" Quotation, n.: the act of repeating erroneously the words of another. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega Surrenders to US

The reign of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega had been rife with turmoil, corruption, and diplomatic tension with the US, and his decision to void the results of the 1989 Panamanian presidential election, which had been won by a US-backed candidate, brought matters to a head. That December, US President George H.W. Bush sent troops to depose him. Noriega initially went into hiding, but he surrendered days later and was taken to Miami to face drug trafficking charges. Where had he been hiding?



Thieves' Cant

Dating to the early 16th century, thieves' cant was a secret language used in the criminal underworld of Great Britain by thieves, beggars, vagrants, and supposedly Gypsies. Beginning in the mid-1500s, numerous "canting dictionaries" were published, and the code words of the thieves' language came to be widely known. Though the argot is almost totally obsolete today, what small group of people was reported in 2009 to have revived thieves' cant for everyday use?

Born on a day like today


Anna May Wong

One of the first Chinese-American movie stars, Wong played her first leading role, at age 17, in The Toll of the Sea. At that time, most Asian character roles were played by white actors in "yellowface." As a result, Wong was frequently passed over for leading roles due to the anti-miscegenation laws that prevented her from sharing an on-screen kiss with a white actor. Nevertheless, her acting skills and impeccable fashion sense made her a star. How was she received in China?

Last updated on Thursday, 3rd January 2013

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