The Weekly Word: Sept. 11th, 2012

Hola Shmooperidas,

If this year’s U.S. Open finals weren’t thrilling enough for you—and given that they included Serena’s continued and total dominance of everyone else, enough horrible weather to make building an ark seem like a good idea, and another epic five-setter between Djokovic and Murray, what else do you want? Clowns juggling flaming bicycles?—we have two words for you:

Football. Season.

Now that both the college season and the NFL regular season are in full swing, we at Shmoop HQ are dealing with enough conflicting allegiances and dramatic misunderstandings to make Romeo and Juliet seem like child’s play. (Oh, wait, how old were they again?) We love it. What better way to get yourself pumped up for fall than a little healthy competition?

Featured Shmoop: History of the NFL

Well, learning about the storied history of the National Football League, for one thing. Oh, come on: did you forget where you were? We like our dudely all-American pastimes as nerdy as possible, thank you.

Here are some fun facts to tempt you into learning more! (Ah, the story of Shmoop.)

  • The Super Bowl was inspired by something called the Super Ball—not fancy commemorative plateware.
  • Super Bowl Sunday is the least popular day for weddings in the United States. Of the year. And we always thought it would be World Naked Bike Ride day…
  • The NFL wasn’t always America’s favorite sports league. In fact, it struggled for two decades after its 1920 founding and only gained traction after World War II. What did people even do on Super Bowl Sundays back then? The world may never know.
Now that you’re adequately tempted, here’s the full guide.

Featured Shmoop Video: Absolute Values

There are only a few absolutes in this world: Super Bowl commercial time slots will always be outrageously expensive, politicians will always sling a little—or a lot of—mud, “yo mama” jokes will never help you make friends…and a number will always have the same value when you put two vertical bars around its sides.

That’s right: if you add those cute little stripes to any number on the number line, you’ll find its absolute value. The concept can be tricky to understand at first, but take two minutes and watch our new video. We’re sure you’ll have absolute numbers absolutely solved in no time. Oh, snap.

 

Shmoop Shout Out: Roald Dahl’s Birthday Sept. 13, 1916

We know, we know, we need to open with something clever about chocolate or Oompa-Loompas. (Um…why did the Oompa Loompa spit out his treat? Because it tasted like chalk—a lot! Thank you, thank you, we’ll be here all night). Let’s get real, though: our lives would be a little less magical without this literary superstar on our bookshelves.

Roald Dahl was born in Wales and went on to be a generally awesome dude. We bet you didn’t know he was actually a Wing Commander in Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, did you? Of course, he’s best known known for his endlessly endearing children’s books, such as the aforereferenced Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, and Matilda. Who else could entrall us with wonderful stories about Big Friendly Giants or Giant Peaches? Not to mention his excellently creepy short stories for those of us on the older side.

This Week in History: Remembering September 11, 2001

We can be serious when it matters, and September 11 still profoundly affects us more than a decade after the destruction, loss, and heartbreak of that day. Although time has passed and history continues moving forward, we believe wholeheartedly that it’s important to remember and honor our tragedies along with our successes and triumphs. Terrorism has played a significant role in history, but learning about more about its origins and impact may help the global community prevent similarly horrific events in the future. We hope everyone spent a little time reflecting on Tuesday; we know we did.

Need some inspiration? This clip from the Daily Show, filmed a few days after the September 11 attacks, shows our nation’s resiliency and strength during one of the darkest times in American history.

Sincerely,

The Team at Shmoop

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