Gilead Community Services, Inc. recently held its annual Quizzine for a Cause fundraising dinner. These were the trivia quiz questions, and we have made a few comments. By the way, today is Election Day. Plan accordingly.
☻ Round 1
1.1 What brilliant name did the Texas Rangers choose for their ballpark?
The official answer was “The Ballpark.” We have our doubts: first, there’s no evidence that the Rangers did the choosing of the name. The owner of the ballpark is the Arlington Sports Facilities Development Authority. The park was doubtless built with public money in strict accordance with Texas doctrine of “no socialism except for football,” and the taxpayers presumably gave the Texas Rangers organization the valuable naming rights as additional incentive to induce the Rangers to accept the gift of a ballpark. At the time the park opened on April 1, 1994, it bore the name “The Ballpark in Arlington.” In 2004, it became “Ameriquest Field in Arlington,” and in 2007, “Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.” It has no retractable roof.
1.2 What is the human body’s largest organ?
The anatomy professor announced a pop oral quiz on the previous night’s homework. “Miss Jones,” he asked, “What is the human body’s largest organ?” Miss Jones blushed scarlet and said, “Why, professor, I simply can’t bring myself to say it.” “Miss Jones,” the professor said, “From your answer I deduce three things: first, you didn’t read the assignment; second, you have a dirty mind; third, you are in for a big disappointment.”
The correct answer is “the skin.”
1.3 What is the name for a group of jellyfish?
Although the official answer is “a smack,” the actual answer is “a political party: all sting and no spine.”
1.4 Frederick “Fritz” Maytag is a grandson of the founder of the Maytag appliance company. Fritz is also known as the father of American craft brewing for his reviving of Anchor Steam Brewing. [“Steam” in this context means “beer.”] In addition, he is the chairman of the board of a food company that produces a famous food product in Iowa. What is the food product?
The official answer is “Maytag Blue Cheese.” Acclaimed by cheese experts and food editors as America's finest blue cheese, Maytag Blue Cheese ranks among the world's great cheeses. Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, the world’s greatest gourmet, has said: “I don’t care if it rain or freeze, as long as I have my Maytag Blue.”
2.1 How many gallons of beer are in a furkin [sic]?
The official answer is “nine,” but there’s more to this story. First, Merriam-Webster Unabridged knows not “furkin.” About “firkin,” however, M-W has this to say:
1: a small wooden vessel or cask of indeterminate size
2: any of various British units of capacity usually equal to 1⁄4 barrel: such as
a : a unit equal to 9 imperial gallons
b : an old unit for ale equal to 8 ale gallons
3: any of various British units of weight; specifically : a unit for butter equal to 56 pounds
Origin of FIRKIN
Middle English ferdkyn, firdekyn, fyrkyn, from (assumed) Middle Dutch veerdelkijn, vierdelkijn, diminutive of Middle Dutch veerdel, vierdel fourth, from veerde, vierde fourth (adjective) + -del (from deel part); akin to Old English fēortha fourth and dǣl part — more at fourth, deal
First Known Use: 14th century (sense 1)
Related to FIRKIN
barrel, butt, cask, hogshead, keg, kilderkin, pipe, puncheon, rundlet (or runlet), tun
So a good case (no pun intended) could be made for the answer, “It depends on how big the firkin is and whether it’s full or not.” Other answers seem possible, too.
2.2 If I suffer from blepharospasms, what physical symptoms
The official answer is “uncontrollable winking,” and the official answer is right. Pronounced bleph-a-ro-spasms. Guess what? It’s from the Greek! Blepharon = eyelid.
2.3 Where in Connecticut is Katharine Hepburn buried?
The official answer is “Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford,” and if it’s not accurate, we had nothing to do with it.
2.4 The first volume of this person’s autobiography was expected to sell 7,500 copies, mostly to researchers and scholars, but it sold 300,000 copies in the popular market. Who was the subject?
The official answer is “Mark Twain,” but you could write a book about it.
3.1 What did Homer Simpson smuggle onto the spaceship? Potato chips.
3.2 What television series used the title of the Shelley poem, Ozymandias, as the title of one of its last episodes?
We thank our lucky stars that we only got sucked into Breaking Bad in the middle of its final season. The fewer addictions one has, the better.
3.3 What 1939 film was converted this year to IMAX and 3D formats?
The number of great movies released in 1939 is large. Here are a few: The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Gunga Din, Destry Rides Again, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Good-bye, Mr. Chips, Only Angels Have Wings, Dark Victory, Of Mice and Men, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Roaring Twenties, Son of Frankenstein, Beau Geste, and more. The official answer is, of course, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Just kidding -- Wizard of Oz.
In real life, Margaret Hamilton loved children and regretted that her roles as the Wicked Witches of the East and West (the former uncredited -- remember the witch in the twister with the ruby slippers?) made children afraid of her. She made personal appearances and said of them:
"Almost always they want me to laugh like the Witch. And sometimes when I go to schools, if we're in an auditorium, I'll do it. And there's always a funny reaction, like Ye gods, they wish they hadn't asked. They're scared. They're really scared for a second. Even adolescents. I guess for a minute they get the feeling they got when they watched the picture. They like to hear it but they don't like to hear it. And then they go, 'Ohhhhhhhhhh!...' The picture made a terrible impression of some kind on them, sometimes a ghastly impression, but most of them got over it, I guess... Because when I talk like the Witch and when I laugh, there is a hesitation, and then they clap. They're clapping at hearing the sound again."
And now it’s in 3-D and IMAX. “Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why, my little party is just beginning!”
3.4 Onyx Distillery in Manchester, CT has produced a legal version of a certain distilled spirit. What spirit? Onyx Moonshine. Remember: hootch responsibly, poteen lovers. Go, Manchester.
4.1 How long ago, to the nearest billion years, was the Big Bang?
The official answer was “14 billion years,” and we have no quibble except the big one: if time is relative depending on speed, and the expansion of the universe is speeding up, what was a “year” before the Sun and Earth had come to be, or as some put it, what was your face before your parents were born?
4.2 In a timber framed building, what part pairs with the mortise to make a joint? Official answer: “the tenon.” How many carpenters does it take to make a joint? (There’s no answer; it’s a Zen thing. Only Cheech and Chong know.)
4.3 Whose personal library formed the core of the restored Library of Congress after the British burned the original collection during the War of 1812? Official answer: Thomas Jefferson’s. Wait a minute: the Nazis learned book burning from the British? No wonder we have to read their e-mail and listen to all their boring phone calls: “I’m in the Vauxhall in Knightsbridge, where are you?”
4.4 Which states never ratified the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) in 1920? Hint: there were two of them.
Hmm. Come, let us reason together. Cities are but sinks of vice, right? So opposition to banning demon rum probably came from the biggest sinks of vice in the country, New York and Chicago, right? So New York State and Illinois, right? Wrong. Official answer: Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Procrastination States. And now it’s too darn late, the Eighteenth Amendment has come and gone. Yet prohibition is still with us -- cue the John Prine.