Monday, March 21, 2011

Sea Days Daze

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sea Daze

We are back to sailing mode with several days of open ocean ahead of us. This means we will revert to our routine – breakfast at 9:00 in the MDR; Trivia at 11:30; lunch between 1:00 and 2:00; nap; and dinner. The after-dinner shows are optional although tonight’s will feature the Prinsendam’s singers so we might give it a whirl. We have been told that there is a corps of singers and dancers but that there will be no big production shows. This would be a tremendous change from previous cruises. [The Prinsendam has a tiny stage, unlike the newer, larger ships. Broadway style shows with lots of feathers and costume changes just don’t work well here. Even on the larger stages of the bigger ships, they aren’t usually so good. Walking on a rolling ship is tough enough, but dancing on one is suicidal.]

TRIVIA TIME! Since we have no narrative on sea days, here are some of the questions from today’s contest;

1. Who said, “I did not have sex with that woman” and who was the woman? [2 pts]
2. The first intercollegiate competition in New England was a rowing contest. Which school won?
3. Where are the “trade winds” found?
4. What music style is a combination of jazz and the Brazilian samba?
5. What company was founded by an immigrant who morphed his maternity clothing into clothing for plus-size women?
6. What state did Joseph McCarthy represent?
7. Who wrote “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock?”
8. Which Egyptian king said, “After me, there will be only five kings – the King of England, the King of Spades, the King of Hearts, the King of Diamonds and the King of Clubs?”
9. In what year did Anne Frank die?
10. In the 1960s, who wrote “The Feminine Mystique?”
11. What Nobel-winning economist said that inflation is the only tax that doesn’t need government sponsorship [or something similar, anyway]?
12. What Briton conducted a series of highly publicized interviews with Richard Nixon after Nixon resigned?
13. What Oklahoma painter and guitarist wrote “This Land Is Your Land?”
14. What Oscar Hammerstein musical featured the song “Can’t Help Loving That Man?”
15. In what book did James Joyce perfect the use of stream-of-consciousness?
Bonus [2 pts] Give both the first and last names of the two men who discovered the double-helix, DNA.

We were one of four teams tied with 14/18 but were the only one eliminated in a series of sudden death tie-breakers. There were, as a result, three first-place team and we, who sorta finished second, got nothing nada zip for our efforts. But we had more fun than the other teams.

The highlight of the day was the really long nap. It’s a tough life.

Tonight was a formal night, number two of nine, and we coordinated in blue. MA wore a blue Chico’s outfit and D wore a blue bow tie and cummerbund. We were the best dressed at the table. It was also lobster-tail night and even MA had one to go along with her shrimp cocktail. D had two lobster tails but only because Bahtiar, our waiter, suggested it. Bahtiar was right again.

The show tonight was, indeed, just singing. The “Songbook” show featured all six members of the ship’s cast dressed mostly in formal wear rather than gaudy costumes. The group sang mostly standards from the Fifties with others sprinkled in. When did “Mambo Italiano” and “Come Onna My House” become part of the Great American Songbook? As usual, the band and singers were over-amplified and the echo effect was in full force, but the show was still the best ship’s production we have seen in many years. We are looking forward to more shows by this group.

Back in the room after the show, we read until overcome by the forces of Morpheus.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More of the Same

Although it was more disconcerting when we were in the Arctic, there are birds chirping in the MDR at breakfast. We thought it was a remnant of the South America/Amazon voyage when we first heard them. We asked about having them turned off after 9:00, our usual arrival time, but were told that the dining room manager vetoed our request. It gives a whole new meaning to “twitter.”
And now for today’s Trivia questions:

1. Ferdinand Magellan was from what country?
2. In which country were the opening planetary scenes in the first Star Wars movie filmed?
3. Olives are used as a garnish in martinis? What is the garnish in a gimlet?
4. Harlan Sanders was an honorary colonel in the Kentucky militia. What was his highest rank in real life?
5. Where did ice cream makers Ben and Jerry learn to make ice cream?
6. What Brazilian city was, for a short while in the 1890’s, the world’s richest city?
7. One of Charles Darwin’s cousins had a china company named after him. What was his name?
8. What is the real name of the song used as the theme music for The Sting?
9. How many African countries does the equator run through?
10. Recently, someone whose name I can’t remember became the youngest person ever to win a NASCAR race. What race was it?
11. Nelson Algren said, “Never play cards with a man named “Doc” and never eat at a restaurant named” what?
12. [omitted because of complexity of details. It dealt with the Peruvian national drink/cocktail]
13. In Judaism, “kosher” is the term to signify that food is fit to eat. What is the comparable term for Islam?
14. What Japanese word means “empty orchestra?”
15. What modern English word derives from Greek origins meaning “the place where three roads come together?”

Bonus Question [2 points] -- What Poe poem constantly repeats the word “nevermore?”

We didn’t feel as confident today as we have on some others, estimating our score before the answers were given at around 11. It turned out that we tied for first again with what has become our usual 14 points. The tie-breaker was this: Frank and Nancy Sinatra recorded the duet Something Stupid in what year? The answer closest to the actual year would determine the winner. The other team guessed 1963 and we selected 1967 which was the correct year, so we won another two Grand Dollars, giving us 16 so far. We think the reason we won is that we have figured out how to motivate the rest of the team – there will be no candy unless we win. So far, so good.

We get very little mail delivered to the cabin other than the daily paper and junk mail promoting profit-making schemes for HAL. Yesterday, we received this:

As a group representative
You are cordially invited by
Hotel Manager Firmin van Walle &
Some select officers
For a casual
Get together
Sunday, March 20 at 7:15
in the Oak Room

D had been invited as the public face of Cruise Critic because he arranged all of the group’s meetings. Before dinner we joined the other group reps for free drinks and munchies instead of going to the Ocean Bar. Originally, the invitation was addressed to D but he asked if MA could attend as well. No problem. So we arrived at 7:17 only to discover that the get together had already gotten together. For better or worse, we missed most of the speeches but were in time for the drinks and conversation. The other group reps were really the escorts for various tour agencies such as Cruise Specialists. Between our dramatic late entry and our being completely unknown to the others, they crowded around to talk to us. Many were not familiar with Cruise Critic, so we explained it to them and chatted with some of the officers.

We had met Fermin last summer on the Top of the World cruise and had several meals at his table. In the more relaxed setting of an intimate cocktail party, he seemed much more genial and less authoritarian than last year. He showed a wit and sense of humor we had not suspected. In addition, we spoke with Gary, the Guest Services manager, and Peter, the Beverage Manager. CD Thom was there, too.

After dinner [veggie/roast chicken], we checked e-mail and FB before going to the show. Tonight’s headliners were formerly competitive ballroom dancers who now combine their award-winning talents with quick-change skills. There was more dancing than quick costume changing; there were also film clips of Astaire and Rodgers to set the mood. It got a little tiresome toward the end, but was generally entertaining.

Off to bed to prepare for another strenuous day at sea tomorrow.

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