Fun Stuff

September 8, 1974: Ford pardons Nixon

This Day in History - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 11:00pm

In a controversial executive action, President Gerald Ford pardons his disgraced predecessor Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed or participated in while in office. Ford later defended this action before the House Judiciary Committee, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.

The Watergate scandal erupted after it was revealed that Nixon and his aides had engaged in illegal activities during his reelection campaign--and then attempted to cover up evidence of wrongdoing. With impeachment proceedings underway against him in Congress, Nixon bowed to public pressure and became the first American president to resign. At noon on August 9, Nixon officially ended his term, departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."

Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration's wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. Exactly one month after Nixon announced his resignation, Ford issued the former president a "full, free and absolute" pardon for any crimes he committed while in office. The pardon was widely condemned at the time.

Decades later, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation presented its 2001 Profile in Courage Award to Gerald Ford for his 1974 pardon of Nixon. In pardoning Nixon, said the foundation, Ford placed his love of country ahead of his own political future and brought needed closure to the divisive Watergate affair. Ford left politics after losing the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter. Ford died on December 26, 2006, at the age of 93.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - September 7

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 8:48pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Last week, I travelled from London to Stoke.

On the first day I travelled one half of the distance.

On day two, I travelled one third of the remaining distance.

On day three, I travelled three quarters of the remaining distance.

Yesterday I travelled one half of the remaining distance.

I now have 5 miles left to travel.

How far is it from Stoke to London in total?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - September 7 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 8:48pm
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 - September 7

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 8:48pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Best Friends Forever 3
   Help the three friends escape each level by having them work together.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

George Bernard Shaw

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 7:00pm
"A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Samuel Johnson

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 7:00pm
"Silence propagates itself, and the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find anything to say."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Barbara Tober

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 7:00pm
"Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Greek Proverb

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 7:00pm
"First secure an independent income, then practice virtue."
Categories: Fun Stuff

tantamount

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 09/07/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 07, 2014 is:

tantamount • \TAN-tuh-mount\  • adjective
: equivalent in value, significance, or effect

Examples:
The boss had told Morris that he was being reassigned to the shipping department, and he knew that it was tantamount to a demotion.

"Mrs. Clinton declined an invitation to speak, organizers said. Democratic analysts said that was no surprise—for her to attend such a gathering would have been tantamount to announcing a presidential run, which she is not yet ready to do." — Sheryl Gay Stolberg, The New York Times, July 19, 2014

Did you know?
Tantamount comes from the Anglo-French phrase tant amunter, meaning "to amount to as much." This phrase comes from the Old French tant, meaning "so much" or "as much," and amounter, meaning "to ascend" or "to add up to." When tantamount first entered English, it was used similarly to the Anglo-French phrase, as a verb meaning "to be equivalent." "His not denying tant-amounteth to the affirming of the matter," wrote clergyman Thomas Fuller in 1659, for example. There was also a noun tantamount in the 17th century, but the adjective is the only commonly used form of the term nowadays.

Categories: Fun Stuff

September 7, 1813: United States nicknamed Uncle Sam

This Day in History - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1813, the United States gets its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812. Wilson (1766-1854) stamped the barrels with "U.S." for United States, but soldiers began referring to the grub as "Uncle Sam's." The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.

In the late 1860s and 1870s, political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) began popularizing the image of Uncle Sam. Nast continued to evolve the image, eventually giving Sam the white beard and stars-and-stripes suit that are associated with the character today. The German-born Nast was also credited with creating the modern image of Santa Claus as well as coming up with the donkey as a symbol for the Democratic Party and the elephant as a symbol for the Republicans. Nast also famously lampooned the corruption of New York City's Tammany Hall in his editorial cartoons and was, in part, responsible for the downfall of Tammany leader William Tweed.

Perhaps the most famous image of Uncle Sam was created by artist James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960). In Flagg's version, Uncle Sam wears a tall top hat and blue jacket and is pointing straight ahead at the viewer. During World War I, this portrait of Sam with the words "I Want You For The U.S. Army" was used as a recruiting poster. The image, which became immensely popular, was first used on the cover of Leslie's Weekly in July 1916 with the title "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?" The poster was widely distributed and has subsequently been re-used numerous times with different captions.

In September 1961, the U.S. Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as "the progenitor of America's national symbol of Uncle Sam." Wilson died at age 88 in 1854, and was buried next to his wife Betsey Mann in the Oakwood Cemetery in Troy, New York, the town that calls itself "The Home of Uncle Sam."

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - September 6

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 8:34pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Can you find a five letter word that can suffix (go after) each of these letters:

re
deva
rein
over
inter
under

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - September 6 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 8:34pm
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 - September 6

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 8:34pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Iron Works
   You have the red-hot task of matching molten balls of colour as they come off the assembly line.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Andre Gide

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 7:00pm
"Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Rita Rudner

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 7:00pm
"Someday I want to be rich. Some people get so rich they lose all respect for humanity. That's how rich I want to be."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 7:00pm
"I despise the pleasure of pleasing people that I despise."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Oscar Levant

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 7:00pm
"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character."
Categories: Fun Stuff

disjunctive

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 09/06/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 06, 2014 is:

disjunctive • \diss-JUNK-tiv\  • adjective
1 a : relating to, being, or forming a logical disjunction b : expressing an alternative or opposition between meanings of the words connected c : expressed by mutually exclusive alternatives joined by or 2 : marked by breaks or disunity

Examples:
The detective walked into the interrogation room and bluntly asked the disjunctive question, "Were you with her on the night of the murder, or were you not?"

"I was not put off by the disjointed narrative—I was riveted by the character and the music—which I grew up with and adore. And while the film makes disjunctive cuts, especially from a pivotal backstage encounter with Brown's mother …, when we do return to the scene, the emotional payoff is there." — Anne Thomas, IndieWire, August 4, 2014

Did you know?
Disjunctive comes to us from disjunctus, the past participle of the Latin verb disjungere, meaning "to disjoin," and it is commonly used to describe things marked by breaks or separation, as in "a disjunctive account of events." Some people may be familiar with disjunctive conjunctions—like or, either… or, but, and though—which express an alternative or opposition between the meanings of the words connected. The opposite of such conjunctions are copulative conjunctions, which unite words or phrases—the principal one in English being and. In linguistics, disjunctive may also denote a vowel inserted in the body of a word to aid in pronunciation. For example, the schwa sometimes found in athlete is considered disjunctive.

Categories: Fun Stuff

September 6, 1915: First tank produced

This Day in History - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1915, a prototype tank nicknamed Little Willie rolls off the assembly line in England. Little Willie was far from an overnight success. It weighed 14 tons, got stuck in trenches and crawled over rough terrain at only two miles per hour. However, improvements were made to the original prototype and tanks eventually transformed military battlefields.

The British developed the tank in response to the trench warfare of World War I. In 1914, a British army colonel named Ernest Swinton and William Hankey, secretary of the Committee for Imperial Defence, championed the idea of an armored vehicle with conveyor-belt-like tracks over its wheels that could break through enemy lines and traverse difficult territory. The men appealed to British navy minister Winston Churchill, who believed in the concept of a "land boat" and organized a Landships Committee to begin developing a prototype. To keep the project secret from enemies, production workers were reportedly told the vehicles they were building would be used to carry water on the battlefield (alternate theories suggest the shells of the new vehicles resembled water tanks). Either way, the new vehicles were shipped in crates labeled "tank" and the name stuck.

The first tank prototype, Little Willie, was unveiled in September 1915. Following its underwhelming performance--it was slow, became overheated and couldn’t cross trenches--a second prototype, known as "Big Willie," was produced. By 1916, this armored vehicle was deemed ready for battle and made its debut at the First Battle of the Somme near Courcelette, France, on September 15 of that year. Known as the Mark I, this first batch of tanks was hot, noisy and unwieldy and suffered mechanical malfunctions on the battlefield; nevertheless, people realized the tank's potential. Further design improvements were made and at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, 400 Mark IV’s proved much more successful than the Mark I, capturing 8,000 enemy troops and 100 guns.

Tanks rapidly became an important military weapon. During World War II, they played a prominent role across numerous battlefields. More recently, tanks have been essential for desert combat during the conflicts in the Persian Gulf.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - September 5

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 09/05/2014 - 8:20pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which are there more of: rolls in a dozen baker's dozen or hours in a week?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff