Archive for August, 2016


Winner: Robby Parker

Tonight we were joined by all 3 Parker boys (father and sons), but only one was a contender. While Robby held off 10 O’Clock Bill, Judge Judy, and Rosebud for his first win, it was kind of fun to see those 3 wrestlers struggle with the easy boxing question.

The questions about the summer Olympics should have been a gift to Rosebud and Pluto, recently returned from Rio. But Pluto missed most of them, then claimed he had too many Caipirinha’s in Rio to remember much of anything that happened there.

Good Question!: Around which year did the Black Death wipe out 30 to 60% of Europe?

Choices: a. 1349   b. 1455   c. 1530   d. 1665


Answer: 1349

The Black Death: The Greatest Catastrophe Ever

The Black Death was an epidemic of bubonic plague, a disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that circulates among wild rodents where they live in great numbers and density.

In the early 1330s an outbreak of deadly bubonic plague occurred in China and subsequently spread by ship throughout Europe. The bubonic plague mainly affects rodents, but fleas can transmit the disease to people. Once people are infected, they infect others very rapidly. Plague causes fever and a painful swelling of the lymph glands called buboes, which is how it gets its name. The disease also causes spots on the skin that are red at first and then turn black.

The disease struck and killed people with terrible speed. The Italian writer Boccaccio said its victims often “ate lunch with their friends and dinner with their ancestors in paradise.”

The plague spread as far north as England, where people called it “The Black Death” because of the black spots it produced on the skin. A terrible killer was loose across Europe, and Medieval medicine had nothing to combat it.

In winter the disease seemed to disappear, but only because fleas–which were now helping to carry it from person to person–are dormant then. Each spring, the plague attacked again, killing new victims. After five years 25 million people were dead–one-third of Europe’s people.

Even when the worst was over, smaller outbreaks continued, not just for years, but for centuries. The survivors lived in constant fear of the plague’s return, and the disease did not disappear until the 1600s.


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Winner: Young Dave

A small but lively crowd welcomed the Tuesday Night Bar Exam back to Main Street after its month-long hiatus. Tonight’s winner was Young Dave (as distinguished from Droppin’ Dave, who wasn’t thrilled with the unspoken implication). Young Dave is off to college now, and I see a bright future. Tied for second place were Nancy and Droppin’.

Surprisingly, only two questions in the quiz related to the Olympic Games, and one of those was historical. It helped to remember that President Reagan officially opened the games in Los Angeles in 1984. He was the first president to do so. Previously, it was considered beneath the dignity of the office. Hard to believe now. Daphne ruled with her usual firm hand, and stuck to business, running through the quiz in jig time. Our generous host Darin gets credit, not only for creating the quiz, but for the free cannoli’s and cookies. Thanks to them both.

Good Question: In what decade was last execution at the Tower of London?

Choices: a.1960’s   b. 1940’s   c. 1760’s   d. 1740’s


Answer: 1940’s

Josef Jacobs was a German spy who parachuted into England in 1941. He was captured and executed by firing squad while sitting in a chair. The chair is now on display in the Tower Museum. The previous execution was a big one – eleven spies captured during World War I, also executed by firing squad.

We have to go back to the year 1601 to find the last beheading in the Tower. This was Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, who was involved in a plot against Queen Elizabeth I. Beheading was a fate reserved for high profile offenders: counts, earls, ladies in waiting, even a queen or two. Margaret Plantagenet Pole, the Countess of Salisbury, had a particularly gruesome time of it, reportedly requiring eleven blows with an axe to finally sever her neck.


Probably the most famous beheading at the Tower was that of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. A sword was used in this case, and the executioner held up her severed head to the crowd, with the eyes still moving. Henry also beheaded his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

Amazingly, he convinced Catherine Parr to be his sixth wife. She kept her head and became his widow.

(tonight’s post by Droppin’Dave)

Don’t know about you, but whenever I think of Henry VIII, I think of Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits:

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