Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons from the 1980s was authored by the late J.B. Handelsman (whose work appeared in the magazine for more than 40 years). Under a picture of a maître d' on the telephone is a caption that reads, ''Certainly. A party of four at seven-thirty in the name of Dr. Jennings. May I ask whether that is an actual medical degree or a Ph.D.?'' Such class distinctions are more important to snooty headwaiters in French restaurants than they are to the people of Davis, a city that abounds with doctors. Including those “mere” Ph.D.’s, most of my colleagues in the Writing Program, English Department, and Cinema and Technocultural Studies are doctors. Back when I ran the Manly Man Movie Club of Davis, we had a number of doctors in attendance, and they chose not their social standing with either tone or demeanor. Rather than at the golf course, in Davis one is more likely to encounter a doctor urging his or her children on the victors from the sidelines of a soccer game.
I’ve had the “good fortune” to encounter a number of fine doctors over the last week, for my pesky leg injury has inspired a great deal of attention and discussion in and outside of waiting rooms in the various medical offices north of Sutter Davis Hospital. Finally I ended up in the hospital itself, as x-ray technicians and finally an ultrasound expert tried to determine the causes and treatments for my mangled leg and foot (which today looks like it is wearing a fat suit). After the various diagnostic tests came back negative, I was proscribed a cane (!) and some antibiotics. “A cane makes me look much more distinguished,” said no post-Victorian man ever. Anyway, as I was getting dressed to limp home from the emergency room, the confident and helpful Dr. Deven Merchant asked a question every performer loves to hear: “By the way, aren’t you the PubQuiz Quizmaster?” The service I received was top-notch even before he realized that we knew each other. It’s comforting to be cared for by people with actual medical degrees, rather than just Ph.D.s.
Tonight’s Pub Quiz will include no medical questions, depending on how tightly you define medicine. I learned recently, for example, that astronomers can actually help doctors. You should expect questions about civil rights, coffee, firearm bans, Ernest Hemingway, large objects, Paris and Dublin, expense accounts, Trojans, popular music, baseball records, bony plates, rebels that we celebrate, antonyms that almost rhyme, rap music, famous tyrants one should beware, film directors, astronomy, Zeus, one-note bands, Oscar-winning films, Africa, AIDS research fundraisers, RenderMan, authors whose books I know only from their covers, the planets in alignment, football, Canadian cities, and difficult choices in Shakespeare.
Come earlier than usual if you plan to join us at the Pub Quiz night. Some folks had to go home disappointed last week because of a lack of seats, and I wouldn’t want you to know that disappointment.
See you tonight!
Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:
- Countries of the World. What is the largest and most famous city in Morocco?
- Queens of Spain. The most famous ever Queen of Spain was born in what century?
- Science. Regarding a phenomenon first discovered and explored by Heinrich Hertz in 1886, what term do we use to refer to radio detection and ranging?
- Books and Authors. What Austrian’s last book was titled Moses and Monotheism and was published in 1939?
- Current Events – Names in the News. What is the name of the former Nebraska Senator who once told his Senate colleagues. "If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes”?
P.S. Happy birthday to frequent Pub Quiz participant John Lescroart. I understand that his next book, The Ophelia Cut, is due out in May. Happy birthday, John!