Fun Stuff

silhouette

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 24, 2014 is:

silhouette • \sil-uh-WET\  • noun
1 a : a picture (as a drawing or cutout) of the outline of an object filled in with a solid usually black color b : a profile portrait done in silhouette 2 : the shape or outline of something; especially : the outline of an object seen or as if seen against the light

Examples:
"The tree-tops rose against the luminous blue sky in inky silhouette, and all below that outline melted into one formless blackness." — H. G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau, 1896

"This is not a season for shoehorning yourself into your pants. Painted-on is out, and loose, slouchy silhouettes are in." — Christine Whitney and Jessica Prince, Harper's Bazaar, April 2014

Did you know?
Before the age of the photograph, the silhouette, either cut from paper or painted, was the most affordable portrait that could be made. The art enjoyed a golden age in the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries, when many people collected them. Although silhouettes were well-loved, the man for whom they were named was not: Étienne de Silhouette was France's finance minister under Louis XV and was notorious for both his frugality and his hobby of making cut-paper shadow portraits. The phrase "à la Silhouette" came to mean "on the cheap," and portraits like the ones he produced were (satirically) bestowed with his name as well.

Categories: Fun Stuff

July 24, 1911: Machu Picchu discovered

This Day in History - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 11:00pm

On July 24, 1911, American archeologist Hiram Bingham gets his first look at Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca settlement in Peru that is now one of the world's top tourist destinations.

Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a summer retreat for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years afterwards, its existence was a secret known only to the peasants living in the region. That all changed in the summer of 1911, when Bingham arrived with a small team of explorers to search for the famous "lost" cities of the Incas.

Traveling on foot and by mule, Bingham and his team made their way from Cuzco into the Urubamba Valley, where a local farmer told them of some ruins located at the top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the mountain Machu Picchu, which meant "Old Peak" in the native Quechua language. The next day--July 24--after a tough climb to the mountain's ridge in cold and drizzly weather, Bingham met a small group of peasants who showed him the rest of the way. Led by an 11-year-old boy, Bingham got his first glimpse of the intricate network of stone terraces marking the entrance to Machu Picchu.

The excited Bingham spread the word about his discovery in a best-selling book, sending hordes of eager tourists flocking to Peru to follow in his footsteps up the Inca trail. The site itself stretches an impressive five miles, with over 3,000 stone steps linking its many different levels. Today, more than 300,000 people tramp through Machu Picchu every year, braving crowds and landslides to see the sun set over the towering stone monuments of the "Sacred City" and marvel at the mysterious splendor of one of the world's most famous man-made wonders.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - July 23

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:15pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What is represented by this BrainBat?

N
W
O
R
G

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - July 23 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:15pm
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 - July 23

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 10:15pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Broken Words
   Try to reassemble the list of words that have been broken into pieces and mixed together.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

E. Joseph Cossman

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:00pm
"Drive-in banks were established so most of the cars today could see their real owners."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ogden Nash

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:00pm
"Middle age is when you've met so many people that every new person you meet reminds you of someone else."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Saint Augustine

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:00pm
"O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Aaron Copland

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 7:00pm
"The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'"
Categories: Fun Stuff

interpolate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 23, 2014 is:

interpolate • \in-TER-puh-layt\  • verb
1 a : to change (as a text) by inserting new or foreign matter b : to insert (words) into a text or into a conversation 2 : to insert (something) between other things or parts : to make insertions 3 : to estimate values of (data or a function) between two known values

Examples:
"Ellis nicely interpolated a harpsichord solo between Bach's two movements…." — Tom Aldridge, NUVO (Indiana), May 18, 2013

"Most scanners can scan at higher resolutions than their maximum optical resolutions by using software to interpolate more dots per inch, but you really aren't getting any better quality." — Jim Rossman, The Virginian-Pilot, June 23, 2014

Did you know?
"Interpolate" comes from Latin "interpolare," a verb with various meanings, among them "to refurbish," "to alter," and "to falsify." "Interpolate" entered English in the 17th century and was applied early on to the alteration (and in many cases corruption) of texts by insertion of additional material. Modern use of "interpolate" still sometimes suggests the insertion of something extraneous or spurious, as in "she interpolated her own comments into the report."

Categories: Fun Stuff

July 23, 1984: Miss America resigns

This Day in History - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1984, 21-year-old Vanessa Williams gives up her Miss America title, the first resignation in the pageant's history, after Penthouse magazine announces plans to publish nude photos of the beauty queen in its September issue. Williams originally made history on September 17, 1983, when she became the first black woman to win the Miss America crown. Miss New Jersey, Suzette Charles, the first runner-up and also an African American, assumed Williams' tiara for the two months that remained of her reign.

Vanessa Lynn Williams was born March 18, 1963, in Millwood, New York, to music teacher parents. She attended Syracuse University and studied musical theater. In 1982, while working a summer job as a receptionist at a modeling agency in Mt. Kisco, New York, photographer Thomas Chiapel took the nude pictures of Williams, telling her they'd be shot in silhouette and that she wouldn't be recognizable. After Williams became Miss America, the photographer sold the pictures to Penthouse without her knowledge. Williams later dropped lawsuits against the magazine and photographer after it was learned that she had signed a model release form at the time the photos were taken.

