Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
Last Monday, just before Pub Quiz, I was interviewed by News 10 via Skype. Somehow at News 10 they know they can call me for a quote or a comment whenever there is an internet-related news story. I’m considered an expert on such topics because of my 12-year old radio talk show that covers technology, and because of my long tenure teaching at UC Davis, including seven or so years teaching for the Technocultural Studies Program. I may be in someone’s old Rolodex, for Emmy-winning reporter George Warren from News 10 interviewed me back in 1992 as a follow-up to my appearance (along with my new bride) on a national TV show to talk about the way that we met.
As this was my first interview via Skype, I appreciated the coaching from the reporter and producers that contacted me. They suggested, for instance, that I remove the teddy bear from the frame where I was sitting in my son Truman’s room. Once the interview started, I learned to stop checking to see how I looked on camera, and just stared into the eyes of the reporter as I spoke, as if she were in the room with me.
That night after Pub Quiz I got to see myself on the news, and found that I had been joined by an unexpected costar. Evidently as I was animatedly gesturing while offering insights about the day’s disastrous GoDaddy outage, I had unknowingly shifted the laptop. During my short clip on the news one could plainly see the top of my head as well as the Winnie the Pooh poster behind me. It looked very professional. Time to invest in a tripod!
Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on international urban geography, so people who have traveled outside the United States will have a distinct advantage. You might make room for such a person on your team tonight. Expect also questions on internet culture, Korea, cable news, flowers (x2), abductions, TV shows that premiered in the 1970s and are still on the air, people named Lopez, electropop, the NBA, arachnids, famous people born in states where Romney has about a 15% lead in the polls, easy targets, voting blocs, Greek mythology, petroleum, judges, mononyms, poncho clips, popular destinations, existential questions about flight, Jody Foster films, Irishmen, melons, Joe Biden, Diet Coke, anchors, underdogs, new titles in Shakespeare plays, and Swedish exports.
I hope to see you this evening. Until school starts next week, we will all have a bit of breathing room at the Pub Quiz. Nevertheless, come early to claim a table.
Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:
1. Important-Sounding Brits. Was Thomas Henry Huxley a famous British Actor, Biologist, Novelist, or Politician?
2. Pop Culture – Music. What are the last two words of the title of the current Taylor Swift hit that begins with the words “We Are Never Ever Getting”?
3. Sports. On the 21st of what month this year did the NBA Finals conclude, with a big win for the Miami Heat?
4. Science. According to scientists and other thoughtful people, what insect is the most dangerous animal on earth?
5. Great Americans. William Penn and the pirate known as Blackbeard both died in the same year. Name the century.
P.S. This coming Thursday is Poetry Night in the city of Davis, so I hope all of you can join me for a reading by Alice Jones (no relation) at the John Natsoulas Gallery. A poet, physician, and psychoanalyst, Jones has seen her work published in myriad journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Poetry, The Boston Review, The Denver Quarterly, Antioch Review, and Chelsea. Her honors include fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1994, her work was included in The Best American Poetry, so she’s a big deal. Her newest book is titled Plunge. The reading starts at 8 Thursday, the open mic at 9, and the after-party at de Vere’s at 10. Join us for any or all of these events, and find details at http://www.poetryindavis.com. I’m trying to convince Joe Biden to call the Poetry Night Reading Series the “most powerful force in American poetry.” I’ll let you know when that happens.