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January 10, 2009

Word of the Day

tweedledum and tweedledee
Two matters, persons, or groups that are very much alike, as in Bob says he's not voting in this election because the candidates are tweedledum and tweedledee. This term was invented by John Byrom, who in 1725 made fun of two quarreling composers, Handel and Bononcini, and said there was little difference between their music, since one went "tweedledum" and the other "tweedledee." The term gained further currency when Lewis Carroll used it for two fat little men in Through the Looking-Glass (1872). For a synonym, see six of one, half dozen of the other.   (© Houghton Mifflin Company)
Alliteration and its relatives, consonance and assonance, go back to Old English and earlier. It seems we love to play with the sounds of our phrases. This week we'll look at some phrases that we just like the sound of.

Faustian pact
; "Deal with the Devil and others. "

January 03, 2009RSS syndication

Word of the Day

leap second
A second inserted into the year (usually on New Year's Eve) to make up for the fact that the earth's rotation is slowing down. Scientists know when to insert a leap second by comparing the earth's rotation to an atomic clock.
  (© Houghton Mifflin Company)
The calendar undergoes a major change this week as the Western world celebrates New Year's Day. This week, we'll look at some words relating to time and how we tell one day from the next.
Previous words: universal time, space-time continuum, diurnal


December 20, 2008

A little about the OIL CRISIS and what we CAN DO


I think something like this is worth thinking about and the more friends we prompt the better chance we all have....and can you think of anything negative that this could cause (leaving the car parked) ???

Ran across the following article at (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ -- for those who want more) and it prompted me about a few peeves I have... 

Don't you just hate the way prices come down so slow and grudgingly? really tick's me off! but what can you do about it? Well believe it or not we (WE) can do something and this article surely lends strong credence to that thought.

Try to imagine all the "side benefits" we get (each of us) when we drive less miles....


Friday, December 12, 2008

Decline In American Driving Reaches Year-Mark
Drop of Nearly 100 Billion Miles Driven Heightens Need for Highway Finance Reform

WASHINGTON - Americans drove more than 100 billion fewer miles between November 2007 and October 2008 than the same period a year earlier, said U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters, making it the largest continuous decline in American driving in history. [read the full release]



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Word: poseur - n. One who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to impress or influence others.

[French, from poser, to pose, from Old French. See pose1.]

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Word: rhetoric: the skill of using language effectively; Vergil was said to have studied rhetoric, among other things, before he turned to his study of philosophy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Spotlight: A golden spike was driven at Promontory Summit, UT on this date in 1869, joining the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railway lines, and marking the completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad. The golden spike, which was replaced with a regular iron spike after the ceremony, was presented to the Stanford Museum in 1892.
Quote: "RAILROAD, n. The chief of many mechanical devices enabling us to get away from where we are to where we are no better off. For this purpose the railroad is held in highest favor by the optimist, for it permits him to make the transit with great expedition." -- Ambrose Bierce, Devil's Dictionary

Word: maglev: a system of propelling or supporting objects with the use of magnetic force; maglev trains are expected to be able to travel up to 300 mph/482.7 kms/hr.



Today's Highlights
Friday, April 22, 2005

Spotlight: Today is Earth Day, a day when some 140 nations celebrate the environment. Activities include street fairs, television programs, lectures, and exhibits focusing on issues like global warming, deforestation, and pollution of our soil, water and air. Though the original Earth Day was proposed for March 21, the date of the vernal equinox, on April 22, 1970, US Senator Gaylord Nelson sponsored a nationwide event that evolved into the current annual international celebration.

Quote: "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." -- invented quote misattributed to Dan Quayle or Yogi Berra

Word: biosphere: the thin outer crust of the Earth and the inner layers of its atmosphere where all living systems are found

In the News:

gentrification: helps everyone (story)
miscarriage: father's age a contributing factor (story)
Jane Fonda: gets spit on by Vietnam Vet at book signing (story)

Today's History:

Henry VIII: much-married king of England ascended to throne (1509)
"In God We Trust": U.S. Congress mandated that all coins minted bear this inscription (1864)
Oklahoma: Land Rush began officially at noon with thousands of homesteaders staking their claims (1889)

Today's Birthdays:

Immanuel Kant: German philosopher, author of Critique of Pure Reason (1724-1804)
Vladimir I. Lenin: Russian revolutionary, Soviet dictator (1870-1924)
Aaron Spelling: prodigiously successful TV producer, most recently of Charmed (82)

Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks:
grand larceny
eidetic memory

Click for Today's Highlights Archive.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Spotlight: ZZZzzzzzz... Americans don't get enough sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults average 6.9 hours of sleep a night, even though many experts believe they need between 7 and 9 hours. In our increasingly 24-hour-a-day world, people stay up later, running errands, watching television, playing computer games, and working. The resulting sleep deprivation can result in reduced productivity at work, irritability, diminished capacity in driving, less intimacy and a variety of health problems.

