Posts Tagged ‘Pluto’

Winner: Pluto, in a photo finish with Oh Donna, and Cajun Girl.

Another tight game and another three-way play-off, with Pluto sneaking through for the win. Rosebud and Jaye just missed making it a 5 way tie in regulation.

Tonight we learned that camels don’t store water in their humps, it’s fat that keeps them going, and that if you’re playing roulette in the casino the zero is the only green number on the roulette wheel.

Good Question!: Which country is known as the Land of White Elephant?

Choices: a. India   b. Thailand    c. Bangladesh   d. Cambodia

Answer: Thailand

A small percentage of elephants have a rare genetic disorder which deprives them of skin pigments and makes their bodies naturally white (albino). In some parts of Asia, these white elephants have traditionally been treated as sacred animals. There is even a common belief that Gautama Buddha appeared in the form of a white elephant in a previous life before he was born as a human. In some Asian countries these animals are a symbol of royal power, and many kings have owned at least one of them.

During the 19th-century, a royal white elephant in the kingdom of Siam (now called Thailand) was observed by Anna Leonowens, an English woman who had come to the country to serve as governess of the king’s children. According to her memoirs, this elephant was constantly attended by servants who bathed it, fanned it, flattered it, and sang to it. Its food consisted of “the finest herbs, the tenderest grass, the sweetest sugar-cane, the mellowest plaintains, and the brownest cakes of wheat, served on huge trays of gold and silver.” After the animal was bathed, it was decked out in a crown, gold chains, and a purple velvet cloak. Because it was thought to be sacred, its behavior was watched very closely for omens, and a single grunt from the animal could cause the king to change his mind about an important decision.

“Physiologically, elephants are unique—entirely different from all other mammals. Yet, since antiquity, observers have agreed that the elephant is the animal most akin to man.” That is, elephants show, in at least a primitive form, many of the features of personhood.

Elephants have a complex social organization, a sophisticated system of communication, what appear to be deep bonds between them (especially between mothers and children), and a way of responding to death that is strangely similar to that of our own species.”

Just last year executives with the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus said that a decision to remove elephants from the show in response to pressure from animal rights groups instantly affected ticket sales, leading to the decision to close the 146-year-old company.

Can’t talk about elephants without talking about Dumbo.









Dumbo, the title character of the 1941 Disney feature film, was born with abnormally large ears. He is ridiculed for his deformity until the other elephants learn he can use those ears to fly! Like Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, the story of Dumbo shows children that it’s okay to be different. The film is also known for the tear-inducing separation of a child from its mother, which is a recurring thread in most Disney classics.







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Winner: Pluto, followed closely by Carol St. Martin, Dr Keith, Eric and Tony

Pluto won a hard fought playoff with Dr. Keith and Carol St Martin, but only after he caused a ruckus tonight over one question. He could not believe that there was a sea passage from the North Atlantic to the Pacific, the fabled NW Passage trade route to Asia sought by European explorers for centuries. But Pluto was all wet.

In the age of global warming there is a sea passage today through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. In fact, in August 2016 the cruise liner Crystal Serenity with 1,500 passengers sailed from Vancouver to NYC through the NW passage, probably with Mistress Daphne and the Driver on board.

Good Question!: How many ribs in the human body?

Choices: a. 8   b. 12   c. 16   d.24

Answer: 24

Soon as the question was asked we all started to try to count our ribs, but for some of us with a lot of flesh over those ribs, it wasn’t easy. Many thought the idea we had as many as 24 ribs was preposterous.

“The ribcage is a bony structure made up of the rib bones and their connective tissues. The ribcage forms part of the body’s respiratory system. It enables expansion of the chest cavity so that the lungs can expand and breathe in oxygen. The ribcage also encloses the thoracic cavity and helps protect the heart and lungs from damage.

There are 24 ribs in the human body, divided into two sets of 12 curved, flat bones. Each one is attached by cartilage at the back to the thoracic vertebrae. The first upper seven ribs are known as ‘true ribs’ and are directly attached by cartilage to a long flat bone at the centre of the chest called the sternum (breastbone).

The remaining pairs of ribs are known as ‘false ribs’. The eighth, ninth and tenth ribs are also attached to the sternum but not directly. The eleventh and twelfth ribs are called ‘floating ribs’ as they are not directly attached to the sternum. Some people are missing these ribs, while others may have an extra set.

While there are variations on the number of ribs, both men and women generally have the same number of 24 ribs. This discovery in the 14th century sparked a wave of controversy as it was at odds with the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, which claimed Eve was formed from Adam’s rib, suggesting men should have one less rib than women. Men’s ribcages are usually larger than women’s as testosterone during puberty triggers expansion of the rib cage to allow for better oxygen inhalation.” (WebMD)

Of course, “Adam’s Rib” is also a wonderful Spencer Tracy/ Katherine Hepburn movie:

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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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Winner: Pluto, followed by Droppin’, 9 O’Clock Judy, and Dave

In a week when the president and secretary of state squabbled over who was the bigger moron, we played a game whose theme was “are you smarter than a middle schooler?” I think we should have invited those two guys to join us and we could have settled the question once and for all, although it’s pretty clear who is the bigger moron.

Pluto was smoking hot tonight and if he knew that Frankfort was the capital of Kentucky he would have been perfect. Now he’s bragging that he is smarter than a middle schooler. Big deal.

Good question!: Who crossed the Rubicon?

Choices: a. Mussolini   b. Hannibal   c. Caesar   d. Bellini

Answer: Caesar

Some folks thought it was Hannibal, but he crossed the Alps. So what was the significance of crossing the Rubicon?

“In the year 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was the provincial Governor of Gaul (an area roughly corresponding to modern France). Caesar’s campaign to bring Europe under the yoke of the Roman Empire had been a rousing success. Returning to Rome, Caesar was required by Roman law to leave his legions at the Italian border, but Caesar had enemies in Rome [e.g. Pompey, another Roman general and statesman had ambitions of his own to become dictator] and was reluctant to return without his troops (or “cohorts,” originally divisions of the Roman Legion).

Finally, Caesar made the fateful decision, disobeying Pompey and the Roman senate, to lead his troops across the river that marked the border of Italy, proclaiming (it is said) ‘Alea iacta est’ (‘The die is cast’), meaning that his act was irrevocable, whatever its consequences.

The consequences were dire, for Caesar’s act precipitated a bloody civil war which eventually led to his becoming Emperor of all Rome. Caesar’s remark, immortalized by Roman historians has since become a very well-worn cliché applied to any irrevocable decision. The river that Caesar crossed that fateful day in 49 B.C., incidentally, was the Rubicon, giving us the phrase ‘to cross the Rubicon’ [essentially a synonym of ‘the die is cast’], meaning that an important point has been crossed and that there is no going back.” (per Word Detective)

If you feel like you want to refresh your knowledge of Julius Caesar, a pretty important figure in western civilization, this is a good academic presentation by the Khan Academy.


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Winner: Pluto, followed closely by Rosebud, 9 O’Clock Judy, Almond Joy, Judge Judy, and Tall Paul.

Lots of controversy tonight. What was actress Marilyn Monroe’s last completed film? It was “The Misfits,” a film which many think was Marilyn Monroe’s best dramatic performance.

For some reason most folks thought she had died during the filming of “The Misfits,” and put up a loud and vigorous challenge. In fact, she had only been hospitalized during its filming. It was during the shooting for her next film “Something’s Got to Give” that she died, and that film was unreleased. BTW, Clark Gable, often referred to as “The King of Hollywood,” died of a heart attack just after filming “The Misfits.” He was only 59 years old.

Good Question!: Ricotta is a cheese traditionally made from the milk of which animal?

Choices: a. goat  b. cow  c. sheep  d. camel

Answer: Cow

Oh Boy! Much more controversy here, because many folks thought that ricotta was made from sheep milk, and you know what, they were right, too.

What is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta is a soft, sweet, fresh, white cheese made from what is left over after making other cheeses. Basically ricotta is made from whey—that is, the watery liquid that remains after cow, sheep or goat cheese is made. Used in abundance all over Italy, ricotta—in all its various forms—has played an important part in Italian cucina for centuries. Ounce for ounce, Ricotta has five times more calcium than the cottage cheese it closely resembles.


Want to know much more?

First, better remember, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.”


Ancient and Modern Ricotta

“In the ancient times of the Roman republic, the production of ricotta was regulated by Cato the Elder—a statesman known for his humble origins and practical wisdom. Among other laws, he codified rules for sheep farming and agriculture. In those days, sheep’s milk had several uses: as a part of sacrificial rites; as a beverage; for the production of pecorino cheese—and ricotta. Even back then, the practice of using whey, instead of merely discarding it, already existed.

Ricotta, which literally means “recooked” in Italian, was probably accidentally discovered during the production of pecorino. The process for making ricotta is relatively simple: By allowing the whey to ferment one or two days in lukewarm temperatures, it becomes more acidic. After fermentation, the whey is cooked to almost boiling; afterward, the residual proteins solidify into curds, which are then filtered through a cloth. The result is a product with a consistency similar to cottage cheese, but with a sweet taste.

Cheese making is a real craft—it takes a lot of skill, practice and experience to make a good cheese. Even ricotta, in all its simplicity, follows traditions, rules, and methods. Though fresh ricotta is not so readily available—even in Italian cities it can be hard to find, and outside of Italy, it’s still something of a rarity—it is possible to find tasty commercial ricotta just about everywhere.  The commercial versions of ricotta—sold in many parts of the world, as well as in Italy—are very useful in the kitchen, particularly in pastry and pasta dishes. But, there is nothing that can compare to the taste of fresh authentic Italian ricotta.

Made without any additives and naturally low in fat, undoubtedly, the best ricotta you’ll ever experience comes straight from the farm—sold in street markets and local cheese stores all over Italy. Fresh ricotta is readily available in a variety of forms, but the most common types are: ricotta di mucca (cow milk ricotta), ricotta di pecora (sheep milk ricotta), and ricotta mista di mucca e pecora (a mixture of cow and sheep milk ricottas). Cow milk ricotta is more widely consumed in Northern Italy, and sheep ricotta is more prevalent in the central south. Ricotta di capra (goat) and ricotta di bufala (buffalo) also exist but they are a bit harder to come by.

The differences between these ricottas are noteworthy. Cow’s milk ricotta is milder and has a more neutral taste than the other varieties. It’s ideal for the celebrated filled-pasta delicacies of northern Italy—such as, ravioli, tortelloni, agnolotti, savory stuffed crepes—as well as cakes and pastries. In the regions where sheep herding is more widespread—such as in Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzi, Campania, Puglia, and of course Sardinia, which has the largest sheep farms in all of Italy—naturally, sheep milk ricotta is more prevalent. Each region produces a slightly different tasting milk and cheese. In general, sheep milk ricotta has a slightly richer taste than the cow milk variety.” (George DeLallo Company)


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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.”

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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.


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