Jump to content


Crusaders +
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by DarkRavie

  1. What's the Word: COUNTERPANE pronunciation: [KOUN-tər-payn] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 15th century Meaning: 1. A bedspread. Example: "The bed was made up with an antique counterpane quilted by my husband’s great-grandmother." "The counterpane in the guest bedroom was more for show than for warmth." About Counterpane “Counterpane” is an alteration of “counterpoint,” which was based on the Latin “culcitra puncta,” or “quilted mattress.” The suffix “pane” — an old word for “cloth” — replaced “point.” Did You Know? A “counterpane” is a decorative bedspread designed more to be seen than used for warmth. Traditionally, counterpanes were woven to showcase raised details, making the blanket seem embossed. However, many counterpanes were also quilted or knit. As nice as counterpanes are to look at, they are generally insubstantial as blankets. Sleepers in cold climates usually require additional layers beyond a counterpane to keep them warm at night.
  2. Fact of the Day - LUCKY ANIMALS Did you know... Cultures around the world have signs and symbols that are believed to be lucky. These could be plants, animals, insects, objects, numbers, gems or really anything for that matter. Some of these are believed to grant wishes, to get rid of evil, to offer protection and sometimes even heal the sick. Because good luck is that easy to come by. On a serious note, let's take a look at animals that are considered lucky in different cultures. ! (Kelli Bender | October 29, 2020) The Stories Behind 7 Animals Considered Lucky in Other Countries by Interesting Facts The custom of relying on animals to bring us luck is shared by many cultures. While the roots of these practices often date back centuries, the superstitions have stuck around even into the 21st century. For example, some people in Britain and North America wake up on the first day of the month and mutter “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” believing that the phrase guarantees good luck for the rest of the month — a tradition some historians believe can be traced back to the Celts. It was even customary at one time to pocket a rabbit’s foot for luck, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt carried one during the 1932 election campaign. Curious to know the stories behind other lucky creatures around the world? Here are seven animals that are traditionally thought to bring good fortune. 1. Germany: Pigs The reason pigs are considered lucky in Germany has origins on the farms of the Middle Ages. Back then, owning a large number of pigs signified wealth and prosperity. While farmers might have wanted to hang on to a cow for its milk and a horse as transport, pigs weren’t too valuable to sacrifice to the dinner table. Therefore, if they had pigs, they’d never go hungry — something that could definitely be considered good fortune. Centuries later, these farmyard animals are still a lucky symbol. The German expression “schwein gehabt” translates literally to “got pig,” though the phrase effectively means “got lucky.” If you want to wish someone in Germany good luck, it’s customary to send a marzipan pig to accompany your message, particularly to ring in the New Year. 2. China: Tigers Along with several other animals — both real and mythological (see: dragons) — tigers play an important role in traditional Chinese culture. One reason for this is that associations in China often relate to language. If the written symbol for one word appears similar to another character, you may find a parallel link embedded in cultural traditions and customs. With tigers, the Chinese character for “king” looks similar to the markings on a tiger’s forehead, so the animals are considered natural-born kings, a symbol of prowess, strength, and good fortune. In China, gifting a tiger charm is done to wish the bearer good luck. Newborn babies are given tiny shoes with tiger heads embroidered on them to secure a good start in life. 3. South Asia: Elephants In India and several other southern Asian nations, if you hope for good fortune, you’re likely to turn to an elephant. The animals often play a significant role in religion. Indians call upon the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh if they wish to summon wisdom, success, or good luck. Elephants often accompany Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of abundance, and Indra, god of thunder, rides a white elephant called Airavata. Elephants are also important to Buddhists, to whom they represent protection and good fortune. Because Buddha’s mother dreamt about a white elephant before she gave birth, white elephants are particularly auspicious. The creatures figure largely into primarily Buddhist countries such as Thailand, where they are revered as a national symbol and signify royalty. 4. Peru: Bulls When traveling in southern Peru, you’re likely to spot a pair of ceramic bulls perched on the roofs of homes. Known as Toritos de Pucará, they are named for the town in which they’re made near Lake Titicaca, and they symbolize protection, happiness, and fertility. The introduction of these ceramic figures can be traced back to the colonial era, when Spaniards introduced el toro to the Americas and they featured in the traditional festivals in the region. The two bulls represent the Andean belief in duality: Opposing pairs — whether it's the sun and the moon, mother and father, or night and day — are depicted together. If one can achieve equilibrium between positive and negative energy, that person will enjoy good fortune and prosperity. 5. Japan: Cats You may be familiar with these waving cat ornaments placed in shop windows and restaurants in Japan. Known as maneki-neko (which translates literally to “beckoning cat”), the figurines — and cats in general — have come to be associated with good luck in Japan. A few legends explain these origins. In one, a noble stood under a tree in a thunderstorm, and seeing a cat beckoning in a similar fashion as the ornaments, he walked toward it. As he did so, the cat saved his life as lightning struck the tree he had been standing under just moments before. Whether the story is true or not, many Japanese people still believe that cats are lucky. Across the country, there are many shrines and temples dedicated to felines. Tashirojima, off the coast of northern Japan, is often referred to by its nickname, Cat Island, as the island’s population is reportedly made up of 25% humans and 75% cats. The island was once a center for silkworm production, so to get rid of unwanted pests on the island, cats were introduced. Their population has grown, and the island is now a popular tourist attraction. 6. Sweden: Horses Visit Sweden, and there’s a good chance you’ll come back with at least one Dala horse in your suitcase. These brightly painted wooden horses are a national symbol, but they shot to international fame when a supersized one appeared outside the Swedish Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. And when Swedish premier Göran Persson arrived in the United States on official business in 1996, he presented one to then-President Clinton. Dala horses aren’t just a souvenir, however. They’re a reminder that for centuries, Swedes have considered horses to be lucky. As far back as the Viking era, they were a good luck charm — burying wooden horses in the graves of warriors would send them on their way to the next world. That wish for safe passage is no coincidence if you understand that Odin, the Norse god of war, rode an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir who could gallop on water and fly. These days, the Dala horse is a nod to that long-standing tradition, and Swedes place the talisman in a window to bring good luck to their homes. 7. Egypt: Beetles The ancient Egyptians revered a number of creatures, one of which was the scarab beetle, a large dung beetle that was common in the region. Khepri, god of the morning sun and by extension the renewal of life, was depicted as a scarab beetle or a man with a scarab for a head. When the pharaohs were around, seals bore a scarab design. The beetles also featured in jewelry of the time. Decorative scarabs were painted in symbolic colors: red for the sun god, yellow for the desert, or blue for the Nile. Some amulets even made it into tombs among the treasures the pharaohs would take with them to enjoy in the afterlife. Scarab trinkets are still produced in Egypt today: Buy a souvenir from an Egyptian trader and you might find one wrapped up with your purchase to wish you good fortune. Source: Animals That Bring Luck | Facts About Lucky Animals From other Countries
  3. What's the Word: DISCURSIVE pronunciation: [də-SKUR-siv] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. Digressing from subject to subject. 2. (of a style of speech or writing) fluent and expansive rather than formulaic or abbreviated. Example: "The author’s talk wasn’t showy, but he spoke with the same discursive eloquence as he wrote." "My favorite college professor gave discursive lectures that connected widely different subjects." About Discursive “Discursive” is based on the Latin word “discursivus,” whose root is “discurs-,” meaning “going hastily to and fro.” Did You Know? The “shaggy-dog story” is essentially a long joke composed of many irrelevant, yet highly detailed, discursive tangents that lead to an anti-climactic punchline. Shaggy-dog stories earned their name from a series of jokes that emphasize the shagginess of a dog in excessive detail before a punchline in which a character —sometimes the judge of a shaggy dog contest — announces the dog is not actually very shaggy. An audience tends to get the giggles from the unrelenting discursive descriptions, which are more important to the jokes than their punchlines. Late comedian Norm MacDonald was known for his extraordinarily discursive four-minute telling of the “Moth Joke.”
  4. Fact of the Day - TIGERS Did you know... The pattern of every tiger’s stripes is unique. Not unlike human fingerprints, the pattern of every tiger’s stripes is one of a kind. And though those markings are invariably beautiful, they aren’t just for decoration. Biologists refer to tiger stripes as an example of disruptive coloration, as their vertical slashes help them hide in plain sight by breaking up their shape and size so they blend in with tall grass, trees, and other camouflage-friendly environments. Tigers are solitary hunters who ambush their prey, so the ability to remain undetected while on the hunt is key to their survival. They’re also helped by the fact that their prey don’t see colors the way we do. Deer, for instance, can process short and mid-wavelength colors such as green and blue but not long wavelength hues such as red and orange. That means a tiger lurking in the grass won’t look bright orange — it will actually appear green to its prey, making it difficult to differentiate from its surroundings. Markings also differ among subspecies, with Sumatran tigers having the narrowest stripes and Siberian tigers having fewer than the rest of their big cat brethren. Tigers have stripes on their skin as well as their fur. It isn’t just a tiger’s fur that’s striped. Their skin is similarly marked, and the pattern mirrors that of their fur. Scientists have compared this to a beard’s five-o’clock shadow, as a tiger’s colored hair follicles are embedded in their skin and therefore visible to the naked eye. Here, too, we have something in common with these majestic creatures: Our skin is covered in a kind of stripes as well — called Blaschko’s lines — but ours are usually invisible except in the case of certain skin conditions. (Interesting Facts) Facts You Probably Didn’t Knew About Tigers by Ranthambore National Park | March 2018 Tigers are often looked as being one of the most beautiful yet ferocious animals and perhaps this is a sole driving factor that makes them even more interesting creatures. But sadly, they have come to a verge of being categorized as endangered, thanks to the human sloppiness and prudence. As a wildlife lover with keen interest on large cats, I enjoy visiting wildlife sanctuaries but the question remains, how well do I or we know about this exotic animal? We’re often clouded by many misconceptions with other large cat species, but hopefully, you’ll learn something about them through this blog where I’ve listed some facts about tigers. Spoiler alert - you would be knowing some of the facts already but what the hell! 1. Tigers are the largest amongst other wild cats You probably knew this that Royal Bengal Tigers are the largest amongst other wild cats but did you also know that the male Tigers weigh up to 300 kilograms. Jezz! That’s like weighing a group of six average human. All they have to do is sit on top of you licking their paws, you’d be dead instantly. 2. A punch from a Tiger may kill you Leaving aside Tigers enormous body size, just look at their front-hands/legs, if you have a pet Tiger and a brutal enemy, you might as well send them for a fist fight. Kidding, you cannot have a pet tiger, it illegal! It is said that one swipe from a Tiger’s front hand is enough to kill a person or an animal, or at least break one’s bones. 3. Tigers are nocturnal animals It is not necessarily true that all Tigers are nocturnal but yes, they do prefer engaging in most of their hunting activities at night. The reason behind this is that Tigers prefer avoiding human conflict during daylight and also patrol around their territory at night. 4. Tiger cubs are born blind and only half of the cubs survive The saddest part is that Tiger cubs are born blind and only a few survive. Literally, the newborn cubs can't see anything, they only follow the scent of their mother. Since they are born blind and can't keep up, most of them die of hunger or cold. Some even get eaten by male Tigers to make the Tigress available for mating. That’s just insane! 5. Tigers love to swim and play in the water Unlike the domestic cats, its larger version enjoy spending time in the water and they love to swim for hours. Since cubs, female Tigers encourage or help learn the art of hunting, they even have the ability to kill in the water. And as adults, it is said that they can swim for several kilometres and even have reported one to swim for 30 km in just a day. Click link below to read more about tigers. Source: Facts About Tigers | Amazing Facts About Tigers
  5. What's the Word: ACERVATION pronunciation: [a-sər-VEY-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. The action of forming something into a mass or of piling something up in a heap or heaps; accumulation. Example: "The great hill in the park was created by the acervation of the earth removed to build the subway station." "The sledding hill was made by snow plows conducting the acervation of the parking lot snow." About Acervation “Acervation” is taken directly from the Latin “acervation,” meaning “piling up” or “heaping.” Did You Know? Around the United States there are ancient sites created by pre-Columbian Indigenous cultures known collectively as “mound builders.” Mound builders existed from as early as 3500 BCE until European contact in the 16th century. They came from different cultures and traditions, but were united by their use of acervation to create mound earthworks used as ceremonial sites, burial grounds, and residential areas. Some used acervation to create gigantic earthwork representations of animals — such as at Serpent Mound in Ohio, which is shaped like a snake.
  6. Fact of the Day - VOICE ACTORS Did you know... Think back to all the times you fell in love with an animated character. Sure, their personality was great, their storyline superb — but an important factor, which is often easily overlooked, is their voice. The brains behind providing that much-needed layer of characterisation are voice actors, who use their talents to breathe life into the things we watch and consume. To find out more about the industry and the life of a voice actor, BuzzFeed chatted to Kari Wahlgren, who has voiced over 700 different characters in her career so far. (Isha Bassi | May 2020) Famous Voice Actors You May Not Recognize (But You’ve Definitely Heard) by Interesting Facts Voice actors are some of the most versatile performers in television, film, and more, lending their considerable talents to animation, live action, audiobooks, and other beloved media. These golden-tongued entertainers are behind some of the most recognizable characters in pop culture, from Bugs Bunny to SpongeBob SquarePants and Darth Vader. Though some may not be household names, the dulcet tones of these seven actors have echoed throughout Hollywood for years. 1. Mel Blanc Known as “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Mel Blanc is widely considered one of the greatest voice actors of all time, and was a pioneer during the golden age of American animation. Blanc is credited with providing the voices for an estimated 90% of all Warner Bros. characters during the 1940s and 1950s, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. Overall, he crafted voices for some 3,000 cartoon characters throughout his prolific six-decade career. Blanc began voice acting in 1923, at the age of 15, with a singing role on the KGW radio program Stories by Aunt Nell. His popularity skyrocketed after he booked his first gig with Warner Bros. in 1937, as the character Porky Pig in the short film Porky’s Road Race. Blanc debuted the voice for Daffy Duck later that year, and introduced Bugs Bunny in 1940’s A Wild Hare. Over the following decades, Blanc continued to carve out an unparalleled legacy in his field, voicing many other memorable animated characters, including Barney Rubble in The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely in The Jetsons. Blanc worked continuously through the 1980s, up until his death in 1989. 2. June Foray While June Foray had a diminutive stature — standing only 4 feet, 11 inches tall — she was an absolute giant in voice acting history. By the age of 12, Foray was providing voices on a local radio program in Massachusetts, and she later moved to Los Angeles to begin a film career in the 1940s. That decision proved extremely fruitful, as Foray caught the attention of Walt Disney, who hired her to voice Lucifer the cat in 1950’s Cinderella. In 1959, Foray voiced Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the famous Rocky & Bullwinkle duo, which became one of her signature characters. Throughout her legendary career, which lasted until the early 2010s (she died in 2017 at the age of 99), Foray was widely beloved in the industry. Animator Chuck Jones once said, “June Foray is not the female Mel Blanc. Mel Blanc is the male June Foray.” 3. Mark Hamill He may be best known for portraying Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, but Mark Hamill has also had a prolific voice acting career since the 1970s. Prior to his time as a Jedi, Hamill voiced various guest roles on The New Scooby-Doo Movies television series in the early part of that decade. But it was his role as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, which ran from 1992 to 1995, that would cement Hamill’s legacy as a voice actor. He reprised the role for the Batman: Arkham video game series, and his portrayal of the Joker inspired countless other versions of the character that came later. Interestingly, Luke Skywalker isn’t Hamill’s only Star Wars role, either — he voiced an alien named Boolio in a cameo for 2019’s Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. 4. Nancy Cartwright The Simpsons features a who’s who of talented voice actors, from Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson) to Julie Kavner (Marge Simpson) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns). One of the most famous voices on the long-running animated show is that of Nancy Cartwright, who plays Bart Simpson. Cartwright has voiced the young prankster since The Simpsons began over 30 years ago, delivering signature lines such as “Eat my shorts” and “Don’t have a cow, man.” Cartwright also voices the characters of Ralph Wiggum and Nelson Muntz, and even provides the trademark sucking sound for one-year-old Maggie Simpson. Her portrayal of famous animated children doesn’t end there: She also voiced Chuckie Finster on Rugrats from 2001 until 2004 and again for the 2022 reboot of the popular animated children’s series. 5. Tom Kenny You definitely won’t find Tom Kenny in a pineapple under the sea, though his most famous character does call one home. The voice behind the star of SpongeBob SquarePants, which premiered in 1999, Kenny has had an extensive career in children’s animation, also voicing roles in The Powerpuff Girls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Adventure Time. While working as a stand-up comedian prior to voice acting, Kenny once performed in front of an executive from the Cartoon Network, who scouted him to work in animation. Shortly after, Kenny was hired for his first major role playing Heffer the cow on Rocko’s Modern Life, which ran from 1993 to 1996. During his time as a voice actor, Kenny has won three Annie Awards and two Daytime Emmys. 6. James Earl Jones Throughout his six-decade career — both on-camera and behind the mic — James Earl Jones has demonstrated remarkable versatility: He has voiced everyone from the evilest of villains to some of Hollywood’s most memorable heroes. Those roles include the dastardly sith lord Darth Vader from the Star Wars franchise and the king of the jungle Mufasa from 1994’s The Lion King. While Darth Vader was physically portrayed by English actor David Prowse, Jones’ voice gave the character his signature intimidating bravado. Jones is so synonymous with Darth Vader that he has reprised the role several times, most recently for the 2022 Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Jones also returned to voice the character of Mufasa in the 2019 CGI-heavy remake. 7. Frank Welker He may not be a household name, but Frank Welker is the third-highest-grossing actor of all time, according to film industry data website The Numbers, finishing just behind Stan Lee and Samuel L. Jackson. Welker rose to stardom in 1969, when he voiced Fred Jones on the animated series Scooby Doo, Where Are You! More recently, Welker has lent his voice to films such as the Transformers series, The Smurfs, and Mortal Kombat. Welker has also voiced Smokey Bear in commercials about preventing forest fires, Inspector Gadget in the 1983 animated TV series of the same name, and several of the titular characters in 1984’s Muppet Babies. With such an extensive résumé, Welker may just be the most famous actor you’ve heard but never heard of. Source: Facts About Voice Acting That You'll No Doubt Find Interesting | Facts About Voice Actors
  7. What's the Word: RESIDUUM pronunciation: [rə-ZIJ-yoo-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. A substance or thing that remains or is left behind, in particular, a chemical residue. Example: "All that was left after the chemical reaction was a sticky green residuum." "Johan soaked his saucepan to soften the chili residuum burned to the bottom." About Residuum “Residuum” is borrowed directly from the Latin, in which it referred to “something that remains.” Did You Know? “Residuum” is a nearly identical word to “residue,” but the two are not quite the same. “Residuum” began its life in scholarly writing as a direct reference to the Latin root word “residuum,” and for many years it was used interchangeably with the early English word “residue.” (“Residue” appeared in English roughly 250 years earlier than “residuum.”) In the world of 19th-century chemistry, however, the two words split. “Residue” referred to any sort of leftover remainder or byproduct, and “residuum” took on the specific meaning of waste products left over following a chemical reaction.
  8. Fact of the Day - SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAY Did you know... September is the most common month for birthdays in the U.S. The most common birthday in America is September 9, and the second-most common is September 19. In fact, nine of the 10 most popular U.S. birthdays fall between September 9 and September 20 — making September the most common month for birthdays in the U.S. overall, at least based on data from 1994 to 2014. The reason for September's popularity may be fairly simple. Flipping the calendar back nine months brings us to December, when people tend to have more time off for the holidays and thus more reason to celebrate in a variety of ways. In addition to being in good company, fall babies are blessed with good fortune and/or good genes, as people born in October are far more likely to live until 100, and those born in September and November often live longer as well (although scientists still aren’t sure exactly why). On the other end of the spectrum are the year’s biggest holidays, with December 25 being the least common birthday — in the 20 years of data compiled by data journalist Matt Stiles, there were even fewer babies born on Christmas than on February 29. Rounding out the bottom four are January 1, December 24, and July 4, respectively. One reason for this is that so many births are scheduled, either by cesarean or induced labor, and doctors generally don’t schedule births on the holidays when they may not be working. This might also shed some light on why September births are so popular, according to some — with no major holidays that month aside from Labor Day, there’s less reason for soon-to-be parents to worry about hospitals being short-staffed the way they might be on Christmas or New Year’s Day. You have more birthday twins than you realize. The next time you’re in a room with 22 other people, ask them their birthdays — there’s a 50% chance that two people in that group will share a birthday. This statistical oddity, known as both the birthday paradox and birthday problem, is shocking at first, but borne out by some math. Adding up every possible combination for everyone in the room (22+ 21 + 20 etc.) comes out to 253 chances of a shared birthday. Half of 365 is 182.5, which is to say that 253 represents well over half the number of days in a year. (Even though some birthdays are more common than others, the difference is not that great, unless you’re born on a holiday or February 29.) Increase the number of people in that room to 75 and there’s a 99.9% chance two of them will have the same birthday. Fascinating Facts About September Babies By Alexia Dellner | September 18, 2017 We wouldn’t go as far as to say that September babies are the best or anything, but it turns out that they might be tallest and share their birthday with Beyoncé (so yeah, pretty awesome). Here, nine fun facts to know about people born in September. They Share Their Birthdays With a Lot of People It turns out that September is the busiest month for births, with September 9 clocking in as the most common birthday in the U.S. Guess that means a lot of parents are busy getting busy around the holiday season. (Hey, that’s one way to keep warm.) They May Have the Upper Hand at School In many schools across the country, the cutoff date for starting kindergarten is September 1, which means that September babies are often the oldest and most developed in their class. A recent study from the University of Toronto, Northwestern University and the University of Florida found that this advantage begins around age five and carries through as kids get older. The researchers found that September babies are more likely to attend college and less likely to get sent to jail for committing a juvenile crime. They’re More Likely to Live to 100 A study from the University of Chicago found that those born between September and November are more likely to live to the age of 100 than those born in other months of the year. Researchers hypothesized that the reason is because seasonal infections or seasonal vitamin deficiency early in life can cause long-lasting damage to a person’s health. They’re Either Virgos or Libras Virgos (born between August 23 and September 22) are said to be loyal, dedicated and hardworking while Libras (born between September 23 and October 22) are sociable, charming and sincere. They May Be Taller Than Their Friends One study from Bristol University in the U.K. found that kids born in late summer and early autumn were slightly taller (by 5mm) than babies born in winter and spring. The most likely reason? Moms-to-be get more sun exposure and vitamin D in the third trimester, which aids the baby’s growth. They Have Stronger Bones The same Bristol University study found that kids born in late summer and early autumn had thicker bones (by 12.75 square centimeters) than those born at other times. Which is good news for September babies since wider bones are thought to be stronger and less prone to breaking. Their Birthstone Is Sapphire Aka the beautiful blue gem that will add instant sophistication to any outfit. It’s also the birthstone that is associated with loyalty and integrity. They’re More Prone to Asthma They may have stronger bones, but a Vanderbilt University study found that those born during autumn months are 30 percent more likely to suffer from asthma (sorry). Researchers think it’s because babies born right before winter are more susceptible to colds and viral infections. They Share Their Birth Month with Some Pretty Awesome People Including Beyoncé (September 4), Bill Murray (September 21), Sophia Loren (September 20) and Jimmy Fallon (September 19). Did we mention Beyoncé? Their Birth Flower Is Morning Glory These beautiful blue trumpets bloom in the early hours and are symbols of affection. In other words, they’re the perfect birthday gift. Happy birthday, September babies! Source: Facts About September Birthdays | September Baby Facts
  9. What's the Word: KINDRED pronunciation: [KIN-drəd] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Old English, pre-13th century Meaning: 1. Similar in kind; related. Example: "When I saw how enthusiastically Joan cheered for the Blue Jays, I knew she was a kindred fan." "Lali spent all weekend at the record fair with kindred collectors, everyone buying and trading rare LPs." About Kindred “Kindred” is based on the word “kin,” which entered Old English from the Germanic “cyn,” indicating kind or stock. The suffix “-red” developed out of the Old English “rǣden,” meaning “condition.” Did You Know? The most popular modern use for the word “kindred” is as part of the expression “kindred spirit,” with a basic definition of, “a person whose interests or attitudes are similar to one's own.” However, “kindred spirit” often refers to those people with whom one shares not only interests and attitudes, but also a feeling of profound connection. This feeling need not be limited to people. Sometimes a person in a close relationship with a pet may describe that animal as a “kindred spirit” to indicate a deep affection that transcends species.
  10. Fact of the Day - CRICKETS Did you know... Crickets are orthopteran insects which are related to bush crickets, and, more distantly, to grasshoppers. In older literature, such as Imms, "crickets" were placed at the family level, but contemporary authorities including Otte now place them in the superfamily Grylloidea. The word has been used in combination to describe more distantly related taxa[3] in the suborder Ensifera, such as king crickets and mole crickets. (Wikipedia) Cute Facts About Crickets By Rosemary Mosco | January 14, 2019 They’re insects that invade our homes, but they’re beloved around the world. They’re living thermometers with ears on their knees, and they just might save the world. Here are 11 surprising (and often adorable) facts about crickets. 1. Crickets were named for the sounds they make. The word cricket comes from the Old French word criquet, and refers to the cricket’s song—people once thought that those repeated chirps sounded like “criquet … criquet … criquet.” Interestingly, the name for the sport of cricket has a totally different origin: it comes from an Old French word for goal post. 2. They don't make sound the way you think they do. How do crickets chirp? Old-timey illustrators sidestepped this question by drawing them playing tiny violins. There’s a persistent myth that crickets rub their legs together to make sound. In fact, they sing with their wings. Run your finger down the teeth of a comb and you’ll hear an almost musical rattle. Crickets make sound in a similar way. They rub a scraping organ on one wing against a comb-like organ on the other. Each cricket species has distinctive noise-making structures that produce unique sounds. Scientists have even managed to recreate the sound of an extinct cricket relative, a fossilized Jurassic bush cricket (katydid), by examining the shape of its wings. 3. Most female crickets don't sing. That cricket in your house that’s endlessly chirping away? It’s probably a male. Most female crickets lack those sound-making wing structures. There are exceptions: Some female mole crickets (relatives of “true” crickets) sing. And males of some cricket species never make a peep. So why do male crickets (usually) chirp? 4. Crickets sing out of love—and anger. It’s all about securing a mate. But crickets don’t just sing a pretty song and wait for the admirers to trickle in. Many of them have a whole repertoire of calls: There’s one for attracting females from afar, another for close-up courtship, and even a triumphal after-mating song. Crickets also sing to intimidate rival males, and some of a male’s more romantic tunes may trigger nearby females to fight each other. 5. You can use cricket songs as a thermometer. Crickets call more frequently when the weather gets hotter. It’s such a proven phenomenon that you can use it to calculate the temperature. The snowy tree cricket’s gentle calls seem to match the heat especially accurately. The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends that you count the number of chirps in 14 seconds and add 40 to get the temperature in Fahrenheit. 6. Some crickets have evolved to stay silent. A particular fly species has invaded the island of Kauai in Hawaii, and it’s the stuff of cricket nightmares: It uses its incredibly sophisticated hearing system to find a singing cricket and drop maggots on it. Those maggots burrow into their victim and devour it from the inside. Male crickets on Kauai have responded in a remarkable way. They’ve evolved wings more like a female cricket’s, which means they’ve lost the ability to chirp. Those silent, safe crickets compensate for their lack of courtship songs by spending more time on the move [PDF], which improves their chances of running into potential mates. 7. Crickets listen with their legs. Insects have ears in weird places. Those cricket-eating parasitic flies, for example, have ears just below their head and neck. When a butterfly lands and folds up its wings, it’s exposing its ears. And cricket ears are tiny spots, just a fraction of a millimeter long, on their front legs just below the knees. They’re some of the smallest ears of any animal, but they’re highly sensitive. 8. There's a whole rainbow of crickets. If you’ve found a cricket in your house or yard, chances are that it’s black or brownish. But that somber insect has some pretty colorful relatives. There’s the red-headed bush cricket, also known as the handsome trig—and it’s, well, pretty handsome for a cricket. The snowy tree cricket is pastel green with wings shaped like tennis rackets. And if you visit the tropics, where there are more cricket species than anywhere else, you might spot this intricately patterned Nisitrus species. That’s just the so-called “true” crickets, members of the family Gryllidae. People also use the word cricket for many close Gryllidae relatives, and they’re an amazing bunch of insects ... 9. Crickets have rock star relatives. One group of cricket relatives is the mole crickets. These insects have big claws and live underground. To attract mates, they throw little rock concerts: They dig horn-shaped burrows, turning their homes into amplifiers that make their calls extra loud. Then there are the bush crickets, or katydids, which come in hot pink and other startling hues. And some katydids look so much like leaves, complete with dried patches, chew marks, and holes, that you’ve probably walked right past them without realizing you’re being watched. Another group of cricket relatives, New Zealand’s wetas, includes enormous insects that can outweigh a mouse. The name weta comes from a Maori word for “god of ugly things.” Weta Workshop, the company that created props, costumes, and creatures for the Lord of the Rings films, took its name from these otherworldly insects. 10. People love crickets. Insects often get a bad rap, but people of many cultures adore crickets. Chinese people have long kept these insects as good luck charms—and for cricket-on-cricket battles. Crickets are beloved in Japan, especially for their musical songs. In Brazil, some species are considered to be signs of hope or incoming wealth (though others are thought to be omens of illness and death). Charles Dickens wrote a tale called The Cricket on the Hearth that featured a cricket acting as a household’s guardian angel. And who could forget Disney’s Jiminy Cricket, and Cri-Kee from Mulan? Few other insects have received the cute Disney treatment. 11. Crickets live in our homes. House Cricket Many types of crickets will happily live in and around houses. House crickets, which are brownish and probably native to Asia, breed inside homes in many cities around the world. Black-colored field crickets will accidentally wander into buildings. And one cricket relative, the greenhouse camel cricket, has been quietly invading residences in the eastern U.S. Fortunately, these household crickets are mostly harmless. Their poop may stain the curtains, and in rare cases they’ll nibble clothing—but usually the worst they’ll do is annoy you with their incessant calls. 12. Crickets just might save the world. Imagine a high-protein food that’s packed with vitamins. It’s more efficient to produce than conventional meats, and it generates way less greenhouse gas. This superfood? Yup, it’s crickets. You can now purchase these insects in a variety of forms that are mercifully free of twitching legs—including flour. If westerners can overcome their squeamishness about eating insects, then crickets just may be the future of food. Source: Wikipedia - Cricket (insect) | Facts About Crickets
  11. What's the Word: PERCENTILE pronunciation: [pər-SEN-tiyl] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 19th century Meaning: 1. Each of the 100 equal groups into which a population can be divided according to the distribution of values of a particular variable. 2. Each of the 99 intermediate values of a random variable that divide a frequency distribution into 100 groups. Example: "As a baby, Melvin was in above the 95th percentile for height, and he remained taller than his schoolmates all the way to graduation." "With a score of between 1350 and 1400 on the SAT, a student will rank between the 90th and 94th percentiles, meaning they have scored better than between 90% and 94% of other students." About Percentile “Percentile” is a word created in English out of several parts. Its basis is the expression “per cent,” which came into English in the 13th century from the Italian “per cento.” This expression is derived from the Latin “per,” meaning “for each,” and “centum,” meaning “hundred.” The addition of the suffix “-ile” indicates the division of that hundred into multiple groups of equal size. Did You Know? While “percentage” and “percentile” sound nearly identical, they mean very different things. A percentage is a number out of 100 indicating rate or performance, in which the higher the number, the greater the rate or performance. Percentiles, on the other hand, break any group of data into 100 equally sized segments for easy comparison with other data from the same group. For example, a person who scores 85% on a 100-question test has answered 85 out of 100 questions correctly. A person who scores in the 85th percentile on a test has scored higher than 85% of other people taking the test. As a result, a person taking a very difficult test might score 85% and discover they are within the 97th percentile of test-takers, because more than 97% of other test-takers scored below 85%.
  12. Fact of the Day - BUTTERFLIES Did you know.... Butterflies taste through their feet. The animal kingdom is a wide and varied world, and Mother Nature has come up with some surprising ways to accomplish a variety of feats. Bats “see” with their ears, snakes “smell” with their tongue, and perhaps most strangely of all, butterflies “taste” with their feet. Although some of a butterfly’s taste receptors are located on their tube-shaped mouthparts and antennae, most are found on their tarsus, or the bottom segment of their legs. The location of these receptors may seem odd, but they’re vital to a butterfly’s survival. Before a butterfly transforms into an adult, it spends its early days as a caterpillar gorging on surrounding plant material and growing, in some cases, around 1,000 times its birth weight. Some caterpillars can munch on a family of plants; the black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes), for example, is also known as the “parsley worm” because it will eat several plants related to parsley, such as carrots, celery, and parsnips. However, the caterpillar of an endangered monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) only eats milkweed. Whether a “generalist” or a “specialist” eater, a butterfly uses its feet to analyze a leaf’s chemicals, a process called “contact chemoreception.” The chemoreceptors are especially important in allowing female butterflies to “taste” if a plant is safe for her larvae, who will start eating it shortly after hatching. The process isn’t perfect, however. In the monarch butterfly’s case, it can sometimes be tricked into laying its eggs on an invasive plant species, such as black swallow-wort, causing the larvae to die within a few days. That’s why ongoing conservation efforts focus on both planting native milkweed and eliminating any invasive competitors, to make the world safer for monarchs — and their feet. (Interesting Facts) Fascinating Facts About Butterflies by Meganne Natale | March 14, 2022 | Animals in the Wild blog Let’s put on hold the question of the chicken and the egg—what we really want to know is which came first: the flower or the butterfly? You may be surprised to learn that butterflies first appeared before flowering plants about 200 million years ago. With a lineage so long, these beautiful animals are full of surprises. To celebrate National Learn About Butterflies Day, read on for nine fascinating facts about butterflies. 1. Butterflies’ wings follow two distinct color forms. These forms, called pigment and structural, can be found alone or in combination on a butterfly’s wings. True to its name, pigment colors tend to be bright and inky, remaining definite regardless of the amount of light present. Structural colors tend to shift with the light, producing a "rainbow" or iridescent effect. An example of structurally colored wings can be found on the morpho butterfly. The morpho butterfly has a combination of both pigment (black) and structural (blue) coloring. 2. Only about 4% of the world’s species of butterflies are found in the US. Despite the 17,500 species of butterflies that currently exist, only about 750 of those live in the US, with the most abundant being the cabbage white butterfly. 3. Butterflies have more to them than meets (our) eye. Did you know that butterflies can see colors that we cannot? This is because they can perceive ultraviolet light, which is outside the scope of our visual capabilities. Additionally, many butterflies’ wings include these “unknown” ultraviolet colors to attract mates. 4. Butterflies perform mimicry to better protect themselves from predators. Take a look at the photo of a monarch butterfly below—now look again, because it’s actually the cunning viceroy butterfly posing as a monarch! It was originally thought that, like other wild animals who perform mimicry, viceroy butterflies “transform” into monarchs for protection against predators (the monarch’s bright colors indicate that it is toxic to birds, a common predator). However, viceroys are also naturally toxic, so this mutual mimicry ultimately proves beneficial to both species of butterflies. 5. Butterflies drink... turtle tears? An incredible video of butterflies in the Peruvian Amazon shows them drinking the tears of turtles. Although it sounds like something out of a fairytale, butterflies actually have a practical reason for this behavior: sodium. Because butterflies cannot obtain sodium from their usual diet of floral nectar, they must search for sodium elsewhere; this could be in feces, dirt, and yes—turtle tears. 6. Butterflies’ pollinating capabilities are even more crucial to ecosystems than you may think. We know that bees are excellent pollinators, but butterflies are pretty impressive sidekicks. This is partly because butterflies pollinate cotton flowers, a part of the cotton plant that bees naturally do not frequent, thus boosting cotton harvest. This type of pollination—where multiple insects work to pollinate different portions of the same plant—is called pollination complementarity, and it occurs with other plants too, like almonds. 7. Most adult butterflies only live for 1-2 weeks. The life span of an adult butterfly is particularly short, but the growth process beforehand can be much longer. Comprised of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis), and finally adult butterfly, the complete life cycle of a butterfly from egg to adulthood can last anywhere from 30 days to multiple years. Fully formed adult butterfly next to a pupa (right). 8. Monarch butterflies migrate as far as 3,000 miles. Signaled by the cooler weather and shorter days, monarch butterflies from the northern US and Canada begin their journey towards Mexico in search of warmer weather. Alternatively, monarchs from across the western region of the US migrate to the coast of California for the winter and then once again scatter amongst other western states when spring arrives. 9. Butterflies, among other wild animals, are harmed by factory farming. When new factory farms are built, large swaths of land—butterflies’ habitats and food sources—are destroyed. This land is used to grow corn and soy to feed farmed animals. Further, a toxic pesticide applied to these crops, called glyphosate, is upsetting monarch butterflies’ migratory patterns and driving them toward extinction. This past winter, only 1,914 monarchs were recorded overwintering on the California coast — the lowest number ever recorded, down from 30,000 last year and 1.2 million just two decades ago. Source: Interesting Facts About Butterflies | Facts About Butterflies
  13. What's the Word: DECOCTION pronunciation: [də-KAK-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 13th century Meaning: 1. The liquor resulting from concentrating the essence of a substance by heating or boiling, especially a medicinal preparation made from a plant. Example: "My grandmother fed her own decoction of medicinal herbs to anyone who was sick." "To make a plant-based tincture, start with a decoction of the plant mixed with alcohol." About Decoction “Decoction” entered English from the Old French “decoccion,” which was based on the Latin “decoquō,” meaning “I boil down.” Did You Know? “Decoction” and “concoction” share some similarities, but their differences are more important. A “decoction” is specifically a concentration of a single substance through heat — it comes from the Latin “dēcoquĕre,” meaning “to boil down.” A “concoction” is a combination of several substances merged together by heating. The “con” prefix comes from the Latin “concoquĕre,” meaning “to boil together.” “Concoction” could be used to describe pretty much any dish whipped up over the stove, but “decoction” will likely pop up in the kitchen for preparing jams, syrups, and herbal mixtures.
  14. Fact of the Day - THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY Did you know.... From 1970 to 1974, The Partridge Family was one of, if not the most popular shows on television. The story was unique, which is probably made us all love it. Shirley Partridge was a widowed working mother who was left to take care of five kids. She decided, obviously, to form a band with all the children and travel the country in a decked out school bus. (By Meg | November 30, 2017) Surprising Facts About ‘The Partridge Family’ by Laurie Ulster | August 19, 2019 What do Richard Pryor, Rob Reiner, and Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureen have in common? They were all guest stars on the The Partridge Family. The show hit the air in 1970 and quickly became a hit, transforming velour pantsuits, neck ruffles, and David Cassidy into national obsessions. For four seasons, TV viewers sang along with Oscar-winning actress Shirley Jones and her fictional family, played by Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Suzanne Crough, Brian Forster, and Jones’ stepson David Cassidy. Dave Madden rounded out the group as manager Reuben Kincaid. Based on the real-life singing family The Cowsills, the show had a sweet innocence to it, steering viewers through the early 70s with a gentle, musical hand. It wasn’t exactly counterculture, but TV had never seen anything like it, and the ratings skyrocketed. So did album sales; despite the fact that Shirley Jones and David Cassidy were the only two cast members who actually performed on Partridge Family Records, the whole group was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy in 1971. (They lost to The Carpenters.) Their biggest hit, “I Think I Love You,” went to #1 on the Billboard charts in 1970, outselling The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” The show itself was nominated for a Best TV show Golden Globe two years in a row. To celebrate the 1970s staple, we’re offering up some fun facts that may surprise you. 1. Shirley Jones could’ve been Carol Brady instead of Shirley Partridge. Shirley Jones has had a bit of a magical career. Her very first audition put her in front of Broadway legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein within an hour, and cast in the chorus of South Pacific that same day. Within a year, she was starring in the movie version of Oklahoma!. She became a big star, initially known for ingénue roles in musicals, but then showed off her dramatic chops by winning an Oscar for Elmer Gantry. By 1970, Jones was raising three boys with husband Jack Cassidy, was interested in doing a steady TV series. She was offered the role of Carol Brady on another new series scheduled for that fall called The Brady Bunch. She turned it down, saying she didn’t want to spend all of of her scenes in the kitchen making sandwiches. (Clearly they hadn’t planned the three-parter Hawaii episode yet.) Instead, she took the role of Shirley Partridge, who quits her job as a bank teller to join her kids’ singing group and guide them through superstardom. 2. Screen Gems (Sony) made millions off the show, and kept it to themselves. While the show was a hit and record sales were topping the charts, the cast wasn’t getting any richer. Most egregious was the exploitation of David Cassidy, who had become a teen idol and superstar. He was selling out stadiums and getting mobbed by fans everywhere he went, so beloved by teenage girls that going out in public was hazardous. He would come home to find naked women in his house, or camping out in his car. Products featuring his likeness were everywhere. Companies were making a fortune off of his image, and his contract didn’t require them to pay him any royalties or even ask his permission. Girls who paid money to join the David Cassidy fan club had no idea that their allowances were lining the pockets of people he didn’t know or authorize to use his name. Lunch boxes, t-shirts, posters, board games, and everything else you can think of were plastered with his face, but he was earning a flat salary of $600 a week. He was only able to change the terms of his contract when his manager realized that he’d been under 18 when he signed. Oops! She was finally able to renegotiate and give him a piece of the action as well as a new weekly salary reflective of his star status. Cassidy did find his own way to rebel against the squeaky-clean image created by the studio. In May of 1972 he gave a provocative interview to Rolling Stone Magazine. The article talked about his drug use as well as his sexual prowess. (Even his brothers talked about how well-endowed he was, giving him the nickname “Donk.”) To prove that he was not the manufactured teen idol being touted by the press, he posed nude on the cover, in a photo by Annie Leibovitz. It’s hard to imagine the impact of David Cassidy’s nude Rolling Stone cover in a post-Miley Cyrus world, but at the time, people thought it would ruin his career. He may have been hoping for that all along. 3. Danny Bonaduce was a handful on set as well as on screen. Smart aleck Danny B didn’t have to stretch that far to play smart aleck Danny P. He was well-liked but notorious for acting up on set; after all, he was still a kid. One day an exasperated but maternal Shirley Jones forgot herself and ordered him upstairs to his room, despite the fact that the set didn’t actually have an upstairs and she wasn’t really his mom. Another time when his cast mates thought he was getting too big for his britches, they got Susan Dey to pour milk over his head, which ultimately found its way into an episode (although it was done to Keith instead of Danny). AT 11, Bonaduce also had a hard time remembering his lines, and once had to do 36 takes to get a relatively uncomplicated scene completed. Many people remember his off-screen post-Partridge Family adventures—which included drugs, wrestling matches with other TV celebrities, raunchy radio shows, and various run-ins with the law—but it comes as less of a surprise with a little background. Bonaduce grew up in a volatile, unhappy household. His father beat him regularly, even when he was starring in a hit TV series, and co-star Dave Madden often let him stay over at his house, acting like something of a father figure to him. Shirley Jones and David Cassidy were close to him as well. 4. There were two Chris Partridges, as well as some other disappearing cast members. At the beginning of the show, Chris Partridge was played by Jeremy Gelbwaks. While the story told by the studio was that the Gelbwaks family moved away, the truth is that every cast member and every crew member complained about his behavior. The kid was not ready to work. He was replaced in the second season by Brian Forster, who played Chris for the rest of the series, and was by all accounts terrific to work with. He didn’t really play the drums, but worked hard to learn enough to look the part. Interestingly, the studio didn’t receive even one letter about the switch. In addition to a disappearing Chris, there was also a disappearing dog. Much like the Brady family’s Tiger, the Partridges’ dog Simone vanished shortly after season 1 and was never spoken of again. Also like the Bradys, a new, much younger cast member was brought in (in a shark-jumping moment for both shows) at the 11th hour to try to raise sagging ratings. It didn’t work, and he was soon sent packing. 5. The guest star list will blow your mind. The Partridge Family featured quite a few guest stars. . .older ones making the TV circuit, as well as up-and-comers who would eventually become stars in their own right. A very young, VERY pre-Taxi Driver Jodie Foster turned up as the daughter of one of Shirley’s suitors (played by 70s star Bert Convy), whose crush on Danny led to her punching him in the eye. Farrah Fawcett had a cameo as a young hottie enlisted to help Danny and Reuben discredit TV vet (and future M*A*S*H star) Harry Morgan, and everyone on set could see she’d be a star one day. Fellow Charlie’s Angels Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd had their moments on the show as well. Other notables included Michael Ontkean (Twin Peaks), Ray Bolger and Margaret Hamilton (The Wizard of Oz), Louis Gosset, Jr., Mark Hamill (who wouldn’t become Luke Skywalker for another few years, but played Laurie’s boyfriend), Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life), Tony Geary (General Hospital), Nancy Walker (Rhoda), and in an in uncredited appearance, Johnny Cash. Richard Pryor was so drugged that he wasn’t a whole lot of fun on set. Dick Clark wasn’t either, according to Shirley Jones, although he’d go on to co-host The Other Half with Danny Bonaduce a few decades later. That’s a lot of star power, but the one who made the biggest impact was future Family Ties mom Meredith Baxter. She and David Cassidy began a brief but intense relationship. His schedule of touring and appearances made it almost impossible for them to be together, however, and she broke his heart when she was cast in a new series, Bridget Loves Bernie, and fell in love with her co-star David Birney. 6. The Partridge family’s house looks familiar for a reason. Viewers with sharp eyes may have recognized the house the Partridges lived in, especially if they were watching other prime time shows of the same era. Samantha and Darrin Stevens’ nosey neighbors, the Kravitzes, lived in the very same house on Bewitched. The block was one used by other shows like I Dream of Jeannie, and had been seen previously on Dennis the Menace and The Donna Reed Show. There were times when the Stevens’ house was particularly prominent as the Partridge family’s bus drove by. The house later turned up in the Reese Witherspoon movie Pleasantville. 7. Susan Dey had a crush on David Cassidy the entire time they were filming. They played brother and sister, but they were still teenagers. Susan Dey was two years younger than David Cassidy, but the two really clicked, and while he was happy with what he thought was a close and innocent friendship, she was pining for him. He’d come back from his tours and concerts and regale her with stories of the girls who followed him around, begging to sleep with him and often succeeding, and she listened as a good friend would, never saying a word about her true feelings. Shirley Jones finally took Cassidy aside to tell him he was battering Dey’s heart with every word, and he realized he’d been an idiot. They eventually gave a romantic relationship a quick shot once the series was over, but it didn’t really work out between them. These days, they don’t speak, to Cassidy’s dismay, although they’ve both long since moved on to separate marriages and families. In 1974, after 96 episodes and 8 albums, the series came to an end. David Cassidy had already said he wouldn’t come back for another season, and the network had already moved it to a new time slot, scheduling it against the #1 show in the country, All In The Family. The times they were a-changing. Susan Dey went on to star in L.A. Law, and the others went their separate ways. The cast sometimes reunited for various TV specials, including a strangely combined Thanksgiving event with the cast of My Three Sons, and a mini-reunion on The Arsenio Hall Show. The show was still a hit in syndication, and even an award-winner again, thanks to the TV Land Awards, scooping up awards for Best Fashion Plate (David Cassidy) and Favorite Teen Dream (Susan Dey). One last fun fact: Much like other shows of the time, there was an animated spinoff of the show; theirs was called Partridge Family, 2200 A.D. Shirley Jones and David Cassidy steered completely clear of it, and Dave Madden and Susan Dey kept their involvement very limited. Good call. “We had a dream we’d go travelin’ together
 And spread a little lovin’ if we’ll keep movin’ on
 Somethin’ always happens whenever we’re together
 We get a happy feelin’ when we’re singin’ a song.” C’mon get happy! Source: Facts About The Partridge Family | Startling Facts About The Partridge Family
  15. What's the Word: OPULENCE pronunciation: [AHP-yəl-ens] Part of speech: noun Origin: Middle French, 16th century Meaning: 1. Great wealth or luxuriousness. Example: "The opulence of Marcia’s home was most apparent in the kitchen with its marble countertops, hardwood floors and cabinetry, and an eight-burner Italian gas range." "As we walked the gardens of the castle, we found the opulence of the interior extended to the lush landscaping." About Opulence Opulence came into English from an identical word in Middle French, meaning “great wealth.” The French word “opulence” was based on the Latin “opulentia,” meaning “riches” or “splendor.” Did You Know? The richest person in history was believed to be Mansa Musa (1280 - 1337 CE), king of Timbuktu in present-day Mali. Since Musa oversaw the world’s largest resources of gold, he enjoyed such extravagant opulence that he once threw the currency of neighboring Egypt into crisis through his own personal spending. Musa’s personal wealth and levels of opulence are impossible to measure by today’s standards. Julius Caesar, another historical figure of great wealth, is estimated to have had a fortune equivalent to about $4 trillion.
  16. Fact of the Day - MEDICAL DRAMAS Did you know... What is it that draws us to medical dramas? Is it the sense of urgency whenever we’re hooked to watching doctors frantically try and save someone’s life? Are the smokey romances that spark up between co-workers? Whatever the case is, medical dramas have been a reliable staple on television for decades, and if you need to have your fix of hospital drama, here are some of the best medical dramas that will surely keep you talking for days to come. (KAREEM GANTT | February 05, 2022) Which Medical Shows Are Most Realistic? Ranking ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘The Good Doctor’ & More by Kat Thieme | JULY 5, 2022 Medical shows on TV aren’t 100 percent accurate, but some are definitely closer to reality than others. Over 20 years after ER set the tone, doctor-based series are still all the rage, with newer hits like New Amsterdam and The Good Doctor and established favorites like Grey’s Anatomy. So we decided to do a little investigating into which are most true-to-life, including taking a look at ones off the air like the aforementioned ER and Code Black. From doctors doing the work of nurses to surgeons having an impossibly wide range of specialties, some creative licenses are being taken. Considering these medical inaccuracies, we ranked 10 popular hospital shows on a scale from 1 (totally unrealistic) to 10 (doctor-approved). (But don’t let that affect your binging; Private Practice is worth the watch on Netflix.) 1. Grey’s Anatomy (2005-Present) Score: 3/10 It may be one of the most well-known medical shows on TV, but Grey’s is the least accurate when it comes to hospital life. There are the frequent sexcapades in hospital closets, interns performing surgeries and bypassing hospital superiors, and residents routinely making egregious mistakes without repercussions. In other words, Grey’s misses the mark when it comes to realism. 2. Private Practice (2007-2013) Score: 3/10 The Grey’s spinoff was just as over-the-top with drama and relationships. Not to mention, there are the extraordinary cases and crazy situations. But in reality, day-to-day hospital life simply isn’t that exciting. 3. House (2004-2012) Score: 4/10 The most obvious flaw in House is that, despite his obvious opioid addiction, Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) is still able to practice medicine. Sadly, addiction among doctors can be a reality, but Dr. House’s constant pill-popping and inappropriate behavior would certainly lose him his medical license. On top of that, one small group of doctors performs all of the testing, focuses on one patient at a time, and faces one-in-a-million cases every episode. 4. The Resident (2018-Present) Score: 5/10 On top of the usual medical show mistakes, The Resident features frequent hospital hookups and even had one character whip out her phone in the OR to take a selfie. With that ratio of realism to entertainment, The Resident lands in the middle of the pack. 5. New Amsterdam (2018-Present) Score: 6/10 NBC’s medical drama may be inspired by one of America’s oldest hospitals, but its inspiration doesn’t necessarily translate into accuracy. Sure, New Amsterdam has mostly accurate depictions of medical treatment, but the over-the-top drama knocks it down a few pegs. 6. The Good Doctor (2017-Present) Score: 6/10 ABC’s hit does have its fair share of medical errors — walking into an OR without a mask, unnecessarily removal of organs — but compared to other medical shows, it’s fairly accurate when it comes to medical jargon, diagnoses, and treatments. “Some [cases] do seem so outlandish, but the fact is they’re really medical truth,” lead medical consultant Dr. Oren Gottfried shared. 7. ER (1994-2009) - Score: 7/10 ER accurately demonstrates how difficult it is to be an emergency doctor — even if the NBC drama did make some common mistakes. For instance, they frequently showed residents doing the work of nurses, and they often exaggerated how effective CPR actually is. 8. Code Black (2015-2018) Score: 7/10 One of the most prominent issues with this show is the name itself. CBS defines “code black” as the term for when an ER is overcrowded and understaffed. However, this term can mean very different things for different hospitals, including bomb threats and personal threats. That said, many real-life nurses have been vocal about the show’s accuracy, which earns it a 7/10. 9. Chicago Med (2015-Present) Score: 8/10 Dick Wolf’s Chicago Med is one of the more realistic hospital shows on TV. The series medical advisor, Andrew Dennis, estimates the medicine to be about 85 percent accurate. The writers also follow the rule that only published cases can be used. 10. Scrubs (2001-2010) Score: 9/10 Surprisingly, TV comedy Scrubs ranks as the most realistic medical show with an overall score of an 9/10. Though not perfect — no medical show is — Scrubs manages to capture the residency training process and the dynamics of a hospital. Plus, it has realistic cases! Source: Best TV Medical Dramas Ranked | Facts About Realistic-Accurate Medical TV Shows
  17. What's the Word: QUASI pronunciation: [KWEI-zi] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 15th century Meaning: 1. Seemingly; apparently but not really. 2. Being partly or almost. Example: "George was a quasi-Floridian; he loved Jimmy Buffet and followed the Buccaneers, but he lived in North Dakota." "My father never went to college, but he read so much that he spoke like a quasi-academic." About Quasi “Quasi” was taken directly from the same word in Latin, meaning “as if,” or “almost.” Did You Know? “Quasi” is a combining form, which is similar to a prefix, but it works slightly differently. A prefix adjusts the function of the word, such as with “in-ability” or “im-possible.” A combining form, such as “quasi,” helps determine a new meaning of the word. “Quasi” describes something or someone that is closely similar to something else without bridging the gap and becoming that thing. For example, a “quasi-vegetarian” is a person who eats meat extremely rarely, but they can’t quite claim to be a complete vegetarian.
  18. Fact of the Day - SAINT LUCIA Did you know... Saint Lucia is the only country named after a woman. While Ireland is named after the mythical goddess Éiru, there’s only one sovereign nation in the world named for a real-life woman. That distinction lies with Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island nation christened in honor of St. Lucy of Syracuse, patron saint of the blind, who died around the fourth century CE. Saint Lucia was initially called Louanalao (meaning “Island of the Iguanas”) by the Indigenous Arawak people as early as 200 CE. It was in 1502 that the origins of its current name formed, when shipwrecked French sailors dubbed the place “Sainte Alousie.” It was a common practice at the time to name islands after saints, and legend has it that the sailors reached the island on December 13 — St. Lucy’s feast day. Given the date’s significance, December 13 is now celebrated in the country as the National Day of St. Lucia. The Spanish who arrived around 1511 named the island “Sancta Lucia”; the current name formed after waves of colonization by the English and French. While female namesakes are rare on a national level, one woman has lent her name to dozens of smaller locations. The name of Queen Victoria, the U.K.'s reigning monarch from 1837 to 1901, appears in the titles of locations around the globe, such as the provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada, and Zimbabwe’s breathtaking Victoria Falls. You'd be hard-pressed to find an American woman with influence so vast. Even in the USA, only a handful of places are named for women, including Barton County, Kansas — named after Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross — and Dare County, North Carolina, honoring Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents to be born in the New World. Two countries have no official capital city. Switzerland and Nauru may not appear to have much in common, but both countries share a quirk — neither has an official capital city. While Bern is considered the de facto capital of Switzerland (it’s where the Swiss parliament, also known as the Federal Assembly, meets), there’s no established capital written into the country’s laws. As for the Pacific island of Nauru, not only is there no capital, there are no real cities of any kind, since the island is instead made up of several districts. Of those districts, Yaren is considered the de facto capital — it houses important government buildings, such as Parliament House, as well as several embassies. On the flip side, South Africa has three official capitals, the most of any country. There you can find the city of Pretoria serving as the administrative capital, Cape Town as the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein as the judicial capital. (Interesting Facts) Fun Facts Visitors Don't Know About St. Lucia by CYNTHIA LEVY | March 30, 2022 St. Lucia is a Caribbean island paradise that mixes rocky volcanic mountains, tropical rainforest, and sandy beaches. It is instantly identifiable for its towering Pitons. With a mix between being a developed, tourist-friendly island and a rustic destination full of local character and unspoiled natural beauty, it is the ideal place for honeymooners and divers alike, making it the perfect escape from all the stress out there. The island's natural features can indeed be found everywhere, from its colorful and party-loving northern region to its tranquil and natural southern region. The Caribbean island is a haven for nature lovers with its waterfalls, sandy beaches, great seafood, and the list goes on. Here are ten interesting facts about the country that most people are unaware of when visiting St. Lucia. 1. This Was The Only Country To Be Named After A Woman According to popular legend, the island of St. Lucia was named after Saint Lucia of Syracuse, who lived in the eighth century. One theory is that the island's name came from a group of French sailors who washed up on its shores on December 1, the Saint's feast day, and who were inspired to name the island after the patron saint of sailors. 2. A Unesco World Heritage Site, The Pitons Mountain Range Is Here In This Country When the Gros and Petit Pitons were designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, they formed a natural, hidden harbor near the shore near the village of Soufrière. Linked by the Piton Mitan ridge, the two mountains form a complex containing some of the world's most beautiful coral reefs, unique bird species, and unusual vegetation. This is a lovely sight to witness the beauty of St. Lucia. 3. They Celebrate International Jazz & Arts Festival Annually The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, which takes place every year with a variety of activities taking place all over the nation, has a long-standing reputation as one of the most outstanding events in the region like jazz concerts, fashion exhibitions, street parties, and dance performances provide a fantastic experience for those who are fortunate enough to visit taking place all over the country. 4. There Are So Many Iguanas Here! St. Lucia is home to a large variety of indigenous fauna alongside various snakes, lizards, reptiles, and other animals. Their presence on the island is so evident that some of its initial occupants dubbed it "the island of the iguanas". 5. This Country Has The Only Drive-In Volcano Natural hot springs may be found in Sulphur Springs, also known as "the only drive-in volcano in the world" in St. Lucia and "the only drive-in volcano in the Caribbean." As the name implies, visitors can drive to the edge of the springs for a breath-taking vista. 6. They Brew Their Own Pilsner Beer At Local Breweries Tourists visiting St. Lucia may be surprised to learn that, besides the island's famous Caribbean rum, Piton, a locally produced and highly regarded pilsner beer, is a local favorite. Gros Piton and Petit Piton, two of the island's most prominent volcanoes, inspire the name of their own beers. Many tourists love their beers as it has this authentic taste that can only be tasted in St. Lucia. 7. Saint Lucia Parrot, Or Jacquot, Is The Island's National Bird And Cannot Be Found Anywhere Else In The World The Jacquot or St. Lucia parrot, which serves as the country's national bird, is an indigenous species on the verge of extinction in the 1970s. Throughout history, the brightly colored bird has been prevalent among the people, inspiring several songs and plays, and even appearing on postage stamps. 8. Saint Lucia Holds An Annual "Festival Of The Language" In Honor Of This Regional Variety Of French Annually, St. Lucia holds an annual Festival of Language to celebrate shared linguistic and cultural history as the country is one of the Francophonie countries among 88 nations worldwide. The French language will be promoted as part of the month-long celebration. Students and the general public encourage multilingualism and foreign language abilities through this joyous festival. 9. Roseau Valley Has More Than A Dozen Types Of Rum Rum production is a significant industry in St Lucia, as it is in many other Caribbean places. A vast banana plantation may be found here, along with a bevy of distilleries that transform sweet sugar cane into delightful rums in the Roseau Valley. There are more than 12 types of rum in the country that its own locals and even tourists can taste various rums to find their favorite. 10. Visitors Can Create Their Own Chocolate Bar Here In St. Lucia Tourists love Caribbean desserts, and while Central America may be considered the originator of chocolate, the Caribbean has also had a long tradition of chocolate manufacturing. Chocolate has been produced on the island of St Lucia since the 1700s, thanks to the island's ideal growing circumstances, which include volcanic soil, sunlight, and rain. For many years, the banana was the most critical crop in St Lucia. However, changes in trade agreements in the past had resulted in the collapse of the banana trade, prompting local farmers to return to the cacao farming industry in large numbers. Today, visitors and their locals can make their own chocolate bars through some of the famous chocolate factories and the touring industry in St. Lucia. Source: Facts About Saint Lucia | Facts You Might Not Know About Saint Lucia
  19. What's the Word: ESCUTCHEON pronunciation: [ə-skəCH-ən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 15th century Meaning: 1. (also escutcheon plate) A flat piece of metal for protection and often ornamentation, around a keyhole, door handle, or light switch. 2. A shield or emblem bearing a coat of arms. Example: "Every outdoor lock was protected from the elements by a swiveling brass escutcheon." "The antique tapestry featured a large escutcheon at the center." About Escutcheon “Escutcheon” came into English from the Old French “escuchon,” which referred to the Latin “scūtum,” meaning “shield.” Did You Know? With the Latin root “scūtum,” meaning “shield,” “escutcheon” once described a shield-shaped coat of arms, but it’s more commonly used now in architecture. It refers to shield-shaped stone ornaments that have decorated buildings from the Gothic era into the modern. Today, most escutcheons are literal — not figurative — shields. Their job is to shield less attractive parts of functional items from view. For example, an escutcheon may be placed to cover the hole in the wall from which a bathroom pipe emerges, or around a doorknob or lightswitch to hide the hardware.
  20. Fact of the Day - FICTIONAL TEACHERS Movie: Fast Times at Ridgemont High Did you know... Television and movie fans have been introduced to some beloved teachers we wish we could have had in class and others who we would have wanted to avoid. Click the link at the bottom to read about 20 of the best and worst fictional teachers. (Jeff Mezydlo | August 26, 2022) The 5 Best & 5 Worst Fictional Teachers In Movies, Ranked by COLIN MCCORMICK | April 17, 2020 Teaching is one of the most important professions in the world. These educators are trusted to help shape the minds of children for the better so they may achieve and contribute positively to the world. Teachers have been depicted in many movies, some of which succeed in their mission, and some that fall far short. Good teachers help to inspire their students, they treat them with respect, and they encourage them. Bad teachers stunt their students learning, fail to offer any excitement in learning, and are unqualified. Here are some of the best and worst fictional movie teachers. 1. Best: Dewey Finn (School Of Rock) Dewey Finn (Jack Black) lies about his identity to get a job teaching then uses that position to start a rock band with the young students. That description might seem like Dewey would be one of the worst teachers ever, but he gradually proved himself in the job. Sure, Dewey isn't qualified to teach math or history, but he is a talented music teacher. More importantly, he taught life lessons to these kids. He allowed them to explore new passions, he gave them confidence and he forms a pretty great band in the process. 2. Worst: John Kimble (Kindergarten Cop) John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is another teacher who is not who he says he is. Kimble is a tough, no-nonsense cop who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher in the hopes of catching a criminal. After a short time, Kimble proves himself to be completely ill-prepared for the mission. First of all, a teacher who uses his young students as a way of catching dangerous criminals is pretty bad at their job. When it comes to actually teaching the children, Kimble shows no ability to control the class and loses his temper way too easily. 3. Best: Mr. Bruner (The Edge Of Seventeen) Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) in The Edge of Seventeen is one of the more grounded teachers on this list and that's really what is needed for a good teacher. He does not take any bizarre or outlandish approaches to his lessons, but rather relies on honesty and respect to connect with his students. Mr. Bruner does not sugar-coat things when students come to him for help. He is truthful, and maybe even a little too truthful. But when his students are genuinely in need of help, he is there for them. 4. Worst: Economics Teacher (Ferris Bueller's Day Off) Just because someone knows the material they are teaching doesn't make them a good teacher. Such is the case with the unnamed economics teacher (T. Scott. Coffey) in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He is shown to have the knowledge but he only succeeds in putting his students to sleep. Economics can be a dry subject, but the way in which this teacher conveys the lesson, or even the way he takes roll call, is so dull it would be impossible to absorb any information. Teachers need to know the material and to know how to engage students. 5. Best: Professor Charles Xavier (X-Men) Though he is also the leader of a group of mutant heroes who often have to save the world, it's obvious Charles Xavier's (Patrick Stewart) true passion is teaching. He also provides a sanctuary for children who can't find acceptance elsewhere. Xavier's School for Gifted Children accepts young mutants and allows them to live with kids like them and hopefully have a somewhat normal life. He also teaches them to harness their powers and use them for good along with all the other important subjects young minds need. 6. Worst: Indiana Jones (The Indiana Jones Franchise) Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is another teacher who splits his time between the classroom and going on heroic missions. However, unlike Professor Xavier, one gets the sense that Dr. Jones prefers his time outside of the classroom. Given how often he is on globetrotting adventures, it's likely he isn't in class all that much anyway. He returns from one trip only to head out on another one. When students have questions about their work, he slips out his office window rather than help them. It's a wonder why he still bothers to call himself a teacher. 7. Best: Professor McGonagall (Harry Potter) Hogwarts is a school much like Professor Xavier's school. It helps gifted children (wizards in this case) develop their abilities. It is also another school that finds itself in danger a lot and things would be a lot worse if not for teachers like Professor McGonagall. McGonagall (Maggie Smith) is a tough but fair teacher. She holds her students accountable when they break the rules, but her top priority is always their safety. She will bravely stand up to anyone in order to ensure they are taken care of properly. 8. Worst: Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter) On the complete opposite end of the teaching spectrum at Hogwarts is Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Though her outward personality may appear to be friendly and kind, she is, in fact, a corrupt, small-minded, and abusive teacher. Umbridge is one of those people who is more concerned with her stance always being right that she will ignore logic and facts if it contradicts her in any way. That is certainly not a good quality for a teacher. When disobeyed, she even resorts to sadistic punishment. 9. Best: John Keating (Dead Poets Society) Everyone remembers a teacher who was able to truly inspire them and there is no cinematic teacher as inspiring as John Keating (Robin Williams) in Dead Poets Society. This teacher at an all-boys private school teaches his young pupils the power of poetry and changes their lives because of it. He uses his teachings to make his students better people and to see themselves differently than they used to. He even inspires them to take a stand for what they believe in. It's the power of a great teacher. 10. Worst: Trunchbull (Matilda) Some teachers are not interested in teaching students anything. They are only interested in having a position of power. That is the case with Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the terrifying and sadistic teacher in Matilda. She shows no interest in education and rather spends all her energy disciplining students for outrageous things. Her methods of punishment are also extremely horrific and almost medieval in nature. It's not surprising that her students sought to rebel against her. Source: The Best and Worst Fictional Teachers | Facts About the Best-Worst Fictional Teachers
  21. What's the Word: AMBSACE pronunciation: [AM-zeys] Part of speech: noun Origin: Anglo-Norman, 14th century Meaning: 1. Two ones; the lowest throw at dice; a pair of aces. Example: "I had nothing but ambsace during the bachelor party trip." "I needed to throw a five and a one to win, but I threw ambsace." About Ambsace “Ambsace” is also spelled “ambs-ace” and “ames-ace,” which indicate its Old French root “ambes as,” meaning “both aces.” This was taken from the Latin ”ambō,” meaning “both,” and “as,” a common Roman coin that is the root of the word “ace.” Did You Know? Variations of the word “ambsace” have appeared in various spellings over the centuries. It was “ambbes aas” and “aumbys as” in pre-14th century texts, “almesace” in the 1500s, and “alms-ace” and “ammez-ace” in the 1600s. Over this time, it referred to two points, as on dice, but it also suggested a very small number or distance, meaning the expression can be used as a measure of extreme closeness. For example, to “roll within ames-ace of a win” means to come as close as possible to victory without actually winning.
  22. Fact of the Day - FLYTING Did you know... Medieval Scotland had a practice similar to modern battle rap, called “flyting.” Today, sharp-tongued verbal jousting primarily exists in the art form known as battle rap, in which two rappers take lyrical aim at each other with intricate (and often devastating) rhymes. During these battles, no insult — artistic or otherwise — is off-limits, and that’s a sentiment that 15th- and early 16th-century Scottish poets might have shared. Medieval Scottish men of words linguistically barbed each other in a practice known as “flyting” (based on the Old English word flītan, meaning “to quarrel”), often as entertainment for the Scottish king and his royal court. The most famous of these “battles” that still survives, known as “The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie,” featured Scottish poets William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy entertaining the court of James IV in the early 16th century. Among its many famous attributes, it’s the first recorded moment of scatological humor. (One of the more family-friendly examples of its insults, translated from Middle Scots, reads: “Grovel for grace, dog-face, or I shall chase you all winter; Howl and yowl, owl.”) The biting lyricism of flyting wasn’t restricted to Scotland, of course. Ancient Irish professional poets, called filid, were also known for their insults, and a form of flyting can be found in Old English literature as well as the famous Norse text the Poetic Edda (in which the trickster god Loki goes on the verbal offensive against his fellow deities). Similar art forms can be found in Japan, Nigeria, parts of the Middle East, and elsewhere. Although flyting didn’t survive the Middle Ages, its influence can be seen in works ranging from Shakespeare to James Joyce. Thankfully, the birth of the rap battle in the 1980s once again provided a much-needed venue for settling serious artistic beef — and it’s been a fixture of hip-hop culture ever since. The first major rap battle, in 1981, was a transformative moment in hip-hop. In December 1981, at the Harlem World club in New York City, hip-hop emcee Busy Bee Starski finished a set by bragging about his superior lyrical skills compared to other popular hip-hop artists at the time. Unknown to Busy Bee, one of those artists was in the crowd — another emcee named Kool Moe Dee. The dissed emcee took to the stage and dished a lyrical attack right back at Starski. His sharp, biting freestyle juxtaposed with Busy Bee’s simpler, more comedic technique sent rap in a new direction, in which emcees became more focused on serious lyricism rather than the typical party persona. Kool Moe Dee’s “battle” was recorded and became an influential mixtape that found its way onto the radio, and around the world. (Interesting Facts) Flyting Was Medieval England’s Version of an Insult-Trading Rap Battle BY TAO TAO HOLMES | JANUARY 14, 2016 Flyting from Norse Folklore and Old England should be incorporated into American politics. Imagine a world that had swapped its guns for puns and its IEDs for repartees. Such a planet is possible if only those in power would manage their conflicts with flyting, the time-honored sport of verbal jousting. Flyting is a stylized battle of insults and wits that was practiced most actively between the fifth and 16th centuries in England and Scotland. Participants employed the timeless tools of provocation and perversion as well as satire, rhetoric, and early bathroom humor to publicly trounce opponents. The term “flyting” comes from Old English and Old Norse words for “quarrel” and “provocation.” ‘Tis a form of highly poetic abuse, or highly abusive poetry—a very early precursor to MTV’s Yo Mama and Eminem’s 8 Mile. “Court flyting” sometimes served as entertainment for royals such as Scottish kings James IV and James V. The most famous surviving exchange is The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie, which was performed in the early 16th century by William Dunbar and Walter Kennedy for the court of James IV. A medieval rap battle between two clever men, it featured the first recorded instance of poop being used as an insult. The moment Kennedy called Dunbar a “shit without a wit,” he ushered in a whole new era of scatological humor. James V, pictured on the left, was known to enjoy some good flyting. Some choice lines from Dunbar and Kennedie, translated from the Middle Scots, include: “Gray-visaged gallows-bird, out of your wits gone wild, Loathsome and lousy, as wet as a cress, Since you with worship would so fain be styled, Hail, Monsignor! Your balls droop below your dress.” Those are just four lines of 128—it’s well worth checking out the rest if you want to up your insult game. Of course, flyting was not humanity’s first foray into competitive insults. The popular 1938 book Homo Ludens, written by Dutch historian and theorist Johan Huizinga, makes the basic argument that the dawn of civilization was the moment when people started insulting each other rather than (or in addition to) physically attacking each other. There appear to be forms of verbal jousting in pretty much all cultures; for example, one finds similar rituals in Japanese Haikai, naqa’id in Arabic poetry, the Mande practice of Sanankuya and the Nigerian game Ikocha Nkocha. This is the frill-necked lizard’s version of flyting. Forms of ritualized combat exist not only across cultures but also across species and spiritual universes. Gods in Norse literature have been known to flyte, and the concept behind flyting exists in the animal kingdom with agonistic behavior, when creatures establish dominance over each other without actually fighting. Flyting lacks much written history, but flute-like exchanges of insults exist in early classics such as the epic Old English poem Beowulf and Shakespeare’s King Lear, in which Kent describes Oswald as, among other things: “A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue” The obvious modern-day equivalent of flyting is the rap battle, but it’s unclear whether the two forms of verbal combat have common ancestry. One academic, the late Ferenc Szasz, was convinced of a clear link between flyting and rap battles, applying his theory that American slaves adopted the tradition from Scottish slave owners. The overlap of European and African culture in the South, and the question of how much European influence went into the rap battle, is a contentious issue, says Wald, author of The Dozens: A History of Rap’s Mama. “The fact is, there are much stronger survivals of deep African traditions than most people realize,” he says. “But, there also has been an amazing ability of African American culture to adapt and reuse stuff they’ve picked up from European culture.” One of the major examples, says Wald, is rhyme. “There is no history of rhyme in any African language,” he says. “And that continues to be true in African American culture—right up until the 1880s or 1890s, well after the Civil War, virtually the only rhyme that you find in African American culture is from people trying to do European forms.” By the 1930s and 1940s, however, rhyme was inseparable from and central to black hip culture. Part of this shift came in the form of “The Dozens,” a battle of insults tracing back to America’s 1920s and 1930s, customarily played out in front of an informal audience that keeps going until one person concedes. For young African American men, the Dozens was a rite of passage. “The Dozens can be tricky, aggressive, offensive, clever, brutal, funny, inventive, stupid, violent, misogynistic, psychologically intricate, deliberately misleading—or all of that at once, wrapped in a single rhyming couplet,” writes Wald in his book. “Yo Mama” jousts, popularized by MTV, are a successor of the Dozens. Regardless of whether flyting and the rap battle have an official link, they are ultimately part of the same art. We don’t necessarily need to bring back flyting; we just need to give the rap battle flyting status by making it part of political protocol. The hit musical Hamilton has recently proven that when politicians do rap battles in cabinet, everyone wins. Time to spit a rhyme, powerful people. Source: Facts About Flyting | Facts About Medieval Flyting
  23. What's the Word: CAUSERIE pronunciation: [koz-ə-REE] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 19th century Meaning: 1. An informal article or talk, typically on a literary subject. Example: "As we walked, Tom improvised a causerie about the novels of James Baldwin." "Our dinner discussion turned into a causerie about the “Anne of Green Gables” novels." About Causerie “Causerie” is based on the French expression “causer,” meaning to talk, which itself is based on the Latin “causārī,” meaning to debate or dispute. Did You Know? The difference between a causerie and a lecture is informality. In the original French, the term “causerie” refers to “a chat” or “a chin-wag,” but rather than simply talking about anything, “causerie” marries an informal type of conversation with a subject of some depth, such as literature. Educational discussions of literature can be very formal. By contrast, a “causerie” offers those who love literature the lively opportunity to have informal chats that nonetheless approach the subject in detail. Consider calling your next book club chat a "causerie."
  24. Fact of the Day - LIGHTHOUSES Did you know... There’s only one staffed lighthouse left in the U.S. The United States has more lighthouses than any other country — around 700 of them — but only one of them is still regularly staffed instead of being automated. That would be Boston Light, which can be found on Little Brewster Island in the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Before the advent of electric lights, “keeping a good light” required lighthouse keepers to tend to the actual lamp (which generally burned oil or kerosene), watch out for fog and sound fog signals, and perform housekeeping duties that included cleaning the lens. Today, lights are automatic, monitored by a remote control center and built with backup components that come online automatically if any portion of the system fails. Built in 1716 and standing some 60 feet high, Boston Light has undergone significant changes throughout its 306-year tenure, but thanks to a law passed by the Senate at the behest of Massachusetts’ own Senator Ted Kennedy in 1989, it will remain staffed by a human in perpetuity. The law followed Boston Light being named a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Such protections and distinctions are warranted: Boston Light is actually the first lighthouse built in the United States. It saw significant damage during the Revolutionary War, with the British occupying it (as well as Boston itself) from July 1775 until June 1776 — a siege that included several fires lit by patriots to undermine the British position, and culminated in the British blowing it up. Massachusetts rebuilt the structure in 1783, and it has stood ever since. The first known lighthouse was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was the tallest human-made structure in the world when it was built in approximately 270 BCE — only the Great Pyramid of Giza, also in Egypt, rose higher. It’s considered the archetype of all lighthouses built in the thousands of years since, and was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World along with the Great Pyramid, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and Colossus of Rhodes. Designed by the Greek architect Sostratos during Ptolemy II's reign, it’s believed to have stood about 380 feet tall and was destroyed by a series of earthquakes between 956 and 1323 CE. Of the original Seven Wonders, only the Great Pyramid remains. (Interesting Facts) Illuminating Facts about Lighthouses and Their History by Christopher McFadden | May 17, 2020 Tower of Hercules Unless you are a sailor, you probably never give the humble lighthouse a second thought. But they actually have a very interesting and amazing history -- not to mention role. Here are some of the most notable milestones and facts about these amazing structures. 1. It all started with the Pharos of Alexandria The Pharos of Alexandria, commonly known as the Lighthouse of Alexandria, is widely believed to have been the world's first lighthouse. Built sometime in the 3rd Century BC, this monolithic construction would become renowned around the ancient world. Prior to its construction, proto-lighthouses consisted of simple burning beacons at the entrances to harbors. There is also some evidence of smaller stone proto-lighthouses being built in ancient Greek harbors prior to the great lighthouse itself. One of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World, it is thought to have been between 100 and 140 meters tall. It was designed by Sostratus of Cnidus, and it stood for many years before being progressively ruined by earthquakes. Today, the parts of the lighthouse still remain where the Egyptian Sultan Qaitbay built a citadel on the same site around 1480 AD. 2. The "Tower of Hercules" in Spain is one of the world's oldest intact lighthouses During the height of the Roman Empire, lighthouses were built around much of the empire's important waterways. One of which was built on a peninsula of A Coruna, Galicia in Spain. Built sometime in the 2nd Century AD, the tower stands at 55 meters tall and overlooks the North Atlantic coast of Spain. Known to the Romans as "Farum Brigantium," it is more commonly known as the "Tower of Hercules." It was renovated in 1791 AD and remains one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. It is today, a national monument of Spain, and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June of 2009. 3. After the fall of Rome, many lighthouses fell into disuse, but some new ones were built After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, many of its former lighthouses fell into disuse. While some rare examples did survive, like "The Tower of Hercules," most others were lost forever. However, some lighthouses were built during the Medieval period, like the "Hook Lighthouse" in County Wexford, Ireland. Today, another example of one of the world's oldest lighthouses is the second oldest after the aforementioned "Tower of Hercules" in Spain. It is thought to date to around the 12th Century AD, but local folklore attests that a local missionary, Dubhan, had used the site as a beacon many centuries before. Whatever the case, the current structure is well over 800-years-old and ticking. 4. The Transatlantic boom in trade led to the lighthouses we know and love today Modern lighthouses of the kind we are all familiar with, began to appear in around the 18th Century. This corresponded with the growth in transatlantic commerce, and an ever-increasing need to keep trade ships safe from being wrecked along coastlines rather than to mark the entrances to harbors. Advances in structural engineering and newer and better lighting technology enabled countries to build bigger and better lighthouses over time. Initially, solid fuels like wood or coal, or liquid ones like whale oil were used as the light source until the invention of the revolutionary Argand Lamp in the 1870s. Other improvements, like the first "catoptric" mirror reflector and "dioptric" lens system, were later added to many lighthouses in the late-1700s and early-1800s. 5. The world's first lightship was established in the 1730s The world's first dedicated lightships, or lightvessels, were the first established in the early-1730s. Called the Nore lightship, it was put to work at the mouth of the River Thames in England. While there are some hints of fire beacons on ships during Roman times, the first modern "true" lightship was invented by Robert Hamblin in about 1734. Advancements in land-based lighthouse construction, and numbers for that matter, eventually led to the decline in favor of lightships towards the end of the 19th century. 6. Have you heard of Eilean Mor Lighthouse Mystery? There is a story of a time when all three lighthouse keepers on the remote island of Eilean Mor disappeared in a single evening. The three men were the only inhabitants on the island. The lighthouse keepers' disappearance was discovered when a relief lighthouse keeper arrived at the island on the 26th of December 1900. Later investigation of their logs detailed that a brutal storm had overwhelmed the island that lasted for several days. But, what is even stranger, is that occupants on a neighboring island, that had a clear view of the lighthouse, reported perfectly calm weather. Their bodies were never found, and to this day their disappearance is a complete mystery. The tale was later dramatized in the 2018 film "The Vanishing." 7. Bishop Rock off the coast of Cornwall is a record-breaker Bishop Rock is a tiny little island off the coast of Cornwall in England. The only man-made structure on it is a single lighthouse. Its diminutive size, relative to the size of its lighthouse, has earned the island the Guinness World Record of "world's smallest island with a building on it." The current lighthouse was built around 1858, but there was an earlier iron-construction building that was never completed. It was washed away by violent seas before it could be completed. 8. Russia has a score of nuclear-powered lighthouses During the era of electrification that swept the world at the beginning of the 20th Century, many existing lighthouses were converted to electrical lighting. While most tend to be powered using combustion-engined generators, some are actually powered by nuclear reactors. Some of the most notable can be found in Russia. During the Soviet-era, a chain of nuclear-powered autonomous lighthouses was built along the Northern Shipping Route. Running along the Northern coast of Russia, this part of the world has little to no daylight for a portion of the year. Before the advent of GPS, this was historically a very dangerous route to take for many ships. To combat this, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union embarked on building a chain of new lighthouses to make the route that much safer. Being so remote in places, many of these were powered by a lightweight small atomic reactor. After the fall of the Soviet Union, many of there lighthouses, and their reactors, fell into disuse and disrepair. 9. Have you heard of the time that Finland built a lighthouse in Sweden by mistake? And finally, there was a time that Finland accidentally built a lighthouse in Swedish territory. While this might sound like a pretty serious oversight, the reasoning behind it is actually fairly understandable. Part of the border between the two countries crosses one island in an unusual way. Called Märket, the island was divvied up under the 1809 Treaty of Fredrikshamn. Back in 1885, Finland erected a lighthouse on the highest part of the island, which was thought to be a no man's land by the builders. Sadly, under the treaty, this happened to have been on the Swedish side of the island. Since then, in the mid-1980s, an agreement was made to change the border to ensure the lighthouse is now in Finnish territory. Source: Facts About Lighthouses | Facts about Lighthouses and Their History
  25. What's the Word: BELGARD pronunciation: [BEL-gard] Part of speech: noun Origin: Italian, 16th century Meaning: 1. A loving, amorous, or affectionate glance Example: "Beneath the streetlight, Henry cast a belgard at Maria." "My grandmother stole a belgard at my grandfather when he wasn’t looking." About Belgard “Belgard” entered English from the Italian “bel guardo,” meaning “lovely look.” Did You Know? “Belgard” is somewhat uncommon, but its basis — the Italian “bel guardo” — is seen in place and family names in France and the Americas. There are 11 communities in France called “Bellegarde,” as well as one in Saskatchewan, Canada, and the surname “Bellegarde” is very common in Haiti and across Canada. There are now more people named “Bellegarde” in both Haiti and Canada than remain in France.
  • Create New...