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:


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.


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’.



Winner: Pluto
also in photo: our waiter, Juan; the Driver (2nd), and Babs (3rd).

Sure there was a game tonight, but it was Fat Tuesday and I want to talk about that traditional king cake so kindly provided by New Orleans native, Rhys. The cake was from Copenhagen, and like everything from Copenhagen it was delicious. Thanks so much, Rhys. And to top it off the cake was served by two sexy Mardi Gras ladies.

Mistress Daphne and the Driver returned tonight from their journey through the Far East and seemed to be still a bit sleep deprived. That did not stop them from bringing some special prizes for the winners and traditional Korean delicacies for all.

Good Question!: This relatively small country features one of the largest carnival celebrations in the world?

Choices: a. Jamaica  b. Granada   c. Trinidad and Tobago  d. Haiti

Answer: Trinidad and Tobago


Known as the biggest street party on Earth- Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival is officially celebrated on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday every year. The Carnival festivities start just after Christmas and continues until Ash Wednesday-loaded with dozens of high energy parties and premier cultural competitions.

Carnival Monday opens with J’Ouvert at 4am, when revellers parade through the streets immersed in paint, grease and mud until sunrise. Later in the day on Monday and all day on Carnival Tuesday, thousands of masqueraders flood the streets throughout the islands in bold, colourful costumes, dancing through the parade routes to the exhilarating sounds of soca, steelpan and calypso music.


If you want to take part in the parade, you can purchase a costume of your choice from the many Carnival bands available. Then, you can collect your costumes just before the festival. Many Carnival Bands are all-inclusive, which means on Carnival day, food and drinks and other amenities are provided. There are also package deals for the J’Ouvert, but remember to book early! Sign me up Coach!


bloggers note:
Pluto, a regular at Main Street Café’s Tuesday night trivia, headed in to NYCity over the weekend and helped his team finish first with a perfect score at the 10th annual Panorama Challenge Trivia Night.


The competition was fierce with 14 teams and over 120 very serious NYC know-it-alls and geography geeks. Players had to be serious to even show up – wind chill that night was below zero.



What is the Panorama Challenge?
“Come to the Queens Museum to participate in the world’s only geographical trivia-based game night involving the world’s largest panorama – The Panorama of the City of New York! Participants will compete in teams of 10 (more or fewer people is OK too!) to test their knowledge of New York City geography and celebrate the geekiness of their native or adopted hometown.

The Panorama Challenge involves audio clues and laser-pointers highlighting assorted NYC landmarks, bridges, neighborhoods, parks and more. Its your team’s job to identify all 30 locations.”


Winner: Pluto

It was a close game, decided only when Pluto remembered that Black Monday, a day when the New York Stock Exchange fell by 33%, happened in 1987. Not a day you forget, if you had any money in the market.

Almond Joy just missed the winners podium tonight, but he was happy with his fourth place finish. Of course, he would’ve been even happier if he hadn’t finished tied for last with a few others.

Tonight’s first question caused the most controversy, so let’s get right to it.

Good Question!: What was the name of the very first ocean-going vessel built by Englishman in the new world?

Choices: a. Jamestown  b. Virginia  c. Hampton  d. Hope


Answer: Virginia

We were told the ship was built by settlers landing in Maine in 1607, who found life too harsh and built a ship to escape a second winter.

Now in 1607 we figured there was no state of Virginia, there was no colony of Virginia, there was no Virginia! So we all wondered – how the heck did this ship built in Maine get named Virginia?

Well Virginia, there was a Virginia.

Virginia was the mother of the colonies. Each of the other original colonies was directly or indirectly carved out of Virginia. It was the first territory to be claimed by England in North America. At its maximum extent, Virginia encompassed most of what is now the United States, as well as portions of Canada and Mexico.

The Founding of Virginia

When Sir Walter Raleigh founded the first English settlement on Roanoke Island, there was no Virginia. There was only America. The English had gradually settled Newfoundland as a fishing community starting in the 1550’s. This island was chartered as a colony in 1585, the same year that Roanoke Island was first settled. The Spanish had established Saint Augustine, Florida in 1565 as a strategic outpost to protect Spain’s Caribbean empire from English privateers.

Between Newfoundland and Spanish Florida was a vast unsettled territory. Raleigh named this area Virginia an honor to Queen Elizabeth, (the Virgin Queen), with whom he sought favors. For many years thereafter the vast temperate region of North America was referred to as Virginia. It had no boundaries, and no government – but it did have a small ship named after it!

All this talk of colonial Virginia has me thinking of Pocahontas:

A brief history of early European colonization of North America

in 1606 King James I, Elizabeth’s successor, chartered two joint stock companies for the purpose of establishing colonies in Virginia. Each was granted a tract of land extending along the Atlantic coast, and extending inland for 100 miles. The Virginia Company of London was granted a southern tract from Cape Fear to Long Island Sound. The Virginia Company of Plymouth was granted a northern tract extending from Assateague Island to Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine (near where our ship builders had landed.)

When the Virginia Company of London sent out its first expedition to begin colonizing Virginia on December 20, 1606, it was by no means the first European attempt to exploit North America.

Basque, English, and French fishing fleets became regular visitors to the coasts from Newfoundland to Cape Cod. Some of these fishing fleets even set up semi-permanent camps on the coasts to dry their catches and to trade with local Indians, exchanging furs for manufactured goods. For the next two decades, Europeans’ presence in North America was limited to these semi-permanent incursions. Then in the 1580s, the English tried to plant a permanent colony on Roanoke Island (on the outer banks of present-day North Carolina), but their effort was short-lived (it is now known as the “Lost Colony”)

In the early 1600s, in rapid succession, the English began a colony (Jamestown) in Chesapeake Bay in 1607, the French built Quebec in 1608, and the Dutch began their interest in the region that became present-day New York. Within another generation, the Plymouth Company (1620), the Massachusetts Bay Company (1629), the Company of New France (1627), and the Dutch West India Company (1621) began to send thousands of colonists, including families, to North America. Successful colonization was not inevitable. Rather, interest in North America was a halting, yet global, contest among European powers to exploit these lands.


My Funny Valentine


Winner: Droppin’

For some reason tonight’s theme was Valentine’s day and to celebrate, Darin served a very delectable selection of petit four pastries. Droppin’ nipped Erik and Rhys for the win, but each of us received a chocolate heart, so we were all winners.

Tonight’s stunner question – who created the first Valentine’s Day candy? It was Richard Cadbury. Who knew.

Good question!: Who was Saint Valentine?

Choices:  a. soldier    b. roman senator    c. roman martyr        d. roman emperor


Answer: roman martyr

Best we can tell, because so little is reliably known of him, St. Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome.

Since the high middle ages he has been associated with a tradition of courtly love.

The romantic nature of Valentine’s Day may have derived during the Middle Ages, when it was believed that birds paired as couples in mid-February. According to English 18th-century antiquarians, Valentine’s Day was most likely created to overpower the pagan holiday, Lupercalia.

Many of the current legends that characterize Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love. Although the exact origin of the holiday is not widely agreed upon, it is widely recognized as a day for love, devotion and romance.

For a treat, try this haunting “My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker, who definitely was not a saint.


City of Bridges


Winner: Droppin’
Followed closely by Nancy, Rosebud, Donna, newbie Diana and most shockingly, Chris.

While it’s never surprising to see Droppin’ win, it is quite astonishing to see Chris finish a strong second. Maybe that was due to the good Karma he earned by buying the bar a drink to celebrate his Super Bowl box win. Classy move, Chris.

Tonight we learned that Victorian Pythagoreans were not mathematicians, but were, in fact, vegetarians. Who knew. And let’s not forget that all the numbers on a roulette wheel add up to 666. We’ve seen that question before.

Mike, the mild mannered moderator, continued to hold court, while Mistress Daphne continues her census of all the Buddha’s in Bangkok. She is up to 22 and says she isn’t coming home until she visits them all.

Good Question!: Which European city has more bridges inside its city limits then any other city in the world?

Choices: a. Rome  b. Amsterdam  c. Hamburg   d. London

Hamburg Blue Port - KšhlbrandbrŸcke

Answer: Hamburg

You think that Venice, Amsterdam, or St.Petersburg have lots of bridges? Then you don’t know Hamburg! There are so many bridges that I can’t find a reliable source about the exact number of them. According to one source there are exactly 2579 bridges within the city limits, other sources just state “over 2300 bridges” or “over 2500 bridges”. Can’t say they are all beautiful, but some of them are worth seeing.





