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  #41951  
Old 01-17-2019, 01:38 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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After the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory, Utah, the track built by the Union Pacific Railroad between there and Ogden, Utah was transferred to the Central Pacific, making Ogden the transfer point. The stretch of the Transcontinental Railroad between Ogden and Cheyenne, Wyoming, which was built to support another UP railyard, crossed the Great Divide, and had extra locomotive assigned to it to handle the track grade and the thin air.
  #41952  
Old 01-17-2019, 02:02 PM
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The title for steepest main-line rail track grade in the United States long rested with Norfolk Southern for its 4.7-percent grade south of Saluda, N.C. With the closing of the Saluda track in 2002, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) 3.3-percent Raton Pass grade in New Mexico became the steepest main-line grade in North America.
  #41953  
Old 01-17-2019, 02:10 PM
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The Duke of Norfolk is the premier duke in the Peerage of England. The dukedom was first established in 1397 when it was bestowed by King Richard II on Thomas Mowbray. The dukes have historically been Catholic, unlike most English dukes, who are members of the Church of England.
  #41954  
Old 01-17-2019, 02:37 PM
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The British Monarch holds the title of the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The authority is mostly ceremonial, although the Supreme Governor formally appoints high-ranking members of the church. This is done on the advice of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who is in turn advised by church leaders.
  #41955  
Old 01-18-2019, 09:37 AM
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In the fictional universe of Star Trek, the Prime Directive is a guiding principle of Starfleet, prohibiting its members from interfering with the internal and natural development of alien civilizations. The Prime Directive applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of technological, scientific and cultural development; preventing starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them.
  #41956  
Old 01-18-2019, 11:52 AM
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The British Prime Minister also always holds the title of First Lord of the Treasury and is a member of the Privy Council. The current Prime Minister, Theresa May, a Conservative, just this week survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons over what many see as her poor handling of the Brexit controversy.
  #41957  
Old 01-18-2019, 01:33 PM
ElvisL1ves ElvisL1ves is offline
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In Australia and New Zealand, an outdoor toilet is known as a "dunny". "Privy", an archaic variant of "private", is used in North America, Scotland, and northern England. "Bog" is common throughout Britain (used to coin the neologism "tree bog"). The name "little house" (as ty bach) continues as a euphemism for any toilet in both the Welsh language and the Welsh English dialect. Other terms include "back house", "house of ease", and "house of office". The last was common in 17th-century England and appeared in Samuel Pepys's Diary on numerous occasions.
  #41958  
Old 01-18-2019, 03:06 PM
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One early term for an outdoor privy was "jakes". In Shakespeare's King Lear, the Earl of Kent, angry at Oswald, insults him: "I will tread this unbolted villain into mortar, and daub the walls of a jakes with him."
  #41959  
Old 01-18-2019, 03:17 PM
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The excavated area under a privy was commonly called a cesspit; in England, it was sometimes known as a 'gong'. When the pit would fill with solid waste, it would need to be emptied by hand. This was a job commonly performed by individuals known as 'gong farmers'.

Unsurprisingly, gong farmers were exceptionally well-paid, sometimes earning in a day what most laborers earned in a week. They also could keep any valuables that might be found while cleaning the pits.

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  #41960  
Old 01-18-2019, 03:22 PM
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A mudlark was a person who would search the muddy shores of the River Thames at low tide for anything that could be sold; and sometimes, when occasion arose, pilfering from river traffic. More recently, metal-detectorists and other individuals searching the foreshore for historic artefacts have described themselves as "mudlarks". In London, a license is required from the Port of London Authority for this activity and it is illegal to search for or remove artefacts of any kind from the foreshore without one.

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 01-18-2019 at 03:22 PM.
  #41961  
Old 01-18-2019, 03:43 PM
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The Thames Barrier prevents the floodplain of most of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. When needed, it is raised during high tide; at low tide it can be opened to restore the river's flow towards the sea. Operational since 1984, it has been used 183 times as of 2017 and has survived 15 boat collisions without serious damage.
  #41962  
Old 01-18-2019, 05:24 PM
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A major rise of the Thames in 1965 flooded British government records archives in London, resulting in the ruination and loss of tens of thousands of documents. For many years, "lost in the flood of '65" was a common response of civil servants - whether or not truthful - to requests for public documents in Great Britain.
  #41963  
Old 01-18-2019, 11:25 PM
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Trivia Dominoes: Play Off the Last Bit of Trivia

The name "London" is an etymological mystery. The best explanation appears to be that it is derived from an early British Celtic term, possibly something along the lines of "Londonjon", which appears to have turned into "Londinium" in Latin, and then gradually evolved into "London".

Nor is it clear where the "r" came from in many of the versions of "London" in romance languages, such as "Londres" in French.

Last edited by Northern Piper; 01-18-2019 at 11:26 PM.
  #41964  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:52 AM
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William the Conqueror constructed the Tower of London, the first of the many Norman castles in England to be rebuilt in stone, in the southeastern corner of London, to intimidate the native inhabitants.
  #41965  
Old 01-19-2019, 10:22 AM
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Legend has it that "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it." To prevent this, a captive group (usually six) ravens are kept permanently in the Tower.
  #41966  
Old 01-19-2019, 11:42 AM
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The Baltimore Ravens NFL franchise was established in 1995, when then-owner Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns franchise to Baltimore. (Baltimore's original NFL team, the Colts, moved to Indianapolis in 1984.)

The name "Ravens" was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven. Poe spent part of his early career in Baltimore and is buried there. The name was chosen by fans in a phone-in poll; the two names that finished second and third in the poll were the Americans and the Marauders.

Last edited by Railer13; 01-19-2019 at 11:43 AM.
  #41967  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:00 PM
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The Cleveland Browns are the only NFL team which does not wear a team logo on their helmets.
  #41968  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:19 PM
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The Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion occurred on the afternoon of Friday, October 20, 1944. The resulting gas leak, explosion and fires killed 130 people and destroyed a one square mile area on Cleveland, Ohio's east side. This event plays a major role in Don Robertson's novel The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread.
  #41969  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:22 PM
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The Black Tom explosion on July 30, 1916, in Jersey City, New Jersey, was an act of sabotage by German agents to destroy American-made munitions that were to be supplied to the Allies in World War I. This incident, which happened prior to American entry into World War I, is also notable for causing damage to the Statue of Liberty. The term "Black Tom" originally referred to an island in New York Harbor next to Liberty Island. The island was artificial, created by landfill around "black tom" rock, a local hazard to navigation.

Last edited by ElvisL1ves; 01-19-2019 at 12:24 PM.
  #41970  
Old 01-19-2019, 04:23 PM
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In the 1981 John Carpenter near-future sf thriller Escape from New York, the Statue of Liberty has been turned into a fortress and observation post for the U.S. Police Force, which oversees the prison into which all of Manhattan Island has been transformed.
  #41971  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:50 PM
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The escape in the film is that of the President of the United States, who drops into New York in an escape pod from a hijacked Air Force One, which crashes soon after. The concept was used again in the Harrison Ford film Air Force One, although the actual airplane does not have an escape pod, or a parachute deck, either.

The screenwriters might have been inspired by a pressurized pod made for the comfort of Prime Minister Winston Churchill for his Avro York transport, although he never used it.
  #41972  
Old 01-19-2019, 06:25 PM
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Pianist George Winston is best known for a series of "rural folk piano" piano albums he recorded in the 1980s for Windham Hill Records, including "Autumn," "Winter Into Spring," and "December." Winston plays in other musical styles, as well, including stride piano and New Orleans R&B piano. He has recorded two albums of songs composed by Vince Guaraldi, as well as an album of piano versions of songs by The Doors.

Winston is also known for dressing very informally while performing -- he doesn't wear shoes while performing (playing in stocking feet), and would often perform in a flannel shirt and jeans.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-19-2019 at 06:27 PM.
  #41973  
Old 01-19-2019, 09:28 PM
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Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, has been played in film and TV adaptations by a variety of actors, including Edmond O'Brien, Eddie Albert, Peter Cushing and John Hurt. In radio productions, David Niven, Richard Widmark and Christopher Eccleston have played the role. An opera version starred baritone Simon Keenlyside.
  #41974  
Old 01-19-2019, 10:01 PM
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Eccleston Square Hotel is an independently owned boutique hotel located in Pimlico, London and is known for its technology features provided to guests. It has been referred to as Europe's most high-tech hotel and has been featured as one of Five Hotels With Top-Notch Technology by Forbes Magazine.
  #41975  
Old 01-20-2019, 11:47 AM
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Pimlico Race Course is a horse-racing track in Baltimore, Maryland. The course is likely best-known for being the host of the annual Preakness Stakes on the third Saturday in May; the race is the second of three races which comprise the Triple Crown.

The track takes its name from its location; in the 17th century, English settlers named the area after Olde Ben Pimlico's Tavern in London.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 01-20-2019 at 11:48 AM.
  #41976  
Old 01-20-2019, 12:24 PM
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In 2018, Justify became the 13th horse to win all 3 races that comprise the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes). There are 23 horses that have won the first two legs, but failed to win the Belmont. The last of these was California Chrome in 2014, who finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes.
  #41977  
Old 01-20-2019, 05:45 PM
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Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was a Deputy United States Marshal for the District of Kentucky, of which he was a native son, in the TV series Justified, based on the works of Elmore Leonard.
  #41978  
Old 01-20-2019, 06:53 PM
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Timothy Olyphant portrayed real life sheriff Seth Bullock in Deadwood, the best cocksocking western series ever made.
  #41979  
Old 01-20-2019, 07:33 PM
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In spite of the resemblance to the word "elephant", the Anglo-Scottish name "Olyphant" or "Oliphant" is believed to have come from the Normans, referring to an olive branch.
  #41980  
Old 01-20-2019, 11:06 PM
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Pat Oliphant is an Australian-born American best known for his political cartoons, which he drew for nearly 60 years until his retirement in 2016. Early in his career, Oliphant began to include a small penguin in almost every one of his political cartoons, who he named Punk. Punk adds a second layer of commentary to the subject of the panel. He is often placed in conversation with another tiny figure.
  #41981  
Old 01-21-2019, 06:36 AM
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Olifant (an alternate spelling of the word elephant) was the name applied in the Middle Ages to ivory hunting horns made from elephants' tusks. One of the most famous olifants belonged to the legendary Frankish knight Roland, protagonist of The Song of Roland.

In The Song of Roland, Roland carries his olifant while serving on the rearguard of Charlemagne's army. When they are attacked at the Battle of Roncevaux, Oliver tells Roland to use it to call for aid, but he refuses. Roland finally relents, but the battle is already lost. He tries to destroy the olifant along with his sword Durendal, lest they fall into enemy hands. In the end, Roland blows the horn, but the force required bursts his temple, resulting in death. The Karlamagnussaga elaborates (V. c.XIV) that Roland's olifant was a unicorn's horn, hunted in India.
  #41982  
Old 01-21-2019, 02:07 PM
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Roland Deschain, a spiritual if not literal descendant of the great Frankish knight Roland, is the protagonist of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Idris Elba portrayed Roland in the widely-panned 2017 film, also called The Dark Tower.
  #41983  
Old 01-21-2019, 02:23 PM
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The Dark Tower series originally consisted of 7 novels. The first of these novels was released in 1982; the last two were both released in 2004. An 8th novel (which takes place between #4 and #5 of the original series) was released in 2012. The eight novels comprise 4,250 pages.
  #41984  
Old 01-21-2019, 03:21 PM
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The sf noir detective film Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, was first released in 1982. It is set in November 2019. Scott and others have tweaked the movie several times; there are, by Wikipedia's count, seven different versions of it.
  #41985  
Old 01-21-2019, 08:15 PM
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While developing the Vampire movie Blade, based on a Marvel Comics character, the executives of New Line Cinema felt there were only three actors who could possibly do the role: Wesley Snipes, Denzel Washington and Laurence Fishburne. While Snipes got the role, Fishburne has appeared in two Marvel movies, voicing the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer , and as Dr. Bill Foster in Ant-Man and The Wasp (2018).

Last edited by The Stainless Steel Rat; 01-21-2019 at 08:16 PM.
  #41986  
Old 01-21-2019, 08:37 PM
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In 2008, Wesley Snipes was convicted on three misdemeanour counts of failing to file tax returns, in a prosecution instituted by the IRS. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison. Prosecutors alleged Snipes was using a tax evasion technique associated with Sovereign Citizens / Freemen on the Land. Snipes appealed to the Circuit Court, which dismissed his appeal. The Supreme Court denied his application for certiorari.

Previous thread: "Those federal blood-suckers took down Blade!"

https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb...php?p=13891878
  #41987  
Old 01-21-2019, 09:44 PM
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In On the Banks of Plum Creek, the third of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, the Ingalls girls are jeered at on their first day of school because of their rustic appearance. They have bare legs and no stockings and their dresses are shabby and too short, showing that the family is too poor to afford more fabric. The other children compare them to awkward birds, yelling insultingly “Snipes! Snipes! Long-legged snipes!” until another girl stops them, while Nellie Oleson derisively calls them “country girls.”

Last edited by gkster; 01-21-2019 at 09:49 PM.
  #41988  
Old Yesterday, 10:20 AM
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Plum Creek is located in Redwood County, Minnesota, near the town of Walnut Grove. Although the Ingalls girls presumably went to school in that town, its name is not mentioned in the book.
  #41989  
Old Yesterday, 10:24 AM
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The Ingalls Building, built in 1903 in Cincinnati, Ohio, is the world's first reinforced concrete skyscraper. The 16-story building was designed by the Cincinnati architectural firm Elzner & Anderson and was named for its primary financial investor, Melville E. Ingalls. The building was considered a daring engineering feat at the time, but its success contributed to the acceptance of concrete construction in high-rise buildings in the United States.

The Ingalls building is bordered by East 4th Street and Vine Street in the Cincinnati Central Business District.
  #41990  
Old Yesterday, 10:27 AM
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"Plum" as in "plum crazy" has nothing to do with the fruit. It was originally the British word "plumb" and meant "completely, utterly."
  #41991  
Old Yesterday, 12:33 PM
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The name plumber, of whom some doubtless are both plum crazy and live in Cincinnati, comes from the Latin plumbum, or lead, the standard material for Roman pipes. Although the material is no longer used in the trade, the name persists.
  #41992  
Old Yesterday, 01:43 PM
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Well played. ElvisL1ves...

In play:

A Roman candle is a traditional type of firework that ejects one or more stars or exploding shells. Despite their name, Roman candles did not originate in Ancient Rome, or in Italy. Rather, they originated in China, but first became popular in Western culture during the Italian Renaissance.
  #41993  
Old Yesterday, 03:22 PM
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There were recurring proposals for a sequel to the hit 1953 romantic comedy Roman Holiday, to which costars Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn were said to be receptive, but one was never made.
  #41994  
Old Yesterday, 04:31 PM
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In the 1977 movie MacArthur, Gregory Peck played the role of United States General Douglas MacArthur. In the 1978 film The Boys from Brazil, Peck starred as the Nazi SS physician (and later war criminal) Josef Mengele.
  #41995  
Old Yesterday, 09:03 PM
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When he was just 18 years old, Arthur MacArthur Jr. displayed such valor at the Civil War Battle of Missionary Ridge in 1863 that he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Although nominated twice before, his son, Douglas MacArthur, did not receive the same accolade until 1942 for his service in defense of the Philippines during World War II, this becoming the first Father-Son combination to win the Medal of Honor (Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2001, equaling his son's award during WWII).
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