P. K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens skates around all of Tampa Bay before feeding a pass to Brendan Gallagher for a goal in the first-round playoff series.

[In Spartacus,] Crassus indicates his bisexuality to Antoninus by explaining that he has an appetite for snails as well as oysters, and the censors proposed that the scene might pass if “artichokes and truffles” were substituted for “snails and oysters” and the word “appetite” wasn’t used; but when the scene was reshot accordingly, the censors still wouldn’t pass it.

NORAD Santa Tracker

The program began on December 24, 1955, when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was misprinted and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.[3]

Search for ‘martial art’

martial arts (n.) Look up martial arts at Dictionary.com
1909, translating Japanese bujutsu; see martial.
tai chi (n.) Look up tai chi at Dictionary.com
1736, the “supreme ultimate” in Taoism and Neo-Confucianism, from Chinese tai “extreme” + ji “limit.” As the name of a form of martial arts training (said to have been developed by a priest in the Sung dynasty, 960-1279) it is first attested 1962, in full, tai chi ch’uan, with Chinese quan “fist.”
basket (n.) Look up basket at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Anglo-French bascat, origin obscure despite much speculation. On one theory from Latin bascauda “kettle, table-vessel,” said by the Roman poet Martial to be from Celtic British and perhaps cognate with Latin fascis “bundle, faggot,” in which case it probably originally meant “wicker basket.” But OED frowns on this, and there is no evidence of such a word in Celtic unless later words in Irish and Welsh, counted as borrowings from English, are original.
Alyssum (n.) Look up Alyssum at Dictionary.com
genus name for plants of the mustard family, 1550s, from Latin alysson, from Greek alysson, which is perhaps the neuter of adjective alyssos “curing madness,” from privative prefix a- + lyssa “madness, martial rage, fury, rabies,” literally “wolf-ness,” related to lykos “wolf” (see wolf (n.)).

plagiarism (n.) Look up plagiarism at Dictionary.com
1620s, from ism + plagiary (n.) “plagiarist, literary thief” (1590s), from Latin plagiarius “kidnapper, seducer, plunderer, one who kidnaps the child or slave of another,” used by Martial in the sense of “literary thief,” from plagiare “to kidnap,” plagium “kidnapping,” from plaga “snare, hunting net,” perhaps from PIE *plag (on notion of “something extended”), from root *plak- (1) “to be flat” (see placenta).
felon (n.) Look up felon at Dictionary.com
late 13c., from Old French felon “evil-doer, scoundrel, traitor, rebel, the Devil” (9c.), from Medieval Latin fellonem (nominative fello) “evil-doer,” of uncertain origin, perhaps from Frankish *fillo, *filljo “person who whips or beats, scourger” (source of Old High German fillen “to whip”); or from Latin fel “gall, poison,” on the notion of “one full of bitterness.”

Another theory (advanced by Professor R. Atkinson of Dublin) traces it to Latin fellare “to suck” (see fecund), which had an obscene secondary meaning in classical Latin (well-known to readers of Martial and Catullus), which would make a felon etymologically a “cock-sucker.” OED inclines toward the “gall” explanation, but finds Atkinson’s “most plausible” of the others.
play (n.) Look up play at Dictionary.com
Old English plega (West Saxon), plæga (Anglian) “quick motion; recreation, exercise, any brisk activity” (the latter sense preserved in swordplay, etc.), from or related to Old English plegan (see play (v.)). Meaning “dramatic performance” is attested by early 14c., perhaps late Old English. Meaning “free or unimpeded movement” of mechanisms, etc., is from c.1200. By early Middle English it could mean variously, “a game, a martial sport, activity of children, joke or jesting, revelry, sexual indulgence.” Sporting sense “the playing of a game” first attested mid-15c.; sense of “specific maneuver or attempt” is from 1868. To be in play (of a hit ball, etc.) is from 1788. Play-by-play is attested from 1927. Play on words is from 1798. Play-money is attested from 1705 as “money won in gambling,” by 1920 as “pretend money.”
cat (n.) Look up cat at Dictionary.com
Old English catt (c.700), from West Germanic (c.400-450), from Proto-Germanic *kattuz (cognates: Old Frisian katte, Old Norse köttr, Dutch kat, Old High German kazza, German Katze), from Late Latin cattus.

The near-universal European word now, it appeared in Europe as Latin catta (Martial, c.75 C.E.), Byzantine Greek katta (c.350) and was in general use on the continent by c.700, replacing Latin feles. Probably ultimately Afro-Asiatic (compare Nubian kadis, Berber kadiska, both meaning “cat”). Arabic qitt “tomcat” may be from the same source. Cats were domestic in Egypt from c.2000 B.C.E., but not a familiar household animal to classical Greeks and Romans. The nine lives have been proverbial since at least 1560s.

The Late Latin word also is the source of Old Irish and Gaelic cat, Welsh kath, Breton kaz, Italian gatto, Spanish gato, French chat (12c.). Independent, but ultimately from the same source are words in the Slavic group: Old Church Slavonic kotuka, kotel’a, Bulgarian kotka, Russian koška, Polish kot, along with Lithuanian kate and non-Indo-European Finnish katti, which is from Lithuanian.

Extended to lions, tigers, etc. c.1600. As a term of contempt for a woman, from early 13c. Slang sense of “prostitute” is from at least c.1400. Slang sense of “fellow, guy,” is from 1920, originally in U.S. Black English; narrower sense of “jazz enthusiast” is recorded from 1931.

Cat’s paw (1769, but cat’s foot in the same sense, 1590s) refers to old folk tale in which the monkey tricks the cat into pawing chestnuts from a fire; the monkey gets the nuts, the cat gets a burnt paw. Cat bath “hurried or partial cleaning” is from 1953. Cat burglar is from 1907, so called for stealth. Cat-witted “small-minded, obstinate, and spiteful” (1670s) deserved to survive. For Cat’s meow, cat’s pajamas, see bee’s knees.

Mr. Macintosh

via Stephen


Early in the development of Macintosh, Steve Jobs wanted to add “a mysterious character” to the first OS, according to an early developer from the 80’s, Andy Hertzfeld. Mr. Macintosh is a mysterious little man who lives inside each Macintosh. He pops up every once in a while, when you least expect it, and then winks at you and disappears again. It will be so quick that you won’t be sure if you saw him or not… One out of every 1000–2000 times that you pull down a menu, instead of the normal commands, you’ll get Mr. Macintosh, leaning against the wall of the menu. He’ll wave at you, then quickly disappear. You’ll try to get him to come back, but you won’t be able to. Steve was really excited to get this mysterious character in the OS, so he hired Belgian cartoonist Jean-Michel Folon. Mr. Macintosh was intended to mysteriously appear every “One thousand times or so a person used an OS UI element such as the menu bar.” Code for Mr. Macintosh is named “MrMacHook” and exists in the first version of Mac OS. Animations were never made for Mr. Macintosh because the character was scrapped from the OS, as the images were too large to fit in the available storage space.[129]

To the Editors:

In his fascinating essay Edward Mendelson gives examples of W.H. Auden’s “gifts of time, money, and sympathy” [“The Secret Auden,” NYR, March 20]. Although by its nature not entirely secret, then and since, in 1935 Auden gave himself in matrimony, to Erika, Thomas Mann’s daughter, to provide her with British nationality when the Nazis were about to revoke her German citizenship. In the following year he persuaded John Hampson to marry a friend of Erika, the actress Therese Giehse, who was also under threat for her anti-Nazi activities. Auden paid all the expenses involved. Hampson told a mutual friend who had tried to dissuade him: “Wystan says, ‘What are buggers for?’”

David Martin
Sheffield, England

Edward Mendelson replies:

David Martin’s letter is a welcome reminder of Auden’s generosity in his early years. Erika Mann first asked Christopher Isherwood if he would marry her so that she could get a British passport. He refused but said he would ask Auden, who cabled back DELIGHTED, and arranged a wedding party at the pub …

From Henry Green, ‘Nothing’ (1950)

She watched a couple up at the bar with a miniature poodle on a stool in between. Its politeness and general agitation seemed to be half human. But when a man came in with a vast brindled bull terrier on a lead as thick as an ox’s tail the smaller dog turned her back to the drinks, ignored her owners at once, and gazed at the killer with thrilled lack lustre eyes. For his part the bull terrier lay down as soon as the the man on the other end of his lead let him, and, with an air of acute embarrassment gazed hard at the poodle, then away again, then, as though he could not help it, back once more. He started to whine. Miss Pomfret smiled. The other occupants began paying attention to these interested animals.
  “Rather sweet, isn’t he?” she said.
  “Who? Your father?”
  “Oh no, Daddy always is. The bull terrier I mean.”
  “So long as he doesn’t take it into his head to murder that other wretched brute in front of our very eyes.”
  “But he won’t Philip. She’s a lady.”

John Rawls: Six Distinctions of Baseball

First: the rules of the game are in equilibrium: that is, from the start, the diamond was made just the right size, the pitcher’s mound just the right distance from home plate, etc., and this makes possible the marvelous plays, such as the double play. The physical layout of the game is perfectly adjusted to the human skills it is meant to display and to call into graceful exercise. Whereas, basketball, e.g., is constantly (or was then) adjusting its rules to get them in balance.

Second: the game does not give unusual preference or advantage to special physical types, e.g., to tall men as in basketball. All sorts of abilities can find a place somewhere, the tall and the short etc. can enjoy the game together in different positions.

Third: the game uses all parts of the body: the arms to throw, the legs to run, and to swing the bat, etc.; per contra soccer where you can’t touch the ball. It calls upon speed, accuracy of throw, gifts of sight for batting, shrewdness for pitchers and catchers, etc. And there are all kinds of strategies.

Fourth: all plays of the game are open to view: the spectators and the players can see what is going on. Per contra football where it is hard to know what is happening in the battlefront along the line. Even the umpires can’t see it all, so there is lots of cheating etc. And in basketball, it is hard to know when to call a foul. There are close calls in baseball too, but the umps do very well on the whole, and these close calls arise from the marvelous timing built into the game and not from trying to police cheaters etc.

Fifth: baseball is the only game where scoring is not done with the ball, and this has the remarkable effect of concentrating the excitement of plays at different points of the field at the same time. Will the runner cross the plate before the fielder gets to the ball and throws it to home plate, and so on.

Finally, there is the factor of time, the use of which is a central part of any game. Baseball shares with tennis the idea that time never runs out, as it does in basketball and football and soccer. This means that there is always time for the losing side to make a comeback. The last of the ninth inning becomes one of the most potentially exciting parts of the game. And while the same sometimes happens in tennis also, it seems to happen less often. Cricket, much like baseball (and indeed I must correct my remark above that baseball is the only game where scoring is not done with the ball), does not have a time limit.

From Alfred Kazin, ‘A Walker in the City’ (1951)

By sundown the streets were empty, the curtains had been drawn, the world put to rights. Even the kitchen walls had been scrubbed and now gleamed in the Sabbath candles. On the long white tablecloth were the “company” dishes, filled for some gefillte fish on lettuce leaves, ringed by red horseradish, sour and half-sour pickles, tomato salad with a light vinegar dressing; for others, with chopped liver in a bed of lettuce leaves and white radishes; the long white khalleh, the Sabbath loaf; chicken soup with noodles and dumplings; chicken, meat loaf, prunes and sweet potatoes that had been baked all day into an open pie; compote of prunes and quince, apricots and orange rind; applesauce; a great brown nut-cake filled with almonds, the traditional lekakh; all surrounded with glasses of port wine, seltzer bottles with their nozzles staring down at us waiting to be pressed; a samovar of Russian tea, svetouchnee from the little red box, always served in tall glasses, with lemon slices floating on top. My father and mother sipped it in Russian fashion, through lumps of sugar held between the teeth.