" Man's desire for the approval of his fellows is so strong, his dread of their censure so violent, that he himself has brought his enemy within his gates; and it keeps watch over him, vigilant always in the interests of its master to crush any half-formed desire to break away from the herd. "
W. Somerset Maugham

Back in the day


Oldsmobile Builds Its Last Car

Founded in 1897 by Ransom Olds, Oldsmobile—not Ford—was the first company to mass produce automobiles. After it became part of General Motors in 1908, it shifted to making luxury vehicles. Sales soared in the 1970s and 80s—the Cutlass was the top-selling car in America in 1976—but by the 90s, Oldsmobile had lost its market to other GM divisions. Amid declining profitability, GM discontinued the line in 2004 after 107 years. The first Oldsmobile was the Curved Dash. What was the last?



Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac is an 1897 play by Edmond Rostand whose title character was inspired by a 17th-century writer with an exceptionally large nose. Rostand's play, written entirely in rhymed couplets, relates the tale of Cyrano, a soldier and poet, who falls in love with the beautiful Roxane. Rather than woo Roxane himself, the large-nosed Cyrano provides his handsome friend, Christian, with the dialogue to win her heart. What word did this play introduce into the English language?

Born on a day like today


Daniel Michael Blake Day-Lewis

The son of a British poet laureate and an actress, Day-Lewis is one of the most respected and critically acclaimed actors today. He is also one of the most selective, working only sporadically and maintaining a low profile between films. The intense method actor has won two Academy Awards for best actor, for 1989's My Left Foot and 2007's There Will Be Blood, and is known for his diverse and convincing roles. In 1997, he disappeared and became an apprentice in Italy—in what trade?

Last updated on Sunday, 29th April 2012

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