Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
1…”Star Wars” High Council member..JEDI MASTER
In the “Star Wars” universe, the members of the Jedi Order progress through six ranks:
- Jedi Youngling
- Jedi Padawan
- Jedi Knight
- Jedi Master
- Jedi Master of the High Council
- Jedi Grand Master of the Order
An escritoire (from the French “écritoire”, meaning “writing case”) is a writing desk, often a portable unit that is a little larger than a “lap desk”.
17…Where the Walking Piano scene in “Big” was filmed..FAO SCHWARZ
FAO Schwarz is perhaps the most famous, and is certainly the oldest, toy store in the United States. The FAO Schwarz outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York City closed in 2015. This store was famously used in several Hollywood movies. For example, it was home to the Walking Piano that Tom Hanks played in the movie “Big”.
18…Toy since ancient times..PEKE
The pekingese breed originated in China, as one might suspect from the name. Breeding practices have resulted in the the dog having many health problems, including breathing issues related to the “desirable” flat face. Standards have been changed in recent years, demanding an “evident muzzle” in an attempt to breed healthier dogs.
ZzzQuil, Benadryl, Unisom and Sominex are all brand names for the antihistamine diphenhydramine, which also has sedative properties.
25…Spanish uncle?..NO MAS!
“No mas!” translates from Spanish as “no more!”.
To “say uncle” is an American expression meaning to submit or yield. Its usage dates back to the early 1900s, but nobody seems to know how “uncle!” came to mean “stop!”
26…Action toys since 1964..GI JOES
G.I. Joe was the original “action figure”, the first toy to carry that description. G.I. Joe first hit the shelves in 1964. There have been a few movies based on the G.I. Joe figure, but, more famous than all of them I would say is the 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore in the title role. I thought that “G.I. Jane” had some potential, to be honest, but it really did not deliver in the end.
To discombobulate is to faze, disconcert, to confuse.
The New York dialect of English is sometimes called Brooklynese, I believe. In Brooklynese, we might take “dis”, “dat”, “dese” or “dose”.
43…Many a single..LINE DRIVE
In baseball, a line drive is a ball that is hit low, hard and straight.
45…Ds, in the key of C..RES
The solfa syllables are: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la & ti.
46…Sum is a form of it..ESSE
“Esse” is the Latin for “to be”. “Sum” means “I am” and “erat” means “he, she was”.
The “opposite” of an acid is a base. Acids turn litmus paper red, and bases turn it blue. Acids and bases react with each other to form salts. An important subset of the chemicals called bases are the alkalis, the hydroxides of the alkali metals and of ammonium. The term “alkali” is sometimes used interchangeably with “base”, especially if that base is readily soluble in water.
Off-Track Betting (OTB) is the legal gambling that takes place on horse races outside of a race track. A betting parlor can be referred to as an OTB.
The ibis is a wading bird that was revered in ancient Egypt. “Ibis” is an interesting word grammatically speaking. You can have one “ibis” or two “ibises”, and then again one has a flock of “ibis”. And if you want to go with the classical plural, instead of two “ibises” you would have two “ibides”!
60…Homeric island dweller..LOTUS-EATER
The lotus-eaters were a race of people that featured in Greek mythology. The lotus flowers and fruits that were consumed were supposedly narcotic and addictive, and so the lotus-eaters enjoyed a life largely asleep in peaceful apathy.
“Tyke” has been used playfully to describe a young child since at least 1902, but for centuries before that a tyke was a cur or mongrel, or perhaps a lazy or lower-class man.
1…Buckley who covered Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”..JEFF
I’ve never been a big fan of the music of Canadian singer Leonard Cohen (don’t all yell at me at the same time!). That said, his 1984 song “Hallelujah” is superb, particularly the version recorded by Jeff Buckley in 1994.
2…Son of Rebecca..ESAU
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, the founder of the Israelites. When their mother Rebekah gave birth to the twins “the first emerged red and hairy all over (Esau), with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out (Jacob)”. As Esau was the first born, he was entitled to inherit his father’s wealth (it was his “birthright”). Instead, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for the price of a “mess of pottage” (a meal of lentils).
“d-Con” is a line of rodent control products that has been around for over 50 years.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
5…Most popular boy’s name in 44 of the last 100 years..MICHAEL
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a list of the 1,000 most common baby names for the prior year annually, just before Mother’s Day. The list is compiled using applications for Social Security cards. The most popular names for 1915-2014 for males are (in order): James, John, Robert, Michael and William. The most popular female names are: Mary, Patricia, Jennifer, Elizabeth and Linda.
6…Foxhole absentees, so it’s said..ATHEISTS
The phrase “There are no atheists in foxholes” is meant to convey the idea that in times of extreme fear, all people will believe in a higher power, no one is an atheist.
A foxhole, as one might expect, is another name for a fox’s den. Starting in WWI the term was used to describe a shallow pit dug by a soldier to provide quick-and-dirty protection from gunfire.
Tia Maria is a coffee liqueur that was invented just after WWII in Jamaica, using Jamaican coffee beans, Jamaican rum, vanilla and sugar. The drink’s name translates to “Aunt Maria”.
11…Absent-minded A.A. Milne title character..MR PIM
A. A. Milne (of “Winnie-the-Pooh” fame) wrote a play called “Mr. Pim Passes By” in 1919. The play was a big hit and starred Leslie Howard in the original London production.
12…”The Accidental Tourist” Oscar winner..GEENA DAVIS
As well as being a successful Hollywood actress, Geena Davis is an accomplished archer and came close to qualifying for the US archery team for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Davis is also a member of American Mensa. She is quite the lady …
“The Accidental Tourist” is a novel by Anne Tyler, first published in 1985. The book was famously adapted into a 1988 movie starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Geena Davis (who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance).
Moas were flightless birds native to New Zealand that are now extinct. The fate of the Moa is a great example of the detrimental effect that humans can have on animal populations. The Maoris arrived in New Zealand about 1300 AD, upsetting the balance of the ecosystem. The Moa were hunted to extinction within 200 years, which had the knock-on effect of killing off the Haast’s Eagle, the Moa’s only predator prior to the arrival of man. Moas were huge creatures, measuring up to 12 feet tall with their necks stretched upwards.
23…Seven-time All-Star third baseman Scott __..ROLEN
Scott Rolen is a former Major League Baseball player who won the Gold Glove eight times. Rolen played for the Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Reds.
26…The sun, for one..G STAR
Stars are usually classified based on the color of the light that they emit. These classifications are, from hottest to coolest, O, B, A, F, G, K and M. One way to remember the order of these letters is to use the mnemonic “Oh, be a fine girl, kiss me”. The colors of these stars range from blue (class O) to red (class M). Our sun is class G, a yellow star, but I think we all know that …
27…Classic film words of self-revelation..I’M A REAL BOY!
In the 1940 movie “Pinocchio”, the title character changes from a puppet into a human and declares “I’m a real boy!”
28…TV hero who famously kissed 52-Down..JAMES T KIRK
Lt. Nyota Uhura is the communications officer in the original “Star Trek” television series, played by Nichelle Nichols. The role is significant in that Uhura was one of the first African American characters to figure front and center in US television. In a 1968 episode, Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Uhura kiss, the first inter-racial kiss to be broadcast in the US. Apparently the scene was meant to be shot twice, with and without the kiss, so that network executives could later decide which version to air. William Shatner says that he deliberately ran long on the first shoot (with the kiss) and fluffed the hurried second shoot (without the kiss), so that the network would have no choice.
Telex grew out of the world of the telegraph. What Telex brought to telegraphy was the ability to route messages. Instead of having to talk to an operator to route a particular message to the intended party, the user of a telex could route the message directly to another telex machine by way of a rotary dial, very similar to that on a telephone.
36…”__ at End House”: Christie mystery..PERIL
“Peril at End House” is a 1932 detective novel by Agatha Christie that features the Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot.
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist of all time, having sold about 4 billion copies worldwide in total. The only books to have sold in higher volume are the works of William Shakespeare and the Bible.
42…Color on San Jose Shark uniforms..TEAL
The San Jose Sharks hockey team play their home games at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, a venue that we locals call “the Shark Tank”.
“Count” Basie’s real given name was “William”. Count Basie perhaps picked up his love for the piano from his mother, who played and gave him his first lessons. Basie’s first paying job as a musician was in a movie theater, where he learned to improvise a suitable accompaniment for the silent movies that were being shown. Basie was given the nickname “Count” as he became lauded as one of the so-called “Jazz royalty”. Others so honored are Nat “King” Cole and Duke Ellington.
54…NYC gallery district..SOHO
The Manhattan neighborhood known today as SoHo was very fashionable in the early 1900s, but as the well-heeled started to move uptown the area became very run down and poorly maintained. Noted for the number of fires that erupted in derelict buildings, SoHo earned the nickname “Hell’s Hundred Acres”. The area was then zoned for manufacturing and became home to many sweatshops. In the mid-1900s artists started to move into open loft spaces and renovating old buildings as the lofts were ideal locations in which an artist could both live and work. In 1968, artists and others organized themselves so that they could legalize their residential use of an area zoned for manufacturing. The group they formed took its name from the name given to the area by the city’s Planning Commission i.e “South of Houston”. This was shortened from So-uth of Ho-uston to SoHo as in the SoHo Artists Association, and the name stuck.
The Otoe (also Oto) Native American tribe originated in the Great Lakes region as part of the Winnebago or Siouan tribes. The group that would become the Otoe broke away from the Winnebago and migrated southwestwards ending up in the Great Plains. In the plains the Otoe adopted a semi-nomadic lifestyle dependent on the horse, with the American bison becoming central to their diet.
58…Fictional rabbit’s title..BR’ER
Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox are characters in the Uncle Remus stories, written by Joel Chandler Harris. The Uncle Remus stories are adaptations of African American folktales that Harris collected across the Southern States. “Br’er” is an abbreviated form of “brother”.
62…Pulitzer poet Lowell..AMY
Amy Lowell was an American poet, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926 for the collection of her poems called “What’s O’Clock”.