Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's time for the annual Year in Review subject round

Wednesday, December 28, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: 2011: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Thursday, December 29
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
NO QUIZ - SEE YOU IN JANUARY!
The Draught Horse has entered its winter hibernation, during which time it closes early and often. I understand that Temple's upcoming term is another early start and I'll pass along the date of our first quiz as soon as I get it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aiming for an audio round this week!

Wednesday, December 21, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: aiming for AUDIO

New amp and other audio equipment obtained this week.  I'm playing around with things - more time for this tomorrow - and if the sound isn't too treble-laden/seizure-causing I'll be doing the first audio round in some time.  If not I'll do a round of music questions.

 Thursday, December 22
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
NO QUIZ - SEE YOU IN JANUARY!
The Draught Horse has entered its winter hibernation, during which time it closes early and often.  I understand that Temple's upcoming term is another early start and I'll pass along the date of our first quiz as soon as I get it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Draught Horse quiz of term might happen this Thursday

Wednesday, December 14, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: NUMBERS


Thursday, December 15, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: GREEK & ROMAN MYTHOLOGY


I had thought given Temple's quite early term beginning and ending this year that last Thursday's quiz was the last of the term. At Friday night's spelling bee event management suggested that people might still be showing up to the bar as late as next week, thus we are tentatively scheduling the new last Draught Horse quiz for 2011 for the usual time on December 15. This is apparently the plan until and unless I hear otherwise (i.e. that the bar has been dead all week therefore no point in attempting to do a quiz). I will update this site immediately if I hear we're calling it off, default expect another quiz on Thursday.

Speaking of the spelling bee...  We've now had three of them.  I've asked a total of about 320 words and around 20 of those have been spelled correctly.  Is that spelling is an impossible task, or just at Temple (this I'm willing to believe; I see your quiz answer sheets every week), or just for the people who drink at Draught Horse on Friday nights?


It's going to be a busy week, I'm doing a couple of holiday office parties during the day, and Friday evening for the fifth consecutive year a quiz at the Union League for one of their Xmas shindigs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

This week's Subject round topics; new Spelling Bee scheduled

Wednesday, December 7, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: THE BIBLE

Thursday, December 8, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: CENTRAL AMERICA

Friday, December 9, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
ALCOHOL-RELATED SPELLING BEE

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This week's Subject round topics

Wednesday, November 23, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: CENTRAL AMERICA


Thursday, November 24, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

For once this week's photo is one I took.  This is about the coolest place in the world and I encourage you to visit - Antigua, Guatemala.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving - no Draught Horse quiz this week

Wednesday, November 23, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: COLONIAL AMERICA


Thursday, November 24, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
NO QUIZ - THANKSGIVING

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Yahoo article on Slinky snubs Philadelphia, can't get much else correct either

A recent Yahoo! article by "Mike Smith" (Real person?  Who knows!) couldn't get much correct about the Slinky.

First the article claimed it was invented in a Pittsburgh shipyard, when in fact it was invented at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Next the claim was that the Slinky is between 70-80 feet of wire, when in fact the standard Slinky is 62-63 feet in length, which happens to have been a recent quiz question of mine.

Not content with getting these things incorrect, the article claims that "they're not made from long wires that are rolled into coils, but shaved in a circular pattern from lengths of metal pipe."  As another commenter on that article points out, "made from long wires that are rolled into coils" is exactly what happens, and there's YouTube video to prove it for fuck's sake.  Does this internet "journalist" not have an internet connection..?

Given what we can't seem to get correct about the damn Slinky, claims on Yahoo about rather more complex topics such as the economy and foreign policy should be taken with the appropriate amount of skepticism.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Your weekly Subject rounds are...

Wednesday, November 16, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: SOUTH ASIA

Thursday, November 17, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: HAUTE CUISINE


The prize bins are still overflowing, thus extra prize rations for non- gift certificate or gift card teams again this week.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Extra prizes awarded this week

Wednesday, November 9, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down

9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: BEST PICTURE WINNERS


Thursday, November 10, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: BIG BOX OFFICE LOSERS


 The prize bins are overflowing, thus extra prize rations for non- gift certificate or gift card teams this week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

This week's belated Subject round topics

Wednesday, November 2, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Thursday, November 3, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: HUMAN ANATOMY

Friday, November 4, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
SECOND-EVER ALCOHOL-INTENSIVE SPELLING BEE

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This week's Subject round topics

Wednesday, October 26, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: CARS


Thursday, October 27, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: FOREIGN PHRASES IN ENGLISH

 
Friday, November 4, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
ALCOHOL-INTENSIVE SPELLING BEE

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This week's tasty Subject round topics; new Spelling Bee scheduled

Wednesday, October 19, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: RIVERS

Thursday, October 20, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: NUMBERS

Friday, November 4, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
ALCOHOL-INTENSIVE SPELLING BEE



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quiz cancelled tonight owing to Phillies playoff game; quiz scheduled as normal tormorrow night

Wednesday, October 5, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: CANCELLED

Owing to the insatiable greed-lust of MLB, Ted Turner's basic cable channels and their advertisers, we didn't know what time this game was going to be played until this morning.  As the game is slated to start at 6pm, and playoff games run long, I'm not going to start this quiz after 9, particularly following what will either be people celebrating moving to the NLCS or worrying about Game 7.  Note that the NLCS schedule would knock out one Draught Horse quiz as well.

I'll be watching the Phils, hope you folks have fun doing the same.

Thursday, October 6, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: SOUTHERN EUROPE

In other news the spelling bee went quite well on Friday night and we'll be doing those semi-regularly, about once/month.  I will be alerting people to those here and in person at quizzes.  We were a little worried about the mechanics of running the thing but it went rather smoothly, in part thanks to the general cooperation of the Draught Horse crowd.  It was great to see some quiz regulars there as well!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Spelling Bee scheduled for this week

Wednesday, September 28, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: SOUTHERN EUROPE


Thursday, September 29, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: VISUAL IDENTIFICATION - PART DEUX


Thursday, September 30, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
ALCOHOL-INTENSIVE SPELLING BEE

B is for beer, and that's good enough for you.  The bee is a team event, and not a quiz at all but a modified spelling bee; expect favorable drink specials and prizes.  First of many!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This week's Subject round topics

Wednesday, September 21, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: FAMOUS CRIMES & CRIMINALS


Thursday, September 22, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: VISUAL IDENTIFICATION
Last week's slap bet was resolved and the parties held up their ends of the bargain admirably.  I await the insider team video, post-production, for posting.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First ever slap bet connected to this week's Futurama subject round... not kidding

This was *NOT* my idea, should the courts become involved.  It's just a thing happening near me that I'm not discouraging and will be collecting video to share.  But not, for the record, my idea.

A couple of players from the Temple U. upper-tier team of regulars The Nudist Balloonists have each laid claim to being the bigger Futurama expert.  Whichever one of them performs more poorly in the 4th round at Draught Horse this Thursday evening will be subject to a slappening.  Stay tuned for video - and crucial audio.

While I have a problem with dogfighting, people voluntarily subjecting each other to potential pain and humiliation is fine by me.  Whatever floats your proverbial boat.

Wednesday, September 13, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: FICTIONAL BOOKS & AUTHORS

 
Thursday, September 14, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: FUTURAMA

Monday, September 12, 2011

Philadelphia Inquirer confuses Michael Vick with Jesus... and both of them with Moses

This past Sunday the Inquirer staff saw fit to call Michael Vick "The Anointed One" in a gigantic font on its front page, followed by the worst mixed biblical metaphor I've had the displeasure to be confronted with, this by asking whether or not he would lead the Eagles to "the Promised Land."

Before anyone confuses me with Ned Flanders, my reaction as follows comes despite the fact I am an atheist.  I am nevertheless familiar with the basics of Christianity; in fact this is why I'm an atheist, a topic for another time.

Jesus Christ is the Anointed One.  (Many of you believed this to be Barack Obama in 2008, but you'll have to follow the links on this; trust me, it's the J-man.)  In fact Χριστός (Khristos) means "anointed one", something I've known from a tender age as this is also naturally the source of my given name, one chosen for me shortly after Pope Paul VI bitch-slapped St. Christopher's feast day right off the calendar, and owing to his "pagan" origins called his sainthood into question.  Who knew that would popularize the name so much?

Part of the ridiculous hypocrisy in this is of course that Jesus himself is clearly a pagan god-man figure who was often depicted as having 12 followers and is eventually nailed to (in most pre- 34 AD versions) a tree for man's salvation.  (I appended that link for convenience but I'd suggest the excellent books Christianity Before Christ by Jackson and The Jesus Mysteries by former Christian theologians Freke and Gandy.  I also have an excellent book on the subject by a biblical-era archeologist who wrote under a pseudonym because her colleagues are devout Christians and Jews for the most part and she didn't see her career doing at all well publishing under her own name - this to me not being a ringing endorsement of religion by itself - should I run across the book here at home I'll amend this post with its title, which I forget.)

