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Everything posted by DarkRavie

  1. Fact of the Day - TOMATOES Did you know... that tomatoes are nutritious and attractive fruits with an interesting history? They were once considered to be poisonous but are now a staple in many meals and dishes. People may not realize how much flavor is missing in today's tomatoes compared to those of the past, however. Our modern breeding techniques have produced a beautiful and firm fruit that travels well and is resistant to many diseases, but its flavor has often been sacrificed. Researchers have discovered thirteen chemicals that contribute to the taste of the most flavorful tomatoes that exist today. They've devised a plan for selectively breeding tomato plants for the genes that code for the chemicals. The goal of these scientists is to return the taste to regular grocery store tomatoes. While we're waiting for the new plants, we can take other steps to improve the chance of finding flavorful fruits. The Nightshade Family Tomatoes have the scientific name Solanum lycopersicum. They belong to the family Solanaceae, or the nightshade family. The origin of the common name of the family is uncertain. Some members of the nightshade family are poisonous, but many are edible. Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), eggplants or aubergines, chili peppers, bell peppers, and tomatillos are all nightshades. The nightshade family also contains ornamental plants, including petunias and Chinese lanterns. Goji berries (sometimes known as wolfberries) belong to the Solanaceae family as well. The tobacco plant, the deadly nightshade, and the bittersweet nightshade are additional members of the family. The Flowers of a Tomato Plant Tomato Plants Tomatoes are not always red and they are not always round. The flowers of a tomato plant are yellow. The corolla (the collective name for the petals) has five lobes, which are pointed. The flowers are self-pollinating. The fruit is classified as a berry. Inside its outer flesh are spaces known as locular cavities. These cavities contain the seeds, which are enclosed in a gelatinous membrane. A tomato plant has compound leaves that consist of smaller leaflets. The cultivated plant grows as a vine (an indeterminate plant) or a bush (a determinate plant), depending on the variety. Vines can grow very tall and require support from stakes, a cage, or a ladder. They continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season. Bushes are smaller and more compact. They may not need any support. They produce all of their fruit in one short period during the growing season. Wild tomato plants in the genus Solanum exist. They produce smaller fruits than the cultivated varieties. Some of their fruits are edible and others are poisonous. It's very important that a person doesn't eat a fruit from a plant known as a wild tomato without identifying the species and without knowing whether that species is safe to eat. Leaves of a tomato plant. Most modern varieties of tomatoes are hybrids. They were created by a cross between two genetically different plants with the goal of combining great features from each one. Nutritional Highlights Modern varieties of cultivated tomatoes are a healthy food. Most varieties are deep red or orange red in color due to the presence of a pigment called lycopene. This pigment belongs to the carotenoid family of chemicals. Tomatoes also contain an orange pigment known as beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our body. A few years ago, lycopene was touted as a preventer of prostate cancer, especially when the tomatoes containing the chemical were cooked. Newer research suggests that the effect of lycopene on cancer development may not be as strong as was once thought, though the chemical may have a modest benefit. Lycopene may have other health benefits as well, but more research is needed. Raw tomatoes are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K. (The vitamin C level is reduced when foods are cooked.) The fruits are also a good source of potassium. They contain smaller but still useful amounts of other nutrients. The wild version of today's grocery store tomatoes is thought to have originated in Peru. It was cultivated in pre-Columbian Mexico. The cultivated plant was probably taken to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century. It was introduced to eastern North America from Europe in the eighteenth century. Poisonous Fruit In the sixteenth century, a prominent European herbalist claimed that because cultivated tomato plants belonged to the nightshade family—which had a bad reputation at the time—they must be poisonous. This claim wasn't contested for many years. Tomato plants were used for ornamental purposes, but their fruit wasn't eaten. Even after the fruits began to be used as food, the idea that they were potentially dangerous lingered. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the tomato was once known as a poison apple because some wealthy Europeans who ate the fruit died. We now know that the people were actually being poisoned by their pewter plates. Poorer people were safe because they couldn't afford the plates. Pewter is an alloy that was originally made of tin and lead. (Today the tin is generally alloyed with other metals instead of lead.) In the case of the unfortunate diners, the acidic juice from the tomatoes leached lead from the plates. As a result, people died from lead poisoning. Tomato Hornworm Caterpillars Another interesting event in tomato history happened in the 1830s in New York. Tomatoes in the state were thought to be poisonous due to an infestation of a very large caterpillar known as the tomato hornworm. The insect got its name from its apparent fondness for tomato plants and the blue-black spine or horn at the end of its body. The caterpillar was not only thought to be toxic itself but was also thought to poison tomatoes as it crawled over them. The tomato hornworm is the larval form of the five-spotted hawkmoth, or Manduca quinquemaculata. Its main food is the leaves of tomato and other nightshade plants, but it may sometimes eat the fruits as well. The larva has an impressive appearance. It reaches three to four inches in length and has a robust body. The predominantly green color of the larvae and their habit of attaching to the underside of branches help to camouflage them. Still, it's easy to imagine why people in the 1830s were repulsed and even frightened by an infestation of giant caterpillars crawling over their tomato plants. Later in the century it was realized that the larvae were very annoying—as they are today—but not dangerous. The Indigo Rose tomato was bred by Oregon State University. The Indigo Rose variety of tomato has the darkest fruit of all. The dark purple tomatoes look almost black in the specimens that I've seen. They are rich in pigments called anthocyanins, which have health benefits. According to the botanical garden where I photographed the plant above, the taste of the fruit is reminiscent of plums. Click below if you would like to read more on Tomatoes. Source: Owlcation - Tomatoes: Plant Facts, Interesting History, and Improved Flavor - Linda Crampton
  2. What's the Word? - NOCTAMBULATE pronunciation: [nok-TAM-byoo-late] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, 1950s meaning: 1. To walk about at night. 2. To sleepwalk. Example: "After dinner he loved to noctambulate and watch the stars come out." "The best part of living in the city is that you'll never noctambulate alone." About Noctambulate There's not a specific word for "walk on the beach," but you can put in your dating profile that you like to noctambulate, that is walk at night. Safety first, but there's something magical about strolling along at dusk and watching night fall. Did you know? Sure you can walk, but why walk when you can run? Or maybe you prefer a stroll? You could peregrinate (wander from place to place), and you could also amble, ramble, saunter, meander, jaunt, tour, march, traipse, tramp, shuffle, trudge, hike, locomote, or hoof it. If you specifically want to walk at night, well, that's noctambulate.
  3. Fact of the Day - POTOMAC RIVER South Branch of the Potomac River Did you know... that the North and South branches of the Potomac River begin in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia respectively, flowing down through the forests that border Maryland and Virginia. Those forests are slowly replaced by agricultural and then urbanized land as the river snakes its way toward Washington, D.C., after which the general landscape of concrete and asphalt is again replaced with rural and forest land. Finally, the river meets the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout, Maryland. Point Lookout State Park The Potomac has earned the nickname of “the Nation’s River” because of D.C.’s location on the river, but it holds much more significance than that. It is home to many sites that have played an important role in the nation’s history and has provided—and in many places still provides—an economic engine to the communities that popped up along its shores. Plenty of sites along the Potomac River provide recreation and give a taste of the nation’s history that residents and visitors alike can enjoy. FAIRFAX STONE Fairfax Stone Historic Monument The Potomac River begins as two separate branches, to the north and south, before they flow together near Green Spring, West Virginia, to become the main stem. Those two branches have been the source not only of the river, but of quite a bit of confusion, causing disputes between Virginia and Maryland and eventually leading to the Supreme Court. It all began in the 1600s, when Cecilius Calvert and Thomas Colepeper both received land grants for what would later become the states of Maryland and Virginia. Both used the Potomac River as a boundary, but did so in a way that mea­nt their territories overlapped, leading to disputes between the two areas. Then, in the first half of the 1700s, attempts were made to find the source of the Potomac River. Surveyors determined that the source began with the headwaters from the North Branch and placed a marker there that became known as the Fairfax Stone. That stone was significant because it was used to determine Maryland’s western border. However, the north branch of the Potomac River travels slightly west from the Fairfax Stone before turning back east. Maryland felt that its western border should begin as far west as the river branch extends, adding another to a series of border disputes with Virginia. The arguing continued through the 1800s, until after the Civil War, when the newly-created West Virginia inherited the problem. Eventually, a lawsuit was filed in 1890 that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The court decided that, even though the Fairfax Stone does not sit at the North Branch’s westernmost point, the marker had been in use long enough that more disruption would be caused by undoing it. C&O CANAL NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK Replica cargo and launch boats leave from Great Falls and Williamsport, Maryland, offering a one-of-a-kind view of the canal. Traveling northeast on the Potomac will take you to Cumberland, Maryland, where you’ll meet the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. The canal’s construction began in 1828 and was meant to connect Washington, D.C., to the headwaters of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. However, the project was plagued by delays, rough construction and increasing expenses. By the time the canal reached Cumberland 22 years later, those ambitious plans had been abandoned due to time and money. The canal moved cargo—mainly coal—between Cumberland and D.C. from 1850 to 1924. It generally took the 90-foot boats seven days to complete the trip, and they were pulled by mules that walked on a path alongside the canal. After the last boat was pulled through the canal in 1924, it fell into disrepair and disuse. The United States government bought it in 1938 to repair and turn into a recreation area, which was designated a national historic park in 1971. Now, the C&O Canal offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The towpath that runs the length of the 184.5 mile canal is great for walking, running or biking. The path also offers glimpses of over 1,000 historic structures, and there are plenty of spots to launch a kayak or canoe. Some of those historic structures are the canal’s six restored lockhouses. Those traveling along the towpath, or just looking for an interesting place to stay, can rent one of for an event or to spend the night. These lockhouses let visitors travel back in time, as each has been restored to tell a story about a different period in canal history. Lockhouse 6 - C&O Canal Trust Along with walking or biking, you can experience the C&O Canal by riding on it. Mules still walk the towpath, pulling a replica cargo boat from the 1870s. You’ll get to experience rising eight feet in the lock while also listening to park rangers, dressed in period clothing, describe what life was like for the people who lived and worked on the canal. You can catch a ride on this boat in Great Falls, Maryland, but tickets must be purchased in advance, ranging from $5 to $8. Another way to ride the canal is in a replica canal launch boat from the 1920s. These boats leave form Williamsport, Maryland, and offer a free, hour-long history lesson and spectacular views Launch Boat WOODLAWN AND POPE-LEIGHEY HOUSE The Pope-Leighey house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to be affordable for a middle-class family. Mount Vernon is George Washington’s famous home along the Potomac River, but did you know that there are two other significant homes, just a few miles away? The first is Woodlawn, a home built on land that originally belonged to Washington, but was a gift to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, upon his marriage in 1799. The house Lewis ended up living in—which still stands today—was designed by William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol. The land was eventually sold in 1846 to Quaker timber merchants who were staunch abolitionists and purposely operated the Virginia farm using only free labor. After the Civil War, the house passed hands a few times, and by the 20th century its owners worked to restore it to its former glory. Its last famous resident was Oscar Underwood, a retired senator from Alabama who was a staunch opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. He lived there from 1925 until his death in 1929. The house has been a museum since 1949. Woodlawn Plantation Located on the same property is another house much younger and smaller than its neighbor, but well worth the visit. The Pope-Leighey House was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 following his “Usonian” style, and was meant to be able to provide middle-class families with affordable housing. In 1965, it was moved to the Woodlawn property in order to move it out of the way of a highway expansion project. Both homes are now owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. MALLOWS BAY-POTOMAC RIVER NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet along the Potomac River, Maryland Mallows Bay Park is home to a number of vessels in varying states of decay that were originally built for use in World War I but rendered useless by the end of the war. About 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., is a fleet of nearly 200 ships—all underwater. They are the “Ghost Ships” of Mallows Bay and make up the largest collection of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere. The ships range in age; some date as far back as the Revolutionary and Civil wars, while about 100 were built as part of the U.S. Emergency Fleet as the country entered World War I. Finished too late to be of use in the war effort, they were declared surplus by the federal government. They were bought by a salvage company, stripped of their reusable parts and buried in Mallows Bay. Their outlines can still be seen from above and in many places, parts of the ships appear above the water—unlike most shipwrecks, which are completely submerged. The “Ghost Fleet” has let nature take her course. The rusting and decaying ships have become habitat for fish, vegetation has taken root on the surfaces and birds like osprey and herons have built nests. The area has become great habitat for striped bass, white perch, channel catfish and blue crab, among other underwater species, and Mallows Bay has become very popular for recreational fishing. Accessible only by boat, Mallows Bay offers a unique way to interact with both history and nature. Skeletons Of WWI Ships Resting In The Potomac Mallows Bay offers more than a submerged maritime museum: it contains archaeological artifacts dating back 12,000 years. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site also became the first National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay region. If you can’t make it out on the water, you can take a virtual tour of Mallows Bay with the Chesapeake Conservancy. CALEDON STATE PARK Caledon State Park is an old-growth forest with some trees that are 200 years old. One of 10 National Natural Landmarks in Virginia, Caledon State Park is known its old-growth forest, including some oak-tulip poplar trees that are 200 years old. This spot, on the southern banks of the Potomac River, is also known as a summer home for bald eagles and has over 120 other bird species. To protect the birds, access to the marshes along the river is limited, but the park offers seasonal tours of the eagle habitat. Along with the wide variety of birds, Caledon State Park also boasts 21 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles and amphibians and 500 species of plants. You can try to get a glimpse of them all on the park’s 14 different trails. The most popular trail is the two-mile Boyd’s Hole Trail, which will take you right to the Potomac. Keep an eye out along the beach for sharks’ teeth, fossil shells and even crocodile teeth! The park is also known for its events. It has an annual Art and Wine Festival in the fall and special Plein Air painting evenings. Rangers host night hikes, kayak programs, conducted walks, astronomy, storytelling, bonfire programs, birdwatching and crafts as well to get people outside and enjoying all the park has to offer. POINT LOOKOUT STATE PARK After the Civil War began, a hospital and three forts were built at Point Lookout. But, due to sea level rise and erosion, only one—a reconstructed Fort Lincoln—remains. Get one last look at the Potomac River where it meets the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout State Park. Located on a narrow peninsula, Point Lookout State Park separates the Potomac River on the west from the Chesapeake Bay on the east. This spot was strategically important to the colonists during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, serving as a lookout point for watchmen to convey news of British movement. For that reason, it was subject to raids by the British. A lighthouse was built in 1830, and during the Civil War, the peninsula served as a prison for Confederate soldiers. Today, the spot is a popular place for swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking and camping. Point Lookout Lighthouse still stands, although it is no longer active, and the park’s visitor center is home to a museum with exhibits about the Civil War prison and the area’s natural and cultural history. Point Lookout Lighthouse Looking for more fun on the Potomac River? Check out www.paddlethepotomac.com for launch information, water trails and trip itineraries. Source: Chesapeake Bay - Potomac River Sites
  4. What's the Word? - AEGIS pronunciation: [EE-jis] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, early 17th century meaning: 1. The protection, backing, or support of a particular person or organization. 2. (in classical art and mythology) an attribute of Zeus and Athena (or their Roman counterparts Jupiter and Minerva) usually represented as a goatskin shield. Example: "The humanitarian efforts were done under the aegis of the United Nations." "Athena carried her aegis for protection." About Aegis You're likely to hear "aegis" used on the news today to talk about an organization or a country giving its support and protection. But the history of the word is as of a literal shield. In Greek, "aigis" means "shield of Zeus," and in classical art and mythology the word "aegis" was always related to the shields of Zeus and Athena. Did you know? In Greek mythology and art the aegis is represented in many forms, but in Homer's "Iliad," it's attributed to Athena. "And among them went bright-eyed Athene, holding the precious aegis which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen."
