Archive for December, 2018

It’s New Year’s Eve!!

December 31, 2018

Some interesting facts about New Year’s Eve . . .

  • Samoa and parts of Kiribati welcome the New Year first, while American Samoa and the Baker Island are among the last.
  • The earliest recorded celebration was believed to have been in Mesopotamia (2000 B.C.).
  • New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday in the world.
  • New Year resolutions are common (note: according to a Nielsen’s study from 2016, only 64 percent last longer than the first month, only 46 percent last longer than six months. Even more discouraging is the statistic that only 14 percent of people over 50 actually achieve their resolution compared to 39 percent of people in their 20s).
  • Popping open a bottle of champagne is fairly common as well.
  • Large public gatherings with fireworks displays include:
    • Times Square (New York, New York, United States)
    • The Brandenberg Gate (Berlin, Germany)
    • Westminster Clock Tower, aka Big Ben (London, United Kingdom)
    • Sydney Harbor (Sydney, Australia)
    • Jumeirah Beach and the Burj Al Arab (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Source: JustFunFacts

College Basketball 2019, Week Eight!

December 30, 2018

I am posting my update this week a day earlier than usual.  The Spartans had only one game this week, facing the Huskies of Northern Illinois whom they defeated easily.

The Big Ten currently has six (6) teams among the AP top-25:  Michigan [#2], Michigan State [#8], Ohio State [#13], Wisconsin [#15], Indiana [#23], and Iowa [#24].  And, there are only four (4) unbeaten teams remaining among the top-25: Michigan [#2], Virginia [#4], Nevada [#6], and Houston [#22].

Next up for the Spartans: at home against the Wildcats of Northwestern (Wednesday) then on the road to visit the Buckeyes of Ohio State (Saturday).

The upsets this week included:
Wisconsin (#15) losing to unranked Western Kentucky.
Arizona State (#17) losing to unranked Princeton by one (1) point.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Iowa (#24) defeating unranked Bryant by five (5) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:









Commonly Misspelled and Confused – Letter D!

December 29, 2018

Here is a list of some of the more commonly misspelled/misused words (courtesy of the Internet Accuracy Project) beginning with the letter “D.”  Enjoy!

Commonly misspelled words

D – daiquiri, Dalmatian, deceive, defendant, deferred, definite, dependent, descend, desiccate, description, desirable, despair, desperate, deterrence, develop, development, difference, dilemma, dining, diorama, disappear, disappearance, disappoint, disastrous, discipline, disease, dispensable, dissatisfied, dissipate, dominant, drunkenness, dumbbell.

Commonly Confused Words

DAM – a barrier built to hold back water
The entire valley flooded when the dam collapsed.

DAMN – to condemn; to not care at all
Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

DESERT – arid region; abandon
Contrary to popular belief, many deserts are teeming with plant and animal life.

DESSERT – a sweet course served at the end of a meal
The easiest way to differentiate the spelling of these two words, is to remember that you always want two servings of that scrumptious dessert. The scorching desert is spelled with just one “s” but that delicious dessert is spelled with two.

Source: Internet Accuracy Project’s commonly misspelled, confused and misused words is a helpful collection of some of the most commonly misspelled, confused and misused words.

Fun Fact Friday, Number One Hundred Seven!

December 28, 2018

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “insects, and related things.”  Do you know . . . what sort of creature is a “daddy longlegs?”

Despite having eight legs like a spider, it is not a spider.  And, while they belong to the same class as spiders, Arachnida, daddy longlegs belong to a separate order, Phalangida (spider belong to the order Araneida).

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Ancient History, Number Five!

December 27, 2018

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from December 27th, that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • Ferdinand I of Castile and León dies.  He is succeeded by his sons, Sancho II in Castile and Alfonso VI in León.  (1065 AD)
  • in a diet (legislative assembly) at Augsburg, King Rudolf I of Germany invests his sons Albert and Rudolf of Habsburg with the duchies of Austria and Styria respectively.  (1282 AD)
  • Francesco Spinola leads a rebellion in Genoa which recovers the city’s independence from Milan.  (1435 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.

Uncommonly Common!

December 26, 2018

Some words that you encounter just make you smile.  Then when you discover some of their synonyms, you smile even wider!  Prosaic is one of those words for me.


\ proh-zey-ik \, adjective;

  1. commonplace or dull; matter-of-fact or unimaginative.
  2. of or having the character or form of prose, the ordinary form of spoken or written language, rather than of poetry.

Other words you may consider using (depending on your context/usage, of course):

Source: The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich. Definitions courtesy of

Merry Christmas 2018!

December 25, 2018

On this joyous day, enjoy a moment of the Piano Guys’ accompanying Placido Domingo in this beautiful rendition of “Silent Night.”


College Baskteball 2019, Week Seven!

December 24, 2018

It was a slow week in college basketball, but picked up a bit over the weekend.  The Spartans faced and easily handled the Grizzlies of Oakland on Friday.  The Big Ten currently has seven (7) teams among the AP top-25:  Michigan [#4], Michigan State [#11], Ohio State [#15], Wisconsin [#16], Indiana [#22], Iowa [#23] and Nebraska [#25].  Four (4) teams remain unbeaten as we head into the final week of December: Michigan (#4), Virginia (#5), Nevada (#6), and Houston (#21).

Next up for the Spartans: a home game against the Huskies of Northern Illinois (Saturday).

The upsets this week included:
Kansas (#1) losing to Arizona State (#18) by four (4) points.
Auburn (#7) losing to unranked NC State.
North Carolina (#9) losing to Kentucky (#19).
Buffalo (#14) losing to Marquette (#20).
Arizona State (#18) losing to unranked Vanderbilt.
Furman (#24) losing to unranked LSU.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Nevada (#6) defeating unranked Akron by six (6) points.
Auburn (#7) defeating unranked Murray State by five (5) points.
Mississippi State (#17) defeating unranked Wright State by four (4) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Duke (#2) defeating Texas Tech (#12).

Marriage Advice, Number Five!

December 23, 2018

Here is the fifth installment of advice on How to be Happy Though Married.  Enjoy!

The Pleasures of Marriage
“Five or six years of married life will often reduce a naturally irascible man to so angelic a condition that it would hardly be safe to trust him with a pair of wings.”  (How to Be Happy Though Married, 1895)

The Pains of Marriage
“What fearful disorder must prevail in that domestic circle where the presiding influence of woman is not felt, or where it is felt only as an evil genius exerting a fitful and pernicious control.”  (Counsels to a Newly Wedded Pair, 1836)

Hints for Husbands
“Do not expect her to smile in unmoved serenity when children are ungovernable, servants are in high rebellion, and husband comes home cross and hungry.”  (Wedlock, or the Right Relation of the Sexes, 1874)

Hints for Wives
“Don’t sit up till he comes home from the club; better be in bed and pretend to be asleep.  If you must be awake, seem to be glad he came home early.  He will probably think you an idiot; but that’s inevitable anyway.”  (Advice in the Isle of Man Times, 1895)

The Marital Bed
“When the husband cometh into his wife’s chamber, he must entertain her with all kinds of dalliance, wanton behaviour, and allurements to venery.  But if he perceive her to be slow, and more cold, he must cherish, embrace and tickle her.”  (The Art of Begetting Handsome Children, 1860)

Source: How to Be Happy Though Married: Matrimonial Strife Through the Ages, compiled by Emily Brand.

Winter is Here!

December 22, 2018

Yesterday marked the official start of the winter season.  Are you prepared?  Here is a wonderful infographic (courtesy of Eastern Mountain Sport Schools) that highlights “the good, the bad, and the ugly” about winter.  Enjoy!