Archive for March, 2012

Winner: FrankC

Spring was in the air at Main Street this week, with a loosely equinox-related quiz.  The results, however, were more fitting to last weeks World War Two theme.  It was a slaughter.

Frank was the most surprised that he won with only 60% correct.  That’s a D in academia. Droppin’ Dave finished second yet again. The rest of us flunked, I guess, including perennial in-the-money Rosebud.  Pluto, true to his name, was in a distant orbit in  Louisiana,  for the Final Four, and so missed a chance to save the family name from ignominious defeat.  Darin deserves credit for an educational and cohesive quiz., and Daphne did her usual fine job as emcee.  No dress code this week.

Good Question! :  What was the first professional baseball team?

Answer:  The Cincinnati Red Stockings.

The original Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first openly all-professional team, were founded as an amateur club in 1866, and became fully professional in 1869. The Red Stockings won 130 straight games throughout 1869 and 1870, before being defeated by the Brooklyn Atlantics.

Their record of 57 – 0 in 1869 is the only undefeated season (so far) by a professional baseball team. .  It leads one to wonder who the heck they were playing against.   Even the Yankees lose once in a while.

The best players of the Cincinnati Red Stockings relocated to Boston after the 1870 season, taking the nickname along with them and becoming the Boston Red Stockings, a team later dubbed the “Beaneaters” and eventually the “Braves”, who are now based in Atlanta.

A new Cincinnati Red Stockings team became a charter member of the National League in 1876. This second Red Stockings team was expelled from the league after the 1880 season, in part for violating league rules by serving beer to fans at games, and for their refusal to stop renting out their ballpark, the Bank Street Grounds, on Sundays.  Times have changed.

A third Cincinnati team of the same name became a founding member of the American Association, a rival league that began play in 1882. That team (which is the same franchise of today) played for eight seasons in the American Association and won the Association’s inaugural pennant in 1882. In November 1889, the Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Brooklyn Dodgers both left the Association for the National League. Here is a nice slideshow / montage of baseball photos from the dead ball era (before WWI):

Twice in the 1950s (the McCarthy era), the Reds, fearing that their traditional club nickname would associate them with the threat of Communism, officially changed the name of the team to the Cincinatti Redlegs.

Starting in the late 1960s, the Reds instituted a strict rule barring the team’s players from wearing facial hair and long hair. The clean cut look was meant to present the team as wholesome in an era of turmoil.

On at least one occasion, in the early 1980s, enforcement of this rule lost them the services of star reliever and Ohio native Rollie Fingers, who would not shave his trademark handlebar mustache in order to join the team.

The rule was not officially rescinded until 1999 when the Reds traded for slugger Greg Vaughn, who had a goatee. The New York Yankees continue to have a similar rule today, though unlike the Reds during this period, Yankees players are permitted to have mustaches.

In the seventies, the Big Red Machine featured a truly awesome lineup of Tony Perez at first base, Joe Morgan at second, Dave Concepcion at shortstop, Pete Rose at third, Ken Griffey in right field, Cesar Geronimo in center, George Foster in left, and Johnny Bench as catcher.

During the 1975 season, the Reds compiled two notable streaks: (1) by winning 41 out of 50 games in one stretch, and (2) by going a month without committing any errors on defense.

The Reds, in their long history. have won 5 world series and 9 pennants, but neither since 1990.

As a nod to their place in baseball history, the major league baseball season used to begin with a game involving the Reds, but that tradition is no longer observed. Instead, we now have an upstart like the Seattle Mariners play the Oakland Athletics in the Tokyo Dome to open the season. Yes, times have changed.

Thanks to this week’s guest blogger – Droppin’ Dave.

sources: wikipedia

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Winner: Pluto

Where have all the flowers gone? On the day that spring arrived, we played a game based on WWII – the War in the Pacific. Most  players were confused by the timing of this theme. Darin, who put this sucker punch together, had wisely left town to make some money and was unavailable for comment. Pluto, whose older brother watched John Wayne in “Sands of Iwo Jima” repeatedly, used this info to edge Driver and Wild Bill. Or maybe it was the butterfly wings he borrowed from Miss Connie, who made the voyage across the sound from CT to celebrate spring with us. In any case, Pluto’s victory was cheered by one and all (well, not exactly).

Good Question!: Most of the rationing for WWII started in 1942. What item stayed on the ration list the longest?

Answer: Sugar

Sugar was the first food to be rationed, in the spring of 1942. The war with Japan cut off U.S. imports from the Philippines, and cargo ships from Hawaii were diverted to military purposes. The nation’s supply of sugar was quickly reduced by more than a third. To prevent hoarding and skyrocketing prices, the Office of Price Administration issued 123 million copies of War Ration Book One, which contained stamps that could be used to purchase sugar. A typical allocation of sugar was 12 ounces per week. No sugar could legally be bought without stamps, and sugar rationing would continue until supplies returned to normal in 1947.