All of this to illustrate that although I don't even think there was a "historical Jesus", about a billion people in the world do.  Beyond this they consider Jesus to have been the Son of Man, God's manifestation on Earth and a being of endless compassion and wisdom.  Comparing a felon/football player - one with a history of mammal torturing, lying to his bosses, breaking federal gaming laws, visiting VD clinics while spreading herpes under a name I assume was pulled from a Mexican rum bottle and giving the finger to his own fans - to the Nazerene seems to make anything I have to say on the subject positively polite by comparison.

Says ESPN:

""Vick, Peace and Phillips thought it was funny to watch the pit bull dogs belonging to Bad Newz Kennels injure or kill the other dogs." ... The report also states in mid-April of 2007, Vick, Peace and Phillips hung approximately three dogs who did not perform well in a "rolling session," which indicates the readiness of a dog to fight.

[Editorial note: But wait... I thought dogs "loved" to fight and it's "natural"... right Vick supporters?  Isn't this what you cocksucking apologists always say..?]

According to the report, the three men hung the dogs "by placing a nylon cord over a 2 X 4 that was nailed to two trees located next to the big shed. They also drowned approximately three dogs by putting the dogs' heads in a five gallon bucket of water."
Vick initially told authorities "while he assisted Phillips and Peace in the killing of the dogs, he did not actually kill the dogs," but "helped Phillips toss several dogs to the side," according to the report.

However, the report says Vick took back that statement when he failed a polygraph test. "Vick failed the examination as it related to the killing of the dogs in April 2007. Ultimately, Vick recanted his previous statement wherein he said he was not actually involved in the killing of six to eight dogs. ... Vick admitted taking part in the actual hanging of the dogs."

"THAT SOUNDS LIKE JESUS TO ME!"  Jesus the Torturing Liar...yes?  No..?  Of course it sounds more like Roman soldiers whipping Jesus or poking Jesus in the side with a spear, then casting lots [gambling!] to see who gets the clothing.  But as an atheist I'm not made of the same strong moral fiber as the American Christian, and as such my ability to discern these finer points of morality is in question.

Maybe a better properly biblical front cover would have been a picture of Vick with the headline "THE ROMAN CENTURION - WILL HE WHIP THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS TO GOLGOTHA AND STAB TOM BRADY BETWEEN THE FUCKIN' RIBS?"

Why isn't there a torrent of the victimization-wrath and threatening bile that America's meek and mild Christian community specializes in raining down currently upon the failing Inquirer already?  It's inexplicable!  I'm disappointed.  Normally the Jesus soldiers march onward at the hint of a Dan Brown poop-fiction debut, and now one of the top ... what it's down to now, 30?... let's say one of the top 30 newspapers in the country calls Michael Vick Jesus and - nothing!  (It should be noted that unlike any other newspapers in the country, the Inquirer and Daily News combine their circulation figures to hide how badly they are both tanking.)

I would hope that maybe the elderly boy-rapists over at the Archdiocese and the propagandizing buffoons at the Inquirer could meet for a big rumble somewhere in the few blocks between their respective offices, then go tumbling over some falls like Holmes and Moriarty and leave the decent residents of the area alone once and for all.  Yet not a mumble of protest from Team Stigmata.

In any event, any Christian, Jew or Muslim (and I should think any atheist!) can tell you that it was Moses and not Jesus who led the Israelites toward the Promised Land, although he himself dies before getting there, rendering this - astoundingly - an even poorer metaphor.  Is the editorial staff at the paper this intellectually limited?  It would explain a lot.  Which is sillier - that we're to believe it takes 40 years to cross the Sinai or that it's taking more than 50 years for the Eagles to win an NFL championship?  At the very least perhaps I could have accepted a Chuck Berry reference.



As long as Vick is being made a multi-millionaire by this gonad-less region and its sports fans of questionable moral fiber, I will continue to cheer for whatever team plays the Eagles, most especially those teams' linebackers and their ability to place a helmet on a knee.  As long as the Inquirer and Daily News continue to dribble out their liquid shit and pretend that's journalism I cheer for their demise as well.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Quiz returns to The Draught Horse this week!

Wednesday, September 7, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: VISUAL IDENTIFICATION PART TROIS

Thursday, September 8, 9pm
The Draught Horse
Broad St. & Cecil B. Moore Ave.
Subject Round: TBA

We'll be starting the fourth year of Temple U. quizzes at the Horse.  This year our beer sponsor and special is Magic Hat.  I will also be hosting Drunken Spelling Bee at the DH later in the month, scheduled currently to begin September 30, with further details forthcoming.

Monday, August 29, 2011

This week's Subject round topic

Wednesday, August 30, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: LANGUAGES & LINGUISTICS

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dumb fat racist fuck Joey Vento dies from an overdue heart attack; decent people everywhere rejoice

Once in a great while Earth gets better by subtracting a human.  Racist Joey-come-lately (to Pat's corner) is one such waste of perfectly good carbon.

What can one say about a man who claimed to love America and yet hung the Confederate "Stars and Bars" battle flag in his shop, a flag representing a violent, racist attempt to destroy the federal government... and a deliberate provocation to what few black customers he had.  What can one say about a man who claimed to want everyone to speak English, yet had extreme difficulty stringing together a sentence in that or any other language, and whose T-shirts and bumper stickers "promoting" English managed to misuse simple punctuation.  What can one say about a man who served food that Mexicans have the good taste to skip and yet posted signs to discourage their business.  What can one say about a man who claimed to love Philadelphia but chose not to live here, and in fact couldn't bring himself to reside in Pennsylvania.  What can one say about a man who used someone else's name for his business and didn't even spell it correctly.  What can one say about a man who made money from tourists from all over the world and yet complained that he had trouble taking their orders.  What can one say about a dickhead who loudly decried the immigration which saved the street his business is located upon from becoming an empty, scary ghetto.

Here's what one can say:

Joey "Dumb Fuck" Vento fetishized power as only a bootlicking fascist can.  The mind reels at the brutal upbringing that produces such a twisted and limited mind.  Joey had a form of necrophilia for dead soldiers and cops which - thanks to a far right wing marketing plan (if we would like to credit this low level of thinking with that title) and the grand surplus of American consumer stupidity - translated itself into more money whenever an American in uniform caught a bullet with their face.  I've often said through the years that every time a Philadelphia cop died, Joey's sweatpants became a little tighter and more moist.

Asshole that he was, stupid Joey polluted the local airwaves with his racist tirades in the form of hate ads bought on local right wing talk and affiliated sports talk radio.  These semi-literate ramblings were so extreme that one local sports talk host wondered aloud on the air after hearing one how his employers could allow such a thing to be broadcast.  (I called WIP a number of times in all seriousness to inquire about how much countering ads would run, and the weasel bastards in the advertising department couldn't be bothered to return any of my phone calls.)  Weekends bring regular invasions of wannabe tough guy asswipes on motorcycles from their nests in the white flight suburbs to heed the siren song of these racist ads.

There's something about the motorcycles and the military shit and the flags and badges adorning Joey's shithole and plastered on his local customers which screams "I am a small man frightened of a large world, and need to feel that I am larger and louder than a world I struggle to comprehend.  I can't hack it alone, and I need to feel that powers larger than me are providing protection."  In their fear and ignorance America's right names this "freedom."

As a long-term resident of South Philadelphia and a lifetime Philadelphian I am embarrassed in the extreme by this piece of shit and fat, illiterate racist fucks who make money from his glorified food cart.  May his possessions and heirs fall upon hard times and may his name be scrubbed from history.

My history struggling against Vento's racist bullshit includes kicking the living fuck out of a Vento supporter in a quizzo grudge match to raise money for the Nationalities Service Center, a non-profit at which I volunteered to teach English to immigrants.  Vento's supporters are not very bright, and in this case I more than doubled the score of my opponent to win the day.  Additionally I wrote directly to Vento via his website to ask if he would be willing to donate either money or food to NSC as we were working with limited resources to, y'know, teach people who wanted to learn English how to order in fucking English.

This is all you need to know about Vento's supposed "generosity" (always loudly given as a means of cheap advertising, not the charity of a gentleman): not only did Vento and his shop not donate a penny, but they could not be bothered to return either email or phone calls with the simple decency of a direct "no."  NSC never reported to me that they received one penny from Vento nor from Geno's.  Is there anyone out there who still thinks that Vento had any genuine concern about the linguistic proclivities of Philadelphians?

And y'know what else?  Joey's cheesesteaks fucking suck.  SUCK.  If you want some good food on that block I heartily recommend the authentic Pueblan fare of La Lupe.  It's far better food at a far better price and the restaurant - which has a fucking bathroom, try adding one of those Geno's - wasn't decorated by Leni Riefenstahl.  (I am always amused that because Geno's lacks a bathroom and sufficient table space that Joey's fucktard customers regularly cross into the territory of La Lupe to use both without any particular right to be there.  Oh the irony!)

Joey's gone but his bathroomless eyesore of a crap-slinging business is still haunting our city.  Decent Philadelphians everywhere should be working to shut the place down by, to coin a phrase, any means necessary.  It's divisive and embarrassing.  Note that the tool in the upper righthand corner of this site can be used to translate this piece into whatever language you'd like to fucking read it in, which is your right to do and my honor to provide.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Another Visual Identification subject round this week!