  5. Fact of the Day - WHATCHAMACALLIT Did you know.... that the Whatchamacallit is a chocolate bar made with peanuts and layered with caramel? It has a strong peanut butter taste to it mixed with a nice combination of chocolate and caramel to back it up. Made by the Hershey company, the Whatchamacallit has maintained a popular following despite not being as well known as the Hershey bar. The Hershey’s company Whatchamacallit was first invented in the year 1978. The Whatchamacallit bar first got its name from a women named Patricia Volk. It seems as if at that time Patricia Volk was in charge of new brands for The Hershey Company. As for the Hershey company, it has a long tradition of providing the world with the best products that they could offer. Over the years the Hershey's company has produced numerous variations of their classic chocolate bar. In 1978 the Whatchamacallit Candy Bar was introduced. The exact inspirations for the name are thought to be an offhand declaration of what the product should be known as, such as "give me that Whatchamacallit." (Not sure if it got its name by Patricia Volf or Sallie Grayson). As the Whatchamacallit bar was first introduced in 1978, the popular belief is that it did reasonably well with customers since they continue to be produced to this day as of 2015. The bar has undergone some changes to the content of the bar over the years, and by the 80s, the Hershey company started to pay less attention to the bar since the commercials that were used to advertised the product started to become either less frequent in TV airing, or disappeared from broadcast altogether. Whatever the case may be, the company continues to produce the whatchamacallit today and will continue to do so for times to come. In its early years, the bar consisted of a milk chocolate exterior, and a peanut crisp on the inside that used peanut butter as the flavoring agent for the bar, with a layer of caramel. Nothing significant has changed as of today that can easily be noticed by the average consumer. But in 2008, Hershey's started making some ingredients changes to their products since traditional manufacturing practices and ingredients were getting expensive. The bar is also no longer considered milk chocolate since many of the changes made to the whatchamacallit bar didn't meet the stipulations that the FDA had created in order to call it milk chocolate since it didn't contain enough cocoa butter. From that point on, the bar was only being marketing as being chocolate candy, instead of milk chocolate. Because of the secrecy that has surrounded the Hershey's company since the beginning, from it's mysterious producing practices the Hershey's process, to the ingredients of the products that they produce today. Figuring out what exactly is inside of these bars isn't an easy task. Raw Cocoa Butter After the ingredients changed, the company started making a similar product. The Thingamajig. It was a limited edition and production stopped in 2012. The differences weren't quickly apparent, on the outside, the bar had it's usual chocolate exterior. on the inside contained something different. Instead of having the peanut crisp that the whatchamacallit did, the thingamajig had a cocoa crisp chunk with peanut butter. The bar started production in 2009 and was only available for a limited time. Apparently there was a reaction with the sales of the bar, these were mostly curiosity sales from people that wondered what the differences between the two bars were. The company decided to reintroduce the bar in 2011. As of 2012, according to the Hershey company, the bar is no longer being produced. The Whatchamacallit is still being produced though can be hard to find at times. This could be seen as a mark of less popularity then say the Hershey Bar. However the Whatchamacallit has withstood the test of time and still seems to be loved by many people. From 1987 to 2008, Whatchamacallit has included peanut-flavored crisp that utilizes peanut butter as the flavoring agent, with a layer of caramel and a layer of chocolate coating. Hershey's Whatchamacallit is found in recipes for various food items, including pies, cookies, cheesecakes, and cupcakes. The advertising for the Whatchamacallit peaked in the 1980s, after this period Hershey Company ran noticeably fewer advertisements for this product. However, despite the lack of attention the company gives it compared to its other products, the Whatchamacallit is still in production as of 2020. In Canada, an identical candy bar is marketed by Hershey's as Special Crisp, but does not have the wide distribution in Canada that the Whatchamacallit has in the United States Source: SnackHistory, Wikipedia - Whatchamacallit
  6. What's the Word? - PASTICHE pronunciation: [pah-STEESH] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, late 19th century meaning: 1. An artistic work in a style that imitates that of another work, artist, or period. 2. An artistic work consisting of a medley of pieces taken from various sources. Example: "I practiced writing in every possible way that I could. I wrote a pastiche of other people.' — Katherine Ann Porter" "It was clearly a pastiche, but I still admired the painting." About Pastiche You can't order it at a restaurant, but "pastiche" has etymological ties to your favorite bowl of carbs. The Latin word "pasta" means paste, which turned into "pasticcio" in Italian, and "pastiche" in French. You can turn a floury paste into pasta, or you can paste together artistic styles into your own work. Did you know? Have you ever heard someone say there are no new ideas? That might be a bit extreme, but the word "pastiche" describes artistic work that imitates another. It could be a pastiche of an artist's style, such as Frida Kahlo, or a tribute to an entire period, such as Cubism.
  7. Fact of the Day - SQUANTO Did you know... that Squanto was a famous Native American Indian who was a member of the Pawtuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe. He was born in Cape Cod around the year 1580, a time when his tribe was the most influential tribe in an area where the English would first settle. The reason why there is some controversy surrounding Squanto is because although he undoubtedly aided the colonists, he was thought by many to have used his power and position among the Indians to his advantage. Squanto, also known as Tisquantum, was a Native American of the Patuxet tribe who acted as an interpreter and guide to the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth during their first winter in the New World. Pilgrim Settlers at Plymouth Who Was Squanto? Squanto was born circa 1580 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Little is known about his early life. In 1614, he was kidnapped by English explorer Thomas Hunt, who brought him to Spain where he was sold into slavery. Squanto escaped, eventually returning to North America in 1619. He then returned to the Patuxet region, where he became an interpreter and guide for the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth in the 1620s. He died circa November 1622 in Chatham, Massachusetts. History of Thanksgiving In 1621, Squanto was introduced to the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and subsequently acted as an interpreter between Pilgrim representatives and Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims and Wampanoags celebrated the first Thanksgiving after reaping a successful crop. The following year, Squanto deepened the Pilgrims' trust by helping them find a lost boy, and assisted them with planting and fishing. Thanksgiving Squanto's unique knowledge of the English language and English ways gave him power. He sought to increase his status among other native groups by exaggerating his influence with the colonists and even going so far as to tell them that if they didn't do what he wanted, he could have the English release the plague, which he claimed they were holding in storage pits. Early Life and Capture Squanto, also known as Tisquantum, is best remembered for serving as an interpreter and guide for the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth in the 1620s. Historians know little about Squanto's life. A Patuxet Indian born in present-day Massachusetts, Squanto is believed to have been captured as a young man along the Maine coast in 1605 by Captain George Weymouth, who had been commissioned by Plymouth Company owner Sir Ferdinando Gorges to explore the coast of Maine and Massachusetts, and reportedly captured Squanto, along with four Penobscots, because he thought his financial backers in Britain might want to see some Indians. Weymouth brought Squanto and the other Indians to England, where Squanto lived with Ferdinando Gorges, who taught him English and hired him to be an interpreter and guide. Interpreter and Guide for the Pilgrims Now fluent in English, Squanto returned to his homeland in 1614 with English explorer John Smith, possibly acting as a guide, but was captured again by another British explorer, Thomas Hunt, and sold into slavery in Spain. Squanto escaped, lived with monks for a few years, and eventually returned to North America in 1619, only to find his entire Patuxet tribe dead, from smallpox. He went to live with the nearby Wampanoags. Captain John Smith (1624) Death Embroiled in the politics emerging between the settlers and the local tribes, Squanto died of a fever in Chatham, Massachusetts, circa November 1622, while acting as a guide for Governor William Bradford. Source: Biography - Squanto, Wikipedia - Squanto
  8. What's the Word? - TWITTERPATED pronunciation: [TWIH-dər-pay-dəd] Part of speech: adjective Origin: American English, 1940s meaning: 1. Infatuated or obsessed. 2. In a state of nervous excitement. Example: "Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime.' — Bambi (1942)" "The family is all twitterpated as they pace around the waiting room for the announcement of the new baby." About Twitterpated This has nothing to do with hashtags or the latest viral tweet. Twitterpated is a relatively modern term for being nervously excited or even overwhelmed by a crush. "Twitter" is a 17th-century word for excitement and pate means head. In 1940s slang, being twitterpated means you're so excited you lose your head. Did you know? Thank Walt Disney for this word. In the 1942 animated classic "Bambi," the wise owl explains to Thumper and Bambi the cause of all the excitement around them. Quite simply, when animals (and people) fall in love, they get all twitterpated.
  9. Fact of the Day - BIRTHDAYS / HAPPY BIRTHDAY Did you know... that in a world where many things tend to divide, we all are united by birthdays. Anybody who is alive is at most 365 days away from this joyous occasion—unless, of course, you’re born on a leap year day. 1. Origins Historians believe that the first people to celebrate birthdays were the Romans. On the birthdate of family members, friends, or business contacts, the celebrated were regaled with banquets, gifts, and prayers. 2. Children's birthdays Today, birthdays are probably most cherished by children, but in centuries past, birthdays were mostly the domain of adults. It wasn’t until the 19th century that children’s birthdays were first widely celebrated. In fact, children’s birthdays were first formally recognized by the Germans, who coined the term kinderfest, or children’s parties. 3. Milestones In the 20th century, birthdays were recognized as important rituals in the life of a child. Ostensibly, they help kids adapt to biological and social age-related changes that come with growing. 4. Birthday candles and cakes The placement of candles on birthday cakes has various potential origins. Ancient Egyptians used candles during coronations, which were held to raise the status of humans to gods. Later, ancient Greeks placed candles on moon-shaped honey cakes made for the goddess Artemis. The Greeks thought that the smoke from blown-out candles lifted prayers and wishes to the tops of Mount Olympus. Another hypothesis as to the origin of birthday candles is rooted in the German practice of placing a candle in the center of bread or cake baked into the likeness of baby Jesus, which symbolized the light of life. 5. From pagan to pious Early Christians viewed birthday celebrations as pagan in nature. By Medieval times, however, people celebrated the days of saints whom they were named after, a practice that later shifted to celebrating individual birthdates. Celebrations were believed to ward off evil spirits that were attracted to people on their birthdays; friendly visits, good wishes, revelry, and mirth were believed to spook these evil spirits. 