The Baker Street Silhouettes Edition of the de Vere's Irish Pub Pub Quiz Newsletter

Dr. Andy reflects on Sherlock Holmes, and American equivalents.

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


We’ve been talking about Sherlock Holmes in my house. A generation ago, my wife Kate and I used to take the London Underground to the Baker Street station before emerging for our stroll through Regent’s Park to Regent’s College, where we took classes on poetry, Shakespeare, and psychology. The nearby home of the fictional character Sherlock Holmes was 221B Baker Street, now the address of The Sherlock Holmes Museum. When I lived in London, one could see Holmes placards and flags above ground on Baker Street, and Sherlock Holmes silhouettes painted onto the tiles of the tube stop underground. I wonder if some people found it strange to spend so much time commemorating someone who didn’t exist.


Today Holmes exists in the movies and on television. My daughter Geneva has started watching the acclaimed BBC television series Sherlock, and I couldn’t be happier to have her invest her time in a show with such excellent writing, characterization, and acting. Now, like her father once upon a time, she wants to move to London. That said, she sometimes watches the show with the Roku Box subtitles feature enabled so that she can follow the dialogue despite the accents. Even with subtitles, some parts need explanations, such as why Brits use the words “cheers” and “ta” to express thanks.


Is Hannibal Lector the American Sherlock Holmes? Lector seems like a more patient genius observer and logician, as well as a less (even less) stable one. Ra's Al Ghul calls Batman detective, but I think it’s not primarily Batman’s detective work that draws us to all those sequels. Can you think of other candidates for another master detective in American culture? Clearly we should gather more evidence before assigning the title of “American Sherlock.” As Arthur Conan Doyle’s protagonist says in “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” Someday I will ask five questions on Sherlock Holmes, but not today.


Instead, tonight at the Pub Quiz we will cover snack foods, the calendar, dated imperatives, Broadway musicals, happy places, Apple, dance moves, the NBA, threat displays, American Presidents, waterfowl, philosophers, Yiddish words, American comedy-drama TV shows, Beatles lyrics, blurting slanderers, US states, Nate Silver, cheese, people born in India, Academy Award-winning actors, TV hosts, Irish history, lachrymose songs, naming the sport, hounds, and Shakespeare plays that even I have not seen.


Poetry Night in Davis comes Thursday, with insanely popular UC Davis Design lecturer D.R. Wagner giving a reading at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Details below! 


You’ve probably noticed that we’ve been packing the Pub on Monday nights. I hope you will join us this evening – come early to claim a table.


Your Quizmaster






Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:


1.         Mottos and Slogans.    Apple called the first iPad “A magical and revolutionary device at an unbeatable price.” Did the first iPad have a camera? 


2.         Internet Culture. Google has the largest share of the search engine market, at 83%, while Bing is third at almost 5%. What is second, at 7.83%? 


3.         Newspaper Headlines.   Use a four-syllable word that starts with S and that means triggered budget cuts to finish this USA Today headline from today’s newspaper: “Obama enlists governors' help on BLANK.” 


4.         Music. What was the title of Aretha Franklin’s only Billboard 100 #1 hit?


5.         Word Games. What word referring to items of clothing becomes a kind of alloy when you add an “S” to it?




P.S. Poetry Night is Thursday!


The Poetry Night Reading Series is proud to welcome poet D.R. Wagner on Thursday, March 7th at 8:00 p.m. He will be performing at the John Natsoulas Gallery at 521 1st Street.


D.R. Wagner is a visual artist, poet, and musician. He has had over thirty one-person exhibitions, and he has published over twenty books of poetry and letters, including his SpiralChap, A Limited Means of Expression, released in April 2011 (Rattlesnake Press). His most recent books include a chapbook entitled Pentecost (Green Panda Press) released in 2012, and Personal Archeology (Bottle of Smoke Press), set to premiere in 2013. 


Wagner has been the recipient of many awards, including the Fibers West Award, and an award for Traditional Technique at the International Textile Competition, Kyoto ’87, Kyoto, Japan. Over the past thirty years he has been a prominent figure in the arts community; amongst his many titles, he is the special Consultant to the California Art Council in Technical Services, Director of the California State Art in Public Buildings Program for Office of the State Architect, and Director State of California Housing and Community Development Art Gallery.


The founder and former editor at Niagara Press and Runciple Spoons Press, Wagner has read with Jim Morrison of the Doors in a legendary reading with Morrison and Michael McClure, amongst many other poets. His visual poetry has been exhibited in venues ranging from The Musee de Arts Decoratifs, Paris, at the Louvre, to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. 

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