Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
By some definitions, New Zealand-born physicist and chemist Ernest Rutherford was the first person to “split the atom”. Rutherford bombarded nitrogen with alpha particles and thereby forced neutrons out of the nucleus of the nitrogen atom. The first intentional nuclear “fission” came decades later in the 1930s, with experiments in which larger nuclei were split into smaller nuclei.
The name of the dish called “Carne Asada” translates from Spanish as “roasted meat”.
The tuba is the lowest-pitched of all the brass instruments, and one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra (usually there is just one tuba included in an orchestral line-up). “Tuba” is the Latin word for “trumpet, horn”. Oom-pah-pah …
Enid Blyton wrote stories for children that were very popular when I was growing up in the British Isles. Not so long ago I purchased and reread my favorite of her stories growing up, a children’s novel called “The Secret Island”.
Many of his contemporaries regarded Jimi Hendrix as the greatest electric guitarist in the history of rock music. Hendrix was from Seattle and didn’t really have a really stellar start to his working life. He failed to finish high school and fell foul of the law by getting caught in stolen cars, twice. The courts gave him the option of the army or two years in prison. Hendrix chose the former and soon found himself in the famous 101st Airborne. In the army, his less-than-disciplined ways helped him (as he would have seen it) because his superiors successfully petitioned to get him discharged after serving only one year of his two-year requirement, just to get him out of their hair.
22…Reason for many a school absence..STREP
Streptococcus bacteria multiply and divide along a single axis so that they form linked chains. That behavior gives the genus of bacteria its name, as “streptos” is Greek for “easily twisted, like a chain”. I had to battle with streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat) twice in the past few years and it was not at all pleasant, I must say. Another species of streptococcus is responsible for that terrible “flesh-eating” infection that makes the news from time to time.
24…”In __, I know not why I am so sad”: “The Merchant of Venice”..SOOTH
In William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”, Antonio is the title character. We learn from him in the opening lines of the play that he is a melancholy character, and quite sad:
In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff ’tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn;
And such a want-wit sadness makes of me,
That I have much ado to know myself.
25…’90s Philippine president Fidel..RAMOS
Fidel Ramos was President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. I used to live in Manila, and one of my claims to fame is that I once went SCUBA diving with President Ramos. Well, I was in the same diving party, and there were three very burly guys between me and him the whole time …
The American Medical Association (AMA) has been publishing the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) since 1883.
30…It merged with SAG in 2012..AFTRA
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) was founded in 1937 as AFRA. AFTRA merged with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2012, forming SAG-AFTRA.
32…Cal’s “East of Eden” brother..ARON
John Steinbeck considered “East of Eden” his magnus opus. Most of the storyline takes place near Salinas, just south of where I live here in the Bay Area. Two of the characters in the story are brothers Cal and Aron Trask, representative of the biblical Cain and Abel.
33…1996 Richard Gere thriller..PRIMAL FEAR
“Primal Fear” is a very enjoyable crime-thriller film released in 1996, starring Richard Gere. The most acclaimed performance in the movie came from Edward Norton, in his film debut.
The Igbo (or Ibo) people are an ethnic group living in southeastern Nigeria.
A Global Positioning System (GPS) might point out a route (rte.).
38…Premium Scotch choice..SINGLE MALT
In order to be labelled as “single-malt” scotch, the whisky must come from a single distillery (hence “single”), and from a mash of malted grain (hence “malt”) that has been processed in a pot still.
“Flummoxed” is another lovely word, meaning confused or perplexed. It is probably of English origin, derived from some local dialect.
42…Blues with sticks: Abbr…STL
The St. Louis Blues hockey team takes its name from the song “St. Louis Blues”, a jazz and popular music classic.
46…”The Other Side of Oz” autobiographer..EBSEN
The actor Buddy Ebsen was best known for playing Jed Clampett in television’s “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Ebsen had been cast in the role of the Tin Man in the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz”, but he developed an allergy to the aluminium dust that was used in the makeup. He ended up in hospital and had to walk away from the part. Ebsen blamed “The Wizard of Oz” on persistent problems that he had with his lungs in subsequent years. But Ebsen lived 16 years longers that any of the other major cast members of the film, so maybe he got the last laugh!
“Paisano” translates literally from Spanish as “fellow countryman”, but is also used to mean “pal”.
The “Utne Reader” is known for aggregation and republishing of articles on politics, culture and the environment from other sources in the media. The “Utne Reader” was founded in 1984, with “Utne” being the family name of the couple that started the publication.
55…Hardly a light six-pack?..ABS OF STEEL
The abdominal muscles (“abs”) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They are all called a “six-pack” in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …
58…NYC saloon featured in a 2000 film..COYOTE UGLY
“Coyote Ugly” is a film released in 2000 about New Jersey girl pursuing a career as a songwriter, while earning her keep working in the Coyote Ugly Saloon in New York City.
59…The Stans were among them: Abbr…SSRS
The suffix “-stan” in many place names is Persian for “place of”.
61…Chinese menu possessive..TSO’S
General Tso’s chicken is an American creation, often found on the menu of a Chinese restaurant. The name General Tso may be a reference to General Zuo Zongtang of the Qing Dynasty, but there is no clear link.
3…Santa Ynez Valley prefix..OENO-
In Greek mythology, Oeno was the goddess of wine, giving us “oen-” as a prefix meaning “wine”. For example, oenology is the study of wine and an oenophile is a wine-lover.
4…Badger State city..MADISON
The state of Wisconsin is nicknamed “the Badger State”. This name came about in the early days of lead mining in the 1800s. The miners would often set up home in the holes they were digging, earning them the nickname “badgers”, and leading to the state’s nickname.
Madison is the second-largest city in Wisconsin (after Milwaukee), and is the state capital. The city was named for President James Madison, who was one of the signers of the US Constitution. Many of Madison’s first streets were named for the 39 other signatories.
5…Help, in Le Havre..AIDER
Le Havre is a city on the mouth of the river Seine on the northwest coast of France. The city’s name translates as “the haven”.
6…Percussion staples..SNARE DRUMS
Snare drums are so called because they have a set of wire strands (called snares) stretched across the bottom surface of the drum. When the drum is struck, the snares vibrate against the bottom drumhead producing a unique sound.
The nickname “G-men” is short for “Government Men” and refers to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The apse of a church or cathedral is a semicircular recess in an outer wall, usually with a half-dome as a roof and often where there resides an altar. Originally apses were used as burial places for the clergy and also for storage of important relics.
It is believed that our word “barbecue” (BBQ) comes from the Taíno people of the Caribbean in whose language “barbacoa” means “sacred fire pit”.
Raisa Gorbachova was the wife of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. There’s no doubt that Raisa’s charm and personality helped her husband as he worked to change the image of the Soviet Union.
31…Isn’t for you?..AREN’T
He/she “isn’t”, and you “aren’t”.
Edgar Allan Poe lived a life of many firsts. Poe is considered to be the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He was also the first notable American author to make his living through his writing, something that didn’t really go too well for him as he was always financially strapped. In 1849 he was found on the streets of Baltimore, delirious from either drugs or alcohol. Poe died a few days later in hospital at 39 years of age.
36…Beast of burden..LLAMA
The wool from a llama is much softer than that from a sheep, and it is also free from lanolin.
39…Springs with steam..GEYSERS
The Great Geysir in Iceland is the first known geyser to have been discovered and documented. The name “Geysir” comes from the Icelandic and Old Norse word “geysa” meaning “to gush”. It is the Great Geysir that gives us our English word “geyser”.
40…18th-dynasty Egyptian pharaoh..KING TUT
King Tut is a name commonly used for the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen may not have been the most significant of the pharaohs historically, but he is the most famous today largely because of the discovery of his nearly intact tomb in 1922 by Howard Carter. Prior to this find, any Egyptian tombs uncovered by archaeologists had been ravaged by grave robbers. Tutankhamen’s magnificent burial mask is one of the most recognizable of all Egyptian artifacts.
The oboe is perhaps my favorite of the reed instruments. The name “oboe” comes from the French “hautbois” which means “high wood”. When you hear an orchestra tuning before a performance you’ll note (pun intended!) that the oboe starts off the process by playing an “A”. The rest of the musicians in turn tune to that oboe’s “A”.
51…Lines of thought?..EEGS
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a record of electrical activity caused by the firing of neurons within the brain. The EEG might be used to diagnose epilepsy, or perhaps to determine if a patient is “brain dead”.
52…Pull up stakes, informally..RELO
Relocate (relo.) is a real estate term.
53…Stone and others..SLYS
Sly and the Family Stone are a rock, funk and soul band from San Francisco that’s still performing today, although their heyday was from 1966 to 1983. They were one of the first rock bands to have a racially-integrated lineup, as well as representatives of both sexes.
56…Preserves, for keeps: Abbr…SYN
The word “preserves” is a synonym for “keeps”.