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Today is Thursday, December 2, 2021. It is now 13:29 (UTC). Wikipedia currently has 6,416,749 articles. You are currently looking at User:PedanticallySpeaking/RefDesk on Wikipedia

This is an archive of questions and answers I've posted at the Reference Desk. In the interests of brevity, I have omitted most replies from others except where necessary for context or when I found their replies particularly interesting. Please post any queries to me at User talk:PedanticallySpeaking.

"Registered Republican"[edit]

This should perhaps be at Requested articles instead, but I'm not sure about the right lemma:

In the USA, what exactly does it mean to be(come) a registered Democrat or registered Republican, as in Bill O'Reilly was a registered Republican? (I sort of know, but am not sure enough to write it myself.) It's an expression not widely known outside of the US, so an article or an appropriate redirect would definitely be appreciated. Sorry if I overlooked an existing one. regards, High on a tree 01:06, 7 Aug 2004 (UTC)

In Ohio, where I live, there is no such thing as a "registered" Republican or Democrat. When you register to vote you do not state a party affiliation, unlike states such as Kentucky or Florida. One is officially "non-partisan" until voting in a party primary. A voter who votes in a primary then reverts to "non-partisan" status if he doesn't vote in the primary again within two years, I believe. (This is why about three-fifths of Ohio voters are officially "non-partisan" despite the dominance of the two major parties.) And even if one is listed as "Republican" or "Democratic" a voter is free to vote in the other party's primary by asking for the other ballot on primary day. That said, this is Ohio's unique system and other states' practices are completely different.PedanticallySpeaking 16:51, Aug 13, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks to everybody for their well-informed answers. It seems things are a bit more complicated than I thought - there are actually states where one has to state a party affiliation when registering to vote for, say, the presidential election? And registration for the primaries is always handled by a state election office, not by the party itself?

As Finlay said, it would be a pity if the information above would not make it into the article space. I would suggest creating registered party affiliate (U.S.) or something like that, and having registered Democrat and registered Republican redirect to it (since the latter are the terms most likely to be sought after). I'd prefer someone knowledgeable to write this up, but if nothing happens, I will try my best and summarize the above sometime during the next weeks. regards, High on a tree 23:21, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Romeo and Juliet?[edit]

I can't think of a better way to word this question, so I hope it makes sense: What is the name of that piece of music that is used stereotypically or satirically for people falling in love on TV? For example, it was in the first episode of South Park, and it's in commercials all the time (I saw it on some car commercial recently). I hope this question is not too vague :) Adam Bishop 22:28, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • Could it be the Love Theme from Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet? That's played all the time in movies and tv, usually as two lovers run towards each other in slow-motion? PedanticallySpeaking 19:40, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Henry Baldwin[edit]

The illustration on Henry P. Baldwin, a Senator from Michigan, which is on the Bioguide site appears in my Oxford Companion to the U.S. Supreme Court as that of Justice Henry Baldwin. The illustration on the Supreme Court Historical Society site could be the same fellow. Can anyone clarify?PedanticallySpeaking 17:31, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)

Huh. The Bioguide entry for Senator Baldwin has that picture, but no picture for Justice Baldwin. Either they looked virtually the same, or, more likely, some intern put that photo in the wrong place. Unfortunately, I can't clarify more than that. You might have to contact the Supreme Court site and or the Bioguide people to get it checked out. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 18:27, 2004 Aug 19 (UTC)
Yesterday I e-mailed the Heather Moore, the U.S. Senate Historical Office's photo historian, to enquire about this discrepancy. If I get a reply, I'll post it here on on the two Henry Baldwin's pages. In the interim, if anyone knows anything, please let me know. PedanticallySpeaking 14:55, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
I've contacted Heather Moore, photo researcher at the U.S. Senate Historical Office, and she e-mailed me on August 31, 2004, to say she'll look into this. PedanticallySpeaking 14:15, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

H.W. Fowler[edit]

The entry for Henry Watson Fowler says he was born in Devon, but my Cambridge Biographical Dictionary says Tonbridge, Kent. Can anyone clarify? PedanticallySpeaking 15:25, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Chambers Biog. Dict. and Britannica Online agree with you, so I'm going to correct the article. --Heron 15:34, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Mayor Robert Bennett[edit]

I'd like to break up the existing Robert Bennett article, which presently covers three gentlemen (him, a senator from Utah, and a governor of Kansas). Can anyone tell me Mayor Bennett's middle name or birth/death dates so I can differentiate him from the others? Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 15:51, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer[edit]

I've just written up an article on Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who brought the coelacanth to light. The sources I found conflicted on where she was born. Some say East London, South Africa, others say Aliwal North, South Africa. (Some say she went to school in the latter.) Can anyone clarify? PedanticallySpeaking 17:23, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Meredith Monroe[edit]

Does anyone know the year Dawson's Creek actress Meredith Monroe was born? The Internet Movie Database says 1970, TV Tome says 1976. Would anyone having an answer please reply to my talk page? PedanticallySpeaking 18:43, Sep 8, 2004 (UTC)

  • I'm not a fan personally, but I'd recommend visiting her official website and send in a question. Hope it helps. (Strange how such a simple thing is so hard to find) - MGM 18:24, Sep 21, 2004 (UTC)
  • Two articles indicate the 1976 DOB is correct, to wit:
      • "The Monroe Doctrine" by Kristen Baldwin. Entertainment Weekly. May 21, 1999. Page 58. Says she is twenty-two.
      • "My body: Meredith Monroe" by Bailey Ross. Us. April 1999. Page 42. Also says she is twenty-two.
  • Assuming the December date is correct, that indicates the year is 1976. PedanticallySpeaking 16:54, Oct 7, 2004 (UTC)

Deletion woes![edit]

I have created a user page in wikipedia but now would like to have my user page deleted or removed as I have another wikipedia userpage as well.But I do not understand how to delete the user page itself. Please tell me how I can do so.

If you select all text and then hit delete, would that do it? PedanticallySpeaking 13:38, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
Or redirect it to your new page using #REDIRECT[[User:New_Username]] ed g2stalk 20:19, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Best as a redirect, that way old friends can catch up with you. If you don't want to be caught, you can log in as the old user and use the speedy delete tag {{del}} and an admin will delete it. Dunc_Harris| 21:50, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)


How I can I get back issues of newspapers (as in really really back, from the 60s and 70s) for free, online? Getting them in real life is unfeasible considering I need Malaysia. And these papers are vital, because two nominations on Featured article candidates (I Want To Hold Your Hand and The Long and Winding Road to be exact) depend on the interviews therein. For example, say I want the headlines from the Evening Standard on April 22 and April 23 1970. How can I get those for free? Online would be very nice, but if they're free, that's good. Johnleemk | Talk 15:37, 20 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You're not likely to find this on-line. Even Lexis-Nexis, last time I checked, only had text back to 1980 and then only on a few papers. I'd try your public library's inter-library loan service. My library is a member of OCLC, a library co-operative, and can supply copies of articles from publications for the cost of copies. If there aren't any American or Canadian libraries holding the newspapers in question, it's still possible to get copies from abroad, but it takes much longer. If you mean the London "Evening Standard", the Library of Congress has it (see their catalog at When I was in college, my university's ILL office many times arranged for copies of old newspaper articles. I'd be happy to try to help you further; let me know on my talk page. PedanticallySpeaking 19:23, Sep 20, 2004 (UTC)


WHat happend at the louvre durring WW1 and WW2? Im sure the art was stolen, or placed for safe keeping, but by whom and where?

Where is the Louvre and why is it famous? What are some of the famous works? what happened to the Louvres works durring WW1 and WW2? What has the louvres been used for over the years? What is some other information?

  • Most of these questions are answered in our article on the Louvre. Warofdreams 14:52, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Not all the questioned are answered in Wikipedia's article, specifically the World War looting questions. According to Let's Go Paris, "Curators at the Louvre, sensing the inevitable Nazi Occupation, removed many works of art, including the Mona Lisa, and placed them in hiding." For a full rundown of what happened to what works, I would try to get ahold of the book Nazi Plunder: Great Treasure Stories of World War II. According to the book synopsis, the artwork looted under Hitler's direction "exceeded the combined collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the British Museum, and the Louvre." Salasks 15:39, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

If this information is not the article, it's because no-one has added it yet. Please feel free to do so. DJ Clayworth 16:26, 22 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Two really good books on this topic are:
  • The Battle of the Louvre by Matila Simon. New York: Hawthore, 1971.
  • The Lost Museum: The Nazi Conspirarcy to Steal the World's Greatest Works of Art by Hector Feliciano. New York: Basic Books, 1997.

You should look in your library's catalog under the subject heading "World War, 1939-1945--Art and the war" for similar books. Ave!PedanticallySpeaking 20:33, Sep 22, 2004 (UTC)

A look at tomorrow's papers[edit]

On late-evening radio and TV news discussion programs (e.g. Newsnight), there is often a section where presenters read tomorrow's newspapers. In a column in the Guardian, I once read that part of the night editor's job is to look out for stories that they can poach from such editions of rival papers. So why do the papers bother making these early editions public at 10PM the night before? How did this tradition begin, and what's in it for the publishers? - IMSoP 00:18, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm just guessing here, but I would be willing to bet that night editors don't poach stories so much as they syndicate them from the original copyright owner. For instance, I know that my local paper often runs stories from the New York Times and Washington Post, occasionally adding some locally relevant content. This makes more sense to me than the liability involved with stealing the story in its entirety or the effort and money necessitated by having a reporter rewrite it so as to be unrecognizable. The benefit to the issuing paper comes in their syndication costs, and maybe in creating a wider reader base for their writing. Cvaneg 00:51, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You've obviously not seen the UK tabloid circulation wars! :) -- Arwel 21:52, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I'm well due to be off to bed now, but I found the column I was remembering. The relevant quote is:

"...while the home news night desk might spend the evening chasing stories in other newspapers that need to be investigated (the night editors usually get their first look at rival publications at about 11pm, leaving little time to react)."

You could be right about the syndication thing though; I'll reply again when I've slept and can think properly... - IMSoP 01:29, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
To answer the other part of your question, major newspapers are often available to the general public on the evening before the 'date of publication'. So it's not that the TV shows have got a paper eight or nine hours in advance. Obviously there are good business reasons for your paper being first on the streets. DJ Clayworth 13:44, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
So why do the papers bother making these early editions public at 10PM the night before? Geography is the reason. It takes time to get the papers from the printing plant to the newsagents' shops (and remember, in the UK the papers have to reach the shops by about 5 am in order to be sorted into delivery rounds in time for breakfast deliveries). I don't know current printing practice, but a few decades ago the national papers were printed in London, Manchester, and perhaps Glasgow, so the first editions would be produced by about 9 pm in order to get the overnight trains to the far end of Cornwall in time. Many's the time I've bought tomorrow's paper at Euston Station at 10 pm. -- Arwel 21:52, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • This practice of making the front pages available is of long-standing. I recall reading in someone's memoirs about working for the New York Times or the Washington Post in the 1970s of how those papers and I think the LA Times sent copies of their front pages out to one another. I don't recall exactly how, whether it was as a wirephoto or telecopier or what they did, but it's nothing new.
    As for poaching stories, Richard Kluger's book on the old New York Herald Tribune talks about the competition between them and the Times. He writes of how each other would get the first edition, find some story they missed and write a front page story for their own editions. Sometimes, he claimed, they would wind up bumping the story the other guy added. The Associated Press will often send out a short story if one paper has a big story, say the results of a big investigation, so editors will know what's out there and possibly request reprint rights.
    The Cincinnati Enquirer, which Aaron Brown shows from time to time, goes to press around ten p.m. So that front page is locked well before he does his round-up. A great site for looking at front pages from around the globe is at the Newseum site. They receive PDF files from about 200 papers every day and post them on the web. If you couldn't tell, I'm a newspaper junkie. Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 16:54, Sep 30, 2004 (UTC)
If you see the London Free Press in Newseum, it used to be my job to send the front page there :) I'm not sure this will help answer the question here, since in London we were really the only major paper in a fairly minor market, but I do know that the paper had to be finished by about 1:30 am. There was a regional edition as well that had to be finished around midnight (the city paper would have updated sports scores and a late story or two). They would be delivered from then on, until about 6 am - so, there was never a paper available the night before. And since there are no other dailies to steal stories from, stories come from wire services or local reporters. I don't know specifically how the Toronto Sun works, but I assume they do compete with the other three major newspapers in Toronto...the Journal de Montreal has early and city editions like London, but the Journal de Quebec doesn't, and they don't seem to compete with each other but they often have the exact same stories (and apparently share some columnists). Anyway, there's some useless info for you, I hope that's not too irrelevant :) Adam Bishop 22:55, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Television Markets[edit]

Do we have pages anywhere that list the counties in each television market? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, Oct 12, 2004 (UTC)

Silent Film Stars[edit]

Are there any silent film stars that are still living today besides Anita Page?

This might be stretching the description of "star" somewhat but the Australian actor Bill Kerr (born 1922) is still around and kicking (IMDB gives his latest film role as "Fairy Guide" in the 2003 version of Peter Pan). While IMDB lists his first role as the 1933 Australian film "Harmony Row", I read a while back that he started his film career as a child actor in short films in the silent period. The article also pointed out that he held the record for the longest active film career (70+ years). --Roisterer 01:33, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • Just remembered another one: Dickie Moore is 80, and made his debut in 1927. Moore was in the Our Gang comedies of the early 30s and is most famous for being the first person to kiss Shirley Temple on screen. --Roisterer 07:04, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I ran through the list of "entertainers of the present" in the World Almanac last night, and the oldest one entered still living was Hildegard, the singer, born February 1, 1906. Those born in 1910 or before I spotted were:

  1. Charles Lane (not in Almanac), born January 26, 1905 ()first credit on IMDB in 1931, last in 1995)
  2. Sir John Mills, February 22, 1908
  3. Eddie Albert, April 22, 1908
  4. Luise Rainer, January 12, 1910 (oldest living acting Oscar winner)
  5. Al Lewis, April 30, 1910
  6. Constance Cummings, May 15, 1910
  7. Katherine Dunham, June 22, 1910 (IMDB says June 24, 1909)
  8. Gloria Stuart, July 4, 1910
  9. Kitty Carlisle Hart (tv personality), September 3, 1910
  10. Dame Alicia Markova (dancer), December 1, 1910

Other older living Oscar winners are Karl Malden (March 22, 1912, Jane Wyman (January 4, 1914), Olivia de Havilland (July 1, 1916, her sister Joan Fontaine (October 22, 1917), and Jennifer Jones (July 1, 1916). The oldest entertainer the Almanac listed besides the above was bandleader and composer Mitch Miller, born July 4, 1911. PedanticallySpeaking 16:12, Oct 8, 2004 (UTC)

Married Names[edit]

I recently read that Britney Spears is thinking about changing her name to Britney Federline. That got me thinking, how common is it for celebrities (especially actresses, who may have to rely on name recognition) to assume their husband's name, without a hypenated or double name? Can anybody come up with some examples? [[User:Rhymeless|Rhymeless | (Methyl Remiss)]] 03:07, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In Growing Pains, Maggie Malone changed her name to Maggie Seaver after marriage, but kept signing off on her broadcasts as Maggie Malone. I don't know of any 'real' examples. Salasks 03:15, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)
Roseanne (Barr, Arnold, Thomas, nothing) is a pretty blatant example. --jpgordon {gab} 03:29, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I'd forgotten about her, but she doesn't seem like a good example as she usually goes by her first name anyway... [[User:Rhymeless|Rhymeless | (Methyl Remiss)]] 03:36, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Well, she does now -- perhaps as a result of so many name changes. --jpgordon {gab} 03:59, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Hillary Rodham only finally started using "Hillary Rodham Clinton" when her husband decided to run for president. -- Jmabel|Talk 03:44, Oct 15, 2004 (UTC)

How about Courteney Cox Arquette, who I think may have already gone back to just Courteney Cox. Cvaneg 22:33, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Mrs. Clinton began styling herself "Hillary Rodham Clinton" in 1982 when her husband ran for governor for the third time. See p. 93 of her memoir "Living History." Previously, she went by her maiden name, even after she was married. In the report on the impeachment of Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee, she is listed in the committee staff as "Hillary D. Rodham"; her middle name is Diane. PedanticallySpeaking 19:36, Oct 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Several names came to me after some thought. Phylicia Rashad was billed as Phylicia Ayres Allen early on in the run of The Cosby Show but changed when she married the sportscaster. Jamie Lynn Sigler from The Sopranos is now billed as Jamie Lynn DiScala after her marriage. Nancy Davis took Ronald Reagan's name after she retired from acting; in Hellcats of the Navy she is still billed as Nancy Davis. (Besides, her real name was Anne Frances Robbins.) Formerly, many notable actresses were known by their husband's names, Mrs. Siddons, Mrs. Jordan, and Mrs. Patrick Campbell to name three. PedanticallySpeaking 14:50, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Mrs. Jordan perhaps does not belong on your list; she can hardly be said to have been known by her husband's name" when she wasn't married or otherwise associated with any man named Jordan. Sharkford 20:34, 2004 Oct 21 (UTC)

Poll Closing Times[edit]

Someone originally asked about Election Day and this was a bit off topic, but related to the susbsequent answers:

  • Polls in Kentucky and Indiana are the first in the country to close, doing so at 6 PM. However, western parts of both states (the areas around Bowling Green, Kentucky, Owensboro, Kentucky, Evansville, Indiana, and Gary, Indiana) are in the Central Time Zone and would close at 7 PM Eastern. A few more close at seven and in my state of Ohio they close at 730 PM, having opened at 630 AM. PedanticallySpeaking 14:10, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)
  • As for voting by post, Oregon residents no longer go to the polls as the entire election is done by mail. In some states, any person can get an absentee ballot just by asking. In California, voters can request to be permanent absentee voters, meaning they automatically get a ballot by mail. In Ohio, one must have a reason as delinated on the form here. Among them: you are at least sixty-two, in jail (but not prison), out of the county, disabled, a fireman on duty, and working the polls. There is no process to check this, however, so if you claimed to be out of the county, no one could stop you. In West Virginia, if you claim you are disabled and can't get to the polls, you must present a note from your doctor verifying this. PedanticallySpeaking 14:16, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)

Yu Shan in Taiwan[edit]

My Webster's Geographical Dictionary gives Yu Shan's height at 13,113 feet (3,997 meters) when the article Jade Mountain says it is 12,962 feet (3,952 meters). Anyone clarify? PedanticallySpeaking 18:53, Oct 23, 2004 (UTC)

Britannica (2002) says 13,113 feet also. Incidentally, they spell it with an umlaut over the u. - John Fader
Although both the Chinese and Japanese wikipedias say 3952m. Maybe one number is a result of a re-survey? - John Fader
  • I went through my books and found many disagreeing answers. The following sources had these listed for its height:
  1. Columbia Encyclopedia, 1st ed. (1940), "over 14,000 feet" in the article "Niitakayama"
  2. Colubmia Encyclopedia, 1st ed. (1940), "about 14,000 feet" in the article "Mount Morrison"
  3. Brittanica (1941): 12,939 feet in the atlas
  4. Brittanica (1941): 14,720 feet in the article "Formosa" (v. 9, p. 514)
  5. Webster's New Int'l Dict., 2d ed. (1957): 13,599 feet
  6. New Catholic Encyclopedia: 13,599 feet (v. 13, p. 916)
  7. Brittanica (1974): 3997 meters
  8. Hammond World Atlas (1989): 3997 meters/13,113 feet
  9. Times Atlas, 8th ed. (1990): 3997 meters
  10. National Geographic Atlas, 7th ed. (1990): 3997 meters
  11. Columbia Encyclopedia, 5th ed. (1993): 3997 meters/13,113 feet
  12. Whitaker's Almanac (1996): 13,035 feet

Finally, the official Central Geological Survey of Taiwan's site (here) says 3952 meters, which is what the original article says and the Taiwanese should know. But isn't remarkable the range of these answers, varying by 1,700 feet? PedanticallySpeaking 14:34, Oct 26, 2004 (UTC)

One thing that might be a factor is that these are all heights above sea level. Given that Taiwan has fallen under the political control of mainland China, Japan, and of its own government, perhaps some of this variation reflects some numbers being with respect to different definitions of sea-level. Unfortunately Wikipedia's sea level article doesn't really compare values for different countries (something that would probably be rather hard, geoids and all. Still, sea level does mention a 20cm difference at Panama - if that's representative then this doesn't really address the significant differences you describe. - John Fader

Valparaiso University[edit]

I wrote the article on Lowell Thomas and the sources I used say he graduated from the University of Northern Indiana in 1911. That institution is now known as Valparaiso University and the article there says it was called Valparaiso College in 1900. Can anyone clarify when it changed its name? PedanticallySpeaking 22:54, Nov 4, 2004 (UTC)

Just six years later in 1906[1] --Cvaneg 22:58, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
But my books say he graduated in 1911 from the University of Northern Indiana. Was UNI perhaps absorbed by Valparaiso? Or is this an entirely different institution? PedanticallySpeaking 18:12, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)
Well according to Britannica he attended Valparaiso. So I imagine that he did attend the university now referred to as Valparaiso, but one source or another has their timeline mixed up in regards to the exact name of that institution at the time of his graduation --Cvaneg 19:39, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
There never was a University of Northern Indiana. There was a Northern Indiana Normal School, which was rechartered as Valparaiso College in 1900. Thus students who graduated before 1900 are somtimes incorrectly cited as graduates of Northern Indiana University. "University of Northern Indiana" appears to be an error in at least one widely cited biography of Lowell Thomas. Britannica says he graduated from Valparaiso in 1911. Diderot 21:23, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Lowell Thomas's memoir Good Evening, Everybody (New York: Morrow, 1976) states, page 64, that "officially it was the University of Northern Indiana at Valparaiso." PedanticallySpeaking 17:59, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

What do you call a person from Massachusetts?[edit]

A person from Texas is a Texan, a person from New York is a New Yorker, so what is a person from Massachusetts called? Is there even a word for it? [[User:Livajo|力伟|]] 06:54, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

"Texan" is an adjective; when someone is called a "Texan," it is presumed they are being called a "Texan person." On the other hand, "New Yorker" is a noun. Therefore, "Texan senator" (or "Texan vacation" or what have you) sounds correct to most Americans, but "New Yorker senator" sounds odd. "New York senator" sounds better. To answer your question, I don't think there is a word like "New Yorker" for people from Massachusetts, but you may be able to get around it by using Massachusetts as an adjective, as in "Massachusetts senator." Hope this helps. Garrett Albright 08:13, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Once the post-election emigration begins, you can start calling them Canadians. adamsan 10:53, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, Texan is a noun. You would say "a Texas senator is a Texan". Massachusettan receives over 100,000 Google hits which was, by far, the largest for any spelling variation I tried. Rmhermen 14:22, Nov 6, 2004 (UTC)
It only gets so many Google hits since there are about 100,000 occurrences of this word on one particular website. Excluding that site, the number of hits drops to under a dozen. [[User:Livajo|力伟|]] 16:15, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Quite true. Bizarre. How about we just call them "liberals"? Rmhermen 16:49, Nov 6, 2004 (UTC)
"Texan" is both an adjective and a noun, depending on context. -- Cyrius| 03:38, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
A person from Massachusetts is called a "Bay Stater". --I. Neschek 17:15, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Incidentally, a person from Ohio is an "Ohioan". It's generally used as a noun, not as an adjective. (I would never say "an Ohioan senator". "An Ohio senator" seems much more natural.) It seems to me that these words for residents of U.S. states tend to function primarily as nouns. (But what about "Carolinian"?) [[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 00:48, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
See also demonym and List of adjectival forms of place names. - 14:43, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC) Lee (talk)

what about a person from conneticut?

My favorite from all of these people's names is that a person from Liechtenstein is known as a Lillipudlian. Our team won a quiz competition because a guy on our team knew that. I can't find any reference now to back that up though. - Taxman 21:31, Nov 8, 2004 (UTC)

Massachusettsite and (most commonly) Connecticutan respectively. --Gelu Ignisque
  • The U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual (2000) says a person from the Bay State is a "Massachusettsan" and a native of the Nutmeg State is a "Connecticuter". See chapter five of the Manual, here, at section 5.23. As for natives of Ohio, of which I am one, "Buckeye" is much better than "Ohioan". PedanticallySpeaking 19:31, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)
      • Thank you for the information. My curiosity has been satisfied. [[User:Livajo|力伟|]] 01:50, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • Warning to people who are not from Ohio: Do not refer to Ohioans as Buckeyes unless you know that they are Ohio State fans. Michigan fans might object, and a remarkably high percentage of Ohioans are Michigan fans. -[[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 01:07, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • We just call each other "Komrade" here in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. ;-) Terrapin 20:30, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I for one welcome our... In MA, joke tells you! - Ok sorry couldn't help it. Taxman 00:15, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

Yasser Arafat[edit]

What nation's citizenship does Yasser Arafat hold? PedanticallySpeaking 18:20, Nov 10, 2004 (UTC)

Arafat presumably has some sort of diplomatic passport, though more to the point, what passport would a normal Palestinian have? Jordanian? Egyptian? or can the Palestinian Authority issue their own?
Ah, here we are: from passport "Stateless persons (those to whom no country will grant a passport or citizenship) generally travel internationally on transit documents issued by the United Nations under the terms of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. These are accepted in lieu of passports by most governments. Similarly, refugees and asylum seekers often travel under non-national interim documentation, rather than the passport of the country from which they are fleeing."

The PA issues passports, which you can apply for here. The PA consider this passport to be a right of "every Palestinian citizen"; the USA apparently recognize it as a valid travel document but do not recognize it as conferring citizenship of any country, in some bureaucratic twist. Arafat, presumably, has a PA passport.

  • Not necessarily. Heads of state do not require a passport to travel, e.g. Queen Elizabeth II does not have one though British passports are issued in her name, and if the Authority can issue passports then Arafat would be in the position of a head of state. PedanticallySpeaking 15:53, Nov 11, 2004 (UTC)

Palestinians outside of Palestine mostly get "travel documents" such as those alluded to above. In Egypt, they get Palestinian Travel Documents; in Lebanon, they get Lebanese Travel Document for Palestinian Refugees (pdf). The exception is those living in Jordan: they get Jordanian passports, and are considered Jordanian citizens. There's an art project on it... - Mustafaa 19:15, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Very interesting - I hope someone is writing this up for passport :) -- ALoan (Talk) 19:58, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

It does get quite confusing. A couple of my best friends are Palestinian. She's from Nablus. She holds a Jordanian passport, even though she's never been in Jordan (except inasmuch as Jordan still claimed the West Bank when she was born in the early '70s.) Her parents and one of her sisters hold Israeli passports. Meanwhile, her husband and his family are a mix of stateless and Israeli citizens. It's a mess. --jpgordon{gab} 20:09, 10 Nov 2004 (UTC)

World Series Trophy[edit]

Is a new trophy created for each year's winning team or is it like the Stanley Cup and passed forward to each new winner? PedanticallySpeaking 15:38, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

After reading the article, I'd be inclined to say that a new trophy is created each year. It talks about recent designs, which implies more than one or two versions. Also, considering that the current design has 30 flags each representing a team in the MLB, that would mean the trophy could at most be 6 years old since the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were added in 1998. Finally, it references the 2003 and 2004 trophy as separate entities. --Cvaneg 16:38, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I had this question a few days ago before I read the article, which also gave me the impression of a series of trophies, I just was hoping someone could confirm that. PedanticallySpeaking 16:45, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

Who lied to his diary?[edit]

Who was the Clinton administration official who testified to Congress, when hearings were held on how bank regulators treated the failure of the savings and loan owned by the Clintons' friend Jim McDougal, that he had lied to his own diary? PedanticallySpeaking 15:40, Nov 13, 2004 (UTC)

According to CNN Josh Steiner (towards the bottom of the page) --Cvaneg 16:08, 13 Nov 2004 (UTC)

New York tax code change[edit]

What changes in the tax code spurred a speculative building boom in New York, which led to a great supply of apartments on the market prior to 1987? --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 02:33, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)

There was some legislation about real estate partnerships that created an interesting loophole in the federal tax code for much of the '80s that was closed around '86-'87. I don't remember the details, but it should be possible to find; same thing happened here in Seattle. As I remember it, the loophole had been there for a while, but hadn't been much exploited until the '80s, so it would be easier to start any research from the closing of the loophole. -- Jmabel | Talk 18:51, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)
  • I'd have to check, but I think its the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the big tax reform bill, you're talking about, the struggle for which was detailed in the book Showdown at Gucci Gulch by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and Alan S. Murray (New York: Random, 1987). As I recall, it had to do with banning certain tax shelters, including changing the passive loss rules, changes that helped cause all those Texas S&L's that had gambled on the real estate market to collapse. You might also try the superb Skyscraper Dreams: The Great Real Estate Dynasties of New York by Tom Schactman (Boston: Little, Brown, 1991). That book also says that buildings whose foundations were poured by May 13, 1988, got to be 20 percent larger than the zoning would ordinarily allow, some sort of waiver Ed Koch and the City Council approved to spur development in Midtown Manhattan. PedanticallySpeaking 15:29, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)
    • Yes it was a change in the treatment of passive losses by the IRS. Thus it was not just a New York change, but it may have affected New York specifically in the way you refer to, DropDeadGorgias. Basically, for a while passive losses could offset taxable ordinary income. So limited partnerships were set up to invest in real estate and throw off tremendous tax losses. The investments themselves either lost a lot of money or made very little, but the tax savings could be so substantial that they were advantageous for investors to put their money into anyway. Money was solicited from individual and institutional investors for these limited partnerships. The law was then changed, causing many who had put their money in these tax shelters to lose a lot of money, since the investments themselves were typically poor. Limited partnerships live on in the form of successful real estate investments nowadays, but that term can still be used to find more information about the issue. - Taxman 20:40, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)
      • I corrected the name of the act you referred to, PedanticallySpeaking, and linked to it. TEFRA, the name you had before was actually the name of the 82 act. The article currently mentions nothing about closing the passive loss loophole, but it should. I found a reference that does mention the tax reform act of 86 was the one to close the passive loss loophole. All of the above could be used to improve that article by the way. I will see what I can do. - Taxman 16:43, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Is news public domain?[edit]

It seems from the public domain article that facts are in the public domain, but reporting of them may not be. A news agency might do a lot of work to collect some news and expect just compensation. So how is it that news stories can be "picked up" by competing agencies, e.g., the Associated Press picking up a story in a local newspaper? Isn't that local news story under copyright? Is there a fee involved or some sort of professional agreement? Thanks. Mjklin 15:10, 2004 Nov 16 (UTC)

As you can see from the article on the AP, it's owned by its contributing newspapers. A local newspaper allows its stories to be used by the AP because it has the opportunity to use AP wire stories itself. So, the answer is that the news story is certainly under copyright, and the only fees/professional arrangements involved are the money and agreements necessary to maintain the AP. :-) Jwrosenzweig 15:16, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, but the AP seems to be a special arrangement. Does "picking up" happen in any other situation, say, between Newsweek and Good Housekeeping? What about if Newsweek picked up a story from a British paper?

In cases other than AP - and in some cases involving AP - there is simply a price schedule for using articles established in advance. You can publish AP articles on your own personal website if you pay the fees. Or, a bunch of newspapers will be owned by the same company which will share articles among its different papers. American papers in particular are often part of large chains, where two newspapers in cities on the opposite sides of the country may have identical news stories on the same day for all or nearly all their non-local news.
In short, it all stays under copyright but the rights are presold or prelicensed because news breaks too quickly to ask for explicit permission. Selling news stories is a source of income for some newspapers.
There is no special reason why newsmagazines can't do this too, but magazines don't usually buy stories from wire services (sometimes, but not usually). The fees are proportionate to mean circulation, so Newsweek would have to pay a lot if it used wire articles, and people wouldn't read it much for last week's AP wire feeds. So this sort of thing doesn't much happen. Now, magazines do sometimes exchange stories, but then it's usually negociated specifically for that article and money changes hands. There are sometimes standard fee schedules for reprinting and translating stories, but that means publication in a different market or at a later date. Diderot 16:01, 16 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Just yesterday, The Cincinnati Enquirer carried an AP story from Akron, Ohio about a big series on home-schooling the Akron Beacon Journal is doing this week. The AP routinely moves stories that tell everyone else what is being reported on. One reason is to let editors know there's something they might want to get reprint rights on.
    Now as for a story being picked up by the AP, one of the conditions of membership, is that the AP is entitled to exclusive rights to distribute breaking local news. So if a plane crashes in Seattle, the AP could pick up everything the Post-Intelligencer and the Times wrote and every AP subscriber would be free to use it. This does not apply to where a paper's bureaus elsewhere break a story, investigative reports, columns, reviews, and the like. (Thought syndication deals often exist for this material, just not through the AP.)
    Facts are in the public domain. And for an older Associated Press story you needn't worry so much about infringement because the story has gone stale. However, the AP and others have won court cases--I don't have the citations at hand--where radio and television stations who weren't subscribers simply rephrased AP stories and put them on the air; these precedents are from the 1920s and 1930s. The courts have reasoned that if everyone were allowed to piggyback on the AP's labor then nobody would go into the business of newsgathering and there would be no news since everyone decided to be a freerider rather than a subscriber. The Toledo Blade newspaper got a settlement from a tv station a couple years ago that was basically reading the morning paper on the air.
    Again, I don't have the citations, but a long time ago--in the 19th century, I believe--the courts ruled you couldn't copyright information such as stock quotes, commodities prices, prices quoted on merchandise, etc., notwithstanding the disclaimers you see today on Bloomberg and CNBC.
    As for the workings of the AP, it is a non-profit memership co-operative. Every general interest daily newspaper in America (there are around 1,500) is a member plus some college and weekly papers. Their fees are determined on circulation, so USA Today (circulation 2 million) pays a lot more than The Battle Creek Enquirer (circulation 9,000). (This is how rates for features such as comics and columns are determined, a small paper might only pay a couple dollars a week for them.) Broadcasters, internet sites, and others can subscribe to the AP, but the service is run primarily for the benefit of the newspapers. Back in the 1920's the AP resisted letting radio subscribe until it realized the cash cow it could be and now the income from broadcasters and the rest is icing on the cake. PedanticallySpeaking 17:08, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)
  • Just a couple more points that may be of interest. I think there are less salubrious agencies that specialise in filler material. They solicit very small stories about the funny things children say etc. And I seem to remember a documentary about the unlicensed (ie pirate) Radio Caroline off the coast of the United Kingdom saying that they used to read their news from teletext. Although, hmmm... I'm surprised teletext was around before Caroline disappeared. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 23:08, Nov 23, 2004 (UTC)
    • Sure it was! I used to do rip-and-read newscasts off of AP and UPI teletext in 1972, and it was already old technology. -- Jmabel | Talk 23:43, Nov 23, 2004 (UTC)

Richard Nixon on November 22, 1963[edit]

The Richard Nixon article mentions he was in Dallas, Texas the day John F. Kennedy was killed, speaking to the Coca-Cola Bottlers covention. I thought it was the Pepsi bottlers--can anyone confirm? PedanticallySpeaking 16:48, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

Wasn't he on the grassy knol-- um, nevermind. ;-) func(talk) 05:17, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes. I've just looked throughly into this, it was Pepsi, not Coke. I'll change it in the article. func(talk) 15:32, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Can you write up a proper reference and cite that point please? Thanks - Taxman 20:43, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)

There are hundreds of sites connecting Nixon to a Pepsi-related meeting in Dallas. Now admittedly, many of these sites have a credibility problem, in that they are conspiracy-related, (the whole JFK thing). However, many of these sites have the same supposed direct quote from Nixon:

I attended the Pepsi Cola convention [ in Dallas ]and left on Friday morning. November 22, from Love Field. Dallas, on a flight back to New York , . . . on arrival in New York we caught a cab and headed for the city the cabbie missed a turn somewhere and we were off the highway . . . a woman came out of her house screaming and crying. I rolled down the cab window to ask what the matter was and when she saw my face she turned even paler. She told me that John Kennedy had just been shot in Dallas,"

Nixon is said to have made the above quote in a November 1973 issue of Esquire magazine.

Nixon appearently had a very good relationship with Pepsi because of the "kitchen debate (at pepsi, it seems that Nixon and Khrushchev shared a Pepsi together, or something), and it seems that Nixon was a representive for Pepsi's law firm, given as "Mudge, Rose, Nixon et al".

Here are some sources with better credibility:

Washington Times:

Paul Kangas essay:

As far as proper citing goes, I'm afraid I have been out of school too long to remember the appropriate APA or The Chicago Manual of Style bibliographic formats. ;-)

func(talk) 21:36, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What the...? Why don't we have an article on Paul Kangas??? func(talk) 21:38, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Nixon was Vice President at the time of the "Kitchen Debate" in 1958. Jonathan Aitken writes in Nixon: A Life (Washington: Regnery, 1993) at p. 262 that "Don Kendall became a lifelong Nixon friend and financial backer. He was on the verge of being fired from his job of President of Pepsi Cola International . . . for having wasted too much money and time on Pepsi's investment in the Moscow exhibitionion. However, after Nixon and Krushchev had been photographed drinking Pepsi together on the stand, the corporation's directors were so delighted with the impact on their sales (their advertising slogan 'Be Sociable, Have a Pepsi' was given the twist 'Krushchev Learns to Be Sociable') that Kendall survived and was eventually promoted to the chairmanship of Pepsico. He liked to say, 'I owe my career to Nixon and the Kitchen Debate.' " I read somewhere years ago that Coke was shut out of the Soviet Union for decades, but Pepsi was available because Kruschev had liked it.
    After losing the 1962 election, Nixon moved to New York City and joined the Mudge, Stern, Baldwin, and Todd law firm, which was renamed Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander. Don Kendall then steered Pepsi's legal business to Nixon, Mudge.
    Had I bothered to check Nixon's own memoirs RN (New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1978) I would have found it was a Pepsi board of directors meeting he was attending in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Nixon writes (p. 252) "Early on the morning of November 22 on the way to the Dallas airport I aw the flags displayed along the motorcade route for the presidential visit. Arriving in New York, I hailed a cab home. We drove through Queens toward the 59th Street Bridge, and as we stopped at a traffic light, a man rushed over from the curb and started talking to the driver. I heard him say, 'Do you have a radio in your cab? I jhust heard that Kennedy was shot.' We had no radio, and as we continued into Manhattan a hundred thoughts rushed through my mind. The man could have been crazy or a macabre prankster. He could have been mistaken about what he heard; or perhaps a gunman might have shot at Kenneddy but missed or only wounded him. I refused to believe that he could have been killed.
    "As the cab drew up in front of my building, the doorman ran out. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. 'Oh, Mr. Nixon, have you heard, sir?' he asked. 'It's just terrible. They've killed President Kennedy.' " Nixon lived at 810 Fifth Avenue and when he called J. Edgar Hoover that afternoon, Hoover say "it was a Communist" who had done it.
    Thanks, Func, for your help. PedanticallySpeaking 16:08, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)

Douglas MacArthur's middle name[edit]

Moved from Wikipedia:Reference desk

The Douglas MacArthur gives his middle inital as "B." What did that stand for? [[User:Neutrality|Neutrality (hopefully!)]] 04:44, Nov 14, 2004 (UTC)

Ugh. I thought this was going to be a quick answer, but it isn't.
After a little digging, I've turned up sources that variously give his middle initial as A, B, C, D, M, and S! -- Cyrius| 05:30, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The only quasi-authoritative source I can find for a middle name is his IMDb entry, which gives it as "Arthur", his father's name. I'm not trusting them on this one because it doesn't show up anywhere else online. -- Cyrius| 05:38, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
So his dad was called "Arthur MacArthur"? Is that possible?.... --Menchi 05:50, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Not only was his father Arthur MacArthur, he was Arthur MacArthur, Jr.! -- Cyrius| 05:59, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Reminds me of this Homer quote: "Uh...I'm the piano genius.." --Menchi 06:20, 14 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hehe..."From this day on, Homer J. Simpson shall be known as Homer...Jay...Simpson" -- Ferkelparade π 02:39, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It could be that he had no middle name, and instead just used random letters, like Harry Truman whose S. standed for nothing. GeneralPatton 13:17, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
As the article on Harry S. Truman says, the letter was not "random". It is true that it didn't stand for any single name, though. My middle "R" truly doesn't stand for anything (or alternatively, for anything you like... but that's scary.) JRM 14:24, 2004 Nov 15 (UTC)
  • I've just checked the entry in the American National Biography, the standard reference, and there is no middle name listed for him. That probably means he didn't have one as they always give a complete name for people whenever possible. I will go home and check my copy of William Manchester's biography of him, American Caesar. And not only was his dad Arthur McArthur, so was his son. Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 15:21, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)
Arthur McArthur the THIRD"? Woa.... --Menchi 15:33, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • William Manchester's biography makes no mention of a middle name, nor do any sources I checked last night. I did that last night before seeing User:Cyrius's reply below. Oh, and there are four Arthur MacArthurs. Douglas's grandfather, father, brother and son. And his brother Arthur's son's name? Douglas. Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 16:44, Nov 16, 2004 (UTC)

End moved

I just got a response from the archivist at the MacArthur Memorial:

MacArthur had no middle name. He wasn't given one at birth. We have all baptismal, official school and Army records, he never put a middle name or initial on anything. However, I have seen pictures where he is wearing a monogrammed handkerchief and there is an "A" where the middle initial spot is. I think he chose that for his father's name, but official he had none.
J.W. Zobel
Mac Mem

And that solves that. -- Cyrius| 15:52, 15 Nov 2004 (UTC)


I'm looking for a legal definition of the word "mopery." I'm disinclined to put full faith in the current contents of the article Mopery without a little more proof, as I think that information originated in the movie "Revenge of the Nerds." Joyous 05:15, Nov 27, 2004 (UTC)

  • Black's Law Dictionary (7th ed.) contains no entry for the word and it does not appear in the index of the Ohio Revised Code. There are two definitions in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th ed. (2002): "1. Mopish behavior; a fit of moping" and "2. Loitering or other petty lawbreaking, esp. when used as an excuse to arrest or harass someone. US." PedanticallySpeaking 16:56, Nov 27, 2004 (UTC)
  • When I was covering the criminal courts in Chicago back in the 1960s, mopery with intent was the term applied to the general case of rounding people up to clear the streets for one reason or other, but there was no such law on the books in Chicage. That is, it was a joke. We also used the term Mickey the Mope as a general name for routine, low-grade criminal defendants. I am betting that mopery is not on the books anywhere, despite testimony to the contrary above. It is possible that some policeman didn't know it was a joke either.
Mopery does not appear in the OED. It is given as a synonym for vagrancy in Websters 3, as meaning "mopish behavior", or a slang expression for "violation of a minor law or imaginary rule" in the Random House Unabridged. Nor does it appear in my original 19th century edition of American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster, LL.D. Noah defines a mope as "a stupid or low-spirited person, a drone", which goes along with my Mickey the Mope above. Ortolan88 00:57, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • PS - Going to fix the article soon. Ortolan88 17:46, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction[edit]

Has anyone besides Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee won the prize for a first novel? PedanticallySpeaking 16:50, Nov 27, 2004 (UTC)

  • I thought Jhumpa Lahiri's book was a collection of stories, not a novel. PedanticallySpeaking 17:49, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)
  • Could be. I did a pretty quick scan of the list. --jpgordon{gab} 15:28, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

UK Buildings with `CD`[edit]

-- 19:30, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)What do the initials `CD` mean when carved on a building, normally followed by a date, in England. (UK)


Hrm. Knowing the dates generally associated would make it easier, or the buildings; do you have an example? CR would probably have been Carolus Rex, signifying King Charles, but I'm not sure about CD. Shimgray 21:01, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I've had Cromwell Defender suggested, but not sure about that. If you know where the inscription is, it may also help to work out what it means. Shimgray 21:10, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Hmm - it would help to know the sort of building, where it is, and the date. Rather more prosaically, could the "C" stand for "construction/constructed" (or something similar in Latin) and/or the "D" for "date" or "datum" or "during"? Or could it be the initials of the architect, builder or owner? -- ALoan (Talk) 12:48, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • It might be something in Latin, but usually the word "Fecit" is used to identify the creator or the person who comissioned an artwork or structure. The Trevi Fountain in Rome says "Fecit" the name of the pope that had it built, and a date. I checked the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and the only "CD" abbreviation that might appear on a building was "Civil Defence". PedanticallySpeaking 17:57, Nov 29, 2004 (UTC)
  • I would suggest a more prosaic origin -- "Cd" as a very abbreviated form of "Constructed". While I have never seen that particular abbreviation, I think it may be likelier than the alternatives. Jwrosenzweig 22:41, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I agree some more context, such as the region of England or time frame would be helpful (or even a photo). It might be a mason's mark which were frequently a combination of initials (but usually in a discrete position on the building) [2]. CD would then be a mason working in your area. Alternatively it could be a fire mark to indicate that the building had fire insurance in the 18th/19th century. But these were usually metal plaques and more elaborate. For examples [3]. I also recall seeing chiseled marks which may be related to datum points for the Ordnance Survey, these tend to be near ground level, but I can't find any references for them. (In any case, there's two obvious missing articles for someone). -- Solipsist 19:08, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Green Acres[edit]

I want to know what state was supposed to be the setting for the TV show Green Acres. Anyone know?ike9898 02:08, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)

  • No state was ever specified for the location of Hooterville (no "s" except when Lisa Douglas says it). It's neighbor Pixley does exist in the central valley of California near Fresno and shots of its water tower were used in establishing shots. Shots of the county courthouse indicated a warm climate as there are palm trees visible. Other clues to its location were that it is the "Kangaroo State", Mr. Haney explained, "because we keep things hopping." The state flower is ragweed and the state allergy is hayfever. When Oliver gives Lisa the route he's going to take in the pilot, "Oliver Buys a Farm", he starts by going to Chicago, but he has to change planes twice after that. 20:30, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Indonesian Hats[edit]

What are the brimless hats (shown in the picture) worn by many Indonesian men called? PedanticallySpeaking 21:58, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

The parliamentary verb "table"[edit]

In the United States to "table" a motion means that the motion is disposed of, exactly the opposite of its sense in Britain where it means to put an issue on the agenda. I heard it used in connection with the Canadian parliament and wonder if Canadians use it in the American or the British sense. PedanticallySpeaking 19:13, Jan 15, 2005 (UTC)

You can google search for occurrences of "tabled" within [, which is a news portal to major newspaper stories. See [4]
The answer seems to be, the word is almost exclusively used in the context of Parliament and the House of Commons, and there it's always used in the British sense, ie to bring legislation up for consideration. It would not be used in the broader sense of putting an issue on the agenda (of a business meeting or whatever) or the American sense of putting an issue "on ice". However Canadians have a great deal of exposure to American media, both print and television, and are probably familiar with the American usage as well. -- Curps 21:29, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The British sense, I think...that is what immediately comes to my mind, at least. Adam Bishop 00:39, 16 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Boil Advisories[edit]

Sorry about there being no question here. I started typing and must have hit return and all that was posted was the header. Then when I went back my request to save text kept getting timed out. Anyhow, thank you, Sharkford, for attempting to answer the question based on only two words. The question I had was that boil advisories are posted by water departments here citing low pressure in the mains. What about low water pressure necessitates boiling water? Where I live most of the water comes from wells rather than surface bodies of water, so runoff shouldn't be the problem.

Sharkford's reply was based on just the header--no question.

  • If you mean the boil-water advisories that towns occasionally announce, it means that the town water supply is known to have an unsafe high level of pathogens. Bringing water to a boil is presumed to make it safe for human consumption, so you are advised to do this for any water which you will be drinking or cooking with. It seems to be assumed, true or not, that you do not ingest water during washing or bathing. Often such advisories follow heavy rains which introduce lots of surface runoff into the reservoirs or lakes from which the town water supply is drawn, bringing more decomposing organic matter than the utility's chlorination process can accommodate. Less commonly it's associated with a breakdown of the water-purification system. --Sharkford 15:13, 2005 Jan 18 (UTC)

Symbol on Food Packages[edit]

On bags of potato chips, I've noticed some have a symbol which resembles the copyright symbol but is a "U" in a circle. What does this mean? PedanticallySpeaking 15:45, Feb 26, 2005 (UTC)

It's one of the innumerable kosher symbols. [5] -- John Fader 15:52, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Pa. Dept. of Agriculture[edit]

Some food packages note the product was registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. What does this mean and why do companies do this? PedanticallySpeaking 15:47, Feb 26, 2005 (UTC)

Smokey and the Bandit and Coors[edit]

In the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, Jerry Reed and Burt Reynolds are hired to go to Texarkana, Texas, to bring back Coors beer to Atlanta, Georgia. When the idea is proposed to him, Jerry Reed says "That's bootlegging!" Why would that have been bootlegging? I know Coors was not available in the east at that time. Is that why? PedanticallySpeaking 15:49, Feb 26, 2005 (UTC)

  • Yes, even in U.S. States (and Canadian Provinces) in which alcohol is readily available (i.e., in corner stores as opposed to gov't-run shops), its distribution and retail sales are regulated and licensed, and it's usually illegal for anyone other than a licensed distributor to bring more than personal-use quantities (I believe generally defined as a bottle of liquor or 24 beer) across State (or Provincial) borders or resell it to another person. "Bootlegging" in its core sense was the illegal making of alcohol, but post-Prohibition the economic justifcation of that is very small, and the illegal transport and resale of commercial alcohol is now called bootlegging. It can take the form of bringing brands to where they are not normally sold, selling it to minors (a very serious offence in most States, where "minor" means under 21), unlicensed home delivery (inevitably a rumoured sideline of small-town taxi companies) or just keeping some on hand for sale to friends after hours. I'll put some of this in Bootlegging. Sharkford 21:09, 2005 Feb 26 (UTC)
    • But isn't the pertinent point that they are failing to pay the taxes due on the alcohol? - Nunh-huh 07:35, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
    • State or other local-jurisdiction taxes are part of the regulation of alcohol but I think you'll find that unlicensed cross-state transport of alcohol is prohibited even if you offered, somehow, to pay the taxes. And besides, the line is "that's bootlegging", not "that's tax evasion". Sharkford 16:56, 2005 Feb 28 (UTC)

Law & Order[edit]

Two questions about Law and Order:

  1. When the detectives pull someone's phone records they call them the "L.U.D.'s" (that's how it appears in the close-captioning, at least). What does that stand for?
  2. Does the sound that opens each scene (the DOINK-DOINK noise) have a name? I want to call it a "stinger" but I am doubtful.

Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 19:13, Mar 9, 2005 (UTC)

Federal Judges Killed[edit]

A story on the news yesterday regarding the threats to federal judges said only three had ever been murdered. One I know was John H. Wood, Jr., the one Woody Harrelson's dad killed. Who were the other two? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)

A story on the news yesterday regarding the threats to federal judges said only three had ever been murdered. One I know was John H. Wood, Jr., the one Woody Harrelson's dad killed. Who were the other two? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, Mar 10, 2005 (UTC)

According to [CNN] Robert Vance in 1989 and Richard J. Daronco 1988 --DaveC 19:03, 10 Mar 2005 (UTC)

New York City Hall's address[edit]

What is the street address for New York City Hall? From what I've seen (e.g. the Postal Service's address database and others) it does not appear to have one, "City Hall" being its official address. Perhaps it is like the U.S. Capitol, the Old Executive Office Building, and the Ohio State House in not having a number. PedanticallySpeaking 15:56, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

It's on Chambers Street. I cannot find a number[6]. JFW | T@lk 03:25, 8 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Getting My Blog Indexed[edit]

I started a blog but so far it's not showing up in any of the search engines (e.g. Google, MSN, Yahoo). Would anyone be able to point me to information about how to get it indexed and noticed? Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 16:58, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

Generally speaking Google will "get there eventually", although they may for a while just have the URL of your page listed, having not had a chance to index it yet (lots of Wikipedia articles are in this state, presumably because WikiSlowness means they can't get round our site as fast as they'd like). It can take them a while to work out exactly what your PageRank should be and therefore where you are placed in search results. If they haven't come across you at all you can prompt the Googlebot to come your way by putting your site in here. The most important thing however is to make sure there are incoming links pointing to your site, in which case they will find you sooner or later. I don't know about MSN but I'd assume they use a similar crawler system. Yahoo get their index from Google AFAIK, so Google is key. — Trilobite (Talk) 20:07, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Actually I have just checked the article on Yahoo and apparently they use their own technology now, but it's made me realise just how much Wikipedia has on this kind of thing. The PageRank article, for example, has loads of formulae you may or may not be interested in. — Trilobite (Talk) 20:09, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

North Carolina license plates[edit]

Do North Carolina plates give any indication of what county the vehicle is registered in? PedanticallySpeaking 18:33, Feb 28, 2005 (UTC)

I don't think so. I checked out the DMV site and it doesn't look like any of the current designs leave room for the county's name. One of the registration stickers specifies the month and the other the year that registration expires. -Aranel ("Sarah") 23:43, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Oh, but apparently there's a certain area of the state called the "Global TransPark" that has special optional plates starting with "GTP", which would at least give you some information about the county of origin. The things you learn... [7]. -Aranel ("Sarah") 23:52, 28 Feb 2005 (UTC)
  • Wouldn't you know it I was behind someone today with a N.C. plate and the name isn't spelled out but there are two stickers on it with numbers and I just wondered if those numbers were the county. Ohio's plates have stickers like this, e.g. "83" equals Warren County. PedanticallySpeaking 16:02, Mar 1, 2005 (UTC)

The Boston (Evening) Transcript[edit]

From when to when was the Boston Evening Transcript published? Was this indeed an afternoon-only newspaper, colloquially referred to as the Boston Transcript, or were there separate papers? (I'm not talking about the collection of genealogy columns extracted from it, which is also called the Boston Transcript). JRM 14:54, 2005 Mar 12 (UTC)

  • According to the catalog records of the Library of Congress and in the OCLC WorldCat database, the paper was published from July 24, 1830, to April 30, 1941, under slightly varying names, e.g. the Boston Evening Transcript, the Boston Daily Transcript, etc. The catalog also turns up a history of the paper: The Boston Transcript: A History of the First Hundred Years by Joseph Edgar Chamberlain, published by Houghton, Mifflin in 1930 which has been reprinted subsequently. There was also a short lived monthly magazine in 1946 called The Boston Transcript. PedanticallySpeaking 15:11, Mar 17, 2005 (UTC)

Bud Shuster's real name[edit]

When I rewrote the article, I could not come with anything besides the initials E.G. for him. None of the usual sources, e.g. Bioguide, Congressional Directory, Almanac of American Politics, The New York Times, was of any use. So what is Bud Shuster's real name? PedanticallySpeaking 19:48, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)

Presidential Succession Act and The West Wing[edit]

Last night on The West Wing, one of the episodes with John Goodman as acting president, a character says the Speaker of the House is next in line after the Vice President in the current law because "Harry Truman liked to drink bourbon with Sam Rayburn." It was my understanding Truman pushed for the change--previously the Secretary of State was next after the Veep--because he believed the job ought to be held by an elected official. Truman's first SecState, Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., had never held elective office, one reason Truman replaced him with James Byrnes. Anyone know if The West Wing dialogue has any basis in fact or is just some screenwriter blowing smoke? PedanticallySpeaking 19:01, Mar 25, 2005 (UTC)

I don't know the answer, but just one thought: Secretary of State isn't elected... Smoddy (tgeck) 23:27, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • But Byrnes had previously held elective office as governor of South Carolina. Sorry I didn't make that clear. PedanticallySpeaking 20:00, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)
From the U.S. Senate's own website:
"When the 1945 death of Franklin Roosevelt propelled Vice President Truman into the presidency, Truman urged placing the Speaker, as an elected representative of his district, as well as the chosen leader of the “elected representatives of the people,” next in line to the vice president. Since one could make the same argument for the president pro tempore, Truman’s decision may have reflected his strained relations with seventy-eight-year-old President Pro Tempore Kenneth McKellar and his warm friendship with sixty-five-year-old House Speaker Sam Rayburn. After all, it was in Rayburn’s hideaway office, where he had gone for a late afternoon glass of bourbon, that Truman first learned of his own elevation to the presidency."


Mwalcoff 09:53, 26 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • Thanks for that link. I should also note that from what I read, nobody had anything but strained relations with Kenneth McKellar. PedanticallySpeaking 20:03, Mar 26, 2005 (UTC)

Bizarre hypothetical question about American free speech laws[edit]

Under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution could I (pretending for the purposes of the question that I'm a U.S. citizen) hold a rally that called for the execution of George Bush. Of course, actually trying to hire an assassin would probably and understandably land me in jail, but let's say I make a public speech in which I call for a law or a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to order the execution of the president by a simple majority, and I state that once the necessary arrangements are in place I would like this to be carried out. Am I legally protected or would this be seen as going too far? (Secret Service personnel scanning the Wikipedia reference desk for threats to national security should note that while I am no great fan of Dubya, I don't actually intend to kill him, I am just interested in how freedom of speech protections differ from country to country.) — Trilobite (Talk) 05:43, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • Seems to me that subjunctive threats are probably protected speech... --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 06:02, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I think the net result would be you having an uncomfortable conversation with a pair of men in dark suits and getting your own file folder in Washington, DC. -- Cyrius| 06:06, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)

First, I am not a lawyer. With that said, in the US, different kinds of speech are afforded different protection under the law. Political speech is the most highly protected. Some kinds of speech are deemed dangerous (such as insightment to riot). The SCOTUS considered these matters in Schenck v. United States:

"Words which, ordinarily and in many places, would be within the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment may become subject to prohibition when of such a nature and used in such circumstances as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils which Congress has a right to prevent. The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done."'
This case is also the source of the saying "You can't shout fire in a crowded theater", a paraphase of Holmes' view that "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic." →Raul654 06:08, Mar 27, 2005 (UTC)
  • It would probably be permissible; you wouldn't wind up in jail. However, you probably would end up getting watched and perhaps interviewed by the FBI/Secret Service. Neutralitytalk 07:07, Mar 27, 2005 (UTC)
Great, thanks for your replies. The reason I asked is that a couple of years ago when Betty Windsor celebrated her Golden Jubilee a lot of towns and villages put on street parties, and someone held an "Execute the Queen" street party in the time-honoured fashion of the anarchists from Class War. They didn't actually incite anyone to murder her, just said she should be killed. Some of the organisers got arrested on public order grounds (not notifying the police so they could close the roads in advance etc) but were never charged with anything as I recall. There was some minor talk about restriction of freedom of speech as a result of the affair, although the whole thing was taken more as a 'funny story' at the end of the news than as a serious threat either to the queen's safety or people's rights of free speech. I may be remembering this wrong but that's my recollection of it. Of course, it would only be possible to make a proper comparison with the hypothetical American example I gave if it had been the the Prime Minister they had been trying to execute, but you get the idea. I suspect the consequences would be similar on both sides of the Atlantic: not totally illegal but liable to get you some unwanted attention from the powers that be. — Trilobite (Talk) 06:19, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
With the usual legal disclaimers, I think that calling for the execution of the monarch in the UK is one of the things that is almost certainly illegal - if nothing else, you're hard pressed to justify it as a rational political stance... OTOH, it's rarely in anyone's interests to have a prosecution over this sort of thing. Shimgray 17:59, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I suspect the other thing you would have to do is step very carefully around the laws about incitement to commit a crime. My guess is that your British anarchist group weren't charged because it was clear that they weren't expecting to be taken seriously, or that the police thought charging them would give them a legitimacy they didn't really have. In calling for the killing of GWB I would expect you would have to make it very, very clear that you were in no way encouraging anyone to actually do the thing that you were 'calling for', if you wanted to escape prosecution. My guess is also that given the number of recent actual assasination attempts on US presidents compared with those on British Royalty, the US authorities might be more inclined to take you seriously. In short, my advice would be not to do it! DJ Clayworth 18:13, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • In Britain, not only can you be jailed for making threats to the Queen's life, you can be jailed for imagining kiling her or even calling for the country to become a republic. So says the Treason Felony Act 1848, which The Guardian unsuccessfully went to court to try to overturn (see the story here). I believe that a peaceful call such as you describe should be protected and there are precedents to support that. Witness the court rulings that mere membership in the Communist party could not be criminalized or that the State Department's passport chief Ruth Shipley (a Foggy Bottom J. Edgar) couldn't just deny people, e.g. Paul Robeson, passports because of their opinions. But we also have the precedents, e.g. Matthew Lyon et alia, who were jailed under the Sedition Act for mere criticism of John Adams. Or in World War I, a man who made a film about the American Revolutionary War that depicted the British as beastly was jailed as the Brits were then our allies. (Look out Mel Gibson!) Similiarly, the terrorism laws (including those passed before the so-called "Patriot" Act) are so broad they run counter to the 1950's era precedents. Considering how this administration has jailed people who dare heckle even the President's wife, I think advocating this line of argument is asking for a visit from the Feds--or worse. PedanticallySpeaking 19:12, Mar 28, 2005 (UTC)

Who named the Oscars[edit]

Margaret Herrick article says : Academy President Bette Davis claimed that she invented the name Oscars to refer to the Academy Awards. Is there an article or references to her, I found a page each on Bette Davis (actress) and Betty Davis (singer), but neither of them happen to be the academy president. Jay 12:08, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Re the statement in the Margaret Herrick article, which I wrote, about naming the Oscar: Bette Davis the actress was the ninth president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, serving October to December 1941, when she resigned. I have added a sentence to this effect to her article. Davis also received two Oscars, for Dangerous (1935) and Jezebel (1938), bracketing Luise Rainer's back-to-back awards.

Copyright during French Revolution[edit]

I read once that during the French Revolution all copyrights on published works were rescinded (assumedly in the name of égalité), but there followed such a decline in quality that the authorities were forced to reinstitute it. Does this have any basis in fact? Mjklin 18:45, 2005 Mar 23 (UTC)

I recall reading this too. I believe it was in Virginia Postrel's economics column in The New York Times, but I don't have the citation before me. As I recall, she said that the only books published were pornography, which is always in demand. 15:43, 1 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Diet Coke[edit]

Diet Coke's current ad campaign has spots with Adrien Brody and Kate Beckinsale. The latest ad, called "Sparkle", features a blonde roller-skating to Paul Oakenfeld and Shifty's song "Starry Eyed Surprise". (It can be viewed here.) The blonde seems familiar and since the previous spots included celebs, I wonder if she is an actor too. Anyone know who she is? PedanticallySpeaking 14:19, Apr 2, 2005 (UTC)

I have no idea, but you could try emailing them and asking them. If the person answering the email doesn't know, the ad agency that produced the ad would. Try and find out what agency that is and either call or email them directly perhaps. I think you could fairly easily google or look in trade magazines to find out who the ad agency is that does most of diet coke's ads or the current ones. - Taxman 22:26, Apr 12, 2005 (UTC)
The agency is Foote, Cone, and Belding. (See [ here), but when I've contacted companies about ads in the past, they have not replied. PedanticallySpeaking 17:13, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Turkey and the fez[edit]

An article in The Economist noted that Ataturk, as part of his secularization campaign, banned the fez, the brimless hats Shriners wear. Are fezes still banned in Turkey? PedanticallySpeaking 16:17, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Turkey and scientific names[edit]

The newsmagazine The Week reported that the Turkish environmental ministry had decided to rename three species of animals because their scientific names referred to Kurdistan and Armenia. These names, the ministry said, "were given names against Turkey's unity" by foreigners with "ill-intent". So the fox Vulpes vulpes kurdistanica is to be V. vulpes, the sheep Ovis armeniana is to be O. orientalis, and the deer Capreolus capreolus aremenius is to be C. capreolus capreolus. But as scientific names are governed by international bodies of scientists rather than governments, does Turkey's action have any standing? PedanticallySpeaking 16:32, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

British Political Lingo[edit]

C-SPAN last night ran Tuesday's edition of the BBC's Newsnight. The host spoke to three of their election consultants, one from each of the Tories, Labour, and the LibDems, all of them former staffers for their parties. One of them talked about a scenario where the Tories get a lot of "D voters" but not so many "A voters". What are "A voters", "B voters", and so forth? PedanticallySpeaking 15:14, Apr 7, 2005 (UTC)

A, B, C1, C2, D, E. refers to social class, it is usually used for analysing voting habits and is also used in advertising for targetting campaigns to one particular group.
  • A upper class
  • B middle class
  • C1 upper working class
  • C2 lower working class
  • D/E: temporarily or permanently unemployed
Jooler 15:25, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, although I think the marketing people have relabelled these categories somewhat over the last few decades, to reflect ongoing demographic shifts. While "upper class" used to truly mean the aristocracy and the landed gentry, it mostly just means "rich people" now. Equally I believe D includes people in less than full time employment and low-skill pieceworkers. I can't readily find a wikipedia article about this, which is a shame: marketers, pollsters, and all kinds of social analysist regularly refer to this system for classifying social groups. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 15:41, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I got stuck in some kind of strange double recursion edit conflict. Here's my answer anyway:
I would say it's most likely to refer to this system of classifying people by their job or income, used internally in marketing and political consultancy and other such fields. This scenario would make sense I suppose, because in this election campaign issues like immigration and asylum, as well as Gypsies (perennial easy targets for right-wing politicians), are being exploited by the Conservatives to a greater extent than in the past. The healthy state of the economy since Labour came to power in 1997, combined with memories of how mismanaged it was under the Tories, mean it's now difficult for them to attack Labour on economic issues, so they go for the sort of things that concern the right-wing tabloid press. This would I think tend to attract lower-income voters who would in the past have voted Labour, as the party of the working class, but now see papers like the Sun and the Daily Mail screaming that immigration is out of control, violent crime out of control, etc, and turn to the Conservatives for a 'tough approach'. Meanwhile Labour has moved a long way to the political centre from the days when the top rate of tax you could be paying was as high as 98%, and those on higher incomes (the "A voters") are more inclined to trust Labour not to tax them to death. Others may disagree with my political analysis of course, but I think it's likely that the letters do refer to those categories I mentioned. — Trilobite (Talk) 15:44, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

And here is my edit conflicted contribution:

Strictly speaking, they are socio-economic classes. I think the Chartered Institute of Marketing defines them occupationally:

  • A Higher managerial/administrative/professional
  • B Median managerial/administrative/professional
  • C1 Junior managerial/administrative/professional, supervisory or clerical
  • C2 Skilled manual
  • D Semi-skilled and unskilled manual
  • E Casual labourers, state pensioners, the unemployed

I also recall some analysts defining them in terms of disposable income. --Theo (Talk) 15:47, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Saturday Night Live[edit]

There was a skit where either Charlie Sheen or Emilio Estevez was part of a gameshow to identify the type of nerd he and others were. What was the name of the gameshow and and when did it air? PedanticallySpeaking 17:24, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Emilio Estevez played the host of a game show in the 18th episode of the 19th series broadcast April 16 1994. I do not know the nature of the game show parodied in this episode. --Theo (Talk) 17:41, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)
From memory, the show was entitled Geek, Dweeb or Spaz. Taco Deposit | Talk-o to Taco 17:55, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)
Confirmation: See [9] Taco Deposit | Talk-o to Taco 17:55, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks, folks! An exact reply in under a half hour! PedanticallySpeaking 19:05, Apr 14, 2005 (UTC)

Wal-Mart and Playboy[edit]

An article on Playboy magazine said one reason its circulation is far below its 1970's peak of 7 million a month is because in the 1980's activists persuaded stores not to sell it, citing 7-11 and Wal-Mart. It seems dubious that Wal-Mart would have ever sold the magazine. Anyone confirm this? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

It's probably a reference to Walmart replacing stores that sold it. --SPUI (talk) 18:13, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
They sold it. They still sell millions of grossly sexually explicit books every year to anyone of any age, but these are all "Romance" novels, which are exempt from scrutiny, for some reason.
An acquaintance of mine (who has published the odd pornographic - sorry, erotic - novel) has commented that even there there's different levels of what's accepted; all sorts of interesting and subtle coding involved, with wildly different standards in different sub-genres and the like. But on the whole, it's "not having pictures of nekkid wimmin in 'em" that probably is the major point they still get sold. Shimgray 15:35, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Political science[edit]

Someone told me once that all a poli sci degree is good for is it makes its holders more interesting guests at parties. What can one do with it except teach political science. PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

  • There's political experts commentating on elections and certain major events. It's quite important to have such people available in journalism, I think. 17:30, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
    • Umm, you could become a politician. Or do some work that had nothing to do with politics ... there is a general purpose element to most humanities degrees, non? --Tagishsimon (talk)
      • You can also go and *work* for a politician. The poli-sci students tend to become the hacks, people with actual useful knowledge the policy wonks. --Robert Merkel 02:03, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
  • The understanding of how political systems work is invaluable for interstanding the workings of other countries' governments. So polsci (or ideally polsci+history) is a good thing to have for those intending working in their country's diplomatic service and foreign-relations office. Ditto for foreign intelligence services (cf Kremlinology), and for other government functions which interact with foreign political systems (trade relations, military pacts etc.). Large corporations, lobby groups, professional organisations and occasionally powerful individuals need the services of those who can navigate the byzantine workings of their own country's government. Pollsters and media companies hire them to analyse elections and political trends. Companies, unions, and other institutions have their own internal politics, voting schemes, constitutions, etc, so they need someone who understands that kind of stuff too. And police, national law-enforcement, and domestic intelligence services need them too, for asking and answering difficult questions like "Are the people who belong to the XYZ liberation front dangerous terrorists, or a bunch of cranky windbags?". -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 18:47, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I suppose there are also non-specific skills you can learn through the subject - ie. the attitude to life and general mental balance of a politician can be useful in other areas. Well, you never know when the ability to lie convincingly can come in handy...--Fangz 03:41, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Ambrose Bierce said a diplomat was someone who engaged in the patriotic art of lying for one's country. But back to the main question about what good is a poli sci degree: has anyone ever seen an employment ad that sought someone with such a degree? PedanticallySpeaking 17:47, May 11, 2005 (UTC)

No. But I've seen ads for jobs that just require *any* degree.--Fangz 18:11, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Most degrees these days aren't vocational IME - employers will often ask for a type of degree (I know of plenty of cases where a "science degree" or "numerate degree" is favoured), but the existence of the qualification is often seen as more important as the specialism. In this way, political science is much the same as art history or philosophy - the chance of someone explicitly wanting to hire a graduate from that field is very low. Shimgray 00:55, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

Rape of a man[edit]

A Law and Order rerun had a plot where women were on trial for raping a man, saying New York law had been specifically amended to permit such a prosecution. Is this correct? I know in the Uniform Code of Military Justice only a woman can be raped, in the case of a man it would be something like forcible sodomy, but what about other jurisdictions. Is it legally possible to rape a man under any other state's laws? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

We tend to think of rape as a penis being forced into a vagina without the permission of the woman. But that's a very limited and simplistic view of rape, just as is believing that any act that does not involve penetration of an orifice is not sex (the Clinton excuse). As I understand it, any sexual act at all that is perpetrated on another person without their consent, whether it's penetration, fellatio, masturbation, cunnilingus etc etc etc - can be considered to be rape. And fair enough too. JackofOz 04:53, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
I haven't seen the Law & Order episode in question, but they may have been referring to the New York State Sexual Assault Reform Act. This act introduced (among other things) gender-neutral language to relevant sections of the NY penal code. Many states have made similar changes over the last couple decades. In some of these states, rape (which carried a gender-specific like "forcible penetration of a vagina by a penis") carried a heavier penalty than "sexual assault" (as detailed by JackofOz above). Obviously, this is ten kinds of wrong, and sometimes allows a rapist to "get off easy" because the rape in question does not fit the state's narrow definitions. --amysayrawr 14:16, May 11, 2005 (UTC)

California prisons[edit]

Where would a woman felon who had committed a non-violent felony (embezzlement) be sent int he California penal system? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

I think they induct at Chowchilla, and it and Corona take low category prisoners. She might, however, be categorised higher/differently due to priors, gang-envolvement, or special needs (suicide risk, etc) and go to Stockton. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 18:09, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Chowchilla is the largest women's prison in California, but another large one is Chino Women's Prison. RickK 22:52, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
Interesting. I read this at More women are incarcerated in the small Central Valley town of Chowchilla - where the largest women's prison in the country is across the street from the second largest - than any other place in America. The two adjacent state prisons are the Central California Women's Facility with around 3,500 inmates, and the Valley State Prison for Women, with another 3,400 (both facilities were designed to house 2,000 inmates each).. RickK 22:55, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
The full list of facilities is at [10] (note that they say the Chino facility is really on Chino-Corona road in Corona). -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 23:06, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Hawaii's time zone[edit]

When Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, it was 7:55 A.M. local time, 1:25 P.M. in Washington. When did Hawaii change to being a whole number of hours behind Washington? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

According to the "northamerica" file included in glibc's time zone database, Hawaii's time zone was changed from UTC-10:30 to UTC-10:00 in 1947 [11]. It gives June 8 as the switch date, but another rather more obscure source ([12], copy the text in the first box) gives June 13 as the last day. Rumor has it that the definitive references on time zone gerrymandering and adjusting in the U.S. regions is the American Atlas, ISBN 0935127380, which I haven't read. JRM · Talk 19:20, 2005 May 10 (UTC)
I have a copy of the American Atlas, which is designed for astrologers, but didn't think to look in it. PedanticallySpeaking 19:52, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Daylight Saving Time[edit]

Congress is set to force America to be on DST for nearly all the year in the grab-bag energy bill the House sent to the Senate a couple weeks ago. By what right can they do this? Has there been any litigation on Congress's power to fiddle with the clocks? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Well, in a way, their fiddling is its own legislative authority to do so... constitutionally, though, I guess you could make a case that it's covered as part of their power to regulate interstate commerce. That's a little contrived, but no more so than some of the other things that have been held covered by that clause. Shimgray 19:27, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Also, there are a couple of states who ignore DST as it currently stands. Chances are, if it becomes really burdensome, even more states will start to ignore it and defeat the goals of the bill anyway. This does make me wonder, though, what clock do federal buildings and miliary bases run on in localities where DST is not observed? --CVaneg 21:14, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
They retain the local time. Is Congress planning on changing the summer time to two hours off, or will it be one hour off all year 'round? RickK 22:57, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
My understanding is that certain members of Congress want to extend the number of months in which the US observes DST. They basically want to reap the benefits of DST for a little bit longer (in this particular case an average savings of 1% in energy costs per day DST is observed). How much energy savings the US would realize is not entirely clear, though. --CVaneg 03:45, 11 May 2005 (UTC)


What's the average birth weight of quads? Anyone have any percentages at each weight, e.g. X % weigh 3 pounds, Y% weigh 4 pounds, etc. PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Repeat after me. I will search google before asking here. :) The first four results for quadruplets birth weight got some good data. Basically the weight varies most by sex and what gestational age the babies were. The best easily accessible data was from a study of Japanese births.[13] It doesn't appear to give an overal average, presumably because that is not meaningful to a medical practitioner, but it does have a percentile chart for quads. From that, across the gestational ages in the chart, the 50 percentile weight ranges from about .9 to 1.7kg for quads. Eyeballing from a table of the data, the median gestational age for quads gives about 30 weeks, that would put the median birthweight at about 1.2kg from the first chart. That's just data from Japan, but you could find more if you needed. - Taxman 04:43, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

René Auberjonois[edit]

How is the surname of the Benson and Deep Space Nine actor pronounced? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Google is your friend. JRM · Talk 18:27, 2005 May 10 (UTC)

Hollywood Womanizers[edit]

Warren Beatty is notorious for success with the ladies. If we were drawing up a top five list, with him as number one, who else would round it out? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

What, you mean like "top five notorious cheating scumbags who degrade women" or something like that? DJ Clayworth 17:54, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
If we're talking historically and by reputation, Errol Flynn. --Robert Merkel 02:01, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
He is only in one movie as far as I know, but as detailed in the article on Wilt Chamberlain, if you believe his claims he would certainly be the winner. - Taxman 17:14, May 11, 2005 (UTC)

Vanity plates[edit]

American states make a mint selling vanity license plates. Do other countries have vanity plates or are car owners stuck with what the state gives them? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

The UK does this sort of thing - [14] --Tagishsimon (talk)
If you mean the special plates that some states make (with different graphics etc) then the UK is entirely different. In the UK, plates aren't made by the government. You go down to Dave's Carparts Shop and he'll make you one up. The government, however, seriously prescribes the formatting of the plate, to such an extent that there's no real equivalent of vanity plates, affinity plates, or special-plates (like veteran's plates). You can get your name written in little letters on the bottom, and sometimes you can try quasi-legal fonts or hacks that allegedly evade automatic numberplate detectors (both of the latter are illegal, and the fuzz take a dim view of them). -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 17:15, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Up to a point. You can in the UK, as per the reference, make a bid for a certain combination of letters and numbers. So I could apply for TAG15H, for instance. Assuming it has not already been released, AFAIK, they'll sell it to me. --Tagishsimon (talk)
I think they mean plates where the letters mean something like "IM VAIN" or "2 MCH MNY". They do exist in the UK and here in Canada. Usually there is an extra fee involved. DJ Clayworth 17:45, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
They exist to a limited extent in the UK, in that they have to be in one of the formats that have been used in the past see British car number plates for the formats. Not all letters/combinations are used in all formats, and some combinations are banned (e.g. in the most recent AA11AAA format plates starting FU are banned). Since 1963 the plates have identified the year the car was made, and although you can make a car look older than it is you cannot make it look newer (e.g. you can put a 1999 X123ABC plate on a 2004 car, but you cannot put a 2004 AB04CDE plate on a 1999 car). Thryduulf 20:15, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
In India, the format is very rigid. The registration id will be typically of the form "TN 59 B 9314", where TN refers to the state of Tamil Nadu, 59 refers to the district of Madurai, the following alphabet(s) indicate the Regional Traffic Office that issued the number (G is reserved for government vehicles) and the 4 digit number that follows is a running number. People to bid for fancy numbers like "9999" etc. I think when the numbers are exhausted, they can have more alphabet combinations like XY etc. -- Sundar (talk · contributions) 06:58, May 11, 2005 (UTC)
I think France has a system like this - strictly regionalised - but it's been a long time since I paid even passing attention... Shimgray 16:26, 13 May 2005 (UTC)
It also happens in Australia. My CEO's BMW has <company name> on the plates. I don't live in Australia, so I don't know details. 09:53, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
In South Australia:
Only plates made by an approved manufacturer comply with the requirements of the Motor Vehicles Act. The display of non-approved plates incurs the risk of a Traffic Infringement Notice and a fine.
You may choose between the standard alpha-numeric plate or, for an extra fee, choose one of the special plates available.
I think it's pretty much the same for the other states. See [15] for more. The alphanumeric plates in SA are along the lines of ABC-123, but the oldest I've seen start at R. Txx used to be reserved for trailers and motorcycles, and Qxx for Government vehicles. A few years ago they introduced AA-1234-A style plates (as an option), which are now up to about the BDs or so. The others are up to X (I think). Some states have 123-ABC style plates. All the states use different colours (for the standard non-vanity ones). Alphax τεχ 09:11, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
It is also possible to get a vanity plate in Germany, although your options are a bit limited - German license plates have a fixed format where the first one to three letters designate your home city or county, then comes a dash, two more letters, and a couple of numbers. It is possible to ask for a personal combination of letters and numbers after the dash, but depending on where you live, it might be rather difficult to find something suitable (most smaller cities and counties have three-letter ID codes, so you might be stuck with something like HDH or OAL at the beginning of your license plate). The bigger cities generally use single letters, so if you're from Stuttgart, you might go for S-KL as a Mercedes driver or for the ever-popular S-EX. Procedure varies quite a bit between cities - some cities hand out vanity plates on a first come, first serve basis, some demand some form of compensation (although this is not official and will probably be denied if you aks about it), some do not hand out vanity plates at all -- Ferkelparade π 11:51, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

In New Zealand we also have vanity plates. You are restricted to 6 letters or numbers (cars and trucks standard plates run AA1 - ZZ9999, and then commencing with AAA1 to eventually end with ZZZ999) or 5 letters or numbers (trailers, motorcycles and tractors etc), and you cannot select a combination that has been previously used. The vanity plates are issued by a stand alone company and are replacements for an original set. They are personal property and transferrable whereas original plates are not. The vanity plates cost $NZ400 while the original sets cost is included in the initial registration fees. Replacement standard plates cost around $20 when the original plates are returned or a statutory declaration is made as to why they cannot, or when the owner wishes to transfer their vanity plates to another vehicle. Vanity plates are vetted for rude or insulting words/phrases. Spacing between the characters seems to be allowed to be altered slightly within the prescribed size of the plate so that the message makes more sense or for aesthetic reasons such as [I AM 1] instead of [IAM1]. However set on the plate, there would be only one set with this combination issued, i.e. [IAM 1] would not be issued.
L-Bit 00:41, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

The Queen's handbag[edit]

The New York Times on Friday, May 6, had a photo on the front page of Tony Blair "kissing hands" with Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. I found it odd she'd be carrying a handbag around her own home but it also made me wonder: what would the Queen carry? She never buys anything, so she wouldn't need money. She usually has someone else drive, so no need for a license. She doesn't have a passport. She wouldn't need keys. So what would the Queen carry? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

According to Majesty magazine the Queen carries a comb, a handkerchief, a small compact, and a tube of lipstick in her handbag. On Sundays she also carries a folded banknote for the church collection plate. As an aside: she uses small movements of the handbag as coded communications with her aides. --Theo (Talk) 18:05, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Dubbing actors[edit]

I read in Edward Epstein's The Big Picture that Gert Frobe's entire performance in the James Bond film Goldfinger was redubbed by an English actor, Michael Collins, because of Frobe's accent. Glenn Close replaced Andie McDowell's entire vocal performance in Greystroke. Ditto Mel Gibson and Mad Max. Anyone else think of another film where a major character whose entire vocal performance was replaced? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

In the Italian cinema, dubbing is (or was) the norm. All the characters, including the leads, are (or were) dubbed; I believe the reason was to allow the director to match voice to appearance as necessary. —Charles P. (Mirv) 17:11, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Thanks, Mirv, but I was more interested in films in their original distibution, so I'll rephrase. Can anyone identify English language films intended for distribution in English language nations where a lead role was completely redubbed by someone else? PedanticallySpeaking 15:53, May 12, 2005 (UTC)
How about the Star Wars films, where it was felt that Dave Prowse's Somerset accent wasn't really appropriate for Darth Vader, hence the dubbing in of James Earl Jones. --OpenToppedBus 16:41, May 13, 2005 (UTC)
Good! That's the sort of thing I was looking for. I always assumed Jones was dubbed in to make him sound more sinister. Thanks, Open! PedanticallySpeaking 17:37, May 13, 2005 (UTC)

An American Tony Benn[edit]

In an episode of the Elaine Stritch-Donald Sinden comedy Two's Company from 1977, Robert gives his preferences if he was forming a government. He declares he'd send Mrs. Thatcher and Mrs. Williams to the backbenches to tend to their knitting, and he'd send Benn as ambassador to Outer Mongolia. I do know who Benn is--e.g. I saw him May 6 on the BBC talking about the previous day's election--and I know something of his politics, but if we were to relate him to American politics, who on the political spectrum here would we best compare him too? Ted Kennedy? PedanticallySpeaking 17:01, May 10, 2005 (UTC)

Honestly not sure - but, remember, in 1977 Benn wasn't viewed the same as he is now. He came to prominence in the sixties, where he was the government's Bright Young Thing (Private Eye once portrayed him as worshipping a statue of Concorde), with the White Heat Of Technology and all that. By the 1970s he'd become more leftwing, but still in the political mainstream (he was in the Cabinet still) - but by now he's well to the left of the rest of the Labour party.
Are you wondering about Benn now, or Benn thirty years ago? Shimgray 18:59, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, both actually. PedanticallySpeaking 19:50, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
Apples and Oranges. Benn in 1977 was viewed as a left-winger, but we had a left-wing government. Still there were plenty of people who found him irritating, and would have relished the idea of banishing him to Outer Mongolia hence the joke. He is very intelligent and very principled. He used to record everything he did in diaries, but now he records everything on tape. I don't know enough about American politics to suggest an analogue. Jooler 17:40, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Yeah; AIUI Benn wasn't really viewed as he was because of his politics, but more because... well, because he was Benn. Odd, idiosyncratic, often outspoken. I'm hard pressed to think of a British equivalent to Benn-77 today, come to think of it. The Cabinet's too firmly in line. Shimgray 21:06, 11 May 2005 (UTC)
Thinking further... Tam Dalyell, perhaps, or Robin Cook? Again, couldn't really convert those into American names... Shimgray 23:58, 12 May 2005 (UTC)

What's up with PedanticallySpeaking? Speculate here[edit]

Seems like an awful lot of questions for one head.

Come on. With a name like PedanticallySpeaking, would you expect any less? You leave him alone, now. He gave us some good questions to crack. :-) JRM · Talk 19:32, 2005 May 10 (UTC)
PS is clearly plotting out some elaborate political thriller. The dark secret is that secretly QE2 had quadruplets (of whom only Charles is acknowledged). Now that Charles has plainly grown up to be an abject duffer, they want the others back. Meanwhile, some shadowy Francis Ukhart type is trying to kill them, knowing he can manipulate King Harold III (Harry the Thick). One has become a rakish hollywood actor, another a senator (whose assistant is falsely convicted). The remaining one is a Cambridge polisci don, who was kicked out of the FCO for leaking stuff about the UK turning a blind eye to torture in Onehorsiestan. The queen keeps photos of all four babies in her handbag. The murderer is unmasked by deductions following personalised number plates ("1 D1D1T"), clues inserted into movie dubs, and a poem which contains a rhyme with Auberjonois. Now, doesn't that sound better than The DaVincy Code? -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 19:42, 10 May 2005 (UTC)
I've not been here much for the past two weeks and so I had saved up a list of questions in my notebook to post upon my return. PedanticallySpeaking 19:50, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm going to have to go with the political thriller explanation. JRM · Talk 19:53, 2005 May 10 (UTC)
Well, I've already written my political thriller, which does include a PM up to no good, but these questions haven't a thing to do with it. PedanticallySpeaking 19:53, May 10, 2005 (UTC)
In the meantime, I've figure out who the father was, why the other three were hidden away, how any brother of Charles could be successful with women, and the identity of the assassin. But, as this isn't SillyWritingPedia, I'll keep it to myself (unless anyone asks me on my talk page). -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 20:26, 10 May 2005 (UTC)

Sexual senses of words[edit]

The words "knowledge" and "conversation" have archaic senses concerning sexual relations, senses usually found today in the legal phrases "unlawful carnal knowledge" (i.e. rape) and "criminal conversation" (i.e. adultery). Are there other similarly innocent-looking words that have sexual senses? PedanticallySpeaking 19:02, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

I might even venture to say that any word can have such connotations, provided that there is sufficient context for its usage, and that the meaning is understood by everyone who is using the word. This is of course due to the tremendous ability for the human brain to assign meaning to abstractions. What context are you looking for specifically? For example, without a particular context, ordinary words like "book", "table", and "paper" can be interpreted as loaded terms. HappyCamper 19:57, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
A specific example: William Wycherly claimed that the word 'china' acquired a sexual connotation after he used it like that in a scene of his play The Country Wife. DJ Clayworth 20:09, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, the word intercourse itself is non-sexual but has come to be used almost entirely in a sexual context. According to [ defines it as Dealings or communications between persons or groups., from Middle English entercours, commercial dealings. RickK 23:06, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

Matthew 1:24-25 states "Then Joseph ... took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son," which is often interpreted as meaning that Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after Jesus was born. People often refer to the word "know" in this way as, e.g. "Did you know her in the Biblical sense?" For instance: [16], [17], [18]. — Asbestos | Talk 12:12, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Spin rate of a CD[edit]

An LP spins at 33 1/3 RPM. How fast does a compact disc spin? PedanticallySpeaking 19:19, May 2, 2005 (UTC)

Revolutions per minute says "Audio CD rotation rates vary from about 500 rpm when reading the innermost CD track, to 180 rpm when reading tracks near the outer edge (CLV)." Naturally data CDs can spin 24 times faster than that, or more. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 19:36, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Note also that some audio CD players (particularly automotive ones, or high-grade home ones) spin the disk faster. These are units with a large data buffer between the decoder and the DAC, and if a serious error is discovered (one that a CD's basic error-correction code can't fix) the track can be reread and maybe the retry will get a valid read of the track. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 20:06, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
I doubt they continuosly spin at a faster rate - if they did, the buffer would eventually run out of space, since the datarate of an Audio CD is always 150KB/s. --Pidgeot (t) (c) (e) 16:39, 3 May 2005 (UTC)
I would expect that the car CDs mentioned above would spin at a continuously faster rate, but throw away any data they read if the buffer was full. That would probably be easier than trying to change the speed of rotation in response to a failed read. DJ Clayworth 21:20, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Interesting but not really important is that unlike the LP (and 45/78 rpm) recording protocol, CD recordings start on the inside and continue outward. hydnjo talk 20:26, 4 May 2005 (UTC)

Movie Location One[edit]

Old Westbury House (photo here) in Old Westbury, New York, on the Gold Coast of Long Island, has appeared in three films I'm familiar with. It is the home Cary Grant is taken to meet James Mason at in North by Northwest. It is Ryan O'Neal's parents' home in Love Story. And it is Ryan Phillippe's aunt Louise Fletcher's home in Cruel Intentions. Anyone seen this house in other films? PedanticallySpeaking 16:03, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

  • The IMDB can help you here. According to IMDB it was also used in Wolf in 1994 and in The Age of Innocence in 1993. Mgm|(talk) 16:20, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

Movie Location Two[edit]

In several films shot in Prague, I've seen the same dramatic entry hall. It is used in the film Mission: Impossible as the American Embassy, its a museum in EuroTrip, and its in the Julia Stiles film The Prince and Me. Any ideas as to what building this is? PedanticallySpeaking 16:03, May 12, 2005 (UTC)

The National Museum? David Sneek 07:02, 13 May 2005 (UTC)

U.S. Diplomatic Relations[edit]

The U.S. has diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world. Are there any besides Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Taiwan that the U.S. does not have relations with? 17:27, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Foreign_relations_of_the_United_States contains your answer. There are two other places, Sudan and Somalia without diplomatic relations. -- Joolz 20:21, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Presidential Inaugurals[edit]

Have any American presidents besides the two Adamses and Nixon skipped their successors' inaugurals? 17:27, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Depending how pedantic you want to be, those presidents that were assasinated or died in office for other reasons (I know there has been at least one, but can't remember who) were not present at their successors' inaugurals. Thryduulf 20:43, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
And Nixon's successor didn't have an inaugural! --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Bills in Congress[edit]

If the chief sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Congress resigns or dies (as Rob Portman did last month), what happens to the bills he is the primary sponsor of? Does a co-sponsor become the lead sponsor? What about a bill that had no co-sponsors? PedanticallySpeaking 20:20, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

I'm just guessing, but according to [19] a sponsor is simply the person to introduce the bill to congress and the co-sponsors are just the members of congress who sign on to support the bill once it has been submitted. Theoretically, this means once the bill is in the system it will go through the standard process for passing laws, regardless of the condition of the original submitter. Admittedly, the odds of passing a bill that no one is advocating are fairly low, but not impossible.--CVaneg 21:56, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Presentment of Bills[edit]

The Constitution requires bills passed by Congress be presented to the President. Who does the presenting by Congress? Do they personally deliver them to the President? PedanticallySpeaking 20:20, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

  • This link gets you to the middle of a real good and specific discussion of the mechanics of turning a bill into a law (or preventing it from being turned into a law.) Thanks for the question; it sent me on some fun detours. The phrase "enrolling clerk" was the critical point. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:20, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Veto of Bills[edit]

How exactly does the President veto a bill passed by Congress? In the film Dave, there's a rubber stamp Frank Langella uses, but what is the actual procedure? PedanticallySpeaking 20:26, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

Another fictional datapoint, but ISTR that Martin Sheen used a rubber stamp when exercising the Presidential veto in an episode of The West Wing, if that helps ;) There is also a pocket veto which does require any presidential action other than simply not signing the bill into law while Congress is not in session (usually, while Congress is in session, a bill becomes law if the president has not approved or vetoed within 10 days.) [20] -- ALoan (Talk) 12:29, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Congressional districts[edit]

I know where to find maps of today's congressional districts, but does anyone know of a site that has maps of Ohio's districts in the 70's, 80's, and 90's? PedanticallySpeaking 18:31, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Who controls the mailbox[edit]

In the United States, it is illegal for anyone but a mailman to put anything in a mailbox, even if the householder gives consent and even though the Postal Service does not own the mailbox. Does any other country have a similar rule? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

The accused in London[edit]

Where are those being held on charges who have not been convicted held in London while they await trial? Wormwood Scrubs? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Videos and albums[edit]

Why is it Tuesday is the day most videos, DVDs, and albums are released in America? Is it Tuesday abroad as well? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Native-born Americans[edit]

The U.S. Constitution requires the President to be a natural born citizen. Do any state governments bar immigrants from becoming governors or holding other public office? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

John McCain[edit]

Since John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, why is he not disqualified from running for President?

Before Barry[edit]

Barry Goldwater was the last major party candidate to not have been born in one of the states (he was born in the Arizona Territory). Who would have been second-to-last? PedanticallySpeaking 18:45, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Kentucky Derby[edit]

How are the horses chosen to run in the Derby?User:PedanticallySpeaking

  • They're nominated by their owners, and selected by the Triple Crown committee, whoever they are. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:38, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Deaf characters on t.v.[edit]

Has there ever been a show which had a character that was deaf as a regular on the show? I mean to exclude recurring characters such as Marlee Matlin on The West Wing. PedanticallySpeaking 19:07, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

Well, Marlee Matlin herself was on a show called Reasonable Doubts with Mark Harmon from 1991-1993 --CVaneg 19:30, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
And there's also some British(?) children's program about a girl called Sunny and her dog. The name eludes me at the moment. You seem to have caught onto a rare thing, though. Mgm|(talk) 19:43, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)
I think you may be referring to Sunny's Ears --CVaneg 21:12, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • Yes, I was, but when I did a search for "Sunny" on IMDB earlier, it didn't came up... Mgm|(talk) 21:43, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

There was, until just recently, an American show called Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye in which the lead character was a deaf FBI agent. DJ Clayworth 04:40, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Gil Grissom" of CSI has been losing his hearing and should supposedly end up deaf - but who knows whether (1) it'll ever really happen (2) his character will remain when it happens. ¦ Reisio 15:17, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Buffy's school[edit]

Torrance High School supplied exteriors for Sunnydale High on Buffy the Vampire Slayer until Sunnydale High was blown up at the end of the third season. The final season featured the "new" Sunnydale High. Anyone know where those exteriors were shot? PedanticallySpeaking 19:07, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

The only thing I've found on this so far is a Usenet posting here that claims the "new" high school exteriors were shot at Cal State Northridge (scroll up to see the entire thread). I haven't been able to confirm that information anywhere else though. --DannyZ 21:03, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I have now also seen California State University at Northridge (CSUN) mentioned as the shooting location for Sunnydale High in a "news archive" on the Spoiled Rotten website (under the heading "Location Shoots At CSUN", about 20% of the way down the page). CSUN was listed as one of the filming locations for BtVS on Rotten Tomatoes (about 30% of the way down) and at IMDb. Since I have no personal knowledge about this, that's the best I can do for now.--DannyZ 02:08, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The Swingle Singers?[edit]

The pilot of the ABC show "Grey's Anatomy" had a track that sounded like the Swingle Singers. I Googled both terms and got nothing. Anyone know if it was the Singers? PedanticallySpeaking 14:34, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

According to, the following records were included in the pilot of Grey's Anatomy:

  1. "Cosy in the Rocket", by Psapp
  2. "Portions For Foxes", by Rilo Kiley
  3. "Super Cool", by Bang Sugar Bang
  4. "They", by Jem
  5. "Dance", by O.A.O.T.S.
  6. "Ready to Rise", by Vaughan Penn
  7. "Life is Short", by Butterfly Boucher
  8. "Into the Fire", by Thirteen Senses

I think perhaps what you heard were the a cappella parts of "They" by Jem. Here are some clips: Jem-They.clip1.intro.ogg, Jem-They.clip2.bridge.ogg.
If this is what you're referring to, we have but to find out who is responsible for that part of the recording. ¦ Reisio 17:54, 16 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Country music popular in Britain?[edit]

I happened to see Shania Twain's video for "Party for Two" today and it's shot in London. (One scene has her prancing in front of the Royal Albert Hall). Is country music popular in Britain? PedanticallySpeaking 14:34, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

Generally, no. However, Shania Twain seems to me like a more mainstream pop artist than 'proper' or 'hardcore' country (but then, I know almost nothing about country music). You definitely hear her on the radio here. She is quite popular I suppose, and I seem to remember Come on Over doing well in the UK. Actually, checking the articles I see it got to number one in the album charts, but it was this 'international' version, which I guess was somehow de-countryfied for audiences unfamiliar with country music. LeAnn Rimes is another who has had some success in Britain, but in general country music is not encountered much. It's regarded as quite exotic and very American, and associated with romantic ideas of Route 66 and the wide open spaces of America. Interestingly, their was a brief line dancing fad in the UK some years ago, with people going along to line dancing clubs etc. I seem to remember this being laughed at quite a bit - all these English people in Stetsons dancing around pretending to be from the American South. So to answer your question, I don't think country music is popular in general, but artists like Shania Twain have done well. These are my subjective impressions of country music in Britain. Perhaps others will see things differently. — Trilobite (Talk) 17:58, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Country music doesn't get into the album or singles charts, but I wouldn't say it was totally unpopular. I'd say most people over 40 would have heard of a handful of the most famous country singers, and I think the over-60s have more of an interest in it. My local station Radio Norfolk seems to play a lot of it. Now let me get back to Gram Parsons. :D --Sum0 13:49, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)
For example, Garth Brooks has sold more albums than anyone in America except the Beatles and perhaps Elvis but has never had a number one song in the UK. His best is the double-sided "The Red Strokes"/"Ain't Going Down," which peaked at Number 13 in 1994 although he wrote the song, "If Tomorrow Never Comes," which Boyzone singer Ronan Keating took to number one in Britain. Rmhermen 14:22, Jun 15, 2005 (UTC)

Richest person in a plane crash[edit]

Before John T. Walton, who would have been the richest person to die in an airplane crash? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

See list of people who died in aviation-related incidents, including Mike Todd possibly? though that was 1958, do we take inflation into account? Dunc| 29 June 2005 14:24 (UTC)
I'd wonder about John Heinz, John F. Kennedy Jr. or Mohammed bin Laden. DJ Clayworth 29 June 2005 17:10 (UTC)

Blondes in the Roman empire[edit]

A book on personal appearance had a chapter on hair and it stated (without a source) that in ancient Rome, prostitutes were required to wear blond wigs because blonde hair was disfavored then. Anyone able to confirm or refute this? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

I have always heard that red and blonde hair was much prized among the dusky Roman women, who wore wigs made of hair from Celtic and Germanic tribes. In any case, the Romans were around for many centuries, so they no doubt had many different fashions over the years. I expect that blondes were "in" at certain times and "out" at others. — Chameleon 29 June 2005 17:12 (UTC)
I had heard that gentlemen started preferring blondes about the time cheap sex slaves taken from conquered fair-skinned people started flooding the market. And as I heard it, ammonia from fermented urine was used to bleach rich ladies' hair (rather than them wearing wigs) a generation or so later, once the associations between hair color and sexual availability became subconscious enough. The source for this was my ex girlfriend...a brunette with a chip on her shoulder.--Joel 30 June 2005 01:14 (UTC)

Allison Janney's childhood[edit]

In The West Wing episode "Behind the Podium", where press secretary C.J. allows a PBS documentary crew to follow her for a day, the narrator tells us C.J. grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and then shows some home movies of her as a child. Some of them are at an amusement park. Since Janney really is from Dayton, is this footage from Kings Island, about thirty miles to the south of Dayton? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

Lying birth certificates[edit]

The New Scientist in its December 24 issue stated that 10-15% of all children were not in fact fathered by the man named on the birth certificate, but did not provide a source for this statistic. Does anyone know where this figure came from? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

Blood tests or DNA testing for other purposes? It's usually fairly apparent when doing DNA testing if a father and son aren't related. Shimgray 29 June 2005 16:35 (UTC)
But surely such tests are carried out more frequently when there is some doubt that the man is the father, thus skewing the results? — Chameleon 29 June 2005 17:05 (UTC)
Yes and no. A lot of tests are done for perfectly routine reasons, especially in the case of transplants (when compatibility is likely between relatives but needs to be confirmed) - even without formal studies to try and source paternity, there'll be an informal knowledge base that X percent regularly don't match... so all you need to do is formalise this. I've certainly heard "around ten percent" before (possibly in Diamond?) and see it as quite plausible. Shimgray 29 June 2005 17:29 (UTC)
There was an article about a year ago in the Globe and Mail about this. It quoted a UK science teacher who used to assign blood typing homework to her students until she realized that in almost every class, one or two students would get results incompatible with their nominal parentage. It also quoted local (Toronto) obstetricians and pediatricians with similar observations; routine blood typing during pregnancy, perhaps to screen for Rh disease, reveals incompatible fatherhood fairly often. (Prior to birth, the mom-to-be is the patient and this data is communicated to her in confidence, but following birth most hospitals consider the child's data to be sharable with both parents equally.) I can't find the reference in the Globe's online search but as I recall the 10 to 15% figure is about what the article came up with. However, "lying birth certificates" is probably not the best summary. I believe that in some jurisdictions (in the U.S.?) the mother's husband at the time of the birth is the only name that can be legally put on the birth certificate, and is legally the child's father for purposes of inheritance, support etc. Sharkford June 29, 2005 17:11 (UTC)
I don't know that the husband's name must be listed as the father. There is a presumption in law that a husband is the father of a child born to his wife, but that can be refuted, e.g. if he did not have access to his wife or by blood tests. PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 17:33 (UTC)
Yes, a husband is the presumed father. A non-husband cannot be listed on a birth certificate as father without his consent. Many men have discovered the hard way that they cannot change their legal obligations once they have allowed their name to be listed on the birth certificate as father, even after DNA testing proves non-paternity. This is also true of husbands: they cannot dodge or refuse legal obligations even by demonstrating non-paternity by DNA. The acknowlegement and non-disavowal arise both from common law and public policy and have not been changed by the rise of easy accurate paternity testing by DNA. alteripse 30 June 2005 11:17 (UTC)

Koran vs. Quran[edit]

The holy book of the Muslims always seemed to be spelled "Koran" until recently, when the press (especially in coverage of the allegations at Guantanamo Bay) started spelling it "Quran". Why the change? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

Actually, Qu'ran (with an apostrophe) is the most common now. Possible reasons:

  1. Arabic is hard to transliterate.
  2. 'Koran' has (potentially negative) associations with Orientalism. [21]
--Robojames 29 June 2005 14:46 (UTC)
In my experience Qur'an replaced "Koran" in the early 80s, as did "Muslim" replace "Moslem", "Makkah" and "Madinah" replaced "Mecca" and "Medina" (although less so in these cases). A decade or two earlier "Peking" became "Beijing" and more recently "Mumbai" replaced "Bombay". Probably has something to do with the fall of the British Empire and post-colonialism ;) Guettarda 29 June 2005 16:49 (UTC)
I'd say that "Qu'ran" has not totally replaced "Koran", whereas "Muslim" has become the norm, making "Moslem" sound slightly quaint. "Makkah" and "Madinah" are still exotic and used mostly by the politically correct. "Peking" is pretty much dead (replaced by a strange hybrid: "Beijing" pronounced not as 北京 but as though it were French). "Mumbai"/"Bombay" is too recent to call. — Chameleon 29 June 2005 17:03 (UTC)
And Moslem goes further back - you still find old documents using "Mussulman". "Hindoo" -> "Hindu" made the transition about the same time as that one. Shimgray 29 June 2005 17:21 (UTC)
The hamza comes after the r — if you're into apostrophes it is Qur'an. I've read Qu'ran so many times, but it is wrong. I wouldn't say that Koran or Quran are wrong. they are different ways of representing an Arabic word. The more scientific spelling is al-qur'ãn. Most editors prefer to use spellings that are closer to standard way of representing Arabic. Gareth Hughes 29 June 2005 17:42 (UTC)
Just a note on transliterations and time: I've been reading a lot of 19th century naturalism lately and love the use of the very French "Esquimaux" for what is now Eskimo in the writings of Darwin. --Fastfission 2 July 2005 20:16 (UTC)

OED lists the Q variety first used in 1876 and says it is scholarly variant. MeltBanana 4 July 2005 23:06 (UTC)

How do you say Qatar?[edit]

I always pronounced the Gulf nation's name "KAY-tahr" and that seemed to be what was used on television. But when it was in the news a couple years ago because the U.S. military had a base there, it suddenly became "KATT-uhr". Why the change? And why isn't the name transliterated with a "k" like "Koran"? PedanticallySpeaking June 29, 2005 14:16 (UTC)

Some explanation can be found on the list of words of disputed pronounciation. There is no "official" pronounciation because it's an English pronounciation of an Arabic word. Maybe the media just have trends in their pronounciation. Robojames 29 June 2005 14:36 (UTC)
Actually I have never heard it pronounces with a hard "a" before, but I am not American. Maybe the hard "a" is like "Eye"-raq and "Eye"-ran. The only change I have seen is US military people prouncing it "cutter" rather than Kat-ur. As for the "q", it's a distinct sound from "k", and it is used in Iraq and Qu'ran. It's the problem on one hand is representing sounds in English which don't exist (like "Kh" in "Khomeni" or the "Kh" in "Khodorkovsky") and on the other hand, the expectation of English speakers that a word should be pronounced as it is spelt. Guettarda 29 June 2005 17:00 (UTC)
Expatriate United Stateseanites in the petrochemical industry pronounce it "cutter", in my limited experience. -- Cyrius| 29 June 2005 17:01 (UTC)
In Modern Standard arabic, the first consonant is a voiceless uvular plosive, the second consonant is t with a pharyngeal approximant release, the third consonant is an alveolar trill. The vowels are relatively neutral in this environment, and stress is on the first syllable. If that is too much information, stick with gutter or cutter. Gareth Hughes 29 June 2005 17:54 (UTC)
It's been pronounced very similarly to catarrh in the UK as logn as I can remember. jamesgibbon 29 June 2005 18:20 (UTC)
I pronounce it as "catarrh" too. — Chameleon 29 June 2005 18:24 (UTC)
Ditto, but with a slight accent on the first syllable. -- Jmabel | Talk June 30, 2005 06:28 (UTC)
My friend from Qatar generally pronounced it "KUH-tar". To my ear, "KAY-tar" sounds as bad as "EYE-raq" and "AY-rab". — Asbestos | Talk 2 July 2005 09:36 (UTC)

One sound absent in English is that of GH (a single sound). Likewise, Arabic does not have another single sound TH. In Arabic, the 7th century Muslim book has its sound start with GH. One can verify this with any speaker of Arabic. The Arab will say that the GH sound is not present in English. Also, sometimes Q is used for the GH sound. For example Iraq and Qatar both have the aforesaid GH sound. Finally, the use of the apostrophe is perhaps used to show the pause between the two syllables of Quran.

US State widths, lengths, and mean elevations[edit]

I'm attempting to chase down the source for the figures in the Wikipedia U.S. state articles for width, length, and mean elevation. Does anyone watching this page know where they came from or know of an authoritative source? I've looked at and haven't been able to find these numbers. The figures were originally added in all the articles I've looked at by user:sfmontyo who has not been active here since July 2004. Thanks. -- Rick Block (talk) July 8, 2005 18:28 (UTC)

There's a USGS bulletin that I recall has this information in it. I believe it is this one: Boundaries of the United States and the several States : with miscellaneous geographic information concerning areas, altitudes, and geographic centers by Franklin K. Van Zandt. Washington : U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1976. I see a similar work in the LC catalog too: State and national boundaries of the United States by Gary Alden Smith. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co, c2004. PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:45 (UTC)

Detainee vs. Prisoner[edit]

The prisoners in Iraq and Gitmo are usually referred to by the Bush administration and the press as "detainees". Is there some legal difference between a "prisoner" and a "detainee", i.e. is it a legal term of art or is it another example of Newspeak? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

North Carolina courts[edit]

In some states criminal proceedings are The State v. John Doe. In others it is The People v. John Doe. How are cases in North Carolina styled? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Regina versus[edit]

In Britain, Canada, and some other countries, prosecuties are in the form of R. v. Doe, "R" standing for "Rex" or "Regina" depending on the sex of the sovereign. How does one read the title of such a case aloud? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

TV characters in wheelchairs[edit]

Besides Raymond Burr on Ironsides, Jason Ritter on Joan of Arcadia, and Sarah Rue on Zoe, can anyone name a regular character on a television series confined to a wheelchair? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Professor X in the various X-Men TV series. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk July 8, 2005 20:07 (UTC)
Steven Kenarban on Malcolm in the Middle. --Laura Scudder | Talk 8 July 2005 20:11 (UTC)
If you count "recurring" as "regular", Davros (from Dr Who) uses a motorised chair (although it may or may not have wheels, it clearly serves the same function). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk July 8, 2005 20:14 (UTC)
Andy Pipkin in Little Britain (although technically he's faking it, and so isn't "confined" per se). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk July 8, 2005 20:16 (UTC)

Supreme Court resignations[edit]

If the President or Vice President of the U.S. resigns, he sends a letter to the Secretary of State as required by Title 3 of the U.S. Code. I know it is customary that Supreme Court justices write the President when they choose to leave the court, but what, if anything, does the law say about how justices resign? How do judges of the lower courts resign? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Really? I thought there was no formal law or policy about where anyone should write to resign, even the president. I heard once that Nixon thought it best to resign to the Attorney General, though I might be wrong. Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 8 July 2005 20:20 (UTC)
Title 3, Section 20 of the U.S. Code reads: "The only evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the office of President or Vice President, shall be an instrument in writing, declaring the same, and subscribed by the person refusing to accept or resigning, as the case may be, and delivered into the office of the Secretary of State." [22]. When Nixon resigned, his letter was addressed to Henry Kissinger and presented while Nixon was 30,000 feet over Illinois on his way back to San Clemente. Read his letter here. PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:23 (UTC)

Font in movie posters[edit]

What is the name of the font used in movie posters and advertisements to list the credits? It is a thin, narrow, sans serif font. PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Youngest peer, dame, knight[edit]

I was reading today about Ellen MacArthur, who earlier this year was created a dame, the youngest ever. Who was the youngest dame before her? The youngest knight? The youngest non-royal peer? The youngest life peer? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

43 Million uninsured[edit]

The statistic that there are approximately forty-three million Americans without health insurance is frequently cited, but what is the original source of this number? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Heads of states and passports[edit]

In Standing Beside History, Ronald Reagan's chief Secret Service agent states all the agents travel on diplomatic passports and that the president has one as well. I thought heads of state did not carry passports, e.g. I recall reading Queen Elizabeth II does not have one, presumably as, traditionally, foreign sovereigns were immune to arrest. PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 19:59 (UTC)

Race and employment[edit]

Every job I have applied for has a section on the application saying something to the effect of "We don't discriminate on the basis of race, but please list your race on this form just so we'll know anyway." How is it lawful to ask about applicants' race? Is is lawful to discriminate against those who decline to answer such questions? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:18 (UTC)

I believe that it is illegal to discriminate or hold it against anyone who refuses to answer those questions. Most applications I have seen have the section marked "optional" or something similar to that. Most companies only collect the race, gender, and other information to form a picture of the company- i.e. know the demographics, etc. Hope this helps. Flcelloguy | A note? | Desk 8 July 2005 20:22 (UTC)

Gunshot wounds[edit]

The hero of the novel I am working on suffers a gunshot wound in the leg, something akin to what befell Martin Crane on Frasier. Could anyone refer me to books or web-sites that discuss, in detail, the process of treating gunshot wounds and the therapy that would be necessary afterward? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:20 (UTC)

Senators as children[edit]

Joseph and Rose Kennedy were the parents of three United States Senators, John F. Kennedy, Edward Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. Has any other family produced three or more senatorial siblings? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:25 (UTC)

South Korea's President[edit]

President Roh Moo-hyun's name is usually spelled "Roh" in the press, e.g. The New York Times. But apparently it is pronounced something like "Noh". Why is it transliterated with an "r" if it is said with a "n" sound? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:29 (UTC)

Mrs. Bennet[edit]

Adam Gopnik's article on William Dean Howells in The New Yorker described Mrs. Howells as a "Mrs. Bennet". From the context, I gather it means shrewish, but what is the allusion to? My Brewer's fails me. 6 July 2005 18:23 (UTC) (aka User:PedanticallySpeaking)

  • Try Pride and Prejudice, which says "Mrs. Bennet is determined to see each of her five daughters successfully married to a gentleman of sufficient fortune." Bovlb 2005-07-06 18:38:36 (UTC)

Jane Austen sums up Mrs Bennet's character like this:

She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

Gdr 7 July 2005 00:03 (UTC)


Besides Nelson, what other famous people wore eyepatches? PedanticallySpeaking July 8, 2005 20:42 (UTC)

Best Selling Unfilmed Book[edit]

In Joyce Maynard's book about how she became J. D. Salinger's lover while a freshman at Yale University, At Home in the World, she reports Salinger claimed people kept pestering him for the film rights to Catcher in the Rye but he vowed he would never sell. Would this be the best selling book never adapted for the movies? PedanticallySpeaking 19:31, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Lord Chancellor's Office[edit]

Anyone have an e-mail address for the British Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer? I looked at his office's site and they have the addresses as links and when I tried to copy the shortcut all I got was a string of gibberish (something like "%23%23%65"). PedanticallySpeaking 19:31, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

Sweet tasting poision[edit]

In a biography of Brigham Young, he is quoted advising young people against reading novels saying that while they are entertaining they will rot your brain. He compares it to eating sweet berries that are poisionous. I thought most poisions were bitter and unpleasant tasting. What poisions would be sweet? PedanticallySpeaking 19:31, July 14, 2005 (UTC)

How do you say "Niger"?[edit]

I've always pronounced the nation of Niger as NYE-ghur, but I heard a BBC reporter calling it NEE-zher, very French-sounding. So is there a preferred way to say it? PedanticallySpeaking 17:04, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Well, Niger says the latter is correct but the former is acceptable. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:14, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
The article you link to seems to answer the question very directly; basically nee-ZHER, but NYE-jur also acceptable. Am I misinterpreting your question? — Pekinensis 17:17, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
I could have sworn it was on this list, List of words of disputed pronunciation, but I don't see it there now... Dismas 19:27, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
The French pronunciation is nee-zhay, with a pure vowel in both syllables and pretty much equal emphasis on each. NEE-zher is a slight anglicization of this. Physchim62 22:59, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

The Chiltern Hundreds[edit]

Can anyone point me to the text of the commission issued to parliamentarians that formally appoints them to the office of steward of the Hundreds? PedanticallySpeaking 18:09, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Air distances[edit]

Can anyone point me to a site to calculate the distances by air between cities? PedanticallySpeaking 18:09, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

  • Do a google search for air distance between cities and you'll find bunches of 'em. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 19:04, 8 August 2005 (UTC)
Can someone who has actually used one of these sites recommend one for ease of use, accuracy, etc. PedanticallySpeaking 15:27, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
If you're looking for the length of the great circle between two cities (which is the route an aircraft would typically follow in the flight levels), I always use the calculator at Air Routing International (usually via an Infobot, but still, that one). Before that I used the calculator at but I find their site innavigable these days. — mendel 00:01, August 10, 2005 (UTC)

Pennsy-Ohio border[edit]

What is the meridian that forms the boundary between Ohio and Pennsylvania? PedanticallySpeaking 17:04, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Page cited does not contain the information requested. PedanticallySpeaking 15:26, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
This isn't too reliable, but superimposing a boundary line on Google Earth and reading off positions makes it look like 80 degrees 31 minutes west, give or take a couple of seconds of arc. Shimgray 18:04, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Using the topographic maps at TerraServer, the state line appears to fall between 80°31'10"W and 80°31'11"W. Chuck 19:10, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
Called the "Ellicott Line" after Andrew Ellicott, it should be at 80°31'12"W according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Lupo 08:57, August 10, 2005 (UTC)
BTW, there's a second "Ellicott's Line" that was supposed to follow 31°N and that defines the border between Alabama and Florida. Lupo 09:00, August 10, 2005 (UTC)


Which of the arrondisements (wards) of Paris is considered the most upscale? PedanticallySpeaking 18:09, August 8, 2005 (UTC)

Ancient name for Lebanon[edit]

What would have been the Roman name for the land now known as the nation of Lebanon? PedanticallySpeaking 16:22, August 9, 2005 (UTC) Lebanon in Roman times was called Phoenicia.

The land now occupied by the state of Lebanon was part of the Roman client kingdom of Judea from its conquest in 63 BC; from AD 6 it became a directly administered province, Iudaea Province. From 135 it was part of the larger province of Syria Palestina. See Roman province, History of Palestine, and Palestine (region). Gdr 20:25:12, 2005-08-09 (UTC)
From this map of 120 A.D. and this undated map it looks like modern Lebannon was part of the province of Syria rather than Judea. What time period are you interested in? I'll pull out one of my historical atlases. --Laura Scudder | Talk 21:34, 9 August 2005 (UTC)
Oops, yes, you're right. Lebanon extends as far south as Tyre, which in ancient times was part of Phoenicia, was conquered by the Romans in 68 BC and became part of the province of Syria, which was combined with Iudaea in AD 135. Gdr 12:54:55, 2005-08-10 (UTC)

Didi mau![edit]

On The Simpsons on several occasions they have Asian characters shouting 'Didi mau!'. What language is this and what does it mean? PedanticallySpeaking 16:13, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

<looks around to see if anyone else has answered this> Never saw the episode(s) in question, but 'Didi mau' is somewhat broken Vietnamese for "Go quickly!" (di=go mau=fast) My uneducated guess is that this phrase (which I've seen in a computer gaming magazine review of some Vietnam war game) was learned by American soliders who fought in Vietnam. (SomeAnonymousCoward)

A California Yankee in Queen Elizabeth's Court?[edit]

Reports in the American press state a Californian is next in line for the earldom of Essex. The account in my local paper talked about him being eligible to be elected to one of the seats for hereditaries in the House of Lords. I thought one had to be a citizen of Britain or a Commonwealth country to sit in Parliament. PedanticallySpeaking 16:13, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

It seems to be true - check out Earl of Essex and William Jennings Capell who is the heir. However isn't there something in the US body of law about citizens not taking titles issued by a foreign power? --Neo 16:19, 22 July 2005 (UTC)
There is, but it only applies to those holding public office in the U.S. See Article 1, Section 9 of the United States Constitution. Superm401 | Talk 17:31, July 22, 2005 (UTC)
Congress and the States are forbidden from creating titles of nobility. And Americans aren't allowed to accept foreign honors without the consent of Congress. I believe there is now a general law on the subject--but once Congress had to act in every case. In reading the Statutes at Large from 1861, I came across a joint resolution where an admiral was permitted to accept a fancy sword some foreign government wished to present him. PedanticallySpeaking 14:00, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
It's true that Congress can't grant titles. However, people can take them without permission as long as they don't hold office. See the section of the Constitution above. Superm401 | Talk 16:11, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
If and when William Jennings Capell inherits the title, the chances of him sitting in the House of Lords are next to nil. After the 1999 reform only 92 (out of about 1000) hereditary peers (elected by their peers funnily enough) are allowed to sit in the House of Lords, and they are all generally people who have been active members of of the House. By the time WJ Capell inherits, the House is likely to have been reformed some more and there may be no place for hereditary peers at all. Jooler 01:06, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree with you, but on the other hand, the Lords have been known to do stranger things in the past... and it'd be damn funny :-) Shimgray 13:10, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
I know it is unlikely that he would sit in the Lords, but would he be eligible to stand for one of the hereditary seats? PedanticallySpeaking 14:00, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Latin Mass for the Dead[edit]

Anyone point me to the text of the Catholic mass for the dead in Latin? PedanticallySpeaking 16:13, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

The Requiem? Here are the lyrics. grendel|khan 17:06, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

Well, which one? Do you want the pre-1963 Tridentine Mass, or the current Novus Ordo Missae? Do you want the entire text of the NOM (all the possible options) or just the Requiem-specific parts? It should be very easy to find the TM in Latin, but finding a NOM in Latin on the web could be problematic. For the TM in Latin, go here. For the Requiem specific material, go here. If that doesn't cut it, I'd suggest contacting a local parish; if they don't have one, the diocese will. -- Essjay · Talk 20:11, July 22, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. This will do very nicely. PedanticallySpeaking 14:02, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Poe poems and letters - To _________ ?[edit]

This might be a stupid question but I have always wondered why some of Poe's poems appear in published books entitled "To _______" or "To F_______s S. O________d" or a published letter of his is always called "Letter to B______". Are these "censored" for a reason? Were those parts of the title not readable and therefore the underscore is substituted? Is there another reason entirely for the "mystery?" (I know we are dealing with Poe here afterall =) Thank you very much.

This was not Poe being idiosyncratic, nor were the titles censored by an editor or anyone else. It was common in the 19th century to refer to a real person mentioned in a literary work by only an initial. Presumably it was considered a matter of delicacy or reserve or preservation of privacy. Names were used in news despatches or frankly biographical or historical accounts. The extreme was reached in the fiction of the latter 19th century, when many authors, especially in Europe, began referring to fictional characters as, for example, "S___" in order to amplify the verisimilitude that a real person was being alluded to. You can find many examples in Russian and French novels all the way to the early 20th century. alteripse 09:03, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

It was done in the 18th century as well. In the epistolary novel Dangerous Liaisions, many characters, chataeu names, and dates are likewise striken. Alteripse is correct on the reasoning--to add versimilitude to the story. To our eyes, it looks odd because authors haven't done this in a very long time. PedanticallySpeaking 14:11, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Van der Valk music[edit]

Are there lyrics to the theme to Van der Valk (aka "Eye Level")? PedanticallySpeaking 14:22, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

  • The old Simon Park orchestra tune? No - always been an instrumental. Of course someone might have written some to fit, but I don't know of any jamesgibbon 13:09, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

Not so, James. Unfortunately, Matt Monro recorded it as "And You Smiled" (It's truly horrible! I was shocked.) The tune is identical to (and the arrangement is reminiscent of) "Eye Level" as used for "Van der Valk". The Monro version was arranged by Simon Park, perhaps? - Toni Spaccati

Pachelbel's Canon and Ordinary People[edit]

The 1980 film Ordinary People opens with a choir singing to Pachelbel's Canon in D. What are those words and who composed them? The IMDB only credits Pachelbel (see here), but the lyrics were in English so he didn't write them. PedanticallySpeaking 14:22, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

IMDB credits Marvin Hamlisch with writing the original music for the soundtrack, which would presumably include lyrics to a song that never had lyrics. James 19:42, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

judaism, sex and white bed sheets[edit]

I always believed that stories concerning orthodox jews having sex thought holes in bed sheets were just a stereotypical prejudicial joke. But recently a close friend of mine had a cousin converted from a non praticant daughter of a jew to a strictly orthodox one, what amazed her family as she was anything but religious when teenager. And that cousin told her that, that althoutght saying that all sex is made through hole in a sheet is a reductionism of the ritual there is indeed a white sheet (with a hole) separating the couple of newly wed jews, and some do have their first intercourse through it. We discussed all night long as I still wouldn´t believe some of the details.

What is true and what is myth behind that ritual? is there a wikipedia article concerning it?--Alexandre Van de Sande 19:05, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

Well, there's this page [23] and this one [24]. James 19:31, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
I knew it! That was simply too absurd, i will meet that friend of mine again. There should be a myths about judaism article.. --Alexandre Van de Sande 19:54, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

In the novel Like Water for Chocolate, which is set amongst devout Catholics in Mexico, a pair of newlyweds are described as having sex in this manner.

Wild Things South Florida Courthouse[edit]

In the film Wild Things, there is a trial in an incredible south Florida courtroom which has a massive mural right behind the judge. Anyone know where this location is? 18:14, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

The Filming Locations for Wild Things page at the IMDb doesn't answer your question but it may help narrowing the search. David Sneek 18:42, 25 July 2005 (UTC)
According to Jeff Peel, director of the Miami-Dade Film Commission, it is in the David W. Dyer Federal Building and Courthouse, 300 NE First Avenue. (Details here. See illustration of the mural, "Law Guides Florida Progress" by Denman Fink, here PedanticallySpeaking 15:12, July 27, 2005 (UTC)

Film countdowns (new comment now)[edit]

Slightly odd question: at the beginning of old fashioned films, there was a 3 in a circle, which, after 1 second, sort of swivelled into a 2, then into a 1. What were these things called? Is there an article on them?--anon 09:05, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

It's called the "Academy leader", developed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people). To quote the 4th edition of Katz's Film Encyclopedia it:
contains a descending sequence of numbers, as well as cue marks and other information, to guide a projectionist in threating the projector and changing over one reel to the next. The leader not only protects the film itself from unnecessary handling but also permits the projector to gain full sound speed before the first image reaches the picture gate.
It was superseded in 1965 by the "universal leader", developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and is "marked with identification words, numbers and symbols" to guide projectionists. PedanticallySpeaking 14:16, July 23, 2005 (UTC)

Do you happen to know where I could find a video clip of either of these?--anon 06:24, 24 July 2005 (UTC)

There's a pretty decent video search at, but I couldn't find these there. John Barleycorn 18:00, July 29, 2005 (UTC)