Fun Stuff

B. F. Skinner

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 7:00pm
"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Joan Baez

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 7:00pm
"The only thing that's been a worse flop than the organization of non-violence has been the organization of violence."
Categories: Fun Stuff

lief

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 03/22/2017 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 22, 2017 is:

lief • \LEEF\  • adverb

: soon, gladly

Examples:

"I'd as lief be in the tightening coils of a boa constrictor as be held by that man," declared Miss Jezebel.

"I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as / lief have been myself alone." — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 1599

Did you know?

Lief began as lēof in Old English and has since appeared in many literary classics, first as an adjective and then as an adverb. It got its big break in the epic poem Beowulf as an adjective meaning "dear" or "beloved." The adverb first appeared in the 13th century, and in 1390, it was used in John Gower's collection of love stories, Confessio Amantis. Since that time, it has graced the pages of works by William Makepeace Thackeray, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and D. H. Lawrence, among others. Today, the adjective is considered to be archaic and the adverb is used much less frequently than in days of yore. It still pops up now and then, however, in the phrases "had as lief," "would as lief," "had liefer," and "would liefer."



Categories: Fun Stuff

March 22, 1765: Stamp Act imposed on American colonies

This Day in History - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 11:00pm

In an effort to raise funds to pay off debts and defend the vast new American territories won from the French in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763), the British government passes the Stamp Act on this day in 1765. The legislation levied a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, from newspapers and pamphlets to playing cards and dice.

Though the Stamp Act employed a strategy that was a common fundraising vehicle in England, it stirred a storm of protest in the colonies. The colonists had recently been hit with three major taxes: the Sugar Act (1764), which levied new duties on imports of textiles, wines, coffee and sugar; the Currency Act (1764), which caused a major decline in the value of the paper money used by colonists; and the Quartering Act (1765), which required colonists to provide food and lodging to British troops.

With the passing of the Stamp Act, the colonists’ grumbling finally became an articulated response to what they saw as the mother country’s attempt to undermine their economic strength and independence. They raised the issue of taxation without representation, and formed societies throughout the colonies to rally against the British government and nobles who sought to exploit the colonies as a source of revenue and raw materials. By October of that year, nine of the 13 colonies sent representatives to the Stamp Act Congress, at which the colonists drafted the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances,” a document that railed against the autocratic policies of the mercantilist British empire.

Realizing that it actually cost more to enforce the Stamp Act in the protesting colonies than it did to abolish it, the British government repealed the tax the following year. The fracas over the Stamp Act, though, helped plant seeds for a far larger movement against the British government and the eventual battle for independence. Most important of these was the formation of the Sons of Liberty–a group of tradesmen who led anti-British protests in Boston and other seaboard cities–and other groups of wealthy landowners who came together from the across the colonies. Well after the Stamp Act was repealed, these societies continued to meet in opposition to what they saw as the abusive policies of the British empire. Out of their meetings, a growing nationalism emerged that would culminate in the fighting of the American Revolution only a decade later.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Lech Walesa

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:00pm
"I'm lazy. But it's the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn't like walking or carrying things. "
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Dame Rose Macaulay

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:00pm
"It is a common delusion that you make things better by talking about them."
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Barry Commoner

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:00pm
"Nothing ever goes away."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Steven Wright

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 7:00pm
"Last night somebody broke into my apartment and replaced everything with exact duplicates... When I pointed it out to my roommate, he said, 'Do I know you?'"
Categories: Fun Stuff

ameliorate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 21, 2017 is:

ameliorate • \uh-MEE-lee-uh-rayt\  • verb

1 : to make better or more tolerable

2 : to grow better : improve

Examples:

Access to clean water would ameliorate living conditions within the village.

"There is one variable that many childhood experts agree can ameliorate the uncertainty in the lives of 'at risk' youths. A caring adult willing to take a few hours a week for a one-on-one relationship with a child or young adult can have an enormous impact on that child's life and future success." — Alice Dubenetsky, The Vermont Eagle, 18 Jan. 2017

Did you know?

Ameliorate traces back to melior, the Latin adjective meaning "better," and is a synonym of the verbs better and improve. When is it better to use ameliorate? If a situation is bad, ameliorate indicates that the conditions have been made more tolerable. Thus, one might refer to drugs that ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy, a loss of wages ameliorated by unemployment benefits, or a harsh law ameliorated by special exceptions. Improve and better apply when something bad is being made better (as in "the weather improved" or "she bettered her lot in life"), and they should certainly be chosen over ameliorate when something good is getting better still ("he improved his successful program," "she bettered her impressive scores").



Categories: Fun Stuff

March 21, 1871: Stanley begins search for Livingstone

This Day in History - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1871, journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his famous search through Africa for the missing British explorer Dr. David Livingstone.

In the late 19th century, Europeans and Americans were deeply fascinated by the “Dark Continent” of Africa and its many mysteries. Few did more to increase Africa’s fame than Livingstone, one of England’s most intrepid explorers. In August 1865, he set out on a planned two-year expedition to find the source of the Nile River. Livingstone also wanted to help bring about the abolition of the slave trade, which was devastating Africa’s population.

Almost six years after his expedition began, little had been heard from Livingstone. James Gordon Bennett, Jr., editor of the New York Herald, decided to capitalize on the public’s craze for news of their hero. He sent Stanley to lead an expedition into the African wilderness to find Livingstone or bring back proof of his death. At age 28, Stanley had his own fascinating past. As a young orphan in Wales, he crossed the Atlantic on the crew of a merchant ship. He jumped ship in New Orleans and later served in the Civil War as both a Confederate and a Union soldier before beginning a career in journalism.

After setting out from Zanzibar in March 1871, Stanley led his caravan of nearly 2,000 men into the interior of Africa. Nearly eight months passed–during which Stanley contracted dysentery, cerebral malaria and smallpox–before the expedition approached the village of Ujiji, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Sick and poverty-stricken, Livingstone had come to Ujiji that July after living for some time at the mercy of Arab slave traders. When Stanley’s caravan entered the village on October 27, flying the American flag, villagers crowded toward the new arrivals. Spotting a white man with a gray beard in the crowd, Stanley stepped toward him and stretched out his hand: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

These words–and Livingstone’s grateful response–soon became famous across Europe and the United States. Though Stanley urged Livingstone to return with him to London, the explorer vowed to continue his original mission. Livingstone died 18 months later in today’s Zambia; his body was embalmed and returned to Britain, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey. As for Stanley, he returned to Africa to fulfill a promise he had made to Livingstone to find the source of the Nile. He later damaged his reputation by accepting money from King Leopold II of Belgium to help create the Belgian-ruled Congo Free State and promote the slave trade. When he left Africa, Stanley resumed his British citizenship and even served in Parliament, but when he died he was refused burial in Westminster Abbey because of his actions in the Congo Free State.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ellen DeGeneres

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 7:00pm
"Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it's worse when they are wearing dark glasses and have streamers in their antlers because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Thomas H. Huxley

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 7:00pm
"Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense, differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club."
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Cary Grant

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 7:00pm
"I improve on misquotation."
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Unknown

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 7:00pm
"I'm not worried about the bullet with my name on it... just the thousands out there marked 'Occupant.'"
Categories: Fun Stuff

hackle

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 03/20/2017 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 20, 2017 is:

hackle • \HACK-ul\  • noun

1 a : one of the long narrow feathers on the neck or back of a bird

b : the neck plumage of the domestic fowl

2 : a comb or board with long metal teeth for dressing flax, hemp, or jute

3 a : (plural) hairs (as on a dog's neck and back) that can be erected

b : (plural) temper, dander

Examples:

The rooster's colorful hackle quivered as it stretched out its neck and began to crow.

"So before you get your hackles up in response to local sales and gas proposals floated up in Helena, consider the significant benefits they could bring to our local cost of living." — The Bozeman (Montana) Daily Chronicle, 14 Feb. 2017

Did you know?

In its earliest uses in the 15th century, hackle denoted either a bird's neck plumage or an instrument used to comb out long fibers of flax, hemp, or jute. Apparently, some folks saw a resemblance between the neck feathers of domestic birds—which, on a male, become erect when the bird is defensive—and the prongs of the comb-like tool. In the 19th century, English speakers extended the word's use to both dogs and people. Like the bird's feathers, the erectile hairs on the back of a dog's neck stand up when the animal is agitated. With humans, use of the word hackles is usually figurative. When you raise someone's hackles, you make them angry or put them on the defensive.



Categories: Fun Stuff

March 20, 1965: LBJ sends federal troops to Alabama

This Day in History - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson notifies Alabama’s Governor George Wallace that he will use federal authority to call up the Alabama National Guard in order to supervise a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Intimidation and discrimination had earlier prevented Selma’s black population–over half the city–from registering and voting. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, a group of 600 demonstrators marched on the capital city of Montgomery to protest this disenfranchisement and the earlier killing of a black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a state trooper. In brutal scenes that were later broadcast on television, state and local police attacked the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. TV viewers far and wide were outraged by the images, and a protest march was organized just two days after “Bloody Sunday” by Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King turned the marchers around, however, rather than carry out the march without federal judicial approval.

After an Alabama federal judge ruled on March 18 that a third march could go ahead, President Johnson and his advisers worked quickly to find a way to ensure the safety of King and his demonstrators on their way from Selma to Montgomery. The most powerful obstacle in their way was Governor Wallace, an outspoken anti-integrationist who was reluctant to spend any state funds on protecting the demonstrators. Hours after promising Johnson–in telephone calls recorded by the White House–that he would call out the Alabama National Guard to maintain order, Wallace went on television and demanded that Johnson send in federal troops instead.

Furious, Johnson told Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to write a press release stating that because Wallace refused to use the 10,000 available guardsmen to preserve order in his state, Johnson himself was calling the guard up and giving them all necessary support. Several days later, 50,000 marchers followed King some 54 miles, under the watchful eyes of state and federal troops. Arriving safely in Montgomery on March 25, they watched King deliver his famous “How Long, Not Long” speech from the steps of the Capitol building. The clash between Johnson and Wallace–and Johnson’s decisive action–was an important turning point in the civil rights movement. Within five months, Congress had passed the Voting Rights Act, which Johnson proudly signed into law on August 6, 1965.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Buck Henry

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 7:00pm
"We need a president who's fluent in at least one language."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Lord Falkland

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 7:00pm
"When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision."
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Groucho Marx

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 7:00pm
"Go, and never darken my towels again."
Categories: Fun Stuff

David Letterman

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 03/19/2017 - 7:00pm
"There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting."
Categories: Fun Stuff