Quote: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." -- Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

Word: REM: the lightest form of sleep, the stage during which the most vivid dreams occur

In the News:

Pope Benedict XVI: reactions are mixed (story)
new USDA food pyramids: Internet connection required (story)
Matisyahu: Hasidic reggae artist in Brooklyn, New York (story)

Today's History:

Rome: founded by twins Romulus and Remus, sons of the god Mars (753 BCE)
Elvis Presley: had first No. 1 hit, "Heartbreak Hotel" (1956)
Tiananmen Square: anti-communist protest began with gathering of 100,000 students in Beijing(1989)

Today's Birthdays:

Charlotte Brontë: author of Jane Eyre (1816-1855)
Queen Elizabeth II: monarch of Great Britain (79)
actors: Anthony Quinn (1915-2001), Tony Danza (54), Andie McDowell (47)

Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Spotlight: Scientists Marie and Pierre Curie isolated the radioactive element radium on this date in 1902. A very rare metal, radium is found in minute amounts in uranium ore. In 1903 the Curies shared the Nobel Prize for physics with Henri Becquerel. Their daughter, Irene, and her husband, Frederic Joliot, won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935, for figuring out a way to synthesize new radioactive elements.

Quote: "I am one of those who think like Nobel, that humanity will draw more good than evil from new discoveries." -- Marie Curie

Word: periodic table: chart of the elements according to increasing atomic number

In the News:

Zacarias Moussaoui: American 9/11 terrorist planning to plead guilty (story)
iceberg: knocks 3-mile chunk of Antarctica into ocean at Drygalski ice tongue (story)
obesity: diet during newborn's 1st week proves critical, breastfeeding recommended (story)

Today's History:

Edgar Allan Poe: published the first detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (1841)
FM radio: wins FCC approval (1961)
Columbine High School: 13 killed in shooting spree in Littleton, Colorado (1999)
1861 - American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia

Today's Birthdays:

Adolf Hitler: genocidal Nazi dictator (1889-1945)
musicians: Lionel Hampton (1908-2002), Luther Vandross (54)
actors: Ryan O'Neal (64), Jessica Lange (56), Carmen Electra (33)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Spotlight: Sumo wrestling is a Japanese form of wrestling in which the two competitors fight within a circle. The first one to touch the ground with any part of his body other than the soles of his feet, or to step outside the ring, loses. Part of the sumo tradition is to fight dressed only in a "mawashi." There is a move to allow younger, amateur sumo wrestlers to wear sumo pants, similar to cycling shorts, but the professional association is refusing to bend the rules. (story)

Quote of the Day: "You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else." -- Albert Einstein

Word of the Day: samurai: coming from the aristocratic warrior class in pre-industrial Japan; sumo wrestling began with the samurai and ronin warriors.

TopicBook of the Day: Idioms (e.g., a little bird told one, keep one's eye on the ball)

Today's News

conclave: cardinals sequester themselves in Sistine Chapel to choose John Paul II's successor (story)
Adobe: to buy Macromedia for $3.4 billion (story)
aye-aye: endangered-species baby keeping British zookeepers busy (story)

Today in History

Shot heard round the world: American Revolution began with Battle of Lexington and Concord (1775)
Grace Kelly: married Prince Rainier of Monaco in church; civil ceremony was on previous day (1956)
Oklahoma City Bombing: truck bomb exploded outside Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 (1995)

Today's Birthdays

Eliot Ness: one of the Untouchables (1903-1957)
actors: Ashley Judd (37), Kate Hudson (26), Hayden Christensen (24)
veteran actors: Jayne Mansfield (1933-1967), Tim Curry (59)

Sunday, April 17, 2005,

Snooker Balls Spotlight: When, on this date in 1875, a British colonel stationed in India suggested adding colored balls to a billiards game, snooker was born. "Snooker" was the term used for a first year army cadet, and became used for novices of the new game, and, eventually, for the game itself. The first professional world championship was played in 1927, with Joe Davis winning it and every other world championship until 1946.

