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Archive for June, 2018

Winner: Jacqui, followed closely by Almond Joy, TomTwin, Wanda, NewTom, and 10 O’Clock Bill (+photo bomber & game moderator Mike)

We have been waiting for one of the players from the Next Gen table to pull off a win and tonight Jacqui did it. We had two visitors from South Carolina (Wanda & NewTom) who almost pulled off a rare feat – a first time couple, both winning. Who knew there was intelligent life in South Carolina?

Tonight we learned that the term “hat trick” originated in the sport of cricket, NOT hockey. This one fooled all of us, even sports guy Pluto.

Good Question!: Jordan Spieth won $61,867 less at the Masters then this player won in his entire career?

Choices: a. Arnold Palmer   b. Sam Sneed   c. Gary Player   d. Bobby Jones

Jordan Spieth

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Answer: Arnold Palmer

Well, let’s take a look at this. Athlete salaries/winnings have skyrocketed, but could this really be true? Spieth won $1.8M in winning the 2015 Masters. However, Palmer won $3.6 million in prize money during his 52 years on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour (forbes.com). So it’s not true, not even close. But it does raise interesting questions about compensation for current athletes versus some of the all-time great’s.

BTW, currently the difference between winning and finishing second in the Masters is $800,000. That’s a whole lot of cash riding on a missed putt.

How does Palmer’s $3.6M career winnings compare to Tiger Woods? Not surprisingly, Woods is light years ahead with at least $158M in career winnings. But endorsements is where the real money is, so let’s not shed a tear for Arnold. His estimated $875 million in career earnings ranks third all-time in sports behind only Jordan and Woods. Palmer’s total tally is $1.3 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Let’s take a look at baseball where salaries continue to soar. In 2017 36 MLB players made at least $20 million. Leading the pack was LAD pitcher Clayton Kershaw at $33 million. For position players Miguel Cabrera made $28 million which computes to about $47K per at bat. Of course, this year it is a whole lot more because he is injured and out for the season. Yeah, the Detroit Tigers paid him $28M for 38 games, and 134 at bats or $209,000 per at bat! Unbelievable!

How about the old time baseball players?Joe DiMaggio became baseball’s first $100K player in 1950 ($1.0M inflation adjusted) and my fave ball player, Willie Mays made $180K a year in 1971 ($1.1 adjusted). Both born too soon, because baseballs current average salary, yeah average, is $4 million.

Enough with the numbers, here’s two of my fave baseball movies:

Bull Durham

The Natural

 

 

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Co-Winners: the Driver and Lena, followed by Tom, Rosebud, and Pluto

Lena, an au pair from Potsdam (that’s East Germany, not upstate New York) joined us tonight and showed how good the German education system is.

Before the game, Pluto beseeched Lena: “This is a game of American trivia. Please don’t win. You will make us all feel like village idiots.” She then proceeded to finish tied for first in regulation and became our first international winner.

Good Question!: Which Apollo mission had an oxygen tank explode?

Choices: a. Apollo 7   b. Apollo 13   c. Gemini   d. Apollo 11

 

Answer: Apollo 13

“Houston, We Have a Problem”

On April 11, 1970, NASA launched the Apollo 13 mission to send three astronauts to the moon and mark the third manned lunar landing. The mission aimed to send commander Jim Lovell and lunar module pilot Fred Haise to the lunar surface, while command module pilot Jack Swigert remained in orbit. But on April 13, the mission suffered a crippling explosion that would nearly doom the spaceflight and its crew.

Apollo 13 carried an oxygen tank with a troubled history. The tank had been damaged in testing, but the spacecraft builders were not aware of a problem. At about 56 hours into the flight of Apollo 13, Jack Swigert was instructed to “stir the tanks,” or agitate the super-cold liquid oxygen. Moments later, oxygen tank 2 exploded. Photos taken near the end of the flight reveal the extent of the damage. “One whole side of the spacecraft is missing!” exclaimed Lovell. The command module’s normal supply of electricity, light and water was lost, and they were about 200,000 miles from Earth.

The explosion was accompanied by a sharp bang and vibration at 9:08 p.m. April 13. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

Grumman Lunar Module Saves the Day

With the command module losing power fast, the astronauts had to move into the lunar module, or LM, to use it as a lifeboat. This was the lunar module built right here on LI by your neighbors, who worked at Grumman.This was the same Grumman that had caused Vice Adm. John McCain Sr. to say during World War II: “The name Grumman on a plane is like sterling on silver.”

Designed for two, the LM’s cabin was a tight fit for three people, with Swigert keeping mostly to the small section at the rear of the cabin.

The LM did not have enough carbon-dioxide-scrubbing chemical canisters to keep the air breathable for three men all the way back to Earth. The astronauts had to build a crude adapter using spare parts on board, to make use of canisters meant for the command module.

At the time of the accident, Apollo 13 was on a path that would cause it to miss Earth by 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers). To return home the astronauts had to fire the lunar module’s big landing engine several times to get back on the right trajectory.

The near-disaster of Apollo 13 was a stunning reminder of the perils of human spaceflight and how NASA, through ingenuity and perseverance, managed to overcome the incident and save the mission’s three-man crew. In 1995, director Ron Howard would retell the Apollo 13 story in the film “Apollo 13” starring Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell.

This is a wonderful, very tense 3 minute clip: “Houston We Have a Problem”

 

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Winner: Frank, followed by the Driver and Carol

Frank seems to be getting the hang of this, winning for a second week in a row. Tied with the Driver in regulation, he needed only one round in the playoffs to win tonight’s game.

If truth be told, the Driver just gave away the game, missing a very easy question – who did 87% of Cubans in Florida vote for in the 1980 election? Why it was Ronald Reagan, of course, not George H.W. Bush.

Good Question!: Name the legless fighter pilot of World War II.

Choices: a. Red Baron  b. Douglas Bader   c. Ernst Udet   d. Tex Hill

Answer: Douglas Bader

SIR DOUGLAS BADER, WORLD WAR II ACE

Sir Douglas R.S. Bader, Britain’s legendary legless fighter pilot of World War II, was credited with downing 24 German planes in 1940-41.

He was commissioned into the Royal Air Force in 1930 at the age of 20 and lost both legs when his Bulldog fighter crashed during an aerobatic display near Reading in November 1931.

He was discharged from the Air Force in 1933, but was determined to fly again. He had artificial legs made at the Roehampton center for limbless ex-servicemen in South London and learned to walk on them while working for an oil company.

When war broke out in September 1939 with Germany’s invasion of Poland, Britain was desperate for pilots and he persuaded the R.A.F. to take him back as a pilot, where he flew fighter sorties in the Battle of Britain.

He attributed his success in aerial combat to the three maxims of German ace Erich Hartmann:

If you had the height, you controlled the battle.
If you came out of the sun, the enemy could not see you.
If you held your fire until you were very close, you seldom missed

He flew Hurricanes and Spitfires, fighting his first action during the evacuation of British soldiers from Dunkirk in May and June 1940 after France capitulated.

He got his first ”kill” there with his Spitfire, downing a Messerschmitt 109. He was made a squadron leader and then wing commander, leading the first R.A.F. fighter squadron with all Canadian personnel.

Sir Douglas destroyed an estimated 30 enemy planes, of which 24 were officially confirmed. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Distinguished Flying Cross, both with bars, for courage and leadership. He was also decorated twice by the French.

In August 1941, his Spitfire collided with a Messerschmitt over Bethune in France, and he was captured after parachuting to earth. He was held prisoner by the Germans, despite four escape attempts, until he was freed by American troops in April 1945.

Sir Douglas R.S. Bader, Britain’s legendary legless fighter pilot of World War II, died in 1982 from a heart attack. He was 72 years old.

To see Bader’s Spitfire, the plane that won the battle of Britain (a short clip) :

For those with plenty of time, here is a fascinating and quite touching “This is Your Life” British TV piece on Bader:

 

 

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Winner: Frank, followed by Carol St. Martin, Tall Paul, and Allie

Frank wins in only his second attempt, and he already knows the secret of the game – it’s the questions that make a winner.

After a long absence, Bud “the Bug Man” returned. He had spent his time away honing his trivia skills and thought he was ready for a big game. Alas, he finished back in the pack. He even missed the question on the Colorado beetle. C’mon Bug Man, you have to do better.

One of the questions we all missed was Harry Houdini’s real name – Erich Weiss.

Good Question!: Sabotage is French. What did the saboteurs use?

Choices: a. swords   b, shoes   c. flour   d. brandy

Answer: shoes

This was quite a surprise. The word “sabotage” appears in the beginning of the early 20th century from the French word “sabotage”. It is sometimes said that some workers used to throw their wooden shoes, called “sabots” (clogs) in the machines to break them, but this is not supported by the etymology. Rather, the French source word literally means to “walk noisily,” and wearing wooden shoes is an example of walking noisily. Originally this was used metaphorically to refer to labor disputes, not damage. At the end of the 19th century it really began to be used with the meaning of “deliberately and maliciously destroying property.”

Value of sabotage in wartime

In World War I

On 30 July 1916, the Black Tom explosion occurred when German agents set fire to a complex of warehouses and ships in Jersey City, New Jersey that held munitions, fuel, and explosives bound to aid the Allies in their fight.

Fragments from the explosion traveled long distances, some lodging in the Statue of Liberty. The explosion was the equivalent of an earthquake measuring between 5.0 and 5.5 on the Richter scale and was felt as far away as Philadelphia. Windows were broken as far as 25 miles away, including thousands in lower Manhattan and some windows in Times Square were shattered. Property damage from the attack was estimated at $454,000,000 (in 2017 dollars.) Who knew!

In World War II

The French Resistance ran an extremely effective sabotage campaign against the Germans during World War II. Many sabotage attempts were against critical rail lines of transportation. German records count 1,429 instances of sabotage from French Resistance forces between January 1942 and February 1943. From January through March 1944, sabotage accounted for three times the number of locomotives damaged by Allied air power.

In December 1944, the Germans ran a false flag sabotage infiltration, Operation Greif, which was commanded by Waffen-SS commando Otto Skorzeny during the Battle of the Bulge. German commandos, wearing US Army uniforms, carrying US Army weapons, and using US Army vehicles, penetrated US lines to spread panic and confusion among US troops and to blow up bridges, ammunition dumps, and fuel stores and to disrupt the lines of communication. Many of the commandos were captured by the Americans. Because they were wearing US uniforms, a number of the Germans were executed as spies, either summarily or after military commissions.

My fave WWII sabotage operation – “The Guns of Navarone” – A specialized commando team organized in1943 to sabotage and put out of commission the Axis firepower on the mountainous Greek island of Navarone in the Aegean Sea.

Modern Era

A modern form of sabotage is the distribution of software intended to damage specific industrial systems. For example, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is alleged to have sabotaged a Siberian pipeline during the Cold War, using information from the Farewell Dossier. A more recent case may be the Stuxnet computer worm, which was designed to subtly infect and damage specific types of industrial equipment. Based on the equipment targeted and the location of infected machines, security experts believe it was an attack on the Iranian nuclear program by the United States and Israel.

 

 

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