Monthly Archives: November 2018

Meteorite Strikes Ann Elizabeth Hodges (1954)

Thousands of people are struck by lightning every year, but in 1954, Ann Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, became the first person in modern history to be hit by a meteorite. Hodges was napping on her couch when she was rudely awakened by a grapefruit-sized meteorite crashing through her roof, bouncing off her radio, and striking her on the hip. The incident left her badly bruised. Who prevailed in the dispute between Hodges and her landlord over ownership of the meteorite? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Eton Wall Game

Every year on St. Andrew’s Day, England’s prestigious Eton College holds the famous Eton Wall Game, a variety of rugby that has its own highly technical rules and is different from all other forms of the game. The object of the game is to win goals by maneuvering the ball into the opposing team’s “calx,” designated by a chalk line on a garden wall at one end of the field and by a mark on a tree at the other. The game is made up of many scrimmages along the brick wall that marks off the college athletic field for which the game is named, and goals are almost never scored. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Joan Ganz Cooney (1929)

Cooney worked as a newspaper reporter and television publicist before becoming a producer for a public television station in New York City. There, she developed the concepts for children’s programming that led to the incorporation of the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) in 1968. Through innovative programs like Sesame Street and 3, 2, 1 Contact, CTW transformed children’s television and learning. What Emmy award-winning adult educational program did she help produce? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ice-Nine

Ice-nine is a fictional material conceived by author Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Cat’s Cradle. Described as an alternate solid form of water that is more stable than common ice, it is said to melt at 114.4° Fahrenheit (45.8° Celsius) rather than at 32° Fahrenheit (0° Celsius). When ice-nine comes into contact with liquid water, it causes the entire body of water to crystallize as ice-nine—with obvious far-reaching consequences. How did Vonnegut supposedly get the idea for the substance? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The November Uprising Begins (1830)

An attempt to overthrow Russian rule in Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine, the November Uprising was the result of long-simmering resentments that came to a head when news broke of a Russian plan to use the Polish Army to suppress revolutions in France and Belgium. It began when a group of Warsaw-based Polish Imperial Russian Army cadets took up arms against the Russians and drove the Russian troops from the city. The rebellion soon grew and spread. How long did the fighting continue? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

William Tubman's Birthday (Goodwill Day)

The influence of William V. S. Tubman (1895-1971), Liberia‘s president for 27 continuous years, was so great that his birthday was established as an official holiday while he still held office. The national legislature declared the holiday in response to a citizens’ appeal made in 1952. Decades after his death, Liberians still celebrate the national hero’s birthday, also known as Goodwill Day. The most elaborate festivities for Tubman’s birthday have always taken place in his native city, Harper, where activities may extend for three days. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Mildred Gillars, AKA Axis Sally (1900)

Mildred Sisk was born in Portland, Maine, but went to Europe in the 1920s, changed her name, and by 1934 was an English-language radio broadcaster in Berlin. During World War II, she broadcast Nazi propaganda aimed to demoralize American troops, who nicknamed her “Axis Sally.” On the radio, Gillars emphasized the infidelity of soldiers’ wives and sweethearts while they were overseas. She was convicted of treason in 1949 and spent 12 years in prison. What did she do after she was released? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary