Saturday, August 30, 2008

Can you solve this week's sample Secret Theme round?

Each group of 10 otherwise unrelated tough questions has a theme running through its answers. Can you answer the questions and figure out the themes? Answers will be posted early next week.

1) What 1987 Eddie Murphy concert film grossed over $50 million at the box office?
2) What river has its origin at Ethiopia's Lake Tana?
3) How did Jessica McClure get her 15 minutes' fame in 1987?
4) What NBC TV show, which began in 2005, stars Patricia Arquette as Allison DuBois?
5) What group had a hit album in 1989 with As Nasty as They Wanna Be?
6) What 1991 movie starred Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey?
7) The elements scandium, yttrium and the 15 lathanoids are collectively known as what sort of elements?
8) What early 17th century English poet wrote "Death Be Not Proud"?
9) On what 1959-1966 CBS Western show did Clint Eastwood's career get a lift?
10) What 1966 hit for The Kinks includes the lyric And his mother goes to meetings / While his father pulls the maid?

... and what theme links the ten answers?

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Labor Day quiz scheduled as normal; rest of week's schedule follows

Monday, August 25, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
(near 9th & Federal Sts.)

Subject Round: LABOR HISTORY

Tuesday, August 26, 9pm

Drinker's Tavern

Market St. between Front & 2nd Sts.

Subject Round: AWARDS
Sixth week of six-week tournament cycle; SoCo machine to be awarded!

Wednesday, August 27, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down

9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: DOZENS

Wednesday, August 27, 9:15pm

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

1200 E. Passyunk Ave.
(near 9th & Federal Sts.)


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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Children + inedible substance that looks like milk = "What's the worst that could possibly happen?"

I am old enough to remember the commercials for this toy. Nobody I knew had one. Thanks to Kathleen of Kathleen Turner Overdrive team fame for the tip! Keep sending those links, kids!

I understand this toy was halted by Litiganty, the Marvelous Class Action Suit Attorney.
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Announcing the Draught Horse quiz!

A few months ago The Draught Horse asked me about hosting a quiz when school was back in session on Thursdays. I'm happy to announce that September 11 will be the first quiz at this great Temple U. bar.

Just as soon as I can come up with some mnemonic so that people can remember that date, perhaps never forget it, I'll let you know. Maybe I'll get some bumper stickers or t-shirts printed to remind you of the date. If you see anyone sporting that sort of promo material (something classy like "NEVER FORGET 9/11", with like... a cool anthropomorphic eagle or, um... Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing on a Quran, but he has, like, this wicked cool completely not-Calvin evil smirk) between now and then, that was me pushing the new Draught Horse quiz. And if you see someone with a tattoo like that... dude, that person is totally going to be at the new Draught Horse quiz. That's the kind of marketing genius you're dealing with here, and that's the level of devotion people will be bringing to Thursday nights.

Sam Adams will be a sponsor - you can expect drink specials, premiums and three generous gift certificates for the top three teams each week.

The bar is located at 15th St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave., and will have the late start time of 9:30 to catch the grad and law students following their last classes.

It seems that I'll have some very cool sound and stage options for the quiz, and will be using that to maximum advantage. The general format will remain the same.
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No Lyon's Den quiz this Sunday; bar considering changing nights or ending quiz

Just when some traction was being gained at the Lyon's Den quiz in terms of teams coming back for the quiz, we're transitioning away from the quiz... maybe.

You might have noticed that new management has brought about a great revamped kitchen (the food is 100% better!), some new furnishings, and I have to say a somewhat nicer/less rowdy atmosphere. I live pretty close and will be eating there sometimes regardless of what happens with the quiz.

This coming Sunday the NFL season starts (I have the Birds at 11-5 and in the playoffs, you read it here first). Management has decided to see if Sunday night football draws more people than the quiz. The Eagles will play twice on Sunday nights early in the season, and the last third of the season the league reserves the right to jigger the schedule around for maximum ratings. Apparently the NFL isn't satisfied with having viewers only 7 hours per day. At least I'm not bumped by arena football, which would be devastating.

There will be no quiz this Sunday. The bar and I are on good terms, and I'll be speaking with people next week; one of the following things will eventually happen:

- Football might not draw and the quiz will come back.


- The quiz will move to a different night at an earlier time to meet my schedule.


- There won't be a quiz at the Den.

If you'd like the quiz on Sunday and/or would come out earlier on any night that isn't Wednesday, be sure to let someone at the bar know. Sunday was never my idea to begin with; I always wanted to do Thursdays. I recently pitched the idea of Monday and thereby cutting Ray's down to Wednesdays, but Monday Night Football means no dice. Such are the scheduling problems of the one-room bar.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Usain Bolt and Dan Wetzel good, Jacques Rogge bad

I highly suggest Dan Wetzel's column on Usain Bolt and the IOC, link here.  Best short sports piece I've read in a long time.  Any article that contains the phrase "slap around like rag dolls" is bound to be readable.

"All the powerful nations — including the United States — have carte blanche at the Games. They can pout and preen, cheat, throw bean balls, file wild complaints, break promises that got them a host bid, whatever they want. They can take turns slapping Rogge and his cronies around like rag dolls as long as the dinner with a good wine list gets paid. .."

Apparently some of the sports columnists are still allowed to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.  Now if we could only let that seep into the front page...
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Next week's upcoming quizzes

Sunday, August 24, 9pm
Lyon's Den
2nd & Christian Sts.

Monday, August 25, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: YOU DON'T KNOW JACK

Tuesday, August 26, 9pm
Drinker's Tavern
Market St. between Front & 2nd Sts.
Subject Round: ART
Fifth week of six-week tournament cycle

Wednesday, August 27, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.

Wednesday, August 27, 9:15pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: FAMOUS FORTS

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Answers to those Secret Theme rounds from a month ago

Oh yeah, that...

12 Steps Down:

The theme was bars.

1) What word in Judaism refers to obeying any one of the 613 Torah commandments, 7 rabbinical commandments, or more broadly to any act of kindess? mitzvah / bar mitzvah
2) What regular character in the early years of Saturday Night Live habitually read letters from (fictional) viewer Richard Feder of Fort Lee, NJ? Roseanne Roseannadanna / Rosanne Barr
3) What group of villains was organized by Doctor Octopus to destroy Spider-Man? Sinister Six / bar sinister
4) What big-budget 2001 movie starred Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale? Pearl Harbor / Bar Harbor
5) What American rock band, formed in 1986, took their unusual name from a skit on the 1980 Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album? Toad the Wet Sprocket / wet bar
6) What 1999 gay romantic comedy was nominated for Best Picture at Sundance and featured Tori Spelling? Trick / bar trick
7) What country singer, daughter of another famous country singer, had 11 #1 singles on the country charts in the 1980s? Rosanne Cash / Rosanne Barr and/or cash bar
8) Finish the Jonathan Swift quote: "He was a brave man that first ate..." ... an oyster / oyster bar
9) What Japanese word, now a word in English as well, translates literally as "it's sour"? sushi / sushi bar
10) What German Baroque composer gave us Messiah, Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks? Handel / handle bar

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar, Wednesday:

The theme was islands.

1) For what film did Charlize Theron win the Best Actress Oscar in 2003? Monster / Monster Island
2) How much is a "dime" in high stakes gambling? $1000 / Thousand Islands
3) Which is the only US state with one unified school district? Hawaii / Hawaiian Islands
4) What famous estate in Santa Barbara County, California, estimated worth $100 million, was bought from golf course mogul William Bone in 1987? Neverland Ranch / Neverland Island
5) What record did Mark David Chapman have John Lennon autograph the same day he shot him? Double Fantasy / Fantasy Island

6) From what 1948 film do we get the popular misquote "Badges?! We don't need no stinkin' badges!"? Treasure of the Sierra Madre / Treasure Island
7) What American politician was shot fatally on September 8, 1935? Huey Long / Long Island
8) What 1979 thriller starred Clint Eastwood and Patrick McGoohan? Escape from Alcatraz
9) What is the Alaskan brown bear also known as? Kodiak bear / Kodiak Island
10) What international airline now has a "Green" division dedicated to finding a cleaner source of fuel? Virgin / Virgin Islands
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The blog's little hiatus

A number of folks have asked me what's been up with the blog.  Essentially I bumped it down my priority list for a few weeks and only updated the minimal essentials.

I haven't taken any sort of actual vacation in a year (in fact I just keep adding work).  In the past few weeks I opened up another income stream for myself which is completely unrelated to the quiz, and that required some time investment too, at least at start-up.

France shuts down in August so people can enjoy life for a few weeks, and that seems a good model so far as I'm concerned.  Very civilized.

Honestly I get almost no feedback of any sort on the blog from people who actually play the games most of the time.  Every now and then I offend someone in Estonia or from a Jehovah's Witness splinter group, but actual quiz player comments are very rare.  I've gotten more emails, comments left here and in-person comments about the blog in the past few weeks by leaving it be than I have in the past half year of actively updating it.

You can always feel free to post comments on any post you like.  If nothing else this lets me know that it's worth doing.

I'm going to return to the normal content updates, hopefully a little reenergized by the break.
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This week's upcoming quizzes

Sunday, August 17, 9pm
Lyon's Den
2nd & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: CATS

Monday, August 18, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: DOGS

Tuesday, August 19, 9pm
Drinker's Tavern
Market St. between Front & 2nd Sts.
Subject Round: WEATHER
Third week of six-week tournament cycle

Wednesday, August 20, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: BODY PARTS

Wednesday, August 20, 9:15pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kisses for Kittens has three-week win streak

K4K has a little dynasty going at Ray's Wednesday nights, notching three consecutive Beautiful Golds.  This has been overlooked in my blog hiatus.  This week we had a full house  which manifested itself in just three teams.  Your scores from Ray's just for the past three Wednesdays, in reverse chronological order:

Kisses for Kittens  132
The Georgian Military Juggernaut  130
Amoeba Frohawk  128

Kisses for Kittens  97
Another One Bites the Aerosolized Anthrax Dust  72
Quizzie McGuire   66

Kisses for Kittens  142
Late Room  127

Mondays have had extremely uneven turnout.  A month ago it was busier than Wednesday, now we're hobbling along.  Consider stopping by.
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Dons Quizzote win at Drinker's, take tournament lead

This Tuesday was the busiest Drinker's game ever I'm happy to report.  Lots of teams and lots of people who seemed really into it, what with the cheering and yelling.  Two-time tourney champs Dons Quizzote both won this contest and took an overall tournament lead halfway into this cycle.

Beautiful Gold: Dons Quizzote  112
So-So Silver: Brooke and Others  101
Shameful, Shameful Bronze:  Mosquito Stripe  90


Moist  84
Quizzo... Tell Me How My Ass Taste?!  70
Cookiepuss  64
The Help  59
Doltastic (Super) Cat Masters  42
Underdog*  19

* team quit

Cumulative Points, Drinker's Tavern Tournament after three weeks

Dons Quizzote 340
Quizzo... Tell Me How My Ass Taste?! 302
The Help 275
Doltastic Cat Masters 246
Glad We Got Toys 103
That's What She Said 103
Brooke and Others  101
Bring Sex Toys 93
Mosquito Stripe 90
Moist 84
Ramrod 74
Cookiepuss 64
YTA 29
Underdog 19
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Megabus megasucks; just take NJ Transit or Chinatown buses

[Welcome to readers of the essential site The Consumerist, which was kind enough to link to this post.]

My girlfriend and I took a daytrip to NYC yesterday. We tried the Megabus for the first time, which for me will also be the last. The story starts off bad and progresses toward criminal. I'm posting this as a warning to others; caveat emptor.

We booked our two tickets for $13 roundtrip more than three weeks earlier, which is about $7 cheaper than the Chinatown buses would be. The concept is that the earlier you book, the cheaper the fare will be. And that's great - but only if you actually get on the damn bus.

Her debit card was charged and we received reservation numbers to print out for the outgoing and return trips (we're in Philadelphia for anyone who happens across this post). The word on the sheet is "reservation," which means we should have an expectation to have seats when we show up in the version of English I speak.

There are two embarkation points in the city, 30th & Market loads first and 6th & Market second. I live much closer to 6th, but we got up earlier to make the 8:30am bus leaving from 30th to ensure we could travel with friends with reservations on the same bus.

Arriving on time, the driver looked at his list of reservation numbers and told us that he would not allow us on the bus because the bus would be full after picking people up at 6th & Market, thus we were "on standby." I guess buses overbook like the airlines now, and are borrowing their language now too. There's nothing on our reservation sheet that suggests "standby" as a possibility, and nothing on the Megabus site which suggests that "standby" is an option even if you wanted it to be for some bizarre reason.

I asked the driver, who looked like he didn't want to deal with us, what "reservation" means to Megabus. He kept repeating that we "weren't on his list" although we showed up at the time and place indicated on the reservation sheet, therefore we weren't allowed on the bus. At one point he said that we were "on standby probably because [we] waited 'til the last minute" to book. We took some offense at this suggestion that this was our fault, and pointed out we had a "reservation" for damn near a month, which incidentally Megabus should be able to calculate from our price...

This is where the story takes a Lewis Carroll turn. The driver claimed that we could ride if two people with reservations didn't show up at 6th & Market... but we weren't allowed to ride with him to 6th, even though the bus was only half full! We would be allowed to ride the bus we had reservations for only if we could beat him to 6th & Market on the subway (retracing the route we took to get to 30th incidentally) or in a cab, and if once we got there two seats which were booked went untaken. He wasn't going to wait for us there, either. This man just didn't want us on the bus.

I asked him for a contact number for Megabus, and he said he didn't have one.

The driver was wearing a 76 Carriage Company uniform and the bus had registration info from 76 painted on the side. 76 is the 900 pound gorilla of overpriced Philadephia bus/"trolley" and horse-drawn carriage tours. I asked him for their phone number and he claimed not to have one of those either. Now this jackass was lying to us.

At this point I asked what number he would call if he were in an accident, or how he could possibly not have a phone number for the company for which he works. This caused the driver to stop interacting with us and he got on the bus and started the engine.

We had enough time for our friends with tickets to stick their heads out of the bus door to try and hammer out a plan for the day. Would they ride the bus and we find another way up to NY? Would all four of us stay home, or ride the train or another bus line and eat the four tickets? We decided that they would go up on the bus and we would call them once we figured out if/how we were getting to NY, how late we would be, how many of our plans would be screwed and how much more it would cost/if it were all worth it.

The bus left us stranded at 30th St.

I called the 877 toll free Megabus number listed with 800 information. Calling that number - the one listed on the Megabus site - I got a recorded message stating that "information pertaining to this number has changed." If I wanted the number, "say yes." I said yes, and it sent me a text (for which I get charged by my carrier). This is the text message verbatim, from 23333:

"Reply Y now to get info on the # you are trying to reach. Locator Svc $9.99/month + std msg fees for 20 lookups/month.

Well, screw that. I called local information (which costs me) and got the number for 76. The first woman I spoke with claimed to have nothing to do with Megabus. She put me through to a dispatcher at my repeated insistence who sounded largely apologetic, was very professional but repeatedly claimed that 76 has nothing to do with booking Megabus. They registered and staffed the vehicle, but accept no responsibility for anything to do with ticketing, and can't answer any reservation questions. I would "have to talk with Megabus." I repeated that it was impossible for me to speak with Megabus, relating the above.

I suppose this all falls under the absurd catch-all excuse on the portion of the Megabus site titled "Terms and Conditions":


This information published on the web site is provided as a convenience to visitors and should be used for information purposes only and is subject to change without notice. While uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained on its web site is current, accurate and complete at the date of publication, no representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of such information. Neither, nor Independent Bus Company can therefore be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information appearing on this web site."

The dispatcher apologized for the driver's claim that he didn't know how I could call anyone. He offered to send a 76 shuttle that they usually use for hotel guests to get us to 6th & Market, and promised to call the driver's cell phone to hold the bus until we could get there. He repeated, however, that we still weren't getting on the bus if there weren't two empty seats after they filled up at 6th. This is the best deal I could swing after having a several-minute argument with 76 about what the word "reservation" means.

This, of course, also meant that a whole bus of people had to sit at 6th & Market for no reason. The bus driver, we learned from our friends on the bus, led people to believe that we were the hold-up!

We figured that if nothing else, we could get taken back home or closer to home on 76's dime if this didn't pan out. The shuttle driver was polite and professional.

As it turns out, there were about five empty seats. We rode that bus to NY, leaving about 20 minutes late. Had the bus been full or just had one seat open, our day - a day that a few people took off from work to enjoy, having booked the trip a month earlier - would have been shot. We also had to jaw at a few fellow passengers who were led to believe that we were somehow making them late.

We had no problem with our reservation on the return trip last night, but the bus to Philadelphia was about a third empty. It left NY15 minutes late, and the Megabus employee on site was preemptively suggesting that it might be as much as an hour late so we shouldn't get our hopes up for leaving on time.

I counterrecommend riding the Megabus. There are plenty of other more reliable cheap transport options in these parts, and apparently you don't so much buy a bus ticket with them as you do a sort of lottery ticket to make yourself eligible for a seat.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Tournament update for Drinker's Tavern - win a SoCo and Lime Chiller machine!

In addition to the gift cards, T-shirts and other premiums I give away every week for the teams with the highest weekly scores at Drinker's, the team with the most points in this six-week tourney cycle will win a SoCo and Lime Chiller of the sort pictured at left.  These sell for $300 or more new.

Three weeks ago Dons Quizzote won their second straight tournment, and an Amstel Light golf bag.

It's still certainly possible for any team who plays the remaining four weeks to win the tournament.  As of right now, these are the past two weeks' results, with the tournament's accumulated points at bottom:

Week One

Beautiful Gold: Dons Quizzote 135
So-So Silver: Quizzo... Tell Me How My Ass Taste?!  129
Shameful, Shameful Bronze: Moist  111


Glad We Got Toys  109
Bring Sex Toys  93
The Help  88
Doltastic Cat Masters  82
Ramrod*  74
Dirty Watah*  24
Vista*  7

* team quit

Week Two

Beautiful Gold:  The Help  128
So-So Silver:  That's What She Said  103
Shameful, Shameful Bronze:  Quizzo... Tell Me How My Ass Taste?!  102
Shameful, Shameful Bronze:  Doltastic Cat Masters  102


Dons Quizzote  93
YTA*  29

* team started late

Cumulative Points, Drinker's Tavern Tournament after two weeks

Quizzo... Tell Me How My Ass Taste?!  232
Dons Quizzote  228
The Help  216
Doltastic Cat Masters  184
Glad We Got Toys  103
That's What She Said  103
Bring Sex Toys  93
Ramrod  74
YTA  29
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Latest quiz schedule

Sunday, August 10, 9pm
Lyon's Den
2nd & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: WORLD'S LARGEST

Monday, August 11, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: SCIENCE

Tuesday, August 12, 9pm
Drinker's Tavern
Market St. between Front & 2nd Sts.
Subject Round: FISH
Third week of six-week tournament cycle

Wednesday, August 13, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: BEGINS WITH 'H'

Wednesday, August 13, 9:15pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: EXPLORATION

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

This week's quizzes and subjects

Sunday, August 3, 9pm
Lyon's Den
2nd & Christian Sts.

Monday, August 4, 9pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: SPIES

Tuesday, August 5, 9pm
Drinker's Tavern
Market St. between Front & 2nd Sts.
Subject Round: BOARD GAMES
Second week of six-week tournament cycle

Wednesday, August 6, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: NAME'S THE SAME

Wednesday, August 6, 9:15pm
Ray's Happy Birthday Bar
1200 E. Passyunk Ave. (near 9th & Federal Sts.)
Subject Round: BEER

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