Fun Stuff

H. Mumford Jones

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 7:00pm
"Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ambrose Bierce

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 7:00pm
"Absurdity, n.: A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion."
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 21, 2016 is:

litany • \LIT-uh-nee\  • noun

1 : a prayer consisting of a series of invocations and supplications by the leader with alternate responses by the congregation

2 a : a resonant or repetitive chant

b : a usually lengthy recitation or enumeration

c : a sizable series or set


"In a silent inner litany, I say 'thank you' for the magnificent gifts of a healthy body: lungs that breathe the cool, foggy air; a nose that smells eucalyptus leaves and banana muffins; eyes that see hummingbirds swooping outside my window; a tongue that has just savored a golden, juicy peach." — Anne Cushman, The Yoga Journal, January/February 2004

"A litany of NFL stars have retired early in recent years, with most of them citing the dangers of football as the primary reason they decided to hang it up." — Alex Reimer, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2016

Did you know?

Litany came to English through Anglo-French and Late Latin, ultimately from the Greek word litaneia, meaning "entreaty." Litany refers literally to a type of prayer in which a series of lines are spoken alternately by a leader and a congregation. This use dates to the 13th century. Between that century and the 20th, three figurative senses developed. The chant-like quality of a literal litany led first to a "repetitive chant" sense. Next, the repetitious—and sometimes interminable—nature of the original litany led to a "lengthy recitation" sense. Finally, the "lengthy recitation" sense was extended to refer to any sizable series or set.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 21, 753: Rome founded

This Day in History - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 11:00pm

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, found Rome on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf as orphaned infants. Actually, the Romulus and Remus myth originated sometime in the fourth century B.C., and the exact date of Rome’s founding was set by the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro in the first century B.C.

According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia, the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa. Alba Longa was a mythical city located in the Alban Hills southeast of what would become Rome. Before the birth of the twins, Numitor was deposed by his younger brother Amulius, who forced Rhea to become a vestal virgin so that she would not give birth to rival claimants to his title. However, Rhea was impregnated by the war god Mars and gave birth to Romulus and Remus. Amulius ordered the infants drowned in the Tiber, but they survived and washed ashore at the foot of the Palatine hill, where they were suckled by a she-wolf until they were found by the shepherd Faustulus.

Reared by Faustulus and his wife, the twins later became leaders of a band of young shepherd warriors. After learning their true identity, they attacked Alba Longa, killed the wicked Amulius, and restored their grandfather to the throne. The twins then decided to found a town on the site where they had been saved as infants. They soon became involved in a petty quarrel, however, and Remus was slain by his brother. Romulus then became ruler of the settlement, which was named “Rome” after him.

To populate his town, Romulus offered asylum to fugitives and exiles. Rome lacked women, however, so Romulus invited the neighboring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women. A war then ensued, but the Sabine women intervened to prevent the Sabine men from seizing Rome. A peace treaty was drawn up, and the communities merged under the joint rule of Romulus and the Sabine king, Titus Tatius. Tatius’ early death, perhaps perpetrated by Romulus, left the Roman as the sole king again. After a long and successful rule, Romulus died under obscure circumstances. Many Romans believed he was changed into a god and worshipped him as the deity Quirinus. After Romulus, there were six more kings of Rome, the last three believed to be Etruscans. Around 509 B.C., the Roman republic was established.

Another Roman foundation legend, which has its origins in ancient Greece, tells of how the mythical Trojan Aeneas founded Lavinium and started a dynasty that would lead to the birth of Romulus and Remus several centuries later. In the Iliad, an epic Greek poem probably composed by Homer in the eighth century B.C., Aeneas was the only major Trojan hero to survive the Greek destruction of Troy. A passage told of how he and his descendants would rule the Trojans, but since there was no record of any such dynasty in Troy, Greek scholars proposed that Aeneas and his followers relocated.

