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  1. 1 point
    What's the Word: VEDETTE pronunciation: [və-DET] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 17th century Meaning: 1. (Historical) A mounted sentry positioned beyond an army's outposts to observe the movements of the enemy. 2. A leading star of stage, screen, or television. Example: "Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, two of the biggest action movie vedettes at the show, presented an award together." "My grandmother used to read me celebrity gossip magazines like “Allo Vedettes” so we could talk about Quebec’s biggest vedettes." About Vedette “Vedette” is taken from French, where the word was based on the Italian “vedetta,” meaning “lookout” or “patrol.” Did you Know? “Vedette” has seen a swap in meaning since it entered English in the 17th century. In its early forms, “vedette” referred to an advance sentry outside an army’s encampment who kept tabs on the enemy. Instead of referring to those performing surveillance, “vedette” now refers to those people who are watched and seen: celebrities. Though considered outdated in France, “vedette” is still widely used in Canada’s French-speaking province Quebec, where it often celebrates “vedettes de chez nous,” or “major stars of our own.”
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    I guess Prima Doll and Buchigire have, though less in a sense of "AOTY" and more "huh, they have some cool little ideas I'd like to steal for my own setting". We'll ramble about them later this moth, so I don't want to spoil too much. Other then that - the most liked ones are Call of the Night and Summertime Render, at least on a storytelling level. Speaking of: This week, Anti rambles about Call of the Night
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    Fact of the Day - CARICATURISTS Did you know.. A famous caricaturist hid the name of his daughter in his drawings for decades as a game. Some caricaturists, whether in celebrity restaurants or theme parks, face customers who are less than thrilled with their portraits, but to be drawn by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld was considered an honor. Hirschfeld began working with The New York Times in 1929, often drawing the stars of Broadway and Hollywood, but it wasn’t until the birth of his daughter Nina in 1945 that a now-legendary game began. In many of his drawings following her birth, for the Times and other prominent publications, Hirschfeld hid his daughter’s name “in folds of sleeves, tousled hairdos, eyebrows, wrinkles, backgrounds, shoelaces — anywhere to make it difficult, but not too difficult, to find,” Hirschfeld once said. Next to his signature, the artist included the number of times “Nina” appeared throughout the image. This tradition inspired an unofficial puzzle for decades, as readers scanned Hirschfeld’s work to find each and every “Nina” — and this included Hirschfeld himself. According to his foundation’s website, the artist became so accustomed to adding his daughter’s name as part of his artistic process that he often had to go back through the piece and find every hidden “Nina” for himself in order to come up with the total count. Hirschfeld continued this tradition for nearly 60 years, until his death at the age of 99 in 2003. A computer programmer built an algorithm for finding Waldo in “Where’s Waldo?” When it comes to hiding secrets in illustrations, nothing compares to Where’s Waldo? First published in Britain in 1987 under the title Where’s Wally? (it’s still called that in the U.K.), this famous series of books follows the bespectacled and candy cane-colored Waldo through various adventures as he hides among artist Martin Handford’s amazingly detailed illustrations. “As I work my way through a picture, I add Wally when I come to what I feel is a good place to hide him,” Handford once told the publisher Scholastic. Because Waldo’s location is random in all the original 68 illustrations in Handford’s original seven books, any sort of sleuthing strategy seems impossible. Well, almost impossible. In 2015, a doctoral student named Randal Olson from Michigan State University’s High-Performance Computing Center developed a computer algorithm for locating Waldo. By performing a “kernel density estimation” on Waldo’s 68 locations, Olson developed a few simple tips. For example, Waldo never appears in the top left corner, bottom right corner, or near the edges of either page. Then, Olson developed an algorithm for scanning a typical Waldo spread, including step-by-step processes for which parts of the page to scan first. When the algorithm was put to the test, Olson says he spotted Waldo in most spreads in less than 10 seconds. However, some “outlier” illustrations took a bit longer, proving Waldo can still stump both man and machine. ( Interesting Facts ) Secrets of Caricature Artists By Lela Nargi | May 25, 2018 The word caricature likely conjures up images of street artists on boardwalks or outside museums working up quick, humorous sketches of visitors, to the delight or dismay of their subjects. But the exaggerated illustrations of caricature include a lot more than what you see on the boardwalk—and can be more art than kitsch. We spoke to three experts in the field about the subjects caricature artists love and hate to depict, the best way to make their job harder, what they do if you don't like their drawing, and how they can tell when you really don't want to sit for a portrait. 1. THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW IT'S OLDER THAN YOU THINK. Some of the greatest artists in history practiced caricature as a means to develop their skills. Eileen Owens, curator of "Biting Wit and Brazen Folly: British Satirical Prints, 1780s–1830s" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, says Leonardo da Vinci was one of the first artists to use caricature, in the “grotesque” sketches of unusual faces and heads that populated his notebooks. (His 16th-century biographer, Giorgio Vasari, wrote that Leonardo was “so delighted when he saw curious heads, whether bearded or hairy, that he would follow anyone who had thus attracted his attention for a whole day.”) Many other well-established Renaissance artists dabbled in caricature on the side, as breaks from their rigorous training: "It was a lot more huge noses, big hair, ways to poke fun at faces. You had to be adept at drawing to know how to exaggerate," Owens says. The form gained momentum in late-17th century Italy, when Pier Leone Ghezzi “started making funny little drawings that poked fun at well-to-do Romans and tourists,” according to Owens. From there, it spread to Britain, where it became so popular that publishing companies sprung up for the sole purpose of printing caricatures. Publishers also rented out portfolios of caricatures by the day, and hung prints in their windows, to which crowds flocked to see the latest depictions of a buffoonish Napoleon and laughable upper-crust fashions. Owens says, “This was your chance to keep up with the gossip—kind of like People magazine today.” 2. MANY OF THEM ARE SELF-TAUGHT. Lots of caricature artists learn on the job, in part because there's not a ton of specific training available. Illustrator Tom Richmond, who spoofs movies for MAD Magazine (among other gigs), says, "Only a handful of art schools teach cartooning or caricature as a major part of curriculum, so it's hard to find instruction on how to do it. Caricature is such a specialized sort of thing, and diverse; you can’t teach it like you teach people how to draw comics, where [there's] storytelling technique and sequential art tricks and a science behind it, so to speak." Overall, what Richmond and others strive for is to “translate [your] art skill [into caricature], really lean into it—no matter how you practice.” 3. IT CAN BE GREAT TRAINING FOR OTHER ART FORMS. Richmond says that when he teaches at workshops around the country, he always recommends—no matter what facet of the industry they are interested in—that students try their hand at live drawing, "maybe even volunteer at the local homecoming or draw for free at a daycare center." Having to work quickly with a model in front of you develops a sensitivity to gesture, to how the body leans and how weight is distributed, that's different from the skills you get "shading something for hours," Richmond explains. When you "go back to doing longer pieces, you've got an inner eye that sees things you missed before. It's great discipline for the developing eye." 4. THEY’RE NOT (NECESSARILY) OUT TO MOCK YOU. Caricatures have been defined as "portrait with the volume turned up." But that doesn't mean they have to be mean-spirited. Richmond says, “Caricature is a depiction of someone in a humorous way, but at its best it has a narrative behind it—you’re pointing out something about their presence, not just making fun of their features.” He explains that he’s not examining someone’s face to find a nose or a chin or dimples to blow out of proportion, but "trying to understand who you are as a person and exaggerate that.” "I want to make [clients] smile or laugh," says CeCe Holt, who sketches at events and amusement parks, and is also business manager for the non-profit International Society of Caricature Artists (ISCA). "I never want to make anybody cry." 5. THEY DON’T SWEAT IT WHEN SOMEONE DOESN’T LIKE THEIR LIKENESS … Just because caricaturists strive to capture your essence doesn't mean you're going to like it. People can be in denial about their appearance, with a radically different idea of their weight, for instance, or even whether they have freckles. In Holt’s experience, party guests usually don’t make a fuss about their caricatures, since they haven’t directly paid for them. But when the occasional amusement park patron kicks up a fuss, “I just say I’m sorry and move on to the next person.” Richmond is similarly blasé, pointing out that when a caricaturist is drawing a quick sketch for $15, the occasional bad portrait is bound to sneak in. "Sometimes they refuse to pay, or come back later and want their money back. Live caricature can be hair-raising, which is why I prefer working with art directors." 6. … BUT SOMETIMES CUSTOMERS RETALIATE. Occasionally, customers do try to turn the tables. Ipecacxink, a caricature artist at a Midwest theme park, writes in a Reddit AMA about a boy she accidentally made very upset with her drawing. "I went to lunch right after I did it. Apparently while I was gone, he came back and drew a circle with spikey hair, glasses, and frowny eyebrows and a note that said, 'How do you like someone making fun of you?!' under it. He then placed it on my chair. It was hilarious. I saved it." At Sardi's—the Times Square tourist destination known for its wall of caricatures—some of the celebrities depicted have gotten mad enough to take down their pictures, the restaurant's owner told AMNew York. It used to be that the in-house caricaturist (who's paid in meals instead of money) would hand over unfinished versions to the subjects first, to get the seal of approval, before going on to later exaggerate their features. That's stopped, but these days the caricatures have become less humorous, and more like regular portraits—which helps keep the peace between the restaurant and its famous clientele. Want to read more on caricaturists? Click the link Below Source: Brief Facts About Caricaturists | Secrets of Caricaturist Artists
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    What's the Word: WRITHEN pronunciation: [RITH-ən] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Old English, 14th century Meaning: 1. (Literary) Twisted or contorted out of normal shape or form. 2. (Of antique glass or silver) Having spirally twisted ornamentation. Example: "The glassblower twisted a unique writhen ornamentation on each vase he created." "It must have taken the carpenter weeks to carve this writhen banister." About Writhen The adjective “writhen” is based on the Old English verb “wriþan,” meaning “to twist” or “to wrap up.” Did you Know? “Writhen,” which describes twisted ornamentation, is closely related to the verb “writhe.” But “writhen” existed first, taken directly from an Old English word meaning “to twist,” “to bind,” or “to wrap up.” From it came the verb “to writhe,” which in its early definitions meant “to engulf” or “to tie up.” Over time, “writhe” came to describe a physical twisting or contorting motion, while today “writhen” describes objects designed to appear twisted and contorted, such as art and stemware made from twirled blown glass.
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    Fact of the Day - SAUNAS Did you know... 99% of Finnish people visit a sauna at least once a week. Just as England loves its tea and the Netherlands loves its bicycles, Finland loves its saunas — so much so, in fact, that 99% of Finns visit a sauna at least once a week. There are around 3.3 million saunas in the country of 5.5 million people, and they’re everywhere: homes, offices, even factories and underground mines. There are also Finnish proverbs about saunas, ranging from the egalitarian (“All people are created equal, but nowhere more so than in a sauna”) to the slightly dark (“If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits, or sauna, then they will die”). The second of these relates to the health benefits of saunas, which were once considered anecdotal but have more recently been backed by data showing that visiting the steamy sites is associated with a reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions. Reverence for the sauna is instilled in Finns from a young age, with Jarmo Lehtola of the Finnish Sauna Society explaining that traditionally, “children were taught to behave in a sauna as if they were in church.” Finland’s president even has their own official sauna, and saunas are regular features in Finnish embassies and consulates worldwide, where they have been used in important diplomatic talks. Finland is the happiest country in the world. Since 2012, the World Happiness Report has been published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, an initiative of the United Nations. In addition to being in the top 10 every year since the beginning, Finland ranked first in the 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 editions of the report — making it basically the happiest country in the world, at least by this ranking system. Using polling data from Gallup, the report is broken down into six categories: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make your own life choices, generosity of the general population, and perceptions of corruption levels. Finland scored a 7.821 out of 10 in the most recent edition, and was once again joined near the top of the list by every other Nordic country: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. The U.S., meanwhile, wasn’t that far down the list — the nation ranked 16th, just below Canada and just above the United Kingdom. The Finnish Sauna Culture BY MINNA | JANUARY 21, 2021 The Finnish sauna culture was added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 17, 2020. The list includes living cultural heritage practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and know-how from around the world. It includes such practices as the Turkish coffee ceremony, Beijing opera, and Argentinian tango. The UNESCO Intangible Heritage List describing this new entry into the list includes the nomination document. That document describes the Finnish sauna culture and details the reasons why it should be included in the UNESCO list. So, in this blog post, we won’t go into those reasons or repeat what most people already know. Instead, we present you with 5 facts you may not have known about the Finnish sauna culture. Fact 1: The oldest still operational public sauna in Finland in Tampere Hermanni Lahtinen and his wife Maria Lahtinen established the Rajaportti sauna in 1906. This oldest still operational public sauna in Finland in Pispala, Tampere. At first, women and men bathed together but starting from 1931 onwards they had their separate saunas. Over the years, the sauna has been in the hands of different entrepreneurs. The association that runs the sauna today has been operating it since 1989. At the end of 2019, the association opened an internet archive showing different types of archival material related to the Rajaportti sauna. The archive is a fascinating collection of photographs, videos, and recordings. There are plenty of public saunas operating in different parts of Finland. Here are some public saunas in Helsinki; Forum Sauna in Turku where you can also enjoy cupping (see our next fact below); public saunas in Tampere; Kankaan sauna and Hakalan sauna in Jyväskylä. Hakalan sauna is a members-only sauna but they do accept visits by non-members on occasion; and Koivurannan sauna raft in Oulu. A washer washing a person in Elanto public sauna in Helsinki in 1950. Fact 2: Cupping still practiced in Finland Cupping (kuppaus) therapy is a form of alternative medicine in which heated cups create local suction on the skin. In Finland, the form of cupping that is practiced is so-called wet cupping. This means medicinal bleeding where the cups suck blood from small skin incisions. In the past, cupping was very much associated with Finnish sauna culture. Cupping in its different forms was a widespread therapy method throughout history. In Finland, the first literary sources referring to the practice date from the 15th century. The practitioners were mainly women. Then went from house to house offering their services. Back then, cupping was used to treat different types of pain, high blood pressure, rheumatism, etc. Until the middle of the 20th-century cupping was a wide-spread therapy method for these ailments in Finland. Something of its importance is evident in the way the verb kupata (to cup) has begun to mean other things as well. It can mean to exploit someone for money, to fleece off of somebody. This harks back to the way cupping teases blood out of a person. Kupata can also mean to loiter or to do something very slowly. This, in turn, describes the cupping process which is slow and deliberate. After around the 1950s, the popularity of cupping decreased significantly. But the practice never died completely. These days, there is an association for cupping practitioners in Finland. If you are interested in getting cupping here’s a link to a list of practitioners by area. The Rajaportti sauna archive includes videos about cupping and cupping traditions. It also includes a video of a cupping session. The video is in Finnish without subtitles but it shows one practitioner, Pirjo Kumpulainen, at her work. There is no scientific proof for any healing effects of cupping. Cupping practitioner Hilda Leskinen cupping with cow horns in 1927. Fact 3: Nazis made Finnish sauna known in Central Europe Although sauna-type facilities were common in Central Europe in the past, they had all but disappeared by the end of the 18th century. There, different types of heat treatments had replaced saunas. In Central Europe, Finnish sauna culture started to become known in the early part of the 20th century due to the success of Finnish track athletes. According to the Tuomo Särkikoski, interest in the effects of the Finnish sauna grew especially in Germany around the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The Germans had built a Finnish sauna for the Finnish Olympic athletes in the Döberitz Olympic village. Finnish sauna and Finnish athletes coming out of it even featured in one of Leni Riefenstahl’s movies. The movie premiered in Finland in 1938 and Riefenstahl herself came to the Finnish premier. Nazi propaganda viewed the sauna as an important way to increase the stamina of soldiers. They thought that sauna culture also fitted well with their idea of cleanliness and racial hygiene. Fact 4: A festival celebrating mobile saunas In one of our early blogs, we mentioned that Finland is the promised land of summer festivals. That is true. And there’s at least one festival dedicated solely to saunas. This time mobile saunas.The Mobile Sauna Festival is organized in Teuva Municipality almost every summer. Summer 2020 was a gap year, but they have announced that this year the festival will take place July 24. The participating saunas must be transportable and they have to be big enough for at least one person. The organizers are expecting over 50 mobile saunas from Finland and other countries to join the festivities. The program will include different types of sauna-related competitions. Here you can see pictures of participating saunas from previous years. Fact 5: There is no single Finnish sauna culture Like with so many other things associated with Finland, Finnishness, and Finns there really isn’t a single Finnish sauna culture. Families in different parts of the country have different sauna traditions. Also, sauna culture varies between genders. Practices related to sauna also vary based on where that sauna is located. Those living in apartment buildings with a single communal sauna may have very different practices than those living in one-family homes. For example, although Finns, in general, go to the sauna naked not everyone does that in mixed gender groups. Also, people like very different types of saunas. Some like them hot. Some like them more mellow. The preferred temperature can be anywhere between 65 and 100⁰C. These different preferences are very evident in public saunas where different people have access to the scoop with which to throw water on the sauna stove. So, when you are going to the sauna for the very first time, don’t hesitate to ask what type of sauna-related traditions your hosts have. Source: Sauna Facts | Finnish Sauna Culture
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    What's the Word: PROLEPSIS pronunciation: [pro-LEP-sis] Part of speech: noun Origin: Ancient Greek, 15th century Meaning: 1. The anticipation and answering of possible objections in rhetorical speech. 2. The representation of a thing as existing before it actually does or did so, as in he was a dead man when he entered. Example: "Tyrell expected objections, so he tried to include answers to possible questions in a prolepsis of his proposal to the HOA." "The new biography of Charlie Chaplin begins with his birth, then in a prolepsis, jumps to the height of his fame." About Prolepsi The word entered late Middle English via Latin, from the Greek "prolēpsis," which comes from the word "prolambanein," meaning "anticipate." Did you Know? Many children are masters of prolepsis: For example, a child wishing to stay up past her bedtime might try to head off possible objections by telling her father, “I don’t think we’re doing anything important at school tomorrow, so I don’t need as much sleep,” before making her request. A separate narrative form of prolepsis occurs in fiction. This prolepsis is the flash-forward, as used in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Ebenezer Scrooge is transported both into the past, as a reminder of how things used to be, and into the future as a warning of how things could be. This second move — jumping from the present into the future — is a prolepsis. The flashback to Christmas Past, by contrast, is called an “analepsis.”
