Monday, January 13, 2014

Five Things I Did Not Know at Saturday Night's Trivia Contest

I took Saturday off. I rarely take a day off, and even this past Saturday I had a few routine tasks for clients, but I realized last week that I'd been here for a month, more or less, and had yet to take advantage of being back in a major metropolitan area.

So I did stuff. Big-city stuff. I got on the Metro and ran some errands. I went up to the Bethesda Library to see Joelle Charbonneau talk about her new YA novel, INDEPENDENT STUDY, and I was impressed by the turnout, which seemed tied to Bethesda's extremely cool Teen Reads program.

From there I went to Mazza Gallerie, where I saw Saving Mr. Banks, a terrific movie that bothered me for reasons I'll probably discuss in a future blog post. (Separately, this week I plan to visit a hairdresser and ask for the same haircut Emma Thompson wore to last night's Golden Globes.)

But after that, I went to Politics & Prose, one of the world's most wonderful bookstores, for its monthly trivia event. The friend I was hoping to meet there didn't show, but some friendly strangers let me join their team.

We did not win, partly because I did not know these five things:
  1. The Dickin Medal has been awarded since 1943 to an animal that displays conspicuous gallantry and devotion of duty while serving a branch of the British armed forces. (It was last awarded in 2012 to Theo, a springer spaniel who held the record for most operational finds of explosive devices in Afghanistan. Theo died of a seizure after a firefight that killed his handler, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker.)
  2. The world's strongest beer is called Sink the Bismarck, a name it shares with the 1960 film starring Kenneth More.
  3. The next year to begin on a Wednesday will be 2025. (To my shame, someone on my team knew this, but I thought I knew better. This is my single biggest failing as both a trivia team member and a human being. I'm working on it.) 
  4. The country between Honduras and Costa Rica is Nicaragua. (I really, really need to take a geography class.) 
  5. The constellation that used to house the sun during the winter solstice is Capricorn, which was also the symbol of the Babylonian god Ea. (I'll do astronomy after I finish with geography. One planet at a time.)
I like to know things. I like the feeling that I know things. These are very different aspirations, and the challenge is not to let the second get in the way of the first.

1 comment:

Keith Bea said...

We saw Mr. Banks last night with friends. It is an excellent movie that will leave viewers with different reactions depending on the memories, lessons and scars (we all have scars) from childhood. I gladly trash the Disney corporation when it presents biased viewpoints of complex topics or personalities(Bambi and hunting, the offensive ravens in Dumbo, the racism in Song of the South) and for creating mind numbing situations (the clear moral lesson of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio became a music/dance hall for hedonism at Disney World). As my children will attest, the modern Mickey Mouse club that gave Britney Spears her platform deserved to be censured. I do fault Mr. Banks for presenting Walt as a basically nice guy (according to biographers he was a very tough business man who harbored and propagated harmful stereotypes). However, Emma Thompson beautifully presented the conflict within Mrs. Travers and the resolution of that lifelong conflict with the help of a Disney creative team. Go see the movie, but be prepared to leave with questions about your own history that may be unsettling.