September 29, 2008 question

Perhaps I’ve seemed a bit glib over the past week or so, but make no mistake: this is unequivocally the most important contest in the history of my lifetime or any of our lifetimes. As November advances upon us, the winner will be decided as we watch–and you must decide whom you will support. Will you stand beside the victor or will you vainly applaud a loser? Can hope finally bubble from within to emerge as something more than just empty promises and silly aspirations? Is it possible that after years of failure, our nation can grasp true prosperity? Quite simply, can we win?

Yes we can! A lot of people are talking about change, but there is only one change that matters, and we must carry that banner of change forward. Now is the time we must all join together. We are all red states. We are all blue states. We are red and blue states. We are . . . Cubs Nation.

That’s right, the Cubs playoff run begins onWednesday. Anything short of a World Series championship will be considered a failure. Join with me in a chorus of billions united as one. We’re singing, “Go, Cubs, go . . .”

Oh, yeah, a question. Here it is:

How many World Series Champions have called Wrigley Field home?

Oh, yeah, and an answer. The most popular game show in the world is Wheel of Fortune. Here’s who knew:

Julia
Paul C (the C stands for C)
Stephanie
Karen H (the H stands for H)
Karen M (the M stands for M . . . No, Vanna, That’s A W . . . There You Go, Good Girl.)

We’re on Alltop

Alltop categorizes blogs. All the top blogs, I guess you could say. Of the people dedicated to wasting their time asking about and responding to trivial matters, I guess we’re among the top ones. Of course, if it’s all the top ones, that might extend all the way to the middle or even the bottom. But still, we’re not buried, and that says something.

Congratulations. We’re all sell-outs.

September 26, 2008 question

Whoo hoo. WaMu was seized by the FDIC and sold to JP Morgan Chase. I’m pretty sure there are only about three banks left in America. I’m a little concerned about that. At the same time, I’m a little entertained by the way the media reported the bipartisan bailout deal to be done . . . and then to not be done. Again, I don’t know anything about this stuff, but here’s another way that helps me feel like I do:

We’re playing Deal or No Deal. The contestant is the financial sector. The case they chose is full of mortgage securities, although based on the look of disgust on Howie’s face, I’m guessing it might be full of something else too. Howie Mandel is George Bush, trying to get a deal done and reminding everyone that their lives could be saved if they make the right call and abjectly ruined if they don’t. The  U.S. government is the banker, except he’s really generous.  As Howie is telling us, “Okay, there are only two cases left. One has one penny, the other has five dollars. And the banker is offering you . . . $700 billion to buy that case.” The Republicans are the family members who are never satisfied: “Don’t take that deal, are you crazy? That’s an insult.” The Democrats are the wife, who just covers her eyes, sighs a couple of hundred times, almost starts to cry, and then finally blurts out, “You have to take this deal. Are you insane?” Oh, and let’s not forget the media, the models just standing on the stage trying to look pretty as they either smile with glee at what might be good news, or wince apologetically when the contestant loses big money . . . but not really knowing anything about what’s in the cases until it’s too late.

I don’t know how this is going to turn out, but I’m sure the ratings are bonkers. Here’s today’s question:

What is the most popular game show in the world?

And a big congrats to Stephanie who knew that Lex Luthor was born in Metropolis (the Suicide Slums district, to be exact). In other carnations of the villain, he grew up with Clark in Smallville or his city of birth was undisclosed. Who knew? Oh, yeah, Stephanie. Great job!

Random Spider-Man Observations

Last week was Addison’s 5th birthday, and his great grandmother gave him a Spider-Man activity book. She then asked, “Does he like Spiderman?” Notice, I spelled Spider-Man differently in her quote, because she said it like he was Jewish and it was his last name (see Friends clip below). I thought it was awesome.

It was particularly awesome in contrast to my brother Robbie’s fixation on the comic book icon. Just a couple of weeks before this incident, we were at my parents’ house playing CatchPhrase (a game that, like Dumb and Dumber, loses its appeal after the first time around). But this game included one moment that will forever (and by “forever” I mean awhile) be sketched (not etched, because we’re talking comic books here) into my memory. It was my turn. The answer was “Spider-Man.” Robbie was not on my team. I said, “It’s hyphenated.” In .013 seconds, Robbie blurted out, “Spider-Man!” in this tone ringing with disbelief as if to say, “Geez, you guys, what the heck’s taking you so long?” It was beautiful.

September 25, 2008 question

Okay, this is where it gets really tough for me. I’m not an economics major. I didn’t particularly grasp economics in high school. I am not good with money. I do not like it when insurance people or salesmen or bankers start explaining economic principles to me. Maybe it’s because I’d rather spend money than save it. Maybe it’s because I prefer slugging percentage and batting average to the Dow Jones Industrial average. Maybe it’s because the whole process seems to work just a little better than astrology.

But as economically challenged as I am, I really don’t like what I’m hearing about the government buying the very securities at the epicenter of the American financial Big One from the very people who created them in the hopes that the problem market will eventually just go away. I feel like Superman is buying Lex Luthor’s overstocked Kryptonite for $700 billion. My big three questions (finally put into a theme I can feel comfortable with) are: 1) Where is Superman ever going to find someone interested in buying some Kryptonite for $700 billion? 2) How is the Kryptonite not going to kill Superman? 3) What is Lex Luthor going to do with the money?