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    What's the Word: DEUCEDLY pronunciation: [DOO-sid-lee] Part of speech: adverb Origin: German, 17th century Meaning: 1. Quite; extremely; utterly. Example: "After a few early wins, I had nothing but deucedly bad luck in the casino." "Tyrone didn’t want to miss the concert, but he had a deucedly persistent head cold." About Deucedly “Deucedly” is based on the adjective “deuced,” which is related to the Middle English “dewes” (meaning “two”) and the Latin “duo.” Did you Know? In dice games, a score of two, or “a deuce,” is usually a losing roll. “Deuce” became a synonym for “bad luck” by the end of the Middle Ages. Accordingly, “deuced” is an adjective describing something cursed by bad luck, and “deucedly” began its life as an adverb suggesting the same. Now, it simply describes the extreme intensity of any kind of situation, not limited to negative situations associated with bad luck.
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    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/fort-triumph Fort Triumph is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/rpg-in-a-box RPG in a Box is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://freeweekend.ubisoft.com/rainbow6-siege/en-US Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege Free Week https://freebies.indiegala.com/vorax-alpha Vorax Alpha is currently free on IndieGala. Follow the first commenter's instructions to download the game. https://freebies.indiegala.com/mumps Mumps is currently free on IndieGala.
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    What's the Word: SCRUTATOR pronunciation: [skroo-TAY-ter] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. A person who scrutinizes or investigates. Example: "Detective Sherlock Holmes is one of literature’s most famous scrutators." "After the fire in our house, the insurance company sent a scrutator to explore its causes." About Scrutator “Scrutator” is taken from the Latin “scrūtātor,” meaning “searcher” or “examiner.” Did you Know? From Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes to Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, fictional scrutators have brought readers along as they investigate, ask questions, and explore various mysteries. TV and movie scrutators have pulled audiences even deeper into their worlds. For example, “Law and Order” detectives Lennie Briscoe and his partner Rey Curtis spent years entertaining viewers as they interviewed witnesses and suspects in nearly every type of business or organization in New York City, from garbage dumps to Wall Street offices to fish markets to daycare centers.
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    Already completed all 8 gyms, 3 of the Team Star members, and 4 of the Titans. My current team consists of: Pawmot Farigiraf Ceruledge Baxcalibur Tinkaton Lokix Yes, I benched my stater, Quaxly, right after it's final evo. My team level is currently between 52 and 55. Plan to finish off the remaining 2 Team Star members and the final Titan before doing Victory Road. Should be able to knock that out quickly. This game has been a complete cakewalk so far.
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    Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet are upcoming role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for the Nintendo Switch. Announced in February 2022, they are the first installments in the ninth generation of the Pokémon video game series and are set to release in late 2022. Scarlet and Violet are described by The Pokémon Company as open world games, including both urban areas and open wilderness in the game without borders between the two. The game introduces three new starter Pokémon: Sprigatito, Fuecoco, and Quaxly. Various towns blend seamlessly into the wilderness with no borders. You’ll be able to see the Pokémon of this region in the skies, in the seas, in the forests, on the streets—all over! You’ll be able to experience the true joy of the Pokémon series—battling against wild Pokémon in order to catch them—now in an open-world game that players of any age can enjoy.
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    Episode 3 now has a Steam page listing: https://store.steampowered.com/app/2159170/Light_Fairytale_Episode_3/ and is currently dated for a Q2 2023 release. It was also stated that Episode 03 will likely be longer than 1 & 2 combined.
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    What's the Word: ALABASTRINE pronunciation: [al-ə-BAS-trin] Part of speech: adjective Origin: French, 16th century Meaning: 1. Made of or resembling alabaster, in particular in being white or smooth. Example: "The chandelier was made of an alabastrine glass that gently diffused the lights." "The landscape designer commissioned an alabastrine statue to contrast against the red rose bushes." About Alabastrine “Alabastrine” is taken from the French “alabastrin,” which is based on the Latin “alabastrinus,” both meaning “made of alabaster.” Did you Know? Alabaster, a mineral, is known for its distinctive color (or lack thereof): It is creamy white, but translucent enough to refract light so that it appears to glow from within. To compare a substance or color to alabaster, call it “alabastrine.” For example, creamy translucent marble could be described as “alabastrine,” in the same way a pale, smooth gourd might be alabastrine, and in the era of black-and-white films, Greta Garbo and Veronica Lake were known for their alabastrine complexions.
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    What's the Word: NOSTRUM pronunciation: [NAH-strəm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. A pet project or favorite remedy, especially one for bringing about some social or political reform or improvement. 2. A medicine, especially one that is not considered effective, prepared by an unqualified person. Example: "I know ginger ale is a nostrum with no medical effect, but I still drink it when I have a cold." "For years, Michael’s nostrum was restoring the town gazebo, but lately he’s become interested in raising funds for the library." About Nostrum “Nostrum” is taken directly from the possessive Latin for “ours.” Did you Know? The root of “nostrum” — a Latin expression meaning “ours” — makes more sense in the history of “patent medicines.” These nonprescription formulations were also called “elixirs,” “tonics,” or “liniments,” and were sometimes advertised as containing snake oil (which was supposed to have a healing effect). They were also generally patented, whether they worked or not. Most had no effect but were advertised as a cure-all for nearly any ailment. Because those peddling such patent medications (sometimes called “snake-oil salesmen”) wanted to convince the public to buy their product and not their competitor’s, the word “nostrum” became associated with the uniqueness of the patent medication formula. A snake-oil salesman selling a nostrum would claim no other formulation but his own — “nostrum,” or “ours” — would provide the same relief.
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    Fact of the Day - PISTACHIOS Did you know... Pistachios can spontaneously combust. It turns out there’s a price to pay for how tasty and nutritious pistachios are: Under the right circumstances, they can spontaneously combust. Everyone’s favorite shelled nut is especially rich in fat, which is highly flammable. Thankfully, that only becomes a problem when pistachios are packed too tightly during shipping or storage. It’s important to keep the nuts dry lest they become moldy — but if they’re kept too dry and there are too many of them bunched together, they can self-heat and catch fire without an external heat source. Though exceedingly rare and easy to avoid if the proper instructions are followed, pistachio self-combustion is a real enough concern that the German Transport Information Service specifically advises that pistachios “not be stowed together with fibers/fibrous materials as oil-soaked fibers may promote self-heating/spontaneous combustion of the cargo.” Don’t worry, though: It won’t happen in your pantry with just a few bags, which means you can indulge in the shelled snack of your dreams without worrying about their flavor becoming unexpectedly smoky. Raw cashews are toxic. Cashews are delicious, but you’d never know it from looking at a cashew tree — they’re quite strange-looking. If seeing one in the wild makes you hesitant to eat the fruit they bear, there’s a good reason for that: Cashew shells are toxic. They contain a toxin called urushiol, which triggers a delayed allergic reaction in the form of a painful, itchy rash; urushiol is also found in poison ivy, which, like cashews and pistachios, is a member of the Anacardiaceae family of trees. It’s for this reason that cashews are roasted before being sold and consumed, even those labeled as “raw.” Doing so removes all traces of urushiol and makes them safe to eat. ( Interesting Facts ) Surprising Facts About Pistachios By Julie Upton, MS, RD | March 30, 2016 They may be small, but the puny pistachio packs a nutritional punch. Here are 10 reasons to go nuts for pistachios: 1. They're nutrient-dense. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database, pistachios provide more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. 2. They have as much protein as an egg. A serving (1 oz or 49 nuts) has 160 calories and 6 grams of protein – about the same as an egg. 3. Their shells may help you eat less. It's true: Preliminary research suggests, but does not prove, that in-shell pistachios may help you reduce calorie consumption. In one study, people who left pistachio shells on their desk lowered their calorie intake by 18 percent compared to participants who discarded shells immediately after consumption. The shells may help remind you of how much you've eaten, so you're less likely to overindulge. 4. They smile. In China, pistachios are known as the "happy nut" because they look like they're smiling. Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune. 5. They're heart-healthy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's qualified health claim for nuts: "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Be sure to check the nutrition information on the back of the package for fat content. 6. They're grown in the U.S. While the cultivation of pistachios began in the Middle East thousands of years ago, today more than 550 million pounds of pistachios are grown in California, making the U.S. the second leading producer of pistachios. 7. They'll fill you up, not out. Pistachios provide fiber and protein to help keep you fuller longer. What's more, they're one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie and highest-protein tree nuts. 8. They're great for cooking and baking. Pistachios provide a rich, nutty flavor and texture to savory chicken or seafood meals, as well as sweet baked goods and grain-based sides. Here's a great Pistachio Crusted Salmon recipe to try. 9. They'll help you snack smarter. According to USDA research, about a quarter of daily calories – 586 for men and 421 for women – now come from between-meal bites. Pistachios are a healthier alternative to the most popular snacks, including soda, chips, candy and baked goods. [See: Healthy Snacks for When You Feel Hangry.] 10. They open on their own. Pistachios grow in heavy grape-like clusters surrounded by a fleshy hull (they're actually related to mangoes!). When they ripen, the pistachio kernel grows inside until (in most cases) the shell splits open. BONUS: Pistachio Recipes Pistachio cake recipe Vegan apricot and pistachio chocolate bark recipe Pistachio and macadamia cookie recipe Pistachio nut butter recipe Source: Interesting Facts About Pistachios | More Facts About the Pistachio Nut
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    What's the Word: DYAD pronunciation: [DY-ad] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Something that consists of two elements or parts. Example: "As closing time approached, the café servers dropped hints to the dyad in the back corner that it was time to leave." "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have proven time and again that they’re one of the most inventive dyads in comedy history." About Dyad “Dyad” is from the Latin, based on the ancient Greek “δυάς” (“duás”) or “δυάδ-“ (“duád-l”), both meaning “two.” Did you Know? “Dyad” can be a stand-in for terms such as “couple,” “pair,” or “duo”; however, the term is widely used across many fields of study to refer to specific two-parted concepts. In sociology, “dyad” refers to two people in a relationship, but in music, a dyad is a chord of two notes. There are also more complicated uses for the term in chemistry, biology, and mathematics, but all return to the same focus on pairs or couples. Whether it’s in linear algebra, chromosomal structures, or atomic chemistry, “dyad” always describes a relationship of two factors.
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    Fact of the Day - BODY DOUBLES Did you know... Queen Elizabeth had a longtime body double. Leaders have historically used body doubles to thwart would-be assassins, but Queen Elizabeth II’s double served a different — and significantly less bloody — purpose. A big part of being the queen of the United Kingdom was simply showing up. Whether opening a hospital or hosting a foreign dignitary, the queen was always busy. A majority of her events required rehearsals, and that’s where Ella Slack came in. Although she doesn’t look like her majesty, Slack is about the same height and build, so if an event needed to test camera angles or see if the sun would be in the queen’s eyes, Slack was the person for the task. Slack got the job while working for the BBC’s events department in the 1980s. She stood in for the queen more than 50 times, including riding in the royal carriage and attending rehearsals for the opening of Parliament. However, Slack didn’t get to enjoy all the comforts of royalty. As a strict rule, she was never allowed to sit on the throne in the House of Lords and instead just “lurked” above it. Slack was never paid for her stand-in efforts, but considered her role “a pleasure and an honor.” Technically, the queen owned all unmarked mute swans in open waters in the U.K. Since the 12th century, the English monarchy has held the title of Seigneur (lord) of the Swans. For many years, mute swans — the elegant type you know from “Swan Lake” — were a popular food served by the rich. It was the king or queen who granted swan ownership rights, and the cost of going against those rights was severe. For example, anyone caught stealing swan eggs could face a year in prison, and it was treasonous to illegally eat a swan until 1998. In the 14th century, the crown granted swan ownership rights to Abbotsbury Swannery, one of only a few surviving companies with such privileges. The swannery marks their swans with a small ring around the bird’s leg. Any mute swan that isn’t marked in such a way remains property of the monarch. Strangely, this law also applies to dead swans, so any well-meaning taxidermist not wishing to run afoul of the law must contact the royal swan marker before stuffing any of the crown’s birds. ( Interesting Facts ) Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles By Shaunacy Ferro | December 8, 2017 Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job: 1. THEY MIGHT ONLY BE MODELING ONE BODY PART. Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.” 2. THEY’RE NOT JUST THERE TO SHOW THEIR BUTTS. Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.” 3. ACTORS CAN GET TOUCHY ABOUT WHO PLAYS THEM. When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make. 4. THEY MIGHT NEVER MEET THEIR DOUBLE ... If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal. 5. OR THEY MIGHT SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE THEY'RE PORTRAYING. But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body. 6. THEY DON’T ALWAYS LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS. Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days. 7. THESE DAYS, THEY GET A BOOST FROM CGI. With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut. 8. IF AN ACTOR CAN’T ALTER THEIR WEIGHT FOR A ROLE, A BODY DOUBLE CAN FILL IN. When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.) 9. SOMETIMES THEY NEVER MAKE IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AT ALL. When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid. Source: Facts About Body Doubles | Facts About Hollywood Body Doubles
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    What's the Word: PREPONE pronunciation: [pree-POHN] Part of speech: verb Origin: Indian English, 20th century Meaning: 1. To reschedule to a time earlier than the current scheduled time. Example: "I’m going to call the dentist to see if I can prepone my appointment to this afternoon." "Head office preponed our annual meeting, leaving my team scrambling to get our reports finished in time." About Prepone “Prepone” is a reworking of the word “postpone” to include the suffix “pre.” It is also related to the Latin “praepōno,” meaning “to place before.” Did you Know? As far back as the 16th century, “prepone” meant to place something in front of another thing, but in the 20th century, the word was adopted as an opposite term for “postpone,” which has always meant “to put off until the future.” Accordingly, “prepone” is now used to describe moving a date forward in time. While “postpone” was originally a Scottish term, “prepone” is only in wide usage in Indian English (or “Hinglish,” as it is sometimes called, a code-switched merger of “Hindi” with “English”). Though it is an English word, “prepone” is among the cluster of English expressions — such as “passing out of college,” or “being out of station” — that are today considered exclusively Indian English.
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    What's the Word: APPOSITE pronunciation: [AP-ə-zət] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Apt in the circumstances or in relation to something. Example: "The lake in the park was an apposite location to race RC boats." "My mother believes cardamom is the apposite secret spice for carrot cake." About Apposite “Apposite” is based on the Latin “appositus,” the past participle of “adponere” (meaning “put”). Did you Know? “Apposite” is easily confused with its close homonym “opposite.” The two words don’t have similar meanings, but they share deep Latin roots. “Opposite” is based on the Latin “oppositus,” which is the past participle of “oppōnō,” meaning “I oppose,” while the Latin “appositus” traces to the verb for “to put.” However, Latin students can trace the etymology of “oppositus” to the root word for “put” (“pōnō”) as well. “Opposite” deals with things put at odds with or against one another, while “apposite” describes things well put together.
