Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
It takes some brass to add 2,300 words to one’s keynote nominating speech at the Democratic National Convention. As someone who speaks from a prepared text every Monday evening, I enjoy adding asides, but I doubt I could ever begin to approximate the flair of Bill Clinton, who has been compared to a jazz musician many times since Wednesday evening. Here’s an example by Nathaniel Stein in The New Yorker: “Clinton is such a master of rhetorical strategy—he commands such innate and reflexive mastery of what makes the spoken word resonate—that he cannot help but improve his speech as he gives it. He doesn’t ad lib in the sense that extras in a movie have a restaurant conversation. He improvises, in the sense that Miles Davis or Beethoven would come up with an enduring work of art on the spot.”
And unlike the opposition between poetry and prose that I explored in last week’s newsletter, I felt that Bill Clinton was rather using the tools of the story-teller, or the preacher. Not many “zingers” in that speech, just a lot of folksy explaining. And now on the campaign trail President Obama is emulating his predecessor, better “explaining” the flaws he sees in Republican plans and policies (He has also been explaining hip-hop music to the uninitiated). Who knows if Obama will be able to sustain his post-convention momentum, but at least the early polls are encouraging for his supporters.
George Herbert Walker Bush is the favorite Bush in our house, for he was always kind and jokesy with my Dad when they would run into each other at the same video store in the 1980s. Coincidentally, when the then Vice President asked my Dad for film recommendations (Bush knew my Dad from seeing him review movies on TV), Dad recommended the films of Clint Eastwood. The coincidence comes not only from the prominent Eastwood empty chair speech, but because evidently a few years after his conversation with my Dad, the elder Bush considered choosing Clint Eastwood as his running mate.
The elder Bush was also president when, 20 years ago this week, I married my dear bride and best friend, Kate. She and I enjoyed an anniversary escape to Lake Tahoe this past weekend. Joining us in that escape were our three kids and the bulldog. Happy anniversary, Kate!
Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on addictive snacks, Irving Berlin, healthy choices, famous Brits, Microsoft, breakups, the Miami Heat, bugs, pirates, sharpness, superhero movies, zoos, police procedurals, rock and roll icons, solar hernias and other maladies, Nevada, St. Louis, enjoying the scenery, winter Olympics, Wendy’s inventor, Hitchcock films, Irish culture, malfunctions, the iPhone, labor, grandmas, cigarettes, four Richards, apparati, local memoirists, the NFL, and the last lines of Shakespeare’s plays.
See you this evening! I hope you can come early to claim a table.
Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:
1. Mottos and Slogans. What six-letter company uses the commercial slogan “Because you’re worth it”?
2. Internet Culture. The game Angry Birds was first released for Apple's iOS in December of what year?
3. Four for Four. At his big speech last week, Clint Eastwood said “We don’t need lawyers in the White House.” Which of the following Americans, if any, have law degrees? Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan.
4. Food and Drink. Bourbon is a type of American whiskey – a barrel-aged distilled spirit made primarily from what grain?
5. Pop Culture – Music. Last year’s pop song “On the Floor,” one of the best-selling singles of all time, appeared on the seventh album, Love?, of what singer and actress?
P.S. What’s older than all of the following?
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
REM’s Out Of Time
The Death Of Freddie Mercury
Michael Jackson’s “Black Or White”
Disney’s Beauty & The Beast
Thelma And Louise
Answer: My marriage!