Monthly Archives: September 2015

Film Icon James Dean Killed in Car Crash (1955)

Though he would become one of the most iconic actors in the history of Hollywood, Dean starred in only three movies—East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. The moody actor was acclaimed as the epitome of the mid-1950s, representing the alienated American youth of the time. In 1955, his career and life were cut short when he was killed in a highway crash while driving his Porsche to compete in a racing event. He was just 24. What “curse” is associated with his death? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Truman Capote (1924)

Capote’s first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, launched a literary career that included the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and his innovative “nonfiction novel” In Cold Blood, a chilling account of the senseless, brutal murder of a Kansas family that is widely considered his finest work. Capote cultivated celebrity and was famous in later years for his jet-setting lifestyle as well as his writing. Capote was reportedly the inspiration for a character in what famous novel? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

May I Take Your Order?

The drive-through system, developed in the US in the 1940s, has revolutionized business practices worldwide. Drive-through establishments provide service to customers who remain in their vehicles throughout the transactions. Typically, orders are taken over a speaker system and are picked up and paid for at a window. This speedy setup can be found at restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and liquor stores worldwide. What unconventional drive-through service is available in Las Vegas, NV? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Inventor Rudolf Diesel Disappears (1913)

A German thermal engineer, Diesel invented the internal-combustion engine that bears his name, producing a series of increasingly successful models that culminated in his demonstration in 1897 of a 25-horsepower, four-stroke, single vertical cylinder compression engine. It was an immediate success and earned him a fortune. In 1913, while traveling by steamer to London for a business meeting, Diesel disappeared, presumably having fallen, jumped, or been pushed overboard. Was his body ever found? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Election of the Lord Mayor of London

Since 1546, Michaelmas has been the day on which the Lord Mayor of London is elected each year. Two candidates are chosen from among the city aldermen who have already served a term of office as sheriff. The ceremony begins when the current Lord Mayor, two sheriffs, and 26 aldermen walk from the Mansion House to Guildhall. The candidates proceed to the Aldermen’s Court, a body of 13 aldermen whose job it is to select the mayor. Once the voting is over, an ornate horse-drawn coach carries the new mayor to the Mansion House, the Lord Mayor’s official residence since 1753. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Enrico Fermi (1901)

Italian-American physicist Enrico Fermi is known today as the “father of the atomic bomb.” Fermi conducted early experiments with neutrons and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics. After receiving the award in Stockholm, Fermi and his family chose not return to Fascist Italy and instead settled in the US. There, he created the first self-sustaining chain reaction in 1942 and later worked on the atomic bomb. What so-called paradox named for Fermi involves extraterrestrial intelligent life? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Extreme Ironing

The sport of extreme ironing, in which people take an iron and ironing board to a remote location and perform the typically mundane household chore in an extreme setting, was developed by Englishman Phil Shaw in 1997. Shaw’s 1999 international tour promoted the activity, which, according to the official website, is “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” In what adventurous settings has it been done? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

variola

Definition: (noun) An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples that blister, produce pus, and form pockmarks.
Synonyms: smallpox.
Usage: We could tell from the scars on the faces of the villagers that a variola epidemic had passed through the area in their lifetimes.
Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary