Fun Stuff

November 25, 1952: Mousetrap opens in London

This Day in History - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 11:00pm

“The Mousetrap,” a murder-mystery written by the novelist and playwright Agatha Christie, opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The crowd-pleasing whodunit would go on to become the longest continuously running play in history, with more than 10 million people to date attending its more than 20,000 performances in London’s West End.

When “The Mousetrap” premiered in 1952, Winston Churchill was British prime minister, Joseph Stalin was Soviet ruler, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was president-elect. Christie, already a hugely successful English mystery novelist, originally wrote the drama for Queen Mary, wife of the late King George V. Initially called “Three Blind Mice,” it debuted as a 30-minute radio play on the queen’s 80th birthday in 1947. Christie later extended the play and renamed it “The Mousetrap”—a reference to the play-within-a-play performed in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

On November 25, 1952, 453 people took their seats in the Ambassadors Theatre for the London premiere of Christie’s “Mousetrap.” The drama is played out at “Monkswell Manor,” whose hosts and guests are snowed in among radio reports of a murderer on the loose. Soon a detective shows up on skis with the terrifying news that the murderer, and probably the next victim, are likely both among their number. Soon the clues and false leads pile as high as the snow. At every curtain call, the individual who has been revealed as the murderer steps forward and tells the audience that they are “partners in crime” and should “keep the secret of the whodunit locked in their heart.”

Richard Attenborough and his wife, Sheila Sim, were the first stars of “The Mousetrap.” To date, more than 300 actors and actresses have appeared in the roles of the eight characters. David Raven, who played “Major Metcalf” for 4,575 performances, is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s most durable actor, while Nancy Seabrooke is noted as the world’s most patient understudy for 6,240 performances, or 15 years, as the substitute for “Mrs. Boyle.”

“The Mousetrap” is not considered Christie’s best play, and a prominent stage director once declared that “‘The Mousetrap'” should be abolished by an act of Parliament.” Nevertheless, the show’s popularity has not waned. Asked about its enduring appeal, Christie said, “It is the sort of play you can take anyone to. It is not really frightening. It is not really horrible. It is not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things, and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people.” In 1974, after almost 9,000 shows, the play was moved to St. Martin’s Theatre, where it remains today. Agatha Christie, who wrote scores of best-selling mystery novels, died in 1976.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Booth Tarkington

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 6:00pm
"There are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Robert Frost

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 6:00pm
"The world is full of willing people, some willing to work, the rest willing to let them."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Samuel Goldwyn

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 6:00pm
"I don't want any yes-men around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Thomas A. Edison

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/24/2016 - 6:00pm
"To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk."
Categories: Fun Stuff

riddle

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 24, 2016 is:

riddle • \RID-ul\  • noun

1 : a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed : conundrum, enigma

2 : something or someone difficult to understand

Examples:

Despite Nick's outgoing nature, he doesn't share many details about his background and personal life, so he remains something of a riddle.

"Stewart's books are for children who like mysteries and riddles, and there are many scenes where readers hold their breath in suspense." — Clara Martin, The Clarion-Ledger, 16 Oct. 2016

Did you know?

It is not unusual for words to acquire and lose meanings over time, and riddle is no exception. Old English speakers—who had a variety of spellings for riddle, including hrædels, redelse, and rædelse—used the word as we do today to describe a question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed, but they also used it in the now obsolete senses of "counsel," "consideration," "debate," "conjecture," "interpretation," "imagination," and "example." (Not surprisingly, the Old English source of riddle is a cousin to Old English rǣdan, meaning "to interpret" or "to advise.") By the beginning of the 15th century riddle acquired the sense of "a puzzling or perplexing thing," and in the 17th century it also came to refer to "a puzzling or enigmatic person or being."



Categories: Fun Stuff

riddle

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 24, 2016 is:

riddle • \RID-ul\  • noun

1 : a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed : conundrum, enigma

2 : something or someone difficult to understand

Examples:

Despite Nick's outgoing nature, he doesn't share many details about his background and personal life, so he remains something of a riddle.

"Stewart's books are for children who like mysteries and riddles, and there are many scenes where readers hold their breath in suspense." — Clara Martin, The Clarion-Ledger, 16 Oct. 2016

Did you know?

It is not unusual for words to acquire and lose meanings over time, and riddle is no exception. Old English speakers—who had a variety of spellings for riddle, including hrædels, redelse, and rædelse—used the word as we do today to describe a question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed, but they also used it in the now obsolete senses of "counsel," "consideration," "debate," "conjecture," "interpretation," "imagination," and "example." (Not surprisingly, the Old English source of riddle is a cousin to Old English rǣdan, meaning "to interpret" or "to advise.") By the beginning of the 15th century riddle acquired the sense of "a puzzling or perplexing thing," and in the 17th century it also came to refer to "a puzzling or enigmatic person or being."



Categories: Fun Stuff

November 24, 1859: Origin of Species is published

This Day in History - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 11:00pm

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation, thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.

Darwin, who was influenced by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Mathus, acquired most of the evidence for his theory during a five-year surveying expedition aboard the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. Visiting such diverse places as the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, Darwin acquired an intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geology of many lands. This information, along with his studies in variation and interbreeding after returning to England, proved invaluable in the development of his theory of organic evolution.

The idea of organic evolution was not new. It had been suggested earlier by, among others, Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a distinguished English scientist, and Lamarck, who in the early 19th century drew the first evolutionary diagram—a ladder leading from one-celled organisms to man. However, it was not until Darwin that science presented a practical explanation for the phenomenon of evolution.

Darwin had formulated his theory of natural selection by 1844, but he was wary to reveal his thesis to the public because it so obviously contradicted the biblical account of creation. In 1858, with Darwin still remaining silent about his findings, the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace independently published a paper that essentially summarized his theory. Darwin and Wallace gave a joint lecture on evolution before the Linnean Society of London in July 1858, and Darwin prepared On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection for publication.

Published on November 24, 1859, Origin of Species sold out immediately. Most scientists quickly embraced the theory that solved so many puzzles of biological science, but orthodox Christians condemned the work as heresy. Controversy over Darwin’s ideas deepened with the publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he presented evidence of man’s evolution from apes.

By the time of Darwin’s death in 1882, his theory of evolution was generally accepted. In honor of his scientific work, he was buried in Westminster Abbey beside kings, queens, and other illustrious figures from British history. Subsequent developments in genetics and molecular biology led to modifications in accepted evolutionary theory, but Darwin’s ideas remain central to the field.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Frank Zappa

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 6:00pm
"Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Voltaire

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 6:00pm
"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Andy Rooney

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 6:00pm
"Making duplicate copies and computer printouts of things no one wanted even one of in the first place is giving America a new sense of purpose."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Oscar Wilde

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 6:00pm
"Only the shallow know themselves."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - January 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 1:44pm
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 - 1:44pm
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 - 1:44pm
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 - 1:44pm
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BrainBashers RSS Feed - Unsubscribe?

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 01/11/2016 - 1:44pm
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Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - January 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 7:34pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What is represented by this BrainBat?

ENO ERAUQS OT

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - January 10 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 7:34pm
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 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 01/10/2016 - 7:34pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Diamond Detonation
   Use the arrow keys to move your character around the crazy jewel mine maze picking up gems.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff