Friday, September 28, 2007

Answers to this week's Secret Theme rounds

Hey, do people know that the blue text is all hypertext links to some truly cool and infotaining internet fodder? I hope you do, because I've been wasting some serious time I'll never get back if you don't...

Ray's:

The theme was whales.

1) Aka, Baka, Babongo and Twa are African ethnic groups commonly referred to in English by a non-African catch-all word you know, what is that word? Pygmies / Pygmy beaked whale
2) What NHL franchise became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997? Hartford Whalers
3) What California governor was recalled in a 2003 election? Gray Davis / Gray whale
4) What huge Linda Ronstadt hit (#3 on the pop charts) from 1977 was originally written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1963? "Blue Bayou" / Blue whale
5) Who was the only guest star on The Simpsons to receive a writing credit for his episode? Ricky Gervais / Gervais' beaked whale
6) What variety (not brand) of caviar is the most expensive? Beluga/ Beluga whale
7) What successful 1983 film featured both actors and characters named Glenn and Shephard, although neither played their namesake? The Right Stuff / Right whale
8) What's the smallest type of cell in the human body? Sperm / Sperm whale
9) What 1993 film featured Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman? True Romance / True's beaked whale
10) In Greek mythology, what Trojan prince, son of Priam, initially opposed the Trojan War but later became one of its best-known warriors? Hector / Hector's beaked whale

Frank's:

The theme was the Operation game.

1) What TV cop show, which ran on NBC 1968-1975, focused on LAPD officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed? Adam-12 / Adam's Apple
2) What's the bowlers' term for bowling a 0 in the first half of a frame and knocking down all 10 pins in the second half (note that this is not a strike)? Hard spare / Spare Ribs
3) What beloved Christmas character was created in 1939 by Robert L. May as part of a promotion for Montgomery Ward? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / That glowing red nose
4) What popular national brand of salad dressing is named after the Kansas City, MO restaurant in which it was first produced over 50 years ago? Wish-Bone / Wish Bone
5) What best-selling 1970 American Indian history book lent its title to a 2007 movie produced by HBO? Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee / This was a two-fer: Water on the Knee and Broken Heart
6) What villain was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1997's Batman & Robin? Mr. Freeze / Brain Freeze
7) What Warner Bros. cartoon character is patterned after Orson Welles? The Brain (of Pinky and the Brain)/ Brain Freeze again
8) What Revlon perfume was advertised in the '70s and '80s with a jingle that began There's a fragrance that's here to stay...? ... And they call it Char-lie! / Charlie Horse
9) What 1976 hit (#2 on the pop charts for 3 weeks) for The Spinners had a lyric about a musician with a strange method of making music? "The Rubberband Man" / The reference was the rubber band that comprises Ankle Bone's Connected to the Knee Bone
10) What British sit-com, which ran 1978-1983 on British TV and was in regular syndication on PBS in the US in the '80s, starred Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Rush? Butterflies / Butterflies in the Stomach

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Benefit for Tony Jeeter on October 7th

Tony Jeeter of local bands Purple Generals and Cisco Jeeters fame needs help. Surgery on his leg is costing somewhere in the range of $10,000, and he's missed a lot of work while out of commission.

Local folks are taking up the safety net where the government falls short ...



***A NIGHT WITH JEETER***
A BENEFIT FOR TONY JEETER

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
near 9th & Federal Sts.
Sunday, October 7th, 2007
6PM

LIVE MUSIC PERFORMANCES BY:

THE SPARKLERS***THE PROS FROM DOVER***THE ESTELLES***MARK & JOHN
plus a special appearance by THE AVALON STRING BAND
plus...

CROCK POT COOK-OFF

and...

A WONDERFUL RAFFLE
with prizes from
THE PHILADELPHIA PHANTOMS***CENTRAL BARK***aka MUSIC***TLA VIDEO***PHILADELPHIA FILM FESTIVAL***PHILLY ROLLER GIRLS***DELAWARE VALLEY SPORTS CENTER***TERROR BEHIND THE WALLS***B-LOVE STRUTTERS***BROWNIE'S***AMADA***KELLY WOLF***RAY'S HAPPY BIRTHDAY BAR

Be there or be square!

Fall into two all-new quizzes!

"As the days grow shorter and cooler and that autumnal verve finally kicks in, warm yourself with some cider or a hearty brew while answering some brisk trivia questions for prizes."

How was that as advertising copy? Weak, huh? I have no particular talent for copyrighting, first to admit that... I don't know how people churn out that glurge for a living.

Tuesday, October 2, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.(near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: AMERICAN HISTORY

Wednesday, October 3, 9pm
Dirty Frank's
13th & Pine Sts.
Subject Round: DISASTERS

Group W dominates at Frank's

Multiple-time champs Group W (candid shot of the pair at left) enhanced their reputation as quiz giants last night, cruising to victory with a perfect Subject round and by being the only team in the room to figure out the Secret Theme. Pick Withers scored a very impressive 7 of 10 in the Unreasonably Difficult Round but had dug themselves too deep a hole to catch a depleted Sofa Kingdom (of 2). This was the second quiz this week with a lot of new faces and a fine attendance; hope to see more of that! I think we're over the summertime bar crowd funk.

Beautiful Gold: Group W 160
So-So Silver: Sofa Kingdom (of 2) 137
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Pick Withers 135

Also-rans:

The Voice of Geddy Lee 104
Bob Loblaw 74
Long & Salty 55
Lifesensors SUX 50
Mook Mook 27
Alex, I'd Like to Buy a Vowel for $200...* 26

* indicates team quit

Service Animals 7 beat large field at Ray's

What a wonderful turn-out at Ray's! For the first time ever we even had issues with seating. Success all the way around. Hope to see the new people back again in the coming weeks! Service Animals 7 (in reality a team of 4) won a tough quiz fairly easily. The Classical Music-themed Subject Round killed everyone and lowered scores generally. Speaking of scores:

Beautiful Gold: Service Animals 7 106
So-So Silver: How Do You Say Closet in Farsi? 88
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Cosine of 4 (-2) 86

Also-rans:

Chester Copperpot 65
Buttered Sconehenge 64
Grimace 61

Awesome gallery of '60s, '70s Asian record covers

This you need to see! It combines two of the best things in the world, far-flung cultural artifacts and cool, obscure music. Very, very cool...





Your Secret Theme rounds for this week

Each group of 10 otherwise unrelated questions has a theme running through their answers. Can you answer the questions and figure out the theme? Beyond that, can you tell me why adults would dress themselves this way? Answers (except to the fashion faux pas) will be posted in a few days.

Ray's:

1) Aka, Baka, Babongo and Twa are African ethnic groups commonly referred to in English by a non-African catch-all word you know, what is that word?
2) What NHL franchise became the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997?
3) What California governor was recalled in a 2003 election?
4) What huge Linda Ronstadt hit (#3 on the pop charts) from 1977 was originally written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1963?
5) Who was the only guest star on The Simpsons to receive a writing credit (likely due to his improv comedy style) for his episode?
6) What variety (not brand) of caviar is the most expensive?
7) What successful 1983 film featured both actors and characters named Glenn and Shephard, although neither played their namesake?
8) What's the smallest type of cell in the human body?
9) What 1993 film featured Patricia Arquette as Alabama Whitman?
10) In Greek mythology, what Trojan prince, son of Priam, initially opposed the Trojan War but later became one of its best-known warriors?

... and what theme links the 10 answers?

Frank's:

1) What TV cop show, which ran on NBC 1968-1975, focused on LAPD officers Pete Malloy and Jim Reed?
2) What's the bolwers' term for bowling a 0 in the first half of a frame and knocking down all 10 pins in the second half (note that this is not a strike)?
3) What beloved Christmas character was created in 1939 by Robert L. May as part of a promotion for Montgomery Ward?
4) What popular national brand of salad dressing is named after the Kansas City, MO restaurant in which it was first produced over 50 years ago?
5) What best-selling 1970 American Indian history book lent its title to a 2007 movie produced by HBO?
6) What villain was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1997's Batman & Robin?
7) What Warner Bros. cartoon character is patterned after Orson Welles?
8) What Revlon perfume was advertised in the '70s and '80s with a jingle that began There's a fragrance that's here to stay...?
9) What 1976 hit (#2 on the pop charts for 3 weeks) for The Spinners had a lyric about a musician with a strange method of making music?
10) What British sit-com, which ran 1978-1983 on British TV and was in regular syndication on PBS in the US in the '80s, starred Wendy Craig and Geoffrey Rush?

... and what theme links the 10 answers?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MacArthur Fellowships announced; question from weeks ago revealed as faulty

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards were given out today for 2007. I asked a question about this at Frank's a few weeks ago. Within hours of the annoucment I received an email pointing out an error of mine regarding that. Obviously I'm not getting one of these "Genius Grants" anytime soon...
My question was what the monetary award is in total. The source I'd read (an article about a different topic I can no longer exactly recall) claimed that 5 annual payments are made of $500,000 each. This is incorrect; the prize is quarterly payments for 5 years which total $500,000. Now I know. I have to be more careful with original sources.

This means that a few teams lost 6 points each in the Unreasonably Difficult Round. I don't believe it would have affected standings as I believe all of the top teams had what turns out to be the correct answer. If anyone thinks this alone kept you off of the All-Time Top Ten List, let me know.

Thus far I've asked in the neighborhood of 2,200 questions, 6 of which were disputed. In 3 of those cases I was right all along, in 2 I was wrong and in 1 case things were a bit ambiguous. That means I've accepted outright incorrect answers 0.000909% of the time, which I find to be a tolerable margin of error. I'm striving for better than that. I've always said that if anyone's unhappy with the quiz I'll be more than happy to fully refund your entry fee*. Funny thing is I've never gotten an email that said "Hey, I was watching the news the other day, and you're right! Lansing is the capital of Michigan!" or some such.

* yes, this is a joke, it's always free to play...

Dangerous cult runs at least two Philadelphia restaurants; stay away!

Govinda's and the related Gourmet to Go restaurants at Broad and South Streets are run by a dangerous cult, ISKCON. You might know ISKCON as the "Hare Krishnas."
Now, you might think that the Krishnas are a little weird but pretty much harmless. You would be wrong. You might also think that giving them your money for food because they prepare vegan food is the kindest thing you could do for the world around you. You couldn't possibly be more wrong.

The diet has little to do with mainstream Hinduism. In point of fact, most Hindus aren't vegetarians. And most Hindus consider ISKCON to be a weird little cult that isn't really Hindu. ISKCON has been involved in brainwashing since its inception; part of this is starving the brain of protein, and even restricting use of garlic and onions (!) on the claim that these are "too stimulating." This, along with the sleep deprivation and chanting, is used to create a cadre of mostly young devotee zombies, removed from their families and former friends, forced to provide cult leaders with cash and sexual favors.

Let's say for a moment that you don't mind forking over cash to a movement that teaches that human women are of less worth than cows, that women are intellectually inferior to men (link to an ISKCON page which makes this very clear). Would you mind giving your cash to a international criminal organization that's involved in everything from stockpiling guns to drug dealing to repeated child sexual abuse (with branches worldwide sharing in legal/compensation costs) and even murder? Don't just take my word for it, read the excellent book on the terror of the Krishnas by a pair of respected investigative reporters, Monkey on a Stick.
Thus I say a hearty "Fuck off!" to Govinda's and Gourmet to Go, and encourage you to do the same. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a comparatively cruelty-free hoagie to eat.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Bumped from Suicide Pool in second week

By the by, I picked the Birds over the 'Skins in Week 2 in the Glen Macnow/WIP Suicide Pool. Owing the the Eagles' miserable performance, I was unceremoniously bounced from the contest before it even became all that interesting and fun. So much for that weekly blog feature! Thanks for waking up a few weeks late, guys. Where were those 56 points when I could've really used 'em?

Answers to last week's theme rounds

Ray's:

One team, unsurprisingly the winning one, figured out that the theme was chicken(s).

1) The British soul group The Foundations had their biggest chart hit in the US (#3) in 1968; name the song. "Build Me Up Buttercup"/ Buttercup is a breed of chicken
2) Los Angeles is the largest city in population in California; which one is second? San Diego, as in the San Diego Chicken
3) Which US state is indirectly named after an Englishman named Thomas West? Delaware, a chicken breed as well as being the home of the Blue Hens
4) What language is the most commonly spoken of the Western Slavic language family? Polish, a breed of chicken
5) What endangered European language is called Kernewek by speakers? Cornish, as in the game hens
6) What southern province of Spain has its capital at Seville? Andalusia, also a chicken breed
7) What Mexican fast-food chain, mostly located in the West and Midwest, is owned and operated by Denny's? El Pollo Loco, pollo being Spanish for "chicken"
8) What Warner Brothers cartoon character, who has a nemesis named George P. Dog, was introduced in 1946 in a short titled Walky Talky Hawky? Foghorn Leghorn
9) What is the four-letter stock abbreviation for software giant Sun Microsystems, Inc. (it has nothing to do with the name of the company, it's one of their products)? JAVA, a chicken breed also
10) What American historical relic was broken in half accidently by a team led by Col. Theophilus Cotton in 1774? Plymouth Rock, also a chicken breed

Frank's:

A few teams figured out the theme; Alfred Hitchcock movies.

1) What was The Hollies' first Top 40 single in the US (1966)? "Look Through Any Window"/ Rear Window
2) What was comedian Jack Benny's perpetually claimed age? 39/The 39 Steps
3) Which astrological sign uses the goat as a symbol? Capricorn/Under Capricorn
4) What musical figure's real name was Christopher Wallace? Notorious B.I.G./ Notorious
5) What fictional character's "real" name (the character was referred to as something else more commonly in a seried of stories) is Vice Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, KCMG? "M" from the James Bond stories/ Dial M for Murder
6) What number was worn by both Wilt Chamberlain and Dan Marino? 13/Number 13
7) What respected university has campuses at Evanston, IL and in Chicago? Northwestern University/ North by Northwest
8) Fawn Hall had 15 minutes of fame in 1987 for being someone's secretary, whose? Lt.Col. Oliver North / North by Northwest
9) What European country has been led by the House of Grimaldi since 1297? Monaco, as in Princess Grace (Kelly), star of a few Hitchcock films
10) What band, active 1964-1973, had Roger McGuinn as the only consistent member? The Byrds / The Birds

Friday, September 21, 2007

Prepare yourself for the next two all-new quizzes

Two all-new, high-quality quizzes as presented each week. Distinct sets of questions every week. Play one or both!

Tuesday, September 25, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.(near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: CLASSICAL MUSIC

Wednesday, September 26, 9pm
Dirty Frank's
13th & Pine Sts.
Subject Round: METAL

Can you ace this week's Secret Theme rounds?

Each group of 10 questions has a theme running through their answers. Can you answer the questions and figure out the theme? Answers will be posted in a few days.

Ray's:

1) The British soul group The Foundations had their biggest chart hit in the US (#3) in 1968; name the song.
2) Los Angeles is the largest city in population in California; which one is second?
3) Which US state is indirectly named after an Englishman named Thomas West?
4) What language is the most commonly spoken of the Western Slavic language family?
5) What endangered European language is called Kernewek by speakers?
6) What southern province of Spain has its capital at Seville?
7) What Mexican fast-food chain, mostly located in the West and Midwest, is owned and operated by Denny's?
8) What Warner Brothers cartoon character, who has a nemesis named George P. Dog, was introduced in 1946 in a short titled Walky Talky Hawky?
9) What is the four-letter stock abbreviation for software giant Sun Microsystems, Inc. (it has nothing to do with the name of the company, it's one of their products)?
10) What American historical relic was broken in half accidently by a team led by Col. Theophilus Cotton in 1774?

... and what's the theme?

Frank's:

1) What was The Hollies' first Top 40 single in the US (1966)?
2) What was comedian Jack Benny's perpetually claimed age?
3) Which astrological sign uses the goat as a symbol?
4) What musical figure's real name was Christopher Wallace?
5) What fictional character's "real" name (the character was referred to as something else more commonly in a seried of stories) is Vice Admiral Sir Miles Messervy, KCMG?
6) What number was worn by both Wilt Chamberlain and Dan Marino?
7) What respected university has campuses at Evanston, IL and in Chicago?
8) Fawn Hall had 15 minutes of fame in 1987 for being someone's secretary, whose?
9) What European country has been led by the House of Grimaldi since 1297?
10) What band, active 1964-1973, had Roger McGuinn as the only consistent member?

... and what's the theme?

Group W notches another win at Frank's

Group W (pictured at left) continued their dominance at Frank's by winning by, in effect, less than two questions. With strong efforts by the team that always changes their name - this week they left it up to me and I went with Been Through the Desert on a Horse - and new regulars Bob Loblaw, things are tightening up even when Sofa Kingdom is AWOL. Newcomers Ultimate Cocksuckers posted a very respectable score their first time out.

In case you're wondering about Jack & Coke, it was one guy & he was hammered.


Scores:

Beautiful Gold: Group W 166
So-So Silver: Been Through the Desert on a Horse 159
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Bob Loblaw 122

Also-rans:

Ultimate Cocksuckers 114
Dart Nerds 80
No Friends* 7
Jack & Coke 6

* team folded

Cosine posts big win at Ray's

Propelled by a Subject Round of rock'n'roll instrumentals of their generation, Cosine of 4 (-2) had an easy time of it at Ray's. This is a fun, mellow quiz and I'd love to see some more folks at it. Scores follow.

Beautiful Gold: Cosine of 4 (-2) 124
So-So Silver: Buttered a Sconehenge 79
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Mittens for Kittens 70

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Answers to last week's Secret Themes

Ray's:

The theme was America's National Parks. Names of related parks follow each answer.

1) What 1987 U2 album, which went Diamond in sales in the US (10 million+ copies sold), also generated 3 Top 40 singles? The Joshua Tree /Joshua Tree
2) What 1973 film starred Martin Sheen as Kit Carruthers and Sissy Spacek as Holly Surgis? Badlands / Badlands
3) What anti-Semetic forgery was likely written by Matvei Golovinski in the 1890s? "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" / Zion
4) What 1973 pop-folk song, which went Top 10 in the US that year, was officially adopted as a co-state song of Colorado earlier this year? "Rocky Mountain High" /Rocky Mountain
5) Which US president is said to have coined the "Good to the last drop" ad slogan for Maxwell House coffee via an off-hand remark? Teddy Roosevelt / Roosevelt, who was also the founder of the national parks
6) Who is Juan Diego Cuauhtlalatoatzin famous for having supposedly met in December of 1531? The Virgin of Guadalupe / Guadalupe Mountains
7) What's the Spanish word for "turtle"? tortuga / Dry Tortugas
8) What was founded by Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertin in 1894? The modern Olympic Games / Olympic
9) Mike Oldfield's 1973 album Tubular Bells was the first album released on this prog-rock label in 1973, owned by British billionaire Richard Branson. Name the label. Virgin / Virgin Islands
10) What American record label, with an architecturally distinct HQ in Los Angeles, was founded by songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1942? Capitol / Capitol Reef


Frank's:


The theme was Scientology. Link to the Operation Clambake site, which seeks to expose the cult.

1) What's the 8th letter of the Greek alphabet, situated between eta and iota? Theta / "Body Thetans"
2) What San Francisco-based pop combo had 5 Top 40 singles in the period 1977-1981, including their biggest hits "Love Will Find a Way" and "Don't Want to Live Without It"? Pablo Cruise / Tom Cruise
3) Where do the Philadelphia Phillies hold spring training? Clearwater, Florida, which is the HQ of Scientology. Scientology appears to have a strange and disturbing hold on the local government.
4) In Euclidian geometry, what do you call a segment of the perimeter of a circle? An arc; the "ARC Triangle" is a Scientology belief
5) What sit-com actress was married to former teen heartthrob Parker Stevenson 1983-1997? Kirstie Alley
6) Who played sadistic bully Billy Nolan in the 1976 film Carrie? John Travolta
7) What singer, songwriter and producer won his third Grammy for his classic 1971 album Black Moses? Isaac Hayes
8) What nursery rhyme is said to be a disguised retelling of the refusal of Cardinal Wolsey to grant Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon? Old Mother Hubbard
9) What prog-rock band did Steve Howe join in 1971? Yes

Here's the problem with Question #9: I misrembered L. Ron Hubbard as the author of Starship Troopers; it was actually Robert Heinlein. The connection I was aiming for is that the song "Starship Troopers" appears on Yes' 1971 album The Yes Album.

10) What 1994 film stars Harrison Ford as CIA agent Jack Ryan? Clear and Present Danger; infamously Scientologists get "audited" to become "clear."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Winning the quiz isn't everything, it's the only thing

Last week at Ray's I asked a Subject Round's worth of "Notable Quotes," which is to say I read 10 semi-famous to famous quotations and asked people to identify the speaker or writer thereof. This inadvertently launched one of those trivial debates that people who enjoy trivia love to kick around.

Quotes can be a tricky business as they are commonly misquoted, incorrectly attributed and so forth. I tried to pick 10 that were unlikely to be the least bit controversial, but no dice. One was "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." The attribution I was looking for was legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

As it turns out there are two separate controversies surrounding the quote. One is the position that it was first coined - most likely but not with certainty - by UCLA
football coach Henry R. "Red" Sanders and not Lombardi. The other is that later in life, coaching the less successful Washington Redskins and suffering from terminal illness, Lombardi seems to have had some regret over being identified with a harmful, aggressive jock mentality and denied saying such a thing exactly.

There seems to be no doubt that Sanders was uttering the quote as early as the 1930s, and that Lombardi followed his lead either directly or via a now largely forgotten John Wayne movie in which a girl attributes the quote to Wayne's character. The film's screenwriter said he drew the quote directly from Sanders, who might in turn have derived it from other coaches years earlier. If you'd like to read an exceptionally detailed history of the life of a quote, check out this Football Studies [!] article in Adobe .pdf format.

The secondary argument is over whether or not Lombardi used the quote at all. This I'm more dismissive of; check out the Bartlett's entry:
"This remark has been widely attributed to football
coach Vince Lombardi. In Vince Lombardi on Football,
ed. George L. Flynn, vol. 1,chapter 1, p. 16 (1973),
Lombardi is quoted, “I have been quoted as saying,
‘Winning is the only thing.’ That’s a little out of context.
What I said is that ‘Winning is not everything—but making the
effort to win is.’”

Not everyone agrees. Time, September 14, 1970, p. 61,
attributed this remark to Lombardi and called it his
creed. Bob Rubin, Green Bay’s Packers, p. 84 (1973),
quotes this from Lombardi’s opening talk on the first
day of training camp in 1959."
Incidentally, Sanders died in 1958, which would explain the lack of input from him as Lombardi gained notariety through the 1960s. Saint Vincent was also quoted as saying "If winning isn't everything, why do they bother keeping score?", a quote which is far harder to misconstrue. Additionally I have a very hard time believing that Lombardi thought that "trying to win" would be motivational for an NFL team in 1959, and that he'd take the care to emphasize fair play, good sprortsmanship and the playing fields of Eton and such when facing Chuck Bednarik in the championship game.

Bottom line? I was looking for Lombardi as the answer, and 3 of 4 teams got it right. I didn't ask for who coined the thoughts or quotes originally, so I think I'm covered there; I actually took care in fact to point out that I was looking for more obvious answers than usual that round. Had anyone answered Red Sanders, which no one did, I would have awarded points. The question was over whether or not Lombardi ever said the quote, and I'm abundantly satisfied he did. It was the fourth round, not the sixth. I'm not likely to ask a question about the super-obscure Red Sanders in that round. Sometimes the obvious is obvious for a reason.

I'm always happy to discuss answers that people think might be off. Thus far I've posted about a few, owned up to be flat out wrong about a question once and noted that, unfortunately, I made a misattribution of a different sort in last week's Secret Theme round at Frank's. The answer to the question was correct, the connection to the theme not useful (two teams did manage to get the theme, which I thought more obvious than most, from the other 9 answers); more about that later this week ...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

And you thought we had creationism problems...

We do, actually, have creationism problems. But our Bible-thumpin' snake oil salesmen who've inherited the windbag have nothing on India's Hindu fundies.

India has a shipping canal project that it'd like to build between itself and the island nation of Sri Lanka. There's religious opposition, however, from Hindus who say that such a project would destroy a bridge built by the god Ram and his army of monkeys. Link to brief BBC article. Here's an article from an Indian newspaper about same.

I continue to be dumbfounded by well-meaning Westerners who have declared the grab bag of Eastern mythologies, prejudices and irrationality to be superior to our home-grown equivalents, as well as kinder and wiser.

Riddle me this: Where are you playing the quiz this week???

Two all-new, high-quality quizzes as presented each week. Distinct sets of questions every week. Play one or both!

Tuesday, September 18, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
(near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: ROCK'N'ROLL INSTRUMENTALS

Wednesday, September 19, 9pm
Dirty Frank's
13th & Pine Sts.
Subject Round: SCI-FI

Brinchang cruises at Ray's

Brinchang, a team named after a Malaysian town, won easily at Ray's on Tuesday night. The group is pictured at left. They excelled in the Secret Theme round, scoring a perfect 58 points on 10 correct answers and identification of the theme, which they tell me they guessed with the first answer!

Scores:

Beautiful Gold: Brinchang 128
So-So Silver: Dogs, Dentists, Dads: Today's Stress 105
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Kissus fuer Kittens 98

Also-ran:

Cosine 91

Out of Your Element wins free for all bout at Frank's


Out of Your Element
(pictured above) topped Group W by less than one correct answer on Wednesday night, also topping good performances by a depleted Sofa Kingdom of 2 and The Voice of Geddy Lee. They were aided by a strong Subject Round, last week's being Football.

Your scores:

Beautiful Gold: Out of Your Element 160
So-So Silver: Group W 155
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Sofa Kingdom of 2 124

Also-rans:

The Voice of Geddy Lee 118
Daddy Works Out 90
South Philly Phanatics 61
150 Year Old Peruvian Avengers 60
German-Celtic 45
Dirty Frank's Dart Team* 21

* team quit

Can you answer this week's Secret Theme questions?

Can you figure out the themes in each group of 10 answers that link each group of otherwise unrelated trivia questions? Solutions will be posted later this week.

Ray's:

1) What 1987 U2 album, which went Diamond in sales in the US (10 million+ copies sold), also generated 3 Top 40 singles?
2) What 1973 film starred Martin Sheen as Kit Carruthers and Sissy Spacek as Holly Surgis?
3) What anti-Semetic forgery was likely written by Matvei Golovinski in the 1890s?
4) What 1973 pop-folk song, which went Top 10 in the US that year, was officially adopted as a co-state song of Colorado earlier this year?
5) Which US president is said to have coined the "Good to the last drop" ad slogan for Maxwell House coffee via an off-hand remark?
6) Who is Juan Diego Cuauhtlalatoatzin famous for having supposedly met in December of 1531?
7) What's the Spanish word for "turtle"?
8) What was founded by Pierre de Fredy, Baron de Coubertain in 1894?
9) Mike Oldfield's 1973 album Tubular Bells was the first album released on this prog-rock label in 1973, owned by British billionaire Richard Branson. Name the label.
10) What American record label, with an architecturally distinct HQ in Los Angeles, was founded by songwriter Johnny Mercer in 1942?

... and what theme links the 10 answers?

Frank's:

Owing to an inexcusable brainfart on my part, question #9 below is not actually related to the theme. I can't tell you how that is now without giving away the theme, so I'll explain it when I post answers later this week. Two teams at Frank's did nail the theme with less than 9 correct answers. You might as well still try to answer all 10, just don't let #9 throw you; ignore it.

1) What's the 8th letter of the Greek alphabet, situated between eta and iota?
2) What San Francisco-based pop combo had 5 Top 40 singles in the period 1977-1981, inluding their biggest hits "Love Will Find a Way" and "Don't Want to Live Without It"?
3) Where do the Philadelphia Phillies hold spring training?
4) In Euclidian geometry, what do you call a segment of the perimeter of a circle? (There's actually a much more complex mathematical definition for what I'm looking for more generally, but this works just fine.)
5) What sit-com actress was married to former teen heartthrob Parker Stevenson 1983-1997?
6) Who played sadistic bully Billy Nolan in the 1976 film Carrie?
7) What singer, songwriter and producer won his third Grammy for his classic 1971 album Black Moses?
8) What nursery rhyme is said to be a disguised retelling of the refusal of Cardinal Wolsey to grant Henry VIII a divorce from Catherine of Aragon?
9) What prog-rock band did Steve Howe join in 1971?
10) What 1994 film stars Harrison Ford as CIA agent Jack Ryan?

... and what theme links the 9 answers (ignoring question #9)?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Unborn Baby of Tower One

As if everything else connected to 9/11 weren't bad enough, WFMU's Beware of the Blog has posted a series of awful 9/11-inspired maudlin tunes in mp3 format that people hoped to cash in on in the wake of the initial disaster. These were available for download a few years back on mp3.com, and are now presented as part of the second 365 Days Project, of which I'm a huge fan as a strange/"outsider" music guy.

The "best"/worst by far would be "Unborn Baby of Tower One," an 8-minute-plus opus on the plight of the fetal victims of international Islamic terror. Was anybody sitting around thinking, "Hey, I was OK with Osama bin Laden... until I realized that he terminated a pregnancy or two! That bastard!"

I had a radically different experience than most on 9/11/01, when I was living in the Arabian Gulf. If anyone's interested let me know & if I have the time I'll type out a description of what that was like.

Monday, September 10, 2007

1-0 in WIP Suicide Pool

Although I hate the team, I picked Dallas over the New York Football Giants as my entry for the week in the Glen Macnow Suicide Pool over at WIP. Dallas won, 45-35, which means that I'm still in the contest and that I'm not allowed to pick Dallas as my pick of the week for the remainder of the season. One wrong pick = elimination from this season's contest.

I made it through 8 weeks last year before being eliminated, which isn't bad at all. It wasn't nearly good enough to win anything, but not too bad. You basically need a perfect 17 consecutive picks to win the grand prize given the thousands of entrants. The games are "straight up," no Vegas-style point spread applies. Two seasons ago, my first attempt, I was eliminated in the first week, which is quite the mood killer. If anyone has any strong feelings on games to pick or stay away from, hash it out in the Comments section below. I avoided the Eagles in the opener because they have a habit of losing it.

I happen to find this more fun than the NCAA men's basketball tourney pools, given that with 64 mostly obscure teams to track most people who win do so by making essentially random guesses which are carved in stone weeks ahead of time. I know more about football and the NFL is reasonably trackable; a person can make informed decisions one at a time that you have all week to sweat over. There's also the strategy involved in figuring out when in the schedule you anticipate needing to pick underdogs, seeing that after 5 or 6 weeks of picking the strongest teams you could easily blow all of your safe bets for the entire season. This is what I call a fun contest!

I'll be letting you know my picks after each weekend until (if?!) I'm eliminated, and I encourage you to share yours in each weekly post. I'm not letting you know who I pick ahead of time for the whole internet to see; you people are my competition! I will happily argue potential pros and cons of each pick in the Comments section though.

Chichicastenango Sunday market video

The highland town of Chichicastenango, Guatemala is known for having one of the best markets in Latin America, both for tourism and local necessities. Market days at this location have been important in the region for 800 years, and now occur on Thursdays and Sundays. The larger market is on Sunday, and is augmented by the religious processions and mass which resemble traditional Mayan ritual in many ways more than they do their ostensible Catholic purpose.

I shot this video using a digital still camera with a low-resolution video capability while standing on the steps of the primary church in Chichi, as it's known in-country. When I'm not hosting quizzes or doing boring day jobs, I sometimes play
Unfunded Amateur Anthropologist. This is the Sunday market. Note the elders burning offerings of incense and corn, the crush of people in the main market square and the women selling flowers on the church steps for use in indoor ritual offerings. These indoor ceremonies I have seen but photography isn't allowed, and honestly would be a bit tacky at best. It turns out I should not have been standing near the front church entrance, this being reserved for church and community officials. They let me live.
video

Local quizmaster attacked by macaws

videoTwo years ago I visited the Mayan ruins at Copan in Honduras. The archaeological park is home to a variety of wildlife, including a couple of dozen curious macaws who are entirely too comfortable checking out visitors up close and personal. I think I got too close to the perch of these two, who climbed down some wood, walked over to my feet and started to gnaw on my boots with their strong, sharp beaks. It was very cute until it became clear that pain and injury were a distinct possibility.

I'm testing out the new video capabilities of Blogger and thought you might enjoy this. I've also appended a couple of stills of Copan taken with the same digital camera, the purpose for which it's primarily intended.

Last week's Secret Theme

The theme was the World War II-era phonetic radio alphabet. Only the winning team figured that out at Frank's. I've put the key word in each answer in bold.
1) In what 1969 film does Peter Fonda play a character simply named Wyatt? Easy Rider
2) Who was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as part of a group, and used the platform to make an apparently drunken speech attacking Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger? Mike Love, whose first and last names both fit the category! The link is to the rant, which is rather uncomfortably entertaining.
3) What rock band's Greatest Hits album is the top-selling album of all time in the UK? (Hint: It's not The Beatles, Rolling Stones or Led Zep.) Queen
4) What round, white flour flatbread is an Indian restaurant menu fixture and a basic staple throughout South and Central Asia, the same word used in dozens of languages? Nan
5) What 17th century Englishman founded the Religious Society of Friends ("Quakers")? George Fox
6) What first-wave '70s London punk band recorded "The Day the World Turned Day-Glo," "Oh Bondage! (Up Yours)" and "Germ-Free Adolescents"? X-Ray Spex
7) Beatles' producer Sir George Martin was classically trained on the piano and what other instrument? Oboe
8) RCA Records was founded back in 1901 under a different name. What was the original name of the label?
Victor Talking Machine Company
9) What English actor played the fourth incarnation of the Doctor on Doctor Who, 1974-1981? He's best known for the long scarf he wore in the part, and more recently for narrating the BBC comedy Little Britain. Tom Baker
10) What world-famous entertainer's body was stolen for ransom from his grave in Switzerland in 1978? Charlie Chaplin

Friday, September 7, 2007

Kick off football season with two new quizzes!

Tuesday, September 11, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
(near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: NOTABLE QUOTES

Wednesday, September 12, 9pm
Dirty Frank's
13th & Pine Sts.
Subject Round: FOOTBALL

Group W kicks butt at Frank's, ties own all-time second place score record

Group W (pictured at left in a rare posed photo) notched an impressive win in a hard quiz on a peaceful Wednesday night, knocking off a strong field in impressive fashion with a score of 186. This is one point off of their own all-time highest score record, and ties their own second place finish record.

Lil' Roy Screamed had a strong showing, as did Launchpad McQuack's Sexual Harassment Suit, a reference I seem to be a bit old to appreciate. Word on the street has it that Sofa Kingdom returns next week, which should make life more difficult for everyone.

Your scores:

Beautiful Gold: Group W 186

So-So Silver: Lil' Roy Screamed 154
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Launchpad McQuack's Sexual Harassment Suit 128

Also-rans:

Designed for Disaster 98
Pica Sucio 66
Plough Patch* 38
Flush Gordon* 22

* team left early or skipped a couple of rounds then came back... the first time that's ever happened...

Can you figure out this week's Secret Theme?

Can you figure out the theme that links the answers to these otherwise unrelated trivia questions? Answers and a solution will be posted next week. Turnout was so poor at Ray's this week that we actually called off the quiz; it was an extremely slow day-after-Labor Day bar night. I'll be using the same quiz for Ray's this Tuesday I'd originally written for last week.

1) In what 1969 film does Peter Fonda play a character simply named Wyatt?
2) Who was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as part of a group, and used the platform to make an apparently drunken speech attacking Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger?
3) What rock band's Greatest Hits album is the top-selling album of all time in the UK? It's not The Beatles, Rolling Stones or Led Zep.
4) What round, white flour flatbread is an Indian restaurant menu fixture and a basic staple throughout South and Central Asia, the same word used in dozens of languages?
5) What 17th century Englishman founded the Religious Society of Friends ("Quakers")?
6) What first-wave '70s London punk band recorded "The Day the World Turned Day-Glo," "Oh Bondage! (Up Yours)" and "Germ-Free Adolescents"?
7) Beatles' producer Sir George Martin was classically trained on the piano and what other instrument?
8) RCA Records was founded back in 1901 under a different name. What was the original name of the label?
9) What English actor played the fourth incarnation of the Doctor on Doctor Who, 1974-1981? He's best known for the long scarf he wore in the part, and more recently for narrating the BBC comedy Little Britain.
10) What world-famous entertainer's body was stolen for ransom from his grave in Switzerland in 1978?

... and what theme links the 10 answers?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Time's running out to join the WIP Suicide Pool

Time's running out to join the WIP Glen Macnow Suicide Pool. If you think you know the NFL, this is a free, fun, potentially season-long contest with some cool prizes and major bragging rights. But hurry, you need to have your first entry in within the next few days!

Monday, September 3, 2007

In the Bay Area? Go see James Tantum's art immediately!

James Tantum (link to his website, visit it and buy!) is a good friend and a local lad made good who moved out to SF a few years back to pursue his art education and aspirations. He's a mixed media artist who does a lot of self-referential stuff that's easier to enjoy than explain or categorize. I'm no "art person," but I know what I like, and I've enjoyed his work through the years.

If you're anywhere near Space 47 in San Jose, CA you should hie yourself to the reception September 7, or at least see the show before it closes October 13. I just received a post card of Jim, naked, holding his junk in his hands. This is a good example of why my letter carrier has no respect for me. I see from the description below that this is a retrospective including many of the incredible activities I witnessed the creation of while he still lived in Philadelphia.
"SPACE 47 is pleased to present its inaugural exhibition, Some Parts of the Whole, featuring new work by San Francisco based artist James Tantum. This exhibition marks Tantum's first solo exhibition in San Jose. While he works in various media from drawing to video installation, his artistic endeavor is connected to a larger theme of human existence.

Tantum's work documents his existence through graphs, interviews, calendars, and intimate personal videos. His focus is to experiment with the particulars of everyday living while amplifying the uneventful, such as only eating oatmeal for a week, interviewing friends about his hair, or offering an introspective perspective on what he finds to be his shortcomings."

Answers to last week's Secret Theme rounds

Ray's:

The theme was the Ivy League.

1) Aside from the elaborate seal at its center, what are the only two colors on Haiti's flag? Red & Blue, the traditional colors and sometimes nickname of Penn's sports teams

2) According to popular historical legend, what was the name of Paul Revere's horse on his famous midnight ride? Brown Beauty/ Brown University
3) What's the brand name of Wrigley's cinnamon gum? Big Red, the Cornell nickname
4) What was the Apollo 11 command module's name? (The Eagle landed on the moon; I want to know the orbiting module.) Columbia
5) Richard "Night Train" Lane was a Pro-Bowl defensive back who set the NFL record with 14 interceptions in a season in 1952. Which team did he play for? Detroit Lions, also the name of Columbia's teams
6) What song was a #1 hit as an original for Tommy James & The Shondells in 1969, then a #9 hit as a cover for Joan Jett in 1982? "Crimson and Clover"/ Harvard Crimson
7) What animal is the mascot for the University of Missouri's teams? Tiger, also the mascot for Princeton
8) What's the title of the Pennsylvania state song (as of 1990)? Simply "Pennsylvania"
9) What 1995 Disney movie about a rag-tag kids' sports team starred Steve Guttenberg and Olivia d'Abo? The Big Green, also the name of Dartmouth's squads
10) What detective was created by Herman Cyril ("Sapper") McNeile in 1920? Bulldog Drummond / the bulldog is also the Yale mascot

Frank's:

The theme was royalty. All answers had a royal title in there somewhere.

1) What 1987 film won both the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars? The Last Emporer
2) What's the only world capital named after a ship? Port-au-Prince, Haiti
3) What vocal group consisted of Bob Shane, Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds? The Kingston Trio
4) In what movie does a ship named the Venture visit Skull Island? King Kong
5) Who is former MLB pitcher Randy Moffitt's much more famous sister? No, she's not known by the name "Moffitt..." Billie Jean King
6) In the original (1962) film The Manchurian Candidate, what card sends Laurence Harvey's character into a suggestable trance? Queen of Diamonds
7) What was the name of Blackbeard's pirate ship? Queen Anne's Revenge
8) On June 18, 1815, a man named Arthur Wellsley played a major role in changing world history. By what name do we know him better? Duke of Wellington; the date was the Battle of Waterloo
9) What California band had their only Top 40 hit (#5) in 1966 with the single "Psychotic Reaction"? The Count Five
10) Who was the only person in the 20th century to have a country named after them while still alive? King Ibn Saud of... three guesses? Saudi Arabia

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vote for Ray's as "Best Neighborhood Bar"

There's a vote being held over at this link on MyFoxPhilly.com for Best Neghborhood Bar and Ray's was nominated, so go do it now! I see that The Funhouse off of Bainbridge St. has a sign on the window that they're trying to beat "a snooty antique store in Wayne" which "isn't even in the city" so I think we should back them as well.

I have to say that the Mexican restaurant category is a bit of a travesty; not a single one of the South Philly Mexican places where actual Mexicans eat made the list, but a chain like Mad Max did! Where's El Zarape, La Lupe, Taqueria Veracruzana..?!

See and hear the amazing Purple Generals this Thursday at Ray's

The Tuesday night quiz isn't the only reason to visit Ray's Happy Birthday Bar. Each first Thursday of the month you can catch Purple Generals, featuring your bartender Paul E., playing their own brand of good time old-timey music. I'm a huge music fan and don't like much modern stuff, so a recommendation to see a live band is high praise from these quarters indeed. The link takes you to their MySpace page and some sample tracks.

Squeal like a pig, boy!

Start the school year with a quiz!


Tuesday, September 4, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
(near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: NOTABLE QUOTES

Wednesday, September 5, 9pm
Dirty Frank's
13th & Pine Sts.
Subject Round: NAME'S THE SAME

Spoonfeeding Cassanova crushes Sofa Kingdom on night of really bad vibes at Frank's

Before tackling the quiz itself, I have to mention the fact that I was physically attacked at Frank's by a drunken asshole. Every week I do the quiz there the same jerk-off literally makes 20, 30, 40 or more loud, insulting comments aimed at me or anyone actually enjoying the quiz, 95% of which I've ignored as best I can. In any other bar this person would have been flagged a very long time ago; I don't understand how I'm supposed to do the job I was hired to do or why any good customers are expected to sit through that crap. This week he started in on me before I even set up, insulted loudly everyone who participated in the quiz (you're all "fucking nerds"), shouted at least one answer in the Easy round and eventually, thankfully, the bouncer told him to shut the hell up, unprompted by me.

Five minutes after that admonishment he threatened to hit me, at which point I flew off the handle and told him to shut his face, that I was sick of listening to his crap every freakin' week. At this point he made a lunge for me, I made no real attempt to defend myself other than ducking (as this would be "fighting," as opposed to what should be but I knew would not be viewed as a bad customer attacking a person trying to do a job), and two of the Frank's bouncers (Captain, on duty, and Billy who fortunately was just around - thanks gents!) shoved the ape out of the bar before he got a second shot in.

The good news here is that after I made a fuss about it said ape is now flagged from the bar on Wednesday nights, so none of you have to worry about things from that quarter again. I'm not sure what a person has to do to get flagged permanently, but apparently attacking a part-time employee isn't on the list.

This all followed a woman shouting two answers in the Easy round - the same drunken woman who spilled most of her shot of Jaegermeister on my lap while I was setting up ten minutes earlier, the same woman who kept asking me to run karaoke even after I made it plain that I had no karaoke equipment. This low-budget Paris Hilton was in a crowd of people I repeatedly invited to join the game, and the same group I repeatedly asked not to shout answers if they weren't playing because I had an accurate feeling they would be active pricks. If you're wondering why I get frustrated with some people sometimes, look no further.

As if this weren't enough, some rocket scientist sitting at the bar repeatedly threatened to kill the fellow sitting next to him (they were close so I could hear this), in a creepily calm voice, and eventually had to be asked to remove himself. Some nights are just easier than others. This was a much, much harder one.

Initially I struck two of the three shouted Easy answers from the first round, but the teams that were really there to play would have gotten all of them correct so I'm retroactively adding those points below. This gives Spoonfeeding Cassandra the last place on the All-Time Top 10 list, the only team to notch a position there in the whole of August. The team was large and featured the core of Off the Wallers plus half of Group W against an expanded Sofa Kingdom. Has the Kingdom ever lost a contest by 34 points before?! The lads are now 7-2 at Frank's. Scores follow; I hope to see more people following this slow summer.

Beautiful Gold: Spoonfeeding Cassandra 174
So-So Silver: Sofa Kingdom 140
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Helen Palsgraf* 65

Also-rans:

Chocolate Baby Jesus* 22
Martin's Bitches* 9
Taz* 9

* teams arrived late &/or decided to get the hell out after the quizmaster was attacked

Cosine wins at Ray's

In an awful pre-Labor Day Weekend turnout, Cosine came back from a small deficit to beat the self-descriptive Nicole & Ed 87-78.

That was a tough quiz with some cool questions, very sorry there wasn't a larger crowd to hear them. I assume that with school back in we can pump the Ray's participants back up again. I've talked with management about getting some beer-related premiums from the local distributor reps and hope to have some good news on that front soon.

Come on out, folks! It's a great environment, and Ray's has a couple of new flatscreens so you can watch the Phils' playoff hunt while you play.

Beautiful Gold: Cosine 87
So-So Silver: Nicole & Ed 78

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Adventures in coincidence

It's a big ol' honkin' coinky-dink that the same fairly darn obscure question that I posted August 9th about the erstwhile "State of Franklin" would show up as a sample question on Johnny's page on August 29th as a question he asked a week earlier. I imagine it's less of a coincidence that both links point to the same URL, seeing as that's the first page you get doing a Google search; in fact that bit is even likely.

(How'd I even see this post, you ask? I'm having a rare lazy Friday and thought I'd check out the Goodtimes site for some Phillies fans-Mets fans chatter following the Phils' incredible 4-game sweep. I was hoping to find the resident Mets fan on the site more contrite, but he was not... damn Mets fans!)

I'm posting 20 questions/week & he's posting at least 5 or 6. I don't even know how to approach calculating the odds of any overlapping from one week to the next, considering that the field of possible questions seems limitless. Let's just say that the odds seem staggering, so this is cool because it's so darn unlikely in a Robert L. Ripley kinda way.

Note that I've put this post up and taken it down a few times; it seems accusatory but I can't say as it's an accusation of anything particularly nasty. A good question is a good question and a source is a source (of course, of course...) I've been told that the US courts have ruled you can't even copyright trivia questions if you wanted to, and that's really a good thing when you get down to it it terms of information flow. I'm just happy that this didn't happen the other way 'round chronologically so that no one out there in Philadelphia trivia circles can give me crap about it.