Archive for November, 2010

Winner: Coffee Bill

Tuesday nightʼs game was well attended, largely because it overlapped with Darinʼs birthday celebration. And who would want to miss that?

The standard quiz was expanded to include an exclusively Darin related trivia section. No score was kept for this part, but some interesting tidbits of Darinʼs bio were revealed.

Who knew Darinʼs working life started by pushing high octane as an underaged gas pump attendant? Not really so different from her present occupation, come to think of it – dispensing high octane over ice with a twist. Gas pump or beer tap, both helping us get where we want to go! And who knew that her childhood dream was to be a zookeeper. As one of the menagerie on Tuesday nights, I would say dreams do come true.

The actual quiz, the one with everlasting glory and fabulous prizes at stake, was dominated by Coffee Bill. No complaints this time about the quiz being too easy. Bill wins by three or four strokes over Driver Shea. Well done, Bill!

Good question!: The Maskelyne award is given for what area of entertainment?

Answer: Magic

The John Nevil Maskelyne Award is a monetary prize for noteworthy contributions by members of The Magic Circle to the art or literature of Magic. The Magic circle is the foremost society of magicians in the world.

Members give their word not to willfully disclose magic secrets other than to bona fide students of magic. Anyone breaking this rule may be expelled. Named after the renowned 19th Century magician and inventor John Nevil Maskelyne, known to many as the ‘father of British magic’, the award is one of the highest honors a conjurer can receive.

John Nevil Maskelyne, (1839 – 1917) the son of a Cheltenham watchmaker, became interested in conjuring after watching a performance of the fraudulent spiritualists, the Davenport Brothers. He saw how their spirit cabinet worked and stated in the theatre that he could recreate their act using no supernatural methods. With the help of friend and cabinet maker George Alfred Cooke, he built a spirit cabinet.

Together, they exposed the Davenport Brothers to the public at a show in Cheltenham in June 1865. Inspired by the acclaim they received in Cheltenham the two men decided to become professional magicians. At first they struggled to make ends meet, but later became firmly established on the national stage, including residencies such as their famous tenancy at the Egyptian Hall in Picadilly from 1873 to 1904.

In 1894 Maskelyne wrote the book Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the  Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill. This book became an instant hit and to this day is considered to be a classic gambling book. What made this book so popular is the fact that it was the first detailed revelation of the secrets of the cardsharps. The book is now also available online in the form of a web site, with annotations. (see: http://sharpsandflats.com/ )

Maskelyne and Cooke invented many illusions still performed today. Maskelyne was adept at working out the principles of illusions, one of his best-known being levitation. Recently a team of theoretical physicists in Scotland elevated levitation from science fiction to science fact. Presumably they have been expelled from the Magic Circle. By the way, the same team of theoretical physicists showed that invisibility cloaks also are feasible.

sources: wikipedia, the telegraph.

Thanks to our special Guest Blogger this week – Droppin’ Dave.

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Winner: Droppin’ Dave

This week’s quiz was a smorgasbord with a nice mix of sports, Hollywood, geography, history, and The Beatles.  Plus a random question about Nine Ladies Dancing.  There was some complaining that the quiz was too easy, with more than one question answered correctly by all.  There should be a word for when that happens, like granfalloon or something.  Anyway, Droppin’ Dave celebrated his birthday by missing  just one answer to edge out Coffee Bill for the win.  Everyone enjoyed the birthday cupcakes.  Thanks, Darin.

Good question!: Where is the largest McDonald’s restaurant located?

Answer: China.

It figures.

The most populous country on earth, maybe getting a little tired of rice, and with pockets heavy with the loot of the rest of the world,  is certainly a prime target for American fast food.  The restaurant is in Beijing, and was probably built in time for the 2008 Olympics.  And while it is the largest McDonalds, it is not the busiest.  That distinction belongs to the one in Moscow.  What is it with communism and fast food?  These are only two of the 31,000 restaurants in 126 countries that McDonalds operates.  You can get a Big Mac almost anywhere these days.  They are called Maharaja Mac in India, Croque McDo in France, and  McFiesta in Guatemala.

It has been said that no two countries with a McDonalds have ever fought a war with each other – certainly a hopeful thought.  With so many countries having one, this seems unlikely, but if true, it is a testament to the power of capitalism.  Or to the soporific effects of too many Big Macs.

McDonalds did not invent the concept of fast food.  They simply took it to its corporate mass production extreme. Fast food has been around since ancient Rome.  A lot of people didn’t have facilities for cooking back then, so on almost every street corner there were stands that sold bread soaked in wine.  This is an interesting idea that may deserve a second look.

The previous record holder as the largest McDonalds is the one built over the Will Rogers turnpike near Vinita, Oklahoma.  It covers almost 30,000 square feet, and has been immortalized in at least one country/western song – the hilarious “Choctaw Bingo” by James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards.

While “Biggest” and “Busiest” are admirable achievements, they are not the same as “Best.”  For the best burgers, go to Main Street Café and ask Darin for a menu.

Thanks to our special Guest Blogger this week – Droppin’ Dave.

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