Wordy Wednesday: Letters count!


It’s Wordy Wednesday, and time to pay home to SCRABBLE, the great American board game which was the brainchild of architect Alfred Mosher Butts.

The Great Depression had left Mr. Butts unemployed in 1931. We suppose that he wanted to build something useful, even if structures for business or homes weren’t an option. His decision was to develop a board game. He chose a game that would combine the vocabulary skills of crossword puzzles and word games, such as anagrams. Initially the game was called Lexico and then “Criss-Cross Words.”

Although very popular today, the game was not an immediate hit. Butts and his entrepreneur partner James Brunot changed the design and rules of the game and renamed it SCRABBLE. The game, which received its trademark in 1948, chugged along without real success.

In the early 1950s, however, the word “luck” came their way when the president of Macy’s discovered the game and ordered it for his store. SCRABBLE’s popularity soared. In 1954 alone, some four million games were sold.

Today, SCRABBLE has been translated into 22 languages, and international tournaments are held. It remains popular with new generations, perhaps because of its ability to be played online and on the go!

Check out : http://goo.gl/oTvVj5 at Merriam-Webster for a list of 10 secrets of successful SCRABBLE players.

(Illustration by Keerati, freedigitalphotos.net)

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Toss-Up Tuesday: Who’s an April Fool?


Beware! It’s that day of the year when you can be duped by practical jokes and other’ people’s form of humor. According to “This Day in History” at www.history.com, April Fool’s Day began its observance on April 1, 1700, with English pranksters playing practical jokes on each other.

Also known as All Fools’ Day, the origins of the day are unknown. Some scholars believe that the day began with France’s change from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one in the 16th century. Others believe the observance comes from the celebration of ancient festivals.

But one thing that we do know is this: The popularity of the modern April Fools’ Day was spread through Britain during the 18th century.

April Fool’s Day are three words in our vocabulary that many of us would prefer to be lost.  For gosh sakes, look at me! My Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, has popularized the words via my costume. Just wait for the surprise she’ll get when she returns home!

To know more about April Fool’s Day, check out http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.


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Memorable Monday: Eiffel’s last word!

“I ought to be jealous of the tower. She is more famous than I am.” — Gustave Eiffel

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Eiffel Tower.

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Eiffel Tower.

We are celebrating the 125th anniversary of the March 31, 1889, dedication of the Eiffel Tower.

One of the world’s most famous landmarks, the tower was built to honor the centenary of the French Revolution and to be the opening arch to the 1889 World’s Fair. A design competition was held by the French government, which was planning an international exposition for the centenary.

More than 100 designs submitted, but the committee charged with the competition chose the design by engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and then built the monument. Well-known for his bridge-building expertise, Eiffel designed the framework for the Statue of Liberty. The wrought iron tower featuring a lattice work design was 10,000 feet tall, and, at the time, was the tallest structure in the world.

The tower’s was opposed by many in the French arts community. Some opposed its design, others believed that it would mar the beauty of Paris, and some were concerned about its safety.

Undaunted by the protests, Eiffel moved forward. The tower was built in two years time and was under budget. At the dedication, Eiffel said the tower represented “… not only the art of the modern engineer, but also the century of Industry and Science in which we are living, and for which the way was prepared by the great scientific movement of the eighteenth century and by the Revolution of 1789, to which this monument will be built as an expression of France’s gratitude.”

Just in time for the 125th anniversary, a news article reported last week that more photos of the Eiffel Tower are shared on Instagram than of any other landmark in the world. Times Square finished second; Big Ben was third.

And to those naysayers: We say that Gustave Eiffel has had the last word on the value of his work!

(“Eiffel Tower Paris At Dusk” by Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee, freedigitalphotos.net)



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Terrific Tuesday: “Sting Like a Bee”


It was on this day 50 years ago that a 22-year-old Kentucky native, named Cassius Clay, stunned the odds makers and boxing enthusiasts by knocking out Sonny Liston, the world heavyweight boxing champion.

Liston was a huge favorite to win, but the ever-confident Clay predicted a win for himself, boasting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and knock out Liston in the eighth round.

It didn’t take that long for the young boxer to claim victory. Liston fell in the seventh round. The world had a new heavyweight boxing champion.

Clay joined the Nation of Islam shortly after the win and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. His refusal to join the U.S. Army and fight in the Vietnam War in 1967 was controversial and led to U.S. boxing authorities removing his title of world champion. Although Ali, considered a conscientious objector, was sentenced to five years in prison and given a $10,000 fine, he appealed the case and remained out on bail. The decision was reversed in 1971 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevertheless, Ali’s beliefs cost him years of prime boxing time and money.

Seldom at a loss for words, Ali was a colorful sports champion. “When you are as great as I am, it is hard to be humble.”

Yet, he also gave sound advice: “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”

Among his inspirational quotes is “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ ”

Ali did just that. He became one of the world’s most recognized sports figures and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.


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Memorable Monday: Who Are We Celebrating?

A PBS program offers interesting information on  President's Day. Check it out.

A PBS program offers interesting information on
President’s Day. Check it out.

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book to read. — Abraham Lincoln

On this Presidents’ Day, many people believe that we are celebrating two of America’s greatest Presidents — George Washington and Abraham Lincoln — or even making this a generalization of observing the accomplishments of all U.S. Presidents.

Not so! Under a federal law passed in 1968, the third Monday of February was officially designated as “Washington’s birthday.” Lincoln wasn’t even mentioned.
Even if the day doesn’t officially belong to Lincoln, the President is remembered for his pithy quotes and appreciation of education, as well as his leadership through a turbulent time in our nation’s history.
Here are a few quotes that we like:
  • “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
  • “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
  • “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

To know more about Presidents’ day, visit http://goo.gl/rAHQDN.


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Memorable Monday: What accent?

In another era, I might have been featured in an oil painting for my American Revolutionary War heritage. Surely poodles were part of the liberty picture!

In another era, I might have been featured in an oil painting for my American Revolutionary War heritage. Surely poodles were part of the liberty picture!

My Editorial Assistant, Mom Karen, has been woefully neglectful when it comes to my blog. That is changing this week.

I am pushing her out of her January slump to continue my presence on the Worldwide Web! Hello, Mom, I must be seen and heard and read!

Therefore, in keeping with Mom Karen’s interest in all things historical and her love for her ancestors’ role in the American Revolutionary War, we have discovered this great article on the loss of Americans’ British accent.

This is a fascinating take on why some of you talk the way that you do!

Check out http://goo.gl/4YQh9 to know more about this language we call “English.”


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