Archive for December, 2017

Winner: Carol St. Martin, followed by Droppin’ and Pluto, then TomTwin, Lauren, and Rosebud
(if you can’t tell who they are because of the lousy photo, you just have to take my word for it. new rule – no drinking for the photographer)

Droppin’ and Pluto were battling back and forth, and thought they were fighting for the win, but tonight one wrong answer was only good for second place. Carol St. Martin said: “Sorry boys, I’m perfect,” and she was.

We learned that Ben Franklin was the first postmaster general of the US. He made many improvements, which made the Postal Service profitable for the first (and last) time. He was lucky that he didn’t have to deal with intransigent union stewards, like our Buddy Mc.

Good Question!: How many amendments does the U.S. Constitution have?

Choices: a. 19   b. 24   c. 27   d. 33

Answer: 27

Fortunately, we had four choices to pick from. If we had to give the answer straight out, I’m not sure anybody would have gotten this one right.

In Sept 1787, the 55 delegates to America’s first and so-far-only constitutional convention hammered out compromises on the separation of powers, apportionment of seats in the legislature and the future of the slave trade.

Two paths were provided by which future amendments could be proposed. Congress could either propose them itself, (by a two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate) or two-thirds of the state legislatures could call for a convention. Since then only 33 amendments have been proposed, all by congress, with 27 subsequently ratified, a process which requires approval in three-quarters of the states. Since 1971, only a single amendment has been ratified—a trivial change that prohibits Congress from giving itself a raise that takes effect before the following election—and that ratification took place 203 years after the proposed amendment was submitted to the states in 1789!

So it ain’t easy, but there are now 27 states in which the legislatures have passed resolutions calling for a convention that would propose a balanced-budget amendment. The two-thirds-of-the-states threshold for calling a convention is 34, so it could happen soon, and you heard it here first.

Some (many?) think the status quo is defective, that constitutional fixes need to be applied and that a convention ostensibly called for the purposes of a balanced-budget amendment might, once in session, be convinced to widen its ambit and consider other amendments too. Who knows what would happen.

For instance, in June 2011, Roy Moore, the almost senator, suggested on a radio show that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth would solve many issues in the way the US government is structured. Now that’s thinking outside the box. We are sure going to miss him.

“Corruption and greed pervades the American political system.” – I’m shocked.

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Winner: Pluto, followed by Droppin’ and TomTwin

Pluto, who had been missing from the leader board for quite some time, roared back tonight. If he had known that it was Marlon Brando whose autobiography was titled “Songs My Mother Taught Me” he would have had a completely clean sheet. Who knew Brando was a mama’s boy?

Mistress Daphne seemed pleased this evening as we celebrated her birthday with a lovely ice cream cake. Maybe her 74th, but she’s not saying.

Good Question!: In which 1979 film was the spaceship called Nostromo?

Choices:  a. Empire Strikes Back    b. Alien   c. Logan’s Run         d. Close Encounters

Answer: Alien

Alien is often called a near-perfect space horror movie, but the naming of the ship had a literary connection. “Joseph Conrad was one of Ridley Scott’s favorite authors. When they needed a name for the main ship on which the original 1979 film would take place, Ridley Scott decided to use the name of one of Conrad’s most famous characters (it also happens to be the name of the book in which he is featured).

In Alien, the USCSS Nostromo is a working class freighter. The crew are trying to make a living – tugging a refinery through deep space. The corporation that owns the ship is Weyland-Yutani, and they are the ones that take advantage of the hard work that these future blue collar employees are providing. It is Weyland-Yutani that has knowledge of what awaits the Nostromo on LV-426, and it is Weyland-Yutani which sends the ship down with the ultimate purpose of bringing the xenomorph lifeform back to Earth for experimentation and implementation as a biological weapon. In Nostromo the novel, the wealthy also take advantage of the workers.” (G.S. Perno, cinelinx.com)

OK, enough about the deep meaning behind the name of the ship, how about 2 clips from the movies, if you can handle it. Remember, in space no one can hear you scream:


The Nostromo is an ugly space freighter, these two spaceships are much nicer looking.

If you have a little curiosity about famous spaceships, this website covers it all, from the USS Enterprise to the Millennium Falcon.

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