Alas, beyond that, I’m quite sure I can’t come up with an economics question, so that means we’re left with:

In the 1986 recreation of the character, what city/town was Lex Luthor’s birthplace?

Also, congratulations to these criminally genius brains who knew ectotherms are cold-blooded: Karen M (the M stands for Megalomaniac), Larry, Heidi, Nancy K (the K stands for Krypton), and Karen H (the H stands for Hairless Villain).

September 23, 2008 question

So Sarah Palin’s email got hacked into . . . big deal. It hasn’t been that hard to catch the guy who did it. The lead suspect is David Kernell, the son of a Tennessee Democrat, but the guy wasn’t responding to any of the AP’s phone calls or emails. So they emailed Sarah Palin to ask how she thought Kernell may have accessed her files, and the reply came back, “Dude, it wasn’t me.”

Of course, I guess we also know one other difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: a pit bull knows better than to pick an obvious password like “VPHottie.”

Oh, and . . . has anyone seen Joe Biden? Obama may as well have chosen Mr. Invisible as his running mate, because A) I can’t remember the last time I saw him or heard from him via any media outlet, and B) the vague recollection I do have is so fuzzy, I don’t think I’d recognize the guy unless he was wearing a giant “Look at me! I’m irrelevant!” button. If I knew Obama had the power to make his VP disappear, I would have lobbied a lot harder for him to pick Ryan Seacrest.

But on to trivia. Here’s today’s question:

What scientifically outdated term for classifying animals has since been replaced by the word ectothermic?

And here are yesterday’s winners, who knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on yesterday’s date back in 18whatever:

Julia
Andrew
Charles
Nancy K (the K stands for Kudos To Lincoln)
Stephanie
Kyle
Heidi

Nice job. Best rhyming official document name ever. Sure, Magna Carta has a ring to it, but it’s not quite a rhyme, is it?

September 22, 2008 question

Finally, the Trivia Olympiad is over. And I have to say, I was impressed with your Cubs World Series knowledge. Here are the answers to the multiple questions:

They won in 1908 (worth 5 points).
They beat the Detroit Tigers (worth 10 points).
They won in 5 games (worth 5 points).
Johnny Evers scored the winning run in the first inning of game 5 (worth 20 points).
They won game 5 by the score of 2-0 (worth 10 points).

Karen H (the H stands for How ‘Bout This Year) and Stephanie both knew 20 points worth of questions. Nancy K, Heidi, and Lee got 15 apiece. Heather M got 5, and Robbie got himself ten (with a few bonus points for answering 2008 from the future). So, the final medal results for Sports & Leisure are:

Karen H: Gold (45)
Jocelyn, Heidi, Nancy K: Silver (30)
No bronzes, but a whole bunch of worthy competitors are looking up at the winners with disdain cloaked in mock admiration. Congratulations to all of you. Now, on to today’s normal (thank goodness) trivia question:

The handwritten final draft of what document, issued on this date in 1862, was destroyed in the Chicago Fire nine years later?

September 19, 2008 question

You wouldn’t expect me to award a ton of points for a mere 50/50 question, but when you’re the only person to get a 50/50 question correct, extra points are well deserved. And that’s why Jocelyn, the only one of you who knew that light beer does in fact have less alcohol than regular beer (which may explain why she’s so sharp), receives 30 points for her stellar achievement. I’ll also give 10-proof bonus points to Paul C and Steve J for knowing that regular beer generally is 5% alcohol by volume. So, as we approach the final question in the Sports & Leisure category (and the final question in the Trivia Olympiad), here are the standings:

Jocelyn: 30
Karen H: 25
Kyle: 23
Andrew: 20
Paul C: 17
Heidi and Nancy K: 15
Steve J: 10
Steve T, Larry, Mike K, Cindy, and Robbie: 7
H. E. and Mathias: 3

Now, it’s still anybody’s game, because this is a monster question that could earn you up to 50 points. Here it is, in all its multi-pronged glory:

The last time the Cubs won the World Series . . .
1. What year was it?
2. Who did the Cubs defeat in the World Series?
3. How many games were required to decide the Series?
4. Who scored the winning run for the Cubs in the deciding game?
5. What was the final score in the deciding game?

September 18, 2008 question

The Tampa Bay Rays (at the time, the Devil Rays) lost 96 games in 2007, which Kyle knew on the dot. The lowest guess was 73 (and nobody guessed any higher than 96), so Kyle gets 23 points. Karen H was just one off and will get 18 points. Andrew gets himself 13 points, and Heidi and Nancy K walk away with 8 points apiece. Here are the standings:

Karen H: 25
Kyle: 23
Andrew: 20
Heidi and Nancy K: 15
Steve T, Paul C, Larry, Mike K, Cindy, and Robbie: 7
H. E. and Mathias: 3

Now, here’s today’s Sports and Leisure Trivia Olympiad question (with an emphasis on the leisure):

Does light beer have less alcohol than regular beer?

Bonus: According to a study of 100 of the most popular brews, what is the average percentage of alcohol by volume in regular beer sold in the United States?