Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
The most famous essay ever written about a summer vacation is probably E.B. White. “Once More to the Lake” tells the story of a man’s return to the vacation spot chosen by his father decades earlier:
One summer, along about 1904, my father rented a camp on a lake in Maine and took us all there for the month of August. We all got ringworm from some kittens and had to rub Pond's Extract on our arms and legs night and morning, and my father rolled over in a canoe with all his clothes on; but outside of that the vacation was a success and from then on none of us ever thought there was any place in the world like that lake in Maine. We returned summer after summer--always on August 1st for one month. I have since become a salt-water man, but sometimes in summer there are days when the restlessness of the tides and the fearful cold of the sea water and the incessant wind which blows across the afternoon and into the evening make me wish for the placidity of a lake in the woods. A few weeks ago this feeling got so strong I bought myself a couple of bass hooks and a spinner and returned to the lake where we used to go, for a week's fishing and to revisit old haunts.
I’m writing from Disneyland this morning, an annual vacation spot for many, many Americans (and international visitors), but never before for me. More of an E.B. White vacationer, myself, I most appreciated my childhood yearly summer trips to central Pennsylvania, though for us it was always once more to the creek, rather than to the lake. Sometime in the early 1950s my grandmother invested $1,500 in a cabin and a tract of land along the reservoir and creek in Beavertown, a small town that in recent years was known as the American home of Monkee Davy Jones. My Mom would drive my brother and me to that little three-room domicile (four if you count the outhouse) that was free of the distractions of home, such as television, friends, and running water. The creek and the hikes up the mountain provided us with endless (well, sufficient) entertainment. Our Grandmother, just 11 years younger than E.B. White, also told us stories of her own visits to those same mountains and lakes, stories that featured horses, Civil War veterans, and unmet relatives who had predeceased even her by decades. Those unhurried days at the cabin remind of what used to be true of vacations: as Robert Orben says, “A vacation [meant] having nothing to do and all day to do it in.”
Have Disney and the other pop cultural foci of America’s children replaced the books, stories, and natural wonders that captivated vacationers of previous generations? Well, an hour ago from Cars Land my son Truman proclaimed “Mommy, this is the whole point of my LIFE!” A few dozen years from now he may write an essay titled “Once More to Cars Land.” I try not to cringe. I hope at least he and all of you will still be reading the essays of E. B. White.
Tonight’s de Vere’s Irish Pub Pub Quiz will feature a bunch of Olympics questions. Are you surprised? There will even be an Olympics and Social Media question, though not one of the questions I was asked by Beth Ruyak on this topic this past Wednesday. Also expect questions tonight on baseball x2, darkness, young actresses that are nominated for Academy Awards, John McClane, the worth of a penny, skyscrapers, chemistry, pop music, Sir Michael Caine, an anagram that includes the word “implant,” moons, unusual words that start with the letter F, private investigators, memorable eyes, gold medals, Klout, Pennsylvania, Harry Potter and other science fantasy topics, islands, young actors who you have not thought of in years, jerseys retired in 1992, Dover, Stillwater, and Shakespeare.
My friend Ted (also a regular Pub Quiz participant) will be the substitute quizmaster this evening. A doctoral candidate in Comparative Literature at UC Davis, Ted teaches in several departments on campus, as well as in the UC Davis Extension international English program. Some of his interests include the environment, British Romantic poetry, film, and expository writing. A long-practicing vegetarian, Ted usually enjoys a delicious grilled cheese sandwich on Monday evenings at de Vere’s Irish Pub. I hope you will enjoy the Quiz tonight!
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P.S. Here are five questions from last week’s Quiz:
5. US States. The state with the shortest ocean coastline of any state in the United States produced just one US president, Franklin Pierce. Name the state.
6. Superheroes. Captain America’s shield is made primarily of which of the following fictional metals? Adamantium, Bombastium, Unobtanium, Vibranium.
7. Pop Culture – Music. “Moves Like Jagger” was a 2011 number one hit for what LA pop rock band with a number in its name?
8. Sports. To what football team was Jay Cutler traded in 2009?
9. Science. R-snares and s-snares refer to WHAT biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides?
P.P.S. I will return on August 13th. I can only take so much vacationing.