Wednesday, August 17, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: VISUAL IDENTIFICATION, PART DEUX

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

This week's Subject round topic

Wednesday, August 17, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: THE 1970s

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Proper attire required for this week's quiz


Wednesday, August 10, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: FRATERNAL & SECRET SOCIETIES

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This week's Subject round topic


Wednesday, August 3, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: APES

Monday, July 25, 2011

For the first time in a couple of years... a visual ID round!

Wednesday, July 27, 7:30pm

12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: VISUAL IDENTIFICATION ROUND

A very special night is ahead indeed.

The New York Times is still lying on behalf of Gore/Lieberman '00

This weekend The New York Times, a newspaper which helped lie us into war against the Iraqi population and which on a good day is a scandal sheet dedicated to maintaining upper class power, printed an article about how Ralph Nader managed to get a refund from an airline depsite their usual anti-consumer practices.

It was impossible for the reporter to write this story - which had nothing whatever to do with any election anywhere at any time - without repeating the lie that somehow Nader's 2000 run "cost" Al Gore that election, a widely held belief which can only be held by ignoring simple logic and failing to apply grade school math.  As one of the official organs for the dissemination of elite opinion in the US, it seems the Times must necessarily continue to punish any non-corporate-backed candidates for any office for having the temerity to exist in our supposed democracy.


Given a small space in which to reply via "email" (in fact an online form) to the writer, I cobbled together the following:

"Nader had nothing whatever to do with Al Gore losing in '00.  The Florida GOP committed fraud before, during and after that election, the Supreme Court handed the election to Bush, Gore was a miserable candidate who lost every southern state including his home state and 10% of registered Florida Democrats voted for GW Bush - many times the total number of Floridians who voted for Nader.  This is aside from the fact that no one "owed" Al Gore a vote.  Nader's votes did not "belong" to Gore.  First the NYT ignores Nader every time he runs and then they lie about the impact of his runs after the fact.  The man has a fantastic lifetime of service to the general public and you can't write an article about him without starting it in reference to his alleged impact on a self-serving wanker like Al Gore?  The NYT is our News of the World, and I hope you have a similar fate."

There are the plain facts of the matter.  This is not a matter of opinion; what gave Florida to Bush was a combination of fraud and, according to exit polling,  more than 10% of Florida registered Democrats - about 220,000 voters - voting directly for George W. Bush, presumably for short-term selfish tax reasons.  People registered in all parties - this inlcudes a few Republicans - cast a grand total of less than 98,000 votes for Nader statewide.

Not that there would have been much difference between having any corporate, militarist Democrat in the White House as opposed to the equal with an "R" after the name.  Anyone with a memory longer than a mayfly might recall that Al Gore - the millionaire son of a Tennessee senator, following in the footsteps of his father in very much the Bush mold, a tobacco farmer with a stake in Occidental Petroleum - cast a deciding vote to invade Iraq the first time around, also based in a series of lies (Kuwaiti babies being torn from incubators, Iraqi troops massing on the Saudi border)  some 10 years earlier.  He spent his time in Congress voting for nuclear weapons to keep Oak Ridge, TN rolling in taxpayer dough (this is the fellow who wants to "save the Earth" we are to believe), when not advocating for censoring rock and rap along with his born again lunatic wife.

Why this jackass was supposed to have been a much better president than Bush is well beyond me.

It's been evident to me for decades that the Democrats are just the other wing of America's one militarist, corporate party.  The difference is that the Dems have tens of millions of people convinced that they are the ones looking out for the little guy, even as they slash social programs, send their children to die in illegal wars and shovel tax credits to corporate criminals.  Heck, Joe Lieberman was so stoked to thank his supporters that he quit the damn party.

Me?  I've proudly voted for Ralph four times now, beginning as a write-in in '96 after Clinton dicked over every union and environmental group in the country with "fast-track NAFTA."  He's probably about the only person in the country who is smart enough for the office and has the best interests of the little guy at heart.  He's been incorruptable for half a century and has never backed down from the good fight.  We might contrast this with the likes of Democratic (literal) poster boy Barry Obama, who is spending billions on unconstitutional wars against six countries, protecting American torturers and war criminals from prosecution, handed a trillion dollars to his Wall Street pimps and is trying to end Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare as we know it, just as Clinton ended welfare as we know it.  Bet on a Democratic president to do the dirtiest work of the Republicans and you'll never lose money.  I'll write Nader in a fifth time if I have to.  Fuck Obama.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Truncated summer quiz schedule for the week

Wednesday, July 19, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: THE BEATLES 

See the post immediately below about the El Camino Real quiz demise.

El Camino Real pulls the plug on the quiz... after serving quiz regulars who came out to play it

The quiz at El Camino Real is done.

After seating about 10 regular players the last time I was there - and after serving them drinks and taking food orders - the acting manager declared that there weren't enough people to warrant holding the quiz that night, and that there wouldn't be one for the rest of the summer, with the possibility of "revisiting" the quiz in the Fall.

Not going to happen.  I don't really need to be doing business with people who operate this way.

After some law and grad school graduations in May we lost a lot of regulars and semi-regulars and things had been touch and go in terms of turnout.  The decision to drop the quiz for the time being was a rational business decision and not by itself problematic.

El Camino has had a number of managers or acting managers since I started working there; in fact the manager who initially recruited me to quizzes there - they contacted me, not the other way around - was gone by the first night I showed up to do the quiz.  There is regular rapid turnover in most other positions and many nights I've had to explain to the staff who I was, what I was doing there with my equipment and that the customers expected prizes and I needed to get paid.  I just stopped trying to learn new staff names at some point because people would be gone very soon anyway.  It's a minor miracle that more than two years of weekly quizzes happened in this fashion.

A sincere thanks to everyone who played the last 20-some months.

These things are problematic:

- Seating and serving regular customers you know came out for an event and only after telling them that you aren't going to hold it.  What a dick move.  I think of the quiz players as my customers too and this is no way to treat you folks.  This is the second bar that cancelled the quiz after selling all of the quiz regulars a round of drinks.  How do people do business this way?

- Not bothering to contact me about this ahead of time.  Worse, helping me move a juke box to find a working outlet - the one I usually use was on the fritz - and then after that cancelling the quiz.  Whose thought process works this way?  No one could think "Hey, maybe we shouldn't be searching for an outlet and moving furniture for an event we're going to cancel..."?

The claim is that no one could find my contact info, which I've given at least 3 or 4 employees at different times with the assurance each time that it was being held somewhere accessable.  This doesn't explain not contacting me via the website - which I've announced there about 300 times - or doing a search for me online or even mentioning something to me in a previous week.

- Not bothering to mention the past few weeks after my repeated discussions with management that I would be distributing fliers in the neighborhood, putting listings in the papers and posting on the internet to promote the quiz that it was going to be cancelled "for the summer."  Instead I was encouraged in this direction and thanked for the effort.

So I apologize deeply for the cancellation if you've showed up; this was as much a surprise to me as to you.  Please send me some contact info if you were there for the quiz.  I'm trying to at least get paid for showing up that evening and bringing in people who spent money on food and drink.  They think because they cancelled with negative 5 minutes' notice that I'm somehow not owed any money.  It's been more than 8 days since I left phone and email messages for the ownership and no one has bothered recontacting me.

Just all-around terrible behavior over there.  Treating me this way is one thing, but your own customers too?

Incidentally I'm putting "for the summer" in quotes because A) I don't know how sincere that offer was and B) I don't have reason to expect anyone making such a statement will still be working there in the Fall if history is a guide.

Come September we're discussing options up at The Draught Horse and I might well end up there twice/week.  Stay tuned.

A gift from the Internet Gods... in other news, Scotland still not a country

Once in a great while the Internet Gods drop a gift in one's lap.

It appears that my cowardly internet stalker Lisa of quiz team Group W fame had her email account hijacked by a spammer while I was away on vacation. It was one of those non-blind CC attacks in which email addresses from one's contact list and/or recent sent emails is used as a spam list.

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 12:13 AM I received in both my personal and quiz-related email inboxes spam from Lisa's AOL account which also drew the email addresses associated with the parody blog aimed at this one out of her contacts list. Lisa claims she has nothing to do with that blog.  But look at that gun smoke. By my estimation that's enough evidence to decide a civil case, what with the more-llikely-than-not standard of proof. This is good reason for Lisa not to give me cause to file one.


Part of the frustration involved in arguing with a person who hides behind multiple internet identities in multiple forums to attack me has been a base level of intellectual and other dishonesty. At least on the pages on her crappy TV show blog, where she has two whole pages devoted to calling me an "asshole," she must de facto admit that she is responsible for the content. The continuing lies and changing stories about which wilting comments she has made about me in which forums (including this one until I banned her comments for sockpuppetry) are immature and tiring.


In initially arguing the Scotland question while having several people yelling at me in a bar I made what is a social mistake pretty much only in the anti-intellectual United States; I pointed out that I knew the answer to a straightforward boolean status of a place being a country or not because I spent four years in a program for Comparative and Developmental Politics, and had the toolkit as it were for examining the question readily at hand.

Similarly if someone were arguing with a doctor about whether or not some bodily structure is a bone or not, I would expect that person to eventually point out that, hey, I went to frickin' medical school, so, uh, maybe I know this one. This isn't a substitute for explaining why that is - I have in fact wasted hours and days of my life patiently explaining to the extent that people will patiently listen the hows and whys of this fact on this site and at least three others, usually arguing with Lisa and her sockpuppets- and claiming that my mention of 10 years' experience in education and as a professional in geography education (!) is all just an "appeal to authority" argument is just more intellectual dishonesty on her end.


Lisa having dropped out of 10th grade, this seems to have hit a nerve, a large one connected to the lizard brain, and has sent her into enough of a fit to attack my quiz blog through a series of fake names, attack my internet sales venue, create a parody blog of this one (which she disowns) and two pages of direct attacks on me on another unrelated blog (which she really can't disown).


Coming from a working class background myself I get where some of the venom comes from, but honestly I wouldn't accept withering attacks on my education and intelligence from a Harvard professor - especially not Harvard, egad! - let alone someone whose formal education stopped in their early teens. (Coming from a working class background myself I should also point out that I'm not going to let an underachiever piss on my self-attained educational accomplishments and an income stream of mine in order to boost her self-esteem.)


I did at one point misstate that Lisa earned a GED; as she points out on the "asshole" page she did not. Had she done so she would have actually taken a series of high school classes to which most Americans are now exposed, and perhaps be vaguely familiar with the use of reference materials, standards of proof and maybe even social norms when discussing a topic. Lisa did take a "three-Rs" basic skills test to be declared whatever the State of New York considers minimally educated to enter the world, and so far as I know has escaped well into adulthood without encountering actual classes in the sciences, math and social studies beyond the 10th grade level. So thanks for the opportunity to set the record straight, Lisa, since we have you in print on this website and others giving your opinion of what my education prepares me to understand and explain.


Life lesson: People who live in the basement of someone else's house (owing to a lifetime of reduced socioeconomic standing based in a lack of educational achievement) shouldn't throw stones.


Lisa's wearying little pseudo-intellectual parlor trick is to switch between at least three mutually contradictory "methods" of determining what a country is in a hamfisted shell game. Whenever anyone tries to box her into one failed position and stick with it through a logic train in hopes of arriving somewhere, she'll drop one argument completely and run to another. If even one of them held water this might not be so pathetic.


1) A country is an area that was formerly independent, even if it isn't now. No, it isn't. Are Hawaii, Texas, Vermont, California, Bavaria, Sicily and Andalusia "countries" these days? Does anyone say that, ever? Would anyone like me to start accepting Vermont as an answer to Speed round questions requiring countries? Also Lisa claims repeatedly that "Northern Ireland is a country", even though that isn't even all of Ulster, and was never independent. So she's not actually using this standard all of the time even within the UK while making her other arguments.


Beyond this Lisa and others have started pretty much every argument with me by claiming that Scotland has country trappings now, such as a parliamentary body (Pennsylvania has two of those) or a land border (Maine, anyone?) or distributed paper [but not coin] currency that is graphically different (as do the 12 Federal Reserve Bank regions). Anyone who truly believed that "country" is a function of what used to be would not argue these points in their favor, let alone begin an argument there.


2) "The" dictionary says Scotland is a country. Well, there isn't one dictionary, is there? For every sloppy private publisher - we know that there isn't any body that regulates and coordinates these things, yes? - who claims that there are "four countries" in the UK another will define the UK as one country with "four territories" or something other. Because dictionaries contradict each other (assuming you want to read these entries the way that a religious fundamentalist reads a religious text, a problem by itself), even from one entry to the next, certainly from one edition to the next, all written by different people, Lisa selects dictionaries that, quoted out of context, support her and ignores all the ones which do not. Other people and I have asked her dozens of times how she determines which dictionary is then "correct", forsaking all others, and get no answer. She doesn't seem to have considered that there is more than one form of English in the world with different published reference works, and certainly has no answer for why this is a determination made in the English language and no other. Does she imagine that the global community discusses whether or not to recognize a country based in English dictionary definitions?


In any event in my Speed round quiz question I asked for 14 European countries meeting certain requirements on a list that included Spain, France, Portugal and so forth. That number 14 is important as it should in the mind of any sane person remove any doubt that there are too many subdivisions of actual countries for me to have expected their parts and not the whole as answers, and that only independent political entities were expected as answers. Even Lisa's team understood this and answered "UK" and not any parts thereof at the time. Any time she makes any fizzling arguments about supposed ambiguities in the term she takes special care to avoid this context while proclaiming loudly for three years that I was wrongly applying context. This isn't about the accuracy of my quizzes, it's about Lisa having psychological issues to work out with me as her inflatable punchy clown.


I maintain a geography reference work is preferable to a/any/some general dictionary/ies for answering a geography question. Silly me. In the United States, the official, federal government reference for these things is the CIA World Factbook, which clearly lists the United Kingdom as a "country" and Scotland as a "first-order subdivision." Likewise Pennsylvania and Ontario are "first-order subdivisions." There would be dramatic real-world consequences attached to the federal government also calling parts of other countries countries themselves.


God forbid I bring up the fact that I worked for a number of years in geography education and in fact for a stint even for the US Department of State.


3) The common person in a bar/ the listener determines what a country is. Somehow Lisa takes both sides of a series of ongoing modern and post-modern debates in linguistics and philosophy as to how meaning is determined. I don't think this is a conscious process on her part, I'm just describing what happens. Sometimes, after spending paragraphs or pages promoting the idea that the dictionary provides a proscriptive, definitive definition of what a country is, Lisa will then reverse herself 180 degrees and begin arguing that each individual listener creates the meaning of a word.


Why I'm the only one not allowed to be "the listener" in this situation and do the damn quiz job by marking the papers by one standard is left unstated, and likely unconsidered.


Lisa also like to use out of context quotes from political science articles that she Googles selectively to try and prove me "wrong." Sometimes this results in almost humorous misreadings of the text if one consults the original. Interestingly none of these sources mention the UK or Scotland directly, they are usually concerned with the appropriateness of the new recognition of nascent states. For all the Googling, she seems to have trouble finding anyone, anywhere who claims that Scotland belongs on a list with Spain and France. (You'll note too that these are issues of present and potential future, whereas argument #1 is that Scotland is a country because it was one in the past!)


Most pathetically, Lisa will quote varied lists that there could be said to be 19X or 20X countries in the world. What's astounding about this is that all of those lists display the United Kingdom and not Scotland nor any other part thereof as "countries."  This is easily understood as no body is currently representing itself to the world as the government-in-exile of a country called Scotland and there is therefore no international debate on the issue.


I believe we learned not to present directly contradictory evidence to our arguments the first day of 11th grade.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm on vacation; just a 12 Steps Down quiz next week

Quizmaster John will be filling in for me at 12 Steps while I'm away.  I'll be back the following week.  Think of it as John 7/13*.  Stay cool, folks.

Wednesday, July 13, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: I don't know, ask John... 

* I had to look that one up once I typed it.  How unfortunate!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This week's Subject round topics

Tuesday, July 5, 9pm
El Camino Real
1040 N. 2nd St.
(2nd St. below Girard Ave.)
Subject Round: MASSACHUSETTS


Wednesday, July 6, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: CANADA

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yes, you can watch Phillies-Red Sox games and play the quiz simultaneously

... in fact that's what I'll be trying to do in between questions and rounds.  Both bars have baseball on multiple screens.

Tuesday, June 28, 9pm
El Camino Real
1040 N. 2nd St.
(2nd St. below Girard Ave.)
Subject Round: FRUITS & VEGETABLES

Wednesday, June 29, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: MASSACHUSETTS

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My first game created on Sporcle - Can you name the world's 100 Largest Metro Areas?


Anyone who has played my quizzes knows what a geography enthusiast I am. Thus it should be no surprise that my first Sporcle creation is a sort of demented geography mega-Speed Round, naming the world's 100 Largest Metro Areas (not merely cities within their boundaries) in 15 minutes.

When I tried to do this timing myself by writing down answers before looking up a source, I could come up with no more than 87. Back when I had my global socioeconomic data job I think I would have hit a few more.  I'd love to know how you did, what you think of the game and of my publication of these games (if registered with Sporcle feel free to comment either here or there) and so forth.  If people enjoy this there will be more to come.  If you've published games yourself, do let me know.

And don't think a shorter version of this won't be an upcoming Speed round in the quiz!  Not this week, but soon my pretties, soon...

Monday, June 20, 2011

A very mature, highly refined set of weekly Subject rounds

Tuesday, June 21, 9pm

El Camino Real
1040 N. 2nd St.
(2nd St. below Girard Ave.)
Subject Round: CARTOON SIT-COMS


Wednesday, June 22, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: THE MUPPETS

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Your weekly Subject rounds are...

Tuesday, June 14, 9pm
El Camino Real
1040 N. 2nd St.
(2nd St. below Girard Ave.)
Subject Round: 1990s MOVIES

Wednesday, June 15, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: WASHINGTON DC

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do not adjust your set; switching last week's Subject rounds

Tuesday, May 31, 9pm
El Camino Real

1040 N. 2nd St.
(2nd St. below Girard Ave.)
Subject Round: SIT-COMS


Wednesday, June 1, 7:30pm
12 Steps Down
9th & Christian Sts.
Subject Round: NEVADA