Quote of the Day

Oscar Wilde
What a pity that in life we only get our lessons when they are of no use to us. Discuss

John Filson
So much does friendship triumph over misfortune, that sorrows and sufferings vanish at the meeting not only of real friends, but of the most distant acquaintances, and substitutes happiness in their room.

Virginia Woolf
Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter's evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.

This Day in History

Infamous Menendez Brothers Murder Their Parents (1989)
The trials of Lyle and Erik Menendez for the cold-blooded murders of their parents in their Beverly Hills mansion captivated the nation. The "bereaved" sons initially escaped suspicion, but in the months after the murders, they went on a spending spree with their parents' money, to the tune of over $1 million, that raised a few eyebrows. Still, the pair might never have been arrested, and ultimately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, had not who come forward? Discuss

Little Person Eddie Gaedel Has Major League Debut (1951)
At 43 inches (1.1 m) tall, Gaedel became the shortest player in the history of Major League Baseball when he made a single plate appearance for the St. Louis Browns in 1951. He arrived on the field inside a replica cake honoring the American League's 50th anniversary, amusing the crowd by popping out of it. No one suspected his true reason for being there. Browns owner Bill Veeck—a showman fond of publicity stunts—had put Gaedel on the roster. What happened when Gaedel stepped up to the plate?

Priest Urbain Grandier Burned at the Stake for Witchcraft (1634)
Grandier was a 17th-century French Catholic priest who was accused of bewitching the nuns of the Ursuline convent. Although he was acquitted by an ecclesiastical council, Grandier had published scathing criticisms of Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister and virtual ruler of France, who arranged to have him re-tried. Accused of having entered a pact with the devil, Grandier was tortured, found guilty, and burned at the stake. What was presented as evidence of the Grandier's diabolical pact?

Today

Raymond Poincaré (1860)
A career statesman, Poincaré ascended to the highest echelons of French government, serving as prime minister on several occasions and as president from 1913 to 1920. In the lead-up to World War I, Poincaré, a conservative and nationalist, worked to prepare France for possible hostilities, strengthening its military and its alliances with Russia and Britain. His efforts paid off, and Germany was defeated by the Allied Powers in 1918. What prompted him to send French troops into Germany in 1923? Discuss

Roman Vishniac (1897)
A Russian-American biologist, photographer, linguist, art historian, philosopher, and professor, Vishniac is best remembered for producing a photographic record of Central and Eastern European Jewish communities in the years preceding the Holocaust. His efforts were not without risk; he was imprisoned 11 times and forced to do hard labor in two concentration camps. He escaped to the US in 1940 and returned to his scientific roots, contributing to the development of what photographic techniques?

Liviu Librescu (1930)
A Holocaust survivor, Professor Liviu Librescu had seen more than his fair share of death before April 16, 2007—Holocaust Remembrance Day—when a gunman tried to enter his classroom at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, popularly known as Virginia Tech. Librescu jumped into action, blocking the door to give his students time to escape through the windows. His heroic actions cost him his life; he was shot five times by the gunman. How many of his students did he manage to save?