Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Anatomy and Physiology of the Wicked Witch of the West

It started to rain. My friend Alex said to me something along the lines of  “Don’t worry; you won’t melt.” With that allegory, I naturally immediately thought of the Wicked Witch of the West and her watery demise at the murderous hands of Dorothy Gale. Which brought to mind an entire series of questions regarding witches and water. To wit (or, to witch):

Has anyone ever heard of any other witches being sent to their doom by melting with water without irony? We wouldn’t count parodies or satires of the Wicked Witch of the West. In all the literature and visual examples I’ve encountered, I can’t think of a single other example of witches succumbing to water. This lead Alex and I to wonder: “Was the Wicked Witch of the West an exception to the rule of how to kill off witches?” Witches are clearly susceptible to fire, given the madness of the Salem witch trials and legends of them being burned at the stake. Additionally, the witch that would have devoured Hansel and Gretel succumbed to the fire of the oven after Gretel pushed her in. But I can’t think of any other examples of witches dying by water melting them. Which leads me to believe that the Western Witch was unique among her people.

Let’s, for a moment, assume that Gregory Maguire’s book (and resultant Broadway musical) “Wicked” is apocryphal and not to be considered in our analysis. However, for simplicity’s sake, I will adopt his western witch’s name “Elphaba” as the name of the Wicked Witch of the West, simply because it involves fewer keystrokes.

One of the foremost questions in such an inquiry is “How could Elphaba think it was a good idea to fly in the sky on her broom, filled as it is with clouds, water vapor, and precipitation?” Would not the water vapor of the clouds be, at the very least, painful for Elphaba to encounter? What if the clouds started to rain? It seems a reckless lifestyle, taunting fate with such abandon. And speaking of precipitation, would snow, sleet, hail or ice be as harmful to Elphaba as liquid water? At what percentage of atmospheric humidity would she experience discomfort? Would a particularly humid day cause tortuous pain, or perhaps even kill her?

How does such a being stay hydrated? Even if the more macabre among you, dear readers, suggest that she survived on the blood or flesh of human or flying-monkey victims, such bodies are at least 70% water, and clearly deadly to Elphaba. How would she pee? Surely she cannot have just “held it in” all those years (although that would go a long way in explaining her notorious irritability). Would she even possess kidneys and a bladder?

I came up with the notion that instead of eating and drinking as the rest of us do, perhaps her green skin was green because it was actually filled with chlorophyll, allowing her to photosynthesize nutrients the way green plants do. However, Alex was quite astute in quickly pointing out that her wide-brimmed hat protecting her face from light and long, dark gown and cape would render photosynthesis unlikely, given the continual shade she carried around with her. Such an observation left us perplexed at her dietary needs. It further led to the auxiliary question, “Can she get sunburn?” which, alas, yet goes unanswered.

Should the matter of love arise, even an act as simple as a kiss could be deadly, what with all the water comprising saliva. And of course, even if the above matters were obviated by some miraculously unlikely set of circumstances, and the romance were to mature to its full fruition, the act of giving birth and Elphaba’s “waters breaking” would surely send her to an early grave. Further, would her infant inherit her hydrophobic qualities? How would her fetus survive in a womb and placental sac surrounded by fluid comprised of mostly water?

Could she engage in strenuous activity? Would she perspire? Might a hot day trigger sweat glands? Would perspiration be a potential cause of death as she would be exposed to the large amounts of water in the perspiration covering her? What would happen if she physically encountered someone else wet with sweat by brushing up against them, or perhaps during an innocent hug?

Was the Wicked Witch of the West the archetype of other legendary witches? Or was she the lone exception to the usual biological rules involving witches? What ARE the biological rules involving witches? All these questions proved too fraught with confusion for Alex and I at the time. Any insight you might have would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tripe of the Month Club

From the archives...

Tripe of the Month Club
-by Sean Fitzmorris

[Not so] recently my wife and I received in the mail a brochure offering us to join the “Book of the Month” club. The booklet stirred some curiosity in us, so we scanned through it, seeking out titles that would grab and hold our attention. We were not disappointed. As we perused our choices, we were astounded at some the names of the books offered.