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    Fact of the Day - MEANINGS BEHIND SONGS Did you know... You’ve heard them a million times. You may even know all of the lyrics. But no matter how often you’ve encountered these songs, there’s a good chance you’ve been interpreting them incorrectly. The “hidden” meanings and stories behind these six tunes will make you think twice the next time they cross your path. 1. “Walk This Way,” Aerosmith (1975) In late 1974, Aerosmith was messing around during the soundcheck at a show where they were opening for the Guess Who. They managed to land on the iconic guitar riff and drum beat that would eventually become “Walk This Way.” The lyrics, however, took a little longer. For a while, as they worked on the song, Steven Tyler would just scat nonsensical words — but then Mel Brooks came along. After seeing Brooks’ Young Frankenstein in early 1975, the band members were quoting lines from the movie at each other, including the part where Marty Feldman’s Igor tells Gene Wilder to “walk this way” and Wilder begins to imitate Igor’s hunched steps. Aerosmith’s producer heard the quote and suggested that it could make a great title for the song. Tyler worked his spontaneous scatting into lyrics, and a classic tune was born. When Run DMC covered the tune a decade later, it became a hit all over again — and helped revive Aerosmith’s sagging career. 2. “Philadelphia Freedom,” Elton John (1975) With lyrics like “From the day that I was born/I’ve waved the flag/Philadelphia freedom,” and because the song came out just a year before America’s bicentennial, it’s easy to assume that Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” is about patriotism. In reality, it’s about tennis legend Billie Jean King. After becoming friends with King in the early ’70s, the British-born John told her that he wanted to write a song in her honor and came up with the idea to name it after her tennis team, The Philadelphia Freedoms. He debuted the rough cut of the song for King and her team during the 1974 playoffs; King immediately fell in love. “He said, during the part where he goes ‘Philadelphia’… ‘That’s you getting upset with an umpire.’ Walking up to the umpire … stomping: ‘PHIL. UH. DEL-phia.’ I was laughing so hard,” she said in an interview with eltonjohn.com. King knows most people don’t know the song was written for her — and she doesn’t care. “We didn’t want it to be anything about tennis. No, it’s a feeling. It’s a great song for a team. It’s a great song if you’re not a team.” 3. “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Bonnie Tyler (1983) This epic ’80s ballad is certainly a heartbreaker, but the lyrics are just vague enough that it’s not entirely clear what the heartbreak is. In 2002, lyricist Jim Steinman — who was also responsible for Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” (1983) and Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” — came clean about the song’s origins to Playbill. “I actually wrote ["Total Eclipse of the Heart"] to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of 'Nosferatu,' the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in [the] dark.” Steinman revived the idea for a musical called Dance of the Vampires that opened on Broadway in December 2002, but despite starring the legendary Michael Crawford (of Phantom of the Opera fame), the brief, 56-performance show was a flop. Costing $600,000 per week to produce, and ultimately producing a loss of $12 million, the New York Times deemed Dance one of the most expensive Broadway flops of all time. 4. “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond (1969) The story of “Sweet Caroline” seems to be ever-evolving. For decades after the song first charted in 1969, no one knew who the mysterious Caroline was. Diamond managed to keep his inspiration a secret until 2007, when he played at a very famous 50th birthday party and revealed that the woman of the hour — Caroline Kennedy — had been his muse all of those years ago after he saw a picture of her riding a horse in a magazine. The claim was a little suspect; Caroline was only nine in the photo, and the lyrics contain some decidedly adult lyrics. But the rest of the story came together in 2014 when Diamond told the Today show that the song itself was about his then-wife, Marsha. Because the two syllables in her name didn’t fit the scheme of the song, the singer racked his brain for a three-syllable substitute that would roll off the tongue. He recalled the famous photo of the young Caroline Kennedy, and that’s when he realized that her name was so good, so good, so good. 5. “Blackbird,” the Beatles (1968) The lyrics “Take these broken wings and learn to fly” have inspired many people from many different walks of life in the 50-plus years since Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird.” But at a concert in 2016, he revealed that he had written the song with a very specific issue in mind: civil rights in the U.S. Although he has mentioned the connection several times over the decades, it was particularly poignant when he talked about his inspiration during a 2016 concert in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock,” McCartney said. “We would notice this on the news back in England, so it’s a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started,” he told the crowd, which included two members of the Little Rock Nine (a group of Black students whose enrollment at a previously all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 drew national attention). “We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that’s this next one.” 6. “Sabotage,” the Beastie Boys (1994) The subject of this 1994 classic with the even more iconic video was a mystery until the Beasties’ memoir was released in 2018. As it turns out, it was their creative response to a producer who was rushing them to finish Ill Communication. While working on their fourth album, the group was having some trouble making decisions about their songs, and producer Mario Caldato was over it. In order to move things along and complete the album, he pushed on tracks that weren’t ready or good enough — much to the Boys’ chagrin. To protest, Ad-Rock penned the famous “I can’t stand it” opening scream with Caldato in mind. “I decided it would be funny to write a song about how Mario was holding us all down, how he was trying to mess it all up, sabotaging our great works of art,” he wrote. Source: Meanings Behind Famous Some Famous Songs
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    What's the Word: INSTAURATION pronunciation: [in-staw-REY-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. The action of restoring or renewing something. Example: "The instauration of the old mill was a complex undertaking after decades of abandonment and disrepair." "Rather than rebuild the family home, which hadn’t been lived in for 20 years, my father set out to give it a full instauration." About Instauration “Instauration” is from the Latin “instauratio,” which refers to the act of renewing, as well as to the restarting of a ritual that has been interrupted or gone wrong. Did you Know? “Instauration” is easily confused with its near homonym “restoration,” and both broadly describe the act of making something old nicer. However, “instauration” is specifically about the process of repairing and restoring something — such as a building, or a work of art — that has suffered neglect, decay, and dilapidation. “Restoration” is concerned simply with restoring something to its original state, and does not consider the present state from which such a restoration must begin. “Instauration,” however, makes it clear that the job of restoration will be a serious one, as it will begin with a building or object in a state of significant deterioration.
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    Fact of the Day - STATE NAMES Did you know... You can practically glean the history of America in the names of all 50 states. The story of the United States begins in the East and the South and is reflected in the origin of the names of the states. In the East and South, many states owe their monikers to our forebears from England, France, and Spain. These states include New York, Vermont, and Florida. Another influence from the earliest time in our history is Native American culture, apparent in several state names. It is also apparent in many city names. There are a lot of obscure places with strange names that people have a hard time with – like these 50 town names most people will struggle to pronounce. ( John Harrington | July 2nd, 2020 ) States Whose Names Were Almost Very Different by Interesting Facts If you grew up in the United States, chances are you learned the names of all 50 states at a pretty young age. But while it may be hard to imagine now, the U.S. map could have looked very different. Here are eight states that almost had entirely different names — and the fascinating stories behind them. 1. Nevada Anyone who has traveled around the West has probably come across the name Humboldt. It appears in county names, street signs, rivers, and mountain ranges — and if history had gone a little differently, the state of Nevada would bear this name, too. The Humboldt name found its way across the region because of the exploits of an explorer and naturalist named Alexander von Humboldt. Born in 1769, Humboldt helped popularize scientific exploration with his book Kosmos. He had a fascination with geology, and he ended up traveling approximately 6,000 miles across Central and South America, exploring the oceans and landscapes. On his travels, Humboldt became the first person to figure out that altitude sickness was caused by lack of oxygen. However, Humboldt never actually set foot in the western U.S. It was fellow explorer John C. Frémont who chose to name many locations after him in honor of his scientific contributions. When Nevada became a state in 1864, Humboldt was seriously considered as a name — but ultimately, the government chose Nevada, the Spanish word for “snow-covered” instead. 2. Utah The origins of Utah are closely tied to the history of the Mormons, who initially wanted to name this state Deseret after a name in the Book of Mormon. While the Mormon church began in New York, its members struggled to acclimate. This forced church members to hit the road as they searched for a place to settle. Leader Brigham Young decided to move the Mormons west to the Salt Lake basin. As they began to settle, Young petitioned Congress to create a new state for them. The initial suggested boundaries of Utah were enormous, spreading across what is now Nevada and stretching all the way to the coastline of Southern California. Young’s petition was initially declined, at least in part due to the prevailing anti-Mormon bias in American society at the time. However, after the Mormons publicly abandoned polygamy several decades later, they were finally granted statehood in 1896. The resulting state was much smaller than they had hoped, and they didn't get to name it Deseret. Instead, the government chose the name Utah, after the Ute tribe that lived there. 3. Maine New Somerset, Yorkshire, Columbus, and Lygonia were all potential names for Maine, but, of course, none of them stuck. In fact, King Charles reportedly hated the name New Somerset so much that he responded adamantly that the region should be known as "the County of Mayne and not by any other name or names whatsoever." The name Mayne first appeared in writing as early as 1622, but to this day, no one is quite sure how it morphed into Maine instead — and where the name ultimately came from. The most prevalent belief is that the region was named after the nautical term "main land" to distinguish it from the many islands located in the sea around the coast of Maine. An alternate theory is that it was named after an English village or a French province of the same name. However it came to be, King Charles can rest easy knowing that the name New Somerset never stuck (though Somerset is the name of a county in Maine). 4. Kentucky We’re all familiar with Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Derby, but if history had gone another way, we could have been drinking Transylvania bourbon while watching the Transylvania Derby. The name has nothing to do with Dracula, although T-shirts for Lexington’s Transylvania University are always a popular tourist souvenir. In 1750, physician and explorer Thomas Walker came across a long-rumored path through the Appalachian Mountains, which he named the Cumberland Gap in honor of the Duke of Cumberland. Nearly 20 years later, explorer Daniel Boone crossed the Gap; Fort Boonesborough was established in 1775. Around the same time, businessman Richard Henderson set up the Louisa Company to negotiate the purchase of some land in what is now Kentucky. The company soon changed its name to the Transylvania Company, and in 1775, Henderson signed the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Cherokee tribe, granting him a large tract of land. It became known as the colony of Transylvania. The Latin root "sylvania" refers to a wooded area, and "trans" means “across” (as in, across the Appalachians). Unfortunately, Henderson’s treaty was quickly struck down since Virginia had already laid claim to the land and declared ownership of all rights. Hopes for Transylvania faded, and in 1792, this part of Virginia’s land broke away to become the state of Kentucky. However, no one can quite agree on the origin of the name. Possible translations include “prairie,” “land of tomorrow,” and “river of blood.” 5. Oklahoma Fifty-five Native American tribes live in Oklahoma, and at one time, it was proposed that Oklahoma would be named after one of their most renowned figures — Sequoyah, who introduced reading and writing to the Cherokee language. In 1890, the Oklahoma Organic Act passed in Congress, with the intention of creating a new state. At the time, the land included in the proposal covered two territories: the Oklahoma Territory in the west and the Indian Territory in the east, where multiple tribes had been forcibly moved as a result of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. The Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations united in a proposal to seek statehood, which would allow them to maintain control over the lands originally granted to them during the previous treaties and resettlements. The state would be run in accordance with tribal governments, with each tribe having its own county. In 1905, several bills were filed in Congress to request the state of Sequoyah. However, politicians in D.C. refused to even consider the possibility of a Native American-led state. Instead, President Theodore Roosevelt suggested that the two territories be joined, and in 1906 he signed the law that created the state of Oklahoma, a name that comes from the Choctaw language and means “honorable nation.” 6. West Virginia In 1863, West Virginia was formed after taking the unusual step of seceding from the state of Virginia. The move protested Virginia’s secession from the Union in support of the Confederacy. The original proposed name for the new state was Kanawha, although some were worried that this might be confused with the existing county of the same name. Eventually, Kanawha gave way to simply West Virginia. This wasn’t the region’s first attempt to form a separate state. Benjamin Franklin proposed the State of Vandalia in the 1770s. (The name was in honor of George III’s wife Charlotte, reputedly a descendant of the Vandal people.) The state would have encompassed what is now West Virginia, as well as parts of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. However, the Revolutionary War superseded those plans. In 1775, locals petitioned the Continental Congress to create Westsylvania, comprising roughly the same area as the proposed Vandalia. Both that petition and another in 1783 went ignored. Historians suspect that the Continental Congress did not want to rile up Virginia or Pennsylvania at a time when they needed to show a united front. 7. Wyoming Wyoming's name is derived from the Delaware Native American word mecheweamiing, which means “large plains.” But the original Wyoming wasn’t out west — it was the name of a valley in Pennsylvania. In 1865, when a new territory was being considered in what is now Wyoming, James Ashley, a U.S. representative for Ohio, suggested the name Wyoming. Born in Pennsylvania, he was familiar with the Wyoming Valley and believed that the name would reflect the verdant valleys of the newly expanding American West. But this was before he’d actually visited the region — after doing so, he expressed regret about the name choice, deeming the land not fertile enough to produce crops or sustain a population. However, by this time, the name had already caught on. When Wyoming finally achieved statehood in 1890, alternatives more fitting to the area’s peoples and history were considered. Potential names included Cheyenne, Yellowstone, Big Horn, Sweetwater, and others. But Wyoming was how most people referred to the land, and so the state retained its historical link with Pennsylvania. 8. Colorado Before Idaho achieved statehood in 1890, its name was almost used for another state: Colorado (which joined the Union in 1876). While some claim that the name Idaho came from a Kiowa word for “enemy,” historians say that there is no trace of the word before it was mentioned in Congress in 1860. When much of the West was opening up to mining, lobbyist George M. Willing proposed the name for what is now Colorado, claiming it was a Shoshone word. Although this was disputed, few people paid attention at the time. Later, though, an amateur historian who had originally joined Willing in the proposal did a little more research and came to the conclusion that the word was made up. He asked the Senate to change the name, and Colorado (Spanish for “red-colored”) was chosen instead. Despite the misconceptions, the Idaho name stuck around in popular consciousness. When Congress later decided to create another mining territory further north, the name was chosen for the territory. Source: Facts About States Names | States Almost Named Differently
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    Fact of the Day - CARROTS Did you know... Carrots weren’t originally orange. Today carrots are practically synonymous with the color orange, but their auburn hue is a relatively recent development. When the carrot was first cultivated 5,000 years ago in Central Asia, it was often a bright purple. Soon, two different groups emerged: Asiatic carrots and Western carrots. Eventually, yellow carrots in this Western group (which may have developed as mutants of the purple variety) developed into their recognizable orange color around the 16th century, helped along by the master agricultural traders of the time — the Dutch. A common myth says the Dutch grew these carrots to honor William of Orange, the founding father of the Dutch Republic, but there’s no evidence of this. What’s more likely is that the Dutch took to the vegetable because it thrived in the country’s mild, wet climate. (Although the orange color may have first appeared naturally, Dutch farmers made it the predominant hue by selectively growing orange roots — scholars say these carrots likely performed more reliably, tasted better, and were less likely to stain than the purple versions.) The modern orange carrot evolved from this period of Dutch cultivation, and soon spread throughout Europe before making its way to the New World. Today, there are more than 40 varieties of carrots of various shapes, sizes, and colors — including several hues of purple. Purple is associated with royalty thanks to a rare mollusk. For most of European history, creating a rich, resilient purple dye was an extremely expensive process. The dye could only be made from the dried mucus glands of murex shellfish found near the ancient Phoenician town of Tyre on the Mediterranean (now part of Lebanon). Making just one gram of this pigment, known as Tyrian purple, required nearly 9,000 of these mollusks, so only the very wealthy — emperors and royals — could afford to use the color. In ancient Rome, purple became associated with the power of the emperor, and the idea continued after the empire’s fall. In medieval and Elizabethan England, a series of sumptuary laws ensured that the color purple was reserved only for the most elite members of society “upon payne to forfett the seid apparel.” Luckily, in 1856, chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created a synthetic purple dye, later called mauve, while trying to synthesize a drug for malaria. Purple’s imperial reign was over. ( Interesting Facts ) Interesting Carrot Facts Worth Knowing by Emily Hannemann | Updated: July 18, 2022 Few vegetables are as versatile as carrots. They’re equally at home in desserts like carrot cake as they are in casseroles, and, of course, being taken straight from the fridge and dunked in ranch dressing. It’s no wonder many gardeners add carrots to their yearly harvest — there’s so much you can do with them! In celebration of the iconic veggie, here’s a collection of fun carrot facts. Carrots Are Older Than You Think Despite their prominence in modern grocery stores, orange carrots emerged in the 1600s. Purple and yellow were once the most prevalent colors, and today, heirloom varieties have made a big comeback. We Eat a Lot of Carrots! The average person eats more than 10,000 of these sweet, crunchy vegetables in their lifetime. On a yearly basis, folks munch on 8.3 pounds of fresh carrots, and consume 1.4 pounds of the veggie from the freezer. Learn how to store vegetables so they stay fresh longer. Carrots Are Very Good for You To those who know about nutrition, this’ll probably be the least surprising of our carrot facts. These orange vegetables are an incredible source of nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium, but they’re especially high in vitamin A. Even just half a cup of cooked or raw carrots contains about 204% of your recommended daily value. The Carrot “Life Cycle” Takes Two Years Carrots, a biennial vegetable, have a life cycle that takes two years. If you leave a healthy carrot in the ground, its top will bloom and produce a round of seeds in its second year. Learn more about growing carrots. Most of the Carrots in the U.S. Are Grown in One State More than 85% of carrots in the U.S. are grown in California—the city of Holtville, California, calls itself the carrot capital of the world. Michigan and Texas are also among the top carrot-growing states. Source: Facts About Carrots | Fun Facts About Carrots
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    What's the Word: POLYGLOTTAL pronunciation: [PAH-lee-glaht-əl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: French, 17th century Meaning: 1. Knowing or using several languages. 2. (Of a book) Having the text translated into several languages. Example: "We were grateful to our polyglottal guide, who could translate each of the different local languages into English for us." "Many readers of T.S. Eliot’s polyglottal poem “The Waste Land” find its array of languages overwhelming." About Polyglottal “Polyglottal” is based on the French “polyglotte.” This is derived from the Greek “poluglōttos,” from “polu-“ (meaning “many”) and “glōtta” (meaning “tongue”). Did you Know? Many Deaf people who use sign language will also learn to read and write in their local spoken language. Deaf people in the United States will usually learn to read and write in English, but they’ll likely also learn American Sign Language (ASL). This makes most Deaf people bilingual. However, many Deaf people learn to read and write in more than one language, and they may learn different sign languages, becoming polyglottal.
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    Fact of the Day - MASTERPIECE THEATER Did you know... It’s been parodied by Sesame Street and the Disney Channel, and beloved by millions of culture-seeking television viewers for more than four decades now. Today marks the 45th anniversary of Masterpiece’s debut on PBS. Though today’s Masterpiece looks slightly different than the Masterpiece Theatre that made its premiere on January 10, 1971, the program has succeeded in remaining “steadfast in our commitment to bringing the best in drama to American public television audiences.” Here are 13 things you might not know about the Sunday night tradition. ( Jennifer M Wood | Jan 10, 2016 ) Things You Might Not Know About "Masterpiece Theatre" by Interesting Facts In today’s world of streaming entertainment on demand and short attention spans, the idea of a television series celebrating its 50th anniversary feels like — and is — an anomaly. But such is the case for Masterpiece, formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre (more on that later), which is still going strong five decades after its January 1971 debut. Incredibly, although the series has undergone numerous changes over the past five decades, it still offers basically the same winning formula that it has offered for generations: curated programming largely consisting of adaptations of classic novels by (mostly British) authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, and Jane Austen, among others. Some of its most popular dramas, like the award-winning Downton Abbey and fan-favorite Sherlock, have become so successful that viewers often forget they’re products of the anthology series. As well-established as Masterpiece is, however, there’s a lot about its history and its form that remains a mystery to even its most ardent fans. Here are eight surprising facts about the long-running series that may help shed some light on the ever-enduring appeal of Masterpiece. 1. It’s the Longest-Running Primetime Drama in the History of American Television — Even Though the Content Is Exclusively British Masterpiece Theatre premiered its first episode on January 10, 1971, following the success of a 1967 adaptation of John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga. Stanford Calderwood, who was then the president of WGBH, Boston’s PBS affiliate, saw that success and wondered whether there might be a growing American appetite for British drama. His instincts proved spot-on. While on vacation in London, he convinced the execs at BBC that a partnership could prove fruitful for both networks; now, 50 years later, American viewers continue to clamor for classic British stories told with beautiful sets and elaborate costumes. 2. Producers Found the Iconic “Masterpiece” Theme Song at a Club Med in Sicily Part of the appeal of Masterpiece is its unapologetic British-ness, from the period costumes to the bucolic sets. Interestingly, however, the trumpet-filled theme song that ushers in each episode comes not from England but from France — specifically, French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret. Even stranger, producer Christopher Sarson stumbled upon the now-instantly-recognizable intro at a Club Med in Palermo, Sicily. As the story goes, Sarson heard the music on vacation with his soon-to-be-wife in 1962, when Club Med played the stately tune (“Rondeau” from Mouret’s Symphonies and Fanfares for the King’s Supper) each morning as a way to summon guests out of their grass huts for breakfast. “It was just magic,” Sarson previously told PBS. “I wanted to use it for Masterpiece Theatre but there was no way I could bear to put a French piece of music on something that was supposed to be English. I went through all kinds of English composers and nothing worked. So, it became the theme.” 3. The Series’ Original Host, Alistair Cooke, Thought It Was Going To Fail Masterpiece Theatre’s very first host was British-American broadcaster, author, and journalist Alistair Cooke. Cooke was the face of the series for more than 20 years, but he actually turned down the hosting gig when it was first offered to him. At the time, he was working on his own BBC series, and he wasn’t convinced that Masterpiece would appeal to American audiences. According to Rebecca Eaton, who has served as Masterpiece’s producer since 1985, Cooke only agreed to sign on at his daughter’s urging. In a show of skepticism, Eaton wrote in her 2013 book Making Masterpiece, he signed a one-year contract just weeks before the series premiered — and proceeded to sign one-year contracts for the remainder of his time as host, a whopping 22 seasons. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Russell Baker, who succeeded Cooke as the show’s host in 1993, didn’t want to take the job either, though for different reasons. The journalist reportedly had qualms about filling Cooke’s big shoes — it was only after his daughter begged him to consider the role that he eventually agreed. 4. Helen Mirren’s “Prime Suspect” Character, Jane Tennison, Is Believed To Have Inspired More Nuanced Female TV Roles Helen Mirren has been acting since the 1960s, but she is perhaps most beloved for her leading role in the early ’90s Masterpiece Theatre series Prime Suspect, in which she played a no-nonsense Detective Chief Inspector for London’s Metropolitan Police Service. The series itself was groundbreaking for honing in on themes of sexism in the workplace, especially as it affected Mirren's character, Jane Tennison. Mirren was nominated six times (and won twice) for Best Actress in a Miniseries at the Emmys, and her character has been credited as a model for strong female TV leads, including Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Leigh Johnson on The Closer and Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson on The Fall. 5. “Downton Abbey” Is the Series’ Most Successful and Popular Miniseries In its 50-year history, no Masterpiece miniseries has drawn as much buzz as Downton Abbey, which debuted in the U.K. on September 26, 2010, and on PBS the following January. The series, which aired its final season in the U.S. in 2016, chronicled the lives of an aristocratic family and their domestic servants in the fictional Yorkshire county estate of Downton Abbey. It tackled historic events ranging from the First World War to the Spanish influenza pandemic to the Irish War of Independence, all through the lens of the highly hierarchical household. It’s the most nominated non-U.S. series in Emmy history, with a total of 59 nominations and 12 wins. In 2019, a full-length feature film was released due to popular demand, furthering the storyline of the original Masterpiece series and featuring many of the original actors. 6. Parodies Include “Sesame Street’s” “Monsterpiece Theater” and Disney Channel’s “Mousterpiece Theater” Masterpiece has become such a cultural institution that it has inspired parodies in a number of mainstream shows, ranging from Sesame Street’s “Monsterpiece Theater” (featuring host Cookie Monster as “Alistair Cookie”) to the Disney Channel’s “Mousterpiece Theater,” hosted by George Plimpton. The hilarious Thug Notes is also a clear spin on the prim and proper Masterpiece formula, as is Issa Rae’s Ratchetpiece Theatre. A number of sketch comedy shows have featured spoofs of the long-running series, too, including In Living Color, which aired a sketch in season 5 that had Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier reciting the lyrics of popular gangster rap songs in a deadpan manner. Mad TV also previously ran a sketch called “Master P’s Theater,” with the titular rapper sitting in the host’s seat. 7. The Decades-old Series Was Given a Modern Brand Update in 2008, Dropping the Word “Theatre” and Splitting Into Three Sections So, about that name change: In 2008, in a bid to modernize the series, the word “Theatre” was dropped from Masterpiece Theatre, resulting in a sleeker, simpler moniker. The series was also split into three different sections that would ostensibly serve up different stories for different viewers — Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery!, and Masterpiece Contemporary. Masterpiece Classic was originally hosted by Gillian Anderson, but has since been taken over by Laura Linney and dropped the word "Classic," to become just Masterpiece. Alan Cumming hosts Masterpiece Mystery!, and David Tennant hosts Masterpiece Contemporary (first hosted by Matthew Goode). 8. Countless Hollywood Stars Made a Name for Themselves on “Masterpiece” Series Before (And After) Crossing Over to the States Helen Mirren is far from the only household name to grace the ever-expansive web of Masterpiece cast lists. Other A-listers, including Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Laurence Olivier (Henry V), and Peggy Ashcroft (The Jewel in the Crown) also had major roles on Masterpiece series. Source: Cultured Facts About Masterpiece Theatre | What You Might Not Know About "Masterpiece Theatre"
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    What's the Word: ANENT pronunciation: [ə-NENT] Part of speech: preposition Origin: Old English, pre-13th century Meaning: 1. Concerning; about. Example: "I received a letter from the municipality anent increases to local taxes." "The professor delivered a lecture anent the French Revolution and the Enlightenment." About Anent “Anent” is based on the Old English “on efen,” meaning “in line with,” or “in company with.” Did you Know? “Anent” has existed in some form or another since Old English, which appears more like German than modern English. Early on, “anent” had several meanings, including “alongside” or “in line with,” or “along with.” The contemporary meaning of “anent” (“concerning”) has been one of the word’s earliest definitions since the 13th century. As the other definitions have fallen away, use of the term as a synonym for “about” has remained constant. In Scotland, the expressions “thereanent” and “whereanent” are similar to “thereabout” and “whereabout.”
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    Fact of the Day - MUSTACHES Did you know... Whether you have one, want one, or wish they’d all disappear, the Mo has made its comeback. Just in time for Movember, the author of One Thousand Moustaches lets us in on some hairy secrets. (Allan Peterkin | Updated: Oct. 04, 2018) Comb Through These 6 Facts About Mustaches by Interesting Facts Each November, millions of people around the world grow out their facial hair for Movember, an annual celebration that started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003. The mustache serves as a symbol of a movement to raise awareness and money for health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer, but Movember isn’t the first time mustaches have played an outsized role in culture. From their time as a fashion-forward Victorian status symbol to an expression of freedom in 20th-century France, these six fascinating facts about mustaches might have you seeing “face lace” in a whole new light. 1. The World’s Longest Mustache Is Over 14 Feet Long If every person were like Ram Singh Chauhan, most razor companies would go out of business. Since March 2010, Chauhan has proudly held the Guinness World Record for the longest mustache. He has been growing his since 1970, when he was just a 12-year-old boy, and recent measurements from Chauhan’s personal Instagram account put the mustache’s ever-increasing length at 19.3 feet. This isn’t to say that Chauhan’s mustache is unkempt — on the contrary, Chahuan spends up to two and a half hours each day meticulously grooming his facial hair and massaging it with herbal oils. He only trims around the lip area and washes the mustache once every two weeks. While his whiskers initially caused strife between him and his wife, Asha, she now shares Chauhan’s sense of pride and considers the hairy accessory part of the family. 2. Some Indian Police Officers Are Paid Bonuses for Growing Mustaches In India, mustaches are considered symbols of masculine pride and respect — so much so that police departments in parts of the country (from the large central state of Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh in the north) pay out bonuses to officers who grow out their upper lip hair. Indian police chiefs believe that mustachioed constables are treated with more respect, hence the unusual bonuses. The tradition of sporting robust mustaches faded somewhat among Indian men after the 1990s, but the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary found their incentive program so successful that they hiked their mustache bonus by 400% in 2019. While it remains up to each individual officer whether they grow a mustache or not, officers who do so will earn a few hundred extra rupees in their pockets each month. 3. French Waiters Once Went on Strike for the Right to Grow Mustaches While growing a mustache may be incentivized by Indian police departments, facial hair was strictly regulated in France around the turn of the 20th century. With French elites attempting to co-opt the mustache as a class symbol, waiters, domestic workers, and even priests were forbidden from growing one. Tensions came to a head in April 1907, when a group of French waiters participated in a strike to demand benefits such as better pay and more freedom to grow facial hair. The waiters were among several groups fed up with forced shaving, and their decision to strike left high-end Parisian restaurants losing roughly 25,000 francs per day in revenue. A bill was introduced to outlaw mustache bans across France, and even though it ultimately failed, many waiters at individual restaurants across the country successfully earned the right to wear mustaches. Unfortunately, such a win came at the expense of meaningful financial gains like pay raises, so it mainly proved to be a symbolic victory for workers’ rights. 4. Mustachioed Victorian Men Used Special Utensils for Tea and Soup Growing a mustache or beard was a fashionable choice during the Victorian era in Great Britain, but it didn’t come without challenges — especially when it came to consuming hot liquids. Men with facial hair often found their mustache wax melting straight off their upper lip and into their drinks. Luckily, an intrepid inventor named Harvey Adams came up with a solution in the 1860s: the “mustache cup.” The cup featured a built-in ledge for men to rest their mustaches against for protection, as well as a hole for liquid to travel through. These adult sippy cups were popular not only in the U.K. but also throughout the U.S., where they were sold at stores like Sears and Marshall Field’s. The Victorian era also saw a few other mustache-based inventions for the kitchen: In 1868, New York engineer Solon Farrer came up with a mustache spoon, which inventor Ellen B. A. Mitcheson tweaked and submitted for patent in 1873. Her idea involved adding a piece of metal to a traditional spoon to keep the mustache from coming into direct contact while slurping down soup, allowing hot liquids to travel through while maintaining perfectly waxed whiskers. 5. Copies of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Included Cardboard Mustaches The Beatles famously ditched their mop-top haircuts and clean-shaven faces in favor of a new, mustachioed look in advance of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The decision actually had a practical purpose: Paul McCartney suffered a moped accident in 1965, which split his upper lip. As with any fashion choice the Beatles made, fans wanted to replicate their look, so the band included cardboard cutout mustaches that could clip onto the nose with the release of the chart-topping album. The set of accessories also included cardboard badges and military stripes to dress like Sgt. Pepper. 6. Salvador Dali’s Mustache Is Reportedly Still Intact Though surrealist artist Salvador Dalí passed away in 1989 at the age of 84, his most striking physical feature is reportedly still intact: his mustache. According to Narcís Bardalet, the embalmer who tended to Dalí’s body after his death and participated in his 2017 exhumation to collect DNA for a paternity claim, Dalí’s mustache still perfectly sits “[like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it.” While still alive, Dalí was known to be proud of his distinctive facial hair; he once claimed that he and French novelist Marcel Proust used the “same kind of pomade” for their mustaches. Dalí’s mustache was even the subject of a book, 1954’s Dali’s Mustache: A Photographic Interview, which the artist co-authored with photographer Philippe Halsman. The book features their interview alongside 28 images of the artist’s unique and seemingly immortal facial hair. Source: Things You Didn’t Know About Moustaches | Facts About Mustaches
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    What's the Word: XERIC pronunciation: [ZER-ik] Part of speech: noun Origin: Ancient Greek, early 20th century Meaning: 1. (Of an environment or habitat) Containing little moisture; very dry. Example: "The moment we stepped off the plane in Las Vegas, we could feel the xeric atmosphere in our lungs." "It’s a challenge to attempt farming in a xeric region where almost nothing grows easily." About Xeric “Xeric” is based on the ancient Greek word “ξηρός” (“xērós”), meaning “dry.” Did you Know? One of the most intensely xeric areas on Earth is the Atacama desert plateau, which runs nearly 1,000 miles along Chile’s western coast. Some parts of the Atacama plateau are so xeric, they’ve gone more than 500 years without a drop of rain. Though the ground beneath the Atacama plateau is rich in some minerals, the region is best known as one of the most ideal areas in the world for astronomical telescopes, thanks to the rarity of clouds. The xeric environment has also been compared to that of Mars — the Atacama plateau has been used both as a backdrop for movies set on Mars and as a testing site for NASA engineers developing technology for future Mars voyages.