The Miss America pageant, which prides itself on projecting a wholesome, positive image of women, began in 1921 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as a stunt developed by local businessmen to extend the summer tourist season. In 1945, the Miss America Organization handed out its first scholarship. Today, it provides over $45 million each year in cash and tuition assistance to contestants on the national, state and local levels. In 1954, the competition was broadcast live for the first time. Beginning in the 1980s, contestants were required to have a social platform, such as drunk-driving prevention or AIDS awareness, and Miss America winners now travel an estimated 20,000 miles a month for speaking engagements and public appearances. In 2006, following a decline in TV ratings, the pageant moved from Atlantic City for the first time in its history and took place in Las Vegas, where a new Miss America was crowned in January instead of September.

Vanessa Williams rebounded from the Miss America scandal and went on to a successful entertainment career as an actress and recording artist, performing on Broadway as well as in movies and television and releasing a number of popular albums.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - July 22

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:01pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

This is a well known children's musical piece, the vowels have been removed and the remaining letters have been grouped together.

Can you determine the correct words?

hmpt ydmp tyst nthw llhm ptyd mpty hdgr tfll llth kngs hrss ndll thkn gsmn cldn tpth mpty tgth rgn

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - July 22 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:01pm
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 - July 22

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 10:01pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Squaretron
   Catch as many blue squares as possible while avoiding pink squares at any cost.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ellen DeGeneres

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:00pm
"I gotta work out. I keep saying it all the time. I keep saying I gotta start working out. It's been about two months since I've worked out. And I just don't have the time. Which uh..is odd. Because I have the time to go out to dinner. And uh..and watch tv. And get a bone density test. And uh.. try to figure out what my phone number spells in words."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Mary Wilson Little

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:00pm
"There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Cary Grant

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:00pm
"I improve on misquotation."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Sir Winston Churchill

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 7:00pm
"I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Yooper

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 22, 2014 is:

Yooper • \YOO-per\  • noun
: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — used as a nickname

Examples:
The land of the Yoopers—the Upper Peninsula, or U.P.—is connected to Michigan's Lower Peninsula by means of the Mackinac Bridge.

"Every Yooper I've ever met was an uncommonly unique character—a real salt-of-the-earth townie, skilled at mechanics, deer hunting, and/or ice fishing." — Kelly O, The Stranger, January 29, 2014 – February 4, 2014

Did you know?
The word "Yooper" comes from the common nickname of Michigan's Upper Peninsula—the "U.P."—and the etymology requires the same follow-up question that a challenging joke does: "Get it?" If you're not there yet, try saying them both out loud: Yooper, U.P. Yoopers have been saying both out loud now for about 40 years, but it's only in recent years that those beyond the U.P. and its geographical neighbors have begun to encounter "Yooper" in use. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as "trolls" (they live "under" the Mackinac Bridge, after all), but that nickname is still at this point too regional for entry in our dictionaries.

Categories: Fun Stuff

July 22, 2003: Jessica Lynch gets hero's welcome

This Day in History - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 2003, U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, a prisoner-of-war who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, receives a hero's welcome when she returns to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. The story of the 19-year-old supply clerk, who was captured by Iraqi forces in March 2003, gripped America; however, it was later revealed that some details of Lynch's dramatic capture and rescue might have been exaggerated.

Lynch, who was born April 26, 1983, was part of the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas. On March 23, 2003, just days after the U.S. invaded Iraq, Lynch was riding in a supply convoy when her unit took a wrong turn and was ambushed by Iraqi forces near Nasiriya. Eleven American soldiers died and four others besides Lynch were captured.

Lynch, who sustained multiple broken bones and other injuries when her vehicle crashed during the ambush, was taken to an Iraqi hospital. On April 1, she was rescued by U.S. Special Forces who raided the hospital where she was being held. They also recovered the bodies of eight of Lynch's fellow soldiers. Lynch was taken to a military hospital in Germany for treatment and then returned to the United States.

Lynch's story garnered massive media attention and she became an overnight celebrity. Various reports emerged about Lynch's experience, with some news accounts indicating that even after Lynch was wounded during the ambush she fought back against her captors. However, Lynch later stated that she had been knocked unconscious after her vehicle crashed and couldn't remember the details of what had happened to her. She also said she had not been mistreated by the staff at the Iraqi hospital and they put up no resistance to her rescue. Critics–and Lynch herself–charged the U.S. government with embellishing her story to boost patriotism and help promote the Iraq war.

In August 2003, Lynch received a medical honorable discharge. She collaborated on a book about her experience, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, which was released later that year. In April 2007, Lynch testified before Congress that she had falsely been portrayed as a "little girl Rambo" and the U.S. military had hyped her story for propaganda reasons. According to Lynch: "I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary." She added: "The truth of war is not always easy to hear but is always more heroic than the hype."

Categories: Fun Stuff