Archive for category trivia


With the Bears actually having the season that they did, I tried really hard to actually get into the whole football thing this season. But, try as I might, I just can’t really seem to follow football. The thing of it is, though, that I used to be a pretty big football guy. Back in high school and before, I watched more football than I did baseball. Of course, most of that was probably due to the fact that I lived in western New York during the Buffalo Bills’ ill-fated four consecutive trips to the super bowl. Now that I think of it, maybe that’s just what soured me on football altogether. I have distinct memories of the good and the bad. I remember Scott Norwood’s missed field goal to lose the Super Bowl (Wide Right!). We were listening on the radio to backup QB Frank Reich leading the bills to the greatest comeback in NFL history — overcoming a 35-3 drubbing in the third quarter — against the Houston Oilers (we had to listen to it on the radio, by the way, due to NFL blackout rules). By the way, congrats to Thurman Thomas for making it to the hall this year.

Since adopting Boston as my new home town, I’ve made an effort to like the Patriots. Really, I’ve tried. And I’m really sorry, but that dog just won’t hunt. It seems that as the years go by, I actually like the Patriots less and less. In fact, I found myself rooting for the Colts in the AFC championship game this year. It’s a tough thing to admit, I suppose, for one living in New England, but there you go, I’ve said it.

So, anyway, how many more weeks until the Sox take the field? Props to mrhe for getting the ball rolling on this. I have a healthy dose of skepticism about the whole Dice-K thing, but we’ll see what happens.

Oh, one more thing. Here are a couple of ads from the game last night that were particularly amusing. I think it’s possible that I buy emerald nuts exclusively these days, just on the strength of their advertising. But then again, they are actually some pretty tasty nuts.

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The Hunt

So, this past weekend was the world famous annual MIT IAP Mystery Hunt, and for the second year in a row I participated whole-heartedly. Our team, The Chaotic-Neutral Mid-Afternoon Archers What Arch At Teatime, did fairly well. Apparently we finished in approximately 6th place ordered by how many puzzles were completed, but we were really only two or three hard puzzles and maybe a couple of “a-ha!” moments away from being right up there.

The hunt is now archived online, so you can go ahead and try your hand at some puzzles. I’d recommend taking a peek at Blather, and I Love These 80. I suppose that those are two of my favorites, but it’s hard to remember or keep track with so many puzzles over the course of the 2.5-day or so event.

Quinn was kind enough to take and put up some pictures from the weekend, including several of us toiling away in our enclave in Building 56, as well as us partying afterwards at putz (EC 2nd west), where several of us spent our undergraduate days. There was some nice reminiscing to go around, as well as plenty of “back in the day” stories. Supposedly the hall is putting up a wiki so we can document some of the oral and written history of putz, but I suppose that’s for another blog entry.



Stationery Movies

Very clever online visual identification/movie trivia quiz. So far I’ve only got 11/20 of them (missing 2,5,8,9,11,13,14,17 and 19). Give it a try.
Stationery Movies



100 Wonders of the World

Apparently, I’ve only seen five (12,25,84, 88 and 99). Although it’s possible if the planned vacation next year pans out I’ll be adding at least another three. Looks like there’s a lot more traveling to do for anyone who wants to catch all 100.

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Happy Thanksgiving

But first, a word or two from Abe Lincoln proclaiming the national thanksgiving day in 1863. It was later, of course, moved back a week to the 3rd Thursday in November by FDR in an attempt to lengthen the holiday shopping season and improve fortunes for businesses during the depression:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.”

Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, 3 October 1863.

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Some of my favorite “footnotes to history.” Sorry, but I just had to come up with something to blog before people get on my case about not posting often enough. You probably know all of these and can come up with better additions to the list as well:

  • Gavrilo Princep
  • Roger Boisjoly
  • Capt. Joseph Hazelton
  • Presper Eckert (and John Mauchly)
  • Crispus Attucks
  • Capt. Edward Smith
  • Caesar Rodney
  • Philo Farnsworth
  • Edwin Drake
  • John Bardeen
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Reginald Denny
  • Harry Frazee


Florence ADMAX

The topic of the “supermax” prison in Florence, CO (wikipedia article) came up in discussion last week, so I figured I would expand on it a bit via the blogosphere.

USP Florence ADMAX (as it is officially called), is one of only two “supermax” federal prisons (the other one is in Marion, Illinois), and is the only federal prison built from the ground up originally as a locked-down “supermax”. It’s where the U.S. sends federal prisoners who are extremely dangerous, or at risk in some peculiar way. The federal bureau of prisons has a particularly neat website where you can search for information on any particular federal inmate — provided, of course, that you know the exact first and last name. What follows is a partial list of the “interesting” guests of the federal government that will be residing in Florence for the remainder of their natural lives:

  • Richard Reid24079-038. The guy who tried to blow up an airplane with a bomb in his shoe, and is forever to be known as the “shoe bomber.”
  • Ted Kaczynski04475-046. The “unabomber”.
  • Robert Hanssen48551-083. FBI agent, spied for the USSR. His revelations to the enemy resulted in several covert agents and spies being outed and probably killed, and is guilty of violating U.S. code title 18 section 794. The content of which has been drilled into my head by a certain previous employer of mine, but that’s for another blog entry.
  • Terry Nichols08157-031. Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator. His partner in crime, Timothy McVeigh also served his time at ADMAX Florence, before his execution.
  • Eric Rudolph18282-058.1996 Atlanta Olympics bomber, bomber of multiple abortion clinics, and longtime fugitive. There’s an interesting and lively discussion on wikipedia about whether he should be referred to as a “Christian Terrorist.” But that’s beyond the scope of this blog.
  • Ramzi Yousef03911-000. “Mastermind” and perpetrator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
  • Mohammad Salameh34338-054. Another perpetrator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was supposedly arrested while trying to collect the deposit on the van that they blew up.
  • Zacarias Moussaoui51427-054. Terrorist and possible would-be-participant in September 11th attacks.

Also supposedly present at Florence are: Charles Harrelson (Woody Harrelson’s father), Brink’s Heist robber Richard Scutari, and Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano. Here’s a more complete list.

There’s just something oddly fascinating and vaguely dangerous about all of these people being at the same place, but I suppose that concentration at a single supermax facility is probably the best way to do these types of things. The people of Florence are apparently not happy about staffing levels at the facility, and worry that the place now known as “terrorist central” might actually be a terrorist target.