Dec. 18

WORD OF THE DAY

saltation [sal-tey-shuh n] (noun) a dancing, hopping, or leaping movement.

FILM FACTS

Which actor won an Academy Award for playing Santa Claus?

A. Edmund Gwenn

B. Ward Bond

C. Walter Brennan

D. Walter Huston

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

100 percent: Ta’u Island in American Samoa runs on 100 percent solar energy.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 18, 1620: The British ship Mayflower docked at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, and its passengers prepared to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

Movie actor Brad Pitt (54)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Leadership is influence.” — John C. Maxwell

TRIVIA ANSWER

A. Edmund Gwenn

Dec. 19

WORD OF THE DAY

whipcord [hwip-kawrd] (noun) a cotton, swollen, or worsted fabric with a steep, diagonally ribbed surface.

FILM FACTS

Who played the fake Santa in the movie “Trading Places”?

A. John Belushi

B. Bill Murray

C. Chevy Chase

D. Dan Aykroyd

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

12: A survey found that Brazilians shower about 12 times a week.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 19, 1972: The Apollo lunar-landing program ends when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splash down safely in the Pacific Ocean.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

Movie actor Jake Gyllenhaal (37)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” — Og Mandino

TRIVIA ANSWER

D. Dan Aykroyd

Dec. 20

WORD OF THE DAY

oleic [oh-lee-ik] (adjective) pertaining to or derived from oleic acid.

FILM FACTS

In which movie does Billy Bob Thornton impersonate Santa Claus?

A. “Evil Santa”

B. “Bad Santa”

C. “Wicked Santa”

D. “Naughty Santa”

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

375: A total eclipse of the sun occurs on any given point on the Earth’s surface once every 375 years.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 20, 1957: While spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

Movie actor Jonah Hill (34)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” — Mother Teresa

TRIVIA ANSWER

B. “Bad Santa”

Dec. 21

WORD OF THE DAY

refectory [ri-fek-tuh-ree] (noun) a dining hall in a religious house, a college, or other institution.

FILM FACTS

Which Academy Awarding-winning actor voiced Santa Claus in the movie “The Polar Express”?

A. Kevin Spacey

B. Ben Kingsley

C. Tom Hanks

D. Robert De Niro

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

$25,000: William Shatner sold his kidney stone for $25,000.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 21, 1945: General George S. Patton, commander of the U.S. 3rd Army, dies from injuries suffered in a car accident.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

Movie actor Samuel L. Jackson (69)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” — Thomas Jefferson

TRIVIA ANSWER

C. Tom Hanks

Dec. 22

WORD OF THE DAY

defenestration [dee-fen-uh-strey-shuh n] (noun) the act of throwing a thing or especially a person out of a window.

FILM FACTS

Which movie features Santa Claus saying the line, “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid”?

A. “A Christmas Story”

B. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”

C. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

D. “The Spirit of Christmas”

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

7,000 miles: The Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to spot the light of a firefly from a distance of about 7,000 miles.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 22, 1956: A baby gorilla named Colo enters the world at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, becoming the first-ever gorilla born in captivity.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

News anchor Diane Sawyer (72)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” — Wayne Dyer

TRIVIA ANSWER

A. “A Christmas Story”

Dec. 23

WORD OF THE DAY

festinate [fes-tuh-neyt] (verb) to hurry; hasten.

FILM FACTS

In which film did the song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” first appear?

A. “White Christmas”

B. “High Society”

C. “Meet Me In St. Louis”

D. “Holiday Inn”

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

156 percent: The average Olympic Games goes 156 percent over its budget.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 23, 1888: Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cuts off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France.

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

Rock singer Eddie Vedder (53)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“No man was ever wise by chance.” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

TRIVIA ANSWER

C. “Meet Me In St. Louis”

Dec. 24

WORD OF THE DAY

importune [im-pawr-toon] (verb) to press or beset with solicitations; demand with urgency or persistence.

FILM FACTS

Which movie set during Christmas was based on the book “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Robert Thorp?

A. “Lethal Weapon”

B. “While You Were Sleeping”

C. “Trading Places”

D. “Die Hard”

(Answer at bottom of column)

NUMBER TO KNOW

3.2 million: The U.S. Department of Defense is the biggest employer in the world, with 3.2 million people.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Dec. 24, 1865: In Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of Confederate veterans convenes to form a secret society that they christen the “Ku Klux Klan.”

FEATURED BIRTHDAY

TV show host Ryan Seacrest (43)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” — Theodore Roosevelt

TRIVIA ANSWER

D. “Die Hard”