Samson’s birth had been foretold by an angel to Manoah’s wife, who had been barren for many years. The son was to be a Nazarite and thus had to take certain vows, the most important being not to cut his hair. Samson wedded a Philistine maiden. At the festivities Samson propounded a riddle based on his experience with a lion and wagered that no one could answer it. His wife begged him to tell her the answer secretly. He gave in and complied, and lost the wager when she betrayed the answer to the Philistines. To pay for his lost wager, Samson went to Ashkelon, slew thirty Philistines, and took their spoils. He returned and found that his bride had been given to another, making him so incensed that he slew a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.
Samson then went to Hebron, where he became enamored of another Philistine maiden, Delilah. Delilah, at the instigation of the Philistines, used her charms to elicit the secret of Samson’s strength. He fended her off for a while, but at last fell victim to her wiles. Learning that his strength lay in his long hair, she cut off the hair while Samson was asleep. He was then overpowered by the Philistine enemy, and his eyes were put
out. He was taken to Gaza, where he was forced to turn the mill in prison. However, as his hair grew back, so did his strength return.
One day Samson, still confined in prison, was dragged to a temple to grace a victory orgy of the god Dagon. At the orgy the Philistines, led by Delilah, heaped scorn on Samson. While they were mocking him, Samson invoked the true God Jehovah, praying for a brief return of his strength. As Samson was standing between the two largest pillars supporting the temple, his prayer was answered. He grasped the pillars, pulling them down upon the drunken Philistines, Delilah, and Samson himself.
A Samson is a man of unusual physical strength.


A Sam Browne belt is a sword or pistol belt for officers. The strap supports the left side from the hip, passing over the right shoulder. Originally the belt was supported by two shoulder straps that crossed each other, one for each shoulder. Later only one strap was used, and it passed over the left shoulder to keep the trouser from sagging from the weight of the sword. Still later, when the belt became primarily an ornament of dress, the belt was transferred to the right shoulder. The belt became de rigueur for dress uniforms in the British army and was widely used by armies throughout the world.
Today the belt is a standard part of the dress of drill groups, marching bands, and cadets.
Born in India, Samuel Browne (1824-1901) spent a distinguished career in that country. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for crushing a native rebellion. In 1888 he was named a general, but he was unable to don the belt he invented because he had only one arm. The other had been lost in the rebellion.


A common form of food poisoning that sometimes is fatal comes from meat or vegetables contaminated by a bacterial genus, Salmonella, of which there are many species. The infection, known as salmonellosis, is characterized by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains and is caused by infected and insufficiently cooked beef, pork, or poultry, or by
food, drink, or equipment contaminated by the excreta of infected animals. Many recent outbreaks of Salmonella poisoning resulted from frozen poultry that was not properly defrosted before cooking.
A veterinary surgeon, Dr. Daniel Elmer Salmon (1850-1914), identified the Salmonella genus and gave his name to it. Animals are subject to this infection, too. Dr. Salmon was at one time an investigator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and became the chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry.


Many years ago salmagundi was a certain concoction of various foodstuffs. Today, it means any variety of things brought together.
Salmagundi, according to Dr. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, is a mixture of minced veal, chicken, or turkey, anchovies, or pickled herring, and onions, all chopped together and served with lemon-juice and oil. The word entered the English language in the seventeenth century, although its origin is unknown. Fable has it that salmagundi may have been invented by a lady of that name in the suite of Marie de Medici, wife of Henry IV. Others attribute the dish to a shawdowy eighteenth-century chef named Gondi or Gonde. Willard R. Espy says the word has even been associated with the nursery rhyme character Solomon Grundy. In 1807 Washington Irving published a humorus periodical titled Salmagundi. A magazine of the same name appeared in the 1960s. The name was also adopted by a club of prominent writers and artists.
William and Mary Morris contribute a chant by children jumping rope called Salmagundy a bastardization of «Solomon Grundy»: «Sal- magundy, born on Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, sick on Thursday, worse on Friday, died on Saturday, buried on Sunday, and that was the end of Salmagundy».


For many years the scourge of human existence was a disease called poliomyelitis, or polio. It is caused by a virus that destroys the nervous tissue in the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis. Quite often children seemed to develop this virus after swimming in lakes or pools. Some parents sent their children to a remote mountain area for protection, but not always with favorable results. Children contracted this vicious
malady no matter where they were. It seemed that no one could hide from it.
And that’s why Dr. Jonas Edward Salk — scientist, a bacteriologist, who eventually found a vaccine for this dread disease — became a national hero. Salk was born in 1914 in New York City and received an M.D. from New York University Medical School in 1939.
In 1947, after several years teaching at the University of Michigan, Salk became head of the University of Pittsburgh’s Virus Research Laboratory, where he began his work on the vaccine for polio. He first tested the vaccine on a member of his own family, and it proved effective against the disease.
His vaccine was used throughout the world until 1960, when it was largely supplanted by Albert Sabin’s live-virus vaccine. In 1963 he became director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at the University of California, San Diego, and served until 1975. His later efforts concentrated on the search for a vaccine to prevent the nearly always terminal illness resulting from immune deficiency that can lead to AIDS.


James H. Salisbury (1823-1905) was an English physician who promoted a diet of ground beef, which was just common hamburger, but dressed up with brown gravy to make it more appealing. The name steak was an elegant designation for ordinary meat, but one that looks more inviting on a menu and makes the dish more palatable.
Dr. Salisbury, a dietician specialist, maintained that his suggested diet would cure hardening of the arteries and colitis and a number of other ailments, including anemia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis. The diet had many followers. His patties, usually twice the size of a hamburger, were mixed with eggs, milk, and bread crumbs, making the dish very tasty. But whether this high-cholesterol concoction would cure you or kill you is a question for trained physicians to ponder. The Salisbury faddists are no longer heard from, but the «steak» is still a good seller in restaurants and cafeterias around the country.
Perhaps Dr. Salisbury’s chief failing was «oversell». Not satisfied to have people eat his «steak» occasionally, even regularly, he urged everyone, with a fanatic’s zeal, to eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.


A sadist has come to be thought of as one who delights in cruelty. In psychology, however, sadism is the association of sexual gratification with the infliction of pain on others. The word was derived from the name of Count Donatien Alphonse Frangois de Sade (1740-1814).
The Count de Sade (he preferred to be called Marquis) came from a prominent French family and received, beginning at age fourteen, the expected military training for a person of such standing. The marquis, however, found that such service interfered with his life of pleasure, and so he gave up the military.
His pleasure, which consisted in deviant sexual satisfaction, was expensive, and so a marriage was arranged with Renee Pelagie de Montreuil, the daughter of a wealthy man. Despite the marriage, de Sade continued to have affairs with other women, mostly prostitutes, enjoying a form of sexual perversion that he pursued for the rest of his life. His favorite romantic pastime, his great, uncontrollable urge, was to abuse sexually and even torture his partner. For such activity, de Sade was arrested and imprisoned, but once released, he would continue to seek gratification of his deep-seated desires, and would be arrested again. He was even sentenced to death in 1772 in absentia for committing «an unnatural offense». (The Marquis had fled the country to avoid further imprisonment.) After three years, he decided to return, and he was arrested and imprisoned for the next thirteen years. He escaped the guillotine during the Revolution.
While confined in the Bastille, de Sade decided to write, in novel
form, about his sexual compulsion to torture his partner Justine, Philosophic dans le boudoir, les crimes de Yamour, and others). He completed his writing, but with a change of scenery — in the Charenton Lunatic Asylum. De Sade was eventually discharged, but was rearrested seven years later as an incorrigible, and spent the rest of his days at Charenton, from 1803 to 1814.
The marquis realized that he was subject to mental aberrations and contended that no treatment could cure him. He wrote: «As for my vices — unrestrainable rages — an extreme tendency in everything to lose control of myself, a disordered imagination in sexual matters such as had never been known in this world, an atheist to the point of fanaticism — in two words, there I am, and so once again kill me or take me like that, because I shall never change». His last written words were, «The ground over my grave should be sprinkled with acorns so that all traces of my grave shall disappear so that, as I hope, this reminder of my existence may be wiped from the memory of mankind». So long as the name-word sadism exists, however, de Sade’s memory will be kept alive.


Microbiologist Albert Bruce Sabin was born in 1906 in Bialystok, Russia (now Poland). He immigrated to the United States with his family in 1921 and was naturalized in 1930. He attended New York University, receiving an M.D. in 1931. He joined the staff of the Rockefeller Institute as a medical researcher. In 1939 he became a member of the college of medicine of the University of Cincinnati, later becoming professor of pediatrics. Sabin developed a live virus vaccine against poliomyelitis that can be given by mouth; it was field tested in 1959, and has largely replaced the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, which was based on heat-killed viruses. It provides a stronger and more longlasting immunity than the earlier vaccine and protects against both paralysis and infection. In his later work, Sabin has concentrated on cancer research.
Infantile paralysis (polio), as the name suggests, was a disease that struck children particularly. However, it was no respecter of age and affected some adults with the same dire results. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second president of the United States, was stricken at thirty-nine.


The man who created, for the amusement of his readers, cartoons of preposterous, elaborate contraptions to illustrate a simple operation was Reuben Lucius Goldberg (1883-1970). His diagrams were logical and fun to follow.
Goldberg was bom in San Francisco and worked for newspapers there before moving to New York in 1907 to draw for the Evening Mail. His wacky, weird diagrams were syndicated and appeared in newspapers throughout the country. People began to call any overly complex invention that does what could be performed in a simple manner a Rube Goldberg.
In his later years, Goldberg ceased drawing his «invention» cartoons and switched to political cartoons. Although he won two Pulitzer Prizes for these cartoons, Rube Goldberg remains in the mind of the public as the inventor of the zany contraptions that tickled everyone’s fancy for many years.
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Quintus Callus Roscius (c. 126-62 B.C.) was of free birth in the Sabine region of the Roman Empire. He became the greatest actor of his time. His grace was unrivaled, as were the mellifluence of his voice, depth of his conception of character, and subtlety of his delivery. He became a friend of Cicero. Cicero reportedly took lessons from him, and they often competed to see who could better express an idea or an emotion.
Roscius became wealthy enough to retire from the stage at an early age and to do as he wished. And so his acting career was relatively shortlived. But his name has had a surprising longevity: Today its adjective form, Roscian, is still used to express high standards. It is an eponym for perfection in acting. His name is a byword for a great actor. A Roscian performance is one of superlative skill.
Shakespeare acknowledges the superiority and versatility of Roscius’s work in Henry VI, part 3: «What scene of death hath Roscius now to act».