Small Australian marsupial. It’s three feet long. Grazing herbivore, eating grasses and roots. There are three species. They borrow. And they have a unique variation in their pouch… since they dig with their front legs their pouch faces towards their back legs. It’s backwards.
As a marsupial they have very short gestation periods. Only about three weeks.
Their poop comes out in cubes. They look like giant bouillon cubes.
Developed in 1953 in Fairfield, CT. They fiercely defend their patent. A true waffle ball curves because of the way that air passes through 8 holes.
There are national championships. Check out www.goldenstickwiffle.com
There are also extravagant wiffle ball fields. In Essex VT they have built a one quarter scale Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. www.littlefenway.com has helped raise over $2 million for a wide variety of charities.
Rick Messina is an agent for some very big name comedians. He has spent over $700,000 building an immense structure with two WIFFLE Ball fields and even bought the house next door and filled in the pool. His complex is called Strawberry Field.
Walla Walla, WA
Washington State is a land of strange and unexpected names in the Pacific NorthWest. Home to the wettest place in the US – in the Olympic Mountains and high arid desert in the eastern half of the state.
Washington is the only state named for a US president.
Washington is the second most populous state in the US West. 60% of that population lives along the coast of Puget Sound in the Seattle Tacoma area.
Spokane (spelled Spock Cain but pronounced Spo can) is the second most populous city and it’s all the way across the state… practically in Idaho. Spokane is named for a tribe that met with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804.
Most of the northern border of Washington state runs along the 49th parallel… until you get to the coast where Puget Sound opens into the Pacific. There you will find the San Juan Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca – named for a Greek navigator who reportedly sailed for Spain in 1592 and the Strait of Georgia (named for King George III by George Vancouver). Vancouver Island pushes down below the 49th.
Having said that … Vancouver, WA is along the southern border, practically in Oregon on the outskirts of Portland. Vancouver, WA is the fourth largest city in Washington AND 29 years older than Vancouver, BC.
Which brings us to the place so nice they named it twice… (actual slogan) of Walla Walla, Washington. Named for the local native tribe. In Southeast, Washington just 13 miles from Oregon. A city of just 32,000, it’s the largest city and county seat of Walla Walla county.
Walla Walla grows a celebrated variation of sweet onion. They also have a significant number of wineries. Adam West and Drew Bledsoe grew up in Walla Walla.
Ready for the Questions?
1) How many other states – beside Washington – allow Same Sex Marriage, Assisted Suicide and the recreational use of cannabis?
2) Which US state, which is named for a valley in Pennsylvania, is the leading coal producing state in the US?
3) William Henry Harrison was a three term Congressman from Wyoming. His great-great-grandfather was President William Henry Harrison. Although only surviving a month in office, Harrison was the oldest man to be President until what former Governor was sworn in (on January 4th, 1981)?
4) Reagan was President when the Weather Channel was founded in 1982. Which of the following is the best time to catch a local forecast on the Weather Channel? 7:28, 11:22, 12:15, 3:01
7:28- Weather on the 8s.
5) This winter was the first year that the Weather Channel started naming storms. No coincidence. This winter the city of Worcester, MA received over 100 inches of snow making it the most snowed on city in the US. Which of these statements is NOT true about Worcester? Second largest city in New England (181,000), Home to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence (July 14th – Isaiah Thomas Worcester Spy), Birthplace of astronaut Neil Armstrong, home to the “Have a Nice Day” Smiley Face of 1963 – Created for Hanover Insurance – now State Mutual
Neil Armstrong was born in the town of Wapakoneta, Ohio.
6) Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout – like 11 of the 12 original astronauts. I cannot confirm if he was a Cub Scout. What were the three “rank” awards earned by Cub Scouts before they become WeBeLos?
Wolf, Bear, Lion. Lion has been dropped – now its Bobcat, Wolf, Bear – then two years as a Webelo. We’ll Be Loyal Scouts.
7) For 10 years – until his death in 2012 – Neil Armstrong was the only living American ever depicted on a piece of US currency. The Ohio State Quarter has Armstrong – in his space suit and the Wright Flyer. The Wrights were from Dayton, OH. They also appear on the reverse of what other state quarter?
North Carolina. It’s Wilbur you can see on that coin. He won a coin toss to be first… but he crashed. So when they flew the second flight Orville was at the controls and Wilbur was immortalized running alongside. They first flew from Kill Devil Hills (not Kitty Hawk)
8) Where is the Wright Flyer on display? You can see it for free… if you are in DC.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. They are required not to suggest that any other person pre-dated the Wright’s flight of 1903.
9) The Air and Space Museum is a popular attraction of the Smithsonian but which museum has had the most visitors in its current building? American History, Natural History, Postal Museum
Museum of Natural History built in 1910.
10)At the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the largest of its type anywhere on earth, which of these animals would NOT be a part of a display of North American animals? Warthog, Walrus, Wolf
Warthogs are omnivores of the Sub-Saharan Africa.
11)Washington State is the second biggest US producer of which of these products, also grown and produced in South Africa? Fresh Raspberries (90%), Hops for beer production (75%), Apples for juice (73%), Grapes for Wine
Washington State is the second largest producer of wine after California – First in all the others.
Translates as a diminutive of water … from the Slovak languages. Originally the word was used to describe a medicine or a chemical cleaner that was concentrated and needed to be watered down to be applied. Later vodka was an ingredient on many medicines.
Early vodka’s were made in the 8th and 9th Centuries and about 300 years later commercial distilleries were made.
Earliest vodka’s were made using simple natural fermentation and were about 28 proof. Modern vodka is typically 80 proof with some variation. It is sold in Poland as high as 192 proof. In fact, many American vodkas are made from Archer Daniel Midlands’ 190 proof ethanol stock that is watered down and flavored.
Today Vodka is made generally from fermented grains that are distilled and or filtered to remove non-alcohol chemicals that add off tastes AND are believed to contribute to hangovers. Sorghum, corn, rye and wheat are common sources of ethanol. Some are made with potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grapes, molasses, rice and even oil refining by-products.
Using fruits and herbs to flavor vodka is centuries old in Scandinavia. I am not 100% sold on the savoriest of vodkas … Bacon vodka – sold as Bakon by Black Rock Spirits in Seattle.
Also not sold on Vegemite.
The Australian staple is a version of Marmite which is made from an extract of used brewer’s yeast.
A vegemite sandwich is buttered bread with this earthy, salty, malty, umami-rich spread.
Did I say it was salty? Its 8.6% salt.
President Obama described it as ‘horrible” in March of 2011 while at an appearance with the Australian Prime Minister. It’s vegetarian. It’s Halal. It’s technically Kosher.
Kraft makes 10 million jars a year in Port Melbourne. They’ve made a Billion since 1926. They have tried adding it to a number of products to make it more palatable. None have succeeded.
The Green Mountain State is actually a contraction of Green mountain in French-- Verte Mont.
Second least populous state – only 626,000 call Vermont home. And many stay there.
Although our 14th state… it has existed since 1777. Not admitted as a state by New York … who kind of hoped that it would be part of their state. Lake Champlain forms more than half the border between New York and Vermont.
It also declared Independence in 1776 and existed as the Vermont Republic for 14 years. They abolished slavery while a Republic. The first North American nation or state to do so.
But that whole time its chief executive was … a governor. Making Montpelier one of the few cities that have been both a country’s capital and a state capital (Also Austin, Richmond and Honolulu).
Vermont’s state Capital city is Montpelier – named for a city in Southwestern France. It is the least populated state capital city with only 7,855 residents. It is also the only state capital without a McDonald’s. Montpelier in France has at least two.
Tiny St Albans Vermont was the site of the northernmost raid of the Confederacy. 22 cavalry troops snuck into the northern timber town and robbed all three banks of over $200,000.
Burlington is the largest city in Vermont and at a population of just over 42,000 it’s the least populated largest city in the US.
Ready for the Questions?
1) Starting June 7th, what oldest surviving airline will start thrice weekly service from Burlington to Atlanta… its hub and headquarters?
2) You can fly Delta to what country that is home to the PARENT company of CAR MAKER Volvo? Its CEO is Hakkan Samelssen, its Chairman is Li Shufu. Founded in Sweden in 1926. Ford Owned Volvo until 2010 when they sold it to Zhejiang Geely Holding Company.
3) Volvo is from the Latin for I Roll. Volkswagen means “People’s car” in German. Originally designed by Ferdinand Porsche, Volkswagen used slave labor during the Second World War. What three models of Volkswagen make the Top 10 best selling cars list?
Beetle, Golf (Gulf Stream), Passat (Trade Wind)
4) The Golf (Car and Driver’s Car of the Year 2013) is the best selling VW nameplate EVER. The Golf was also sold under what name in the US, that can be considered venison – from its original definition?
VW Rabbit. Originally Venison meant anything hunted.
5) Similarly Velcro was originally named for a product that didn’t work. Velours (velvet) and Crochet (hooks). The original Velcro design was made of cotton and did not work, nylon has been much more effective. Velcro was originally patented in what European country?
6) Also headquartered in Switzerland, Victorinox was created in 1884 and named for the dear mother of the founder… Victoria. What iconic device does Victorinox create 10 million of a year, many for the 3 million strong Swiss Army.
Knives (also bayonets, multitools (like a Leatherman ®) and household knives.
7) A household knife would be used to cut up what official state vegetable of Georgia… there is no crying in trivia.
Vidalia Onion. The town of Vidalia was named for the daughter of the town’s founder.
8) What planet is named for Roman version of the “daughter” of Uranus in Greek mythology. In the Greek story Aphrodite was born from the sea foam created when Cronus literally emasculated Uranus.
9) This is almost entirely dissimilar to vasectomy. First performed on a human in 1899, it was considered illegal until 2001 in what country?
France- it was considered a violation of the anti-mutilation portion of the Napoleonic Code. It is also a violation of Sharia law and illegal in Indonesia until 2012.
10)What US states have state Capitals from French names?
Baton Rouge, Des Moines, Juneau, Pierre and Montpelier
11)But only two of these are in US states named in French.
Louisiana and Vermont
Also known as Ayer’s Rock .. officially. In 1993 the now World Heritage site was named Ayer’s Rock/Uluru. Uluru is the name given to the area by the Aboriginal peoples of the central desert of Australia.
This 1,142 foot tall sandstone prominence simply rises from desert. Hundreds of Millions of years ago … this was an alluvial plan… sand from mountains a dozen miles away settled in a river basin. It eventually dried and hardened into stone and then was forced onto its side.
Uluru is almost half feldspar and walking around the base is a 6 mile journey.
Hot in the summer – Average January highs 101.5 – AVERAGE! Because it’s the desert average lows in January are 73 degrees. In winter expect highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s.
Uluru takes about an hour to climb. But the local Aboriginals, the Anangu, request that you do not since they hold the area sacred.
The fifth flavor – Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty
Umami is considered a savory taste that is separate from the others including saltiness. Fish, shellfish, mushrooms, Green tea and Aged foods are considered high in Umami elements.
Discovered by German Chemist and physicist Johann Ritter (no relation to John) in 1801. Ultraviolet light exists just outside the human visible spectrum. Ritter expanded his work with “heat waves” now known as Infrared to the shorter wavelength end of the spectrum.
There are three main forms of UV light. UVa UVb and UVc. UVa is closest to visible spectrum and is used in Black lights.
Black lights often appear purple or blue …this is known as BLB or Black Light Blue. This is achieved by filtering out MOST of the visible spectrum and just leaving the closest wavelengths to Ultraviolet. 400- 315 nanometers in length. 4/10 millionths of a meter. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
UVa is mostly harmless and without benefit physically. Although it is used in bug zappers. Almost all UVa radiation reaches the earth through the Ozone and atmospheric dioxygen.
UVb is another story. Wavelengths between 315 and 280 nanometers are considered midrange. Most of these are blocked by the ozone but not all. And that is REALLY good. UVb rays allow the human body to create Vitamin D which has a number of positive effects including increased calcium metabolism (creating stronger denser bones), insulin secretion, immune system health and a recent study suggests lower blood pressure.
UVb rays are also used to treat chronic psoriasis and vitiligo (Veh tig Lay go).
Vitamin D production also plays a role in herpetology. Its why you need to have a black light in your lizard cage.
BUT --- UVb are also the part of the equation that leads to skin cancer. Since it’s these same waves that cause tanning –whether from natural sunlight or UV tanning lights – the balance between healthy and unhealthy is a tightrope.
Skin cancer rates have dramatically increased in the last have century but scientists point out that campaigns about early detection are probably behind that increase coupled with a post Second World War tendency to more outside leisure time.
Skin Cancer survival rates are nearly 90% in males diagnosed since 2005 and even higher for women. In the 1970s survival rates were worse than 50-50.
UVc wavelengths as short as 100 nanometers are used for UV germicides and the sun’s natural production of these wavelengths are completely blocked by Ozone and dioxygen. Because of that blockage we can A) survive the surface of this planet and B) use detection of those rays for fire detection and optical sensors.
Ready for the Questions?
Ukraine – they gave the weapons to Russia for destruction and have been nuclear free since 1996.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
U2 playing together since 1976, named U2 since 1977 when the fifth member Dik Evans, (The Edge’s big brother) left the band. Same four guys for 35 years.
TWO – “With or Without You” and “Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For”. Both from The Joshua Tree in 1987. They have 7 Number One Albums in the US, only two #1 singles.
2005 – 25 years after their first record was released.
Haines City Marquette has almost 21,000 residents
10. Kissimmee’s population is approximately the same as the student body at UCF – listed as 59,767. Which was named first – UCF(79), UPS (1907 – American Messenger- 1930 UPS) , UL (Underwriters Laboratory), UAE (United Arab Emirates -1971)
Underwriters Laboratory 1894
11. Underwriters Laboratories helps set industry standards for safety of electrical materials, plastics and industrial equipment in over 100 countries worldwide. UL started with equipment to help prevent the most common causes of industrial death and injury at the Turn of the 20th Century. Was that electricity, fire, gas leaks, hinges?
which today uses UVc detection technology both inside and out. Their first UL marks were for a fire door and a fire extinguisher in 1903 and 1904.
The native people of the Pacific Northwest have been creating large carvings of totems for at least 200 years. But probably not much longer.
Working the Western Red Cedar (tall straight trees of the Pacific Northwest) requires metal tools and the native American populations had no metallurgy. The earliest carvings were most likely made with found metal from shipwrecks or trade with trappers.
Totem poles evolved from smaller 2-4 foot house posts to funerary markers (like wooden tombstones) to memorials to the clan symbols that we think of as totem poles towering dozens of feet tall.
Totem poles have never been worshipped. They are more or less family crests. Symbols of important characters in the history of the clan. They tell a narrative.
There is not standard hierarchy of importance related to position on the pole. The expression “low man on the Totem Pole” has no real meaning for totem poles. In some situations the entire clan looks to the lowest figure for support.
The large form totem poles would typically be at the center of the village and serve as a sort of introduction to the clan.
There is a variation of totem poles known as shame poles that would be posted when a clan owed a debt.
When a clan moved to a new village the pole would be allowed to rot in place. Tribal units were fairly migrant, moving on when local resources were low. As a result there is very little historical record of totem poles pre-dating the late 19th Century.
Wilderness Lodge at Disney World has a few examples of Pacific Northwest Totem Poles about 50 feet tall.
Modern Turkey is predominantly Muslim (about 75% of the population) but forcefully secular as a government. There was a recent political issue when the current administration tried to end a ban on headscarves at state universities.
Turkey controls territory on both sides of the Bosphorus and the Dardenelles, meaning that it is both European and Asian.
Turkey has allowed Universal Suffrage since 1933. Has 50 political parties. To avoid Italian-style logjams in Parliament, your party must have 10% of the popular vote to gain representation in Parliament. Three parties hold seats today.
Turkey has a strong Hellenistic influence since it was conquered by Alexander the Great. 550 years later, Emperor Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 324 CE.
Tarantula is a Family of spiders … rather than a genus or species. 900 Species of Tarantula.
Large spiders with external hairs and an exoskeleton. The Smallest … the size of a thumbnail. The largest, the Goliath BirdEater of Brazil and Venezula weighs 5 ounces is the second largest spider on earth.
Tarantula can be found in the Southern US and Mexico, Mediterranean Europe and South East Asia. All over South America, Australia and Africa.
Ready for the Questions?
Novus Roma (New Rome) , Constantinople and Istanbul
Turnip (48% daily Vitamin A and 42% of the Vitamin C in a single serving.)
20th – 1902.
28 Bronze casts – only 8 Presidents have died in office.
William Henry Harrison
He is the only President who did not have a state funeral he was a member of the Confederate Congress when he died.
Telephone (Electricity was installed during Benjamin Harrison’s administration and he wouldn’t touch it) POTS – Plain Old Telephone System
1.2 Billion 19 POTS lines for every 100 inhabitants.