In the fifth century B.C., a few Greek historians speculated that Aeneas settled at Rome, which was then still a small city-state. In the fourth century B.C., Rome began to expand within the Italian peninsula, and Romans, coming into greater contact with the Greeks, embraced the suggestion that Aeneas had a role in the foundation of their great city. In the first century B.C., the Roman poet Virgil developed the Aeneas myth in his epic poem the Aeneid, which told of Aeneas’ journey to Rome. Augustus, the first Roman emperor and emperor during Virgil’s time, and Julius Caesar, his great-uncle and predecessor as Roman ruler, were said to be descended from Aeneas.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Thomas Fuller

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 7:00pm
"Many would be cowards if they had courage enough."
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Bertrand Russell

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 7:00pm
"Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim."
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Doug Larson

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 7:00pm
"If the English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur."
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Vilhjalmur Stefansson

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 7:00pm
"What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public."
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 04/20/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 20, 2016 is:

piebald • \PYE-bawld\  • adjective

1 : composed of incongruous parts

2 : of different colors; especially : spotted or blotched with black and white


The horse she most enjoys riding is a sleek, leggy piebald mare.

"What they did find, though, were some surprise photos of a piebald deer, something few people ever get to see in the woods." — Brenda Charpentier, The New Hampshire Sunday News, 3 Jan. 2016

Did you know?

To many people, the noisy black and white birds that go by the scientific name Pica pica—better known as magpies—are nothing but pests. But the Latin root that was adopted for their name isn't a linguistic nuisance; it played an important role in the development of piebald. The pie of piebald (pie is another name for a magpie) derives from pica, which is Latin for "magpie." The other part of piebald comes from the word bald, which can mean "marked with white"; it can also be found in skewbald, an adjective used to describe animals marked with patches of white and any other color but black.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 20, 1980: Castro announces Mariel Boatlift

This Day in History - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 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 shortagescaused bythe 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 Statesrushed 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-sevenmigrants 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 theU.S. andCubangovernments in October 1980.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Mickey Mantle

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 7:00pm
"If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Henry Fielding

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 7:00pm
"A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not."
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Jane Wagner

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 7:00pm
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself."
Categories: Fun Stuff

G. K. Chesterton

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 7:00pm
"Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist."
Categories: Fun Stuff


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 19, 2016 is:

koine • \koy-NAY\  • noun

1 : the Greek language commonly spoken and written in eastern Mediterranean countries in the Hellenistic and Roman periods

2 : a dialect or language of a region that has become the common or standard language of a larger area


"Examples of koines … include the Hindi/Bhojpuri varieties spoken in Fiji and South Africa, and the speech of 'new towns' such as Høyanger in Norway and Milton Keynes in England." — Paul Kerswill, in The Handbook of Language Variation and Change, 2013

"Hedrick has taken 30 hours of ancient languages—rendering him proficient in koine Greek, Aramaic and ancient Hebrew—and he tutored students in those subjects while in Greece." — Angela Spencer,, 28 Feb. 2016

Did you know?

Koine, which means "common" or "shared" in Greek, was the language spoken in the eastern Mediterranean countries from the 4th century B.C.E. until the time of the Byzantine emperor Justinian (mid-6th century C.E.). In linguistics, the word koine is applied to a language developed from contact between dialects of the same language over a large region. Basically, a koine adopts those grammatical and lexical elements from the dialects of the region that are easily recognized by most area speakers and dispenses with those that are not.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 19, 1897: First Boston Marathon held

This Day in History - Mon, 04/18/2016 - 11:00pm

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the firstBoston Marathonwith a time of2:55:10.

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 enterthe Boston race officiallyuntil 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 allowfemale 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 - January 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 2:44pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Geoff and I were playing on the roundabout at the local park.

It was very large and we stood on opposite sides and we spun the roundabout anti-clockwise.

I then threw a ball at Geoff.

Did the ball go to Geoff, or did it go to the right of him or the left of him?

A roundabout is similar to a merry-go-round or carousel, but smaller.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - January 11 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 2:44pm
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 - January 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 2:44pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Maya Boom
   Place bombs to rid the baddies using the explosions, while keeping the good guys alive.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

BrainBashers RSS Feed - Important Notice

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 2:44pm
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Categories: Fun Stuff