Quote: "To play billiards well was a sign of an ill-spent youth" -- Herbert Spencer

Word: highest snooker break: total score of a player in a single round at the table; in billiards, a break is the opening shot of the game.

Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks:
  • egregious
  • 1-Click
  • intuition
  • ubiquitous
  • inoculation

  • In the News:

    Today's History:

    Martin Luther -- was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church (1521)
    Snooker -- a variation of billiards was invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain (1875)
    Bay of Pigs Invasion -- a failed attempt to invade Cuba was launched (1961)

    Today's Birthdays:

    Sir Leonard Woolley -- English archaeologist who excavated the Sumerian city of Ur (1880-1960)
    Isak Dinesen -- Danish writer of Out of Africa (1885-1962)
    Jennifer Garner -- star of Alias turns 33

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Spotlight: The Titanic sank on this date in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg.Titanic Items Some 1,500 lives were lost. The British luxury liner was on its maiden voyage, sailing from England to New York City, and was thought to be unsinkable. In 1985, the wreck was located near Newfoundland by Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The blockbuster film Titanic won 11 Oscars and was the largest-grossing film of all time.

    Quote: "Brilliantly lit from stem to stern, she looked like a sagging birthday cake." -- Walter Lord, A Night to Remember

    Word: dead reckoning: guesswork; a navigational estimation that is made without benefit of instruments or tools

    Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks:

      1. egregious
      2. hyponatremia
      3. bete noire
      4. 1-Click
      5. dragnet

      In the News:

    1. Connecticut: House says "We do" to same-sex civil unions (story)
    2. Romania, Bulgaria: must shape up to join EU (story)
      John Lennon: ex-Beatle's life to become a musical, with old favorites plus 2 unreleased songs (story)


    Thursday, April 14, 2005

    Spotlight: John Wilkes Booth shot US President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, on this date in 1865. The president died of his wounds the following day, and Andrew Johnson was sworn in as the country's 17th president. Booth, who managed to elude capture for a time, was finally shot and killed by a Union soldier nearly two weeks later.

    Quote: "Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it by being a slave himself" -- Abraham Lincoln

    Word: malcontent: someone who is dissatisfied with conditions as they stand; John Wilkes Booth was a Southern malcontent, dissatisfied with Lincoln's policies regarding slavery.

    Countdown to Deadline: IRS Filing due tomorrow: April stock options expire Saturday.

    Abraham Lincoln's Hat, Cane and Gloves

    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Countdown to Deadline: 5:00PM today; Only 55 hours left before the Tax Filing Deadline at midnight April 15th.

    Spotlight: On this date in 1964 Sidney Poitier became the first African American actor to win an Academy Award, for his performance in Lilies of the Field (released in 1963). Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, and moved to the US to try his hand at an acting career. He was nominated for an earlier Academy Award in 1958 for The Defiant Ones, a role which brought him a BAFTA award. In 2002, the Academy awarded Poitier a Lifetime Achievement award.

    Quote: "If you apply reason and logic to this career of mine, you're not going to get very far... The journey has been incredible from its beginning. So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness." -- Sidney Poitier

    Word: gravitas: conveying a sense of dignity, weightiness; Sidney Poitier is thought to be a man of gravitas and dignity.

    In The News:


    [b. Athens, Greece, 427 bce, d. Athens, 347 bce] This is Plato thinking about his tax return that is due the 15th.

    Plato had a career in the military and politics and traveled widely before(and even after) starting his famous school, the Academy, in Athens. Many of his views are known from imagined dialogues that feature his friend Socrates [b. Athens, Greece, 469 bce, d. Athens. 399 bce]. Plato, although not a mathematician himself, viewed geometry as the basis of the study of any science. This fit with his philosophical concept of ideal forms, such as a perfectly onedimensional line that drawn lines imitate. He also emphasized proof in mathematics. His views were generally followed by Greek mathematicians throughout Antiquity.

    Plato, originally named Aristocles (Plato means "broad-shouldered"), was one of the early stars of Western philosophy. The student of another great Greek thinker, Socrates, Plato founded the Academy in his native Athens in 387 B.C.; it became a famous hotbed of philosophical and scientific discussion, the first known university in the world. His writings mostly take the form of dialogues (or 'dialectics'), often with Socrates as a main character. The Republic, in which Plato lays out his ideas on the perfect state, remains a staple of college educations around the world.

