Monthly Archives: August 2020

Onam

Onam is a harvest festival and a celebration of ancient King Mahabali in the state of Kerala in India. It is Kerala’s biggest festival, lasting 10 days and featuring dancing, feasting, and displays of elaborately designed carpets of flowers. It’s famous for the races of the so-called snake boats held at Champakulam, Aranmulai, and Kottayam. King Mahabali, who was sent into exile in the nether world when gods grew jealous of him, is allowed to return to his people once a year; the boat races, cleaned homes, carpets of flowers, clapping dances by girls, and other events are the welcome for him. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Commodus (161 CE)

The son of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus was a Roman emperor who ruled from 180 to 192 CE—a period some historians consider the beginning of the empire’s decline. Though his reign was fairly peaceful, Commodus was a tyrant who spent lavishly on gladiatorial combats, persecuted the Senate, and tried to rename Rome after himself. He fancied himself a gladiator, frequently killing exotic animals. His mistress and advisors had him strangled. He considered himself the reincarnation of what mythical hero? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Wilkins Micawber

Micawber is a character from Charles Dickens’s 1850 novel David Copperfield. Though eternally optimistic, he persistently falls behind financially. As a result, he is sent to a debtor’s prison, much like Dickens’s father, the real-life inspiration for Micawber. He eventually exposes his employer, Uriah Heep, as a criminal, and is able to start a new life in Australia. One of Micawber’s memorable quotes pertaining to personal finance is known as the Micawber Principle. What is it? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Thurgood Marshall Confirmed as First African-American US Supreme Court Justice (1967)

The great-grandson of a slave and the first African American to serve on the US Supreme Court, Marshall was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson at the height of the Civil Rights movement. As a lawyer, he won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the Supreme Court, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education and others that established equal protection for African Americans in housing, voting, employment, and education. What church has included Marshall in its calendar of saints? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Alien Hand Syndrome

Normally, the two sides of the brain are able to coordinate both sides of the body by communicating. When the connection between them is damaged—such as during surgery or a stroke—alien hand syndrome can result. The rare neurological disorder causes one of the patient’s hands to appear to have a mind of its own. The hand performs inexplicable tasks, sometimes undoing what the other has done, without the patient’s conscious control. What household item can reduce symptoms when placed on the hand? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration

This festival features 11 days and nights of pageantry and competition for more than 2,000 Tennessee Walking Horses in Shelbyville, Tennessee, the “Walking Horse Capital of the World.” The horses compete for more than $650,000 in prizes and the title of World Grand Champion. The celebration is the nation’s largest horse show in terms of spectators and the second largest in numbers of entered horses. Besides the horse shows, the celebration features an equestrian trade fair, horse sales, an arts-and-crafts festival, and America’s largest barn decoration competition. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Baikonur Cosmodrome

Built in the 1950s by the Soviet Union, the Baikonur Cosmodrome is an aerospace launch facility located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan. The world’s first artificial satellite and first manned spacecraft were launched from there, and the base is still used by the Russian space program. Though the city that sprang up around the facility now shares the name Baikonur, it was originally Tyuratam. Baikonur was a mining town about 200 miles (320 km) away. Why was the base named for a distant town? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary