Monthly Archives: January 2019

Horoscope ♉: 01/31/2019

Horoscope ♉:

The desire to improve your home’s appearance might suddenly come over you today, Taurus. Whether you’re planning some redecorating, landscaping, refurnishing, or simply a thorough cleaning, you will probably take the bull by the horns and concentrate on nothing else. The results will speak for themselves. Get family members to help you. You won’t want to be too tired to enjoy what you’ve done.:

Today’s Holiday: Winterlude

Today’s Holiday:

A midwinter civic festival held in Ottawa, Canada, Winterlude is primarily a celebration of winter sports. The Rideau Canal, which has been referred to as “the world’s longest skating rink,” is nearly eight kilometers (five miles) long and provides an excellent outdoor skating facility. There is also snowshoeing, skiing, curling (in which thick, heavy stone and iron disks are slid across the ice toward a target), speedskating, dogsled racing, and tobogganing. For those who prefer not to participate in the many sporting events, there is an elaborate snow sculpture exhibit known as Ice Dream. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Langston Hughes (1902)

Today’s Birthday:
Langston Hughes (1902)

Hughes was an American poet and a central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. His writing is largely concerned with depicting African-American life, particularly the experience of the urban African American, and often uses dialect and jazz rhythms. Along with several collections of poetry, Hughes published numerous other works, including several plays, books for children, and novels. While working as a busboy, Hughes launched his literary career by presenting his poems to what poet as he dined? More…:

This Day in History: Chinese Seize Control of Taiwan from Dutch East India Company (1662)

This Day in History:
Chinese Seize Control of Taiwan from Dutch East India Company (1662)

In 1624, the Dutch founded forts in southern Taiwan. Two years later, the Spanish occupied the northern part of the island. The Dutch expelled the Spanish in 1641 and assumed control of the entire island but were, in turn, forced to abandon it when Koxinga, a general of the Ming dynasty of China, successfully laid siege to the main Dutch settlement, Fort Zeelandia, and took the island in 1662, establishing an independent kingdom. What happened to the colony’s governor, Frederick Coyett? More…:

Quote of the Day: E. M. Forster

Quote of the Day:
E. M. Forster

Beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face. The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due—she reminds us too much of a prima donna. More…:

Article of the Day: Grub Street

Article of the Day:
Grub Street

“Grub Street” was the name of a street in London known for its concentration of aspiring authors and poets, low-end publishers and bookshops, and writers of low-quality books. It existed on the margins of London’s journalistic and literary scene and became famous for its bohemian society amidst low-rent flophouses, brothels, and coffeehouses. Today, “Grub Street” is used as a pejorative term for hack writers and their literary output. What poet popularized the contemporary image of Grub Street? More…:

Idiom of the Day wear too many hats

Idiom of the Day
wear too many hats

business slang To hold too many responsibilities or assume too many roles at the same time. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day: extenuation

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) To act in such a way as to cause an offense to seem less serious.

Synonyms: mitigation, palliation

Usage: Forgive me, and let the greatness and the purity of my love for you plead in extenuation of my act.:

Horoscope ♉: 01/30/2019

Horoscope ♉:

Now that you’ve earned your place in the world after all your hard work, Taurus, you might take some time to pursue your own interests. This could involve writing or publishing, going back to school to get an advanced degree, or taking a trip around the world. You have the time and energy to think about all your different options, so don’t feel you have to rush.:

Today’s Holiday: NASA Day of Remembrance

Today’s Holiday:
NASA Day of Remembrance

NASA established the Day of Remembrance to honor those who have died in America’s space program. The day focuses on those who died in three NASA space tragedies: the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967; the Shuttle Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986; and the Shuttle Columbia tragedy of February 1, 2003. The day also remembers NASA employees who died in training and maintenance accidents. NASA observes the day with a roll call of all those who have died; at Cape Canaveral in Florida, a minute of silence is observed at noon. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Franz Schubert (1797)

Today’s Birthday:
Franz Schubert (1797)

One of the most gifted musicians of the 19th century, Schubert was an Austrian composer who wrote his first of nine symphonies in 1813 at the age of 16. He wrote more than 600 songs, many to the lyrics of German poets, and also composed music for the stage, overtures, choral music, masses, and piano music. He died at 31, having produced more masterpieces by that age than almost any other composer in history. Schubert was buried beside what other famous composer? More…:

This Day in History: Ham the Chimp Becomes First Hominid Launched into Outer Space (1961)

This Day in History:
Ham the Chimp Becomes First Hominid Launched into Outer Space (1961)

Ham was chosen from 40 chimpanzee flight candidates at New Mexico’s Holloman Air Force Base to be the first hominid launched into outer space. He was named after an acronym for the lab that prepared him for his historic mission—the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center—and was trained to do simple tasks. In 1961, he was launched into space in a Project Mercury capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean a short time later. What became of Ham after his space flight? More…:

Quote of the Day: Gustave Flaubert

Quote of the Day:
Gustave Flaubert

Of all lies, art is the least untrue. More…:

Article of the Day: Iron Sights

Article of the Day:
Iron Sights

An iron sight is a system of aligned markers used to assist the eye in making alignments or directional observations when one is aiming a firearm or crossbow. Unlike scopes, iron sights do not make use of lenses. They are instead typically composed of two component sights: the front sight, which is a post, bead, or ring, and the rear sight, which is either open (a notch) or closed (an aperture). On many firearms, the rear sight is adjustable to account for what factors? More…

Idiom of the Day: weak in the knees

Idiom of the Day:
weak in the knees

Unsteady or flustered due to a strong emotional reaction to someone or something. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day: unexceptionable

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Beyond any reasonable objection; irreproachable.

Synonyms: unimpeachable

Usage: No person need think of applying for this situation unless he could furnish the most unexceptionable references to character and abilities.:

Horoscope ♉: 01/29/2019

Horoscope ♉:

The approach of a very special visitor might cause you to thoroughly clean your house, Taurus. Afterward, you could look for new and interesting ways to dress it up with some new plants, throw pillows, or other decorative touches. This can be tiresome, but definitely worthwhile. When your friend arrives, he or she will feel at home. Work hard and then make yourself look great.:

Today’s Holiday: Day of the Three Archbishops

Today’s Holiday:
Day of the Three Archbishops

In Greece during the 11th century there was a controversy over which of the three archbishops—Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, or John Chrysostom—was the greatest saint of the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1081, Bishop John of Galatia reported that the three saints had appeared to him in a vision to say that they were equal in the eyes of God; their equality is celebrated on this day. Greek schools hold special exercises in honor of the saints, who supported the classical Greek tradition at a time when many were opposed to all non-Christian literature. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Vanessa Redgrave (1937)

Today’s Birthday:
Vanessa Redgrave (1937)

Redgrave is a British actress noted for her versatility and elegant presence. The daughter of actor Michael Redgrave, she made her London stage debut in 1958 and won praise as Rosalind in As You Like It. She went on to become a powerful film actress, earning critical acclaim for her performances in films such as Blow-Up and Julia, for which she won an Oscar. She has also earned Emmy, Tony, Cannes, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild awards but declined what honor in 1999? More…:

This Day in History: Peace of Münster Signed Between the United Netherlands and Spain (1648)

This Day in History:
Peace of Münster Signed Between the United Netherlands and Spain (1648)

In 1581, several years after the seven northern Netherlands provinces of Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Friesland, and Groningen formed the Union of Utrecht, they declared independence from Spain. Decades of conflict followed. When the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years’ War was reached in 1648, it included the Peace of Münster, a treaty between Spain and the United Netherlands that ended the Dutch Revolt. Where can an original copy of the Peace of Münster be found? More…:

Quote of the day: Rudyard Kipling

Quote of the Day:
Rudyard Kipling

Most amusements only mean trying to win another person’s money. More…:

Article of the Day: Magnets

Article of the Day:

A magnet is defined as any material capable of attracting iron and producing a magnetic field outside itself. Magnets are essential for the generation of electric power and are used in motors, generators, information storage, ATM cards, TVs, and numerous other applications. By the end of the 19th century, all known elements and many compounds had been tested for magnetism, and all were found to have some magnetic property. However, only three elements exhibit ferromagnetism. What are they? More…:

Idiom of the Day: way back when

Idiom of the Day:
way back when

A relatively long time ago, especially when recalling something that is not the case now. Primarily heard in US. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day: confederate

Word of the Day:

Definition: (noun) A person who joins with another in carrying out some plan (especially an unethical or illegal plan).

Synonyms: accomplice

Usage: What he felt was that he had caught The Man and his confederate with the goods.:

Horoscope ♉: 01/28/2019

Horoscope ♉:

This might be the perfect day to go out, Taurus, or stay in and turn off the phone. Friends and relatives could be stressed, and phone conversations could touch off some misunderstandings and cause unnecessary hurt feelings. If you must talk to people, keep the conversations light and brief. You won’t want to mar a nearly perfect day.:

Today’s Holiday: Up-Helly-Aa

Today’s Holiday:

This ancient fire festival is observed by people of Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. In pre-Christian times, their Norse ancestors welcomed the return of the sun god with Yule, a 24-day period of feasting, storytelling, and bonfires. The last night of the festival was called Up-Helly-Aa, or “End of the Holy Days.” Today, a group known as the Guizers builds a 31-foot model of a Viking longship in honor of the Viking invaders who remained in Scotland. On the night of Up-Helly-Aa, the Guizers dress in Norse costumes and carry the boat to an open field. There, they throw lit torches into the ship and burn it. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860)

Today’s Birthday:
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860)

Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer, dramatist, and physician who earned enduring international acclaim for his stories and plays. His early works were broad humorous sketches and tales published under a pseudonym, written to support himself and his family while he studied for his medical degree in Moscow. His first full-length play, Ivanov, was produced while he was practicing as a doctor. Why was a statue of Chekhov in the town of Tomsk modeled on the perspective of a drunkard? More…:

This Day in History: Bear River Massacre (1863)

This Day in History:
Bear River Massacre (1863)

The Bear River Massacre took place in 1863 when the US Army attacked Shoshone gathered at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek in what is now Idaho. The incident began when Colonel Patrick Edward Connor led a detachment of approximately 200 US Army soldiers as part of the an expedition against Shoshone Chief Bear Hunter, who had strongly resisted colonization of tribal areas. Some 250 Shoshone were killed in the attack, including Bear Hunter. What became of Connor? More…:

Quote of the Day: E. M. Forster

Quote of the Day:
E. M. Forster

Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent. More…:

Article of the Day: Pas d’Armes

Article of the Day:
Pas d’Armes

Pas d’Armes was a knightly chivalric phenomenon that evolved in the late 14th century and remained popular through the 15th century. It involved a knight or group of knights laying claim to a traveled spot, such as a bridge or city gate, and declaring that any other knight who wished to pass must first fight—or be disgraced. A traveling knight who was not adequately armed could be provided with weapons. If a passing knight chose not to fight, what would he leave behind as a sign of humiliation? More…:

Idiom of the Day: wallflower

Idiom of the Day:

Someone who remains on the outer edges of a social event, especially a dance or party, and does not participate due to being shy or unpopular. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day: epitomize

Word of the Day:

Definition: (verb) Embody the essential characteristics of or be a typical example of.

Synonyms: typify

Usage: They are so perfect in their way that they seem to epitomize the very scent and charm of the forest, as if the old wood’s daintiest thoughts had materialized in blossom.:

Horoscope ♉: 01/27/2019

Horoscope ♉:

Job-related or personal projects are apt to come to a head now. Success is in the air, along with a marked increase in income and acknowledgment from those who matter. This, of course, is going to boost your confidence, not to mention your mood. You might already be fired up with plans for new trails to blaze. Try to stay focused. You won’t want to miss anything.:

Today’s Holiday: National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Today’s Holiday:
National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a celebration of the old tradition of cowboy poetry in the buckaroo town of Elko, Nevada. The gathering, which began in 1985 with about 50 working cowboys, has become a six-day affair in the last week of January that now includes folk-music concerts, western dances, exhibits of cowboy gear, and workshops not only on writing but also on such topics as horse-hair braiding and photography. Poetry remains the heart of the festival, and the poets—all working ranch people—include men, women, and children. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz (1890)

Today’s Birthday:
Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz (1890)

Stroud was a convicted murderer serving time in prison when he came across some injured sparrows in the Leavenworth prison yard. He kept the birds and soon began raising canaries, which he could sell for supplies and to help support his mother. Using equipment furnished by a new warden, Stroud created an aviary and became an expert in avian pathology, writing 2 books on the subject and even developing a cure for hemorrhagic septicemia. How much of his sentence was spent in solitary confinement? More…:

This Day in History: Horace Walpole Coins the Word “Serendipity” (1754)

This Day in History:
Horace Walpole Coins the Word “Serendipity” (1754)

Defined as the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident, the word “serendipity” was first coined in 1754 by English author Horace Walpole in one of his more than 3,000 letters. In it, he explains that the root of his new word is taken from “The Three Princes of Serendip,” a Persian fairytale about princes who “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” Past serendipitous discoveries include x-rays, helium, and what else? More…:

Quote of the Day: Thomas Hardy

Quote of the Day:
Thomas Hardy

I am the family face; flesh perishes, I live on, projecting trait and trace through time to times anon, and leaping from place to place over oblivion. More…:

Article of the Day: Laying on of Hands

Article of the Day:
Laying on of Hands

In a number of faiths and spiritual practices, the act of laying hands on a person’s head is used to confer spiritual blessing. In Christianity, the practice is used as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit during baptisms, healing services, blessings, and ordinations of priests and other church officers, along with a variety of other church sacraments and holy ceremonies. Laying on of hands was also practiced by European kings and was believed to cure what disease? More…:

Idiom of the Day: take a walk on the wild side

Idiom of the Day:
take a walk on the wild side

To engage in risky, raucous, adventurous, or licentious behavior. Watch the video…:

Word of the Day: inextirpable

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Difficult or impossible to eradicate or destroy.

Synonyms: inexterminable

Usage: Some weeds seem inextirpable, but they all have at least one weakness that may be exploited.:

Watch “Leonard Cohen – Leaving The Table” on YouTube

Watch “Don McLean – American Pie (Good quality)” on YouTube

Watch “The Cranberries – Dreams” on YouTube

Horoscope ♉: 01/27/2019

Horoscope ♉:

Job-related or personal projects are apt to come to a head now. Success is in the air, along with a marked increase in income and acknowledgment from those who matter. This, of course, is going to boost your confidence, not to mention your mood. You might already be fired up with plans for new trails to blaze. Try to stay focused. You won’t want to miss anything.:

Today’s Holiday: Mozart Week

Today’s Holiday:
Mozart Week

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756. Every January since 1956, his birthday has been celebrated by the people of Salzburg, Austria, where he was born, with a music festival devoted entirely to his works. The festival also prides itself on presenting many of his lesser known works, which are seldom performed elsewhere. Concerts are given in a number of sites associated with Mozart’s life, including the Mozarteum Building, St. Peter’s Church, the Salzburg Cathedral, and even Mozart’s home. More…:

Today’s Birthday: Lewis Carroll (1832)

Today’s Birthday:
Lewis Carroll (1832)

Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, English author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There. Carroll developed the stories from tales he told to the children of H. G. Liddell, the dean of Christ Church College at Oxford, one of whom was named Alice. Many of his characters—the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the White Rabbit—have become familiar figures in literature. What else did Carroll write? More…:

This Day in History: The Siege of Leningrad Is Lifted (1944)

This Day in History:
The Siege of Leningrad Is Lifted (1944)

During WWII, German and Finnish forces invaded the Soviet Union and encircled the city of Leningrad—now St. Petersburg—blocking supply lines for 872 days. Sparse food and fuel supplies delivered by barge and sled kept the city’s arms factories operating and its 2 million inhabitants barely alive, while 1 million children and sick and elderly people were evacuated. Still, hundreds of thousands died of starvation, disease, and shelling from German artillery. How was the siege broken? More…:

Quote of the Day: E. M. Forster

Quote of the Day:
E. M. Forster

Pathos, piety, courage,—they exist, but are identical, and so is filth. Everything exists, nothing has value. More…:

Article of the Day: Language of the Birds

Article of the Day:
Language of the Birds

In mythology, medieval literature, and occultism, the language of the birds is often considered a divine or magical language used by birds to communicate with the initiated. A wide variety of historical references to the language of birds exists: Solomon’s wisdom is attributed to it, and Aesop, the legendary Greek fabulist, is said to have understood it. In Norse mythology, ravens keep the god Odin apprised of events on Earth. What beast’s blood is said to confer the ability to understand birds? More…:

Idiom of the Day: wake up on the wrong side of (the) bed

Idiom of the Day:
wake up on the wrong side of (the) bed

To be in a particularly and persistently irritable, unhappy, or grouchy mood or state, especially when it is not in line with one’s normal disposition. Watch the video…: