April 8, 2009 question – Napoleonic Dynasty

What else would you expect from American Idol?
In baseball, you expect extra innings every once in awhile.So of course I wasn’t bothered by the extended nature of the Cubs game last night (although I was less than ecstatic about the loss). But in programmed television, the rules are different. They’re supposed to end on time. American Idol has achieved a new low in their regular practice of breaking that rule.

Last night’s final contestant, Adam Lambert, gave his entire performance after the DVR window. That is to say, he began his performance after the standard three-minute grace period most DVRs record even after the scheduled conclusion of a show. So the people who didn’t watch the male version of Cher live last night most likely missed out on his typically must-see performance.

It’s unforgivable, inexcusable, and reprehensible. Yet, the world still spins. I’ll try to recover.

Today’s Question
How much money was actor Jon Heder originally paid to play the title role in Napoleon Dynamite? (Closest guess wins.)

Yesterday’s Answer
And the people who knew it
Nap Lajoie actually became the namesake for his team, changing the Cleveland Bluebirds to the Cleveland Naps. Norris and Karen H (the H stands for How Lucky His Parents Named Him Napoleon Instead Of Richard) both knew that eponymous trivia about the team now known as the Indians.

Congratulations! You both win one free nap. Lajoie it!

And that just may be the worst joke ever. You’re welcome.

April 2, 2009 question – Fools Rush Away

What, You’re Too Good for April Fools?
Seriously, what’s up with that, trivia dude?

Why didn’t I pull some kind of trivial April Fools joke? I’ll tell you why. Because I may play it silly every once in awhile. Maybe I lay on the sarcasm here and there. I have been known, on occasion, to play tricks and pranks and other assorted high jinks on my very own trivia family (yes, you are all like second cousins and thrice-removed half aunts and uncles to me . . . and, yes, even those of you who are my real-life siblings). So how could I complain about a lack of any relevant inspiration from the current events of the day when the most obvious calendrical muse was staring me right in the face (or at the very least the profile) the entire time?

Because, my friends, trivia may be a lot of things, but it is not the stuff of fools. For the sake of my personal integrity, nay, the sake of trivial integrity, I refused to base an entire day’s rant around an observation that derives its very nature from the lack of knowledge. Trivia is the constant search for knowledge, however far removed from the land of the practical. I will not, and I pray none of you will either, compromise that for the sake of a thematic intro.

Also, I totally forgot.

Today’s Question

What immortal musical question was asked on the 1971 single that had “Hey Tonight” as its B-side?

Yesterday’s Answer
And the people who knew it

The first Cricket World Cup was played in 1975 and I was genuinely impressed at how close almost all of your guesses were, given the sport’s long history. But I’m most impressed by Kyle and Charles who got it exactly right. So on their behalf, I offer up this bonus trivia tidbit. When an umpire makes a call on the basepaths in baseball, his choices are essentially out or safe. In cricket, the options are out or not out. Awesome.

February 23, 2009 question

Kevin, Joe, and Nick are the brothers Jonas, and they were born in that order. Charles knew this. Usually, sole trivia glory is a status symbol worthy of boundless pride, but I’m thinking Charles might be wishing he had company atop the trivia podium. Sorry, Charles, you’re all alone in the spotlight today.

Perhaps the Oscars were enough to wash away any Jonas-related shame. I found it to be one of the best productions I can remember. For me, the very best part was seeing the winners of past acting awards salute the performances that earned this year’s hopefuls their much-deserved nominations. Normally the acting awards are presented by a past winner reading trite character allusions from a teleprompter, followed by random 10-second clips of each performance. This year, though, the nominees were treated to personal, heartfelt praise delivered by their friends, contemporaries, and/or heroes. It was brilliant. The announcement of the winners in these 4 categories were almost anticlimactic (for the audience at least) because the real prizes were the 20 indelible moments captured on screen. What is typically a time of awkward anticipation and intense nerves was turned into something meaningful and unforgettable. I hope they do that every year, but if not, I’ll always remember this one.

Okay, here’s some Oscar trivia:

What is Oscar’s last name in The Odd Couple?

February 20, 2009 question

Former president Bill Clinton urged Barack Obama to speak positively about the US economy, saying, “In times like these, truth is extremely overrated.”

Speaking of truth, here’s yesterday’s answer: Yes, shamrocks are clovers (but not all clovers are shamrocks, and shamrocks are not considered lucky). Lucky or not, here’s who answered correctly:

Paul C (the C stands for Charmed, I’m Sure)
Nancy K (the K stands for Kick Out Of Leprechauns)
Steve T (the T stands for Talisman Of Green)

And here’s today’s impossibly difficult trivia question:

Who is the oldest Jonas Brother?

February 6, 2009 question

Only Charles knew that Bill Gates was the source of yesterday’s inspiration. And for that, Charles wins an all expense paid trip to anywhere in the world . . . well, a virtual tour anyway. /inspiration.

