Showing 1 - 10 of 49 posts found matching keyword: trivia

As I type this, I have exactly 100,000 Xbox GamerScore.

You might think that's a pretty big number. It is.

You might ask what that's good for. Not a damn thing.

You might say no sane person would willfully spend so much time accruing meaningless statistics. That's a fair point.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go check Google Maps to see how many more miles I have to drive before I would have reached the moon. (Only 192,000 more to go!)

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While we were on the way to a second place finish at trivia last week (where we learned that a flute is a woodwind instrument and a Philco Predicta was a television), friend Keith was amused by my phone lock screen and background. I assume that's because he is envious and would like to use them himself. So here you go, Keith.

My phone lock screen

My phone home screen

If you like those, you might want my computer background image, too.

My computer home screen

Ask yourself: is it vanity that I have my name and face all over my devices, or is it that I want everyone to know who they belong to?

(It's vanity.)

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The Star-Spangled Banner.

15 stars, 15 stripes

Those of you who know why know why.

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Walking through Oak Hill Cemetery last week with Mom and the girls, we passed the burial plot for J.W.A. and Zippora Rowland. As you can see, only one of them was buried there.

You'll note that there is no death date for Zippora, though the engraver presumed it would happen sometime in the 20th century. That marker visible on the bottom right isn't for her, it's J.W.A.'s. Why is his body on Zippora's side of the bed? That's just the tip of the iceberg of what I don't know about Zippora. Who was she, and why isn't she buried along with her name? Of course this made me curious, so I did a little Googling.

It seems J.W.A. Rowland lived most of his life not in Newnan but in Bowdon in neighboring Carroll County. I don't know what he did for a living, but the Carroll Free Press of the late 19th century reports that he was the initial vice president of the Carroll County Chorus Choir Association. (That meeting appears to have been in the Shiloh UMC building which still stands halfway between Carrollton and Bowdon.) Still in Bowdon in 1892, he was witness on a U.S. Patent application for Ocran D. Bunt's plow fender (patent #467853). "James W.A. Rowland" appears as a 72 year old man living in Newnan, GA by the time of the 1920 census. Nearer his death, he was a co-plaintiff in a 1921 lawsuit against the Central of Georgia Railway Company in which he won $250. (They were riding in a buggy "when the mule drawing it ran away and threw them out," causing injuries. It's not clear what role the railroad played, but the court said they were guilty.)

None of those references mention Zippora.

Zippora Rowland does show up in the 1930 census as a 62-year-old woman living in Newnan, GA. "Zippora" was never a popular name, but I don't find any reference to her in the local papers of the era.

So whatever happened to Zippora? Did she remarry? Did she die somewhere else, and no one knew to bring her back to Newnan where her marker was waiting for her? I like to think she's still alive somewhere, enjoying the good life on her sesquicentennial birthday. Here's to you, Zippora!

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The Traveling Wilburys.

Those of you who know why know why.

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No one buys a new typewriter every year

I stumbled upon this not-quite-as-informative-as-it-pretends-to-be image yesterday. For unknown reasons, it tells you how much Clark Kent would have paid for rent in 1938, but not what his power or grocery bills would have been or how much of his salary as a newspaper reporter would have been consumed by his listed expenses. (Hint: even adjusting for inflation, he'll do a better job saving for retirement in 2015. Assuming he could find a paper to work for.)

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I went to trivia last night and totally blew off the question "What did the 'u' stand for in the defunct UPN Network?" as too easy. I was certain the answer was "Universal." I was wrong.

I knew that it was Paramount's television network, but I incorrectly assumed that it had been a joint venture between Paramount and Universal. It wasn't. UPN was a solo Paramount project.

Perhaps I confused UPN with the Paramount/Universal joint venture UIP, formed in the 1970s to release their films internationally. Too bad for me, the 'u' in UIP doesn't stand for "Universal," either.

The correct answer, same for both UPN and UIP is "United." Thankfully, Friend Brian knew the correct answer. I applaud Brian for his trivia knowledge.

Brian, the next time I tell you that you are wrong about something, you can point to this post and say, "I was right about 'United'." Hopefully, the memory of this one time I was wrong and you were right will console you when I prove you are wrong about whatever we're talking about now.

APPENDIX 2014-09-17: Given that it is Batman and Football month, I should mention that one of the questions at trivia was "What Batman villain, according to one origin story, was originally known as The Red Hood?" That question really was too easy! Sadly, there were no questions about football.

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The 2012 New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year is "gif." That's right, "gif," as in the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a digital image format introduced to the world by CompuServe in 1987 and largely replaced in the 21st century by the patent-free Portable Network Graphics ("png") format. "Gif," pronounced either as "gift" without the "g" or as the peanut butter brand Jif, depending largely on what side of the Atlantic Ocean you're on, has finally climbed to the top of the logophile heap, and all it took was changing into a verb.

I'm not one to doubt the wisdom of the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary, but I can't say that I've heard the word "gif" used as a verb yet. The archaic gif, unloved and abandoned by digital imagery professionals, now survives thanks to amateurs who have found that it makes a handy universal format for animating and sharing brief clips of children being attacked by animals and adults earning Darwin Awards. If anything, it's not "gif" that should be awarded, but "ISP," for finally building the Internet's tubes large enough to support the ridiculously bloated size of animated gifs.

Ultimately, I have to guess that if a 25-year old word is the Word of the Year, it must have been a slow year for words. Seeing the hoopla that "gif" got, I thought I'd take a look back at past words honored by the New Oxford American Dictionary:

  1. gif
  2. squeezed middle
  3. refudiate
  4. unfriend
  5. hypermilling
  6. locavore
  7. carbon-neutral
  8. podcast

It's almost like looking into a time capsule! All of those are zeitgeist words. Who refudiates anymore? I guess that means that in a few years, we won't even remember that in 2012 we giffed.

Still crazy after all these years.

Yep, just like it all never happened....

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We have some new across-the-street neighbors. Yesterday as I was walking the dogs, their toddler ignored her father's shouts and began stumbling her way across the lawn to reach my poodles. When daddy finally caught up to his little girl -- right by the street, I might add -- I jokingly asked if he needed to borrow one of my leashes. He didn't seem to think that was too funny. Some people can't take a joke.

While we're on the subject, I should mention that I used to think those child leashes were a modern invention. Maybe this is because they are surprisingly controversial. If you want to pick an argument in a room full of mothers, simply start a discussion about bottle feeding, vaccinations, or toddler leashes. Be sure to have an exit strategy planned first, because it's going to get ugly.

But watching Picnic earlier this month belied that belief. One brief shot lampoons the weary mother with two toddlers straining to run in opposite directions. The children are restrained only by, you guessed it, toddler leashes. That film was made in 1955, and the sight gag must have been already an established trope for it to be included as a bit of comic relief. After all, the film's setting is small-town Kansas, hardly the bleeding edge of society.

So just how long have people been tying rope to their children to keep them in tow? A quick Google search tells me that at least as early as the 18th century, children's fashion occasionally included "leading strings," or long cloth straps attached to the shoulders which served a similar purpose as today's toddler leash. Does that mean that a young George Washington was once led around by his father like a standard poodle? I cannot tell a lie: I like to think so.

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On the drive to Miami, Trey and I occupied ourselves with the Sports Illustrated Trivia Game: Multi-Sport Edition. According to the tin, "you'll find questions for all ages and levels of trivia knowledge." This is true, assuming that "all ages" means "over 30 years old" and levels of trivia knowledge" means "sports-loving shut-in." Here's a sample question:

Name the Broadway play about Rugby that appeared on the 1973 cover of Sports Illustrated."

Despite having nothing about to do with boxing, that question about "The Changing Room" appears on the "boxing" card. Technically, that's not even a sports question, so how about another?

Who finished as the runner up behind John Daly in the 1991 PGA Championship?

Of course, everyone knows that the answer to that question is Bruce Lietzke, right? Wikipedia tells me that second place finish was Lietzke's best finish in a major ever, so how dare I not know his name! Maybe I should stick to football questions.

The Chicago Bears routed the Washington Redskins in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. What was the score?

Okay, fine. Whatever.

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To be continued...


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