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The Warriors

It was a mob scene – First, Second & Third Place Finishers: Rosebud, Pluto, 9 O’Clock Judy, Inappropriate Bob, Judge Judy, Almond Joy, Droppin’ and Rhys.

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As the game headed to its conclusion there were plenty of players with a chance to win. Even Inappropriate Bob was a contender, which was a bit of a surprise.

In the end it came down to Droppin’ and Pluto, who went head to head in a playoff to determine the winner. Pluto got lucky when the final question asked the location of Lake Havasu. Droppin’, who’s never been much good around water, was sunk.

Good Question!: In what country was the buried 2000-year-old terra-cotta Army discovered?

Choices: a. Peru  b. Japan  c. India  d. China

Ancient terracotta soldiers march forward with hands empty of weapons.

Answer: China

“The Terra-Cotta Army protects the tomb of China’s first emperor. Platoons of clay soldiers were buried with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang Di, to accompany him during his eternal rest.

Workers digging a well outside the city of Xi’an, China, in 1974 struck upon one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world: a life-size clay soldier poised for battle.

(ed note: Xi’an is about a 2 hr flight SW from Beijing)

The diggers notified Chinese authorities, who dispatched government archaeologists to the site.

They found not one, but thousands of clay soldiers, each with unique facial expressions and positioned according to rank. And though largely gray today, patches of paint hint at once brightly colored clothes. Further excavations have revealed swords, arrow tips, and other weapons, many in pristine condition.

The soldiers are in trenchlike, underground corridors. In some of the corridors, clay horses are aligned four abreast; behind them are wooden chariots.

The terra-cotta army, as it is known, is part of an elaborate mausoleum created to accompany the first emperor of China into the afterlife, according to archaeologists.” (Nationnal Geographic)

This is a fine 4 minute video that will give you the whole story about Emperor Qin and his terra cotta warriors.

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But, if the first thing you think of when you hear “warriors” is the 1979 cult gang movie, The Warriors, here’s the terrific trailer:

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Bloggers Note: missed a milestone last month as the Tuesday Night Bar Exam blog (TNBE) celebrated its seventh anniversary in April. We had about 5,000 views last year. You keep reading, we’ll keep writing.

 

 

 

Winner: Almond Joy

Just two weeks after self correcting his score and giving up a win, Almond Joy roared back tonight and led from start to finish. “It feels much better to win honestly, it’s the only way,” he said. 9 O’Clock Judy, Rosebud and Main Street Peddler Pluto trailed.

Tonight’s heated dispute: “What is the heaviest land animal in North America?” Is it a buffalo or is it a moose?

Well, fans of the mighty moose will be disappointed to learn that bisons out weight it by about 400 pounds. If Kodiak bears in Alaska had been included as a choice we might’ve had a different winner.

Good Question!: What is the only state that has no indigenous poisonous animals within its borders?

Choices: a. Maine   b. Oregon   c. Illinois   d. Kansas

Answer: Maine

Believe it or not, Maine doesn’t have any poisonous animals within its borders. Once upon a time, there were reports that the timber rattlesnake lived within the region. However, the state is simply too cold to support the lifestyles of these reptiles and they seem to have all died off. In fact, the last known sighting of a timber rattler within Maine’s borders occurred in 1901.

Maine does have several species of snakes within its borders. According to Maine’s Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, the common garter snake is the most frequently encountered snake in the state. Since the milk snake is so similar in color to the timber rattler and is often seen in the wild, residents may worry that the lack of poisonous snakes within Maine’s borders is simply a myth. However, this mild reptile uses its similarity to the timber rattler to protect itself and is unable to produce toxins.

Just because there are no indigenous poisonous animals in Maine doesn’t mean that campers and hikers don’t have to keep a sharp eye out when wandering the many forested areas within the state. Maine has a large moose population and after their young are born they will aggressively defend them.

All of this discussion about snakes is just an excuse to show you the spectacular “Sorcerer and the White Snake” trailer with the incomparable Jet Li:

 

 

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

Winner: 9 O’Clock Judy with Eric a close 2nd.

A close game all the way with 3 players tied and headed to a playoff. The Driver bowed out early when he failed to name all the figures on Mt. Rushmore. Then it took 5 more questions before Judy knocked out Eric to finally win the game.

Darin served an authentic Caribbean drink along with some very fine brownies. She brought the necessary ingredients back from the islands for the exotic “Mama Juana”, did some voodoo magic with it, and it all turned out fine.

Good Question!: What kind of mine do the dwarfs from ‘Snow White and Seven Dwarfs’ work in?

Choices: a. gold   b. diamonds   c. coal   d. uranium

Answer: diamonds

The Dwarf’s Mine is the workplace of the seven dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Every morning, the dwarfs leave their cottage and march to the mine, where they dig for diamonds. The reason for this is never explained (this is made reference to in “Heigh-Ho“, in which the dwarfs sing that they “don’t know what we dig ’em for”). Each dwarf has a specific job: Grumpy, Happy, Bashful and Sneezy dig; Sleepy transports the diamonds to Doc, who determines which diamonds should be kept; rejected diamonds are swept up and thrown away by Dopey. The dwarfs return home late every evening. As they leave for, and return from, work, the dwarfs sing “Heigh-Ho“.

Better to just watch the Dwarfs at work:

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Blogger’s Note:

3 TNBE regulars – the Driver, Pluto, and Mike, the mild moderator – riding as the Main Street Peddlers, joined 32,000 of their closest friends in NYCity on Sunday for the 40th anniversary, 40 mile Five Boro Bike Tour. Here are a few images from the day:

The riders go off in 4 waves. This was our wave.

A bit congested at the start. We thought we were going to be walking the whole 40 miles.

After 30+ miles, the big bridge to Staten Island and the finish are just ahead.

For some, the big bridge meant time for a stroll.

For Pluto it was a good time to get off his bike and take a scenic photo. Actually, he thought that every time he was struggling to cross a bridge.

One of the old-time car ferries brought back into service for us.

At Fraunces Tavern celebrating our finish.

 

 

Not exactly a house pet

Co-Winners: Droppin’, Nancy, and the Driver (with Tall Paul And Almond Joy in second)

The Driver led this very close game all the way until the end. Then it happened again. He folded under the pressure, missed the easy last question, and fell into a three-way tie for first place. Initially, Almond Joy was also declared a co-winner but he’s a man of great character and integrity, and self corrected his score to show that he really had finished in second place.

The folks who won were the only ones who knew that playboy Hugh Hefner recently admitted that he’s bored with sex and prefers to play dominos with his bunnies. What a waste!

Good Question!: The Komodo National Park is famous for its Komodo Dragons. In which country is this park found?

Choices: a. Japan   b. Australia   c. Philipines   d. Indonesia

Answer: Indonesia

Here’s what the National Geographic has to say about these rather bad hombres:

“Komodo dragons are the biggest and heaviest lizards on Earth. Full-grown adults can reach 10 feet (3 meters) long and weigh more than 300 pounds (140 kilograms)! Most weigh about 150 pounds (70 kilograms).

These giant reptiles have been around for millions of years, but scientists didn’t study them until about a hundred years ago. Wild Komodo dragons are found only on Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda Islands.

They are powerful-looking reptiles with wide, flat heads, rounded snouts, bowed legs, and huge, muscular tails. They have a clumsy, back-and-forth walk, and their yellow tongues flick in and out constantly.

The dominant predators on the islands where they live, Komodo dragons will eat almost anything they find, including already dead animals, deer, water buffalo, pigs, smaller Komodo dragons, and occasionally humans! When hunting, Komodo dragons rely on camouflage and patience, lying in bushes or tall grasses until a victim passes by. They pounce on their prey with powerful legs and sharp claws, then sink their jagged, sharklike teeth in.

An animal that escapes the jaws of a Komodo won’t feel lucky for long. Dragon saliva contains large amounts of bacteria, which poisons their victims, usually within 24 hours. Dragons will calmly follow their bitten prey for miles, using their keen sense of smell to find the corpse. They have huge appetites and have been known to eat up to 80 percent of their body weight in a single feeding.”

Reminds me a little of Godzilla.You have to check out this movie trailer, with Bryan Cranston of all people.

 

Don’t Eat the Oranges

Winners: Rhys and Donna; 2nd place-Rosebud & Judy

Wait a minute, no man on the winner’s podium? Yes indeed, it was Ladies Night @ Tuesday Night Trivia with two ladies, Rhys & Donna overdue for a win. The guys were embarrassed and vowed to do better next week. Maybe then they will know that cyan is the Greek root for the color blue, and that the German word for potato is Kartoffel..

Good Question!: What do both Vito and Michael Corleone have in their hands moments before they die?

Choices:  a. a gun  b. a pizza   c. an orange   d. a cigar

Answer: an orange

It’s a well-known fact (to some movie buffs, anyway) that oranges represent mortal danger in The Godfather world. Vito Corleone buys oranges just before he is ambushed, and a cascade of oranges spills onto the sidewalk as he is shot. At the end of the first film, he cuts up an orange minutes before his death. Sonny Corleone passes a large billboard advertising orange juice just before being gunned down at a tollbooth. Every scene showing a mafia conference has oranges in it somewhere. Every mafia figure is shown handling an orange at some point — usually just before a violent scene. And at the end of it all, in the last scene of the last Godfather movie, Michael Corleone drops an orange at the moment of death.

Enough with the talk, let’s watch a few clips – first the opening scene from the original Godfather, then a classic scene from Godfather III, and finally, the oranges:

All Talk, No Writing

Winner: Droppin’, followed by Big John, the Driver, and Eric.

Lots of players tonight, but Doppin’ was able to stay ahead of the pack, probably because he was the only one to know that the ancient Egyptians used stones as pillows and that only 22% of the river Nile is located in Egypt.

Good question!: Which of the following empires had no written language?

Choices: a. Inca   b. Aztec   c. Mayan  d. Olmecs

Atahualpa, last of the great Inca emperors, murdered by that dirtbag soldier of fortune, Francisco Pizzaro.

Answer: Inca

How could the highly developed Inca civilization, the largest empire in the western hemisphere, have no written language? If you have ever been to the magnificent ruins at Machu Picchu, the question becomes even more baffling.

BTW, the Incas did have a spoken language, Quechua, which Rosebud is somewhat proficient in, having learned it from a native taxi driver in Cusco, Peru.

Questioning the Inca Paradox

Did the civilization behind Machu Picchu really fail to develop a written language?
By Mark Adams (slate.com)

 

 Historic Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

“When the Yale University history lecturer Hiram Bingham III encountered the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru 100 years ago, on July 24, 1911, archaeologists and explorers around the world (including Bingham himself) were stunned, having never come across a written reference to the imperial stone city. Of course, the absence of such historical records was in itself no great surprise. The Inca, a technologically sophisticated culture that assembled the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere, have long been considered the only major Bronze Age civilization that failed to develop a system of writing—a puzzling shortcoming that nowadays is called the “Inca Paradox.”

The Incas never developed the arch, either—another common hallmark of civilization—yet the temples of Machu Picchu, built on a rainy mountain ridge atop two fault lines, still stand after more than 500 years while the nearby city of Cusco has been leveled twice by earthquakes. The Inca equivalent of the arch was a trapezoidal shape tailored to meet the engineering needs of their seismically unstable homeland. Likewise, the Incas developed a unique way to record information, a system of knotted cords called khipus (sometimes spelled quipus). In recent years, the question of whether these khipus were actually a method of three-dimensional writing that met the Incas’ specific needs has become one of the great unsolved mysteries of the Andes.”

Werner Herzog’s great film “Aguirre, the Wrath of God,” about a ruthless Spanish conquistador, takes place a few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire.

 

 

I feel the earth move..

Winner: Droppin’, Maureen (2nd), Carol St. Martin (3rd)

Tonight we learned some interesting information about the Old West. In poker, pairs of black aces and eights are known as the “Dead Man’s Hand,” because that’s what Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot dead in Deadwood, Dakota Territory in 1876. Seems that card playing was not the only recreational activity in Deadwood. We also learned that it’s estimated that 90% of the women living in Deadwood at that time were prostitutes.

Good Question!: Which of the following measures the amount of damage done by an earthquake?

Choices: a. Selvaggi scale  b. Richter scale  c. Mercalli scale        d. Kanamori scale

Answer: Mercalli scale

Most of us thought it was the Richter scale. Who ever heard of this guy Mercalli?

Giuseppe Mercalli (1850-1914) was an Italian seismologist, vulcanologist, and Roman Catholic priest best known for developing an earthquake intensity scale.

Mercalli’s most famous contribution to earth science is his work on the earthquake intensity scale.  While studying seismic activity in Italy in the late 19th century, his access to seismic instrumentation was limited.  Some seismographs and seismoscopes (devices that signal that an earthquake has occurred, and sometimes also indicate direction) were available, but most of Mercalli’s information came from personal accounts and observations of damage. To provide some consistency to his earthquake analyses, he decided he needed some method to rate the relative effects of each event.  Mercalli developed a scale with ten degrees, meaning the most disastrous earthquakes would have had an intensity of 10. The scale looked like this:

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Enough of this dry stuff. Let’s get to Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move.”

One of the highlights of Broadway’s “Beautiful, ” which a bus load of theater goers from Main Street Cafe were privileged to see in previews, due to the good taste and perspicacity of our fearless leader, Darin.

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For you earthquake geeks wondering about the difference between Mercalli and Richter:

The strength of an earthquake is usually measured on one of two scales, the Modified Mercalli Scale and the Richter Scale. The Mercalli Scale is a rather arbitrary set of definitions based upon what people in the area feel, and their observations of damage to buildings around them.

Whilst this scale is fine if you happen to experience an earthquake in an inhabited area of a developed country, it is of no use whatsoever in the middle of a desert or in any other place without trees, houses and railways!

Clearly this scale has advantages, but something else is required if we are to be able to compare the magnitude of earthquakes wherever they occur. The Intensity Scale differs from the Richter Magnitude Scale in that the effects of any one earthquake vary greatly from place to place, so there may be many Intensity values (e.g.: IV, VII) measured for the same earthquake. Each earthquake, on the other hand, should have only one Magnitude, although the various methods of calculating it may give slightly different values (e.g.: 4.5, 4.6).

The Richter Scale is designed to allow easier comparison of earthquake magnitudes, regardless of the location. The Richter scale for earthquake measurements is logarithmic. This means that each whole number step represents a ten-fold increase in measured amplitude. Thus, a magnitude 7 earthquake is 10 times larger than a 6, 100 times larger than a magnitude 5 and 1000 times as large as a 4 magnitude.

This is an open ended scale since it is based on measurements not descriptions. An earthquake detected only by very sensitive people registers as 3.5 on his scale, whilst the worst earthquake ever recorded reached 8.9 on the ‘Richter Scale’.