6. Chinese birthdays In China, a newborn is considered age 1. Thus, a 1-year-old in the West, as well as most other parts of the world, would be aged 2 years in China. 7. Birthday song Mildred and Patty Hill, who were sisters involved in the progressive education movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, penned the song Good Morning to All in 1893. Although the notes were retained, the lyrics were later changed to Happy Birthday to You. 8. Birthday sentiments Results from a Lithuanian study querying 309 medical students found that respondents felt better and more loved on their birthdays. Per study authors Darja Rojaka and Sigita Lesinskienė, women tended to feel more loved and special on their birthdays than did men. In other results, 90.9% of respondents preferred to celebrate their birthday with friends, 80.6% with significant others, 66.3% with family members, and 12% alone. Additionally, 49.2% preferred that their birthdays be organized by others versus 21.4% preferring to organize birthdays on their own. Lastly, 18.1% of respondents didn’t celebrate their birthdays at all (wa-wa). 9. Boss birthdays In a study published in Economics Letters, senior author Maurice D. Levi, of the University of British Columbia, found that the number of CEOs at S&P 500 companies born in June and July dwarfed the number of CEOs born in other months. Specifically, 6.1% of CEOs were born in June and 5.9% were born in July compared with 12.5% born in March and 10.7% born in April. “Our evidence is consistent with the ‘relative-age effect’ due to school admissions grouping together children with age differences up to one year, with children born in June and July disadvantaged throughout life by being younger than their classmates born in other months,” wrote Levi and colleagues. “Our results suggest that the relative-age effect has a long-lasting influence on career success.” Of note, the relative-age effect refers to how those born earlier during an academic year outperform those born later due to age-related physical, emotional, and cognitive advancement. 10. "Birthday effect" in sports The NCAA notes that a birthday effect is particularly pronounced in certain sports, with the oldest children in each grade or youth-sports grouping more likely to be recognized as more talented than their less physically and psychologically developed peers. These older students are given access to enhanced competition, coaching, and training. This phenomenon is most pronounced in men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s tennis, baseball, and women’s softball. Cultural Conventions In Canada and the United States, families often mark a girl's 16th birthday with a "sweet sixteen" celebration – often represented in popular culture. In some Hispanic countries, as well as in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the quinceañera (Spanish) or festa de quinze anos (Portuguese) celebration traditionally marks a girl's 15th birthday. In Nepal and India, on a child's first birthday, their head is shaved while being held by a special fire. Removal of the hair is believed to cleanse the child of any evil in past lives, and symbolizes a renewal of the soul. Hindu male children of some castes, like Brahmins, have the 12th or 13th birthday replaced with a grand "thread ceremony". The child takes a blessed thread and wears it, symbolizing his coming of age. This is called the Upanayana. Thread Ceremony (Upanayana) In the Philippines, a coming-of-age party called a debut is held for girls on their 18th birthday, and for boys on their 21st birthday. In some Asian countries that follow the zodiac calendar, there is a tradition of celebrating the 60th birthday. In Korea, many celebrate a traditional ceremony of Baek-il (Feast for the 100th day) and Doljanchi (child's first birthday). In Japan there is a Coming of Age Day, for all of those who have turned 20 years of age. In British Commonwealth of Nations cards from the Royal Family are sent to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. In Ghana, on their birthday, children wake up to a special treat called "oto" which is a patty made from mashed sweet potato and eggs fried in palm oil. Later they have a birthday party where they usually eat stew and rice and a dish known as "kelewele", which is fried plantain chunks. Oto, (Ghanaian food) Jewish boys have a bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday. Jewish girls have a bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday, or sometimes on their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism. This marks the transition where they become obligated in commandments of which they were previously exempted and are counted as part of the community. The birthdays of historically significant people, such as national heroes or founders, are often commemorated by an official holiday marking the anniversary of their birth. Catholic saints are remembered by a liturgical feast on the anniversary of their "birth" into heaven a.k.a. their day of death. The ancient Romans marked the anniversary of a temple dedication or other founding event as a dies natalis, a term still sometimes applied to the anniversary of an institution (such as a university). An individual's Beddian birthday, named in tribute to firefighter Bobby Beddia,[6] occurs during the year that their age matches the last two digits of the year they were born. In many cultures and jurisdictions, if a person's real birthday is not known (for example, if they are an orphan), then their birthday may be adopted or assigned to a specific day of the year, such as January 1.The birthday of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. Racehorses are reckoned to become one year old in the year following their birth on the first of January in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of August in the Southern Hemisphere. Interested in learning funny facts about YOUR BIRTHDAY? Click below Happy Happy Birthday Source: Wikipedia - Birthday, Wikipedia - Happy Birthday to You, Psychology Today - Birthday Facts
  10. What's the Word? - PHILOMATH pronunciation: [FI-lə-math] Part of speech: noun Origin: Ancient Greek, early 17th century meaning: 1. A lover of learning; a student or scholar, especially of mathematics, natural philosophy, etc 2. (obsolete) An astrologer or prognosticator. Example: "If I've earned a reputation for anything, I hope it's for being a philomath." "Go back in the family tree, and you'll find quite a few wise women and even a philomath." About Philomath If you've ever described yourself as an audiophile (a lover of high-quality music and audio equipment) or a bibliophile (a lover of books), you already understand half of this word. A philomath is a lover of learning — particularly mathematics, philosophy, and other humanities. Did you know? The close cousin of a philomath is a polymath. The philomath truly loves learning in specific categories, but the polymath has a broad swath of knowledge. They might not know everything about one subject, as a philomath might, but they are knowledgeable in many (poly) areas.
  11. Fact of the Day - SLICED BREAD Did you know.... that sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience? It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular idiom "greatest thing since sliced bread". (Wikipedia) Bread-slicing Machine The commercial bread-slicing machine was designed and manufactured in 1928 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder (1880-1960). It was used to slice loaves of fresh bakery bread at Korn's Bakery, in Rohwedder's home town of Davenport, Iowa, beginning in late 1928. This is Rohwedder's second automatic bread-slicer, the first having fallen apart after about six months of heavy use at The Frank Bench Bakery, in Chillicothe, Missouri. The public loved the convenience of sliced bread and, by 1929, Rohwedder's Mac-Roh Company was feverishly meeting the demand for bread-slicing machines. By the following year, the Continental Baking Company was selling sliced bread under the Wonder Bread label. Having achieved success, Mr. Rohwedder reflected on his invention in the June 1930 issue of the Atlanta-based bakery trade journal, New South Baker: "I have seen enough bakers benefit in a big way from Sliced Bread to know that the same results can be obtained by any baker anywhere if he goes about the matter correctly. A good loaf, a proper presentation of Sliced Bread to the grocers and a truthful, clean advertising program based upon successful experiences and the baker can build his business far beyond what he could do without Sliced Bread... We are continuing our experimental and developmental work confident in the belief that the real possibilities of Sliced Bread have scarcely been scratched." This 1928 bread-slicing machine was manufactured by the Micro Machine Company, of Bettendorf, Iowa, for the Davenport-based Mac-Roh Sales and Manufacturing Company. It was donated to the Museum by Mr. Rohwedder's daughter, Mrs. Margaret R. Steinhauer, of Albion, Michigan, in 1974. Sliced bread didn’t take long to become a hit around the United States, even as some bakers contended it was just a fad, and by 1930 it could be found in most towns across the country. By that point, the majority of Americans were eating commercially made bread, compared with just decades earlier, when most of the supply still was homemade. The factory-produced loaves were designed to be softer than those prepared at home or at small, local bakeries because the bread-buying public had come to equate “squeezable softness” with freshness, according to “White Bread” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain. The timing therefore was right for an automatic slicing machine because, as Bobrow-Strain says, "these softer, modern loaves had become almost impossible to slice neatly at home.” One of the first major brands to distribute sliced bread was Wonder, starting in 1930. Wonder Bread originally appeared in stores in 1921 in Indianapolis, where it was manufactured by the Taggart Baking Company. An executive there dreamed up the bread’s name after being filled with wonder while watching the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the Continental Baking Company bought Taggart in 1925, Wonder was sold nationally; the bread’s popularity soared once it was marketed in sliced form. During World War II, factory-sliced bread, including Wonder, was briefly banned by the U.S. government in an effort to conserve resources, such as the paper used to wrap each loaf to help maintain freshness. In 2012, Wonder Bread disappeared completely from store shelves after its then-owner, Hostess Brands (which also made Twinkies and Ding Dongs, among other famous snacks), declared bankruptcy. Thankfully for fans of the iconic bread, another company stepped in and re-launched the Wonder brand in 2013. Source: Wikipedia, History Stories, National Museum of American History
  12. What's the Word? - BOCCE pronunciation: [BAH-chee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Italian, early 19th century meaning: 1. An Italian game similar to lawn bowling but played on a shorter, narrower green. Example: "Our favorite family activity is playing bocce during the summer." "The bar is small inside, but there is plenty of space to play bocce outside." About Bocce It's an easy game to pick up, but it requires great skill to master it. But there's no need to be intimidated if you're asked to join a game of bocce. Play starts with a pallino (small ball) being thrown onto the court. Then teams alternate throwing a bocce ball as close to the pallino as possible. The official rules get quite a bit more complicated, but it's a friendly game, so just follow your teammate's lead until you get the hang of it. Did you know? Even if you're not the most athletic person, you can find fun with games in the "boules" family. The various forms of lawn bowling have their own specific rules and customs, but they're all inspired by ancient Roman games. In France it's "pétanque," in the Anglo world it's bowls, and in Italy they have "bocce." Bocce, particularly, has gained popularity around the world.