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    https://store.ubi.com/tom-clancys-splinter-cell/56c4948a88a7e300458b481c.html Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is currently free on Ubisoft Connect. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/dark-deity-0b08d1 Dark Deity is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/evil-dead-the-game Evil Dead: The Game is currently free on Epic Games Store.
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    What's the Word: SEPTUAGENARIAN pronunciation: [sep-tə-wə-jə-NER-ee-ən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 18th century Meaning: 1. A person who is from 70 to 79 years old. Example: "The audience of mostly septuagenarians wanted to hear the band’s hit songs from the 1960s." "I hope that by the time I am a septuagenarian, I can retire near the beach." About Septuagenarian Taken from the Latin “septuāgēnārius,” meaning “containing 70.” Did you Know? "Septuagenarian" refers to someone in their seventh decade of life, but "September" is the ninth month of the year. "Septum" is Latin for "seven," and under the ancient Roman calendar, September was the seventh of 10 months. In 46 BCE, the Julian calendar added January and February to the beginning of the year, and the rest of the months were bumped back.
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    Fact of the Day - COMMON SURNAMES Did you know... Last names, also known as surnames, can tell us a lot about our family history and cultural identity. Our surnames can help us trace our family trees, but they can also tell us about the history of how people traveled across the world, built their communities, and contributed to society. It turns out that there’s actually a lot to know about last names...including why some last names are more popular than others. (Ashley Robinson | Feb 28, 2021) The Story Behind 9 of the Most Common Surnames in the World by Interesting Facts What are the world’s most popular surnames? It’s a big question, to be honest. Naming conventions vary across the globe. Folks in some countries, such as Mongolia, don’t have surnames at all. In other places, like Hungary, the so-called “last name” comes first. Meanwhile, in Russia and elsewhere, the spelling and pronunciation of a name may depend on your gender. And sometimes a surname can change with each passing generation, as in Iceland. All of this complicates tracking the world’s most common surnames. The task is made even more challenging by the fact that if we were to simply stick to raw totals, this list would contain only names from China or the Indian subcontinent. (After all, those regions are home to one-third of the world’s population.) Instead, we looked at the most popular surnames from different geographic regions: Asia, the Middle East, South America, and so on. (An approximation of the number of name-holders is provided by Forebears, a genealogy portal.) In no particular order, here’s the history behind some of the world’s most storied surnames. 1. Wang (107 million) The surname Wang used to be a handy way to show off your family’s political connections. It’s represented by the Chinese character for “King” or “Monarch.” The name’s popularity in China grew over millennia as various ruling clans and dynasties used it to highlight their pedigree and inheritance. Today, it doesn’t carry much political clout: Approximately 107 million people share the name Wang, making it the most common surname in the world. 2. Nguyen (24.6 million) About 2,100 years ago, China conquered present-day Vietnam. At the time, the Vietnamese didn’t have surnames, which was a problem for the Chinese, who wanted to keep track of their new vassals. So they started handing out surnames. One of those names was Ruan, which would evolve into Nguyen. “It seems likely that some mid-level Chinese bureaucrat, in seeking to figure out who actually lived in his newly conquered Vietnamese territory, simply decided that everyone living there would also be named Ruan—which became Nguyen,” writes Dan Nosowitz at Atlas Obscura. Today, up to 40 percent of Vietnam’s population bears the name. 3. Kim (18.8 million) From 57 B.C.E. up until the year 935, most of the Korean peninsula was called the kingdom of Silla. In the fourth century, The 17th ruler of Silla, Naemul, established a hereditary monarchy that would maintain control of the throne for an impressive five centuries. These people called themselves Kim. The name was fit for a King: The word means “gold.” (Today, approximately one in every five South Koreans are called Kim.) 4. Smith (4.5 million) Anglo-Saxon in origin, Smith harks back to the word smite, which means to “strike with a hammer. In medieval Europe, professional smiths (blacksmiths, goldsmiths, coppersmiths, and more) were among the most skilled and respected citizens in a community. Eventually, occupational names like “Tim the Smith” were shortened. Today, Smith is the most common surname in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. 5. Singh (35.7 million) Derived from the Sanskrit word “lion,” Singh is common among North Indian Hindus. And like Kaur, it’s also the name-of-choice for male Sikhs. In fact, the surnames Kaur and Singh are so widespread that immigration officials have complained that it’s too difficult to process paperwork from Sikhs. For 10 years, Canada addressed the problem by telling Sikhs to change their last names before applying to immigrate. According to the policy, “the names ‘Kaur’ and ‘Singh’ is not sufficient for the purpose of immigration to Canada.” 6. Johnson (3.1 million) This surname owes its popularity to the New Testament. The given name John is one of the most popular in Christian world, and for good reason—The Bible is chock full of beloved Johns: John the Apostle, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist to name a few. The spread of Christianity helped make John one of the most popular first names in the western world. When patronymic surnames became popular in the middle ages, Johnson would become an obvious frontrunner. (And it hasn’t hasn’t looked back. It’s now the second most common surname in the United States.) 7. Ahmed (25.7million) As common a first name as it is a last name, Ahmed and its variants is easily one of the most well-known names on the planet. Extremely popular in Pakistan and east Africa—especially the small island nation of Comoros—the word means “To thanks or praise” or, more specifically, “thanks to God.” The name appears in the Koran, in which Jesus foretells that “an apostle … shall come after me, and whose name shall be Ahmed.” 8. Gonzalez (9.8million) In the 5th century, the Visigoths settled in modern Spain and imported a distinct Germanic language, called Gothic. The name Gonzalez, meaning “son of Gonzalo,” roots back to the Gothic tongue. It’s believed the name Gonzalo may trace back to the old Gothic word for “battle” or “battlefield.” Others suggest it refers to the Gothic words for “war hall” or “castle.” (The Gonzalez family crest is an imposing castle tower.) 9. Rodriguez (9.2 million) For Spanish surnames, the suffix -ez is patronymic. That is, anytime you see a Spanish name ending in -ez, the name means “son of.” The surname Rodriguez, for example, merely means “Son of Rodrigo.” It derives from the old Germanic name Hrodric, which loosely means “powerful ruler.” Back in the day, anybody in the Rodriguez clan could claim that he or she was related to a political bigwig. Source: Most Common Last Names in the World | Surname History
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    What's the Word: LACERTILIAN pronunciation: [la-sər-TIL-yən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 19th century Meaning: 1. Relating to a reptile of the suborder Lacertilia; a lizard. 2. Lizardlike. Example: "The lacertilian beachgoers line up on their towels on the sand every morning." "Though they have certain lacertilian features, crocodiles are not actually large lizards." About Lacertilian “Lacertilian” is taken from the Latin, combining “lacerta” (meaning “lizard”) with the suffix “-ilia,” (meaning “similar to”). Did you Know? Lizards are cold-blooded, but they are more comfortable when they’re warm, which is why they seek out heat and sun. The adjective “lacertilian” might not seem to apply to cats at first, but like lizards, cats adore the warmth of the sun. Cats are warm-blooded creatures, but cats enjoy sitting in patches of sun, or on heating pads and electric blankets. External heat allows cats to reach a comfortable temperature without expending effort, leading to the lacertilian behavior of following the warmth.
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    What's the Word: RESIPISCENCE pronunciation: [REH-sih-PIH-səns] Part of speech: noun Origin: Middle French, 16th century Meaning: 1. Repentance combining acknowledgment of wrongdoing and wish to do better in the future. Example: "When I realized how I had offended my colleague, I immediately expressed my resipiscence." "Morton expressed resipiscence for the wild behavior of his younger days." About Resipiscence “Resipiscence” is taken directly from a Middle French word based on the Latin “resipīscere,” meaning “to come to one's senses.” Did you Know? Forgiveness does not require resipiscence, but a show of repentance and a desire to do better can certainly encourage the wronged party to put the past behind them. For example, Earlonne Woods was sentenced in 1997 to decades in San Quentin State Prison after a series of robberies and kidnappings. Over his time in prison, he began to express resipiscence for his actions and the harm he caused to others, and he became the host of the podcast “Ear Hustle,” about life inside the prison. After he expressed his resipiscence and took responsibility for the crimes, California Governor Jerry Brown commuted his sentence and released him from prison in 2018.
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    Fact of the Day - POLYDACTYL CATS Did you know... There are about 60 polydactyl cats living at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Florida. In 1943, in a letter to his first wife, Hadley Mowrer, Ernest Hemingway wrote, “One cat just leads to another.” All these years later, the famed writer’s adage rings true, especially at his former estate in the Florida Keys, which is home to about 60 cats. These feline descendants of Hemingway’s original cat colony share a special trait: About half of them are polydactyl, meaning they have more toes than the average housecat. Most domesticated felines have 18 toes — five on each front paw and four on each back foot — but polydactyl cats can have as many as eight “toe beans” on each paw. (According to the museum, about half the cats there display “the physical polydactyl trait but they all carry the polydactyl gene in their DNA.”) Those enlarged feet are considered lucky among sailors, who believe they help boat cats better plant their paws in turbulent waters and catch stowaway rodents. That could partly be why Hemingway, known for his love of sailing, favored polydactyl cats; the first of his colony — named Snow White — was reportedly gifted to him by a sea captain. Despite his reputation for machismo, Hemingway had a soft spot for cats. While he was alive, the Florida home where he penned several novels was something of a cat sanctuary, home to as many as 80 cats at once, which were frequently mentioned in his letters to family and friends. More than six decades after Hemingway’s death, his cat clan lives on. Each cat at the author’s residence is born there, given (per tradition) a celebrity name like Lucille Ball, Ginger Rogers, or Alfred Hitchcock, and granted free roam. They’re friendly with the thousands of visitors they meet each year, and may just take after Hemingway’s tough nature — fortunately, the cats safely rode out both Hurricane Irma in 2017 and Hurricane Ian in 2022 with not a hair out of place. Author Mark Twain was known for “renting” cats. Hemingway wasn’t the only writer with an affinity for cats. Mark Twain also was known for preferring the company of felines — and while it was just a fraction of Hemingway’s herd, Twain’s colony included nearly 20 cats at one time. The author’s ingenious wit wasn’t just reserved for his writings; his cat companions received colorful names such as Sour Mash, Soapy Sal, and Blatherskite. Cats were such constant companions for Twain that he couldn’t bear to be without them, going so far as to “rent” cats when his travels took him far from his own. In one such case, Twain spent the summer of 1906 in New Hampshire, where he borrowed three kittens from a nearby farm, naming one Sackcloth and both kittens in an identical pair Ashes. But Twain’s summertime stays weren’t just a feline fling; his cat rental fee included lifetime care for his short-term companions. (Interesting Facts) Amazing Facts About Polydactyl Cats By CHRISTINA DONNELLY | Updated on 10/31/22 Polydactyl cats are born with more than the usual number of toes on their paws. While most cats have five toes on their front paws and four toes on their back paws, polydactyl cats can have six (or more) on each paw. Polydactyly is a genetic abnormality that results in extra digits and is more common in certain geographic regions of the world compared to others. It can affect any cat breed, male or female, big or small. Read on to learn more about the genetic factors that contribute to polydactyly and to check out some adorable photos of polydactyl cats. 1. Polydactyly Is Caused by a Genetic Mutation Polydactyly is caused by a genetic mutation in a dominant gene and usually results in the formation of anywhere between four to seven toes on a kitty’s paws. The front paws are most often affected by polydactyly, but it can also occur on the hind paws; it’s extremely rare for a cat to have polydactyly on all four paws. For the most part, polydactyly is harmless to a cat’s health and wellness. It can make trimming your cat’s nails a bit more labor-intensive—and if you’ve ever trimmed your cat’s nails, you know how difficult it is—but otherwise, there are plenty of happy, healthy kitties with a few extra toes. It’s important to note that feline radial hypoplasia, a condition that is often confused with polydactyly, can be extremely detrimental to a cat’s health. Like polydactyly, feline radial hypoplasia causes the development of extra toes. The major difference is that the extra toes develop immediately next to the cat’s normal toes, resulting in extremely large, flat feet. If cats with feline radial hypoplasia are bred, it can cause severe paw deformities in subsequent generations. 2. Some Polydactyl Cats Have “Mittens” “Mitten paws” occur when a polydactyl cat’s extra toes form in the middle of the paw, giving it a thumb-like—or mitten-like—appearance. Although these extra digits resemble thumbs, they aren’t opposable. 3. Polydactyly Can Actually Benefit Some Cats Polydactyl cats’ toes aren’t just cute—they provide some benefits to kitties, too. Because polydactyl cats have wider, larger paws, they’re better able to balance on various surfaces, climb, hunt, and capture their prey. If you have a polydactyl cat, be sure to buy it a scratching post or board and make sure that nail trims account for all their toes. Those extra toes can seriously do a number on your furniture. 4. Polydactyl Cats Are Considered Lucky Like many kinds of cats (black cats and calico cats included) that were believed to bring good luck to sailors, polydactyl cats are no exception. Back in the day, polydactyl cats were a common sight on long journeys by ship. With the help of their large, wide paws, polydactyl cats made excellent mousers and could keep the ship’s supplies vermin-free. Plus, their paws helped them balance on rocky seas. Polydactyl cats are most commonly found in Western England, Wales, Canada, and the Eastern United States, and their prevalence in those regions is often credited to their days on trans-continental ships. It’s believed that polydactyl cats in England were transported across the Atlantic Ocean where they bred with non-polydactyl cats and proliferated the genetic trait. 5. Ernest Hemingway Loved Polydactyl Cats Have you ever wondered why polydactyl cats are sometimes referred to as Hemingway cats? Well, it’s because Ernest Hemingway loved them. After he was gifted a white, polydactyl cat named Snow Ball (some say the cat was called Snow White) by a ship’s captain, Ernest Hemingway developed a serious affection for these multi-toed kitties. After his death in 1961, his home in Key West, Florida was transformed into a museum and a home for his beloved cats. Currently, the kitty colony is home to about 50 descendants of his original pack of cats—and about half of them are polydactyl. 6. The Condition Was Very Common Among Maine Coon Cats Because Maine coon cats originated in Maine’s harsh, snowy conditions, they’ve evolved to have large, insulated paws that serve as tiny, built-in snow boots. And, lucky for Maine coons, polydactyly was very common in the breed—at one time about 40 percent of Maine coons had extra digits.2 Why's it lucky? Polydactyly gave Maine coons larger, wider paws with more insulation to traverse the snowy conditions. Today, polydactyly has been bred out of many Maine coon cats, but the breed polydactyl Maine coon is still recognized by some cat fanciers. 7. One Cat Holds the World Record for Most Toes According to the Guinness Book of World Records, a polydactyl ginger tabby named Jake holds the world record for the most toes. Clocking in at a whopping 28 toes, Jake had seven toes on each paw—with each toe having its own claw, pad, and bone structure. Paws' paws UPDATE: A cat from Minnesota has equaled a world record for the most number of toes on its paws. Aptly named, Paws, a polydactyl cat, the fury feline has 28 toes with three extra on each fore paw and an extra on each back paw. Normal cats have a total of 18 toes, with five toes on each fore paw, and five toes on each hind paw. Paws, who is three-years-old is tied with another cat for the Guinness World Record for the feline with the most toes. Owner Jeanne Martin, of Northfield, Minnesota says Paws' genetic trait comes in handy. Source: Facts About Polydactyl Cats | Interesting Facts About Polydactyl Cats
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    What's the Word: ATEMPORAL pronunciation: [ey-TEM-pə-rəl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 19th century Meaning: 1. Existing or considered without relation to time. Example: "Pauline experienced an atemporal feeling while watching her favorite movie, like time itself stopped as long as it was playing." "I find myself deeply relaxed any time I’m on a beach vacation, because the ocean itself feels atemporal." About Atemporal Formed from Latin by adding the negating prefix “a-“ to the adjective “temporal” (from the Latin “temporālis,” meaning “of time”). Did you Know? “Atemporal” describes those things that exist outside of relation to time or are unaffected by its passage. The term has been used in movies and TV, especially to describe a story line that jumps around in time or references many different eras. For example, “Pulp Fiction” and other works by Quentin Tarantino avoid a conventional beginning-middle-end structure while also featuring music and cultural references from different eras. These details give the viewer a sense of being jerked out of traditional narrative chronology into something wilder, a realm where time doesn’t matter as much.
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    Fact of the Day - CHARLES DARWIN Did you know... Charles Darwin is a pretty famous guy, and deservedly so. His 1859 opus, "On the Origin of Species," revolutionized biology by explaining how life evolves and diversifies, and it remains as relevant today as ever. His Feb. 12 birthday is now celebrated worldwide as Darwin Day, elevating the humble English naturalist to a kind of scientific sainthood. But as with any historical figure, many details of Darwin's life have been obscured over time. Sure, he helped us understand our lot and legacy in the natural world, but he also played a mean game of backgammon and took an interest in Buddhism. For more little-known facts about the father of evolution, check out this list of Darwinian tidbit. (Russell McLendon | Updated May 15, 2020) Awe-Inspiring Facts About Charles Darwin by Interesting Facts The legendary naturalist Charles Robert Darwin, who was born in 1809 and died in 1882, is one of history’s best-known scientists. His groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species, which presented a theory of evolution by natural selection, is still the foundation of modern evolutionary study more than 160 years after its publication, and his five-year voyage on the HMS Beagle, including his trip to the Galapagos Islands, is still a widely recounted tale. His story is more complex than you might know, though. What hobby made Darwin the object of ridicule when he was a kid? Did he actually have his lightbulb moment while visiting the Galapagos? Which animal did he spend eight whole years studying while developing his most famous theory? From his experiments in taxidermy to his habit of eating the animals he studied, here are 10 facts you may not know about the famed researcher. 1. Charles Darwin Took After His Scientist Grandfather Charles Darwin’s grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a noted physician and botanist, and Erasmus loved the latter science so much that he was known for writing gushing poetry on the subject, in addition to translating many widely used textbooks. His book Zoonomia touched on ideas of evolution, and like his grandson, he came under fire from the English establishment, which preferred biblical chronology. His tone, however, differed significantly from his grandson’s. One of his more popular works, a poem called “The Loves of Plants,” used titillating language to pique readers’ interest in botany. This is one of the tamer excerpts: With secret sighs the Virgin Lily droops, And jealous Cowslips hang their tawny cups. How the young Rose in beauty’s damask pride Drinks the warm blushes of his bashful bride; With honey'd lips enamour'd Woodbines meet, Clasp with fond arms, and mix their kisses sweet. 2. Charles Darwin’s High School Nickname Was “Gas” A wealth of scientific knowledge was available at the time young Charles was in school in the early 19th century, but public schools in England had been slow to adapt it into their curriculum. Science was considered not just uncool, but uncouth at the time. The young Charles Darwin dabbled in chemistry anyway, which didn’t exactly put him in the good graces of his classmates at Shrewsbury School (in Shropshire, England), and they nicknamed him “Gas.” Even his headmaster admonished him for his hobby. 3. Darwin’s Father Sent Him to Med School (And He Hated It) Darwin’s father, a physician who considered his son to be kind of a layabout, sent him to Edinburgh University to study medicine at age 16, in 1825. Darwin’s education there was formative; he learned all about the scientific disciplines he loved, like geology, botany, taxonomy, and even taxidermy. At the time, scientists banned from Anglican universities in England came to the Scottish school to discuss then-deviant ideas — such as the early rumblings of evolutionary theory. Darwin did not, however, learn much about medicine, since anatomy bored him and surgery disgusted him. The knowledge he gained from Edinburgh would serve him well when his dad transferred him to Christ’s College, which had a much more conservative curriculum. It was one of his professors at that institution — Reverend John Stevens Henslow — who encouraged him to sail to South America on the HMS Beagle on an expedition that would eventually take him to the Galapagos Islands. 4. The Galapagos Islands Didn’t Immediately Lead Him to Natural Selection At the time he set sail in 1831, Darwin was actually a creationist, holding the then-mainstream English belief that animals and their unique attributes were divinely designed rather than created through a natural process. He wouldn’t change his mind until after he came back from his trip — so despite the popular image of Darwin having a “lightbulb” moment while studying the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands, he didn’t think in detail about the archipelago’s unique ecosystem while he was there. He didn’t note the exact location on most of his bird specimens, and he didn’t collect tortoise specimens at all — only tortoise pets — even though the locals already believed that each island had a distinct race of them. Darwin, also a geologist, did make one thrilling discovery during his time in the region, however. He noticed some fossilized trees high up in the Andes that he realized must have been underwater for quite some time, and wondered how they got there. The crew had already observed the eruption of a Chilean volcano, and later, they witnessed a major earthquake and a tidal wave up the coast. After confirming some measurements, he realized they were all connected, and proposed a theory of continental uplift: “We may confidently come to the conclusion that the forces which slowly and by little starts uplift continents,” wrote Darwin, “and those which at successive periods pour forth volcanic matter from open orifices, are identical.” His work helped pave the way for the theory of plate tectonics. 5. Darwin Rose to Prominence as a Geologist Darwin is best known today for his work as a naturalist, but knowing his views would be controversial, he didn’t share his theory of evolution by natural selection until later in life. Even on the Beagle, geology was his drive, and he wrote to his sisters back home that he “literally could not sleep” thinking about the subject. While he didn’t keep the most thorough records of animal life in the Galapagos Islands, he painstakingly studied lava flows. At the end of the five-year voyage, he had amassed 1,383 pages of notes on geology, compared to 368 on animals and plants. So upon his return to England, he built his reputation as a well-regarded gentleman geologist. He presented his findings on the Chilean coastline to the Royal Geological Society in 1837 and published the first standalone version of his diary from the voyage, “Journal of Researches into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S. Beagle,” in 1839. He published a variety of small papers on geological formations from not just his voyage, but Scotland and Wales. In the 1840s, he published books on coral reef formations, volcanoes, and the geography of South America, but eventually retired as an active geology researcher and threw himself into studying animal life. 6. His Preservation Techniques Had Mixed Results Darwin is one of the most influential scientists in history, but even he couldn’t knock it out of the park every time. He acquired a lot of specimens — which became a lot of clutter — during the voyage of the HMS Beagle. Soon, building off his taxidermy knowledge from university, Darwin started experimenting with new preservation techniques using wax, alcoholic spirits, and thin sheets of lead, and he’d mail his creations home to his former professor Reverend Henslow for feedback. The results were mixed. In one letter to Darwin, Henslow describes moldy mice and crushed bird feathers, although he compliments some of the insects and lichens. Then there was the mystery fungus: “For goodness sake what is No. 223?” wrote Henslow. “It looks like the remains of an electric explosion, a mere mass of soot — something very curious I daresay.” One specimen in his collection, rediscovered in 2009, was an egg with a large crack in it — a result not of age, but of Darwin putting it in too small of a box. 7. Darwin Had a Notoriously Adventurous Palate — And Ate Many of His Subjects Even before his time as a naturalist, Darwin made a point of eating animals that weren’t part of the standard culinary repertoire. While at Christ’s College, he belonged to a group called the Glutton Club, which ate hawk, bittern (a bird in the heron family), and finally a brown owl, before disbanding. His voyage around the world significantly expanded his options, and Darwin took full advantage, eating puma, iguanas, armadillos, giant tortoises, and his favorite, an unspecified 20-pound rodent. He spent months trying to track down a large, flightless bird called a lesser rhea (sometimes called a Darwin’s rhea), before realizing one day that he was actively dining on one. He called a halt to the meal and sent the leftovers back to England. 8. He Spent 8 Years Studying Barnacles Aboard the Beagle, Darwin encountered one of his more fascinating subjects: a species of barnacle without a shell, which he nicknamed Mr. Arthrobalanus. During his time as a gentleman geologist, his mind kept coming back to that barnacle. He began abandoning creationism in the late 1830s, and revisiting his research, engaging with the present scientific discourse, and eventually meeting with dog and pigeon breeders to gather more research. He sketched out his vague ideas in 1842, and later instructed his wife to publish them if he died suddenly. For the next several years, he would only share his ideas with close confidantes for fear of reprisal. One of them suggested he actually study a species, any species, in depth before he started speculating about their origin — so Darwin finally returned to his barnacles to gain some clarity. Unfortunately, it turned into a way bigger project than he’d anticipated, since most previous research on barnacles was sloppy, badly cataloged, and riddled with mistakes. So he set about reclassifying everything, requesting barnacle specimens from around the world for study. It sounds tedious, but apparently Darwin loved the work and welcomed a chance to get hands-on again. His peers made fun of him mercilessly, but it turned out he had a lot to learn from the tiny marine creatures, and cataloged every little nuance and link between them. Eventually it paid off, earning him a Royal Society medal in 1853. Through this work, he gained hands-on experience he needed to strengthen the theory that would make him famous. 9. Writing and Publishing “The Origin of Species” Was Extremely Stressful Even as Darwin started to experience his scientific awakening, he never lost sight of the consequences of stating his views publicly. To mainstream Anglican society, anything but creationism was heresy. Evolution as a general idea was already pretty well established, and some atheists who espoused it were being jailed for blasphemy. Darwin had a long way to fall if he was caught before he was fully ready. Meanwhile, starting in the late 1830s, Darwin began suffering from a host of health problems, including severe nausea. Some experts theorize that this was the result of an illness he contracted on his travels, while others contend it was anxiety-related. Regardless, he was stressed: In 1842, he moved his family outside of London, and even lowered the road outside their house so he would be harder to see. He started turning to spa treatments and quack cures for his illness, even resorting to tying plate batteries to his stomach. When it came time to actually publish the manuscript, Darwin’s anxiety was especially high. His nausea worsened, and he was taken to a spa in Yorkshire when his book was published in 1859. Two weeks beforehand, he’d sent copies to 11 prominent scientists asking for support, but included intensely self-deprecating passages such as “how savage you will be, if you read it, and how you will long to crucify me alive!” He later described this time as like “living in Hell.” 10. His Son Became an Influential Astronomer Charles Darwin’s son George Darwin spent his childhood helping his father in his lab. Famously, upon visiting a friend’s house without a study, he asked, “But where does your father do his barnacles?” This junior researcher went on to become the next in the family line of scientists as a celebrated astronomer and pioneering geophysicist, best known for his theory that the moon was once part of the Earth before it was pulled away by solar tides to create a satellite. This is generally considered unlikely now, but, as the first theory of sun-Earth-moon evolution based on mathematics applied to geophysics, it was groundbreaking at the time. In a way, it was a very early step toward what most astronomers believe today: that because of some sort of impact, parts of Earth and another unknown celestial body combined to become the moon. Source: Surprising Facts About Charles Darwin | Charles Darwin Facts
  37. 1 point
    What's the Word: EXPISCATE pronunciation: [EX-pis-keyt] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. To find out by skill or laborious investigation. 2. To search out. Example: "Through long periods of interrogation, the detective was eventually able to expiscate the whole story from the suspect." "When I got in trouble at school, my mother always managed to expiscate the details from my brother." About Expiscate From the Latin “expiscatus,” meaning “to fish out,” which itself is formed by combining “ex” (meaning “out”) and “piscari” (meaning “to fish”). Did you Know? The nature of the action of expiscating is to draw out a truth that someone is trying to keep hidden — or even does not understand to be the truth. As a result, most police interrogations and legal cross-examinations are driven by the desire to expiscate. Rather than simply revealing details already openly available, a police interrogator or cross-examining attorney works to expiscate the truth from a witness or suspect by asking direct and indirect questions that relate to the hidden truth in the hope of catching them in a contradiction and forcing them to reveal the whole story.
  38. 1 point
    What's the Word: ACIDULOUS pronunciation: [ə-SIJ-ə-ləs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 17th century Meaning: 1. Sharp-tasting; sour. 2. (Of a person's remarks or tone) Bitter; cutting. Example: "Yesenia prefers smooth cold-brew coffee to an acidulous dark-roast drip coffee." "Angelica paid her many parking tickets in full, after first making an acidulous remark to the city clerk." About Acidulous “Acidulous” is taken almost directly from the Latin “acidulous,” meaning “sourish.” Did you Know? When “acidulous” is used to describe a flavor, it describes a sharply sour taste, while in describing moods or words, the term implies bitterness. In flavor, the difference between sour and bitter is partly determined by acidity, the source of sourness, while bitterness is associated with earth and green leaves. If a dish seems to be falling flat, chefs often recommend adding an acid. In chemical terms, ingredients with a low pH of 0 to 7 are acids — vinegar and lemon have a pH of 2, wine and tomato are at 4, and buttermilk and coffee both have a pH of 4.5. Bitterness is found on the alkaline scale at a pH of 7 to 14.
  39. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/alba-a-wildlife-adventure-93736a Alba: A Wildlife Adventure is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/shadow-tactics Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is currently free on Epic Games Store.
  40. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - MURDER SHE WROTE Did you know... For 12 seasons and 264 episodes, the small coastal town of Cabot Cove, Maine, was the scene of a murder. And wherever there was a body, Jessica Fletcher wasn’t far behind. The fictional mystery author and amateur sleuth at the heart of the CBS drama Murder, She Wrote was given life by actress Angela Lansbury, who made a name for herself in the theater world and in movies like 1944’s Gaslight and 1962’s The Manchurian Candidate. Though the show was supposed to skew toward an older audience, the series is still very much alive and being discovered by new generations of audiences every year. Unravel the mystery with these facts about Murder, She Wrote. (Jason Serafino | Aug 22, 2017) Fascinating Facts About “Murder, She Wrote” by Interesting Facts It’s difficult to believe that it’s been more than 25 years since Murder, She Wrote ended its 12-year run on May 19, 1996, and mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher (mostly) disappeared from our lives. A quarter of a century later, the fictional village of Cabot Cove, Maine, still holds a special place in many of our hearts. Let’s revisit it below with some fun facts about the show, but watch your back, and remember — everyone’s a suspect. 1. Angela Lansbury Wasn’t the First Choice for Jessica Fletcher It’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone but Angela Lansbury playing Jessica Fletcher, but she wasn’t a shoo-in for the job. Doris Day turned it down; Jean Stapleton (aka Edith Bunker) also declined, partly because she didn’t feel ready to jump into another series so soon after wrapping up the 1970s sitcom All in the Family. “Every time I saw Angela during those years, she’d say, ‘Thank you, Jean,’” Stapleton once said. 2. Jessica’s Middle Name Was a Nod to Lansbury’s Real-Life BFF Before landing Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury was perhaps best known for her Broadway prowess. After costarring with Bea Arthur in the musical Mame in 1965, the two actresses became very close. Lansbury has said that Arthur was “a rare and unique performer and a dear, dear friend.” Jessica Fletcher’s middle name, Beatrice, pays homage to their real-life friendship. 3. Lansbury Never Won an Emmy for “Murder, She Wrote” The extraordinarily talented Lansbury — who died October 11, 2022, at the age of 96 — was nominated for a total of 18 Emmys, including one for every season of Murder. She never won, though, making the elusive Emmy the only part of the EGOT (the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards) she doesn’t have. “It bothers the hell out of me,” she once said. (She was, however, honored in the Emmy Hall of Fame in 1996; her 2013 Oscar is also honorary.) 4. A Remake Starring Octavia Spencer Almost Happened In 2013, Octavia Spencer was slated to take the lead role in a reboot that would have aired on NBC. Described as a “light and contemporary take,” it focused on a hospital administrator who publishes her first mystery novel and then starts solving crimes. Lansbury was skeptical, saying, “I think it’s a mistake to call it Murder, She Wrote, because Murder, She Wrote will always be about Cabot Cove and this wonderful little group of people who told those lovely stories and enjoyed a piece of that place, and also enjoyed Jessica Fletcher, who is a rare and very individual kind of person. … So I’m sorry that they have to use the title Murder, She Wrote, even though they have access to it and it’s their right.” The reboot was cancelled in 2014. 5. There Was a Very Special Crossover Episode Any criminal would be a fool to try to pull something off with both Thomas Magnum and Jessica Fletcher on the case, but that’s exactly what happened in this third-season television event featuring Jessica in Hawaii. The first part (“Novel Connection”) aired during Magnum P.I.’s time slot, with the story concluding in an episode called "Magnum on Ice" during Murder’s Sunday-night airing. 6. Lansbury Identifies With Fletcher the Most Out of All Her Roles “The closest I came to playing myself … was really as Jessica Fletcher,” Lansbury told Parade magazine in 2018. “Obviously, if I had been able to do that earlier in my career, I would have had a different career really.” However, in 1985 — a year after the show began — she also told The New York Times: “Jessica has extreme sincerity, compassion, extraordinary intuition. I'm not like her. My imagination runs riot. I'm not a pragmatist. Jessica is.'' 7. CBS Pulled the Plug on “Murder” Rather Unceremoniously In 1995, the network switched Murder from its long-standing Sunday-night spot to run directly against NBC’s Friends in the Thursday-night “Must See TV” lineup. The move dropped Lansbury and co. from the top 20 in the Nielsen ratings to No. 67, and CBS bid them adieu. “Murder most foul,” the Washington Post declared the schedule change and cancellation. 8. The Final Episode Made a Point Titled “Death by Demographics,” the finale was set at a San Francisco radio station changing from classical to rock against their will. “You realize we’re going to lose our entire audience,” the son of the station owner says. “Yes, and replace it with 12-to-18-year-olds, the ones who spend serious money on new products and new ideas, and the ones that advertisers pay big bucks to reach,” responds a producer. The implication was clear — Murder had been killed because it couldn’t reach the youth market when it went up against Friends. It wasn’t the only time during the season that the Murder writers thumbed their noses at CBS. There was also an episode called “Murder Among Friends,” in which the producer of a hit TV show called Buds is killed right before a big cast change. Source: Mysterious Facts About Murder, She Wrote | “Murder, She Wrote” Facts
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    What's the Word: REALIA pronunciation: [ree-AL-ee-ə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 19th century Meaning: 1. Objects and material from everyday life, especially when used as teaching aids. 2. Real things or actual facts, especially as distinct from theories about or reactions to them. Example: "The visiting firefighter dazzled the schoolkids with his realia, which included his helmet, ax, and oxygen tank." "In science class, Daria learned best from lessons involving realia, such as demonstrations of dramatic chemical reactions." About Realia “Realia” is directly from the Latin “reālia,” meaning “real things.” Did you Know? The first realia many babies encounter is a simple set of wooden blocks, which were developed as teaching tools in 18th-century England and popularized by German educational philosopher Friedrich Fröbel (best known for inventing and naming “kindergarten”). “Fröbel gifts,” a set of mostly wooden blocks he developed, became massively popular educational toys for babies, offering them real-world experiences with basic shapes, gravity, and building or stacking. These toys provide pieces of the real world small enough for babies to handle and safely experiment with. Used as realia, building blocks have been the foundation of early learning for hundreds of millions of people.
