Monday, September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008 question

Perhaps I've seemed a bit glib over the past week or so, but make no mistake: this is unequivocally the most important contest in the history of my lifetime or any of our lifetimes. As November advances upon us, the winner will be decided as we watch--and you must decide whom you will support. Will you stand beside the victor or will you vainly applaud a loser? Can hope finally bubble from within to emerge as something more than just empty promises and silly aspirations? Is it possible that after years of failure, our nation can grasp true prosperity? Quite simply, can we win?

Yes we can! A lot of people are talking about change, but there is only one change that matters, and we must carry that banner of change forward. Now is the time we must all join together. We are all red states. We are all blue states. We are red and blue states. We are . . . Cubs Nation.

That's right, the Cubs playoff run begins onWednesday. Anything short of a World Series championship will be considered a failure. Join with me in a chorus of billions united as one. We're singing, "Go, Cubs, go . . ."

Oh, yeah, a question. Here it is:

How many World Series Champions have called Wrigley Field home?

Oh, yeah, and an answer. The most popular game show in the world is Wheel of Fortune. Here's who knew:

Paul C (the C stands for C)
Karen H (the H stands for H)
Karen M (the M stands for M . . . No, Vanna, That's A W . . . There You Go, Good Girl.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

We're on Alltop

Alltop categorizes blogs. All the top blogs, I guess you could say. Of the people dedicated to wasting their time asking about and responding to trivial matters, I guess we're among the top ones. Of course, if it's all the top ones, that might extend all the way to the middle or even the bottom. But still, we're not buried, and that says something.

Congratulations. We're all sell-outs.

September 26, 2008 question

Whoo hoo. WaMu was seized by the FDIC and sold to JP Morgan Chase. I'm pretty sure there are only about three banks left in America. I'm a little concerned about that. At the same time, I'm a little entertained by the way the media reported the bipartisan bailout deal to be done . . . and then to not be done. Again, I don't know anything about this stuff, but here's another way that helps me feel like I do:

We're playing Deal or No Deal. The contestant is the financial sector. The case they chose is full of mortgage securities, although based on the look of disgust on Howie's face, I'm guessing it might be full of something else too. Howie Mandel is George Bush, trying to get a deal done and reminding everyone that their lives could be saved if they make the right call and abjectly ruined if they don't. The  U.S. government is the banker, except he's really generous.  As Howie is telling us, "Okay, there are only two cases left. One has one penny, the other has five dollars. And the banker is offering you . . . $700 billion to buy that case." The Republicans are the family members who are never satisfied: "Don't take that deal, are you crazy? That's an insult." The Democrats are the wife, who just covers her eyes, sighs a couple of hundred times, almost starts to cry, and then finally blurts out, "You have to take this deal. Are you insane?" Oh, and let's not forget the media, the models just standing on the stage trying to look pretty as they either smile with glee at what might be good news, or wince apologetically when the contestant loses big money . . . but not really knowing anything about what's in the cases until it's too late.

I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I'm sure the ratings are bonkers. Here's today's question:

What is the most popular game show in the world?

And a big congrats to Stephanie who knew that Lex Luthor was born in Metropolis (the Suicide Slums district, to be exact). In other carnations of the villain, he grew up with Clark in Smallville or his city of birth was undisclosed. Who knew? Oh, yeah, Stephanie. Great job!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 25, 2008 question

Okay, this is where it gets really tough for me. I'm not an economics major. I didn't particularly grasp economics in high school. I am not good with money. I do not like it when insurance people or salesmen or bankers start explaining economic principles to me. Maybe it's because I'd rather spend money than save it. Maybe it's because I prefer slugging percentage and batting average to the Dow Jones Industrial average. Maybe it's because the whole process seems to work just a little better than astrology.

But as economically challenged as I am, I really don't like what I'm hearing about the government buying the very securities at the epicenter of the American financial Big One from the very people who created them in the hopes that the problem market will eventually just go away. I feel like Superman is buying Lex Luthor's overstocked Kryptonite for $700 billion. My big three questions (finally put into a theme I can feel comfortable with) are: 1) Where is Superman ever going to find someone interested in buying some Kryptonite for $700 billion? 2) How is the Kryptonite not going to kill Superman? 3) What is Lex Luthor going to do with the money?

Alas, beyond that, I'm quite sure I can't come up with an economics question, so that means we're left with:

In the 1986 recreation of the character, what city/town was Lex Luthor's birthplace?

Also, congratulations to these criminally genius brains who knew ectotherms are cold-blooded: Karen M (the M stands for Megalomaniac), Larry, Heidi, Nancy K (the K stands for Krypton), and Karen H (the H stands for Hairless Villain).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

September 23, 2008 question

So Sarah Palin's email got hacked into . . . big deal. It hasn't been that hard to catch the guy who did it. The lead suspect is David Kernell, the son of a Tennessee Democrat, but the guy wasn't responding to any of the AP's phone calls or emails. So they emailed Sarah Palin to ask how she thought Kernell may have accessed her files, and the reply came back, "Dude, it wasn't me."

Of course, I guess we also know one other difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: a pit bull knows better than to pick an obvious password like "VPHottie."

Oh, and . . . has anyone seen Joe Biden? Obama may as well have chosen Mr. Invisible as his running mate, because A) I can't remember the last time I saw him or heard from him via any media outlet, and B) the vague recollection I do have is so fuzzy, I don't think I'd recognize the guy unless he was wearing a giant "Look at me! I'm irrelevant!" button. If I knew Obama had the power to make his VP disappear, I would have lobbied a lot harder for him to pick Ryan Seacrest.

But on to trivia. Here's today's question:

What scientifically outdated term for classifying animals has since been replaced by the word ectothermic?

And here are yesterday's winners, who knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on yesterday's date back in 18whatever:

Nancy K (the K stands for Kudos To Lincoln)

Nice job. Best rhyming official document name ever. Sure, Magna Carta has a ring to it, but it's not quite a rhyme, is it?

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008 question

Finally, the Trivia Olympiad is over. And I have to say, I was impressed with your Cubs World Series knowledge. Here are the answers to the multiple questions:

They won in 1908 (worth 5 points).
They beat the Detroit Tigers (worth 10 points).
They won in 5 games (worth 5 points).
Johnny Evers scored the winning run in the first inning of game 5 (worth 20 points).
They won game 5 by the score of 2-0 (worth 10 points).

Karen H (the H stands for How 'Bout This Year) and Stephanie both knew 20 points worth of questions. Nancy K, Heidi, and Lee got 15 apiece. Heather M got 5, and Robbie got himself ten (with a few bonus points for answering 2008 from the future). So, the final medal results for Sports & Leisure are:

Karen H: Gold (45)
Jocelyn, Heidi, Nancy K: Silver (30)
No bronzes, but a whole bunch of worthy competitors are looking up at the winners with disdain cloaked in mock admiration. Congratulations to all of you. Now, on to today's normal (thank goodness) trivia question:

The handwritten final draft of what document, issued on this date in 1862, was destroyed in the Chicago Fire nine years later?

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19, 2008 question

You wouldn't expect me to award a ton of points for a mere 50/50 question, but when you're the only person to get a 50/50 question correct, extra points are well deserved. And that's why Jocelyn, the only one of you who knew that light beer does in fact have less alcohol than regular beer (which may explain why she's so sharp), receives 30 points for her stellar achievement. I'll also give 10-proof bonus points to Paul C and Steve J for knowing that regular beer generally is 5% alcohol by volume. So, as we approach the final question in the Sports & Leisure category (and the final question in the Trivia Olympiad), here are the standings:

Jocelyn: 30
Karen H: 25
Kyle: 23
Andrew: 20
Paul C: 17
Heidi and Nancy K: 15
Steve J: 10
Steve T, Larry, Mike K, Cindy, and Robbie: 7
H. E. and Mathias: 3

Now, it's still anybody's game, because this is a monster question that could earn you up to 50 points. Here it is, in all its multi-pronged glory:

The last time the Cubs won the World Series . . .
1. What year was it?
2. Who did the Cubs defeat in the World Series?
3. How many games were required to decide the Series?
4. Who scored the winning run for the Cubs in the deciding game?
5. What was the final score in the deciding game?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

September 18, 2008 question

The Tampa Bay Rays (at the time, the Devil Rays) lost 96 games in 2007, which Kyle knew on the dot. The lowest guess was 73 (and nobody guessed any higher than 96), so Kyle gets 23 points. Karen H was just one off and will get 18 points. Andrew gets himself 13 points, and Heidi and Nancy K walk away with 8 points apiece. Here are the standings:

Karen H: 25
Kyle: 23
Andrew: 20
Heidi and Nancy K: 15
Steve T, Paul C, Larry, Mike K, Cindy, and Robbie: 7
H. E. and Mathias: 3

Now, here's today's Sports and Leisure Trivia Olympiad question (with an emphasis on the leisure):

Does light beer have less alcohol than regular beer?

Bonus: According to a study of 100 of the most popular brews, what is the average percentage of alcohol by volume in regular beer sold in the United States?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17, 2008 question

People are searching for Britney Spears. That's what the Guinness Book of World Records says, anyway, naming her the Most Searched Person in 2008. This boggles my mind . . . not that people are interested in Britney, but that any searching whatsoever was required to feed their curiosity. Searching for Britney online is like searching for stink in a county fair port-o-potty.

But facts are facts, so let's move on to them. The last Cubs no-hitter was thrown by Carlos Zambrano on Sunday, which Steve T (the T stands for Too Easy), Paul C (the C stands for Captain Carlos), Larry, Andrew, Mike K (the K stands for Strikeout), Nancy K (the K stands for King Z), Cindy, Karen H (the H stands for Hitless Wonders), Heidi, and Robbie. They get 7 points for scoring that touchdown, while H. E. and Mathias tack on a field goal by naming the previous Cub to throw a no hitter, Milt Pappas. So there are a lot of you with seven, a couple of you with three, and a wide-open opportunity right now to rack up more points. Here's today's question:

The AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays have won 89 games this year; how many did they LOSE in the 2007 season?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16, 2008 question

Attention all physicists: if it is fame within the ranks of this daily trivia group that you seek, you may want to take up another career. Only three people ventured a guess at past Nobel Prize laureates in physics, and just two of them correctly guessed, and just one man was successfully named: Albert Einstein. No Curies? No Enrico Fermi? No Max Planck? You can find the complete list here. Oh well, it certainly makes tabulating the medal points a bit easier. Here's how the podium looks after Robbie and Karen H (the H stands for Hideki Yukawa, 1949) earned themselves .72 points apiece with their recall:

Gold: Karen H, Pi + 1.72 (4.86, etc.)
Silver: Mike K, Pi + 1 (4.14, etc.)
Bronze: Robbie, Pi + .72 (3.86, etc.)

So, congrats, science and nature is over, Trivia Olympiadically speaking. So here's the first in the final category, Sports & Leisure:

Who was the last Chicago Cub to throw a no-hitter?

Friday, September 12, 2008

September 12, 2008 question

What can grow up to 62 feet tall and has that Latin name I gave you and am too lazy to look back at? A cactus. And here's who knew and received Pi points: Robbie, Mike K (the K stands for Knows His Cacti), and Karen H (the H stands for Hurts Sitting On A 62-Footer, Don't It?).

So now we have quite a contest in the Science and Nature portion of our never-ending Trivia Olympiad, don't we? For those who aren't keeping track via henna tattoos on their forearms, here's where we stand:

Mike K and Karen H: Pi + 1 (approx. 4.14)
Robbie: Pi (3.14, etc., etc.)
Karen M: 2.5
Paul C, Heidi: 1

And it's anyone's contest, because you can rack up a lot of points on this one. Here it is:

Who has won the Nobel Prize in Physics?

(You'll get .72 points for each correct answer without missing, so list your answers in the order you are most confident in. You could list every winner ever, but if their names come after an incorrect guess, you'll get no points. Got it? Yippee!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2008 question

Lithium has it rough. It's the 3rd element on the periodic table, but nobody seems to remember much beyond Hydrogen and Helium and before Oxygen and Carbon. No wonder he was so excited (because today, he found his friend, it was in his head . . . lame Nirvana reference, sorry). Well, Lithium is still solid at room temperature, regardless of who notices it. And yesterday, that who was Karen M (the M stands for Manganese). She earned 1.5 points to pull ahead of the 1-pointers.

Karen M: 2.5 points
Paul C, Mike K, Karen H, Heidi: 1 point

So here's today's super-tough Science and Nature question (worth Pi points):

Pachycereus pringlei, which can grow as tall as 62 feet, is the tallest species of what?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 10, 2008 question

Whew . . . I guess I must be suffering from my own version of Odine's Curse. When I go to sleep, I stop sending trivia questions. In actuality, a person so afflicted stops breathing when they sleep, but not in the traditional sleep apnea sense. For someone with this disorder, breathing is no longer involuntary. That is, if you forget to breathe, you die. Crazy, huh? Anyway, here's who knew:

Paul C (the C stands for Choking On Forgetfulness)
Mike K (the K stands for Knock It, Even If You Haven't Tried It)
Karen M (the M stands for Memory Lapse Equals Suffocation)
Karen H (the H stands for Hold Your Breath . . . Not That I Have To Remind You)

So you all have one point. Here's a 1.5 point question:

What is the first element (i.e. the one with the lowest atomic number) on the periodic table that is a solid at room temperature (standard temperature and pressure for you engineers . . . and sure, go ahead and correct my word choice)?

Monday, September 8, 2008

September 8, 2008 question

By some miracle of mental recall or random fortuitous selection, Steve T (the T stands for Totally Mental Recall) knew that Gerald Ford referred to Doonesbury as one of the most informative vessels of insider Washington revelations. Amazing, and it earns Steve 2 billion points. Frislem knew after receiving a clue (that it was a comic strip in question), and receives 7 million points. So the final point tally and medal list goes like this:

Steve T: 2 billion points (Gold)
Frislem: 7,000,005 points (Silver)
Jessie: 5 points (Bronze)
Karen H: 3 points (4 years of angst-ridden determination)

Now here's the first question in the Science and Nature portion of the Trivia Olympiad:

When a man afflicted with the medical disorder Odine's Curse falls asleep, he stops doing what?

Friday, September 5, 2008

September 5, 2008 question

Jessie and Frislem knew, without any multiple choice suggestions, that Idina Menzel won a Tony for her performance as Elphaba when Wicked hit Broadway in 2004. So they both earn 5 points. The rest of you just sneer at them indignantly, for which I award you no points but I sympathize. The Arts and Literature category in the Trivia Olympiad is a lot like gymnastics. You aren't supposed to like your competitors, you're just supposed to fake hug and Euro-cheek-kiss them as you imagine them dislocating their kneecaps on their next routines. So, here are the standings:

Frislem: 5
Jessie: 5
Elena: 3
Karen H: 3

And here's the final question for which I will award points somewhat arbitrarily based on how close I think you are, whether you seem confident in your answer, and the degree to which I feel like being nice at the time:

Gerald Ford once said that the only three vehicles for to keep the people informed about the goings on in Washington were the electronic media, the print media, and what?

If you need a hint, let me know. It might cost you a tenth of a point . . . or six, but it'll be better than nothing, right?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September 4, 2008 question

Most of you had the wrong Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. It was Donatello who put sculpture on the map in the Renaissance. Only Elena and Karen H (the H stands for How Can You Sculpt With A Bow Staff And Only Three Fingers?) knew the answer. That puts them in the lead at three points each. Here's your chance to catch up, a Tony-award-winning 5-pointer:

Who is the only person to win a Tony award for his/her performance in Wicked?

(If you'd like a shot at the two-point multiple choice version of this question, just ask, and I'll send it to you.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

September 2, 2008 question

I sent this out yesterday, but to the best of my knowledge, the only person to receive it was me. Let's try again . . .

Well, well, well, we certainly have had a busy little news weekend, haven't we? The announcement of the vice presidential candidates are now behind us (and, unfortunately, no one in our trivia group correctly guessed either Joe Biden or Sarah Palin . . . which, given your collective genius, is not a really good sign for the candidates). We had a liberal make a conservative pick while the more conservative went unconventional, ensuring that this election would have a historic result. We'll either have the first black president or the first female vice president . . . or the first third party president.

And speaking of unconventional, that's exactly what the GOP is, thanks to Gustav. I have to say, after seeing a video of a Focus on the Family guru cockily telling conservatives to pray for torrential rain during Barack Obama's speech, I find it pretty hilarious that a hurricane near New Orleans is managing to rain out the Republican National Convention in Minnesota!

That wasn't the way it was back in 1980 when Ronald Reagan was taking over the convention at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, a fact known only by Kyle. That peerless knowledge gave him 10 points and an easy victory in the History Event of the Trivia Olympiad. Here are the medal earners:

Kyle: 15 points (Gold)
Charles: 8 points (Silver)
Frislem and Steven F: 5 points (Bronze)

So, now it's time for Arts & Literature. Here's question number one, a three-pointer:

What artist's most celebrated work is his bronze David, considered to be the first major creation of Renaissance sculpture?