Archive for May, 2013

Ladies’ Night


Winners: Barbara, Bea, and the Mad Scientist (Nadia)

It was a full house with 19 players, but tonight was Ladies night. They dominated the contest and we had a 3 way ladies tie for first place. Barbara was a first time player and winner, Bea was very happy to beat FrankC., and of course, Nadia continues to show her pal, Jon the bodyguard, how to play this game.

Tonights questions were tres difficile. Who knew that a sloth can stay under water for 30 minutes or that Dutch sailors were given sauerkraut to prevent scurvy. The big controversy of the evening involved how many vertebrae a human has? The answer – 33 – was vigorously challenged by Dr.K. to no avail.

Good Question!: Before the barometer was discovered what did German meterologists use to predict air pressure changes?

Choices: clouds – celery – frogs – ocean tides

Answer: Frogs!

UnknownTorcelli invented the barometer in 1643.  People still use his mercury style barometers. But surprisingly, frogs can be live barometers because they croak when the air pressure drops.  The frogs are usually correct.


One of the earliest forecasting tools was the use of atmospheric pressure. The barometer is used to measure air pressure and uses the unit millbars.  All the measures of the barometer are recorded on a machine called the Barograph.

Soon, after the invention of the barometer, it was found that there were natural fluctuations in air pressure even if the barometer was kept at the same elevation. During times of stormy weather the barometric pressure would tend to be lower. During fair weather, the barometric pressure was higher. If the pressure began to lower, that was a sign of approaching inclement weather. If the pressure began to rise, that was a sign of tranquil weather.

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                                           Winner: Droppin’ Dave

GuestBlogger: Droppin’

After a week with no game, a small group of eight souls, barely a quorum, gathered Tuesday evening for Mistress Daphne’s verbal abuse, otherwise known as the weekly trivia game.  She had her hands full with kibitzing from Mike O’Donohoe and Butch Jensen, but managed to keep things under control.

Darin showed up just in time for the end of the game, and to adjudicate a disputed question. Tiffany was thirst-quenching behind the bar.  Droppin’ Dave returned to winning form, with Cathy and Nadia tied for second.  Pluto and Rosebud were inexplicably absent, having chosen to tour wineries in France rather than attend the game.

Good question: In ancient Rome, when a man swore in court, he would swear on what?

Answer:  His testicles.

Not exactly. This is apparently a common misconception based on a common Latin root for testicles and testify.  (Heh heh,  you said root!)

There really is a strong link between testicle and testify (as well as attest, intestate, testament, contest and other words) but those who swear by this belief have misunderstood the matter.

56171The Latin word for a witness was testis, which derives from an Indo-European word for the number three. That was because the Romans regarded a witness as what we would call a trusted third party, one who stands aside from the dispute and can tell how it really was.

The Romans did also use the word testis in a figurative way to mean testicle. The idea seems to have been that a testicle was a witness to a man’s virility. And that’s the whole story of the connection.

One reason for the confusion may be that swearing on the testicles is recorded in the Bible. The practice is mentioned in the Old Testament, though the King James’ version bowdlerised the reference in Genesis to “grasping the thigh”.

But there seems to be no evidence that the Romans — a long way away and in another era — used a similar method. In any case, the Biblical reference implies that the person is swearing on the testicles of the king, not on their own.

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the Swaffelener


Winner: Pluto

It was a late starting game, and we lost a few players to the late start. Mistress Daphne and the Driver were still at their southern plantation house, but Rosebud and Pluto had returned from their journey across southern France. Pluto was raring to get back in the game and was rewarded with a narrow win over FrankC. Rosebud seemed to be distracted during the game, probably still thinking of all that fine wine, good food, and delicious chocolates she had enjoyed in La belle France.

The game seemed to come down to one question – who knew the meaning of “swaffelen”, the dutch word of the year in 2008? It seems that Pluto was the only one who knew that it meant “to smack your penis repeatedly”. He may have won the game on this question, but surely his damaged reputation makes this a Pyrrhic victory. Much better that he had gone in the tank on this question, to avoid the curious looks he now gets when he uses the restroom.

Good Question!: In 2008 an art theft of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, and Cezanne occured. Where were these paintings on display?

Choices: E.G. Burle,  Vatican Museum,  the Louvre,  the Guggenheim

Answer: E.G. Burle

What is an E.G. Burle? Were these paintings ever recovered? How did they pull off this heist?

These are all good questions, which deserve a well researched answer. If you agree, return here next week for the answers.

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