Okay, on to today’s news, which includes a celebration of Pat Summitt’s 1,000th career coaching victory as head of the Tennessee Lady Vols. One thousand wins is a so amazing it’s a joke. It’s not the kind of thing that happens in real life college basketball, it’s something you could duplicate on the Easy level of a video game. But the gigantic 1K figure isn’t the most astounding part of what that woman has done as a head coach. The number that will make your jaw drop so low you could fit a basketball in there is this one:

186. That’s the number of times the Lady Vols have lost with Pat Summitt on the bench. Wins: 1,000. Losses: 186. That’s an 84% winning percentage. To put it in Vegas terms, if you bet against the Lady Vols, you are gonna lose. And if you bet on the Lady Vols, you’re not gonna make a lot of money. Congratulations, Ms. Summitt. You are ridiculous. Here’s today’s question:

What character did Bronson Pinchot breathe life into (over-the-top accent included) in the 1986 television sitcom, Perfect Strangers? (spelling counts: whoever comes closest wins it all)

February 3, 2009 question

I apologize to all of you for wasting your time with the easiest question of all time. Yes. Al Gore said that. And no, he did not create the Internet, invent the Internet, or even use the Internet until 2005 (I have documented proof*). Everyone got this right, so I’ll give sole credit to Kristin who responded first and made me laugh.

In part due to my retroactive angst in remembering Al Gore’s most grandiose of claims, I got to thinking about global warming, and not just because of the foot and a half of lake-effect snow predicted to fall on me like so many pieces of crumbling sky. I was just wondering why this era of globalwarmophobia has coincided with the incomparable financial success of the major oil companies. The value of shares in Exxon Mobil seem to be directly related to the level of panic on the faces of Al** Gore and the Green*** Team. But I can’t figure out how carbon emission fears could drive up the price of fossil fuels. Is it possible that the oil companies were concerned about waning supplies, so they actually bought pseudo-scientific studies that would scare people into using less oil, so that they could, in turn, drill less and profit more? No. That’s silly. Here’s today’s question:

What song replaced Don McLean’s “American Pie” atop the U.S. pop charts on February 12, 1972?

*By “documented proof” I mean a sarcastic hunch.
**Big clue, part 1
***Big clue, part 2

February 2, 2009 question

Happy Groundhog Day, everybody. So much water cooler talk, so little energy. I watched the Super Bowl . . . ish. Saw a few ads. Missed the Boss. Loved the end of the game. Hated the refs. Amazed at how uncomfortable The Office can make me. Ready for baseball.

Now, on to The View. Guesses came from two main schools: those who think it’s new and those who think it’s been on for way too long . . . okay, maybe both those schools are in general agreement. But we had quite a few guesses from 1990 land and then another big batch from post 2000 ville. I was of the second school, thinking that this particular daytime talk show was one of the after effects of 9/11. But, alas, we can’t blame the terrorists for this one. Barbara and friends have been chatting it up since 1997. Nobody got it exactly right, but these three came within a year:

Kyle, Jacqueline, and Paul C (the C stands for Chatfest). Here’s today’s question, and let’s settle this once and for all:

Did Al Gore really tell Wolf Blitzer, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”?

January 30, 2009 question

AAA has been around since 1902. Yeah, it was probably needed most critically when automobiles were still heavily outnumbered by horse-drawn carriages. Charles came closest with his guess of 1914, and although it’s 12 years off, he still could have gotten a membership at a really good introductory rate at that time. Way to go, Charles!

Speaking of close, how about that Illinois Senate vote, huh? Seeing as though they’re usually split down the middle on cut-and-dry topics like the bill to legalize bribes applied to the senatorial profit sharing plan, the 59-0 vote to axe Rod was a little overwhelming. Don’t worry about Blago, though, he’ll be back on his feet soon enough. Word is he’s slated to sub for Elisabeth Hasselbeck during her maternity leave from The View.

Now, here’s a question about this important political topic:

In what year did The View premiere on ABC?

January 26, 2008 question

Britney has about 90 million Web sites calling her name, but Barack Obama is in the 110 million stratosphere. Interestingly enough, there is trivial controversy over which number is more disturbing. I won’t try to settle it, since disturbance and controversy are always welcome here.

I will move on to the best news of the weekend, that Miss Indiana is now, for the first time ever, Miss America. (Also, the Miss America Pageant happened . . . who knew?) As a lifelong Hoosier, I’m proud that the leading propagator of world peace is finally from the finest state in the Union. To celebrate, here’s more Miss America trivia for you in today’s question:

Representatives from what three states have won the Miss America pageant six times each, tied for the most for any state?

Also, big sparkling tiaras to all who knew last Friday’s question:

Paul C (the C stands for Connecticut)
Steve J (the J stands for Jersey)

January 22, 2009 question

Cordelia is one of the moons of Uranus. You all guessed either Saturn or Jupiter and totally forgot about Uranus.

Oh come on. Like you didn’t start thinking up jokes the second you saw what the answer was. But let’s turn our minds to higher, more noble, more edifying subjects . . . like Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, Heath Ledger’s Best Supporting bid is the only big nomination for The Dark Knight. I haven’t checked the rules, but apparently my watching a film completely excludes any movie from Best Picture contention. (My condolences go out to Speed Racer and his family.)

However, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were both nominated in the Best Actor/Actress in a Lead Role categories*, because the voters of the Academy didn’t think the rest of the world was quite jealous enough. Here’s today’s question:

Aside from Pitt and Jolie, name one of the five other married couples who received acting nominations in the same year.**

*How enlightened is it to segregate the actor and actress awards? Why are the men competing against the men and the women against the women? Is there a different range of difficulty or something? Just wondering.

**Okay, I admit, that’s really not a question. It’s more of a command, which seems kind of rude, I guess. “Name one. Now!” You don’t have to if you don’t want to. I’m sure you understand.