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Word of the Day



Definition: (noun) A message that departs from the main subject.
Synonyms:digression, divagation, parenthesis, aside
Usage:After yet another long excursus on the subject of housecats, the absent-minded professor finally returned to his main point. Discuss.

Article of the Day


Ethel Merman

Merman was a Tony Award winning star of film and stage. Her precise enunciation, wide vocal range, and accurate pitch garnered her much acclaim. She began singing while working as a secretary and eventually became a full time vaudeville performer. Her powerful alto voice afforded her great advantages at a time when stage singers performed without microphones. She made her theater debut in Girl Crazy (1930). According to Broadway lore, what did George Gershwin advise her never to do? More... Discuss

This Day in History


The Nanchang Uprising (1927)

Considered the birthplace of the People's Liberation Army, the city of Nanchang in the Jiangxi Province of southeastern China was the site of the first revolutionary activities of the Chinese Communist Party in 1927. During the uprising, a force of 30,000 Communist troops rose against the Kuomintang government and briefly established the first soviet republic in China. However, the government soon retook the city, and it became the regular Nationalist capital in 1928. Who led the uprising? More... Discuss

Today's Birthday


Francis Scott Key (1779)

After the burning of Washington, DC, by the British in the War of 1812, Key, an American lawyer, was sent to secure the release of a friend from a British ship in Chesapeake Bay. That night, while temporarily detained on a British vessel, Key witnessed the British shelling of Fort McHenry. When he saw the American flag still flying the next morning, he was inspired to write "Defense of Fort M'Henry," a poem that was adopted as the US national anthem in 1931. To what melody was the poem set? More... Discuss

Quotation of the Day

Democracy is the healthful lifeblood which circulates through the veins and arteries, which supports the system, but which ought never to appear externally, and as the mere blood itself.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Discuss

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tr.v. To affect with paralysis; cause to be paralytic
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Today's Holiday


Kuwana Ishitori Matsuri

The Kuwana Ishidori Matsuri, or Collect Stones Festival, commemorates the days when many stones had to be transported by cart to build a shrine. There is a procession of floats, adorned with beautiful cloth, tapestries, and lanterns, through the town of Kuwana, Japan, on the first Saturday of August. On Sunday, there is a presentation of stones at the shrine, followed by a series of processions that lasts till nightime the following day. Then people assemble near the floats, watch the lighting of the float lanterns, and listen to the crashing drum music that fills the air. More... Discuss