After my first trivia post (4/25/08), a second round was demanded by popular acclaim (actually it was only one guy, but he might have been enthusiastic). Like the last one, these represent some of my favorite trivia questions, and nothing more. If you don't have the same interests I do, you will do miserably.
1. Which of our presidents was a citizen of France? (not kidding)
2. It is well known that Roosevelt, Kennedy and Clinton were our youngest presidents. Who was next youngest?
3. In 1952 Puerto Rican citizens started a gun fight in Washington D.C. involving 8 people that lasted about 40 seconds during which 30 shots were fired and two people died (eerily comparable to the O.K. Corral gunfight). What was the fight about?
4. Samuel Sewall was one of the first American writers on abolition (1700) and women’s rights (1725). But, before that, he apologized for his role in a sad episode in American history? What was it?
5. What were used as moving targets in one of the shooting events in the 1900 Paris Olympics?
6. How many gold medals were awarded at the first modern Olympics in 1896?
7. Jesse Owens 1936 Olympic victories are the stuff of legends. But, in the 200 meters he narrowly beat a teammate whose little brother is even more famous than Owens. Who’d he beat?
8. Which one of these smart guys was also an Olympic champion: Socrates, Plato, Einstein, von Braun or Sartre?
9. Which of these was an early and short lived Olympic sport? The standing pole vault, the standing long jump, the standing javelin throw or the standing high jump?
10. This famous athlete/actor, and childhood hero of mine, was on the University of Southern California team that set a world record in the 4x110 yard relay in the late 1960s.
11. Who's older -- Popeye, Olive Oil or John McCain?
12. Hamlet famously suggests that two of his adversary’s will be “hoisted by their own petard”. What the hell is a petard?
13. Hamlet also says to Orphelia “Get thee to a nunnery.” What was he suggesting?
14. During the Civil War the president’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, managed to slip at a Northern train station so that both legs were caught in the gap between the train and the station, risking his life. He was rescued by a celebrity who yanked him free. Who was that celebrity?
15. The vice president of the confederacy stood out from the other high officials on either side because of what characteristic?
16. The biggest battles of World War II were all fought where?
17. Gandhi is actually a common name in India and means what?
18. It is well known that the oldest man in the Bible was Methuselah, who lived to 969 years. The Bible doesn’t say how he died, but you can figure it out. So, how?
19. Actor Albert Brooks real name is much more famous than his stage name. What is it?
20. Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert were the co-authors of the John Denver hit “Country Roads, Take me home” (Denver only tinkered with it) which reached number 2 on Billboard. But later they performed their own pop classic which was a number one 70s hit which you almost certainly have heard. What was it?
21. The 67 highest mountains in the world are in Asia. What country has the next highest?
22. If you thought “boondocks” as in “I live in the boondocks” was a Southern expression, you are dead wrong. It means mountains, and derives from what language?
23. British actor Stanley Jefferson’s stage name was? How did he get it?
24. Other than the obvious, Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphreys, Jack Kennedy, George H. W. Bush have what in common?
25. He pardoned Robert E. Lee.
26. Who was the first Vice President to be called “Veep”?
27. Which Big Band leader gave Sinatra his big break?
28. In Tolkien’s first draft of what became The Fellowship of the Ring, Aragorn was not a man. What was he?
29. Which three angels are named in the canonical Bible?
20. He stole home plate 50 times in his career. Home plate! Blows my mind. Who was it?
1. Believe it or not, George Washington was given citizenship in France. Not that he ever lived or visited there. They made Hamilton one too.
2. Ulysses Grant.
3. The two gunmen were trying to assassinate President Truman at the Blair House. The other combatants were assigned to protect him.
4. He was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials.
5. Poor little pigeons. Can you imagine that today?
6. None. The winners got Silver medals.
7. Matthew (Mack) Robinson, whose little brother Jackie you probably heard about.
8. Apparently, Plato, if history can be believed.
9. The standing long jump, won by Ray Ewry, a standout in two Olympics.
10. O.J. Simpson. Most of my other childhood heroes ended up better.
11. Olive Oyl was created in 1919, ten years before Popeye. She was seventeen when McCain was born (1936).
12. A petard was a new fangled bomb at the time.
13. A nunnery was slang for a whorehouse.
14. This is one of history’s great coincidences. John Wilkes Booth’s older and more famous brother, Edwin Booth, who lived in and supported the North, saved Lincoln’s only surviving child. This sounds like a myth, but its not. Both Booth and Lincoln acknowledged it during their lives and there were other witnesses.
15. Judah Benjamin was Jewish.
16. In the Soviet Union against the Germans.
17. It means grocer.
18. If you do the math (I did personally), he almost certainly drowned during the great flood which only Noah and family survived. I suppose he could have died earlier that year of old age, but I’m going with it.
19. Albert Einstein. Can’t imagine why he needed a stage name.
20. Afternoon Delight (Starland Vocal Band). Who could forget that song?
21. Argentina has number 68. I never remember its name so I won’t include it.
22. The language is Tagalog, spoken in the Philippine Islands. The expression was picked up by Americans during our occupation of the islands.
23. Stan Laurel. He picked laurel by opening the dictionary to a random page, supposedly to a picture of one my favorite Romans, Scipio Africanus, who was wearing a laurel leaf crown.
24. They all fought in WWII. I left Eisenhower out so as not to make it too obvious.
25. Gerald Ford got around to it in 1975. When Andrew Johnson gave a general amnesty, Lee and other confederate leaders had to make special application to the president. For some reason, Lee’s application was put aside or given away by Secretary of State, William Seward, probably by accident.
26. Alben Barkley, the now forgotten VP during the Truman administration. According to Barkley, his grandson came up with it.
27. Harry James had him before Tommy Dorsey, with whom his career really took off.
28. Actually, he was a hobbit. Would have been a different book, no?
29. Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer.
30. If you guessed Rod Carew, you are wrong. He did it 17 times in the 60s and maybe 70s, 7 times in one year (the record) which I consider underappreciated. But, it was Ty Cobb who had 50 in his career way back when.
- I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .