Monthly Archives: December 2016

Arthur Guinness Signs a 9,000-Year Lease on His Brewery (1759)

Guinness is a celebrated Irish dry stout that originated in the Dublin brewery of Arthur Guinness. When Guinness acquired his brewery, he famously signed a 9,000-year lease that fixed his annual rent at 45 pounds. From 1799, the brewery produced only its distinctive, dark, creamy Guinness stout, which became known as the national beer of Ireland. Although Guinness stout may appear to be black, it is officially a very dark shade of what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

New Year's Eve (Spain)

In Spain, it is customary for families to gather on New Year’s Eve in small groups to celebrate the coming of the New Year. Grapes are distributed, and, when midnight arrives, everyone eats one grape for each stroke of the clock. Eating all 12 grapes before the clock is finished striking ensures good luck in the New Year. The grapes are usually washed down with muscatel wine. So firmly entrenched is the custom that in theaters and cinemas, the show is often interrupted at midnight on New Year’s Eve so that the audience can eat the grapes and drink the wine they’ve brought with them. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Elizabeth Arden (1884)

Born in Canada as Florence Nightingale Graham, Arden moved to New York City in 1907 and under her new name opened a beauty salon. Her business became an international empire based on salons, hundreds of “scientifically formulated” beauty products, and an exclusive image—all packaged in her trademark pink. Arden made makeup acceptable to “respectable” American women, introducing them to eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick tinted to match their outfits. What poem inspired her business name? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Harold "Kim" Philby

Initially a journalist, Philby became a high-ranking member of British intelligence and is believed to have provided the USSR with classified information that caused the deaths of scores of American and British agents. Always in danger of having his cover blown by Soviet defectors, Philby himself defected to the USSR in 1963, after he was exposed as a member of the Cambridge Five spy ring. Philby died in Moscow in 1988. What killed him? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Bo Diddley (1928)

Diddley was a pioneering African-American rock-and-roll singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was known for his pounding signature beat, guitar effects, and jive talk, and he was a powerful influence on generations of rockers, including Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones. Nicknamed after the single-stringed folk instrument called a diddley bow, he studied the violin at his Baptist Church in Chicago and began performing in South Side clubs, playing what unique type of guitar? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Acheulean Tools

Acheulean tools are the stone hand axes, cleavers, and other core tools created by prehistoric hominins across Africa, Asia, and Europe during the Lower Paleolithic Period. These tools date from around 1.5 million to 150,000 years ago, and some believe their development represents the genesis of human art, economy, and social organization. Curiously, some sites contain hundreds of hand-axes that are impractically large and apparently unused. What are some theories about their function? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary