August 8, 2008 answer – Geography Medal Presentation

Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran all border the Caspian Sea (which, by the way, is also considered the largest lake in the world). No one knew them all, but Elena and Karen M (the M stands for Maldives Is Close) knew four while Paul K, Charles, and Karen H all guessed three correctly. So the final tally in the Geography event of the inaugural Trivia Olympiad is . . .

Karen M: 9 . . . GOLD
Charles: 7 . . . SILVER
Paul K: 6 . . . BRONZE
Karen H: 5
Elena: 5 . . . tied for a very impressive, yet altogether disappointing fourth place finish. Well done, all of you.!

And sorry if any of you were planning an evening response, but as the opening ceremonies of the Olympics unfold before your eyes, complete with maps of each country as they are named, I thought it would be imperative to announce the results as soon as possible.

August 8, 2008

Here we are, the final day of the biggest (and only) event in Trivia Olympiad history. As the opening ceremonies are already opened, it’s time to wrap up Geography. And while the people in Beijing already know how this event turns out, for all of us in the Western Hemisphere the result is still in doubt.

Yesterday, a lot of you racked up a point by knowing that the equator is longer than all those lines of longitude that connect the poles. Charles, Elena, Paul K (the K stands for Kentucky), Andrew, Konrad, Heather M (the M stands for Make That Latitude), Heidi, Karen M (the M stands for Money In Geography), Nancy K (the K stands for Kwater, E.), Steve J (the J stands for Jeograffiti) all got the question right, leaving the standings like this:

Karen M: 5
Charles: 4
Paul K: 3
Karen H: 2
Steve J: 2
Heather M: 2
Heidi: 2
Mathias: 1
Maridee: 1
Elena: 1
Andrew: 1
Konrad: 1
Nancy K: 1

Here’s the tape-delayed question:

What 5 countries border the Caspian Sea?
(Note: Yes, you will get a point for every country you correctly name, but guessing MORE than 5 countries will result in a deduction.)

August 7, 2008 question


Brett Favre is back. Back in the NFL, but donning non-Green Bay green for the first time in his career. He’s a Jet, now, and let me tell you, when you’re a Jet, you’re a Jet till the end. But when you’re in Darfur, the only neighboring countries you have to turn to are Libya, Central African Republic, and Chad. (Not a smooth transition, I know, but neither is the one from Green Bay to New York, so I’m giving myself a break, okay?)

Here’s who knew yesterday’s answer, followed by the number of correct countries they named and the points they earned as a result:

Heather M (the M stands for Make It There), 1
Karen M (the M stands for Make It Anywhere), 3
Charles, 2

So the standings now, with two days left to make it back into the running for a medal, look like this:

Trivia Olympiad–Geography
Karen M: 4
Charles: 3
Paul K: 2
Karen H: 2
Steve J: 1
Mathias: 1
Heidi: 1
Maridee: 1
Heather M: 1

Whew, baby! It’s getting tight! The suspense is killing me. Please, end my pain by answering this question:

Which is longer, the circumference of the earth at the equator or its circumference at the poles?
A. The equator is longer.
B. The circumference at the poles is longer.
C. They’re both the same.
D. The earth is flat, silly.

August 6, 2008 question

Australia is the smallest continent. I thought more people would guess Antarctica, which is actually the third smallest. But Europe is actually the second smallest, and here’s who knew:

Karen H (the H stands for Has A Slight Lead Now)
Paul K (the K stands for Knows His Oceania From His Australasia)

So the standings in the Geography event at the Trivia Olympiad are as follows:

Trivia Olympiad–Geography
Paul K: 2
Karen H: 2
Karen M: 1
Charles: 1
Steve J: 1
Mathias: 1
Heidi: 1
Maridee: 1

Ah, like the continual saga of Brett Favre vs. the Packers, this competition is impossible to call at this point. Let’s see if today’s question puts any more distance between the for reals and the for pretends. Here it is:

What are the three countries bordering Darfur, the troubled region in western Sudan?

My Favorite . . .

Quote from watching a few minutes of America’s Got Talent tonight:
“I think Vegas is looking for a new Elvis.”

Commercials to make fun of:
The ones about genital herpes. It’s its own punchline, really.

Canadian pronunciation:
Saying sorry like “soary”

Learning process at the moment:
It’s a tossup between Colin trying to walk and Addison trying to ride a training-wheel-free bike.

Olympian of all time:
Mary Lou Retton, hands down. No, wait. Hands up.

August 5, 2008 question

I forgot to mention: hair and belly buttons. Those were the two most popular answers for Friday’s question, but the winner, by a hair, was hair. Dolphins are born with hair, but if falls off relatively quickly and they spend the rest of their lives bald as bald can be. Andy, Heidi, and Karen H (the H stands for Hair Falling Out Saves Them A Lot Of Shaving) all knew that.

As for yesterday’s question, the Yangtze River is the longest in China (and in Asia, for that matter), followed by the Yellow. Here’s who knew, pulling ahead in the Geography event here at the Trivia Olympiad: Paul K (the K stands for Korean Judge Took Off Half A Point Just For Kicks), Karen M (the M stands for Medal Round), Charles, Karen H (the H stands for Heading To The Podium) and Steve J (the J stands for Jump All You Want, But This Is Table Tennis). So here are the standings as we head into the next heat:

Trivia Olympiad–Geography
Paul K: 1
Karen M: 1
Charles: 1
Karen H: 1
Steve J: 1

On to today’s question:

Of the seven continents, what is the second smallest in total area?

August 4, 2008 question

I thought it was funny when McCain's camp produced a commercial accusing
Obama of being nothing more than a celebrity and comparing him to
Britney Spears and Paris Hilton*. But the commercial itself is nowhere
near as funny as the reaction from one of McCain's supporters: Kathy
Hilton. Yeah, apparently donors to your campaign don't appreciate it
when you use their daughter's name as an insult. I'll try to remember
that the next time I run for president.

But the competition at the forefront (or tail end, actually) of this
week isn't the one between two men (one as popular as Paris Hilton, the
other as old as Paris, France). No, the Olympics are getting ready and
getting set to go. So today will begin the first Trivia Olympiad!
Starting now, the points count, the medals are real**, and the glory
lasts forever. Here's the first question of the first event, Geography:

What is the longest river in China?

*Funny, not because it was accurate, but because it's ludicrous. Obama
is nowhere near as famous as Britney.

**Not really

Bag It

I came to a life-changing intersection of life at the grocery store checkout counter this week. I made a run to pick up an assortment of products from our local Town & Country, and milk was the headliner. A full on gallon of whole milk.

There was nothing visibly special about it. Nothing to differentiate it from the half million other gallons of milk seen in my lifetime. Well, except the ones in Canada that they sell in plastic bags so you can just put them right into a pitcher . . . but I digress. There was something that made this gallon of milk special.

I had bagged all of my other groceries into their plastic bags (no, I’m not green, not with envy and not with eco-friendliness) and I stared down that thing of milk. Then I looked around the store to see if anyone was watching. I was going to do it.

You see, I’ve gone my whole life wondering why people don’t put milk in a bag. It has long tormented society as the most inconvenient thing you can ever buy at the store. Even when you buy it at a convenience store, all convenience is neglected by this inexplicable compulsion to carry it by the tiny hand-cramping handle whilst carrying all the other groceries in bags. So milk jugs have handles. So that means you can’t put them in bags? Pshaw, pshaw. And again I say pshaw. Milk jugs just might be the hardest thing in the store to carry, so it makes no sense not to bag them.

Still, as this furious rage against nonsense and injustice stormed within me, I didn’t know for sure if I was doing the right thing. I slipped the jug into the plastic bag and wondered if I was making a mistake. The big question now was the question of weight. Can a plastic bag hold a gallon of milk? Will the handles tear? Will they slice through my hand? Will the bag split through the bottom?

So I picked up that bag and quickly placed it inside the next plastic bag. But even as I did so, I realized that the double bagging was unnecessary. The jug that always feels so unwieldy and cumbersome was pleasantly wieldy and cumberless. I left the grocery store knowing that as I walked away with my food, I was leaving behind a tradition that had weighed me down for far too long. I felt free. I felt like I was beginning life again. I felt like the sole beacon of wisdom in a world full of gallon-jug-carrying fools.

And now, this is me shouting it from the virtual rooftops: Put your milk in a bag! Those gallons are not special. They don’t deserve to roam free in car trunks and back seats, segregated from the cans and produce and buns and cheese and dishwasher gel. They can sit there suffocating in a plastic bag like the rest of your groceries. If you want your milk to feel special, hire a milk man. Otherwise, give up the charade. The handle is for pouring, not for carrying across driveways and up stairs.

Okay. I’m prepared for the backlash. Bring it on.

August 1, 2008 question

B-lieve it or not, orangutan really is pronounced uh-rang-uh-tang. That’s the first pronunciation listed by our friends at Webs, followed by uh-rang-guh-tang, uh-rang-uh-tan, and uh-rang-guh-tan. And when you find yourself asking, “Who cares?” you know you’re in trivialand. Welcome.

Now it’s Friday, so it’s time for a question about a fun-loving animal that is fun to watch as well. For our last “stuff I learned at Brookfield Zoo” question, we turn our pint-sized noses to the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin. Here’s the question:

What are dolphins born with, only to lose it for good a few months after birth?

And, of course, here’s the list of tangy trivia top-tier tree trekkers:

Steve J (the J stands for Just Give Me Tang)
Karen H (the H stands for Hot Dang)
Heather M (the M stands for Mustang)

Congrats to you all.