Archive for December, 2015


Winners: CarolD & Barbara

In a week when Saudi Arabia allowed women to vote for the first time, the women of MainStreet showed how far they have come. A game with 20 players and not a single guy could make it to the winner’s podium. Well done, ladies.

Tonight’s Christmas theme informed us that Montgomery Ward (who dat?) was the department store that created “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” Almond Joy, sitting at the bar wearing his flashing red nose, was all over that one.

Good Question!: In what year was “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens published?

Choices: a. 1843   b. 1881   c. 1921   d. 1945


Answer: 1843

It’s been around a long time, even before the Hallmark special. Did you know that it’s official name is: “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas.”

The novella met with instant success and critical acclaim. The book was written at a time when the British were examining and exploring Christmas traditions from the past as well as new customs such as Christmas cards and Christmas trees. Carol singing took a new lease on life during this time. Dickens’ sources for the tale appear to be many and varied, but are, principally, the humiliating experiences of his childhood, his sympathy for the poor, and various Christmas stories and fairy tales.

A Christmas Carol remains popular—having never been out of print—and has been adapted many times to film, stage, opera, and other media.

It’s fun to think about who is your fave Ebenezer Scrooge. My two faves are George C. Scott and Scrooge McDuck.


Don’t miss this 5 minute clip from the definitive animated version (no ducks):

When you have the time this is the full version (1:41:05) of Scott’s great 1984 film:


Read Full Post »


Winner: Blue Bill

Last week newbie “Bathroom Bill” almost won. This week another newbie, “Blue Bill” did win. Do you see a pattern here? Looks like we should screen all newbies, build a wall and not allow anyone named Bill in, so the regulars have a chance.
Of course, the original “Coffee Bill” is always welcome.

Following close behind were regulars: the Driver, Big John, and Rosebud. They have promised to do a name check at the door next week.

Good Question!: What color was Coca-Cola originally?

Choices:   a.Red    b.Orange   c.Green   d.Black


Answer: Green

Au Contraire!

Unfortunately, this is just one of those bogus internet rumors. As found on Coca-Cola’s own website: “Although the famous contour bottle is green, Coca-Cola has always been brown in color, since its start in 1886.” So boys and girls the moral of this story is to treat what you find on the internet with a healthy skepticism.

The original Coca-Cola formula contained caramel, which gave it its distinct brown color. The brown color was important for the purpose of hiding imperfections. With modern production, that’s less of an issue, but it’s still naturally brown in keeping with tradition. And in case you were wondering, YES, Coca-Cola did use to have cocaine as an ingredient back in the day. Coca-Cola was named after two of its key “medicinal” ingredients: coca leaves and kola nuts. However, Coca-Cola has been cocaine-free since 1929. Guess we were born too late. I know that after watching the news lately I could use an old fashioned Coke.

Who could forget last year’s Coke Super Bowl Ad:

A Brief History

Originally Coca-Cola was intended as a patent medicine when it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton. He was a Confederate Colonel who was wounded in the American Civil War, became addicted to morphine, and began a quest to find a substitute for the dangerous opiate. Coca-Cola was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coke to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. The name refers to two of its original ingredients: kola nuts, a source of caffeine, and coca leaves. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret.

The company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold territorially exclusive contracts with the company, produce finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise Coca-Cola to retail stores, restaurants and vending machines.


Read Full Post »


Winner: Jay

Been a while since Jay won, but tonight he led all the way. Rosebud and Carol edged out a newbie, “Bathroom Bill” who of course, was awarded a roll of toilet paper for his efforts.

Good Question!:
What is the only double landlocked country in Asia?

Choices: a. Bhutan   b. Nepal   c. Iran   d. Uzbekistan


Answer: Uzbekistan

This question raised a lot of heated discussion, involving the Caspian Sea of all places. Is Uzbekistan truly one of only 2 countries double land locked, with tiny Liechtenstein, the other? The Driver was particularly incensed and brought up a map on his tablet showing the Caspian Sea right next door, on the other side of neighboring Kazakhstan. Because it was the Driver, who spends most of his life at sea, never landlocked, his objection was summarily dismissed. But he does have a point.

Here’s what the map experts at “Twelve Mile Circle” say:

“A landlocked country is one that does not have a coastline. Presently there are 43 landlocked countries so it’s not a particularly rare occurrence. However, two countries are “doubly landlocked” and that is much more unusual. Those are countries that are not only landlocked but are completely surrounded by other landlocked countries. Someone beginning a journey from a double landlocked country would have to cross two international borders before reaching a coastline.

The most recent doubly landlocked country is Uzbekistan which declared independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. Its immediate neighbors, all landlocked themselves, are Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

Some purists may disagree about this designation or at least place an asterisk next to it. Two of Uzbekistan’s neighbors, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, border on the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea is connected to the Black Sea by the Lenin Volga-Don Shipping Canal which joins the Volga River and the Don River via a 101 km waterway. Using this manmade canal it’s possible to travel from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, then across the Mediterranean Sea and on to the Atlantic Ocean.

Even so I think a good argument could be made that Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan should be considered landlocked. A canal is hardly a “coastline.”

Hector Barbossa

The Caspian Sea is the largest lake on Earth by area, with a surface area of 371,000 square kilometers (143,244 sq mi). It is a landlocked, endorheic (bet you never saw that word before) body of water lying between Russia and Iran. It has a maximum depth of about 1,025 meters (3,363 ft). Pirate Captain Hector Barbossa became Pirate Lord of the Caspian Sea, and was wanted dead or alive by the East India Trading Company for piracy in the area.

You know Hector from “Pirates of the Caribbean”:



Read Full Post »