Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…Subject of the 1998 Supreme Court case New Jersey v. New York..ELLIS ISLAND
Ellis Island is an exclave of New York City that is geographically located within Jersey City, New Jersey. The name comes from a Samuel Ellis who owned the island around the time of the American Revolution. Ellis Island was the nation’s main immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.
In the 1998 Supreme Court case New Jersey v. New York, New Jersey ended up owning about 90% of Ellis Island, land which had belonged to New York. New York and New Jersey signed an agreement in 1834 granting New Jersey half of the water channel between the two states, but giving New York the islands the New Jersey side of the channel (mainly Ellis Island and Staten Island). At issue was the land that New York added to Ellis Island by means of reclamation (ultimately 90% of the island’s land mass). The court decided that the land reclaimed belonged to New Jersey because it was located within the New Jersey-controlled water channel.
15…”Tristes apprets” from “Castor et Pollux,” e.g…SOPRANO ARIA
“Castor et Pollux” is an opera by French composer Jean-Philippe Rameau that premiered in 1737 in Paris.
“Maa” is the call of a goat.
Males goats are called “bucks” or “billies”, although castrated males are known as “wethers”. Female goats are called “does” or “nannies”, and young goats are referred to as “kids”.
17…Group sharing a name with a cranberry cocktail..PINK MARTINI
Pink Martini is a rather unusual group from Portland, Oregon in that they play many different genres of music from classical to classic pop. Billing themselves as a “little orchestra”, Pink Martini do indeed have a “little orchestral” line up of instrumentalists with brass, strings and percussion players backing up two lead vocalists.
A pink martini is a vodka-based cocktail in which a pink colour is given by adding a little cranberry juice, or perhaps some raspberry liqueur.
18…Docs’ work areas..ERS
Doctors (docs) might be found working in emergency rooms (ERs).
Fauns are regarded as the Roman mythological equivalent of the Greek satyrs, but fauns were half-man and half-goat and much more “carefree” in personality than their Hellenic cousins. In the modern age we are quite familiar with Mr. Tumnus, the faun-like character encountered by the children entering the world of Narnia in C. S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”.
The satyrs of Greek mythology came with a very high sex drive. They are the “rude” male subjects drawn on the side of old Greek vases. The nubile maidens known as nymphs were often an object of attention for the satyrs.
Back in the early 1900s a “keister” was a safe or a strongbox. It has been suggested that this term was then used as slang by pickpockets for the rear trouser pocket in which one might keep a wallet. From this usage, keister appeared as a slang term for the buttocks in the early 1930s.
Something described as “patent” is clearly evident, obvious. The term ultimately derives from the Latin “patentum” meaning “open, lying open”.
“Obituary” comes from the Latin “obituaris”, originally the record of the death of a person, although the literal meaning is “pertaining to death”.
31…”__ Crossroads”: Bone Thugs-n-Harmony song..THA
“Tha Crossroads” is a song recorded in 1995 by the hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The band’s members are Layzie Bone, Flesh-n-Bone, Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone and Wish Bone. That’s all I know …
33…Game with a varying number of cards..BINGO
Bingo (also “bango”) is a card game involving betting. Never played it …
“Ars antiqua” is a term used to describe European music of the Middle Ages between c.1170 and 1310. The term “ars nova” applies to the music that followed, between the years c.1310 and 1377.
A yurt is a wood-framed dwelling that is used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. Although a yurt is a substantial structure, it is also extremely portable.
“Turkestan” is the name given over history to the place where the majority of Turkic peoples lived. The name “Turkestan” (sometimes “Turkistan”) translates from Persian as “Land of the Turks”.
37…Full moon, e.g…PHASE
The phases of the moon have been given the following names, in order:
- New moon
- Waxing crescent moon
- First quarter moon
- Waxing gibbous moon
- Full moon
- Waning gibbous moon
- Third quarter moon
- Waning crescent moon
- Dark moon
40…Felix __, CIA friend of Bond..LEITER
Felix Leiter is a character who appears in Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” series of novels. He is a good friend to Bond, and works for the CIA and later the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Leiter has been played by many actors on the big screen, perhaps most famously by Jack Lord, in the original movie “Dr. No” from 1962. Lord also played Steve McGarrett on the TV show “Hawaii Five-O”.
The Oglala are a subtribe of the Lakota Native American people.
42…Portrayer of Buddy’s father in “Elf”..CAAN
James Caan is an actor from The Bronx, New York City. He is noted for his appearances in some very big movies such as “The Godfather”, “Misery”, “A Bridge Too Far”, “Rollerball” and more recently “Elf”. Caan is quite the sportsman. He plays golf with an 8 handicap, and is a 6-Dan Black Belt Master of Gosoku Karate.
“Elf” is a comedy movie released for the 2003 Christmas season. “Elf” was directed by Jon Favreau and stars Will Ferrell in the title role with James Caan supporting. It’s all about one of Santa’s elves who finds out he is human and goes to meet his father in New York City.
44…Prince in “Frozen”..HANS
“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.
45…Wise chip flavor..BBQ
The Wise Potato Chip Company was founded in 1921 by Earl Wise, Sr.
In Spanish, uno (one) is a low “número” (number).
49…Actress in “Spy” (2015)..MIRANDA HART
Miranda Hart is a fabulous comedian and actress from England. Hart is probably best known on this side of the Atlantic for playing the very posh midwife named “Chummy”. She also appeared on the big screen as Melissa McCarthy’s sidekick in the 2015 comedy film “Spy”.
53…”Grown Ups” star..ADAM SANDLER
Adam Sandler’s big break was with “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). He then went on to make several successful movies and has his own movie and television production company. Personally, I am not a fan of Adam Sandler as a performer, nor of his movies …
“Grown Ups” is a 2010 comedy movie written by and starring Adam Sandler. The film revolves around five childhood friends who reunite after thirty years. Sandler plays one of the five, along with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider.
54…Loan application fig…SSN
Social Security number (SSN)
55…Al Jazeera and Yomiuri Shimbun..NEWS OUTLETS
Al Jazeera is an independent news service owned by the state of Qatar. Since 2006, Al Jazeera has been broadcasting an English language channel, hiring many top journalists from American news outlets. “Al jazeera” is Arabic for “the island”.
The “Yomiuri Shimbun” is one of five national daily newspapers in Japan. It was founded in 1874, and is said to have the largest circulation of any newspaper in the world.
1…1960s-’70s Orr teammate, to fans..ESPO
Phil “Espo” Esposito is a former professional hockey player who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers.
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) might work in an operating room (OR).
Apia is the capital city, and in fact the only city, of the Pacific island-nation of Samoa. The harbor of Apia is famous for a very foolish incident in 1889 involving seven naval vessels from Germany, the US and Britain. A typhoon was approaching so the safest thing to do was to head for open water away from land, but no nation would move its ships for fear of losing face in front of the others. Six of the ships were lost in the typhoon as a result and 200 American and German sailors perished. The British cruiser HMS Calliope barely managed to escape from the harbor and rode out the storm safely.
6…Suffering from ennui..IN A RUT
“Ennui” is the French word for boredom, a word that we now use in English. It’s one of the few French words we’ve imported that we haven’t anglicized and actually pronounce “correctly”.
7…”Either/Or” author Kierkegaard..SOREN
Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher and theologian, and I’ve never really understood anything that he wrote!
8…Muscles strengthened by muscle-ups..LATS
The muscles known as the “lats” are the latissimi dorsi, the broadest muscles in the back. “Latissimus” is the Latin for “broadest” and “dorsum” is Latin for “back”.
The “muscle-up” is a strength training exercise comprising a pull-up followed by a dip. I do muscle-ups all the time …
Aristotle Onassis was born to a successful Greek shipping entrepreneur in Smyrna in modern-day Turkey. However, his family lost its fortune during WWI and so Aristotle worked with his father to build up a new business empire centered on the importation of tobacco. In 1957, Aristotle founded the Greek national airline, what is today called Olympic Air, and he also got into the business of shipping oil around the world. He married Athina Livanos in 1946, the daughter of a wealthy shipping magnate. They couple had two children together, with one being the famous Christina Onassis. Livanos divorced Onassis on discovering him in bed with the opera singer Maria Callas. Onassis ended his affair with Callas in order to marry Jackie Kennedy in 1968.
10…Longtime Seattle Mariners’ majority owner..NINTENDO
The Seattle Mariners are one of only two Major League teams never to have appeared in a World Series. The other is the Washington Nationals. The Mariners are owned by the Nintendo Corporation of America, making them one of three Major League teams owned by businesses. The other two are the Atlanta Braves (owned by Liberty Media) and the Toronto Blue Jays (owned by Rogers Communications).
Jersey cattle were originally bred on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands, off the coast of France. If you’ve seen Elsie the Cow, the mascot of Borden in the US, then you’ve seen a Jersey cow.
22…Key to backing up?..ESC
The escape key (esc) was originally used to control computer peripherals. It was a key that allowed the computer operator to stop what the peripheral was doing (cancel a print job, for example). Nowadays the escape key is used for all sorts of things, especially in gaming programs.
25…Betty Crocker brand of instant mashed..POTATO BUDS
Betty Crocker was introduced by the Washburn Crosby Company (now part of General Mills) in 1921. “Crocker” was chosen in honor of William Crocker who was one of the company’s directors. “Betty” was selected simply because it was considered a bright, all-American name. Betty’s original job was to sign her name on correspondence arising out of consumer product questions, but soon she evolved into a very successful brand name.
Even though the term “aborigine” is often associated with the indigenous peoples of Australia, in the widest sense “aboriginal” refers to any indigenous race. The original Aborigines were a people in Roman mythology, the oldest inhabitants of central Italy.
Tasmania is the large island lying off the southeast coast of Australia. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to sail past the island, in 1642. Tasman named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after the Governor of the Dutch East Indies, Anthony van Dieman. The name was officially changed to Tasmania, after the discoverer himself, in 1856. In Australia a more familiar name used is “Tassie”.
27…Show biz nickname..TINSEL TOWN
“Tinsel Town” is a nickname for Hollywood.
Gelato (plural “gelati”) is the Italian version of American ice cream, differing in that it has a lower butterfat content than its US counterpart.
Pain along the inner edge of the tibia (shinbone) is referred to as “shin splints”. It is a common injury incurred by runners.
36…Every Skull and Bones member, until 1991..YALE MAN
Skull and Bones is a secret society at Yale University, founded in 1832. The society is well-funded, and even owns a 40-acre island in Upstate New York that members and alumni use as a retreat. Noted members of Skull and Bones included William F. Buckley, Jr., President Bush (both father and son) and Senator John Kerry. And President William Howard Taft was the son of one of the society’s founders. “Bones” was a male-only society right up until 1991, when alumni voted to accept female members.
A serf was a member of the lowest feudal class, someone attached to land owned by a lord. “Serf” comes from the Latin “servus”, meaning “slave”.
“Gat” is slang for “gun”. The term is derived from the Gatling gun, the precursor to the modern machine gun. The Gatling gun was invented by Dr. Richard J. Gatling in 1861. Apparently he was inspired to invent it so that one man could do as much damage as a hundred, thereby reducing the size of armies and diminishing the suffering caused by war. Go figure …
“Hood” is a slang term for “gangster”, a shortening of “hoodlum”.
A landau is a 4-wheeled, horse-drawn carriage. It was a quite sophisticated vehicle in its day, with metal springs for a comfortable ride, and the smaller version (a landaulet) had a top that could fold down. Landaus were so called as they were first produced in the German city of Landau.
44…Acting coach’s banes..HAMS
The word “ham”, describing a performer who overacts, is apparently a shortened form of “hamfatter” and dates back to the late 1800s. “Hamfatter” comes from a song in old minstrel shows called “The Ham-Fat Man”. It seems that a poorly performing actor was deemed to have the “acting” qualities of a minstrel made up in blackface.
46…Maverick on TV..BRET
“Maverick” is a TV series set in the Wild West and starring James Garner as Bret Maverick. Midway through the first series, Bret was given a brother called Bart, who was played by Jack Kelly. Once the brother’s character was introduced, Bart and Bret alternated as the lead character in each weekly episode. Both Mavericks were expert poker players who got themselves in and out of all sorts of trouble. After the third season, James Garner left the show and was replaced by actor Roger Moore who played a Maverick cousin called Beau. Still later, actor Robert Colbert was introduced as a third brother called Brent Maverick.
51…Med. number that’s better when it’s higher..HDL
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is a compound that is used to transport fats around the body. When HDL is combined with (i.e. is transporting) cholesterol, it is often called “good cholesterol”. This is because HDL seems to remove cholesterol from where it should not be, say on the walls of arteries, and transports it to the liver for reuse or disposal. Important stuff …