Posts Tagged ‘Eric’

Winner: Eric, followed by Frank the sports guy, Rosebud, Carole St. Martin, and Droppin’

Eric was able to barely hold off a posse of 4 players who closely trailed him throughout the game. Naturally tonight’s theme was Halloween and his knowledge that Dracula means “son of the devil” may have made the difference.

Mistress Daphne was replaced by Wanda, the wicked witch, as moderator tonight. My goodness, she was scary looking.

Rosebud and Pluto, recently returned from their tour of the Iberian Peninsula, served up some fine Portuguese Port, a nice taste to finish the evening.

Good Question!: In which country did Halloween originate?

Choices: a. Germany  b. Ireland  c. France  d. Romania

Answer: Ireland

This fooled most of us. When we think of Ireland we think of St. Patrick’s Day and fun and good spirits.

But there’s a fine story here, and it makes sense, once you learn the history.

To find the origin of Halloween, you have to look to the festival of Samhain in Ireland’s Celtic past.

The festival of Samhain is said to be over 2,000 years old and used to celebrate the passing from summer to winter. The Celts believed that during the festival of Samhaim the veil between this world and the next world was particularly thin, allowing spirits to pass between the two worlds on this night.

Many of our Halloween traditions like dressing up and pumpkin lights came from this Celtic festival.

Keeping the Evil Out

Folks disguised themselves using animal skins to protect against evil spirits on the prowl. People wore masks. They did this to confuse the spirits and hide from people who disliked them.

To keep the evil at bay during Samhain, bonfires would be lit. Animal bones were burnt in the fires; hence the origin of the name, ‘bone-fire’. Households would also carve scary faces into turnips and leave it at the doorstep to ward off evil spirits.

In early 20th century Ireland, trick or treating was known as ‘guising’ – rural people dressed up in straw masks and went visiting their neighbours. They would walk from house to house without speaking, to try to conceal their identity, just for fun.

Ireland’s best Halloween party is in Derry

While the origin of Halloween doesn’t lie specifically in Derry, the world’s biggest Halloween party is held in that city every year. More than 30,000 people take to the streets, most of them dressed as witches, ghouls, vampires and monsters from the Otherworld.

It’s a time when you’re almost certain to hear the Banshees screaming – assuming you can hear anything much above the marching bands, ceilidh music, hard rock and calypso as the carnival proceeds through the town. A spectacular fireworks display brings celebrations to a close.

Can’t think of Halloween without thinking of any one of the 11 movies, including this year’s:



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Winner: Eric, followed by Carol St. Martin (aka Sleepy), and Mary

The game finished in a dead heat between Eric and Carol. In the playoff Eric took advantage of a sleepy Carol and finished first.

Good Question!: What does the female praying mantis do after she has made love?

Choices: a. sleeps   b. runs in circles   c. eats her mate   d. dies

Answer: eats her mate

Be warned this image may be too gruesome for some of you.

Never make a pretty woman your wife – better to find a fat, well fed woman.

Why? Hungry females are more likely to cannibalize.

So when thinking about mating, the male praying mantis has to use physical and chemical cues to determine the foraging abilities of the female. Males courted well-fed females significantly more than starved females.

Here are the gruesome details

Mating ritual

To mate, the male must mount a female while pinning down her back and thorax with his forelegs. During this process, there are three opportunities for sexual cannibalism to happen — before copulation, during copulation, and post copulation. In the pre-copulation stage, the female can decide to eat the male if she doesn’t perceive him as a suitable mate. Remarkably, females can also sever the male’s head during sex. The male continues to deposit sperm and sometimes even attempts an escape, despite the beheading. Finally, and most commonly, females cannibalize the male immediately after sperm deposition.

Check out this video, if you dare, for some fascinating footage of sexual cannibalism in praying mantises!:

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Winner: Eric, followed by Pluto, and Peter

Twenty-one players anxiously awaited the start of the game. Only one problem. There were no questions and answers. Darin, who does a superb job each week putting the questions and believable answers together, had left this week’s quiz home. After some frantic searching she came up with an old game she had prepared years ago intended for Flag Day. So tonight we made believe that the calendar said June and answered only questions concerning the American flag.

That gave Eric, who was a serious Boy Scout, and Pluto, who was a less serious Sea Cadet, an advantage and they finished one-two.

Good Question!: Does the “Stars and Stripes Forever” march by John Philip Sousa have lyrics?

Choices: a. True   b. False

Answer: True

I have heard “The Stars and Stripes Forever” too many times to count, and yet never knew there were any lyrics to match the music.

“The Stars and Stripes Forever.” is the official march of the United States and it’s John Philip Sousa’s most famous composition (1896). You’ve probably heard it before, even if you don’t know it by name.

With the possible exception of “The Star Spangled Banner,” no musical composition has done more to arouse the patriotic spirit of America than this, John Philip Sousa’s most beloved composition. Symbolic of flag-waving in general, it has been used with considerable effectiveness to generate patriotic feeling ever since its introduction in Philadelphia on May 14, 1897, when the staid Public Ledger reported: “It is stirring enough to rouse the American eagle from his crag, and set him to shriek exultantly while he hurls his arrows at the aurora borealis.” Sousa wrote words for the march, evidently for use in The Trooping of the Colors, his pageant of 1898.

“The President’s Own” – U.S. Marine Band

All of his life, John Philip Sousa loved music and loved America, so it’s no surprise that he wrote this patriotic classic. Sousa grew up in Washington, D.C., during the Civil War. As a kid, he enjoyed hearing the Civil War military bands that filled the streets of Washington as well as the sounds of his father’s trombone. His father played in the U.S. Marine Band and Sousa quickly followed in his footsteps. Sousa first enlisted in the Marine Band as an apprentice violinist and later became the bandleader. When Sousa wasn’t playing with a band, he was writing music, like “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”  Sousa said the song was about the feeling of coming home to America and how “in a foreign country the sight of the Stars and Stripes seems the most glorious in the world.” By the 1890s he had written enough popular marches to be nicknamed the “March King.” (marineband.marines.mil)


Lyrics “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Not nearly as stirring as the music, probably why you never hear the lyrics.

Stars and Stripes Forever
by John Philip Sousa

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears ‘mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom’s shield and hope.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom’s nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.


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Winner: Eric after playoff with TomTwin, Gina, and Pluto

Gina was oh, so close to her very first win tonight. She tied for first in regulation, but in a 4 way playoff only Eric knew that it was that dirty little coward, Robert Ford, who killed Jesse James.

Tonight we learned that Greenpeace is the largest environmental organization in the world, and that Madagascar produces 2/3 of the world’s vanilla. Cheers for Madagascar.

Good Question!: How long did it take Sir Francis Drake to complete the first circumnavigation of the globe in 1580?

Choices: a. 6 months   b. 12 months   c. 18 months   d. 3 years

In April 1581, a few months after he completed a circumnavigation of the globe, the British navigator Francis Drake was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I during a ceremony aboard his flagship Golden Hind. Drake’s round-the-world voyage was a high point in a career that saw him serve as everything from a naval commander and explorer to a statesman and civil engineer, but he was best known as Britain’s most feared “Sea Dog”—the nickname for the ruthless privateers who preyed on Spanish shipping in the New World.


Answer: 3 years

What the hell took him so long! This was barely the same time that Magellan’s crew took to circumnavigate 60 years before and they had to deal with a battle in the Philippines where Magellan was killed with a poisoned arrow.

Let’s put this time in perspective. In December 2017 the French sailor François Gabart in his trimaran set the record for sailing solo around the world, circumnavigating the planet in 42 days. François could have sailed around the world 26 times while Drake was doing his slow boat to China cruise.

If you don’t fancy sailing solo like Francois, but still would like to circumnavigate the globe on a ship, you have some options and it won’t take as long as Drake did. (I hope the Driver and mistress Daphne are listening in Morocco.)

All three of Cunard’s ships – Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria – are in the world-cruise market with 118-125-day world cruises that depart from Southampton. (start @ $24,800)

Oceania can claim the world’s longest world cruise itinerary. The round-trip voyage from Miami lasts 180 days and visits 94 ports. Among the destinations are most of the staples of longer cruises, and plenty more unusual stops (start @ $36,500).

If you don’t have the time to sail, you might want to try National Geographic and their “Around the World by Private Jet” trip. Only 24 days and only $83,000, but you better hurry, some of the trips in 2018 are already wait listed.


When I think of trips, I usually think of National Lampoon’s “Vacation.”

and if you have gotten this far, here is “Sea Cruise.”


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Winner: Eric, followed by Judge Judy and Steve

This was a close one all the way. Three players tied in regulation, but in the playoff only Eric knew that John Glenn was a marine.

Tonight we learned that it is Colorado, and not Alaska, which is the state with the highest average elevation above sea level.

Mistress Daphne and the Driver returned from their slow boat to China and Japan, bringing a very nice bottle of sake with them. We used it to toast Tiffany, who has been our bartender, our waitress, and even our game moderator on occasion. We wished her the very best for her impending nuptials.



Good Question!: Which part of the human body can expand 20 times its normal size?

Choices: a. lungs   b. heart   c. stomach   d. blood vessels

Answer: stomach

Some of us were pretty skeptical, because that just didn’t seem possible. Here’s what I found, and it’s even more surprising.

“The empty stomach is only about the size of your fist, but can stretch to hold as much as 4 liters of food and fluid, or more than 75 times its empty volume, and then return to its resting size when empty. Although you might think that the size of a person’s stomach is related to how much food that individual consumes, body weight does not correlate with stomach size. Rather, when you eat greater quantities of food—such as at holiday dinner—you stretch the stomach more than when you eat less.”  Want to learn more about your stomach? Lumen learning has good info on the stomach in their module on the digestive system.



Your stomach expands every time you eat a meal (and contracts again after you’re done digesting), but it won’t shrink if you diet or fast. The organ has an average resting volume of about 50 ml (.01 gallon), but after a normal meal it expands to about 1 liter (0.26 gallon). If really pushed, the stomach can accommodate up to 4 liters (an entire gallon) of food.

So what if you really push it? Say you go for the tasting menu one night and end up eating twice as much as you normally do at dinner—will your stomach permanently expand a little bit? Nah. It will probably remain distended for longer than usual, because rich, fatty foods slow digestion and thus stay in the stomach longer than leaner fare. And when high fat content is coupled with a large volume of food, your stomach definitely has more work to do than it normally would (plus, it needs more acids and enzymes to do the job, and these add more volume). Still, we’re not talking days here; typically, the stomach is fully empty and “deflated” anywhere from three to five hours after a meal.” (chowhound.com)

Talking stomachs, remembering “Aliens”


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Winners: Eric & Inappropriate Bob

We had some new players join us this evening. Both first timers, Sally & Gloria, fared well and helped their teams to second place finishes. First place went to Inappropriate Bob and Eric, who was playing only his second game. Bob, who has now won twice with different partners,  is beginning to like this team thing. The falling leaf award tonight went to Brad and Kathy.

We hope everyone has survived SuperStormSandy without too much damage. We’ve missed a couple of weeks, but now that Sandy is mostly behind us, it’s time to get back in the game. Hope to see you there on Tuesday night – we have a special someone to sing Happy Birthday to this week.

Good Question!: Who was the first Japanese person to travel to the Americas?

Answer: Tanaka Shosuke

Not exactly a household name, Tanaka Shōsuke was an important Japanese technician and trader in metals from Kyoto during the beginning of the 17th century. Before the travels of Tanaka Shosuke, Japan had few contacts with the Spanish, and had instead relied upon the Portuguese, and the Chinese, for her foreign trade.

Japan had been very active sailing Red seal ships throughout Asia. These original Japanese ships were broadly similar to Chinese junks, but incorporated various Western techniques and designs (such as square and lateen sails). They had never ventured as far as the American continent.

Tanaka Shōsuke became the first recorded Japanese to have travelled to the Americas in 1610, returning to Japan in 1611. He again went to the Americas in 1613, with the embassy of Hasekura Tsunenaga. In total, he accomplished two roundtrips between Japan and the Americas and helped establish trade and diplomatic relations between Japan and the Spanish Empire.

Now, who can think of Japan without also thinking of Godzilla?

Here is a montage dedicated to over 50 years of Godzilla in film… with the original Godzilla theme as background music. The special effects are rather crude – today any 8 year old is making more realistic video.

sources: International Samurai Timeline, wikipedia

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