Archive for April, 2013


Winner: Coffee Bill.

We already had a large group of players (19) when Coffee Bill, formerly a long time regular, but now a Jersey Boy, surprised us by joining the game just as it was about to start. Bill had caddied 45 holes today on LI, but still looked fresh as a daisy. His last match play had gone into sudden death overtime and finally ended on the 9th playoff hole, when his golfer hit a hole in one in the gathering darkness. Wow!

The crowd was loud and boisterous and tonight’s weird questions only added to the pandemonium. Did you know that there were 700 languages spoken in New Guinea? Pluto was skeptical, but Maddy said each tribe had it’s own language. When Pluto said that meant the tribes couldn’t speak to each other, Maddy said: “They don’t need to speak to each other. They just want to eat each other!”
Can’t argue with that logic.

It seemed fitting that Coffee Bill would triumph in his return, to complete his pretty special day. Closely behind were Droppin’ Dave, Pluto, Rosebud, and surprisingly, 10 O’Clock Bill, who even beat spouse Judy. This has never happened before, and probably won’t ever happen again. In fact, Judy has asked that we take a urine sample from Bill.

Good Question!:
What was the population of the world in the year Christ was born?

about 50 million,   about 200 million,   about 500 million,   about 1 billion


Answer: about 200 million

Many players were surprised the population of the world was that large in 1 AD. Of course, there is absolutely no demographic data available for 99 percent of the span of the human stay on Earth. But there is some educated speculation.

Homo sapiens may have appeared about 50,000 B.C. At the dawn of agriculture, about 8,000 B.C., the population of the world was somewhere on the order of 5 million. By 1 A.D., the world may have held about 300 million people, emphasis on “may have”.

One estimate of the population of the Roman Empire, from Spain to Asia Minor, in 14 A.D., is 45 million. However, other historians set the figure twice as high, suggesting how imprecise population estimates of early historical periods can be.

Another source says: “The population two thousand years ago is estimated to have been 231 million. At this time North and South America were sparsely populated, as was Asia Pacific. The estimated population of New Zealand was zero. Southern Asia, Northern Africa, China and Southern Europe (parts of the same land mass) had relatively high populations. Colder Northern latitudes tended to have lower populations. The territories that now encompass the Ganges, Tigris, Yangtze, Nile and Po rivers were the most populous.

Many people think that India’s and China’s population growth were a modern phenomenon. But in fact, these two countries have always had disproportionately large populations since ancient times. If anything, North American population actually grew at an astronomical rate in modern history.

Back to ancient times. Infant mortality in the human race’s earliest days is thought to have been very high—perhaps 500 infant deaths per 1,000 births, or even higher. Children were probably an economic liability among hunter-gatherer societies, a fact that is likely to have led to the practice of infanticide.

Furthermore, life was short. Life expectancy at birth probably averaged only about 10 years for most of human history. Estimates of average life expectancy in Iron Age France have been put at only 10 or 12 years. So, of course, world population did not grow rapidly.

Where are we headed? 

Infant Mortality and Life Expectancy have come a long way, baby. Consequently, so has world population:



That graph is pretty frightening, isn’t it?

BTW, On May 1, 2013 the population clock estimates US population to be 316M, about 4.5% of total world population, estimated to be 7.1 Billion.

sources: prb.org, chartsbin.com

blogger’s note: Pluto and Rosebud are headed on holiday, from 4 May. As they travel through southern France, and as wi-fi access permits, they plan to post photos of the trip on their photo blog. If you care to check on their progress, try:  wegetaround2.com.

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Winners: Jon(the bodyguard) and Barbara

Tonight was a good, close game with all the players tightly bunched. Jon and Barbara narrowly edged out Mo, Nadia (the MadScientist), and Lorraine. When you look at the photo of the winners you might wonder – How did Jon finish as the only male with all those women?

Easy. They were all big fans of the “Princess Diaries”, a critical question this evening. In fact, the bodyguard may be the biggest fan of all. Jon can quote passages verbatim and brags that he has read each book in the series. Who knew!

Good Question: What percent of the earth is fresh water?

Choices: 2%, 10%, 25%, 50%

Answer: 2%

Yikes! Only 2%!

UnknownAnd only 1% of the water supply on earth can be used as drinking water.

This could be big trouble. No more elaborate and wasteful water fountains in Las Vegas. Los Angeles at war with Phoenix over who gets the precious water they need for their growing populations. The Middle East, with only 1% of the world’s freshwater to be shared among 5% of the world’s population, heats up. Global warming causes more frequent, and more severe droughts. It’s a nightmare scenario.

In the Golden State of California, freshwater in the San Joaquin Valley is on the brink of disappearance.There is an intrastate water war that could potentially destroy access to California’s drinking water for millions. Which makes California ground zero of America’s water crisis.

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal for a peripheral canal is reigniting centuries-old battles over water rights, and environmentalists, citizens, and billionaires alike are all vying for control over California’s water supply. Remember Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown”. That took place in the early 1900’s, but now it’s deja vu all over again.

Can Technology Save Us?

“Water, Water, Everywhere….”
You’ve heard the phrase, and for water, it really is true. Earth’s water is (almost) everywhere: above the Earth in the air and clouds, on the Earth as rivers, oceans, ice, and inside the Earth in the top few miles of the ground. But can we get fresh water from the salt water in the oceans, where most of the water is?

Technology is being developed to desalinize sea water and turn salt water into fresh, drinkable water. There are several basic approaches.

  • Solar Distillation Sunlight evaporates the seawater, fresh water vapor rises, salts and minerals are left behind. This fresh water is then collected.
  • Reverse Osmosis Seawater is passed through fine osmotic membranes. Pressure through the membranes separates salts from the fresh water.
  • Electrolysis Salt water is separated into oxygen and hydrogen parts and then recombined into pure water.

The technology is known and man-made systems for desalinization are working now, but are not yet truly practical. The cost is too damn high, and it is not energy efficient. So for the time being – take shorter showers, use a rain barrel, and drink beer instead of water.

sources: suite101.com, lenntech.com, news.bbc.co.uk

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Winner: Pluto

We had a good mix of players tonite. Two new players advocated for a half time score, which seemed like a reasonable request. I mean they do it in the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, and soccer, why not here? Mistress Daphne, recently returned from sailing across the pond, said she thought it was a crazy, bad idea. Those of us who were hoping she would be a bit more mellow after a couple of weeks wandering across the Atlantic, were sorely disappointed.

The big surprise this evening was that Judy, who had been undefeated in her last 3 games, had a rough night and was bested by Pluto, the Driver and KLibra. KLibra left early, before the winners photo, so we had to use another blonde as a stand in. Apparently Pluto thought that was hilarious, or maybe he just had too much Killepitsch to drink.

The Driver and Daphne were kind enough to bring a bottle of this fairly obscure liquor back from their travels and share it with us. It’s made with 90+ herbs, fruits, and nuts. That stuff is good! Keep your eye out for it at your local liquor store.

Good Question!: Baboons were once trained by Egyptians to do what?

Choices: sing, babysit, walk dogs, wait tables.

Answer: Wait Tables!

514899HSX1LThis sure sounds like a tall tale. But “Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts”, a collection of facts and trivia in a book edited by Sir Isaac Asimov, claims it’s true. Think about the possibilities:

Baboons could be Wal-Mart Greeters
Ticket-Takers at movie theaters
Writers for Two and a Half Men
Car wash chamois guy

I’m not sure if too many people besides Asimov believe this baboon baloney, but his book is pretty weird. Among other “Facts’ found there:
Peter the Great killed his wife’s lover and put his (the lover’s) head in a jar of alcohol in her bedroom. So better be good, ladies.

In fact, research on the baboons turned up lots of weird stuff.


You may have seen impressive body painting and displays of yoga skills before, but these human motorcycles are in a category of their own.

”We sought to combine the art of the motorcycle with true art, thereby elevating the ads to something people would want to look at, enjoy, and share,” i.d.e.a. said about their unique project, and they’ve certainly achieved their goal. Photos and posters of their creations have gone viral on the Internet, and for good reason – they are simply spectacular. They employed the talents of professional body painter Trina Merry to turn a team of yoga experts, circus performers and flexible dancers into a speed bike, cruiser, and dirt bike to be ridden by the Progressive International Motorcycle Show’s host, Erin Bates. They did such a good job that in some photos you can’t even tell she’s just riding a bunch of people, not a real motorcycle.

The Internet is a strange place.

Bloggers Note: This month marks the third anniversary of TNBE.
You keep reading and we’ll keep writing.

sources: www.yesbutnobutyes.com, www.odditycentral.com

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Winner: Bobby Barcelona

Tonight’s game was filled with pop trivia, a slow pitch right in Bobby’s wheelhouse. Who else would know the superhero who got his powers from a spacecraft that was bombarded by cosmic rays? Bobby was quite surprised that he was the only “Human Torch” fan in the game. He thinks that we all should have spent our youth as he did – devouring each and every Marvel comic as soon as it was released.

Rosebud needed more pop music questions to succeed and was lucky to tie BigBadJohn for second place. The big news of the night, of course, was the return of draft beer to MainStreet Cafe. Oh, that Dogfish IPA tasted so good, especially with the celebratory Carrot cake from Copenhagen bakery.

Later we raised a glass to 10 O’clock Bill, who contributed new playing cards to make this a special night indeed. Nadia (the MadScientist) has promised to take the old cards to her laboratory to analyze just what types of germs had accumulated on their sticky surface over the years.

Good Question!:
What was the nickname of the squadron commanded by the Red Baron?

Choices: Flying Tigers, Flying Circus, Red Storm, Red Devils

Answer: Flying Circus

First, let’s dispose of the wrong choices, which Darin so cleverly put together. The Red Storm, of course, are the St. John’s University athletic teams, while the Red Devils are the Manchester United football team.

The Flying Tigers choice seemed like a strong possibility, and was the most interesting. The Flying Tigers were volunteer pilots from the United States military, recruited under presidential  authority before the American entry into World War II, with the mission of defending China against Japanese forces. So this was close, but no kewpie doll.


The Tigers’ shark faced fighters remain among the most recognizable of any individual combat aircraft and combat unit of World War II.



Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, more widely known as the Red Baron, was the most famousRictofons-Flying-Circus German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during World War I.  He is considered the top ace of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories.

Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, and quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1, better known as the “Flying Circus”.

sources: wikipedia

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Winner: BigBadJohn

What started out as a quiet night @ MSC with a hand full of players, turned into a loud, chaotic night as MSC filled up with members of the Northport PD celebrating a promotion. The new Lieutenant, Billy Ricca, has been known to join this game when he’s off duty and we wish him the best. Somehow Darin, in Daphne’s absence, was able to do double duty – serving the large crowd and acting as the moderator for the game. She is a real pro.

BigBadJohn has been close recently, and tonight he finished just ahead of Mady, Rosebud, and Pluto. I think the question that put him over the top was his knowledge of what a dipsomaniac craves – alcohol.

The big news for next week is that five months after SuperStormSandy, Main Street Cafe will finally be back in full operation. The MSC draft beer system, flooded during the storm, has been replaced and will be better than ever. MSC will have more taps, serving a wider range of draft beers than before. And there’s great news for us hopheads – there will be two new IPA’s!!!

Good Question!: What metaphorical tortuure chamber reference derives from George Orwell’s book “1984”

Choices: black hole, black night, room 101, night terror

Answer: Room 101

Funny thing is that I spent a good deal of time in HS in Room 101. That was the detention room. Here is the run down on Orwell’s Room 101.

MV5BNDUwNjQ4MDQ5Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODk3MjUyNA@@._V1._SX640_SY421_  “Winston is confined in Room101, strapped to a chair in a way which rendered him     completely immobile. In front of him were two tables on which stood two covered wire cages. O’Brien was holding a lever which would operate the cages. Impassively, O’Brien explains that what Room 101 contains is quite simply, “the worst thing in the world.” This varies from individual to individual. For some it may be torture, fire for some one else, drowning for yet others. For each individual, Room 101 held his greatest fear. When confronted with that, courage and cowardice lose their meaning, one will do whatever one has to do to avoid the horror in Room 101 as naturally and automatically as one will grab at a rope to keep from falling.

In Winston’s case, his greatest fear, his worst nightmare was rats and it was rats there were there in the cages in front of him. O’Brien informs him that he is going to open the cages and set the rats onto him. The rats are starving, they will sense Winston’s helplessness and devour him inch by inch. Winston cries out in terror asking O’Brien to only tell him what he has to do to avoid this. O’Brien vouchsafes no answer and lays his hand on the lever which would open the cages. In a total frenzy Winston sees the rats behind the bar and with a sudden flash of intuition realizes what he has to do to save himself. He has to take the final step of degradation, he has to betray Julia. It is no longer a matter of choice, before this threat, he is helpless. He cries out “Do it to Julia! Not me!” Repeating that cry he is aware that the lever has clicked back into place, the cage is closed. His degradation is finally completed in Room 101.”

If you have a very strong constitution, this is a terrifying clip from the movie “1984”, featuring Richard Burton in his last movie appearance.

This clip featuring Room 101, shows that Orwell could see the future. Now it’s called enhanced interrogation.

I much prefer this clip that references “1984”, the iconic Apple ad that appeared only once on TV, during the 1984 SuperBowl:

source: online-literature.com

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