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Archive for March, 2016

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Winner: the Driver

The Driver is headed into the repair shop to replace some parts, so tonight was his last chance for a win for a while. He came through to nip Judy and Eric, and now can enjoy his recovery. We had a late arrival tonight who thought he could join the game using sign language for his answers. I think next time he better play with the cards just like the rest of us.

Art and Daphne brought back a bottle of Himalayan “AAila,” a liqueur labeled “Nepal Original Taste.” We should have figured we were in for trouble. It tasted even worse than the scorpion, kerosene liquor they brought back from Vietnam a couple years ago, if that’s possible. But we do appreciate the effort.

Good Question!: What classic novel sold only 50 copies during the author’s lifetime?

Choices: a. Moby Dick   b. Treasure Island   c. Old Man and the Sea   d. Tom Sawyer

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Answer: Moby Dick

Well, it wasn’t a big seller, but it did sell way more than 50 copies. “Moby-Dick was out of print during the last four years of Melville’s life, having sold 2,300 in its first year and a half and on average 27 copies a year for the next 34 years, totaling 3,215 copies.”

Here is the History Channel coverage, quite interesting:

After enjoying some success in the 1840s, the publication of Moby-Dick marked Melville’s decline as a popular writer. He was unable to support himself as a writer and accepted a job at the New York Customs House. He continued to write, even as he faded into obscurity, turning to poetry in his later years. He published his poems but they were ignored and went unread. Like his novel about the great white whale, his poems are also esteemed by modern critics and scholars.

It was only in the early 1900s that Moby-Dick gained attention and acclaim. In modern times the novel is not only considered a great American classic, it is also heralded as one of greatest novels in the English language.

Ten pieces of trivia you should know about the novel Moby Dick:

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Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
by Herman Melville
Moby-Dick, written in 1851, recounts the adventures of the narrator Ishmael as he sails on the whaling ship Pequod under the command of Captain Ahab.

Ishmael believes he has signed onto a routine commission aboard a normal whaling vessel, but he soon learns that Captain Ahab is not guiding the Pequod in the simple pursuit of commerce but is seeking one specific whale, Moby-Dick, a great while whale infamous for his giant size and his ability to destroy the whalers that seek him. Captain Ahab’s wooden leg is the result of his first encounter with the whale, when he lost both leg and ship. After the ship sails it becomes clear that Captain Ahab is bent on revenge and he intends to get Moby-Dick.

Ahab demonstrates erratic behavior from the very beginning and his eccentricities magnify as the voyage progresses. As the novel draws to a conclusion, the Pequod encounters the whaling ship Rachel. The Rachel’s captain asks Ahab to help him in a search and rescue effort for his whaling-crew that went missing the day before — and the captain’s son is among the missing. But when Ahab learns that the crew disappeared while tangling with Moby-Dick he refuses the call to aid in the rescue so that he may hunt Moby-Dick instead.

The encounter with Moby-Dick brings a tragic end to the affair. Ishmael alone survives, using his friend Queequeg’s coffin as a flotation device until he is ironically rescued by the Rachel which has continued to search for its missing crew.

 

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Winners: Carol & Pluto

Runners Up: Rhys, Rosebud, Allison, & Madly

He was the last man standing, surrounded by the lovely ladies of Tuesday night trivia, but Pluto was still upset that he didn’t know that it was the Redskins who won the 1988 Super Bowl. If you have a painting signed by Anna Mary Robinson, better keep it safe because you have a Grandma Moses painting.

Good question!: What did Massachusetts outlaw in 1659?

Choices: a. Beer   b. Sunday worship   c. Christmas   d. Indians

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Answer: Christmas

We were all shocked to learn that Christmas had been canceled. Here’s the whole story.

“Puritans considered the destruction of Christmas necessary to the construction of their godly society.

During the seventeenth century, as now, Christmas was one of the most important dates in the calendar, both as a religious festival and as an important holiday period during which English men and women indulged in a range of traditional pastimes. During the twelve days of a seventeenth-century Christmas, churches and other buildings were decorated with rosemary and bays, holly and ivy; Christmas Day church services were widely attended, gifts were exchanged at New Year, and great quantities of brawn, roast beef, ‘plum-pottage’, minced pies and special Christmas ale were consumed, and the populace indulged themselves in dancing, singing, card games and stage-plays.

Such long-cherished activities necessarily often led to drunkenness, promiscuity and other forms of excess. In fact the concept of ‘misrule’, or a ritualised reversal of traditional social norms, was an important element of Christmas, and has been viewed by historians as a useful safety-valve for the tensions within English society.

Puritans detested these sorts of activities, grumbling that Christmas was observed with more revelry than piety. Worse, they contended that there was no Scriptural warrant for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Puritans argued (not incorrectly) that Christmas represented nothing more than a thin Christian veneer slapped on a pagan celebration. Believing in the holiday was superstitious at best, heretical at worst.

When the Puritans rebelled against King Charles I, inciting the English Revolution, the popular celebration of Christmas was on their hit list. Victorious against the king, in 1647, the Puritan government actually canceled Christmas. Not only were traditional expressions of merriment strictly forbidden, but shops were also ordered to stay open, churches were shut down and ministers arrested for preaching on Christmas Day.

The Puritans who came to America naturally shared these sentiments. As the Massachusetts minister Increase Mather explained in 1687, Christmas was observed on Dec. 25 not because “Christ was born in that Month, but because the Heathens Saturnalia was at that time kept in Rome, and they were willing to have those Pagan Holidays metamorphosed into Christian” ones. So naturally, official suppression of Christmas was foundational to the godly colonies in New England.

The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony went one step further and actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas. From 1659 to 1681, anyone caught celebrating Christmas in the colony would be fined five shillings.

Well into the 18th century, those who attempted to keep the tradition of wassailing alive in New England often found themselves arrested and fined. Indeed, the Puritan War on Christmas lasted up to 1870, when Christmas became a legally recognized federal holiday. Until then, men and women were expected to go to work, stores were expected to remain open, and many churches did not even hold religious services.”
Who Knew?

sources: History Today and the New York Times

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Winner: Pluto

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up tonight’s theme, of course, was Ireland. Pluto edged Rosebud and Rhys with nary an Irishman among them. Pluto attributes his win to growing up in an Irish neighborhood in the Bronx and learning to drink beer at a tender age. Mistress Daphne, recently returned from her trip to India, resumed her moderator duties. Her sessions learning to meditate with Swami Vivekananda seemed to have paid off – she was more mellow than we have ever seen her.

For those of you who have wondered, the longest town name in Ireland turns out to be “Muckanaghederdauhaulia” and St. Patrick was not really Irish; we can’t be sure but it appears he was from Scotland, Wales or England, of all places. And a bit of advice for the ladies – if you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day you are liable to get pinched.

Good Question!: It is said that if you catch a leprechaun, he will promise great wealth if you let him go. What must you do in order to obtain the “pot o’ gold”?

Choices:  a. give him whiskey     b. kiss him     c. throw salt     d. watch him closely

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Answer: watch him closely

The Legend of the Leprechaun
If you should be walking along a wooded path some moonlit night in Spring and hear the faint tap-tapping of a tiny hammer, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an Irish leprechaun, the elfin shoemaker, whose roguish tricks are the delight of Irish story-telling.

According to legend, the leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden somewhere, and he must give up his treasure to the one who catches him. You’ll have to step lively and think quickly to capture a leprechaun’s gold though, because this sly little fellow will fool you into looking away an instant while he escapes into the forest. So keep your eyes on him all the time.

It seems that “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” is the best movie with Leprechauns, a movie full of folklore, songs, and dancing.

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Only For Leprechaun Lovers,  More Leprechaun Lore

Leprechauns are a type of fairy, though it’s important to note that the fairies of Irish folklore were not cute Disneyfied pixies; they could be lustful, nasty, capricious creatures whose magic might delight you one day and kill you the next if you displeased them.

Leprechauns are often described as wizened, bearded old men dressed in green (early versions were clad in red) and wearing buckled shoes, often with a leather apron. Sometimes they wear a pointed cap or hat and may be smoking a pipe.

Leprechaun lore
The word leprechaun may be derived from the Irish leath bhrogan, meaning shoemaker. Indeed, though leprechauns are often associated with riches and gold, in folklore their main vocation is anything but glamorous: they are humble cobblers, or shoemakers. Shoemaking is apparently a lucrative business in the fairy world, since each leprechaun is said to have his own pot of gold, which can often be found at the end of a rainbow.

According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to find a leprechaun and capture him (or, in some stories, steal his magical ring, coin or amulet) can barter his freedom for his treasure. Leprechauns are usually said to be able to grant the person three wishes. But dealing with leprechauns can be a tricky proposition.

Leprechauns in popular culture
As with many old legends and traditions, the image and nature of the leprechaun has changed over time and has been updated (and in some cases sanitized) for a modern audience. Lucky the Leprechaun, mascot of the General Mills breakfast cereal Lucky Charms, is probably the best-known fairy of his type.

Leprechauns offer a morality tale figure whose fables warn against the folly of trying to get rich quick, take what’s not rightfully yours or interfere with “The Good Folk” and other magical creatures. Belief in leprechauns and other fairies was once widespread on the Emerald Isle, and real or not they will continue to amuse and delight us for centuries more.

 

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Winner: Droppin’

Tonight’s theme was Northport and it attracted a huge group of players, plus a large crowd of noisy kibitzers. MikeP, our moderator, could hardly be heard above the din. It was bedlam.

Droppin’, a long time Northporter, edged out Carol and Kirby. The rest of the 24 players vowed to visit the Northport Historical Society to learn a little about the place where they live.

For instance, tonight we learned that Main Street Café was called the Galley back in the day (the 60’s). Droppin’ remembers it was a real dive bar, where a fight was more likely to break out than not. It wasn’t the classy joint we know today, filled with erudite, wine drinking sports.

Good Question!: LILCO opened the Northport power station, currently the largest oil fired electric generating station on the east coast, in what year?

Choices: a. 1955   b. 1967   c. 1971   d.1979

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Answer: 1967

The Northport plant on Long Island sound produces 40 percent of Long Island’s electricity and replaced the original (n) plant right in the heart of the village. The four enormous smoke stacks, each 600 feet tall, are a defining landmark of Northport and can be seen as far away as Connecticut across Long Island sound. When Unit-4 was completed in 1977 it was among the last conventional oil fired-units built in the United States.

But those smokestacks bring lots of polluting smoke. A report in 2005 from a coalition of New York environmental groups, exposed the Northport plant, whose stacks emit 5.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, as the second-most-polluting in all the Northeast.

Tax Challenge

LIPA pays about $73 million annually in taxes on the Northport power plant, and is seeking to reduce the amount through a property tax challenge. It wants to reduce the assessment of the Northport power plant by 80 to 90 percent, which could raise taxes in the Northport-East Northport school district by 60 percent, according to the town.

In September 2015, The Town of Huntington received two favorable court decisions in the case regarding the challenge to the assessment. The first decision removed LIPA from the case. The second decision granted a stay in the assessment case until the court decides if National Grid should be held by LIPA’s 1997 pledge, which would not challenge the plant’s assessment. So let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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For a view of Northport posing as Greenleaf, Indiana, try this trailer from the movie “In and Out”:

For some great old historical photos of Northport try this Facebook page

For one person’s view of Northport in 2009 try this clip:

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Winner: Pluto

Close behind: Madly, John, Kevin, Rhys (hidden), Scott, Barbara
In a head lock: Rosemary, daughter of the first owner of Main Street Cafe. Great to have you back. Please tell your family what’s been going on here on Tuesday nights for 15 years.
Photo Bomber: MikeP, of course.

Pluto had a rough nite, stumbled on many questions, and answered barely half right. So he was gobsmacked to hear that he had won. Nipping close behind on his heels was a pack of six.

There was one question that put him over the top. Pluto, an Olympics junkie, was the only one who knew that Beijing had been chosen to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. To everyone else that seemed like a very strange choice. To the International Olympic Committee it was the best they could do, since only two cities had submitted bids to host and the other city, Almaty, was someplace in Kazakhstan. “Wel – come to Bei – Jing”

Good Question!: A U.S. Stamp launched in September 2015 featured the face of which celebrated actress?

Choices: a. Meryl Streep   b. Katherine Hepburn  c. Liz Taylor    d. Ingrid Bergman

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Answer: Ingrid Bergman

Some of us said, “What the heck is she doing on a US stamp? Shouldn’t it have been Katherine Hepburn or Liz Taylor?”

The Legends of Hollywood series of stamps started in 1995 and honors famous Golden-Age film stars whose performances electrified the big screen and enamored the public. Marilyn Monroe started off the series, followed by James Dean and Humphrey Bogart. Ingrid Bergman was honored as the 19th and most recent stamp in the series.

The stamp art features a circa 1940 image of Bergman taken by Laszlo Willinger, known for his portraits of celebrities. By The Way, Katherine Hepburn had her stamp issued in 2010, but there is no Liz Taylor stamp yet.

Bergman lit up the silver screen for decades, starring in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for best actress. She is best remembered for her timeless portrayals of Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942); Paula Alquist in Gaslight (1944); Anna Koreff in Anastasia (1956); and Alicia Huberman in Notorious (1946).

Who can forget Ilsa and Rick:

and this scene with Sam:

 

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