Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, December 19, 2011)
Word of the Day

has-been

Definition:(noun) Someone who is no longer popular.
Synonyms:back-number
Usage: There is a fine line between pop star and washed-up has-been, and the poor sales of her newest record seem to indicate that she has crossed it.
Article of the Day

The Sheng

Also called a syrinx or panpipes, the sheng is a primitive wind instrument consisting of a series of short hollow reeds or pipes graduated in length by the musical scale and fastened side by side. Of Chinese origin, the instrument became known to the Greeks, who linked its origin to the legend of the nymph Syrinx, said to have been transformed into reeds to escape the amorous pursuit of the god Pan. What composers have used the sheng in their compositions? More...
This Day in History

Original FIFA World Cup Trophy Is Stolen (1983)

The World Cup has been held every fourth year since 1930, except during WWII. The international soccer tournament's original prize was officially renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1946 in honor of the former Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) president, who stipulated that the first team to win the World Cup three times could keep the trophy in perpetuity. Brazil earned this right in 1970, but, in 1983, the trophy was stolen while on display there. Was it ever recovered? More...
Today's Birthday

Édith Piaf (1915)

Encouraged by her father, a circus acrobat, Édith Giovanna Gassion began singing in the streets of Paris at age 15. She was eventually discovered by a cabaret owner who gave her her first nightclub job, taught her the basics of stage presence, and suggested she change her name to Piaf, Parisian slang for "sparrow." As her popularity grew, she began performing in clubs across Europe and the Americas and appeared in several films. How did she allegedly aid French prisoners of war during WWII? More...
Quotation of the Day
Feast, n.: A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Today's Holiday

Saturnalia (2015)

This Ancient Roman Winter Solstice festival began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. It was held in honor of Saturn, the father of the gods, and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten; businesses, courts, and schools closed down; and masquerading or change of dress between the sexes often occurred. The festivities were characterized by various kinds of excesses—giving rise to the modern use of the term "saturnalian," meaning "a period of unrestrained license and revelry." More...
In the News

Facebook Introduces Suicide Prevention Measures

The popular social networking site Facebook launched a new feature that aims to connect potentially suicidal users with crisis counselors. In recent years, a number of suicidal users have posted their final words on Facebook. The new tool allows users who see this to report the suicidal content to Facebook, which will then email the distressed user a direct link for a private online chat with a counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well as the organization's phone number. The service is available to Facebook users in the US and Canada. More...
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