GI Joe

Photographic design played an important role in the production of many WWII posters. To encourage rationing on the home front, this cheery and friendly ‘GI Joe’ drinking coffee appealed to families with boys overseas. This poster is an example of the creative uses for photography during the war.

The man in the photo is Thomas J. Murray, who died in 2002 at the age of 87 and was buried with military honors. Murray served as the face for rationing from 1943-1945 through this poster. Murray’s portrayal of “GI Joe in the foxhole” contributed to the home front battle of rationing and helped gain support for the war effort. During the last three years of WWII, Americans needed ration stamps to purchase products such as meat, cheese, canned goods, sugar, butter, shoes and gasoline.

One Pair of Shoes!

One pair of shoes a year was the allowed ration for all between February 1943 and October 1945. Are they kidding! I don’t know a single woman who could live under those restrictions.


Gasoline was rationed in 17 eastern states beginning in May 1942 and nationwide in December 1942 — not so much to save fuel as to save tires and the rubber they were made of. A nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour was also enforced to save wear on tires. To ration gasoline, the government issued coupon stamps. These “A” stamps were worth three to five gallons of gasoline per week for essential activities such as shopping, attending church, and going to the doctor. The letter on the stamp would have matched a sticker on the car’s windshield. People using their cars for work could buy more gasoline, and truckers could buy all they needed.


Instructions on the back of each ration book reminded people not to lose it and asked them to “give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods… If you don’t need it, don’t buy it!” Sounds like their version of: “If you see something, say something.”

Sands of Iwo Jima

Now about those war movies. Play this at 480p and it’s really special – they don’t make ’em like “the Duke” anymore.

sources: www.u-s-history.com, www.learnnc.org

Blogger’s Note:  TNBE had it’s 10,000th page view last week. Could not have done it without you. Keep those eyeballs coming.

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Winner: Rosebud

Tonight we dressed in green and celebrated with St. Patty’s day trivia. For those of us who were at the official St. Pats day celebration @ Main Street Cafe  just 48 hours before, it seemed like groundhogs day. Rosebud, who claims she always thinks better when holding a glass of Guinness in her special green drinking glove, finished ahead of Droppin’ and Pluto and took home the gallon jug of Bailey’s Irish Cream (this could be trouble).

Good Question: St Brendan, the Irish monk and 6th century sailor, was said to have done what?

Answer: Discover America

I was shocked to learn that the Irish were claiming to have discovered America. You know, “said to have done” something, is a bit different than actually having done the thing. All of us who weren’t sleeping through 4th grade history class know that Christopher Columbus, the great Italian explorer from Genoa, discovered America in 1492. Brendan, “the Navigator”, was sailing around in the 6th century, in a leather boat, looking for the “Isle of the Blessed.” Maybe he has earned the right to be the patron saint of sailors and travelers, and to get a nice  stained glass window in the US Naval Academy, but giving him credit for the discovery of America in the 6th century requires more than a few pints of Guinness to believe.

St. Brendan belongs to that glorious period in the history of Ireland, when in the first glow of its conversion to Christianity, they sent forth its earliest messengers of the Faith to the continent and to the regions of the sea. It is perhaps possible that the legends, committed to writing in the eleventh century, are based on an actual sea-voyage, the destination of which cannot be determined. These adventures were called the “Navigatio Brendani”, the Voyage or Wandering of St. Brendan, but there is no historical proof of this journey.

Brendan’s Voyage, tells of monks traveling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing on the islands, and possibly reaching the Americas in the 6th century. At one point they stop on a small island, celebrate Easter Mass, light a fire – and then learn the island is an enormous whale! Now that’s a whale of  a tale.

However, St. Brendan must have had a good PR guy. JR Tolkien wrote a poem called “The Voyage of Saint Brendan”, the cream liqueur “Saint Brendan’s” is named after him, and he has been adopted by the scuba diving industry as the patron saint of scuba divers. Next thing you know, they will be re-naming Columbus Circle the St. Brendan roundabout.

We all probably know someone who, although he spoke with a brogue, could fairly be called “Black Irish”. As a special St. Pat’s treat here are 2 of my fave Black Irish (Jackie Wilson & Sam Cooke) singing “Danny Boy”:

Jackie Wilson sings “Danny Boy”, like you have never heard it before!

and the incomparable Sam Cooke:

and for all my Irish friends here is a cool infographic:

10 Irish Inventions That Changed The World

sources: newadvent.org, en.wikipedia.org, irishcultureandcustoms.com

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