Archive for March, 2013


Winners: Nadia (the MadScientist) and Paula

It was a good week to be a Syracuse alumni. The basketball team made it back to the Final Four after an absence of many years, and Nadia won a game, after many times coming close, but falling just short. She seemed quite happy with her win, although it could be that she was just happy that she beat her pal, Jon the bodyguard, pretty soundly. Not a good night for that Syracuse alumni. Paula, who hasn’t played in a while, must have been home studying all this time, because she tied Nadia for the win. Finishing close behind were John and Art.

At halftime Pluto was far ahead and had missed only one question. Then some person seated next to him at the bar started harassing him and with his attention distracted his game fell apart and he finished way back. Way to go JayeR!  Made him think that he should have offered her a Yashmak, which we learned this evening is an Arab veil.

Good Question: Which animal is known to kill more people than plane crashes?

Choices: Dogs, Pigs, Donkeys, Sheep

Answer: Donkeys

Actually, it’s not known at all. This idea that donkeys are more deadly than plane crashes is quite probably donkey doo doo.

Here’s what Snopes has to say:

‘Is this donkey to airplane comparison true?

Donkey-Abandoment-On-the-Rise-In-TexasNo one could possibly say, because while data about airplane crashes is readily available, we have yet to find so much as a single source for donkey induced death statistics. This fanciful comparison certainly vexes donkey lovers though, as evidenced by the vehement denial of it in the FAQ section on the American Donkey and Mule Society’s website.

Well, if it can’t be proved, is it at least plausible?

The number of wine related fatalities varies from year-to-year, but a figure of 1200 deaths per year is a reasonable average.

We might be willing to believe that more people are injured (i.e., kicked, bitten, trampled, or throw) in donkey related accidents than in airline related accidents. We might even be willing to believe that there are as many donkey related fatalities (such as people getting hit by cars while leading or riding donkeys) as airline fatalities. But the claim that donkeys directly kill by kicking more people every year than airplane crashes do is a bit much to swallow without something to back it up.”

My favorite donkey is the one that Humphrey Bogart had with him in “the Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, one great film.

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the Evil Queen


Winners: The “A” Team –
Al, Mady, Nadia (the mad scientist), and Margaret the Red

Tonight’s game was hastily put together and consisted of three rounds of $ questions before the Grand Finale. There were 3 teams of 4 members, consultation was encouraged, and it was winner take all. Teams were required to come up with the answer, with no choices offered. I think it was Mady who was instrumental in the “A” teams victory.

I was informed that the change in format was welcomed, if a bit confusing. This correspondent was absent for most of the evening, so this will be  a shorter post.

Good Question: Who did Walt say was the inspiration for the Evil Queen in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”?

Answer: Joan Crawford

From a Blog: “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of”

Julia-Roberts-Is-The-Evil-Queen“I thinkThe Evil Queen of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the most evil out of Disney’s wonderful cast of villains for she is the most terrifying. The scene where she orders the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring back her heart, is chilling, especially when she says it so coldly. There is no humour in her lines, unlike other villains like Cruella DeVil and Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s evil stepmother).

Her voice is cold and hard, voiced immaculately by Lucille La Verne. She breathes real life into the Evil Queen, giving her a presence and authority that, considering this film was made in 1937, audiences probably didn’t believe was possible for an animation. Her costume mirrors her power and sternness with its dark colours, dominating collar and the way her hair is covered (we never see her hair until she turns into the hag), creates a feeling of not knowing what dark thoughts lurk in her mind. All we see is this strikingly beautiful, (but very harsh) pale face, angrily glaring back at us.

It is widely recognised and agreed that there must have been a lot of inspiration from Joan Crawford. Crawford was one of the most beautiful women in cinema, but her features were bold and with her daring make-up on top it, made her look fierce and severe. Also her trademark exaggerated lip. Crawford was also one of the few actresses nicknamed the Queen of Hollywood.

For me, combine Crawford, Garbo and Dietrich, and you have the Evil Queen. Ironically, Louis B. Mayer stated on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs release, “Who’d pay to see a drawing of a fairy princess when you can watch Joan Crawford’s boobs for the same price?” because although you didn’t see what Mayer was referencing too, audiences did get to see a Joan Crawford, more or less.”

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Winner: Rosebud

A cold, rainy day resulted in a small, quiet crowd this evening. Perhaps some folks were recovering from celebrating St. Pat’s on Sunday @ MainStreetCafe. A fine celebration it was. Tim’s daughter, who studies at Juilliard, graced us with one of the finest versions of  “Danny Boy” I have ever heard. It may be that others were still adjusting to this weekends clock change that cost us some sleep. The Driver appeared to be affected most of all. He missed one easy question after another. It seemed that he would have trouble spelling his own name this evening – a name with only three letters.

Rosebud finished first, narrowly ahead of Pluto and Madly, probably because she was the only player who knew that it was a boot that appeared on the monument of Benedict Arnold. This monument is in Saratoga National Historical Park: “In memory of the “most brilliant soldier” of the Continental Army ,who was desperately wounded on this spot … 7th October, 1777, winning for his countrymen the decisive battle of the American Revolution and for himself the rank of Major General.” Notice they never mentioned his name!

Good Question!: Despite having no Indian reservations, which state has America’s largest Native American population?

Choices: North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana, Oklahoma

Answer: Oklahoma

Well, not exactly. In 2010, Oklahoma had the second largest Native American population after California.

This question did give us a chance to reprise the unofficial theme song of our Tuesday Trivia – “Oklahoma”

The U.S. Census Bureau, a fine agency if ever there was one, counted the state of Oklahoma with a population of 3,751,351 in 2010. In Oklahoma the Native American population (8.6% / 320,000) is larger than the Black Population (7.4%), or the Mexican population (7.1%). Oklahoma  has a higher % of Native Americans than California, but not as high a % as Alaska, NewMexico (My Guess), or South Dakota.

A fascinating map of Indian Country and the U.S. in 1834


What Happened to the Reservations?

Another sad / bad chapter in the government’s treatment of Native Americans. The General Allotment Act of 1887, also known as the Dawes Act, allotted individual land parcels to tribal members in Oklahoma and put an end to communal land ownership.  More than 90 million acres of tribal lands that were left over after the individual allotments had been made were seized from Indian nations and declared surplus in order to open them to white settlers.  In Oklahoma, a series of land runs were held allowing settlers to race into the areas that had been declared surplus and stake a claim on the land. By the time of Oklahoma statehood in 1907, all of the then existing Indian reservations were disbanded.

A fine dramatization of this period by HBO films: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”


Long Island Population Trivia

There are two small Native American reservations on Long Island – the Possepatuck reservation in Mastic and the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton. Nassau and Suffolk’s population (2.8M) is a bit smaller than Oklahoma’s (3.7M).

But Long Island’s population (7.6M when you count Brooklyn & Queens, which you should if you are talking about LongIsland) is much larger than Oklahoma’s. Did you know that 40% of all the people in NYS live on LI? Or that LI’s population is greater than Ireland’s (6.4M)?

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Winners: FrankC and Bobby Barcelona

A busy, loud night with 17 players and more than a few kibitzers. We celebrated St. Pat’s a few days early with questions that only a couple of leprechauns (shoe makers), like Bobby Barcelona and FrankC could handle. Right behind were Pluto, JohnnyG and BigBadJohn.

Seemed like everyone was born this week, as we sang Happy Birthday three times during the evening. Each time sounded worse than the time before, but we kept trying. Hope we sound better on Sunday when we join Ed Deacy here at MSC for some old Irish ballads.

Even the cat lovers among us were surprised to learn that a “chowder” refers to a group of cats. Of course, a “crash” refers to a group of rhinos. The Driver has some recent first hand experience with Rhinos, and came away very impressed. He says they are huge and imposing, and it’s a shame that the poachers are after them. In some places in Africa they have been assigned 24-hour armed guards for protection.

sedna Good Question!: A few years ago a potential 10th planet was named Sedna, for the sea goddess in whose legends?

 Choices: Inuit, Mayans,  Vikings,  Celts

 Answer: Inuit

Of course, if this was a potential 10th planet, then that would mean that Pluto is back in business and considered the 9th planet. YEAH!

 Bulletin: NASA-funded researchers have discovered the most distant object orbiting the sun. It’s a mysterious planet-like body three times farther from Earth than Pluto.

“The sun appears so small from that distance that you could completely block it out with the head of a pin,” said Dr. Mike Brown, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, Calif., associate professor of planetary astronomy and leader of the research team. The object, called Sedna for the Inuit goddess of the ocean, is 13 billion kilometers (8 billion miles) away, in the farthest reaches of the solar system.

see caption

Above: An artist’s rendition shows the newly discovered planet-like object, dubbed “Sedna,” in relation to other bodies in the Solar System, including Earth and its Moon, Pluto, and Quaoar.

This is likely the first detection of the long-hypothesized “Oort cloud,” a faraway repository of small icy bodies that supplies the comets that streak by Earth. Other notable features of Sedna include its size and reddish color. After Mars, it is the second reddest object in the solar system. It is estimated Sedna is approximately three- fourths the size of Pluto. Sedna is likely the largest object found in the solar system since Pluto was discovered in 1930.
(Alas, this bulletin was dated: Mar.15, 2004, before Pluto was unceremoniously dumped as a planet).

If we are talking about far away planets, we need to watch/listen to a couple of clips from “2001: A Space Odyssey”:


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