Saturday, February 25, 2006

Saturday Trivia

A short history of flowerpots
"Though flowerpots are thought to have existed as early as 2000 BC, the first concrete evidence of sustained potted plant growth seems to have developed in Egypt at the bequest of Ramses III, born in 1198 BC. The Egyptians at this time were avid gardeners though very practical and systematic in their layouts. Rather than waging wars, Ramses III engaged in building palaces, temples and gardens. He was actually responsible for the creation of no less than 514 semi-public gardens. The walkways of these gardens were lined with great decorative earthenware pots planted with dazzling flowers and shrubs as well as papyrus. These stimulated the use of flowerpots in many temples and palaces not just in Egypt but also in nearby Greece".

Book review (fiction): The Season of the Hyaena (Monsters and Critics)
"Set in Ancient Egypt during the tumultuous times when the govenment is in the hands of a Royal Council acting on behalf of the boy king Tutankhamum. All on the Council are jostling for power, and strains are emerging between those advocating a return to old forms of worship and those supporting the Aten. Then news comes that the Pharaoh Akenhaten has returned, together with Nefertiti. But all had thought Akenhaten & Nefertiti were dead? Or were they? When armed supporters start arriving at Akenhaten's side, the Royal Council has to investigate. Who better to send than Mahu, Chief of Police & Keeper of the Secrets of the Heart along with the priest and fervant Atenist Mery-Re?" See the rest of the review on the above page.

The Luxor, Las Vegas (Sydney Morning Herald)
There's a super photograph of the sphinx and pyramid, features of The Luxor casino and hotel in Las Vegas, accompanying this short bulletin (one of five reviewed casinos in Vegas): " A giant sphinx with a flawless nose guards the entrance to this 30-storey pyramid, which should have any self-respecting pharaoh turning in his sarcophagus. Slot machines and decor compete for tackiness: there are Egyptian statues, hieroglyphics on the walls and a re-creation of Tutankhamen's tomb. Despite being unpopular with Asian tourists - historically, the design is that of a grave - the 4408-room Luxor is mostly filled to capacity. At night, a beam said to be visible from space shoots up from the pyramid's tip while inside, signs ask guests to save electricity and switch off room lights. Viva the hypocrisy of Las Vegas. See"

Bricks of Egypt
A new game for your mobile phone. April "The Egyptian theme touches everything in this Bricks title. You are trying to discover the hidden treasures of Tutankhamen by breaking through eight different areas of themed action -- such as Fire on the Rocks, Echo Chambers, Pyramid of Madness, and Nefertiti -- for a grand total of 96 levels. In these levels, you'll see bricks dressed up with hieroglyphics and cartouches. The game, as you can see from these screens, is certainly loaded with personality.To succeed, you need to pick up power-ups that affect your ball's performance, such as Slow Down and Fireballs. You can also grab icons that affect the size of your bat, as well as make it extra sticky so you can better aim your projectiles. Cannons can flank your bat and add extra destruction with each movement. The need for these power-ups is augmented by tricks and traps you find in the game, such as falling spikes." Images and a video accompany the rest of the review at the above site.

Tutankhamun at the Olympics
It was only a matter of time: "Having seen the sarcophagus of the Boy King years ago in London, I know Tut was a little guy. He was born at a time when there were no steroids, no human growth hormone, no Victor Conte, no affordable home gyms to give you the body you've always wanted in just 20 minutes a day, three times a week. Research suggests Tut was about 19 years old at the time of his death, in the neighborhood of 5-foot-6 and slightly built. That makes him an ideal candidate for ski jumping."

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