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Word of the Day, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015



Word of the Day

phylactery 

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Definition: (noun) Either of two small leather boxes, each containing strips of parchment inscribed with quotations from the Hebrew Scriptures, one of which is strapped to the forehead and the other to the left arm; traditionally worn by Jewish men during morning worship, except on the Sabbath and holidays.
Synonyms: tefillin
Usage: Just before his bar mitzvah, David got a brand new set of phylacteries.

Article of the Day

The Tar

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The tar is a long-necked lute found in Iran and throughout the Caucasus region. Its music was believed to cure a number of physical maladies and induce philosophical moods that compel listeners to reflect upon life. The tar's double-bowl shape is carved from mulberry wood, and a thin membrane of stretched lambskin covers the top. It has a number of adjustable frets as well as three double courses of strings. Tar, Persian for string, is the root for the names of what other instruments?
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This Day in History

Blackbeard Killed in Battle with Royal Navy (1718)

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Before turning to piracy, Blackbeard, whose real name was probably Edward Teach, likely worked as a privateer in the War of the Spanish Succession. While marauding in the West Indies and along the Atlantic coast, Blackbeard enjoyed the protection of North Carolina's governor—who partook of the booty. A British naval force eventually killed Blackbeard and took his head back to England as proof. Legend has since romanticized the notoriously cruel pirate. When was his wrecked ship rediscovered?
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Today's Birthday

Charles de Gaulle (1890)

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De Gaulle was a French general and statesman. He left France after it fell to the Germans in WWII and started the Free French movement in England. He returned to France after the liberation of Paris and headed two provisional governments before resigning in 1946. When an insurrection in Algeria threatened to bring civil war to France, he returned to government, helped establish the Fifth Republic, and became its first president in 1958. What was his role in the "Empty Chair Crisis"?
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Today's Holiday

St. Cecilia's Day

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According to her apocryphal acts, which date from the fifth century, St. Cecilia was a Roman from a noble family who was put to death for her Christian beliefs; how she became the patron saint of music and musicians is not exactly known. In 1683, a musical society was formed in London especially for the celebration of St. Cecilia's Day. It held a festival each year at which a special ode was sung. The poet John Dryden composed his "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day" in 1687 for this purpose. There are still many choirs and musical societies that bear her name today.
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Quote of the Day

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Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

In the News

This Animal Has a Suit of Armor with Hundreds of Built-In Eyes

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Many animals are covered in protective armor—shells, scales, plates, and frills that protect their soft bodies. But one group of little-known sea creatures called chitons have evolved armor that's unlike anything else in nature. Because it contains eyes. Hundreds ...
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