Archive for October, 2012

Winners: Eric & Inappropriate Bob

We had some new players join us this evening. Both first timers, Sally & Gloria, fared well and helped their teams to second place finishes. First place went to Inappropriate Bob and Eric, who was playing only his second game. Bob, who has now won twice with different partners,  is beginning to like this team thing. The falling leaf award tonight went to Brad and Kathy.

We hope everyone has survived SuperStormSandy without too much damage. We’ve missed a couple of weeks, but now that Sandy is mostly behind us, it’s time to get back in the game. Hope to see you there on Tuesday night – we have a special someone to sing Happy Birthday to this week.

Good Question!: Who was the first Japanese person to travel to the Americas?

Answer: Tanaka Shosuke

Not exactly a household name, Tanaka Shōsuke was an important Japanese technician and trader in metals from Kyoto during the beginning of the 17th century. Before the travels of Tanaka Shosuke, Japan had few contacts with the Spanish, and had instead relied upon the Portuguese, and the Chinese, for her foreign trade.

Japan had been very active sailing Red seal ships throughout Asia. These original Japanese ships were broadly similar to Chinese junks, but incorporated various Western techniques and designs (such as square and lateen sails). They had never ventured as far as the American continent.

Tanaka Shōsuke became the first recorded Japanese to have travelled to the Americas in 1610, returning to Japan in 1611. He again went to the Americas in 1613, with the embassy of Hasekura Tsunenaga. In total, he accomplished two roundtrips between Japan and the Americas and helped establish trade and diplomatic relations between Japan and the Spanish Empire.

Now, who can think of Japan without also thinking of Godzilla?

Here is a montage dedicated to over 50 years of Godzilla in film… with the original Godzilla theme as background music. The special effects are rather crude – today any 8 year old is making more realistic video.

sources: International Samurai Timeline, wikipedia

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Winners: Jon “the Bodyguard” and Driver.

The Boys from Syracuse won tonight’s game, but just barely. First time winner, Jon”the Bodyguard”, helped the Driver (a fellow Syracuse alumni) to a narrow win. They would have been dominant winners if they had not ignored the fundamental rule of playing this game – go with your first instinct. They changed 3 right answers to wrong answers over the course of the evening. Following just behind were Nadia (second again) and Rosebud. Tonight’s recipients of the “Falling Leaves” award were Patty and Connie. It’s nice to see that Connie won something after her long journey across the sea to join us.

Tonight seemed to be dairy night. We learned it takes almost 10 quarts of milk to make a pound of butter, and that the source of of milk used in making Roquefort cheese are sheep.

Good Question!: In what year did the average American salary pass $100 a week?

Answer: 1963

$100 a week does not seem like much to live on, but let’s put that in context.

Here are some costs in 1963:

Gas per Gallon 29 cents – NOW: $4.29

Average Cost of a new car $3,233.00

Loaf of bread 22 cents

Average Cost of new house $12,650.00

Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 762 – NOW: 13,424

So what else happened in 1963?

The biggest news from 1963 was the assassination of the US President Kennedy on November 22nd which thrust Lyndon Johnson into the role of president. This was a difficult time to become president with the mounting troubles in Vietnam where the Viet Cong Guerrillas had now killed 80 American Advisers and the continued campaign for civil rights by the black community caused violent reactions from whites, especially in Mississippi, Virginia and Alabama where the black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was arrested.

Films included “The Birds” and “The Great Escape” and popular TV programmes “The Virginian” and “Lassie”. Ladies fashion clothes and hairstyles included fur boots and towering hair do’s for evening wear. In music it was the beginning of Beatlemania after their release of “I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There” and “Meet the Beatles”.

sources: http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/1963.html, http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/income/

Bloggers Note: I would be remiss if I did not mention that Sonny, the proprietor and head chef at Larkfield Pasta, has decided to call it a day and has sold his wonderful Italian food store. Sonny has provided Sunday dinner for Pluto and Rosebud for more than 25 years and we will miss him and wish him well on his hard earned retirement.

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Winners:  Pluto and Droppin’

Team selection is random but somehow Pluto was paired with Droppin’. Although they were odds on favorites, the winners were seriously challenged by all teams, but especially by FrankC and Rosebud, who came within one carelessly flipped card from a win. The other teams close behind included Maddy and Margaret the Red who received the “Dropping Leaf” award.

Pluto says he likes this team thing, “he only has to work half as hard”. Miss Connie thinks this is such a great idea that she plans to travel from across the sea to join us next week. Johnny G and Bobby Barcelona may also join us. This team concept could be just what one of them needs to reach that elusive goal – a win on Tuesday night.

Good Question!:
How much faster is the typical PC of today vs. one from 20 years ago?

Answer: 1,000 times faster.

WOW! That’s impressive, but do you know that the recently released iPhone 5 has the computational power of the most powerful laptop Apple sold just 10 years ago. A 3.5-inch floppy disk could store a measly 1.44 megabytes of data –
not even enough to fit a single mp3 music file. Today, a small 8 gigabyte (8,000 megabytes) USB flash drive or SD chip can store about 1,600 songs.

Where is this headed? What will computers and storage that are smaller, faster, more powerful, do to our lives?

If you are interested, drop me a line right here in the comment section below and if there is enough interest I will flesh this blog post out.

BTW, in contrast to this serious stuff, here is a video of a young Woody Allen and Dick Cavett discussing “particle physics’. Stick with it at least until Woody talks about his ex-wife and “moving violations”.

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