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    Fact of the Day - PUZZLES Did you know.... If you're a puzzle enthusiast, did it ever cross your mind that one day you will solve the history of jigsaw puzzle? Wouldn’t be awesome to connect the puzzle pieces of how it started before it becomes the favorite family board game of all time? Well, today is your lucky day! (PuzzleReady) Captivating Facts About Puzzles by Interesting Facts What’s your favorite way to puzzle? Maybe you like assembling giant jigsaws with your family, filling out the daily crossword in pen, or playing brain-teaser apps on your phone. Between real-life escape rooms and video game dungeons, today’s puzzle options are nearly infinite. But how much do you really know about them? From the origins of Sudoku to the distracting power of Minesweeper, these seven facts about puzzles will make you think about your favorite pastimes in a whole new way. 1. An “Enigmatologist” Is Someone Who Studies Puzzles You probably already know the word “enigma,” meaning something that’s mysterious, hard to understand, or, well, puzzling. Combine that with “ology,” indicating a field of study, and it makes sense that “enigmatologist” would mean one who studies puzzles. The word is a relative newcomer to the lexicon, and is typically attributed to New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz, who graduated from Indiana University with a self-designed Enigmatology degree in 1974. While the term hasn’t made it into all the major dictionaries, Merriam Webster does list “enigmatology” alongside the more generic definition of “the investigation or analysis of enigmas.” Crossword enthusiasts get their own word, “cruciverbalist,” coined in the early 1980s. Speaking of which… 2. The First Modern Crossword Puzzle Was Published in 1913 The first modern crossword puzzle was published in the New York World’s “Fun” section on December 21, 1913, although simpler ancestors appeared in kids’ puzzle books in 19th-century Britain. Unlike the format we’re used to in today’s papers, the puzzle’s clues weren’t organized into “across” and “down”; instead, two numbers indicated a start and end point within the diamond-shaped grid. Just a decade later, crossword puzzles were a standard offering in major U.S. papers, and serious cruciverbalists still observe December 21 as Crossword Puzzle Day. But while the New York Times puzzle is among the most iconic crosswords today, the Gray Lady was notoriously slow to adopt the practice. The paper finally relented soon after the bombing of Pearl Harbor: “We ought to proceed with the puzzle, especially in view of the fact it is possible there will now be bleak blackout hours,” wrote the Sunday editor at the time in a memo to the publisher, “or if not that then certainly a need for relaxation of some kind or other.” Their first puzzle finally appeared on February 15, 1942 and, despite its stated goal of helping to calm nerves during wartime, includes several clues about the then-current events of World War II. 3. There Are 43 Quintillion Possible Rubik’s Cube Arrangements Each Rubik’s Cube shows nine different colorful squares on each face; to solve it, you need to twist rows of smaller cubes both horizontally and vertically until each face of the cube is the same color. Some people are really, really good at solving it, regularly finishing expertly-scrambled cubes in less than five seconds. This is a pretty incredible feat, considering that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 different configurations, but solving it is less complicated than it might appear. A team of scientists borrowed Google’s computers to find the quickest solution to each configuration, and it turns out each can be solved in 20 moves or less. Since people are not computers, this knowledge doesn’t exactly spell out each solution for a human being, but “speedcubers,” as they’re called, memorize hundreds of algorithms to help them attack each new configuration. 4. The First Jigsaw Puzzles Were Geography-Learning Tools The first commercial jigsaw puzzles originated in 18th-century England, when cartographer John Spilsbury started pasting maps to thin wood and slicing out individual countries with a scroll saw. He called them “dissected maps,” and while they were originally teaching aids, their popularity spread throughout Britain in the mid-1700s. By the mid-1800s, these puzzles featured other popular images from things like zoology and fairy tales. Interlocking puzzles — the kind you’re likely used to today — started with Parker Brothers in the early 20th century. Homemade versions took off during the Great Depression as both a low-cost way to entertain yourself and, for anybody with a jigsaw, a way to make some extra cash by selling them or renting them out. 5. “Tetris” Is a Blend of “Tetra” and “Tennis” “Tetris” is so ubiquitous now that it’s entered everyday speech outside of the game. (Maybe you used it the last time you packed a moving truck!) But the game has only been around for 40 years or so, and the etymology of its name is a little surprising. One part is obvious: “Tetra” is a Greek numeral prefix, meaning “four.” Each Tetris piece is made up of four smaller squares. The “is” on the end isn’t just for style, but it’s not particularly relevant to the gameplay, either: Creator Alexey Pajitnov just really, really liked tennis, and included the suffix in the name. 6. Bill Gates Himself Was Addicted to Minesweeper Those who were around to experience the early years of Windows probably know two games a little too well: Solitaire and the much more stressful Minesweeper. Solitaire was standard on Windows 3.0 as a friendly, familiar feature to help users feel less intimidated by the operating system, and as a handy exercise in using a computer mouse. Minesweeper, which used to be an add-on with the Microsoft Entertainment Pack, came standard in 3.1. The reasoning? It was the staff favorite, and many in the Microsoft offices — especially founder Bill Gates — couldn’t keep their hands off it. In 1994, the Washington Post reported that Gates had become so distracted that he took it off his personal machine. This did not prevent him from playing it, however: He’d just hop over to then-Microsoft-president Mike Hallman’s office to play instead. (Supposedly, his solving record was five seconds.) 7. Sudoku Dates Back at Least to 1700s Switzerland Contrary to popular belief, Sudoku did not originate in Japan, although it did come of age there. One of its earliest forms — although it’s possible that its origins go back even earlier, to 8th or 9th century China — was a variation on magic squares developed by Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, who called it “Latin Squares.” It was a slightly simpler version of the game we know today: In modern Sudoku, solvers need to place a series of numbers so they only appear once in their corresponding row, column, and sub-grid, while Latin Squares used only rows and columns. A more complicated version popped up in French newspapers in the late 19th century, with both the smaller grids and a couple of diagonals thrown in. The modern Sudoku puzzle emerged in the 1970s as “Number Place,” published in Dell Puzzle Magazines and sometimes credited to a retired architect in Indiana. A Japanese puzzle enthusiast named Maki Kaji “fell in love” with the game, renamed it Sudoku, and started printing puzzles through his game publishing company Nikoli. (The name is short for sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru, which means "the numerals must remain single" — that is, the digits must occur only once.) The idea spread quickly in Japan; unlike a crossword, you don’t need an alphabet to solve it, which is ideal when your written language doesn’t have an equivalent to the ABCs. Sudoku started spreading back out to Hong Kong, Britain, and eventually the United States in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. Source: Facts Every Puzzle Lovers Should Know | Facts About Puzzles
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    What's the Word: NIMIETY pronunciation: [ni-MAHY-i-tee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. State of being in excess, more than is needed. Example: "Arlene had a nimiety of Halloween candy and insisted Carl take some home after the party." "Our backyard has such a nimiety of sparrows that their constant noise can become disruptive." About Nimiety From the Latin “nimietās,” meaning “excess” or “redundancy.” Did you Know? While “nimiety” is a neutral term describing a state of excess, it has frequently been used with negative connotations of wastefulness, dilution, and exhaustion. Often “nimiety” doesn’t just mean “more than necessary,” but rather “too much in a way that has unpleasant outcomes.” For example, a salad dressing might be overpowered by a nimiety of vinegar, or a dish might suffer a nimiety of salt or hot peppers. The term can also describe the absence of brevity: A writer might need an editor’s red pen to fix a nimiety of flowery adjectives.
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    Fact of the Day - THE FLINTSTONES Did you know... Pre-dating The Simpsons by almost 30 years, The Flintstones was the first primetime animated show on TV and, until 1997 when The Simpsons stole the crown, The Flintstones aired the most episodes of any animated show in primetime, with 166 episodes between 1960 and 1966. The show was so successful, it established Hanna-Barbera as the largest producer of animated films. Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble, live in Bedrock during 10,000 B.C. Fred and Barney work at a quarry, and Betty and Wilma are homemakers who are constantly at odds with their husbands. In the third and fourth seasons, respectively, kids Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm joined the cast. Akin to other Hanna-Barbera-produced shows like Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones reappeared in many other series and specials throughout the decades, including two live-action theatrical movies and several spinoff series, including 20 episodes of The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, featuring the kids as teenagers. Nearly a dozen TV specials aired, including The Flintstone Kids’ “Just Say No” Special, a couple of Flintstones holiday specials, and a made-for-TV Jetsons/Flintstones mash-up. Along with all of the shows, The Flintstones launched multi-million dollar merchandising with Fruity Pebbles cereal and Flintstones vitamins. Here are 15 brontosaurus-sized facts about one of the greatest animated families of all time. (By Garin Pirnia | September 30, 2017) Yabba Dabba Do! A Brief History of “The Flintstones” by Interesting Facts When The Flintstones premiered on ABC in 1960, New York Times critic Jack Gould derided the show as “an inked disaster” and Jackie Gleason considered suing, contending the primetime cartoon experiment was a Honeymooners copycat set in 10,000 BCE. Still, fans grew attached to Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty — at least until the introduction of The Great Gazoo, a green alien meant to lay the groundwork for Hanna-Barbera’s next unconventional family sitcom, The Jetsons. With iconic friendships, a theme song earworm, and countless ancient/modern mash-ups, here’s how the show chiseled its way into our collective conscience. 1. The Partnership Between William Hanna and Joseph Barbera William Hanna and Joseph Barbera met when they were in their late 20s, as new hires in MGM’s fledgling animation department. Discovering that they shared similar comic sensibilities, they teamed up on 15 years of Tom and Jerry antics, earning two Oscar nominations for Best Short Subject, Cartoons. When MGM shuttered its animation department in 1957, the duo — intent on segueing into television — formed Hanna-Barbera Productions, and created the first animated half-hour series, The Huckleberry Hound Show. To save time and money, the pair pioneered “limited animation,” which basically presented a series of storyboard drawings, linked by small movements like bobbing heads and talking lips. The president of distributor Screen Gems asked Hanna and Barbera if they wanted to collaborate on a primetime television cartoon — even though standalone cartoons had only been successful thus far as morning or afternoon kids’ programming. They accepted the challenge. 2. Masterminding the Series To engineer a hit with the viewership potential of Father Knows Best or Leave It to Beaver, Hanna-Barbera decided to focus their show on a suburban family — with some sort of unique twist. They brainstormed central characters who were Romans, Indigenous People, pilgrims, Appalachian people, and nomads. Then, animator Dan Gordon doodled two cavemen dressed in animal skins. His figures flanked a record player that had a live bird’s beak as its needle. Character designer Ed Benedict tried to add more features present in early humans, but at Barbera’s urging, he made the physiques more refined, even giving Wilma a stone necklace that resembled oversized pearls. The series was named after the primary caveman couple, then named The Flagstones. 3. Finding a Network A 90-second pilot for The Flagstones was filmed in 1959. Toting the footage and storyboards, Barbera traveled to New York City for two months of dismal pitch meetings with networks and sponsors. Finally, on the last day of his trip, ABC greenlit the show for a 28-episode first season. However, the daily comic strip Hi and Lois already had a family called the Flagstons; The Gladstones served as a placeholder title until the parties arrived at The Flintstones. Decades later, in 1994, Cartoon Network aired The Flagstones pilot after it was recovered from a New York storage facility. Father Knows Best veteran Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma) was the only actor to lend her voice to both the pilot and the eventual series. 4. Casting the Ultimate Period Piece Character actor Alan Reed won the role of Fred. A year after The Flintstones debuted, Reed played Sally Tomato — the mob boss who welcomes Holly Golightly for weekly prison visits — in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Once, when asked to say, “Yahoo!” in Fred’s voice, Reed ad-libbed a replacement that became the character’s signature. “Yabba dabba do!” was inspired by the 1950s jingle for men’s hair product, Brylcreem (“A little dab'll do ya"). Meanwhile, the original voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig and scores of other Looney Tunes characters, Mel Blanc, was hired to play Fred’s best friend and next-door neighbor, Barney Rubble. The animation legend picked up a second recurring part on the Stone Age series, supplying the barks for the Flintstones’ pet dinosaur, Dino. In 1961, Blanc survived a head-on car crash but spent two weeks in a coma and 70 days in the hospital. During this period, Barney was voiced by Daws Butler, the performer who voiced Fred in The Flagstones pilot, as well as Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear on The Huckleberry Hound Show. Upon Blanc’s release, he was temporarily confined to a body cast, and series recording sessions relocated to his home for about 40 episodes. Rounding out the core cast was Bea Benaderet, who had been Lucille Ball’s first choice to play Ethel on I Love Lucy. For four seasons, Benaderet took on The Flintstones’ second female lead, Betty Rubble, until she exited to star in Petticoat Junction. Geraldine “Gerry” Johnson portrayed Betty for the remaining seasons. 5. A Lasting Cultural Impact Over the course of six seasons and 166 episodes, The Flintstones carved out a formidable TV legacy. The show was the premiere 30-minute animated sitcom, as well as the first cartoon ever nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series at the Primetime Emmys — an honor The Simpsons has never even achieved. Despite its laugh track, The Flintstones embarked on nuanced storylines in its middle seasons about routes to parenthood. After Fred and Wilma became U.S. television’s first animated couple to sleep in the same bed, nine episodes were devoted to Wilma’s pregnancy with their daughter, Pebbles. During the following season, with Barney and Betty, the series acknowledged the plight of infertility, a rarely addressed topic on screen or in society at the time. The Rubbles eventually adopted a son, Bamm-Bamm. The Flintstones proved that there was a grown-up audience for animation, emboldening future TV creators to tackle mature themes such as parental abandonment (The Simpsons), politics (South Park), mortality (Archer), and mental illness (Bojack Horseman) — to great critical acclaim. Additionally, The Flintstones was an early satirist of TV tropes and celebrity culture that helped establish the practice of famous guest stars doing cameos as themselves. Ann-Margret, Ed Sullivan, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Cary Grant were among the prominent personalities that entered Bedrock. The show also gave rise to numerous TV spin-offs, two live-action films, and millions of brontosaurus cranes worth of merchandise sales, ranging from Fruity Pebbles cereal to Flintstones Vitamins. After a robust second life in syndication, The Flintstones recently found a new home on HBO Max. Source: Solid Facts About The Flintstones | Facts and History of The Flintstones
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    What's the Word: ESCRITOIRE pronunciation: [es-kri-TWAHR] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 16th century Meaning: 1. A small writing desk with drawers and compartments. Example: "My grandmother writes her Christmas cards and letters at her escritoire." "The age of the escritoire is long passed, since nowadays people do most of their writing on desktop computers, laptops, and tablets." About Escritoire “Escritoire” is based on the same word in French, itself a combination of the French words “écrire” (meaning “to write”) and the suffix “-oire,” describing an object. Did you Know? When desk jobs used to require more pen-and-paper work, an escritoire was a popular piece of office furniture. Handwriting with ink and quill is a more complex process than writing with ballpoint pens, so these writing desks have many compartments to hold the paraphernalia of the work: nibs, quills, ink bottles, writing paper, blotting paper, and sand. These compartments became part of the furniture’s selling point, with woodworkers producing ornate and heavily embellished escritoires with multiple drawers and compartments. In some instances, “escritoire” is also used to describe the desk called a “secretary,” which consists of a traditional escritoire topped with a glass-fronted bookcase.