Now don’t get me wrong; I know that there are only so many hundreds of thousands of words in the English language. Therefore writers must be severely constrained as to titular choices. In view of these obvious restrictions, therefore, naming works is all about shock value. Grab the reader’s attention by the throat like a rabid pit bull on crack and don’t let go until he buys that book! It is for this reason that we have books with names like we noticed in the Book of the Month Club presentations.

One of the first titles to catch our notice was How to Cook Everything. What an ambitious tome this must be! Imagine! Detailed instructions on cooking everything! My mind boggled with the possibilities. Oh, I’m sure it had all the usual trite recipes, ingredient lists, metric conversion charts and so on. But one can only assume that there are steps to preparing for a delicious repast shoes, concrete, hazardous gasses, the aforementioned pit bull and presumably, the book itself. How far does it go? Does this volume avoid the obvious taboo of, say, cannibalism? On whom were the recipes for everything tried? Woe to the unfortunate soul who had to undergo the dubious honor of being the guinea pig for the chapter on “Sharp Objects.”

Another title that surprised me was Fitness Walking For Dummies; A Reference For the Rest of Us. Fitness walking for dummies? I must say that if anyone needs to purchase a book on how to walk, then I doubt if fitness is truly their most pressing problem. The last time I researched the matter of walking, I realized that the process of actually getting up and going over to the bookshelf pretty much resolved any questions I might have had. Evidently, though, I have not appreciated all the subtle nuances of walking, since someone found it necessary to write an entire volume expositing what for all these years I have taken for granted. Maybe it goes through the history of walking, possibly devoting chapters with titles such as “The First Big Step - Crawling from the Primordial Ooze”; “From All Fours to Biped Locomotion – An Illustrated History”; and of course the requisite tear-jerking stories of persecution and the human spirit, “Walking Through the War Years.”

Rules for Aging is another name that touched a curious place in me. I can just picture the Nursing Home Police stationing themselves down the corridors of the retirement center, handing out citations to all the inmates who were non-compliant with the Rules for Aging. Who exactly is supposed to get these aging individuals to learn and later follow these rules? And who made them up? Some inconvenienced young person, I’ll wager, who is bitter over having to care for his older parents that gave up their own lives to unselfishly provide for such an ingrate. I always figured that aging individuals had pretty much earned the right to make up the rules for themselves and didn’t need some whippersnapper to tell them what to do.

One gripping story that I can’t wait to read is called How to Clean Practically Anything. This must be the long-awaited sequel to the previous How to Cook Everything. Logically, one would need to clean up after cooking “everything.” So what a handy reference this must be! I wonder if the author accepted the challenge of describing how to clean dirt. Anyone can figure out cleaning linoleum, clothes, walls, cars and so on, but really spic-and-span dirt is my test to them. So how ‘bout it?

A few other titles raised some thought provoking questions. For instance, how did the author of Extraordinary Sex Now manage to find the time to actually pen this tome? Furthermore, how did he/she determine what was “extraordinary” as opposed to the merely ordinary? No doubt there are those among us who would consider any sex extraordinary, no matter how plain. What about the author’s partner(s)? Did they too consider this sex extraordinary? How do we know that the author is not such a dullard to the point that extraordinary sex is any form of copulation during which his or her partner didn’t fall asleep? One would think that Slow Hand: Women Writing Erotica would be a natural successor to this work. But I’ll gamble that absolutely none of the heroes and heroines in Slow Hand display a working knowledge of any of the advice given in Extraordinary Sex Now, perpetuating my probably misogynistic theory that women don’t even know what they want, so how can we men?

Don’t even get me started on Get Anyone to Do Anything. I can only assume that this is the great-granddaddy of encyclicals from which all the other book titles I have reviewed here spring. How to Manage Your Mother was another title which drew my inquisitive gaze, but about which I found it necessary to write an entirely separate article.

Yes, I know the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But as book covers are all that the Book of the Month Club has given me to go by, I say that they are fair game. Now please excuse me, but I must go finish reading The Idiot’s Guide to Forming Premature Opinions.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Trivia Quiz from April 17, 2013 - "First & Foremost"

First Time for Everything (10 questions)

1. What two people appeared on the first cover of TV guide in April 1953?

2. The first known humans to fly did so over what city?

3. Who was the first person to break the sound barrier?

4. Who was the first actor to star in a talking motion picture?

5. The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was from what country?

6. Who was the first female artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

7. Who was the first canonized American saint?

8. The first heavier-than-air flight took place where?

9. The first nuns in New Orleans, known as “casket girls,” were of what Catholic order?

10. Antoine Peychaud was the creator of what New Orleans cocktail?

1. Lucile Ball & Desi Arnaz Jr.
2. Paris (Nov. 21, 1783 in a hot air balloon)
3. Chuck Yeager
4. Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer
5.  Ireland
6. Aretha Franklin
7. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini
8. Kitty hawk, N. Carolina
9. Ursulines
10. Sazerac

Boozehounds (10 questions)

1. The Irish word for whisky is Uisce Beatha. What does it literally translate to?

2. Sake was originally made by people who chewed the rice & spit it into fermenting vessels where it would become an alcohol. By definition, sake is therefore ___
a. wine
b. liqueur
c. beer
d. sour mash

3. What causes the bubbles in Guinness to sink rather than rise when a pint is poured?

4. “The Green Fairy” is both a brand name and euphemism for what alcoholic beverage?

5. What type of drink is known by the same word as the Low German word for “swallow?”

6. V.S.O.P. on a bottle of cognac stands for what?

7. Anheuser-Busch can trace its roots back to 1852 and the Bavarian Brewing Company in what North American city?

8.  What liqueur is named after its color?

9. What South American country claims exclusive appellation rights to the type of brandy known as Pisco?

10. Falstaff beer shares a name with a character that appears in 3 of William Shakespeare’s plays. Name one Shakespearean play in which Falstaff appears.

1. Water of life
2. c. beer
3. The shape of the pint glass
4. Absinthe
5. Shnapps
6. Very Superior Old Pale
7. St. Louis, Mo.
8. Chartreuse
9. Peru
10. Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Old Gods of Carnival (10 questions)
Every answer or question has to do with a current carnival krewe.

1. Bacchus was the god of what?

2. Fathered by Poseidon and born of Medusa was the winged horse known as what?

3. What krewe gets its name from this mythical Himalayan utopia?

4. This god is the Titan that holds up the celestial sphere.

5. This krewe takes its name from the Greek god of transitions & boundaries, and conducted souls into the afterlife.

6. This was the greek goddess of the night.

7. This god of the sea was Poseidon’s first son. His name even means “first.”

8. This Egyptian god is often depicted with the head of an ibis, and holds a rod and an ankh in his hands.

9. Whoever held this position in ancient Rome was revered as a god.

10. Name what each of the 9 muses are the muse of. It's not necessary to name the muses themselves, just what they are the muses of. 1 point for each correct answer. You must be specific. (Hint: there are 10 domains, one muse pulls double duty)

1. Wine
2. Pegasus
4. Atlas
5. Hermes
6. Nyx
7. Proteus
8. Thoth
9. Caesar
10. Calliope: epic song, Clio: history, Euterpe: lyric song, Melpomene: tragedy, Terpsichore: dance, Erato: erotic poetry, Polymnia: sacred song, Urania: astronomy, Thalia: comedy & bucolic poetry.

 Places to Go, Things to See (12 Questions)
I took all these photos in Orleans Parish, on the East bank. Answer the questions as specifically as you can.

1. At what intersection am I?

2. What landmark is directly behind me?

3. What building am I in?

4. What building is directly behind me?

5. These nudists are frolicking on the lawn of what building?

6. What restaurant am I spying on?

7. At what intersection can I get their poboys?

8. In what neighborhood or on what street can I get world famous creole tomatoes?

9. What building am I standing in?

10. In the French Quarter, what city-run building is immediately to my right?

11. What building is directly behind me and this guy?

12. What is this?

1. Canal Blvd. & Robert E. Lee.

2. Lee Circle

3. Canal Street ferry terminal

4. St. Louis Cathedral

5. Lakefront Airport

6. Cafe Maspero

7. Elysian Fields & St. Claude

8. 3100 block of Chartres, the Bywater

9. Canal Place

10. Fire station

11. Tad Gormley Stadium

12. Mardi Gras Fountain at the Lakefront

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Trivia quiz from Feb. 6, 2013

Celebrity Animals - 15 Questions
Name the species or breed of the famous animal!
Example: Lassie - Collie (not just dog). King Kong - Gorilla (not just monkey).

1. Rin Tin Tin

2. Shamu

3. Moby Dick

4. Toto

5. Mr. Ed

6. Marcel

7. Rex and King Zulu

8. Ling Ling

9. Punxsutawney Phil

10. Morris

11. Pepe Lepieux

12. Dolly

13. Ben

14. Clyde

15. Scooby Doo

1. German shepherd (or alsatian for the Europey types)
2. Orca or killer whale
3. Sperm whale
4. Border Collie (in the "Oz" books), Cairn Terrier (1939 "The Wizard of Oz" and 1978 “The Wiz”), Border Terrier (Return to Oz, 1985)
5. Palomino
6. Capuchin monkey (from “Friends” TV show)
7. White tigers (Audubon zoo)
8. Panda
9. Groundhog
10. Orange tabby
11. Skunk
12. Sheep
13. Grizzly bear (from “Grizzly Adams” TV show)
14. Orangutan (from the movie “Any Which You Can”)
15. Great dane

In Common - 10 Questions
What does each group of animals have in common?

1. Dodo, wooly mammoth, stegosaur

2. Penguin, kiwi, emu. (Given: all birds)

3. Leech, flea, bedbug (Given: all invertebrates, all parasites)

4. Bullfrog, Siamese fighting fish (betta), walking catfish (Given: all vertebrates, all aquatic, all lay eggs)

5. Minotaur, mermaid, centaur (Given: all mythical)

6. Monarch butterfly, spider, buck moth (Given: all invertebrate arthropods).

7. Honeybee, Fire ant, prairie dog

8. Rattlesnake, scorpion, platypus

9. Crawfish, silverfish, jellyfish (Given: all invertebrates, all have fish in their name.)

10. Whale shark, blue whale, ostrich (Given: all vertebrates)

 1. All extinct
2. All are flightless birds, all from southern hemisphere
3. All feed on blood
4. All breathe air and water
5. All are half-human
6. All produce silk
7. All live in colonies
8. All are venomous
9. None are fish
10. All are the largest of their species

Creature Feature - 12 questions
All these people have animal names in their name.
Example: This golfer is a little too popular with the ladies. - Tiger Woods

1. This actress is famous for the line “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”

2. Maverick’s sidekick.

3. This is one of the few famous white basketball players.

4. This guy somehow made a career of skateboarding.

5. This performer is now known as Yusef Islam

6. This man has achieved legendary near-godhood in Alabama.

7. Friends with Mr. Greenjeans.

8. This boy-band singer is out of the closet.

9. His real name is William Cody.

10. Jim Morrison’s nickname.

11. A king of England from 1189 - 1199.

12. Politician who wanted to establish “a contract with America.”

1. Gloria Swanson 
2. Goose
3. Larry Bird
4. Tony Hawk
5. Cat Stevens
6. Bear Bryant
7. Captain Kangaroo
8. Lance Bass
9. Buffalo Bill
10. The Lizard King
11. Richard the Lionheart
12. Newt Gingrich

Spot the Species! - 10 questions
Picture round

Name the species of animal! All are common to Louisiana.










1. Mallard duck
2. Tarpon
3. Ibis
4. Damselfly
5. Copperhead
6. Nutria
7. Mole cricket
8. Red ear turtle, painted turtle, or Mobile slider
9. Roseate spoonbill
10. Possum

I Could Eat a Horse  - 12 Questions
From what kind of animal does the food come?

1. Lox

2. Foie gras

3. Mutton

4. Haggis

5. Bouillabaisse

6. Unagi

7. Capon

8. Fugu

9. Butter

10. Chitlins

11. Kippers

12. Confit

1. Salmon
2. Goose or duck
3. Sheep
4. Sheep
5. Fish
6. Eel
7. Rooster
8. Puffer fish or blowfish
9. Cow
10. Pig
11. Herring
12. Duck

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trivia from Jan. 2, 2013

What do you consider "Home?" The world? The USA? Your city? Your neighborhood? That's the theme of the trivia quiz from Jan 2, 2013 where we consider the theme "Home." (Well, MY home anyway.) 
Categories are: World Sports, Patriotic Songs of the USA, New Orleans in Fiction, and Lakeview (my neighborhood). Answers are at the end of each category so grab a pen and a friend and test your knowledge!