  13. Fact of the Day - YOGI BEAR Yogi Bear, Cindy Bear and Boo Boo Did you know... that one of the most recognizable and memorable non-human characters to come from the Hanna-Barbera camp, Yogi's weathered pork-pie hat, constant pursuit of daisy-wearing cutie Cindy Bear and pshawing of level-headed sidekick Boo Boo have been cartoon favorite trademarks since his 1958 debut on The Huckleberry Hound Show? While Yogi's mannerisms were inspired by Art Carney's character in The Honeymooners, his name was, quite obviously, borrowed from baseball great Yogi Berra.The first ever episode of The Yogi Bear Show was titled, "Pie Pirates," sponsored by Kellogg's cereals and aired in 1961. After two scene-stealing and endearing years on Saturday morning TV, The Yogi Bear Show ended in 1963. But that wouldn't be the last time we'd see Yogi on the small screen. He'd also go on to star in Yogi's Gang, which featured the bear crusading for the environment and aired from 1973 to 1975, and Yogi's Space Race, which saw the bear and his cohorts in the nether-reaches of the universe from 1978 to 1979. Yogi Bear began appearing in comic books very soon after his first appearance. The most valuable known Yogi collectible is the 1960s vinyl lunchbox featuring Yogi, Ranger Smith, Cindy Bear and others. In mint condition, this item is worth $600. Yogi Bear, American cartoon character, a walking, talking bear in a necktie and porkpie hat who roamed fictional Jellystone National Park. His accoutrements and personality were based on the character of Ed Norton in Jackie Gleason’s television series The Honeymooners, and his byword was “Smarter than the average bear!” William Hanna (left) and Joseph Barbera posing with some of their cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear (centre), 1988. Seemingly, though not officially, named in reference to baseball player Yogi Berra, Yogi Bear spent his days in search of food, which he usually obtained by gleefully snatching picnic baskets from park visitors. His cub sidekick, Boo Boo, typically more cautious and conscience-driven, usually reluctantly went along with Yogi’s capers. The two evaded justice at the hands of the stern Ranger Smith. The character Yogi Bear, voiced by Daws Butler, was created by legendary animation team William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and first appeared as a supporting feature on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. The character was so popular that in 1961 he received his own show, which was aired until 1988. He starred in a feature film, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear, in 1964. In later decades, new television series transported him out of Jellystone to locales including the high seas and even outer space. The Yogi Bear shows of the 1960s and ’70s were notable examples of Hanna-Barbera’s much-derided technique of “limited,” or reused, animation, which drastically reduced the number of original drawings required to film an episode. For example, the clean line created by Yogi’s signature shirt collar and tie enabled the studio to animate only his head in conversation scenes, leaving his body static. Nevertheless, the stories and characters won over several generations of viewers and could be viewed on cable television into the 21st century. A feature-film adaptation of the cartoon, starring Dan Aykroyd (as the voice of Yogi) and Justin Timberlake (Boo Boo), was released in 2010. Besides often speaking in rhyme, Yogi Bear had a number of catchphrases, including his pet name for picnic baskets ("pic-a-nic baskets") and his favorite self-promotion ("I'm smarter than the av-er-age bear!"), although he often overestimates his own cleverness. Another characteristic of Yogi was his deep and silly voice. He often greets the ranger with a cordial, "Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!" and "Hey there, Boo Boo!" as his preferred greeting to his sidekick, Boo Boo. Yogi would also often use puns in his speech and had a habit of pronouncing large words with a long vocal flourish. From the time of the character's debut until 1988, Yogi was voiced by voice actor Daws Butler. Butler died in 1988; his last performance as Yogi was in the television film Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears. After Butler's death, Greg Burson stepped in to perform the role; Butler had taught Burson personally how to voice Yogi as well as his other characters. Worsening alcoholism and a legal incident led to Burson's firing in 2004 and eventually his death in 2008. Jeff Bergman and Billy West also performed the character throughout the 1990s and early 2000s for various Cartoon Network commercials and bumpers. Australian voice actor, animation historian and impressionist Keith Scott provided Yogi's voice in many live shows at the Wonderland Sydney amusement park in Australia, such as Hanna-Barbera Gala Celebrity Night, where Yogi and other Hanna-Barbera characters including Huckleberry Hound, Scooby-Doo, George Jetson, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble make guest appearances. In the Yogi Bear film, the character is voiced by actor Dan Aykroyd. In the animated stop motion sketch comedy show Robot Chicken created by Seth Green, Dan Milano voiced Yogi Bear. Scott Innes performed the voice of Yogi, along with Boo Boo, in At Picnic, Forest, and Honey Lesson. Source: Scoop - Yogi Bear, Encyclopaedia Britannica - Yogi Bear, Wikipedia - Yogi Bear
  14. What's the Word? - BASILISK pronunciation: [BA-sə-lisk] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 13th century meaning: 1. A mythical reptile with a lethal gaze or breath, hatched by a serpent from a cock's egg. 2. A long, slender, and mainly bright green lizard found in Central America, the male of which has a crest running from the head to the tail. It can swim well, and is able to run on its hind legs across the surface of water. Example: "As the local folklore told, the cave of treasures was protected by a 10-foot basilisk. " "I thought it was a gecko, but the guide informed me that it was a basilisk." About Basilisk Found in many accounts of European folklore, the basilisk is a mythological creature, the king of snakes. The origins and methods of defeating this fearsome reptile vary by storyteller, but they all describe a lethal gaze. The name was borrowed for a real-life lizard with a crest running from head to tail, just like the legend. Did you know? In the Harry Potter series, the basilisk is an enormous snake controlled by He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. Similar to the Muggle folklore, the basilisk has a lethal gaze. This basilisk killed Moaning Myrtle, and petrified more through an indirect gaze. Unless you're a Parselmouth (speak snake), avoid the basilisk at all costs.
  15. Fact of the Day - TOILET PAPER Did you know... that although paper had been known as a wrapping and padding material in China since the 2nd century BC, the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China? In 589 AD the scholar-official Yan Zhitui (531–591) wrote about the use of toilet paper: Paper on which there are quotations or commentaries from the Five Classics or the names of sages, I dare not use for toilet purposes. During the later Tang dynasty (618–907 AD), an Arab traveller to China in the year 851 AD remarked: ...they [the Chinese] do not wash themselves with water when they have done their necessities; but they only wipe themselves with paper. During the early 14th century, it was recorded that in what is now Zhejiang alone, ten million packages of 1,000 to 10,000 sheets of toilet paper were manufactured annually. During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD), it was recorded in 1393 that an annual supply of 720,000 sheets of toilet paper (approximately 2 by 3 ft (60 by 90 cm)) were produced for the general use of the imperial court at the capital of Nanjing. From the records of the Imperial Bureau of Supplies of that same year, it was also recorded that for the Hongwu Emperor's imperial family alone, there were 15,000 sheets of special soft-fabric toilet paper made, and each sheet of toilet paper was perfumed. Elsewhere, wealthy people wiped themselves with wool, lace or hemp, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stones, sand, moss, water, snow, ferns, plant husks, fruit skins, seashells, or corn cobs, depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. In Ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was commonly used, and, after use, placed back in a pail of vinegar. Several talmudic sources indicating ancient Jewish practice refer to the use of small pebbles, often carried in a special bag, and also to the use of dry grass and of the smooth edges of broken pottery jugs. These are all cited in the classic Biblical and Talmudic Medicine by the German physician Julius Preuss (Eng. trans. Sanhedrin Press, 1978). Sponge on a Stick Note: Communal toilets meant that the ancient Romans had to share these sponges, only soaking them in a brine solution or vinegar after use. The Romans stopped using it when diseases spread due to bacteria gathering on the sponges. The 16th-century French satirical writer François Rabelais, in Chapter XIII of Book 1 of his novel sequence Gargantua and Pantagruel, has his character Gargantua investigate a great number of ways of cleansing oneself after defecating. Gargantua dismisses the use of paper as ineffective, rhyming that: "Who his foul tail with paper wipes, Shall at his bollocks leave some chips." (Sir Thomas Urquhart's 1653 English translation). He concludes that "the neck of a goose, that is well downed" provides an optimum cleansing medium. The rise of publishing by the eighteenth century led to the use of newspapers and cheap editions of popular books for cleansing. Lord Chesterfield, in a letter to his son in 1747, told of a man who purchased .... a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina; thus was so much time fairly gained .... In many parts of the world, especially where toilet paper or the necessary plumbing for disposal may be unavailable or unaffordable, toilet paper is not used. Also, in many parts of the world people consider using water a much cleaner and more sanitary practice than using paper. Cleansing is then performed with other methods or materials, such as water, for example using a bidet, a lota, rags, sand, leaves (including seaweed), corn cobs, animal furs, sticks or hands; afterwards, hands are washed with water and possibly soap. Bidet This toilet paper patent solved the debate on the proper way to hang the roll. Seth Wheeler patented rolled and perforated toilet paper on December 22, 1891. While the patent is 129 years old already, the patent’s illustration confirmed that toilet paper must go up and over. Modern toilet paper rolls are based on China's scented royal toilet paper. China's Ming Dynasty introduced perfumed toilet paper for members of the Chinese Emperor’s family in 1391. These scented sheets measured 2ft by 3ft. Today, you’d notice that toilet paper is freshly-scented out of the box, which is reminiscent of China’s royal toilet paper. Joseph Gayetty brought modern toilet paper to the U.S. Joseph Gayetty first introduced commercial toilet paper to the U.S. in 1857. Gayetty’s toilet paper was made of pure Manila hemp paper, with each sheet watermarked as “J C Gayetty N Y”. Originally, Gayetty marketed his product for medical purposes, as it contained aloe and was advertised as an anti-hemorrhoid product. Gayetty would sell his toilet paper for a dollar per 1,000 sheets. However, his product did not take off. Joseph C. Gayetty Toilet paper rolls were only introduced in 1890. In 1879, the Scott brothers founded the Scott Paper Company. The Scott Paper Company was the first to sell toilet paper in rolls. The company came to sell their signature Waldorf rolls in 1890. Hemp toilet paper is more beneficial than it seems. Its manufacturing process is sustainable, environment-friendly, and requires no fertilizers or pesticides. Moreover, it only takes 70 days to harvest hemp on a process that requires little water and promotes nutrients rebalance in the soil. Its fiber content is also ideal for the amount of material that toilet paper requires. At first, people were embarrassed to be seen buying toilet paper due to its purpose. When the Hoberg Paper company manufactured Charmin in 1928, the toilet paper game changed. The company used a logo portraying a beautiful woman to make the papers look charming – and the marketing strategy worked. Soon enough, people didn’t have to be ashamed of buying toilet paper. Colored toilet paper was a fad in the 1950s. Back then, people aimed to have their toilet paper match their bathroom colors in hues of green, lavender, light blue, light green, light yellow, pink, and purple. The most expensive toilet paper was worth $1,500,000 a roll. An Australian man made the roll with 22 karat gold flakes. While the original purpose of the creation was promotional, it is still up for sale. Click below to read more facts on Toilet Paper Source: Wikipedia - Toilet Paper, Facts.Net - Toilet Paper
  16. What's the Word? - RUMBA pronunciation: [rəm-bə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin American Spanish, 1920s meaning: 1. A rhythmic dance with Spanish and African elements, originating in Cuba. 2. A ballroom dance imitative of the rumba. Example: "The final match-up in the dance competition came down to the rumba." "We took a rumba class on our vacation to Cuba." About Rumba The traditional rumba dance combines Spanish and African elements, but the creation is uniquely Cuban. The term rumba can be used to describe the music that accompanies the dance, also with percussive African influences. Whether it's the dance or the song, the rumba will get your feet and body moving. Did you know? The ballroom dance style is often spelled "rhumba" to distinguish it from the traditional Cuban dance. In ballroom dance competitions there are five Latin dances: samba, jive, cha-cha-cha, pasodoble, and the slowest, rhumba. Outside of the competition circuit, Latin dances are sometimes lumped together under the term "salsa."
  17. Fact of the Day - PALATINE HILL Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy Did you know... that the Palatine Hill, which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire?" (Wikipedia) The name “Palatine” is derived from a Latin word “palus” which means marsh or swamp. The Palatine Hill is the place where the rich and famous Romans used to live. It is about 70 meters of height if viewed from Roman Forum from one side and the Circus Maximus from the other side. The Hill is a large open air museum which is most visited by tourists during the day time and it is situated between The Velabrum, the Circus Maximus and the Roman forum. According to the mythology of Romans, the Palatine hill was the location of a cave called “Lupercal“ where Remus and Romulus were brought in by a she-wolf which kept them alive. The legends state that Faustulus, who is a shepherd, found them as infants and his wife brought them up and raised them. So later when Romulus grew older, he decided to build a city on Palatine hill. The hill was also a site to celebrate “Festival of Lupercalia”. Romulus chose this hill as a ideal spot to build a new city. Therefore, it was on this Palatine Hill where the Roman era of empires started. Renus and Romulus All parts of the Palatine are not accessible to tourists, but the spots like Imperial Palaces, the Farnese Gardens and the House of Livia can be visited. The best way to reach Palatine Hill is to catch a metro to The Colosseum. The Roman Palatine Hill, which in existence may disappoint as the ruins are minimized due to age, but the view is fantastic to experience. (Famous Wonders) Hercules and Cacus Monument by Baccio Bandinelli – Hercules and Cacus, Piazza della Signoria, Florence – (WikiCommons) Another myth involving the Palatine Hill is that of Hercules and Cacus. Before the foundation of Rome, Cacus – the fire-breathing giant son of the god of fire – used to live in a cave in the Aventine Hill and feed on human flesh. One day, Hercules passed by the Aventine and, in a minute of distraction, had some animals from his cattle stolen by Cacus. Hercules would have killed the giant at the Palatine with such a hard strike that a cleft was open on the southeast part of the hill, where an ancient staircase was built. Archaeological discoveries and history The Palatine Hill has been inhabited for a really long time. Modern archaeology has found evidences of Bronze Age settlements at the Palatine prior to the foundation of Rome. With all the traces of human settlements, archaeologists have collected enough indications that the city was indeed founded at the Palatine around the 8th and the 9th century BC, as Varro had suggested. Imperial palaces House of Augustus (Domus Augusti), South wall of the Mask Room, 2nd Pompeian style, Palatine Hill, Rome – by Carole Raddato – (WikiCommons) According to Italian historian Titus Livius (64 BC or 59 BC – 12 AD or 17 AD), after the Sabines and Albans moved to the city, the Palatine was mainly inhabited by original Romans. During the Republican Period, the hill was the home of many aristocrats and important figures. The same happened during the Roman Empire, when a number of emperors established their palaces at the Palatine Hill. Historians believe that emperors built their palaces at the hill because living at the place first chosen by Romulus would legitimate and strengthen their power. During your visit, you can see the ruins of the Houses of Augustus and Livia, the first emperor of Rome and his wife; the House of Tiberius, son of Livia and stepson of Augustus, and second emperor of Rome; and the Palace of Domitian, last member of the Flavian Dynasty. Religious Temples Remains of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Photo by ”Antmoose / Anthony M” But the Palatine was not just a residential area. Religious temples were also built there. One of the most important temples ever built at the site was the Magna Mater Cybele. Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess associate by the Greek to nature, fertility, mountains, towns and city walls. The Romans called her Magna Mater (Great Mother) and built the first Roman temple dedicated to her at the Palatine Hill in 191 BC. The Temple of Magna Mater Cybele was unfortunately destroyed in 394 AD, but the Palatine Hill still holds some of its ruins, as well as the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Palatinus, which was built in 28 BC. Click below to read more on Palatine Hill. Source: Discover Walks - Quick History of The Palatine Hill
  18. What's the Word? - PEONY pronunciation: [PEE-ə-nee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 14th century meaning: 1. A type of firework, characterized by a sphere of colored stars that burn without a tail effect. 2. A herbaceous or shrubby plant of north temperate regions, which has long been cultivated for its showy flowers. Example: "The grand finale of the fireworks display had dozens of my favorite sparkler, the peony." "Her wedding bouquet featured three colors of peonies." About Peony Do you know the Genus Paeonia, family Paeoniaceae? You're probably familiar with the fluffy, full blooms of peony in wedding and springtime bouquets, but you can also call the shrub they grow on a peony. The shape of the round flowers is so distinctive that large spherical blasts of fireworks have become known as peonies. Did you know? There's no better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a spectacular fireworks display. While they all deserve your "oohs" and "aahs," we have our favorites. The peony is the large round burst, resembling the flower of the same name. The chrysanthemum is similar, but with long tails. The horsetail bursts shoot up, then fall down like a tail, and the ring shells might even display smileys and other shapes.
  19. Fact of the Day - QUEBEC CITY Did you know... that the history of Quebec City extends back thousands of years, with its first inhabitants being the First Nations peoples of the region? The arrival of French explorers in the 16th century eventually led to the establishment of Quebec City, in present-day Quebec, Canada. (Wikipedia) Quebec, French Québec, city, port, and capital of Quebec province, Canada. One of the oldest cities in Canada—having celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008—Quebec city has a distinct old-world character and charm. It is the only remaining walled city in North America north of Mexico and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Among its other distinguishing characteristics are its narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings, fortifications, and rich French Canadian culture grounded in the French language. The city’s splendid views of the surrounding landscape and unique character were noted as early as 1842 during a visit by Charles Dickens, who called Quebec the “Gibraltar of North America.” In addition to being a major tourist destination, Quebec is an administrative centre and a port city for transatlantic trade. Its location at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saint-Charles rivers, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Montreal, provided a number of strategic military advantages: because of the narrowing of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec was the farthest upstream oceangoing vessels could navigate, and the city’s fortifications on a high ridge had a commanding view of the river. Area 175 square miles (454 square km); metro. area, 1,293 square miles (3,349 square km). Pop. (2011) 516,576; metro. area, 767,310; (2016) 531,902; metro. area, 800,296. St-Lawrence River The first European to visit the area was French explorer Jacques Cartier, who was seeking a route to Asia as well as searching for valuable minerals such as gold and diamonds. On his second voyage to North America, he sailed up the St. Lawrence in 1535 and wintered in the Huron Indian village of Stadacona (the site of modern Quebec city). Cartier made a third and final trip to the region in 1541, bringing settlers to establish a French colony at Stadacona, though they abandoned this effort after a couple of years. It was not until furs became an exceptionally valuable commodity by 1600 that the French renewed their interest in maintaining control of New France. In 1608 Samuel de Champlain installed the first permanent base in Canada at Quebec, which grew as a fortified fur-trading post. The St. Lawrence and its tributaries gave the French the best access to the interior of North America and control over the fur trade, an advantage that the British wanted to gain. Quebec, the guardian of New France, was under constant threat. In 1629 it was captured by the British, who held it until 1632, when the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye restored it to France. There were other attempts by the British to capture this stronghold, but all failed until the famous Battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham (adjacent to the city) in 1759, in which the French were defeated. Shortly thereafter most of the French-held territory in North America was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1759, during the French and Indian War, British troops landed upstream from Quebec and defeated the French troops on the Plains of Abraham. Warfare in the region did not end with the capture of New France, however. Britain reinforced the military defenses of the city in time to repel an attack during the American Revolution in the second Battle of Quebec in 1775. The breakaway of the United States from British North America had important cultural, economic, and political implications for Quebec. Under the Quebec Act of 1774, French Canadians retained their language, religion, and other cultural institutions, which therefore allowed Quebec city to remain a centre of French culture. With the arrival of displaced Loyalists following American independence, settlement (mostly west of Quebec) increased, and so did trade with Britain, much of it through the port of Quebec, thus elevating the city’s economic status. The increase in an English-speaking population contributed to the British Parliament’s passage of the Constitutional Act (1791), which split the large colony of Quebec into two provinces: Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario) and Lower Canada (now the province of Quebec). Quebec city, formerly the capital of the colony, remained the capital of Lower Canada. It was incorporated in 1832 and was given its actual charter in 1840, the year that Parliament voted to rejoin Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada. In 1864 the city was the site of the conference of British North American colonies convened to plan the confederation of Canada, which was achieved in 1867, following passage of the British North America Act. Contemporary depiction of the unsuccessful British attack on Quebec city in 1690. The economic base of Quebec city was subject to boom-and-bust conditions. After the British takeover of New France, Montreal gained the dominant economic position in the province, whereas Quebec became a port city exposed to economic cycles of resource demand. Population growth in Quebec city also was relatively slow in comparison with that of Montreal. Still, from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, the British demand for forest products fueled Quebec’s economy, and the city became the main site for British imports and exports as well as the port of entry for many immigrants. The lumbering activity also stimulated a significant local shipbuilding industry. This favourable economic position, however, was eroded by the development of steam- and steel-based technologies for ships and rail lines. Wooden vessels were no longer in demand, and the early rail lines connected Lévis (across the river) to Montreal rather than to Quebec. Moreover, the Erie Canal—which linked southern Ontario and rail lines from Montreal to Portland, Maine—diverted timber and other goods away from the St. Lawrence River and Quebec city. Improvements in navigation along the St. Lawrence between Quebec city and Montreal and the growing dependence on steam vessels further contributed to Quebec city’s being bypassed in favour of Montreal. The withdrawal of the British military in 1871 was yet another economic blow to the capital city. Nevertheless, some labour-intensive manufacturing (notably tanneries, along with clothing and shoe manufacturers) remained active, and, with the development of inexpensive hydroelectric power, a pulp and paper mill located there in the 1920s; by the 1970s a refinery had been added. Irving Oil Refinery The Contemporary City Because Quebec is a capital city, civil servants and administrators make up a large portion of the service sector that dominates employment in the city. Quebec is also a major transatlantic port, handling products (mainly bulk goods) that are conveyed on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which serves the Great Lakes region of North America. The port, rail lines, and freeways also facilitate a manufacturing industry that includes newsprint, beverages and food processing, chemicals, printing, garments, and shipbuilding. The port also supports another major industry—tourism. In 2002 a cruise-ship terminal opened, and Quebec has become an important destination for this industry. Tourism has been a mainstay of the economy for well over 150 years. Quebec city is serviced by the Jean Lesage International Airport, ferry service to Lévis, and a bus system that includes electric Écolobuses. Quebec city, Quebec, Canada, in winter. Click below if you'd like to read more about the History of Quebec City. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Quebec, Wikipedia - The History of Quebec City
  20. What's the Word? - SURURRUS pronunciation: [soo-SUR-əs] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid-19th century meaning: 1. Whispering, murmuring. 2. Rustling. Example: "The quiet susurrus is a soothing backdrop for reading." "You could hear the susurrus of the audience before the curtain went up." About Susurrus It's not technically an onomatopoeia (a word that resembles a sound, such as plop or meow), but it's pretty close. Susurrus means a soft whisper or murmuring sound. It's what you hear when the wind blows through fall leaves or waves are crashing on the shore. Did you know? In Latin, "susurrus" is the noun for a whisper, and "susurrare" is the verb for to murmur or hum. In English we've maintained susurrus as a whispering noise, but you might also see it as "susurration." We prefer to stick to the more poetic and original Latin spelling.
  21. Fact of the Day - MONSTER TRUCKS Did you know... that a monster truck is a specialized truck with a heavy duty suspension, four-wheel steering, and oversized tires constructed for competition and entertainment uses? (Wikipedia) Monster Truck shows have transformed from the rough and rowdy event into a family-friendly night of entertainment. People from all lifestyles can appreciate the roar of engines and huge tires crashing those pitiful tiny cars. Monster trucking began back in the 1980’s. The first monster truck show was held in 1982 at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. Bob Chandler was the initial person to create a monster of a truck from a 4-wheel drive Ford F-250. With larger-than life tires and a spruced- up suspension system, the “Bigfoot” truck was put on display where its agility was tested by demolishing two cars in front of 70,000 people. Bigfoot #19 circa 2019 The original goal of monster trucking was to display how the truck could roll over and flatten as many cars as possible at exhibitions and fairs around the country. But as popularity for this type of entertainment rose, the monster trucks began actually racing around a track. In 1987, the United States Hot Rod Association created head-to-head competitions complete with car crushing and racing. Each year, we see monster trucks that are bigger and fiercer than ever. The costs to build and run a monster truck are hefty. Some typical prices include $1,800.00 per tire to anywhere from $2,000.00-$7,000.00 for paint and around $1,500.00 for shocks. Bigfoot It’s not just the appearance of a monster truck that makes them so popular, it’s also their capability on the track. The trucks are capable of speeds up to around 100 mph. These beasts can jump across 110 to 115 feet and 20 to 25 feet in the air. Monster trucks weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 pounds. (SCS Gearbox) For the past few decades, monster trucks have been entertaining the masses, crushing other vehicles, and taking dirt jumps to the extreme. These gargantuan vehicles have become known for their oversized tires, customized bodies, and freestyle tricks—but monster trucks weren’t always what they are today. So, how did these hulking, destructive trucks come to be? From Bigfoot to Grave Digger: The Evolution of Monster Trucks The original, unrivaled Bigfoot monster truck Heavily modified trucks were a popular trend during the 1970s, and their popularity was only enhanced by the sports of mud bogging and tractor pulling. Several truck owners created lifted trucks to perform at peak level, outfitting the vehicles with tires that topped out at 48 inches. One of the biggest trucks was Bob Chandler’s Bigfoot, which is considered the first-ever monster truck. In 1981, Chandler decided to drive over some cars to test the truck’s capabilities, becoming the first large truck to do so (on record, at least). Chandler’s video tape of the feat eventually got into the hands of an event promoter, who decided that this could be the next big spectacle to entertain audiences. Bigfoot went on to perform at various small shows, eventually debuting at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1982. It is at this event that the truck, outfitted with 66-inch tires, caused the “monster truck” name to be coined. After Bigfoot started the tradition of driving over cars, other “monster trucks” decided to join in on the fun. In the beginning, these trucks mostly just drove slowly over old cars as a sideshow attraction during tractor-pulling events. While these monster truck shows are nothing like the shows we see nowadays, they were nonetheless exciting, bold feats for that time. Over the course of the next few years, technology and driving skills improved, and the craze continued. In the 1980s, the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) realized this and began organizing and booking stunt shows across the country. In 1995, it created an official touring show called Monster Jam. Operated by Feld Entertainment, the Monster Jam franchise really took the sport to new heights–creating bigger, better, and more capable truck bodies, motors, and suspensions. Rules were established, along with a variety of safety measures that ensured monster truck drivers would be protected during the more dangerous stunts. The rise of Monster Jam introduced “celebrity” trucks like the famous Grave Digger. Grave Digger These changes allowed the sport to evolve, pulling away from their tractor-pulling origins. Now, monster trucks as we know them entertain the masses at shows around the world–from the USA to Australia. The tours run through winter and spring, culminating in the Monster Jam World Finals every March in Las Vegas. Monster Jam World Finals XVIII 25th Anniversary (Friday Racing) Encore Source: The News Wheel - Monster Trucks
  22. What's the Word? - IMMUTABLE pronunciation: [im-MYOO-də-bəl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Middle English, 15th century meaning: 1. Unchanging over time. 2. Unable to be changed. Example: "The mission of the nonprofit has remained immutable since its founding." "You can try to change his mind, but I think he's immutable." About Immutable In Latin, "mutare" means to change. You'll recognize that from your favorite mutant superheroes, the X-Men. Add on the Latin prefix "im" for not, and you get the unchanging immutable. If you're immutable, there's no chance of shapeshifting or any other superpowers. Did you know? There are a batch of words that can be traced back to the Latin root of "mutare." Immutable is unchanging, but mutate means to undergo significant changes, permute is to change the order, and transmute is to change in nature or appearance. Change is good!
  23. Fact of the Day - DR. SEUSS Did you know... that The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957? The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat who wears a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. (Wikipedia) Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who is one of the best-known and most-celebrated children’s authors of all time. During his lifetime and beyond, Dr. Seuss delighted, charmed and thrilled children with his colorful characters such as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” from “The Cat in the Hat” to “Sam I Am” from “Green Eggs and Ham.” At the time, young readers may not have been aware of it, but they were learning how to read, count and identify colors. They were learning basic problem solving skills, and even the concept of rhyming. Dr. Seuss delighted children and adults alike with his quirky, imaginative plots, lovable characters and enjoyable storylines. Some of his books even addressed conflict on a very basic level, such as in “The Butter Battle Book” and even environmental conservation in “The Lorax.” Geisel Gained National Attention When He Won An Advertising Campaign On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended area schools in Springfield before deciding on Dartmouth in 1925. After completing his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth, he went to Oxford and later the Sorbonne in pursuit of a doctorate in literature. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to earn an advanced degree in literature. While studying at Oxford, he met and fell in love with Helen Palmer. It is rumored that Helen was a classmate of Geisel’s, and she often teased him, complimenting him on a flying cow he was sketching. In 1927, Geisel made Helen his bride, and the two of them returned to the U.S. Geisel spent this time working as a cartoonist, and his drawings appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Eventually, Geisel won a contest for the best advertising campaign for an insecticide, Flit. Geisel came up with “quick, Henry, the Flit!” which caught on quickly. People began to take notice of the creative and quirky Geisel who had a way with words and could come up with amusing sketches to match. Geisel and Helen were on a pleasure cruise in 1936 when Geisel became inspired to write his first children’s book. The ship’s engine had a certain rhythm to it that helped Geisel develop the cadence to his famed “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” Finding a publisher for his first book was far from easy. Geisel took his manuscript to 30 different publishers, each of whom rejected it. Undeterred, eventually, Geisel made his way to Vanguard Press, who decided to give him a chance. “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was finally published in 1937. Geisel Began Writing Using His Pen Name, Dr. Seuss Geisel did attempt to write a few books for adults, but they were not well received. Geisel eventually stated that “adults are absolute children, and to hell with them.” Geisel decided to continue writing under his pen name, and focused on exclusively writing children’s books. Geisel respected children, enjoyed spending time with them, and loved writing books that would educate children and help them to understand simple life lessons. Parents also enjoyed reading books written by the great Dr. Seuss; the characters are lively and funny, the rhyme scheme is enjoyable, the drawings are fun, and the endings are always satisfying. Geisel, as Dr. Seuss, made reading before bed an activity that both children and parents looked forward to. Geisel was called into service during World War II, though not in the traditional sense. “During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar,” explains the NEA. Dr. Seuss Published The Cat in The Hat & The World Fell in Love “In May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 225 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success,” NEA explains. Geisel took a challenging assignment and mastered it, and the outcome was one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. Seussville describes “The Cat in the Hat” as follows: “Join the Cat in the Hat as he makes learning to read a joy! It’s a rainy day and Dick and Sally can’t find anything to do . . . until the Cat in the Hat unexpectedly appears and turns their dreary afternoon into a fun-filled extravaganza! This beloved Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss, which also features timeless Dr. Seuss characters such as Fish and Thing 1 and Thing 2, is fun to read aloud and easy to read alone. Written using 236 different words that any first or second grader can read, it’s a fixture in home and school libraries and a favorite among parents, beginning readers, teachers, and librarians. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.” Fish: Carlos K. Krinklebine in the TV Special "The Cat in the Hat". In the book he's only called Fish. Thing 1 and Thing 2 Geisel Used “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” to Retell a Classic Tale In 1957, Geisel published one of his most famous books, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” Perhaps a take on the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a miserly grinch threatens to take away Christmas from the good, less fortunate people of the town. “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” while still being a children’s book, addresses issues like poverty, generosity, the haves and have-nots. The villainous grinch is shown to even have a heart, which of course grows in size when the joy of Christmas is shared with him. Through his books, Geisel teaches children much more than just how to read and count to ten. He teaches basic lessons about generosity, empathy and forgiveness, and the importance of being kind to others. He manages to do this while maintaining humor throughout, and always ends on a happy note, delighting young children. Even in “Green Eggs And Ham,” Geisel serves up a lesson or two. Even if he’s simply trying to get picky eaters to give their least favorite foods a chance, he’s sending a positive message and gently pushing children in the right direction. Geisel’s Influence is Still Felt Today in the Literary World & Beyond Geisel passed away in 1991, but the spirit of Dr. Seuss certainly lives on. His many award-winning children’s books continue to be high in circulation, some of them 60 years after they were originally printed. Several of his books have been adapted into films, including the beloved cartoon version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” the live action version that would come years later, the animated version of “The Lorax” and so forth. Geisel, under his pen name of Dr. Seuss, finally got his rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has influenced Hollywood, yes, but he has also influenced millions of children across the world on a personal level. He taught us to read, to count, to love books, to overcome adversity, to be kind, to be generous and so forth. While Geisel largely wrote for children, he left behind many words of inspiration for adults. One of Geisel’s most celebrated quotes is as follows: “I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love.” Source: Heavy.Com - Entertainment - Dr. Seuss
  24. What's the Word? - VERSO pronunciation: [vər-soh] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid-19th century meaning: 1. A left-hand page of an open book, or the back of a loose document. 2. The reverse of something such as a coin or painting. Example: "Every new chapter begins on the verso." "This coin is particularly valuable because of the misprint on the verso." About Verso Verso is a traditional printing term for the left-hand side of an open book, but it can also be the back side of a single piece of paper. It's a handy term that has been adopted by the arts and collectibles community to refer to the back or reverse side of a painting or coin. Did you know? Open up a book and take a look at the pages in front of you. The right-hand side is called "recto," from the Latin for "on the right leaf." Conversely, "verso" means "on the left leaf." It's a fancy way to let someone know that you know your books.
  25. Fact of the Day - LOUVRE MUSEUM Did you know.... that The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France? A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. (Wikipedia) Former residence of the kings of France turned two centuries ago into one of the greatest museums in the world, a collection of over 35,000 works spread over a 60,000 m2, displaying masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, La Vénus de Milo, Le Radeau de la Méduse, Liberty guiding the people… The Louvre Museum is an extraordinary place. La Vénus de Milo In 1546 Francis I, who was a great art collector, had this old castle razed and began to build on its site another royal residence, the Louvre, which was added to by almost every subsequent French monarch. Under Francis I, only a small portion of the present Louvre was completed, under the architect Pierre Lescot. This original section is today the southwestern part of the Cour Carrée. In the 17th century, major additions were made to the building complex by Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Cardinal de Richelieu, the chief minister of Louis XIII, acquired great works of art for the king. Louis XIV and his minister, Cardinal Mazarin, acquired outstanding art collections, including that of Charles I of England. A committee consisting of the architects Claude Perrault and Louis Le Vau and the decorator and painter Charles Le Brun planned that part of the Louvre which is known as the Colonnade. The Colonnade, the eastern facade of the Louvre Museum, Paris, 19th-century print. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-pga-13069) The Louvre ceased to be a royal residence when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles in 1682. The idea of using the Louvre as a public museum originated in the 18th century. The comte d’Angiviller helped build and plan the Grande Galerie and continued to acquire major works of art. In 1793 the revolutionary government opened to the public the Musée Central des Arts in the Grande Galerie. Under Napoleon the Cour Carrée and a wing on the north along the rue de Rivoli were begun. In the 19th century two major wings, their galleries and pavilions extending west, were completed, and Napoleon III was responsible for the exhibition that opened them. The completed Louvre was a vast complex of buildings forming two main quadrilaterals and enclosing two large courtyards. By 1874, the Louvre Palace had achieved its present form of an almost rectangular structure with the Sully Wing to the east containing the Cour Carrée (Square Court) and the oldest parts of the Louvre; and two wings which wrap the Cour Napoléon, the Richelieu Wing to the north and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south. In 1983, French President François Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projets, the Grand Louvre plan to renovate the building and relocate the Finance Ministry, allowing displays throughout the building. Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon. The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988 and the Louvre Pyramid was completed in 1989. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, the Pyramide Inversée (Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. As of 2002, attendance had doubled since completion. The Louvre Pyramid Click below if you'd like to know more on The Louvre Museum Source: Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica
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