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    Fact of the Day - WATERFALLS Did you know... The site of an emergency plane landing. Dropping 3,212 feet from the top of the Auyán-Tepuí plateau (or “Devil’s Mountain” in English), Angel Falls is the tallest waterfall in the world. Located in Venezuela’s Canaima National Park, Angel Falls is named after the adventurous American pilot Jimmy Angel who emergency landed his airplane there in 1937. The plane remained there for 33 years, and although the original is now in an aviation museum, Angel Falls’ visitors can still find a replica plane placed on top of the plateau today. Check out these 14 ocean mysteries that scientists still can’t explain! (Emma Kapotes | Updated: Mar. 16, 2022) Things You Didn’t Know About Waterfalls by Xylem | December 2020 Waterfalls are often judged by which are the tallest or have the largest volume of water, but there’s so much more about them to know. They can make cliffs, produce a dozen different kinds of ice, and have tiny fish crawling up them using suction cups. 1. Waterfalls can make the cliffs they fall from. Which came first, the cliff or the waterfall? Watch this video to learn how some cliffs are formed by rivers eroding different layers of rock. 2. Niagara Falls could disappear into Lake Erie. Erosion has caused Niagara Falls to move south about 7 miles (11 kilometers) over the past 12,000 years. It could disappear into Lake Erie in 23,000 years. 3. Waterfall ice climbers have names for more than a dozen kinds of ice. If you’re climbing frozen waterfalls, it’s important to know what kinds of ice your working with, such as such as: Laminated flow: successive freezing of thin layers of ice. Rotten pillar: melting, chandeliered or cauliflowered ice. Cauliflowered: ice formed in strange and unstable formations, usually the result of water spray. 4. Some fish in Hawaii have evolved to literally climb waterfalls. Using suction cups on its body, the “inching climber” fish moves up the rock walls of waterfalls in order to reach its freshwater spawning grounds. 5. One of the world’s tallest man-made waterfalls is on a skyscraper in China. The Liebian Building in Guiyang, China, has an unusual feature – a waterfall pouring out of the side of the building and dropping 108 meters (350 feet) to the ground. Source: Waterfall Fact Worth Knowing Facts About Waterfalls
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    Fact of the Day - YOSHI (NINTENDO) Did you know... The Nintendo character Yoshi’s full name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. Not unlike Madonna, Prince, and, well, Mario, Yoshi usually goes by one name. But the friendly green dinosaur does have a full name, and it’s a mouthful (if not the kind Yoshi himself enjoys) — T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. This key information was finally revealed to the general public in 2014, nearly 25 years after Mario’s trusty sidekick made his debut in Super Mario World. What wasn’t revealed is what the “T” stands for. Yoshi is also the name of the character’s species, which is a bit more confusing than clarifying, and plays into an ongoing debate over whether or not Yoshi is in fact a dinosaur. Nintendo itself has said that “Yoshi is not a dinosaur, but simply a Yoshi,” and yet the “saur” at the end of his name suggests otherwise. This is hardly Nintendo’s only odd naming convention. If you’ve ever wondered whether the name “Super Mario Bros.” implies that Mario and Luigi’s last name is Mario, the answer is apparently yes — meaning their full names are, in fact, Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. The world’s most famous plumber even has a scientific name: Homo nintendonus. There’s a Yoshi game so rare it’s worth thousands of dollars. Yoshi has starred in his own series of games since 1991’s aptly named Yoshi. The second in that series, 1992’s Yoshi’s Cookie, isn’t exactly regarded as one of Nintendo’s most memorable games, but that hasn’t prevented it from becoming a collector’s item in its own right. A rare, alternate version of the puzzle-like game called Yosshī no Kukkī: Kuruppon Ōbun de Kukkī was limited to 500 copies and only released in Japan, with scarcity driving up the prices over the years. In 2010, one of those copies was listed in a Tokyo game store for ¥157,500 — the equivalent of $1,924 U.S. at the time. In addition to its rarity, this version of the game also has features not found in the original that have helped enhance its value. (Interesting Facts) Facts About Nintendo's Yoshi By Javier Reyes | Apr 12, 2019 People love their pop culture dinosaurs, whether they're fearsome prehistoric predators like in Jurassic Park or a family of screwball sitcom puppets—and one famous green fellow is king of the consoles. Created by Japanese designer Shigefumi Hino, Yoshi made his debut on the 1990 SNES title Super Mario World and quickly became everyone's favorite fruit-eating sidekick. In honor of the recent launch of Yoshi's Crafted World, the eighth main installment in the Yoshi franchise, here are a few interesting facts about the character's gaming history. 1. Yoshi's real name is T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. Like many people (or cartoon characters), Yoshi goes by a diminutive of his real name: T. Yoshisaur Munchakoopas. According to an old Nintendo guide shared by author Blake Harris, the character originally had a far more convoluted name more befitting of a dinosaur. However, that long scientific-sounding name doesn't roll off the tongue quite like Yoshi does, so it's easy to see why Nintendo chose to omit it from their general marketing. 2. Yoshi was supposed to debut on the NES. The legend of Yoshi may have begun with Super Mario World—and that iconic box art—but it turns out the character was planned to debut much earlier, and on different hardware. According to legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto (i.e. the "Steven Spielberg of video games"), the team had initially wanted Yoshi to appear in the original Super Mario Bros. back in 1985, five years before Super Mario World. Due to technical limitations, however, designing Mario's trusty steed was simply not possible on the 8-bit era of NES hardware, but the 16-bit capabilities of the SNES allowed programmers to execute more of the dino's mechanics on the screen. 3. The character is believed to have been influenced by Devil World. Yoshi has always been out of this world, but his predecessor might have been of the underworld. Devil World was a Pac-Man-esque NES title from 1984 (and the only Miyamoto design from that era to never make its way to North American audiences, due to its use of religious symbols) that revolved around a green dragon fighting the devil in literal hell. The similarities between Tamagon, Devil World's protagonist, and Yoshi are fairly noticeable, from his green skin, orange spikes, general roundness, and how each new life shows him hatching from an egg. 4. Yoshi has several color variations. Technically speaking, Yoshi is actually a whole species of creatures that exist in the Mario universe. While the Yoshi we all know and love is green, other members of the species have appeared as red, yellow, blue, pink, light blue, purple, brown, black, white, orange, and magenta. There aren't any specific powers or abilities the various Yoshis have, but some of the versions, like the white and black, didn't appear until many entries later in the Mario franchise. 5. The art direction for Yoshi's Island turned out much differently than Nintendo anticipated. One of the most acclaimed titles on the SNES, Yoshi's Island (1995) is one of the more aesthetically distinct platformers Nintendo has ever produced, and it's what made Yoshi stand out as a defined character in the franchise. The art style feels like it came straight out of a children's coloring book, but that wasn't what Nintendo had asked for. Following the success of the company's Donkey Kong Country series, Nintendo pushed Miyamoto to create something that followed in that game's footsteps, with its 3D-rendered characters and animations. Miyamoto refused. According to The Gamer, "As a form of protest, but also to prove a point, he decided to make his new game's graphics as childish as possible, as if they were drawn with crayons. What started as a passive-aggressive dig at his bosses ended up becoming Yoshi's signature style." 6. The movie version of Yoshi was not quite so cuddly (but he was voiced by cartoon favorite). The less said about the bomb that was 1993's Super Mario Bros. movie the better (even actor Bob Hoskins, who played Mario, regrets its existence). But even though the movie presented Yoshi as a tiny animatronic velociraptor of sorts (which the human-sized Mario would never be able to ride), they at least found a friendly, familiar voice to produce all those dino squeaks and squeals. Frank Welker, the Emmy-winning voice actor who is best known as only person to ever voice Scooby-Doo's Fred Jones (as well as countless others, including Abu in Aladdin, Curious George, and Scooby himself since 2002), did the vocals for Yoshi and a Goomba (one of the most common foes in the Mario franchise). 7. A rare Japanese-only version of Yoshi's Cookie is worth thousands. Although Yoshi's other early solo outings weren't as well-received as Yoshi's Island, they apparently still hold quite a lot of value. In one case, a special limited edition copy of Yoshi's Cookie can be found priced at over $1000. Why this version in particular? It was used as part of a promotional campaign for a cooking oven called the Kuruppon. Only 500 copies were made, and this version of the game is vastly different than the original, like it's inclusion of a feature that allows you to learn how to bake the cookies from the game in real life. If you're craving some of Yoshi's cookies but don't have that kind of dough laying around for the original tutorial, there are various recipes on YouTube and online to try. Source: Facts About Yoshi | Yoshi Nintendo Facts
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    Fact of the Day - STATE FOOD Did you know... Almost every state has a declared state food of some sort. Some seem straightforward, like California's state fruit of avocado, while others seem a little odd. From state declared snack foods, beverages, and record breaking shrimp consumption, we compiled the craziest state food facts you may not even believe. Surprising Official State Foods by Interesting Facts Most states have a variety of official symbols, from trees to birds to flowers, and while many also have iconic regional dishes, not every state has declared an official food. The culinary designations that do exist can be pretty specific — for instance, there are several states with official muffins. And while sometimes they’re a little more general, as in the case of the official state snack, state foods are often no less surprising. Read on to learn about some of the foods you didn’t know were official snacks, as well as some other surprising state grub. 1. New York: Yogurt New York is the most recent state to appoint an official state snack, and despite the abundance of iconic foods people associate with New York — from pizza to bagels to chopped cheese sandwiches and beyond — they went with yogurt. The decision wasn’t entirely out of nowhere: the state has, in the past, been designated the yogurt capital of the country, with most of the nation’s supply being manufactured upstate. There were some naysayers, however, and the 2014 hearing at the State Senate in Albany has been described as “animated” and “heated,” with some senators worrying about lactose intolerance, and whether or not a breakfast food counted as a snack. The yogurt proposal was brought forth by a fourth-grade class in western New York and, according to Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, who sponsored the bill, truly demonstrated democracy in action. 2. Texas: Chips and Salsa One of the best parts of Tex-Mex dining is the basket of tortilla chips and bowl of salsa that appear on your table the moment you sit down. In 2003, the ubiquitous pair was appointed the state’s official snack, not only because of its wide-reaching popularity throughout the state, but because of the historical, cultural, agricultural, and economic significance of the dish’s ingredients. The 78th Legislature of the State of Texas highlights not only that “tortilla chips and salsa enjoy popularity ratings in the stratosphere,” but that the corn, peppers, onions, and tomatoes used to make the dish have fed the state’s ancestors for centuries, and even served as important components in Texas folk medicine. Corn, onion, tomato, and jalapeno crops, meanwhile, were major drivers of the state’s economy at the time. “They constitute a much savored part of our shared cultural identity,” the resolution stated, showing just how deep the reverence for the beloved appetizer really is. 3. Illinois: Popcorn Illinois might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of popcorn. In fact, while the state does boast more than 300 popcorn farms across almost 50,000 acres, it’s only the third biggest U.S. producer behind Nebraska and Indiana. But in 2003, after a group of second and third graders from Joliet Elementary School proposed that popcorn be given official state snack status, Senator Larry Walsh sponsored the bill and successfully earned the all-time classic snack its due. There was some unusually tough competition for the title: Beer Nuts, Lemonhead candy, Doritos, and Cheetos were all mentioned (if not outright fought for), but in the end, the humble kernel came out on top. 4. South Carolina: Boiled Peanuts Boiled peanuts have been a southern staple since the 1800s, and in 2006, South Carolina declared them the official state snack. The reasoning was simple, with the General Assembly calling them “a delicious and popular snack food” and a “truly Southern delicacy.” They’re pretty much exactly what they sound like, but if you’re picturing a sopping wet version of a traditional roasted peanut, fear not — the peanuts are boiled from a raw, green state, and end up with a texture similar to edamame. Boiled peanuts are believed to have been brought to America by African slaves before the Civil War, and are considered an important part of South Carolina’s culture and history. 5. Utah: Jell-O Although it wasn’t invented in and isn’t made in Utah, Jell-O has been the official snack of the Beehive State since 2001. Utahns are known to consume more Jell-O per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., even rallying to take back the title when Iowa surpassed their consumption in 1999. The state’s reasons for honoring the jiggly gelatin dessert are endearingly wholesome, including it being “representative of good family fun, which Utah is known for throughout the world.” During the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics, an enamel pin shaped like a bowl of green Jell-O became an official souvenir, and is now a coveted collector’s item. 6. Nebraska: Kool-Aid In 1998, Nebraska reclaimed a part of its heritage by naming Kool-Aid the official state soft drink. The sweet, fruit-flavored beverage was invented in Hastings in 1927 by Edwin E. Perkins. It was originally invented as a syrupy liquid called Fruit-Smack, but, inspired by Jell-O, Perkins found a way to turn it into a powder, making it into the Kool-Aid drink crystals most widely known today. Although production was moved out of state shortly thereafter, Nebraska still proudly calls Kool-Aid theirs. The now-iconic Kool-Aid Man mascot once had his footprints immortalized in cement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but they were rightfully returned to their Hastings home, and now, every August, attendees of the annual Kool-Aid Days Festival can visit the piece of history as well as the original Kool-Aid Factory and even a Kool-Aid Museum. To read about other state foods, click the link below Source: Surprising State Food Facts | Facts About State Foods
  49. 1 point
    What's the Word: SITZFLEISCH pronunciation: [SITS-fleysh] Part of speech: noun Origin: Yiddish, 19th century Meaning: 1. A person's buttocks. 2. Power to endure or to persevere in an activity; staying power. Example: "There was no intermission in the play, and by the fifth act I was feeling the running time in my sitzfleisch." "Esmerelda’s grandson is a piano prodigy with the sitzfleisch to practice his instrument for four hours every day." About Sitzfleisch “Sitzfleisch” is taken from the same word in German, which is based on the Yiddish “zitsfleysh.” In German, it is formed by combining “sitzen” (meaning “to sit”) and “fleisch” (meaning “flesh”). Did you Know? While the common Yiddish definition for “sitzfleisch” is “buttocks,” the related definition is more evocative — the power to persevere through an activity all the way to the end. In this definition, the buttocks are not merely the flesh upon which one sits, but rather a measure of the power and endurance to sit for a long time when others might sooner have gotten up and walked away. Unlike the intense physical endurance involved in extended exercise, or the intellectual endurance required to pay attention to long and complex ideas, sitzfleisch is a measure of a person’s imperviousness to boredom. In modern language, the term might be used to describe the power to read a very long book, to watch many episodes of a TV series in one go, or to wait a long time at the DMV, all without becoming exasperated and getting up to do something else.
  50. 1 point
    What's the Word: EPITHALAMIUM pronunciation: [ep-ə-thə-LEY-mee-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. A song or poem celebrating a marriage. Example: "In place of a traditional epithalamium, the groom sang a Beatles love song to his spouse on the day of their wedding." "In classical theater comedies, which often end in a wedding, an epithalamium is sometimes used to close the performance." About Epithalamium “Epithalamium” is borrowed directly from Latin, where the word is based on the ancient Greek “ἐπιθαλάμιον” (“epithalamion”), meaning “bridal song.” Did you Know? In ancient Greece, an “epithalamium” was a song sung at the door to the marriage chamber in celebration of the bride and groom to bless the union and bring the wedded couple happiness. Over time, the tradition came to describe both a marriage song and a poem celebrating a marriage. Some of the most famous poets of ancient Greece, including Sappho and Pindar, are remembered for their epithalamiums. In the Italian Renaissance, it was a wedding tradition for celebrants to be honored with an epithalamium printed and delivered to them. Many of Shakespeare’s comedic dramas also end in an epithalamium to honor a happy wedding.
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