The Great Hinckley Fire (1894)

A months-long drought, elevated summer temperatures, and certain logging practices set the stage for what would become one of the deadliest fires in Minnesota’s history. On September 1, 1894, several small fires in the forests of Pine County merged and grew into a firestorm that completely consumed six towns, including Hinckley, Mission Creek, and Brook Park, within hours. At least 418, and as many as 800, people were killed in the inferno. How did some residents manage to escape? Discuss
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Braemar Highland Gathering

In the 11th century, King Malcolm held a gathering of the Scottish clans in Braemar to test their strength and to choose the hardiest soldiers. Competitors were asked to toss the caber—a pole 16′ to 20′ long and weighing 120 pounds—in such a way that it landed on its other end. The Braemar Gathering is still an annual event in the village of Braemar in Scotland, and the participants are still required to wear kilts and toss the caber. But the event has been expanded to include traditional Highland dancing, bagpipe music, games, and other athletic competitions as well. Discuss
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Engelbert Humperdinck (1854)

Perhaps best known for his name, Humperdinck was a German composer considered by some to be Richard Wagner’s chosen successor. Though he produced his first composition at age seven, Humperdinck’s parents urged him to study architecture. Instead, he began working with Wagner and winning awards for his compositions. Humperdinck’s most famous work is his first opera, Hänsel und Gretel, popular for its fairy-tale subject and folk-inspired music. For whom did he compose its first four songs? Discuss
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bohunk – A lout—but was first a derogatory term for a Hungarian or person of east-central Europe, based on Bohemian Hungarian. More…

oafo – A hooligan or a lout. More…

lob – Comes from an old noun meaning "something pendulous." More…

lout – To treat with contempt. More…

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