Fun Stuff

April 20, 1980: Castro announces Mariel Boatlift

This Day in History - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 11:00pm

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortages caused by the ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard's death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the lushly landscaped gardens at the embassy requesting asylum. Other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, agreed to take a small number of people. But suddenly, two weeks later, Castro proclaimed that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave, as long as they had someone to pick them up. Cuban exiles in the United States rushed to hire boats in Miami and Key West and rescue their relatives.

In all, 125,000 Cubans fled to U.S. shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast guard. Cuban guards had packed boat after boat, without considering safety, making some of the overcrowded boats barely seaworthy. Twenty-seven migrants died, including 14 on an overloaded boat that capsized on May 17.

The boatlift also began to have negative political implications for U.S. President Jimmy Carter. When it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities, many were placed in refugee camps while others were held in federal prisons to undergo deportation hearings. Of the 125,000 "Marielitos," as the refugees came to be known, who landed in Florida, more than 1,700 were jailed and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.

The exodus was finally ended by mutual agreement between the U.S. and Cuban governments in October 1980.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:36pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

BrainBashers electronic pocket word processor is playing up again.

In each of the well know sayings below, every word has one letter that is wrong.

What should each sentence read?

Ill food thinks dust dome so in and.
Chat yog sea it chat yog wet.
Top mane corks smoil tie froth.
Beast sand moonest bended.
Sore sweed yess waste.
Bed sly it fight, shipherd's defight.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 19 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:36pm
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 - April 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 10:36pm
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

Roald Amundsen

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:00pm
"Adventure is just bad planning."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Charles M. Schulz

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:00pm
"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Henry David Thoreau

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:00pm
"Men have become the tools of their tools."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Voltaire

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 7:00pm
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."
Categories: Fun Stuff

oblige

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 19, 2014 is:

oblige • \uh-BLYJE\  • verb
1 : to constrain by physical, moral, or legal force or by the exigencies of circumstance 2 a : to earn the gratitude of b : to do a favor for or do something as a favor

Examples:
"The state's highest court Monday ruled that Long Island guitar-string maker D'Addario & Co. is not obliged to pay $227,000 in interest for reneging on a 2006 real estate deal." — From an article by Joe Ryan in Newsday (Long Island, New York), November 19, 2012

"He was already in Nashville and had left his warm jacket in Jackson. He asked if I could bring it to the airport, since we were on the same flight. I obliged, delivered the jacket and began a friendship that I treasure." — From an article by Dan Morris in the Jackson Sun (Tennessee), March 15, 2014

Did you know?
"Oblige" shares some similarities with its close relative "obligate," but there are also differences. "Oblige" derived via Middle English and Anglo-French from Latin "obligare" ("to bind to"), a combination of "ob-" ("to or toward") and "ligare" ("to bind"), whereas "obligate" descended directly from the past participle of "obligare." Both "oblige" and "obligate" are frequently used in their past participle forms to express a kind of legal or moral constraint. "Obligated" once meant "indebted for a service or favor," but today it typically means "required to do something because the law requires it or because it is the right thing to do." "Obliged" is now the preferred term for the sense that Southern author Flannery O'Connor used in a 1952 letter: "I would be much obliged if you would send me six copies."

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 19, 1897: First Boston Marathon held

This Day in History - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 11:00pm

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the first Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10.

The Boston Marathon was the brainchild of Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf's Mill in Ashland was eventually selected.

Fifteen runners started the race but only 10 made it to the finish line. John J. McDermott, representing the Pastime Athletic Club of New York City, took the lead from Harvard athlete Dick Grant over the hills in Newton. Although he walked several times during the final miles, McDermott still won by a comfortable six-minute, fifty-two-seconds. McDermott had won the only other marathon on U.S. soil the previous October in New York.

The marathon's distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.

The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot's Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In years when the 19th fell on a Sunday, the race was held the following Monday. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.

Women were not allowed to enter the Boston race officially until 1972, but Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb couldn't wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as "K. V. Switzer", was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.

In the fall of 1971, the Amateur Athletics Union permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allow female entry. Nina Kuscsik became the first official female participant to win the Boston Marathon in 1972. Seven other women started and finished that race.

In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 18

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:22pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

The following words have had their vowels removed, can you find the missing animals?

SLTH
RCN
MNKY
LLGTR
LPHNT
LND
GT
BR
BBN
CYT

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 18 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:22pm
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 - April 18

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 10:22pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Solitaire
   Simple version of the classic card game.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Marie Curie

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."
Categories: Fun Stuff

John Updike

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ralph Novak

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"Reading this book is like waiting for the first shoe to drop."
Categories: Fun Stuff

George Iles

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"A superstition is a premature explanation that overstays its time."
Categories: Fun Stuff

lodestar

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 18, 2014 is:

lodestar • \LOHD-stahr\  • noun
: one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide

Examples:
When she started her own business, Melinda used her father's motto—"Trust your instincts"—as her lodestar.

"For a generation of computer programmers, astrophysicists and other scientists, Mr. Munroe and his online comic, xkcd, have been lodestars." — From an article by Noam Cohen in The New York Times, March 17, 2014

Did you know?
The literal, albeit archaic, meaning of "lodestar" is "a star that leads or guides" and it is a term that has been used especially in reference to the North Star. (The first half of the word derives from the Middle English word "lode," meaning "course.") Both the literal and the figurative sense ("an inspiration or guide") date back to the 14th century, the time of Geoffrey Chaucer. The literal sense fell out of use in the 17th century, and so, for a while, did the figurative sense—but it appeared again 170 years later, when Sir Walter Scott used it in his 1813 poem The Bridal of Triermain.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 18, 1906: The Great San Francisco Earthquake

This Day in History - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 11:00pm

At 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, California, killing hundreds of people as it topples numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves could be felt from southern Oregon down to Los Angeles.

San Francisco's brick buildings and wooden Victorian structures were especially devastated. Fires immediately broke out and--because broken water mains prevented firefighters from stopping them--firestorms soon developed citywide. At 7 a.m., U.S. Army troops from Fort Mason reported to the Hall of Justice, and San Francisco Mayor E.E. Schmitz called for the enforcement of a dusk-to-dawn curfew and authorized soldiers to shoot-to-kill anyone found looting. Meanwhile, in the face of significant aftershocks, firefighters and U.S. troops fought desperately to control the ongoing fire, often dynamiting whole city blocks to create firewalls. On April 20, 20,000 refugees trapped by the massive fire were evacuated from the foot of Van Ness Avenue onto the USS Chicago.

By April 23, most fires were extinguished, and authorities commenced the task of rebuilding the devastated metropolis. It was estimated that some 3,000 people died as a result of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and the devastating fires it inflicted upon the city. Almost 30,000 buildings were destroyed, including most of the city's homes and nearly all the central business district.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 17

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 9:19pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Practical Peter was asked to cut a 99 foot rope into three smaller, equal length ropes.

However, as usual, Pete couldn't find his measuring tape so he guessed!

When he finally did find his tape (it was under his hat), he discovered that:

A) the second piece of rope was twice as long as the first piece, minus 35 feet (i.e. 2 x first, - 35).
B) the third piece of rope was half the length of the first, plus 15 feet (i.e. 0.5 x first, + 15)

How long were each of the pieces of rope?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff