Archive for November, 2011

Winner: Rosebud

In honor of Mistress Daphne’s 60th birthday there were a number of questions dealing with events of 1951, a year that many of us think of as ancient history. Turns out “the Caine Mutiny”, Dennis the Menace, and the soap “Search for Tomorrow” all debuted in 1951 (along with ms Daphne).

Although she was not the birthday girl, Rosebud won again this week, edging last week’s birthday boy, Coffee Bill. As a consolation prize, the coffee man did get to celebrate his birthday again with another cake, along with Mistress Daphne, of course. She was honored to receive a lovely bouquet of flowers from that notorious ladies man, Bradley. As you can see, she sure knows how to show her appreciation.

Good Question: How many Americans died in the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Answer: 3,300

Well, maybe not quite 3,300, more like 2,400.

70 years ago, the United States endured an attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, that for the next 60 years — until Sept. 11, 2001 — stood as the most devastating enemy attack on U.S. soil. When the smoke cleared, the death toll from Sept. 11 topped even the devastation of Dec. 7, 1941, with almost 3,000 people, mostly civilians, dead.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, warplanes took off from the decks of six aircraft carriers of the Japanese Imperial Navy. Their mission was to strike a crippling blow to the United States military forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Japanese leaders were ready to seize the rich oil fields of the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, and believed a pre-emptive attack on the American military was necessary to prevent American interference in the invasion plans. To accomplish what they hoped was a “knockout blow”, Japanese forces planned to launch attacks on U.S. forces in the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, and, most importantly, at the U.S. Navy ships stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Tensions between the U.S. and Japan had been escalating for several years over America’s displeasure at the brutal war Japan was waging in China. The U.S. gave moral support to the Chinese, including the fateful act of cutting off sales of oil, tin, and scrap metals to Japan’s industry. As Japan had no oil resources of her own, the Japanese government looked to their south at the lucrative oil fields of the Dutch East Indies. In 1940, Nazi Germany conquered the Dutch homeland in Europe, leaving the Dutch colonies in Asia in a very lonely and exposed position.

Given America’s opposition to their war in China, Japanese leaders assumed the U.S. would oppose their attacks on the Dutch. U.S. military forces stationed in the Philippines (located between Japan and the Dutch East Indies) and based out of Pearl Harbor posed too great a threat to be left alone. Thus, Japan decided to begin her Pacific War with a powerful blow at Pearl Harbor, followed by attacks on American forces in the Philippines and elsewhere. Japan harbored similar fears of British involvement, and also launched attacks on British forces at Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaya.

The base at Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.  All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but two of the eight were raised, repaired and returned to service later in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, and three destroyers.

One hundred eighty-eight U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded.

The attack on Pearl Harbor caused great damage, sinking several powerful battleships, but the top prize, America’s Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, were not in port at the time. Japan damaged the U.S. Navy, but did not cripple it. What they did do was make America extremely angry and thirsting for revenge and retribution on their new enemies. Thus began the four-year Pacific War portion of World War Two between the U.S. and Japan.

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Winner: Rosebud

On a night when we celebrated a milestone birthday for the coffee man, it was Rosebud who played party pooper and won a close one. Finishing just behind were John and Pluto. Coffee Bill was in contention most of the way, but then faded. He must have gotten tired – it’s not easy being 50. Well the birthday cake was nice, anyway.

We learned that this game’s favorite planet, Uranus, was discovered in 1781, the stethoscope was invented in 1816, and Prozac was invented in 1972. You can see where our priorities are.

Good Question: Who fought Ali in the “Thrilla in Manilla” ?

Answer: Joe Frazier

In honor of the recent death of Joe Frazier there were a couple of questions about the “Thrilla in Manilla”, but I always thought that the first Frazier – Ali fight was the best. The fight took place in Madison Square garden in March 1971 and was promoted as The Fight of the Century. Both Ali and “Smoking Joe” Frazier were undefeated and the purse of $2.5M was a record.

Ali had been out of boxing for 3 years while he fought his conviction and 5 year jail sentence for Draft Evasion. Ali had declared that he would not serve in Vietnam, proclaiming, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” He appealed for an exemption, claiming that he was a conscientious objector based on his religious beliefs. Finally, the Supreme Court ruled 8-0 to reverse his conviction

The two fighters were the subject of numerous magazine cover stories and television documentaries.The fight itself became something of a symbol of the country.  Ali became a symbol of the anti-establishment movement, while Frazier became a symbol of the conservative, pro-war movement. On the night of the fight, there were riots in many US cities, including Chicago, where a whole theater was torn apart by angry attendees who had just learned they would not be able to watch the fight on closed circuit television.

Many boxing fans argued that Ali’s speed and ability would blind Frazier, while others thought Frazier’s superior punching power combined with Ali’s long absence from the ring would give the advantage to Frazier.

The fight itself exceeded even its promotional hype and went the full 15-rounds.

Ali dominated the first three rounds, peppering the shorter Frazier with rapier-like jabs that raised welts on the champion’s face. Frazier began to dominate in the fourth round, catching Ali with several of his famed left hooks and pinning him against the ropes to deliver tremendous body blows.

During round 11 Frazier caught Ali, backed into a corner, with a crushing left hook that almost floored Ali, sending him falling into the ropes. Ali managed to survive the round, but from then on Frazier seemed to come on strong. At the end of round 14 Frazier held a lead on the three scorecards. Early in round 15, Frazier landed a spectacular left hook that put Ali on his back (for only the third time in his career). Ali, his right jaw swollen grotesquely, got up from the blow quickly, and managed to stay on his feet for the rest of the round despite several terrific blows from Frazier. See Frazier’s terrific left hook in this video of round 15:

A few minutes later the judges made it official: Frazier had retained the title with a unanimous decision, dealing Ali his first professional loss. How tough was this fight? Well, both men spent time recuperating in a hospital following the grueling fight.

source: wikipedia,

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Winer: Pluto

Tonight’s nautical quiz was provided courtesy of our own marine surveyor, Droppin’ Dave. We live in Northport, a lovely, seaside village with maybe the largest natural harbor on the North Shore of Long island. So we should all be familiar with nautical issues, but we weren’t. Pluto, along with everyone else, stumbled through the night’s quiz, and was more surprised than anyone when he was declared the winner. Mady and Rosebud finished close behind.

We did learn some interesting things. After Alaska, the state with the longest coastline is Florida, whose coastline is 60% longer than the next state, California. The original yacht “America” of cup fame was a schooner and the first country to win the cup from the Americans were the Aussies in 1983. We even learned that the aft sail on a ketch rigged boat is called the mizzen.

Thanks to Kelly girl for stepping in to handle moderator duties tonight.

Good Question: What has the record for fastest speed under wind power?

Answer: Kite Surfer

Kitesurfing, a hybrid of kiting, windsurfing and wakeboarding, allows you to harness the power of both the wind and the ocean to travel at record speeds and jump to astonishing heights in the air. Kitesurfers glide across the top of the waves on a board that’s similar in size and shape to a wakeboard while holding onto a kitesurfing kite. A good intro can be found here:

and here:  http://www.nassp.net/press.htm

Although kitesurfing might seem like the latest extreme sport fad, we can actually trace its roots to 13th century China. Rather than an activity for adventurous water sport enthusiasts, kitesailing, as kitesurfing was originally termed, served as a mode of transportation. The 13th century Chinese used sails to harness the wind and increase the speed and stability of their canoes as they glided across the water.

The mechanics of kitesurfing were used mostly for these utilitarian purposes until the 1970s and 80s when kitesurfing began to take off as a popular extreme sport. Many companies began to market water-launch kites, and the sport was popularized by extreme sports enthusiasts off the coast of Maui. It’s now one of the fastest growing extreme sports.

Call it a need for speed. For some sailors, breaking water speed records is more than a hobby — it’s a competitive and dangerous obsession. New technology has constantly pushed the limits of what’s possible on water, but with every new record set comes another challenger — and in the competitive world of speed sailing, innovation and adaptability are the keys to staying on top.

Kite surfer Robert Douglas is the official world speed sailing record holder after sailing an incredible 55.65 knots (103 km/h) at the Luderitz Speed Challenge in Namibia, on October 28 2010. “To break records we need three things,” Douglas says. “We need wind, around 40 to 50 miles an hour, we need flat water and we need the correct angle of wind to the water.”

“Once a record is set, then you’ll see the sailboats and the surfers make adjustments,” he says. “It’s interesting to battle against something like the Hydroptere, which is a multi million dollar sailboat. But the biggest advantage a kite surfer has is that we’re able to do a lot of runs, rather inexpensively, and we’re able to make adjustments to get faster.”

Douglas says: “It’s an extreme mental challenge, and there is an extreme amount of adrenaline, but to be at the top of the sport, that’s what drew me to it and that’s what keeps me going.”

Kite surfer Rob Douglas — the CEO of The Black Dog clothing company — made his record-breaking run at the Luderitz Speed Challenge in South Africa on October 28, 2010 … hitting speeds of almost 65 MPH. On a SURF BOARD.

to see a clip with both the world sailing record being broken, along with the daredevil’s wrist see: http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_crq8ger1

(sorry, i could not get this to hot link)

sources: adventure.howstuffworks.com, luderitz-speed.com,

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Winner: Pluto

We had a nice size crowd for tonight’s game. Early on Pluto vociferously objected to the idea that the model for Mona Lisa was some babe named Lisa Giocondo, wife of a wealthy Florentine. He had this crackpot idea that the Mona Lisa was actually a DaVinci self portrait! Needless to say, that position did not get any support from the other players.

Although he missed that one, Pluto did answer enough questions right to win going away. Following behind 5 people tied for second. Rosebud would have been a contender if only she had known that the “Aquarian Exposition” was better known as Woodstock. She claimed she heard the question as the “Aquarium Exposition”. Oh, Please!

Good question: The crown of the Empire State building was originally built for what purpose?

Answer: An airship dock

The Empire State Building was not supposed to be just the tallest skyscraper in the world; its planners also wanted it to have a dirigible docking station at the very top.

In late 1929, Alfred E. Smith, the leader of a group of investors erecting the Empire State Building, announced that they were increasing the height of the building to 1,250 feet from 1,050. Mr. Smith, a past governor of New York, denied that competition with the 1,046-foot-high Chrysler Building was a factor.

The extra 200 feet, it was announced, was to serve as a mooring mast for dirigibles so that they could dock in Midtown, rather than out in Lakehurst, N.J., the station used by the German Graf Zeppelin. Mr. Smith said that at the Empire State Building, airships like the Graf, almost 800 feet long, would “swing in the breeze and the passengers go down a gangplank”; seven minutes later they would be on the street.

But building planners forgot to factor in wind. After the Empire State Building opened in 1931, one dirigible did try to land there to test it out; it didn’t work, and the whole slightly ludicrous idea was scrapped. The spire became the dock for a broadcast tower in 1953.

Dr. Hugo Eckener, the commander of the Graf Zeppelin and the world’s expert on dirigibles, said flatly that the Empire State project was not practical. Zeppelin landings required scores of ground crewmen, retaining ropes fore and aft, and even then landings were sometimes dicey (see the Hindenburg’s last landing). The mast camouflaged the quest for boasting rights to the world’s tallest building, an ambition to which it seemed indecent to admit.

The notion that passengers would be able to descend an airport-style ramp from a moving airship to the tip of the tallest building in the world, even in excellent conditions, strains belief.

The original docking level is one floor above the 102nd-floor observatory, up some steep stairs. A door leads out to the circular terrace where passengers fresh from Europe or South America — and their steamer trunks — were to have set foot on American ground. The terrace is perhaps two and a half feet wide, and the parapet could not be any higher than that; it’s like standing on the raised lip of a Campbell’s soup can, a quarter-mile up. As someone reviewing the proposal said: “Were I arriving from Germany, I would have opted for blinders before leaving the nose. But it is an intoxicating view.”

Of course, the ESB was the scene of one of the great love scenes of all time, and one of the greatest movie lines ever. Who could keep a dry eye when King Kong and Ann (Naomi Watts in 2005), alone at the very top of the ESB, wordlessly said final goodbyes as Kong was dying from the strafing from the army bi-planes. Who could forget the classic Carl Denham line that closes the movie: “It wasn’t the airplanes… It was Beauty killed the Beast”.

BTW, the dumb ass 1976 remake had Kong climbing to the top of the WTC and getting finished off by army helicopters.

sources: ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com, nytimes.com

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