Hamburg-City of Bridges

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and considered to be one of the most beautiful in the country. It is also a popular tourist destinations because of its scenic beauty and unique blend of historical monuments and modern pubs and nightclubs, including the world-renowned red light district, the Reeperbahn.

Despite being located astride the River Elbe, some 100 kilometres from the North Sea, Hamburg is a major port city. It has the country’s biggest port – the second-busiest in Europe and the third largest in the world, after London and New York. For those who love water, ships and harbors, Hamburg is hence, a must visit.

Hamburg is practically surrounded on all sides by water. The Alster river has been divided into two lakes that lie on either side of the city, the Binnen and Aussenalster (Inner and Outer) and the River Elbe flows right through into the North Sea. All this water means an abundance of canals, streams and bridges. In fact, it’s a little known fact that Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world and more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined. The number of bridges has been put somewhere around 2,300 to over 2,500 – more than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together.

source: amusingplanet.com/2012/11/hamburg-city-of-bridges.html


Big Red


Winner: Pluto, with Rosebud in 2nd, & Droppin’ in 3rd
also in photo: newbie Sabrine, moderator Mike P. and Chris, who wanted to add some class to the photo.

Pluto edged ahead late for the win and a rare 3Peat. He totally credits the warm, nurturing environment that Mike P, our La La Land moderator, provides for all. Mike even let’s us use the restroom during the game, if necessary. Mistress Daphne would never allow that, even under the most extreme circumstances.

We had a bit of a kerfuffle tonight over what colour the bullseye is on an official archery target. The accepted answer was gold, but some pointed out that technically it’s not gold, it’s yellow.

Good Question!: How old is a horse when it changes from a filly to a mare?

Choices: a. 1.5  b. 2  c. 3  d. 4


Answer: 4

A mare is an adult female horse or other equine.
(and yeah, that photo is not a Lady, that’s Big Red – Secretariat)

In most cases, a mare is a female horse over the age of three, and a filly is a female horse three and younger. The word can also be used for other female equine animals, particularly mules and zebras, but a female donkey is usually called a “jenny”. A broodmare is a mare used for breeding. A horse’s female parent is known as its dam.

An uncastrated adult male horse is called a stallion and a castrated male is a gelding. Occasionally, the term “horse” is used to designate only a male horse.

Mares carry their young (called foals) for approximately 11 months from conception to birth. For most competitive purposes, foals are given an official “birthday” of January 1 and many breeders want foals to be born as early in the year as possible. Therefore, many breeding farms begin to put mares “under lights” in late winter in order to allow conception to occur in February or March.

Fillies are sexually mature by age two and are sometimes bred at that age, but generally should not be bred until they themselves have stopped growing, usually by age four or five.

Big Red wins the Belmont by a country mile:

Top 10 Female Race Horses of All Time:
(according to Sports illustrated)

10.Ta Wee

09. Rags to Riches

08. Winning Colors

07. Genuine Risk

06. Lady’s Secret

05. Rachel Alexandra

04. Azeri

03. Personal Ensign

02. Ruffian
From her first record-setting race as a two-year-old filly, Ruffian enthralled racing fans, dominating the sport in the 1970s. She swept the Triple Tiara series and clocked remarkable speeds, often beating her competition by eight lengths or more. Sadly, Ruffian’s career came to a tragic end when she broke down on the backstretch at Belmont Park during a $350,000 battle of the sexes race against Foolish Pleasure. She was euthanized later that night.

01. Zenyatta
In 2009, Zenyatta became the first female to ever win the Breeders’ Cup, when she rebounded from more than a 10-length gap to rally on the outside to beat Gio Ponti. Zenyatta may have lost at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, but her 19-1 record is nothing to laugh at. In what became her final race, Zenyatta made her trademark move from last place but fell short in a photo finish to Blame. Zenyatta was runner-up for Horse of the Year in 2008 and 2009, but won the honor in 2010, besting Blame, the only opponent ever to defeat her on the track.