World Sports

1.  What is the sport of kings?

2. If you have 15 guys on a team who engage in a scrum and maybe a haka, what sport are you playing?

3. If you take an agricultural swing after being bowled, what are you playing?

4. In badminton, we often call it a “bird” or “birdie.” What is the projectile actually called?

5. What gravity-driven sport has its origins in the Pacific island of Vanuatu?

6. What sport are you engaging in if you wear a montera, hold a muleta and use a puntilla?

7. Sumo wrestlers try to do either of 2 things: Force the other wrestler out of the dojo or what?.

8. In what city were the first modern day Olympics held?

9. For what country and in which sport do the "All Blacks" play?

10. In cockfighting, what is the arena called where two roosters fight?


1. Horse Racing
2. Rugby
3. Cricket
4. Shuttlecock or Shuttle
5. Bungee Jumping
6. Bullfighting
7. Touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet.
8. Athens, Greece
9. New Zealand; rugby
10. Cockpit

Patriotic Songs of the USA
Name that tune! What is the title of each piece?










10. (Extra point if you can name the vocalist)


1. Grand Old Flag
2. Stars and Stripes Forever
3. Battle Hymn of the Republic
4. Hail to the Chief
5. America the Beautiful
6. America: My Country ‘Tis of Thee
7. Halls of Montezuma
8. The Star Spangled Banner
9. Yankee Doodle
10. God Bless America (Vocalist: Kate Smith)

New Orleans in Fiction

1. Actor Tim Reid inherited a New Orleans restaurant in what TV show?

2. Which Simpsons character got his own fictional series pilot set in New Orleans?

3. Irene Reilly and Myrna Minkoff are characters in what New Orleans based book?

4. On what New Orleans street did Stanley and Stella live in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire?”

5. Francis Parkinson Keyes wrote a novel set in a famous New Orleans restaurant. The restaurant’s name is in the title. What is the title of the book?

6. Which Star Trek captain is a native of New Orleans? (Kirk, Janeway, Sisko, Archer, Picard)

7. Nicholas Cage starred in “The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call: New Orleans.” This was a remake of what 1992 movie?

8. “Live and Let Die,” set in New Orleans, was which number of Ian Fleming’s James Bond films? (As in first, second, third, etc. Not including Casino Royale with David Niven)

9. Who played my cousin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in Oliver Stone’s, JFK?

10. What soundtrack song from Elvis Presley’s New Orleans movie “King Creole” reached number one on the Billboard pop charts?


1. Frank’s Place
2. Chief Wiggum (“Chief Wiggum, P.I.)
3. A Confederacy of Dunces
4. Elysian Fields
5. Dinner at Antoine’s
6. Capt. Sisko
7. Bad Lieutenant
8. Eighth
9. Gary Oldman
10. Hard-Headed Woman


1. What popular restaurant/reception hall was located where Tropic Oil Change is now located on Canal Blvd?

2. What is Lakeview Harbor’s sister restaurant?

3. The New Basin Canal stretched along what is now West End Blvd & Pontchartrain Blvd. It ran from Lake Pontchartrain to where? (Street intersection or landmark)

4. The semicircle shaped parks on either side of Canal Blvd. at Robt. E. Lee are called what?

5. What is the collective name for the structure of businesses at Canal Blvd. & Robert E. Lee?

6. What is the actual name of the potter’s field cemetery which stretches from City Park Ave to Delgado Playground?

7. What is the name of Lakeview’s team of 9-12 year old baseball players?

8. What is the only pet shop in Lakeview?

9. How many churches are on Canal Blvd?

10. The Homedale Inn, serving drinks since ____?

1. L’enfant’s
2. Port of Call
3. Howard & Rampart, near the Union Terminal
4. Peridot Park
5. The Rockery
6. Holt Cemetery
7. Lakeview Vikings
8. Coral Reef
9. 9 (including the disused synagogue)
10. 1937

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Asked My Opinion On Guns & Control Laws

So, some folks have wondered about my take on gun control in light of the shooting at Newtown, CT. Yes, I have one, and I fully expect my opinions to fall into the heaving maelstrom of other opinions, lost forever in the storm of loud voices. But here you go anyway.

Since you bring up gun control... Frankly, I was a bit shocked when I purchased my own guns. I have four: a shotgun, two Glock handguns and a .223 assault rifle. When I purchased them, I only had to provide the exact same credentials as I do when I buy a bottle of wine. With the shotgun purchase, the only reason I needed to provide ID was to verify my credit card. With the handguns and rifle, they said they’d run my ID through the FBI gun check database, which I assume they did, and I walked out of the store 15 minutes later with shiny new weaponry. The only registration I have are my receipts for the purchase. Maybe the serial numbers are now listed in the FBI’s records. I don’t know. I hope so. There’s no way for me to check. I certainly haven’t been asked to update the attached information such as my address or phone number since then, even though it’s changed.

That I could purchase weapons so easily is kind of scary. What’s even scarier is the other folks that can just as easily purchase them. If someone has a history of violent crime and is banned from having guns, it’s perfectly easy for them to get a friend to legally purchase a gun for them. But here’s the problem: they’ve already committed a crime that landed them in the “banned from guns” category. Here’s an even scarier tidbit: many acts of violence in the throes of mental instability go unreported and are treated as part of an “illness” rather than “violence.”

The FBI database used for gun checking is full of criminal names and conviction histories. Fine. No problem. What it doesn’t contain are the thousands of folks who have clearly demonstrated suicidal, homicidal or just plain violent behavior. As an emergency room nurse, every day I see people who are PEC’d (Physician’s Emergency Commitment). A PEC means that someone is mentally or emotionally “gravely disabled” (quoted from the PEC paperwork). And as other emergency personnel know, often the individuals need a revolving door. In other words, psychiatric patients unstable enough to require a PEC often return again and again after threatening their family or pulling a knife or gun on their parents or beating up their grandmother (no, I’m not kidding).

“Yeah, yeah, mental health sucks, blah, blah, blah; we’ve heard it before,” you say. I’m not talking about mental health care, per se. What I want folks to realize is that of all the hundreds of people cramped into emergency rooms right this minute under a PEC, none of that violent behavior (also read as “warning signs”) will go reported to the FBI or any other agency besides maybe the coroner’s office who can extend a PEC to a CEC (Coroner’s Emergency Commitment). Because the warning signs of mental instability are being treated as a disease rather than a prelude to violent behavior, such individuals are protected by HIPAA laws, that prevent the release of information about the individual’s actions that landed them under a PEC or CEC. Further, sometimes family members need treatment for their fractures, lacerations, contusions or other injuries that led up to the trip to the hospital in the first place. In other words, the unstable individuals have already committed violent acts! But press charges against their loved one? Treat it as a crime? Oh heavens, no! That’s their baby; he’s not a criminal, he’s just ill.

These gravely disabled people, with a concrete history of violence and antisocial behavior but no criminal convictions, can walk into the same gun shop as I did and purchase whatever weaponry they want just as easily as I did. They may be next door to you right now, or behind you in the checkout line, or visiting your children’s school as you read this.

Much hype is made over other countries' gun control laws and lack of violence by guns. “Japan, for example, has almost no gun violence,” you point out. Terrific! They have a well-known respect for discipline and maintaining order. We could use some of that here, to be sure. Since we’re focusing on only one thing in your argument, I’ll mention only one thing too: the Japanese culture, with its low gun violence and well-disciplined people, are also the folks who had absolutely no problem with murderous suicidal kamikaze pilots in World War II. Guns in Japan? Nearly nil. Great! The culture that produced kamikaze? Going strong. Think about that for a while.

If you check statistics, the US is way down the list of gun-related homicides per capita. Number twenty-eight on the list, in fact. Meaning what? That twenty-seven countries with stricter gun laws have more gun-related deaths than the US per population. Further, as has been pointed out many times, Sandy Hook Elementary is a “gun-free zone,” as were all the schools, malls and public places that have had mass shootings in recent years. Connecticut has, in fact, some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Yet twenty-seven people are dead. Didn't really help, did it?

So what to do? Enact laws banning all guns? Do you really think that will get them off the street and out of the hands of violent, criminal or mentally unsound people? “Well, at least there would be fewer guns to go around,” you reply. Let’s look at another example: we’ve banned heroin, crystal meth, crack, and LSD. Has that ban gotten them off the street?

If it was up to me, I’d include some better information in the FBI gun checking database. Include the folks who have a history of violent mental instability. You’ve been PEC’d or CEC’d? Into the “banned from guns” list you go! Yes, this may require revising HIPAA laws. HIPPA may protect an individual’s personal mental health history, but it’s your health that’s at stake when a mentally gravely disabled individual walks out of that gun shop with his shiny new weapon.

Further, I’m not sure that arming teachers is the way to go, but I’m guessing that more than a few grieving families are wishing right now that one or two Connecticut teachers were armed.

Restrict guns more? Absolutely. Ban guns altogether? Hell no! Encourage and provide proper gun training easily and cheaply? For sure!

As a parting thought, how many times have we read the headline about a ‘Killer Goes On Murderous Rampage In School/Mall/Office” or other gun-free zone. Compare the number of times you’ve heard that to the number of times you’ve heard “Killer Goes On Murderous Rampage At Local Gun Show.” Don’t think I’ve ever heard that.

Stay tuned for more commentary later.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Compass Rose" Trivia Quiz

(Questions as of Dec. 5, 2012)


1. Marco Polo traveled east from Europe to establish trade with what country?

2. Who is the host of the Food Network’s cooking show “East Meets West”?

3. The direction east on the longitude grid is calculated from longitude 0 degrees. What is the the line at Longitude 0 called?

4. All Muslims are expected to make a pilgrimage to what Middle Eastern city at least once in their lives?

5. What is the largest country in the Eastern hemisphere?

6. From what does a nor’easter get its name?

7. Israel was re-established in the Middle East in what year of the 20th century?

8. Easter falls on the first Sunday after what Jewish holiday?

9. In what country does the West end and the Middle East begin?

10. The film industry of India is collectively known as what?

1. China
2. Ming Tsai
3. The Prime Meridian
4. Mecca
5. Russia
6. The direction the wind comes from.
7. 1948
8. Passover
9. Turkey
10. Bollywood


1. According to “Wicked,” the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” what was the Wicked Witch of the West’s real name?

2. Peru is on the west coast of South America and has only one time zone. In what time zone are they?

3. In describing Eastern things, we use the word Oriental. What word is used to describe western things?

4. When traveling to the West Bank from the East bank across the CCC, in what direction are you actually moving?

5. What country has the westernmost capital of the Western Hemisphere?

6. The West Coast of California is well known for the “Hollywood” sign in Los Angeles. This sign did not always say “Hollywood.” What did the sign originally say?

7. Ahmed Aleywa, a native of the west African country of Mauritania, is currently famous for doing what?

8. In the movie “Far and Away” starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, where were they traveling west from?

9. New Orleans is on what longitude west?

10. If a hurricane is traveling due west towards New Orleans, from what direction will the wind come just before the eye arrives?

1. Elphaba
2. Eastern time
3. Occidental
4. East
5. Mexico
6. Hollywoodland
7. Booting a New Orleans ambulance
8. Ireland
9. 90 degrees
10. North


1. Who were the male and female lead roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”?

2. Until 2009, the north magnetic pole was located within the territory of which country?

3. The Mason-Dixon line is on the border of four states. Name two of those states.

4. What team of the SEC is physically in the northernmost location?

5. The northernmost part of the Mississippi River is in what US state?

6. If you look due north from the wharf on the river at Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas, what town are you looking at?

7. Name all the US states with North in their name.

8. Over what body of water is the Northwest Passage?

9. The Aurora Borealis is also know by what more common name?

10. The 4th century archbishop of Turkey provides the legendary basis for what well known northern figure today?

1. Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint
2. Canada
3. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware & West Virginia
4. University of Missouri
5. Minnesota
6. New Orleans
7. North Dakota, North Carolina
8. Arctic Sea
9. The northern lights
10. Santa Claus


1. What swanky gated community is in the southernmost part of Orleans Parish?

2. How many college teams make up the Southeastern Conference?

3. Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for 26 years in South Africa for advocating against what government policy?

4. What was the first US state to secede from the Union?

5. As of right now, is the south pole in continual darkness, continual daylight, or part day and part night?

6. What New Orleans road divides the North named streets from the South named streets?

7. When a pollywog becomes a shellback, what has he done?

8. Southern University plays against what team in the Bayou Classic?

9. What was the last US state to secede from the Union?

10. What James Bond movie was filmed in Hollywood South?

1. English Turn
2. 14
3. Apartheid
4. South Carolina
5. Continual daylight
6. Canal Street
7. Crossed the equator into the southern hemisphere.
8. Grambling
9. Tennessee
10. Live And Let Die

Tiebreaker: Name the four official BCS bowl games.
Sugar, Orange, Fiesta & Rose Bowl