Archive for October, 2013



Winner: Droppin’ Dave
(closely followed by his two favorite ladies – Sheena and Rosebud)

When tonight’s score was tallied, both Sheena and Droppin’ tied on the number of correct answers. In a highly irregular tie breaker, some mysterious bonus points, related to obscure volcano’s, were used to declare Droppin’ the winner. Sheena wuz robbed. This evening’s game had a modest crowd, but welcomed back Nadia (the mad scientist) and Jon the Bodyguard, after a summer of attending girlfriend weddings. Jon, our Princess Diaries guy, says he likes attending weddings.

Tonight we learned that a “Vaporetto” is a waterbus in Venice (and also the cheapest way to tour the Grand Canal), and that Humbert Humbert was Lolita’s not so secret admirer.

Good Question: Which US number one hit in 1975 from a UK singer was a tribute to an American sports team?

Choices:   Philadelphia Freedom   We Are the Champions

Sweet Caroline   Rock of Ages


Answer: Philadelphia Freedom

Philadelphia Freedom” is a song released by the Elton John band as a single in 1975. The song was one of John’s numerous number-one U.S. hit singles during the early and mid-1970s, which saw his recordings dominating the charts.

The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a favour to John’s friend tennis star Billie Jean King. King was part of the Philadelphia Freedom professional tennis team.

What I find more interesting is the back story to “We are the Champions,” which has been universally embraced by sports teams and their fans as a tribute to victory.

Farrokh Bulsara was a Parsi, born in Zanzibar to devout Zoroastrian parents. He grew up in India, played music at high school, moved to England, and once described himself as being “as gay as a daffodil.”

The world would come to know Farrokh Bulsara as “Freddie Mercury,” lead singer for the rock group Queen. Mercury has said: “I was thinking about football when I wrote it. I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to. Of course, I’ve given it more theatrical subtlety than an ordinary football chant. So football (what we call soccer) a sport as rugged and macho as it was possible to be celebrates triumph with the words of a man who had famously compared himself to a daffodil.

Here is Freddie in all his glory:

BTW, In 2011, a team of scientific researchers concluded that the song was the catchiest song in the history of pop music. Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen said of the study, “Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesisers which can add effects to make a song more catchy. We’ve discovered that there’s a science behind the sing-along and a special combination of neuroscience, maths and cognitive psychology can produce the elusive elixir of the perfect sing-along song.”

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Winner: Pluto

Katy joined her dad FrankC for tonight’s game and beat everyone at her table, even Bea. She finished a strong second to Pluto who was on a roll all night. The same could not be said for his bar mates, Rosebud and Rhys. They are normally strong players, but tonight they “should have stood in bed”.

We were reminded that “Cheers”, our sister bar in Boston, is actually named Bull and Finch, that left handed people are banned from playing Polo, and that it’s Hydrogen and then Helium as the first two elements in the periodic table.

Good Question: On his fourth voyage this explorer found his ship rotted out from under him and he spent a year marooned with his men on Jamaica?

Choices:   Cabot,   Columbus,   Cook,   De Leon



Answer: Columbus

Of course – didn’t we just celebrate Columbus day yesterday. Wonder if old Chris and his boys passed the time smoking  ganja while marooned on Jamaica? Here’s a bigger question.

Did the contemporaries of Christopher Columbus believe the Earth was flat?

A persistent myth in American folklore is that Christopher Columbus had to persuade the Spanish monarchs that the world was round.

Had Western Europe forgotten the round earth, well known to the ancient Greeks?

Eighteenth-century Americans, still loyal English subjects, accepted the view that Sebastian Cabot, sailing under the British flag, had discovered the North American continent, whereas Columbus had merely found some small Caribbean islands.

Following the American Revolution, Columbus replaced Cabot and became the new hero, though little was known about him until novelist Washington Irving in 1826 joined a diplomatic mission to Spain and there discovered a splendid trove of archival materials.

Unfortunately, Irving spiced up his two-volume biography, The History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), with at least one fictitious scene in which the great navigator faced an imposing array of university clerics who scornfully rejected the idea of a spherical earth and quoted the Bible to defend their position. According to Irving, Columbus found himself in danger of being branded a heretic.

Thus it was that the nineteenth century saw the flat earth reinvented.

The task Columbus faced was not convincing the Spanish monarchs that the earth was round but that its size made the adventurous idea of a westward voyage to the Indies entirely reasonable. What really happened was that the university scholars objected to Columbus’s diminished size of the earth. But Columbus, without his faulty, fictitiously small earth, could not have justified his bold expedition.

What about Jamaica?

Can’t think about Jamaica without some Rasta music:

On May 11, 1502, Columbus set out on his fourth and final voyage to the New World. He had four ships and his mission was to explore uncharted areas to the west of the Caribbean, hopefully finding a passage west to the Orient. Columbus did explore parts of southern Central America, but his ships, damaged by a hurricane and termites, fell apart while he was exploring. Columbus and his men were stranded on Jamaica for about a year before being rescued. They returned to Spain in late 1504.

Columbus returned to Spain to learn that his beloved Queen Isabel was dying. Without her support, Columbus would never return to the New World. He was getting on in years at any rate, and it is a wonder that he survived the disastrous fourth voyage. He died in 1506,  aged probably 54.

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Winner: Bea

Bea and her boys swept the podium tonight. Try hard as he might, FrankC  just couldn’t quite catch Bea and his brother – Cousin Vinny, who ended his fall season with a strong second place finish. We won’t see Cousin Vinny again until he comes out of hibernation in the spring and returns from Atlanta.

Tonight’s theme was current events and other currents. We were reminded that Miley Cyrus recently said: “Hollywood is a coke town, but weed is so much better.” Sounds about right. On a more serious note, we had questions about the federal govt. shutdown – which shows we couldn’t escape it even at play in our trivia game.

Good Question!:
The electrical current coming into your house is usually an average of ?

Choices:   60 volts   80 volts   120 volts   220 volts


Answer: 120 volts

Surprisingly, this first question was controversial  and the sparks were flying early. There was strong support for 220 volts, and now I know why.

While inventors in many countries contributed to electric power technology, the U.S. was way out front in putting that technology to practical use. In the early days, lower voltages were the most practical for electric lights– higher voltages burned out the bulbs. So the hundreds of power plants built in the U.S. prior to 1900 adopted 110 volts (or 115 or 120 volts) as their de facto standard.

Trouble was, power transmission at higher voltages was more efficient–you didn’t have to use so much copper in the wires. By the time most European countries got around to making big time investments in electricity, the engineers had figured out how to make 220-volt bulbs that wouldn’t burn out so fast. So, starting in Germany around the turn of the century, they adopted the 220-volt (or 230- or 240-volt) standard. But the U.S. stayed with 110 volts (today it’s officially 120 volts) because we had such a big installed base of 110-volt equipment.

But don’t worry that we’re stuck with a technological dinosaur. Fact is, homes with standard 3-wire electrical service in most parts of the country get 240 volts. The three wires that come in from the street are 120 volts positive, zero volts (neutral), and 120 volts negative. (I know, this is alternating current, not DC, so we can’t really say “120 volts positive,” but don’t bother me with details.)

Take the neutral and either of the other wires (the usual practice) and you’ve got 120 volts. But tap into your plus-120 and minus-120 and you’ll get a 240-volt jolt, handy for energy-hungry appliances like air conditioners or electric stoves and clothes dryers. The tell tale sign in the fusebox is a special double-width circuit breaker that straddles the plus-120 and minus-120 bus bars. Not the most vital fact in the world, but at least next time you’re poking around in there when the lights blow you’ll have some idea what you’re looking at.

Now we all know the best use of electricity is  to create a Frankenstein monster:

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Winners: Droppin’, FrankC, the Driver, and Rhys

A good size crowd of trivia fans were greeted with an Octo -themed game this week.  Octoberfest, Octomom, Pieces of Eight, and Red October all made appearances.  Kudos to Darin for a cohesive quiz.  When all was said and done, the result was a rare four-way tie for first place.  The winners were Droppin’, FrankC, the Driver, and Rhys. The best quip of the night came from Artie during the dollar game.  The question: “Who was the figure portrayed in the famous Rodin sculpture commonly known as “The Thinker”?  The answer turned out to be the poet Dante.  Artie:  “Ah, a poet. Guess he was thinking, “What rhymes with orange’?”

Good question!:
What do the Germans call the people who overindulge at Octoberfest and are seen passed out on the grounds?


Answer: Bierleichen  (beer corpses)

Apparently it is a common sight in Munich this time of year for early risers to discover what resembles a battlefield filled with corpses – the drunks sleeping it off.  The amount of beer consumed over the course of the roughly two week festival is truly staggering, in every sense. More than seven million liters are consumed during the festival.  All of the beer is brewed in Munich, and is at least 6% alcohol.


Unsurprisingly, the  party can get out of hand on occasion, and in recent years there have been measures taken to preserve some decorum.  Music is limited to folk and classical during the daylight hours, and kept below 85 decibels.  Smoking has been banned in the tents, but unfortunately this rule had the unintended consequence of unmasking the stench of old spilled beer that soaks the ground.  But there is still no limit on how much beer an  individual can consume.  No legal limit, that is.  The bierleichen are mute testimony of another limit.

Celebrities Enjoy this Year’s Oktoberfest

14993.443.294                                          14988.443.323

Models Micaela Schäfer and Janina Youssefian fool around for the cameras.


Boris Becker (remember him?) and wife Lilly













Bloggers Note: this week’s special guest blogger – Droppin’ Dave. Thanks

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