Fun Stuff

rigmarole

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 09/01/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 01, 2015 is:

rigmarole • \RIG-uh-muh-rol\  • noun
1 : confused or meaningless talk 2 : a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure

Examples:
Rather than go through the annual rigmarole of filling out tax forms, Maureen would rather pay an accountant to do her taxes for her.

"After years of procrastinating, I logged on to my retirement account. Just working my way through the rigmarole of retrieving lost passwords and locating my investments was bad enough." —Sendhil Mullainathan, The New York Times, 11 July 2015

Did you know?
In the Middle Ages, the term Rageman or Ragman referred to a game in which a player randomly selected a string attached to a roll of verses and read the selected verse. The roll was called a Ragman roll after a fictional king purported to be the author of the verses. By the 16th century, ragman and ragman roll were being used figuratively to mean "a list or catalog." Both terms fell out of written use, but ragman roll persisted in speech, and in the 18th century it resurfaced in writing as rigmarole, with the meaning "a succession of confused, meaningless, or foolish statements." In the mid-19th century rigmarole (also spelled rigamarole, reflecting its common pronunciation) acquired its most recent sense, "a complex and ritualistic procedure."

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 31

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 11:29pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What number comes next in this sequence:

15 20 20 6 6 19 19 5 14 ==?==

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 31 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 11:29pm
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 31

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 11:29pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Turbo Truck
   Take your truck out on the huge hills and cliffs.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

September 01, 1864: Atlanta falls to Union forces

This Day in History - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1864, Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman lays siege to Atlanta, Georgia, a critical Confederate hub, shelling civilians and cutting off supply lines. The Confederates retreated, destroying the city’s munitions as they went. On November 15 of that year, Sherman’s troops burned much of the city before continuing their march through the South. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign was one of the most decisive victories of the Civil War.

William Sherman, born May 8, 1820, in Lancaster, Ohio, attended West Point and served in the army before becoming a banker and then president of a military school in Louisiana. When the Civil War broke out in 1861 after 11 Southern slave states seceded from the Union, Sherman joined the Union Army and eventually commanded large numbers of troops, under General Ulysses S. Grant, at the battles of Shiloh (1862), Vicksburg (1863) and Chattanooga (1863). In the spring of 1864, Sherman became supreme commander of the armies in the West and was ordered by Grant to take the city of Atlanta, then a key military supply center and railroad hub for the Confederates.

Sherman’s Atlanta campaign began on May 4, 1864, and in the first few months his troops engaged in several fierce battles with Confederate soldiers on the outskirts of the city, including the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, which the Union forces lost. However, on September 1, Sherman’s men successfully captured Atlanta and continued to defend it through mid-November against Confederate forces led by John Hood. Before he set off on his famous March to the Sea on November 15, Sherman ordered that Atlanta’s military resources, including munitions factories, clothing mills and railway yards, be burned. The fire got out of control and left Atlanta in ruins.

Sherman and 60,000 of his soldiers then headed toward Savannah, Georgia, destroying everything in their path that could help the Confederates. They captured Savannah and completed their March to the Sea on December 23, 1864. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, when the Confederate commander in chief, Robert E. Lee, surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.

After the war, Sherman succeeded Grant as commander in chief of the U.S. Army, serving from 1869 to 1883. Sherman, who is credited with the phrase “war is hell,” died February 14, 1891, in New York City. The city of Atlanta swiftly recovered from the war and became the capital of Georgia in 1868, first on a temporary basis and then permanently by popular vote in 1877.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 7:00pm
"Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Thomas Szasz

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 7:00pm
"When a person can no longer laugh at himself, it is time for others to laugh at him."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Groucho Marx

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 7:00pm
"Go, and never darken my towels again."
Categories: Fun Stuff

De la Lastra's Corollary

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 7:00pm
"After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be discovered that the gasket has been omitted."
Categories: Fun Stuff

vaudeville

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 08/31/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 31, 2015 is:

vaudeville • \VAUD-vil\  • noun
1 : a light often comic theatrical piece frequently combining pantomime, dialogue, dancing, and song 2 : stage entertainment consisting of various acts (such as performing animals, comedians, or singers)

Examples:
Andrew's interest in vaudeville can be traced to his grandparents, who met as performers in the 1920s.

"This show is a throwback to vaudeville, with cheesy humor, plenty of audience participation, classic card tricks, flying arrows, colored live birds, fire, snow, choreography and just plain fun." —Tom Wharton, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 June 2015

Did you know?
In the 15th century, several amusing songs became popular across France. These songs were said to have been written by a man named Olivier Basselin who lived in the valley of the river Vire in northwest France. The songs eventually became known as chansons du vau-de-Vire, meaning "songs of the valley of Vire." Other people began writing and performing similar songs, and as this form of entertainment became more widespread, the link to vau-de-Vire was forgotten, and the nickname was shortened to one word: vaudevire. As the phenomenon spread beyond France, further changes in pronunciation and spelling shifted vaudevire into vaudeville. The meaning also broadened to include humorous performances and variety shows.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 30

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:15pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Sally likes soda very much. At the local convenience store, for 5 empty soda bottles she receives a full bottle.

As part of a local recycling initiative, she manages to collect 77 empty bottles.

How many bottles of soda will she be able to drink in total?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 30 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:15pm
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 30

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:15pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Keep Ups
   How long can you keep the ping-pong ball in the air?
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

August 31, 1980: Polish government signs accord with Gdansk shipyard workers

This Day in History - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1980, representatives of the communist government of Poland agree to the demands of striking shipyard workers in the city of Gdansk. Former electrician Lech Walesa led the striking workers, who went on to form Solidarity, the first independent labor union to develop in a Soviet bloc nation.

In July 1980, facing economic crisis, Poland’s government raised the price of food and other goods, while curbing the growth of wages. The price hikes made it difficult for many Poles to afford basic necessities, and a wave of strikes swept the country. Amid mounting tensions, a popular forklift operator named Anna Walentynowicz was fired from the Lenin Shipyard in the northern Polish city of Gdansk. In mid-August, some 17,000 of the shipyard’s workers began a sit-down strike to campaign for her reinstatement, as well as for a modest increase in wages. They were led by the former shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, who had himself been fired for union activism four years earlier.

Despite governmental censorship and attempts to keep news of the strike from getting out, similar protests broke out in industrial cities throughout Poland. On August 17, an Interfactory Strike Committee presented the Polish government with 21 ambitious demands, including the right to organize independent trade unions, the right to strike, the release of political prisoners and increased freedom of expression. Fearing the general strike would lead to a national revolt, the government sent a commission to Gdansk to negotiate with the rebellious workers. On August 31, Walesa and Deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Jagielski signed an agreement giving in to many of the workers’ demands. Walesa signed the document with a giant ballpoint pen decorated with a picture of the newly elected Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla, the former archbishop of Krakow).

In the wake of the Gdansk strike, leaders of the Interfactory Strike Committee voted to create a single national trade union known as Solidarnosc (Solidarity), which soon evolved into a mass social movement, with a membership of more than 10 million people. Solidarity attracted sympathy from Western leaders and hostility from Moscow, where the Kremlin considered a military invasion of Poland. In late 1981, under Soviet pressure, the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski annulled the recognition of Solidarity and declared martial law in Poland. Some 6,000 Solidarity activists were arrested, including Walesa, who was detained for almost a year. The Solidarity movement moved underground, where it continued to enjoy support from international leaders such as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who imposed sanctions on Poland. Walesa was awarded the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, and after the fall of communism in 1989 he became the first president of Poland ever to be elected by popular vote.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Charles Churchill

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 7:00pm
"A joke's a very serious thing."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Dan Barker

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 7:00pm
"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can�t be taken on its own merits."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Robertson Davies

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 7:00pm
"Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Clyde B. Aster

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 7:00pm
"When someone tells you something defies description, you can be pretty sure he's going to have a go at it anyway."
Categories: Fun Stuff

moot

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 08/30/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 30, 2015 is:

moot • \MOOT\  • adjective
1 a : open to question : debatable b : subjected to discussion : disputed 2 : deprived of practical significance : made abstract or purely academic

Examples:
Since the team would have lost anyway, it's a moot point whether the umpire's call was right or not.

"… all such discussions are moot until both parties are willing to discuss the issue realistically and compromise." —John Melton, letter in The Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, 1 Aug. 2015

Did you know?
Moot derives from gemōt, an Old English name for a judicial court. Originally, moot named either the court itself or an argument that might be debated by one. By the 16th century, the legal role of judicial moots had diminished, and the only remnant of them were "moot courts," academic mock courts in which law students could try hypothetical cases for practice. Back then, moot was also used as a synonym of debatable, but because the cases students tried in moot courts were simply academic exercises, the adjective gained another sense, "deprived of practical significance." Some commentators still frown on the use of moot to mean "purely academic," but most editors now accept it as standard.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 29

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 08/29/2015 - 11:01pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

How many times does the word APPLES appear in this grid? You can move horizontally or vertically one letter at a time.

A P P A L A A P P L E S S P S
P S S P P P A S A P P S E E A
P A E P A P P L E S E A L A P
L A L L P L L A P L A P P P P
E E P L P S P E P A P A P P L
S S P P E P S P S A P P A L E
L E A L L E A S A S P P A E S
P L P E L E P A E E E P L S P
P P S P P A S P P L A L L E A
A P P A P E P P A P P L P E S
P A P P L E S L P P L P P P S
S E L P P A P L A A P E A A A
P E P L P S E L P P A L S P P
S A P P L S A P P L E S E P P
S E L P P A L S E L P P A S L

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff