24, 2012

Did you know?
If you suspect that captious is a relative of capture and captivate, you're right. All of those words are related to the Latin verb capere, which means "to take." The direct ancestor of captious is captio, a Latin offspring of capere, which literally means "a taking" but which was also used to mean "a deception" or "a sophistic argument." Arguments labeled "captious" are likely to capture you in a figurative sense; they often entrap through subtly deceptive reasoning or trifling points. A captious individual is one who you might also dub "hypercritical," the sort of carping, censorious critic only too ready to point out minor faults or raise objections on trivial grounds.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 26, 1919: Two national parks preserved, 10 years apart

This Day in History - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in history, two national parks were established in the United States 10 years apart--the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929.

Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River. The chasm is exceptionally deep, dropping more than a mile into the earth, and is 15 miles across at its widest point. The canyon is home to more than 1,500 plant species and over 500 animal species, many of them endangered or unique to the area, and it's steep, multi-colored walls tell the story of 2 billion years of Earth's history.

In 1540, members of an expedition sent by the Spanish explorer Coronado became the first Europeans to discover the canyon, though because of its remoteness the area was not further explored until 300 years later. American geologist John Wesley Powell, who popularized the term "Grand Canyon" in the 1870s, became the first person to journey the entire length of the gorge in 1869. The harrowing voyage was made in four rowboats.

In January 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt designated more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon a national monument; it was designated a national park under President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.

Ten years later to the day, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a bill passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress establishing the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Home to some of the most stunning alpine scenery in the United States, the territory in and around Grand Teton National Park also has a colorful human history. The first Anglo-American to see the saw-edged Teton peaks is believed to be John Colter. After traveling with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter left the expedition during its return trip down the Missouri in 1807 to join two fur trappers headed back into the wilderness. He spent the next three years wandering through the northern Rocky Mountains, eventually finding his way into the valley at the base of the Tetons, which would later be called Jackson Hole.

Other adventurers followed in Colter's footsteps, including the French-Canadian trappers who gave the mountain range the bawdy name of "Grand Tetons," meaning "big breasts" in French. For decades trappers, outlaws, traders and Indians passed through Jackson Hole, but it was not until 1887 that settlers established the first permanent habitation. The high northern valley with its short growing season was ill suited to farming, but the early settlers found it ideal for grazing cattle.

Tourists started coming to Jackson Hole not long after the first cattle ranches. Some of the ranchers supplemented their income by catering to "dudes," eastern tenderfoots yearning to experience a little slice of the Old West in the shadow of the stunning Tetons. The tourists began to raise the first concerns about preserving the natural beauty of the region.

In 1916, Horace M. Albright, the director of the National Park Service, was the first to seriously suggest that the region be incorporated into Yellowstone National Park. The ranchers and businesses catering to tourists, however, strongly resisted the suggestion that they be pushed off their lands to make a "museum" of the Old West for eastern tourists.

Finally, after more than a decade of political maneuvering, Grand Teton National Park was created on February 26, 1929. As a concession to the ranchers and tourist operators, the park only encompassed the mountains and a narrow strip at their base. Jackson Hole itself was excluded from the park and designated merely as a scenic preserve. Albright, though, had persuaded the wealthy John D. Rockefeller to begin buying up land in the Jackson Hole area for possible future incorporation into the park. In 1949, Rockefeller donated his land holdings in Jackson Hole to the federal government that then incorporated them into the national park. Today, Grand Teton National Park encompasses 309,993 acres. Working ranches still exist in Jackson Hole, but the local economy is increasingly dependent on services provided to tourists and the wealthy owners of vacation homes.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 25

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:09pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which is longer, 250 centimetres or 8 feet?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 25 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:09pm
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 25

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 9:09pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Diamond Well
   Use your pipe machine to grab the treasures hidden deep in the caves of the Diamond Mountains.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Oscar Wilde

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 6:00pm
"There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating: people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Dame Edna Everage

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 6:00pm
"Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Voltaire

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 6:00pm
"Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Russell Green

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 6:00pm
"The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving."
Categories: Fun Stuff

gourmand

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 02/25/2015 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 25, 2015 is:

gourmand • \GOOR-mahnd\  • noun
1 : one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking 2 : one who is heartily interested in good food and drink

Examples:
Uncle Gerald was a bit of a gourmand; he traveled far and wide to the finest restaurants and always remembered to bring his appetite.

"The dish that caused the grizzled old gourmands at my table to put down their forks in wonder, however, was a helping of dark, softly gnarled sunchokes, which Kornack cooks to a kind of sweetbread tenderness, then plates over a freshly whipped chestnut purée with disks of shaved truffles and the faintest exotic hint of eucalyptus." — Adam Platt, New York Magazine, December 29, 2014

Did you know?
"What God has plagu'd us with this gourmaund guest?" As this exasperated question from Alexander Pope's 18th-century translation of Homer's Odyssey suggests, being a gourmand is not always a good thing. When gourmand began appearing in English texts in the 15th century, it was a decidedly bad thing, a synonym of glutton that was reserved for a greedy eater who consumed well past satiation. That negative connotation mostly remained until English speakers borrowed the similar-sounding (and much more positive) gourmet from French in the 19th century. Since then, the meaning of gourmand has softened so that although it still isn't wholly flattering, it now suggests someone who likes good food in large quantities rather than a slobbering glutton.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 25, 1964: Clay knocks out Liston

This Day in History - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:00pm

On February 25, 1964, 22-year-old Cassius Clay shocks the odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout. The dreaded Liston, who had twice demolished former champ Floyd Patterson in one round, was an 8-to-1 favorite. However, Clay predicted victory, boasting that he would "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" and knock out Liston in the eighth round. The fleet-footed and loquacious youngster needed less time to make good on his claim--Liston, complaining of an injured shoulder, failed to answer the seventh-round bell. A few moments later, a new heavyweight champion was proclaimed.

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942. He started boxing when he was 12 and by age 18 had amassed a record of over 100 wins in amateur competition. In 1959, he won the International Golden Gloves heavyweight title and in 1960 a gold medal in the light heavyweight category at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome. Clay turned professional after the Olympics and went undefeated in his first 19 bouts, earning him the right to challenge Sonny Liston, who had defeated Floyd Patterson in 1962 to win the heavyweight title.

On February 25, 1964, a crowd of 8,300 spectators gathered at the Convention Hall arena in Miami Beach to see if Cassius Clay, who was nicknamed the "Louisville Lip," could put his money where his mouth was. The underdog proved no bragging fraud, and he danced and backpedaled away from Liston's powerful swings while delivering quick and punishing jabs to Liston's head. Liston hurt his shoulder in the first round, injuring some muscles as he swung for and missed his elusive target. By the time he decided to discontinue the bout between the sixth and seventh rounds, he and Clay were about equal in points. A few conjectured that Liston faked the injury and threw the fight, but there was no real evidence, such as a significant change in bidding odds just before the bout, to support this claim.

To celebrate winning the world heavyweight title, Clay went to a private party at a Miami hotel that was attended by his friend Malcolm X, an outspoken leader of the African American Muslim group known as the Nation of Islam. Two days later, a markedly more restrained Clay announced he was joining the Nation of Islam and defended the organization's concept of racial segregation while speaking of the importance of the Muslim religion in his life. Later that year, Clay, who was the descendant of a runaway Kentucky slave, rejected the name originally given to his family by a slave owner and took the Muslim name of Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali would go on to become one of the 20th century's greatest sporting figures, as much for his social and political influence as his prowess in his chosen sport. After successfully defending his title nine times, it was stripped from him in 1967 after he refused induction into the U.S. Army on the grounds that he was a Muslim minister and therefore a conscientious objector. That year, he was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the Selective Service Act but was allowed to remain free as he appealed the decision. His popularity plummeted, but many across the world applauded his bold stand against the Vietnam War.

In 1970, he was allowed to return to the boxing ring, and the next year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali's draft evasion conviction. In 1974, he regained the heavyweight title in a match against George Foreman in Zaire and successfully defended it in a brutal 15-round contest against Joe Frazier in the Philippines in the following year. In 1978, he lost the title to Leon Spinks but later that year defeated Spinks in a rematch, making him the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times. He retired in 1979 but returned to the ring twice in the early 1980s. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with pugilistic Parkinson's syndrome and has suffered a slow decline of his motor functions ever since. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1996, he lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali's daughter, Laila, made her boxing debut in 1999.

At a White House ceremony in November 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 24

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:55pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

I've been quite poorly lately and the doctor has prescribed me a two courses of tablets (Anvilite and Bigoxy) to solve my problem and I must take one of each at the same time, once every day.

These tablets are rather expensive so I've been very careful with them.

Last night I'd just got my Anvilite tablet. I was about to get my Bigoxy tablet when two tablets fell out of the bottle into my hand and joined the Anvilite tablet. This was a major problem for me as all three tablets were identical, the same size, the same weight, and neither had any markings on it. I had to take one of each but I couldn't tell them apart, and they were far too expensive to throw these three tablets away and start again.

What did I do?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 24 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:55pm
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 24

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 8:55pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Spy A Solution
   Help Barry negotiate 20 challenges with increasing difficulty in order to save his job.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ursula K. LeGuin

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:00pm
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Jimmy Buffett

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:00pm
"We are the people our parents warned us about."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Jackie Mason

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:00pm
"I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something."
Categories: Fun Stuff

George Bernard Shaw

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 02/24/2015 - 6:00pm
"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."
Categories: Fun Stuff