    Plato's most famous pupil was that other great Greek thinker, Aristotle.



    Tuesday, April 12, 2005


    Fifty years ago today the Salk vaccine was released for general use in the U.S. Developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, the vaccine was used to immunize against polio. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage on this date in 1945, became a victim of polio at the age of 39. Though he was partially paralyzed from the waist down, FDR did regain some use of his legs. When he died, he had just begun a record fourth term as US president.

    Quote: "Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next." -- Jonas Salk

    Word: inoculable: vulnerable to a disease transmitted by inoculation

    Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks:

      1. egregious
      2. ubiquitous
      3. fable
      4. 1-Click
      5. conclave

    Monday, April 11, 2005

    Quote: "All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable. " -- Walt Disney

    Word: anime: Japanese animation, influenced by "manga"

    Today's Top 5 Alt-Clicks:


    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Spotlight: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby was published 80 years ago today. A novel of the "Jazz Age," The Great Gatsby was not popular when it was first released. Now it is considered one of the great English-language novels of the 20th century. It was made into four different films, with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow starring in what many consider the definitive screen version, with a screenplay written by Francis Ford Coppola.

    Quote of the Day: "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say."
    -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Word of the Day: bootlegger: someone who illegally makes, sells or transports a product, usually alcoholic beverages: in The Great Gatsby, many thought Jay Gatsby was a Prohibition-era bootlegger.

    TopicBook of the Day: US Documents (e.g., Declaration of Independence, The Constitution)
    Today's News

    Florida: Gov. Jeb Bush supports "shoot first, ask later" anti-crime bill (story)
    Kofi Annan: says UN Human Rights Commission is a failure, calls Darfur a test (story)
    Bextra: painkiller taken off market by Pfizer (story)

    Today in History

    ASPCA: founded by Henry Bergh (1866)
    biological warfare: banned by some 70 nations, including the U.S. and the Soviet Union (1972)
    Amber Alert: House created system to find abducted children (2003)

    Today's Birthdays

    Hugo Grotius: Dutch jurist, father of international law (1583-1645)
    sportscasters: John Madden (69) and Don Meredith (67)
    actors: Harry Morgan (90), Max von Sydow (76), Omar Sharif (73), Peter MacNichol (51), and Haley Joel Osment (17)


    Saturday, April 9, 2005

    Spotlight: Royal Wedding!
    Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles walk down the aisle today in London's Guildhall building. Although the prince's parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, won't be at the wedding, they do plan to attend the church blessing of the marriage at St. George's Cathedral in Windsor Castle. Later, they will give a reception for the newlyweds at the castle.

    Quote of the Day:
    "By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher... and that is a good thing for any man."
    -- Socrates

    Word of the Day:
    consort: the husband or wife of a reigning monarch; after the prince ascends to the throne Camilla will be known as either Her Royal Highness The Princess Consort, or Queen Consort.

    Tuesday, April 4, 2005
    pidgin: a new language developed from a mixture of other languages, also called "contact language"

    pidgin (pij'?n) , a lingua franca that is not the mother tongue of anyone using it and that has a simplified grammar and a restricted, often polyglot vocabulary. The earliest documented pidgin is the Lingua Franca (or Sabir) that developed among merchants and traders in the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages; it remained in use through the 19th cent. Other known pidgins have been employed in different regions since the 17th cent. An example is the variety of pidgin English that resulted from contacts between English traders and the Chinese in Chinese ports. In fact, the word pidgin supposedly is a Chinese (Cantonese) corruption of the English word business. Another well-known form of pidgin English is the Beach-la-Mar (or BÍche-de-Mer) of the South Seas. The different kinds of pidgin English have preserved the basic grammatical features of English, at the same time incorporating a number of non-English syntactical characteristics. The great majority of words in pidgin English are of English origin, but there are also Malay, Chinese, and Portuguese elements. As a result of European settlers bringing to the Caribbean area large numbers of slaves from West Africa who spoke different languages, other pidgins evolved in that region that were based on English, Portuguese, Dutch, French, and Spanish. Examples of pidgins based on non-European languages are Chinook, once used by Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, and Lingua GÍral, based on a Native American language and used in Brazil. The Krio language of Sierra Leone and Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea are examples of creoles, pidgins that have acquired native speakers. See also creole language.

    Monday, April 4, 2005
    Word of the Day: labanotation: system of notation for dance movements, using symbols to indicate movement, direction and body placement

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