Friday, May 11, 2007

Release the Erudition!

I was about six years old, the first time I remember giving a correct answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. I was headed up for bedtime, and my parents were playing with guests at the kitchen table. Stopping by to say goodnight, I heard "Which ear, the left or the right, has better hearing?" and I offered the correct answer (no idea which one anymore) and received laud and honor from the amused adults. Oh those glorious days of precociousness...

Since then, I've sought various ways of feeding my love and obsession for all things trivial and factoid-oriented. It's hard nowadays to find an eager Trivial Pursuit crowd. Even more so, it's hard to function in daily life when every word someone says triggers a cultural, historical or literary reference that you feel physically compelled to mention outloud, even though you know you'll be met with silence and or/revulsion. But there's something inside that just says:"Mention How 'Le Petomane' was not only the middle name given to Mel Brooks' character in 'Blazing Saddles' but is actually the name of a 19th century French vaudeville artist who used self-contstructed plastic tube contraptions to play music with his farts, and how the popular juggling group 'The Flying Karamazov Brothers', whom you and your family have seen perform dozens of times since the early 80's, even back when the guys were just touring rennaissance fairs and your mom changed your brother's diaper on the back of the wooden stage they were performing on, how they wrote a play about Le Petomane and performed it at the La Playhouse in the mid-90's, during the time that you had regular season tickets that you purchased for yourself with your babysitting money and were definitley the theater's youngest individual subscriber at age 12, and how the play was quite creepy and political and not what fans of the FKB were expecting and thus, no one has heard of the play since, except when you mentioned its existence to Bill Irwin while you were having lunch with him and talking about the play he was writing about George L. Fox,

the 19th century New York performer who was one of america's first celebrity box-office breaking comedians, but who eventually went insane and died poor and crazy."

It's hard to have a lot of info floating around that you can't do anything with other than alienate or bore people with esoteric, erudite, obtuse references. (note broing, alientating habit of regularly using words like erudite).


At last, there's a sport I can really get behind, and a team sport, at that! It has everything I could ever want in an evening: pubs, trivia questions and refillable soda. I've been saying it's as close to being a professional poker player as I'll ever get, insofar as it involves paying money to compete for more money while sitting at a place where people come by and ask you if they can get you another drink.

I've done it two weeks in a row so far, and by cracky, it's fabu! (And at Jabu's Pub in lower Queen Anne). So to celebrate this new part of my life that I've waited all my life for, here are some questions that have come up the last two weeks, and if you've got time, listen to the episode of This American Life that I linked below, I resonated with it intensely. Take an hour break from whatever you're doing, pull out some crayons, and doodle on paper while you listen to the splendiferous Ira Glass and his cast of genius correspondants as they talk about themes of Quiz-ness in our daily life.
This American Life
#326 Quiz Show

Pub Quiz (feel free to answer in comments section- answers will appear eventually)

category: Talk Show Hosts
Which talk show host began her career starring in John Water's 'Hairspray'?

category: Random Animal Facts
What is the largest member of the deer family?

category: 80's movies
What film had Michelle Pfeiffer laying across a piano singing "Makin' Whoopee"?

category: Eddie Murphy Films
In which film does Eddie Murphy play an FBI negotiator?

category: Sharks
true or false: the thresher shark's tail is as long as it's body.


Anonymous said...

I only know the first answer... she is on the cover of this week's US Weekly that Matt got for free when his Interview Magazine subscription got cancelled. By the way, she weighs 123 pounds now. Can you name her two children oh trivia master?


Kj said...

no dude, I'm impressed!

Bridget Beth said...

I love This American Life. And I love Bill Irwin. But I have no idea what the largest member of the deer family is and am very very intrigued.

Kj said...

Hi Bridget! Answers coming soon.

Kj said...

Pub Trivia ANSWERS:
1- Rikki Lake
2- The Moose
3- The Fabulous Baker Boys
4- True

Sarah said...

Oh man, I am late. Kj, you would be proud because I would have gotten all of them right! Honest, even the moose! =)

I love your bustling mind of trivial information.

Kj said...

oy yeah, the Eddie Murphey Film was "Metro". Never heard of it.