Thursday, March 15, 2012

Answer: Where's that cat with the Mai Tai?

Short answer: This cat is a bronze statue sculpted by Vic ("Trader Vic") Bergeron.  It stands outside of McCone Hall on the UC Berkeley campus at lat/long 37.873763, -122.259545.  "Trader Vic" is the inventor of the Mai Tai rum drink.    (For what it's worth, that lat/long can also be written in old-school style as: 

      +37° 52' 25.55", -122° 15' 34.36"

And now... how to find it:  Here's what I really did...   Given that the picture was pretty high res, I just zoomed in and read the plaque at the bottom of the statue.  Duh.  But in a search challenge, every clue is fair game.  Once you zoom in enough you can read it was sculpted by Vic Bergeron, which seems like a pretty obvious clue.  A quick search for [ Vic Bergeron Mai Tai ] and you'll find many articles (including the Wikipedia entry about Trader Vic's) that argue that he was at least one of the two people who claimed to have invented the Mai Tai (the other person being Donn Beach, of "Don the Beachcomber" fame).  

Several readers noted that the mini-plaza around the statue seemed university-like, and that's a good clue as well.  But for a question like this, I always just start by asking the simplest possible question with a query like [ sabertooth cat statue bronze ] and then switch into Images mode to see what I could spot there.  Sure enough, I found the picture just a few rows down.  From that image I learned it was at Berkeley, so a quick second source search led me to a result from, a result that is a tour of McCone Hall, -- which seems pretty substantially credible. It even included the reference to the Mai Tai:  
"...The saber-toothed cat, Smilodon californicus, whose likeness menaces the southern entrance to the building, is the official California State Fossil. It was sculpted by Victor Bergeron (of Trader Vic's fame) who is more widely known around the globe for his Mai Tai than for his sculptures..."  

I have to admit to being surprised by a few of the answers submitted by readers. Who knew, for instance, that doing a query for [Sabre Toothed Cat, University Drive, Berkeley, CA] in Google Maps would work?  Nice discovery.  

Using the lat/long from above, these are the best aerial images I could find.  

BTW, you CAN extract the lat/long from the link, but it's much better if you install the lat/long tool in Maps, then just right-click on any point in the map to capture the exact lat/long location.  

Most people reported finding this one in less than 10 minutes.  Next week, we'll go back to harder questions!  Get ready!  

Searching on! 

1 comment:

  1. Looking at some of Victor J. Bergeron's (Trader Vic of Hinky Dink's fame) other sculptural efforts made me wonder what might have been if Vic hadn't departed the planet back when Sergey and Larry were mere tykes of 11 and instead of choosing Berkeley, Mr. Bergeron had roamed Mountain View and decided a site near Building 44 would be a fitting site for an homage to his creation. Would Gingerbread,Honeycomb,Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean,Kiwi Cake?,&Licorice Vineswelcome MaiTai Tiki commemorating Android 8.0?
    Stranger things have happened...

    Bergron sculpture
    Bergron sculpture
    ICS GPlex
    possible MTT look for Android 8.0: ;-)
    Mai Tai Tiki Android

    search has to have some fun to it... as the Google lawn art demonstrates.
    One of my favorite "where is it?" bronzes:
    mystery bronze