Fun Stuff

Anonymous

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Benjamin Stolberg

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"An expert is a person who avoids small error as he sweeps on to the grand fallacy."
Categories: Fun Stuff

King Farouk of Egypt

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 7:00pm
"The whole world is in revolt. Soon there will be only five Kings left--the King of England, the King of Spades, The King of Clubs, the King of Hearts, and the King of Diamonds."
Categories: Fun Stuff

backstairs

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 1:00am

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

backstairs • \BAK-stairz\  • adjective
: secret, furtive; also : sordid, scandalous

Examples:
The article accuses the influential Washington lobbyist of having been involved in a number of backstairs deals to limit regulation of financial institutions.

"During the protracted balloting—it went four rounds before Jackson was declared the winner—backstairs talks began, aimed at stopping Jackson, according to operatives." —Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), May 22, 2013

Did you know?
When Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, wrote in 1654 about leading someone "down a back-stairs," he wasn’t referring to anything scandalous. He simply meant "down a secondary set of stairs at the back of a house." Just over a decade earlier, however, Boyle’s contemporary, Sir Edward Dering, had used the phrase "going up the back-stairs" in a figurative way to suggest a means of approach that was not entirely honest and upfront. The figurative use likely arose from the simple notion that the stairs at the rear of a building are less visible and thus allow for a certain degree of sneakiness. By 1663, "backstairs" was also being used adjectivally to describe something done furtively, often with an underhanded or sinister connotation.

Categories: Fun Stuff

August 18, 1991: Soviet hard-liners launch coup against Gorbachev

This Day in History - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest during a coup by high-ranking members of his own government, military and police forces.

Since becoming secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 and president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1988, Gorbachev had pursued comprehensive reforms of the Soviet system. Combining perestroika ("restructuring") of the economy--including a greater emphasis on free-market policies--and glasnost ("openness") in diplomacy, he greatly improved Soviet relations with Western democracies, particularly the United States. Meanwhile, though, within the USSR, Gorbachev faced powerful critics, including conservative, hard-line politicians and military officials who thought he was driving the Soviet Union toward its downfall and making it a second-rate power. On the other side were even more radical reformers--particularly Boris Yeltsin, president of the most powerful socialist republic, Russia--who complained that Gorbachev was just not working fast enough.

The August 1991 coup was carried out by the hard-line elements within Gorbachev's own administration, as well as the heads of the Soviet army and the KGB, or secret police. Detained at his vacation villa in the Crimea, he was placed under house arrest and pressured to give his resignation, which he refused to do. Claiming Gorbachev was ill, the coup leaders, headed by former vice president Gennady Yanayev, declared a state of emergency and attempted to take control of the government.

Yeltsin and his backers from the Russian parliament then stepped in, calling on the Russian people to strike and protest the coup. When soldiers tried to arrest Yeltsin, they found the way to the parliamentary building blocked by armed and unarmed civilians. Yeltsin himself climbed aboard a tank and spoke through a megaphone, urging the troops not to turn against the people and condemning the coup as a "new reign of terror." The soldiers backed off, some of them choosing to join the resistance. After thousands took the streets to demonstrate, the coup collapsed after only three days.

Gorbachev was released and flown to Moscow, but his regime had been dealt a deadly blow. Over the next few months, he dissolved the Communist Party, granted independence to the Baltic states, and proposed a looser, more economics-based federation among the remaining republics. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned. Yeltsin capitalized on his defeat of the coup, emerging from the rubble of the former Soviet Union as the most powerful figure in Moscow and the leader of the newly formed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 17

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 10:00pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What is represented by this BrainBat?

ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ 2

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 17 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 10:00pm
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 - August 17

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 10:00pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

In The Bucket
   Can you fire all of the balls into the bucket?
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Jimmy Buffett

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 7:00pm
"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Dame Edna Everage

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 7:00pm
"Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 7:00pm
"To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Jules Feiffer

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 7:00pm
"Maturity is only a short break in adolescence."
Categories: Fun Stuff

crazy-quilt

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 17, 2014 is:

crazy-quilt • \KRAY-zee-KWILT\  • adjective
: resembling a patchwork quilt without a design : haphazard

Examples:
"No one questioned her comings and goings; her crazy-quilt schedule was attributed to familial and civic duties." — Toni Cade Bambara, Those Bones Are Not My Child, 1999

"The crazy quilt nature of the music Miles Davis made at the Fillmore in 1970 is one of its best features. His rowdy players showed him other ways to bring the funk." — Kevin Whitehead, National Public Radio, May 16, 2014

Did you know?
A crazy quilt is a quilt with no perceivable design or pattern, lacking repeating motifs, and often made out of discarded scraps of cloth. Shortly after crazy quilts became popular in the late nineteenth century, the term "crazy quilt" found a place in English as a metaphor for things that appear random, unplanned, or out of order; for example, testimony in the 1896 Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association asserted that "We all know that as juries are instructed now, the instructions are a crazy-quilt—just a crazy-quilt, and nothing else." The adjective came about soon afterward. A more common term to describe crazy quilts, "patchwork," also describes something composed of ill-assorted, miscellaneous, or incongruous parts.

Categories: Fun Stuff

August 17, 1969: Woodstock Music Festival concludes

This Day in History - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1969, the grooviest event in music history--the Woodstock Music Festival--draws to a close after three days of peace, love and rock 'n' roll in upstate New York.

Conceived as "Three Days of Peace and Music," Woodstock was a product of a partnership between John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfield and Michael Lang. Their idea was to make enough money from the event to build a recording studio near the arty New York town of Woodstock. When they couldn't find an appropriate venue in the town itself, the promoters decided to hold the festival on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York--some 50 miles from Woodstock--owned by Max Yasgur.

By the time the weekend of the festival arrived, the group had sold a total of 186,000 tickets and expected no more than 200,000 people to show up. By Friday night, however, thousands of eager early arrivals were pushing against the entrance gates. Fearing they could not control the crowds, the promoters made the decision to open the concert to everyone, free of charge. Close to half a million people attended Woodstock, jamming the roads around Bethel with eight miles of traffic.

Soaked by rain and wallowing in the muddy mess of Yasgur's fields, young fans best described as "hippies" euphorically took in the performances of acts like Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The Who performed in the early morning hours of August 17, with Roger Daltrey belting out "See Me, Feel Me," from the now-classic album Tommy just as the sun began to rise. The most memorable moment of the concert for many fans was the closing performance by Jimi Hendrix, who gave a rambling, rocking solo guitar performance of "The Star Spangled Banner."

With not enough bathroom facilities and first-aid tents to accommodate such a huge crowd, many described the atmosphere at the festival as chaotic. There were surprisingly few episodes of violence, though one teenager was accidentally run over and killed by a tractor and another died from a drug overdose. A number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War, a sentiment that was enthusiastically shared by the vast majority of the audience. Later, the term "Woodstock Nation" would be used as a general term to describe the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

A 25th anniversary celebration of Woodstock took place in 1994 in Saugerties, New York. Known as Woodstock II, the concert featured Bob Dylan and Crosby, Stills and Nash as well as newer acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Green Day. Held over another rainy, muddy weekend, the event drew an estimated 300,000 people.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 16

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:46pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

During a recent trip to Scotland, I filled my petrol tank to the top, a total of 10 gallons.

I travelled at 60 mph up the motorway and I knew that I could average 40 miles per gallon.

However, the moment I started, my petrol tank developed a leak and four hours later I ground to a halt having run out of petrol.

How much petrol had I lost through the leak?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 16 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:46pm
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 - August 16

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 9:46pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Path Memory
   Can you memorise the sequence the houses were joined in?
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:00pm
"There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Emo Phillips

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:00pm
"Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Will Rogers

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:00pm
"See what will happen if you don't stop biting your fingernails?"
Categories: Fun Stuff