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Archive for February, 2014

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Winner: Rosebud

It was a small crowd, very quiet. Maybe we all missed Daphne.
Nah, that can’t be it.

Maybe everyone was at home watching the Olympics where Americans Ted Ligety won the giant slalom, and Mikaela Shiffrin won the slalom. But if you were paying attention you already knew that was going to happen (see post Jan. 14). Rosebud finished first again, followed by Rhys, with Mike and Pluto riding the caboose.

Tonight we were reminded that John Kennedy’s campaign song was “High Hopes”, and that New York produces the second most wine behind California. When we learned that Utah consumes the least amount of beer per capita, Pluto was surprised. He said every time he has been out there he has drunk lots of beer. Of course, he’s not a Mormon.

Good Question!: The first roller coaster in the U.S. opened in 1884.
In which state?

Choices:  a. Pennsylvania     b. New York     c. New Jersey     d. Florida

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Answer: New York, of course.

Time for a history lesson on Coney Island, and since I spent college summers as a carny worker, I feel eminently qualified.

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Actually, lets start with the history of the roller coaster before Coney Island.

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The roller coaster has its origins in St. Petersburg, Russia, as a simple slide that took thrill seekers down an icy ramp past a variety of colored lanterns. The next leap forward came when a French traveler beheld this odd national pastime and imported it to his homeland. Adapting the ice slide to a milder climate, the French soon learned to erect a track with a groove running down the middle. A bench with wheels was fitted into the groove, and down the Parisians went — facing sideways.

Some historians argue that it was this device, which rolled as it coasted, that inspired the term “roller coaster.”

Now you can spend 2 minutes with this front seat ride on the Cyclone and learn all you need to about coasters or you can read the text discussion that follows.
I know what I would do.

History of the Roller Coaster

American LaMarcus Adna Thompson was an unlikely candidate for the title of Father of the Gravity. A Sunday school teacher and dimestore moralist, he looked upon amusement parks as sinful places in need of redemption. Nevertheless, it was his Switchback Railway, erected at Coney Island in 1884, that inaugurated the “gravity pleasure ride” industry in earnest. Based directly on Knudsen’s system, the Switchback Railway quickly demonstrated its wide appeal by earning $600 a day (at a nickel a ride) and paying for itself in a mere three weeks.

That was all the encouragement Thompson needed to apply his ingenuity to its fullest. For his Orient Scenic Railway in Atlantic City, he rediscovered the French trick of pulling the cars up the first hill by cable. Elsewhere, he devised triggers under the tracks that could activate an emergency cable and stop the ride, learned to link the cars together (which not coincidentally doubled his fares) and built tunnels that plunged riders into a terrifying darkness. By 1887 he held 30 patents for improvements in roller coasters

No less prodigious in business, he organized the L.A. Thompson Scenic Railway Company and embarked on what amounted to a franchise. By 1888 he had built almost 50 roller coasters in Europe and America. Remember this was only four years after his first coaster at Coney Island!

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An artist’s rendering of an aerial view of Surf Avenue at Coney Island under a new plan for a renovated amusement complex there.

For a time, virtually every ride at Coney Island used gravity to work its magic. Then came the transition to third rail coasters. These “funny-track trains” were not entirely safe, however. The Rough Rider operators tended to push their vehicles too hard, using full power even on downward inclines. In 1910 a Rough Riders motorman took his train around one bend too fast, throwing two cars loose and tossing 16 passengers out over Surf Avenue–four of then to their death.

Such troubles became less common after 1912, when John Miller invented the “under-friction wheel.” Previously, coasters had been fitted with “side-friction wheels,” which rolled along the inner edges of the track. The under-friction wheel, by contrast, kept the train bolted down beneath the track  with a third set of wheels that solved the matter of accidental derailments.

sources: PBS American Experience

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Winner: Rosebud

Greetings from Fairbanks Alaska, where it seems like another storm is headed our way. The weather outside continues frigid but it was nice and warm inside MSC. We started the night by writing secret Valentine messages to our fellow players, sort of an in person match.com. Then we began the game with Valentine’s Day as the theme. Rosebud was near perfect and only Brian Bonobo was close. I think Rosebud makes a near perfect Valentine herself.

What seemed like the entire Northport P.D. filled the back room tonight and made us feel very safe. We learned that the tomato is the fruit also known as the “love apple”, and that the green M&M is thought to be an aphrodisiac. I have to be honest, for me any color M&M acts like an aphrodisiac.

Mark your calendars – Tuesday is trivia nite and Wednesday 12 noon is the US Hockey (QF) at the Games. Hopefully, Friday 12 noon should be the titanic rematch of the last Winter Games gold medal game – USA v Canada, this time in the semi-finals. Another match you don’t want to miss is the US women playing Canada for the Hockey gold on Thursday at noon. They are easily the two best teams, evenly matched and don’t much like each other. Watch the goals score and the fists fly.

Good Question: The Bonobo or Pygmy Chimpanzee is the closest existing relative to humans. On average, how often do they have sex?

Choices:   a. every 1/2 hour   b. every 2 hours   c. every day   d. almost never

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Answer: every 1/2 hour! My goodness!

That didn’t seem possible and only one player knew the answer – Brian; now known as Brian Bonobo.

The equatorial forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) house a truly special kind of ape and one of man’s closest relatives: the bonobo.

Sharing 98.5% of the same DNA as humans, it is not surprising that bonobos possess very human-like qualities. They embody a profound intelligence and a deep emotional capacity. In fact, in captivity, bonobos have picked up on many facets of human culture, sometimes simply through observation of the researchers around them. They have learned how to communicate in human languages, use tools, play music, and in one case, a bonobo actually tried her hand at driving a golf cart (only to crash into a tree shortly after).

Physically, they resemble chimpanzees, a close relative. In fact, bonobos are sometimes referred to as pygmy chimps because scientists first believed bonobos were a subspecies of chimpanzees. Further inspection revealed differences, and scientists later categorized them as their own unique species.

This whole discussion has got me thinking of Tarzan, king of the Apes, Jane, and their friend Cheeta. This 4 minute clip shows some amazing underwater skinny dip hijinks by two Olympic swimmers (Weissmuller and Maureen Ohara’s body double):

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Bonobos differ from chimpanzees behaviorally as well. While chimpanzee society is competitive and male-dominated, bonobos live harmoniously in matriarchal groups of up to 100 members. Females hold the highest rank in a group, and the sons of ranking females become leaders among the males. Although males are physically larger and stronger, females gain power through strong bonds and alliances, thereby forming a stable “sisterhood.”

Sexual behavior is predominant in bonobo life. They engage in sexual behavior for a variety of reasons: to form bonds, to neutralize tense situations, to express excitement, to greet one another, to encourage sharing and compassion, and of course, to produce young.

Frans de Waal dubbed them the “make love, not war” species, since they seem to resolve the majority of conflicts through sexual activity.

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If you are interested, here here are seven things we can learn about love from bonobos, as described by Dr. Christopher Ryan:

1. More sex = less conflict. As the great primatologist, Frans de Waal put it, “Chimps use violence to get sex, while bonobos use sex to avoid violence.” While chimps victimize each other in many ways—rape, murder, infanticide, warfare between groups—there’s never been a single observed case of any of these forms of aggression among bonobos, who are much sexier than chimps. As James Prescottdemonstrated in a meta-analysis of all available anthropological data, the connection between less restrictive sexuality and less conflict generally holds true for human societies as well.

2. Feminism can be very sexy. When females are in charge, everyone lives better (including the males). While male chimps run the show, among bonobos, it’s the females who are in charge, with much better quality of life for everyone involved (see #1).

3. Sisterhood is powerful. Although female bonobos are about 20% smaller than males—roughly the same ratio as in chimps and humans—they dominate males by sticking together. If a male gets out of line and harasses a female, ALL the other females will gang up on him. This sisterly solidarity, combined with lots of sex, tends to keep the males behaving politely.

4. Jealousy isn’t romantic. While bonobos no-doubt experience unique feelings for one another, they don’t seem to worry much about controlling one another’s sex lives. Nor do bonobos seem to gossip much…

5. There’s promise in promiscuity. All the casual sex among bonobos is arguably a big part of what has made them among the smartest of all primates. Until human beings came along and messed things up for them, bonobos enjoyed very high quality of life, low stress, and plenty of social interaction in hammocks. In fact, of the many species of social primates living in multi-male social groups, not a single species is sexually monogamous. Each of the arguably smartest mammals–humans, chimps, bonobos, and dolphins—is promiscuous.

6. Good sex needn’t always include an orgasm, and “casual” doesn’t necessarily mean “empty” or “cheap.”Most bonobo sexual interactions are nothing more than a quick feel, rub, or intromission—a “bonobo handshake,” if you will. (See Vanessa Woods‘s excellent book by that name for a personal story of living with bonobos while falling in love.) But bonobos are very romantic: like humans, they kiss, hold hands (and feet!), and gaze into one another’s eyes while having sex.

7. Sex and food go together better than love and marriage—at least for bonobos. Nothing gets a bonobo orgy started faster than a feast. Give a group of bonobos a bunch of food and they’ll all have some quick sex before very politely sharing the food. No need to fight over scraps like a bunch of uncouth chimps!

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Winner: Gary DelRay

After a long absence one of our original players, Gary DelRay, rejoined us tonight and picked up where he left off. Although Mistress Daphne gave him a hard time, he overcame and won once again. Some had speculated that he had done something real bad and was in the witness protection program. Others thought he had just needed time to brush up on all matters trivia. Following close behind were a pack of players – Rosebud, the Driver, Megan, and Brian.

Tonight we learned that the “Monsters of the Midway” Chicago Bears have the most wins in the NFL – 730, and that the first football game was held all the way back in 1869 between Princeton and Rutgers. Fortunately, this was an in-state game and fans did not have to cross the GWB.

Good Question!: Who killed Laura Palmer on “Twin Peaks”?

Choices: a. her father     b. her brother     c. the chief of police     d. her neighbor

FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, “damn good coffee” images-1

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Answer: her father, Leland Palmer

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Answer: her father, Leland Palmer

“Twin Peaks” was one weird show – kind of an acquired taste. Only lasted 2 seasons and 30 episodes, but if you saw it, you never forgot it.  Never been anything quite like it on TV before or since. For those of you who missed it, here’s a brief rundown

Twin Peaks was an American television serial drama created by the great director David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation, headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), of the brutal murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen,Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee).

Twin Peaks Pilot was first broadcast on April 8, 1990 on the ABC Network, which led to another seven episodes being produced, and a second season, which aired until June 10, 1991. The show’s name came from its setting, a small fictional Washington town. Exteriors were primarily filmed in Snoqualmie and North Bend, Washington

Twin Peaks became one of 1990s’ top-rated shows, a critical success both nationally and internationally. Reflecting its devoted cult fan base, the series became a part of popular culture, referenced in other television shows, commercials, comic books, video games, films and song lyrics.

Primarily due to constant schedule changes, viewer rating declined. This led to ABC insisting that the identity of Laura’s murderer be revealed midway through the second season, a ratings ploy which interfered with several other long-running story lines.

In 2007, Twin Peaks was listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME.”

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some night when you have the time, here is a link to one entire episode:

http://www.cbs.com/shows/twin_peaks/

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ONLY For true fans – Season one Recap (I told you it was weird):

On the morning of February 24, in the town of Twin Peaks, WA, logger Pete Martell discovers a naked corpse tightly wrapped in a sheet of clear plastic on the bank of a river. Following the arrival of Sheriff Harry S. Truman, his deputies, and Dr. Hayward on the scene, the body is discovered to be that of homecoming queen Laura Palmer, a figurehead of youthful innocence and purity in the Twin Peaks community. The news of her death spreads rapidly among the town’s residents, particularly Laura’s family and friends. Meanwhile, just across the state line, a second girl, Ronette Pulaski, is found walking along the railroad tracks in a fugue state. Because Ronette was discovered across the state line, FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper is called in to investigate. Cooper’s initial examination of Laura’s body reveals a tiny typed letter ‘R’ inserted under her fingernail. At a town hall meeting that night, Cooper informs the community that Laura’s death matches the M.O. of a killer who murdered Teresa Banks, another girl in Southwestern Washington the previous year, and that evidence indicates the killer lives in Twin Peaks.

Cooper’s investigation quickly reveals that Laura was living a double life. She was cheating on her boyfriend, football captain Bobby Briggs, with biker James Hurley and prostituting herself out with the help of Leo Johnson, a local truck driver, and Jacques Renault, a pimp and drug dealer. Further, Laura was addicted to cocaine, which she obtained by emotionally blackmailing Bobby into doing business with Jacques.

Laura’s death sets off a chain reaction of events around town. Laura’s father, Leland Palmer, a prominent attorney, suffers a nervous breakdown. Her best friend, Donna Hayward, begins a relationship with James Hurley and, with the help of Laura’s cousin,Maddy Ferguson, sets about investigating Laura’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, whom they discover was obsessed with Laura. He is revealed to be innocent, and a plan to break into his apartment ends with Jacoby being attacked in a park and hospitalized with no memory of the event except the smell of burning oil. Benjamin Horne, the richest man in Twin Peaks, sets about the final phase of his plan to destroy the town’s lumber mill and murder Catherine Martell, who runs it, so that he can purchase the land at a reduced price and cement his position as the town’s undisputed economic power. His increasing neglect of his sultry, troubled daughter, Audrey Horne, leads to her falling in love with Cooper, for whom she begins spying around town in an effort to gain his affections by helping him solve Laura’s murder.

His second night in town, Cooper has a surreal dream in which he is approached in the basement of the Twin Peaks hospital by a one-armed man who calls himself MIKE. MIKE identifies himself as an otherworldly being, and then tells Cooper that Laura’s murderer is BOB, another entity like himself. Cooper then sees BOB, a feral, gray-haired man in denim who vows to keep killing. Cooper then sees himself twenty-five years older, sitting stationary in a room surrounded by red curtains which emit an otherworldly light. Across from him are a dwarf in a red business suit, “The Man from Another Place“, and Laura Palmer, whom The Man identifies as his cousin. After engaging in an apparently coded dialogue with Cooper, the Man rises from his chair and dances around the room while Laura whispers something in Cooper’s ear. The next morning, Cooper convenes with Truman and recalls the dream, telling him that it was symbolic, and that if he can decipher the symbols, he will know who killed Laura.

Cooper and the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s department track down the one-armed man from Cooper’s dream, who turns out to be a traveling salesman named Philip Gerard. Cooper questions Gerard about his associates, and discovers that he does indeed know a Bob, who is revealed to be the vet that treats Jacques Renault’s pet bird Waldo. Cooper takes this series of events to mean that Renault is the murderer and, with Truman’s help, he tracks Renault down to a brothel owned by Ben Horne. Cooper confronts him there, and tricks Renault into meeting him on U.S. soil at the water treatment plant. Shot during his arrest at the plant, Renault is hospitalized. Leland Palmer, after learning that Renault has been arrested, sneaks into the hospital and murders him. The same night, Ben Horne orders Leo to burn down the town mill with Catherine trapped inside; afterward, Ben has Leo gunned down by a hitman to ensure he won’t talk. Returning to his room following Jacques’ arrest, Cooper is shot by a masked gunman, ending the season on a cliffhanger.

source: http://twinpeaks.wikia.com/wiki/Twin_Peaks

 

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