Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Summer Reading.

There’s a story that Salman Rushdie was once asked by some friends what Hamlet would have been called if it were a Robert Ludlum novel. Rushdie immediately came up with The Elsinore Vacillation. He then turned Macbeth into The Dunsinane Reforestation, The Merchant of Venice into The Rialto Sanction and Othello became The Kerchief Implication.

 

 

 

 

That inspired this less than erudite pop quiz: Robert Ludlum novel or episode of The Big Bang Theory?

  1. The Barbarian Sublimation
  2. The Hades Factor
  3. The Holcroft Covenant
  4. The Luminous Fish Effect
  5. The Shiksa Indeterminacy
  6. The Matarese Circle
  7. The Tangerine Factor
  8. The Sigma Protocol
  9. The Lazarus Vendetta
  10. The Griffin Equivalency
  11. The Financial Permeability
  12. The Arctic Event
  13. The Van Allen Belts
  14. The Dumpling Paradox
  15. The White Asparagus Triangulation
  16. The Scorpio Illusion
  17. The Icarus Agenda
  18. The Codpiece Topology
  19. The Killer Robot Instability
  20. The Cornhusker Vortex
  21. The Aquitaine Progression
  22. The Bus Pants Utilization
  23. The Thespian Catalyst
  24. The Apocalypse Watch
  25. The Pirate Solution

Scoring:

23-25: You used to use your tablet for reading. Now you mostly use it for watching TV.

20-23: You’ve watched all the Jason Bourne movies.

15-20: You plan to spend your summer vacation reading but mostly just watch TV.

10-15: And so the bartender tells Shakespeare, “You can’t come in here. You’re bard!”

5-10: Hello fellow English major.

1-5: So you got the Shakespeare jokes but are wondering about this “Big Bang Theory” and who this Ludlum guy is.

Pop Quiz: It’s Instrumental.

Match The Instrument To The Emotion It Best Expresses.

  1. World’s Smallest Violin
  2. World’s Smallest Tuba
  3. World’s Smallest Piano
  4. World’s Smallest Trumpet
  5. World’s Smallest Picolo
  6. World’s Smallest Viola
  7. World’s Smallest Drum
  8. World’s Smallest Triangle
  9. World’s Smallest Theremin
  1. Mock Jazziness
  2. Mock Heart Of Rock’n’Roll according to Huey Lewis
  3. Mock anti-climactic emphasis to a stirring opus
  4. Mock Jocularity
  5. Pretty much the same as a regular size one
  6. Mock Sympathy
  7. Mock Complex Range of Emotions
  8. Mocks Those Made-For-TV Movies Like Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus and Sharknado that are supposed to be hilariously over-the-top ironic but end up just being stupid
  9. Mocks Your Mock Sympathy

Scoring is of course completely arbitrary and meaningless and any wrong answers will be severely punished.

 

Valentine’s Day Quiz.

Because love is in the air and because I really love doing these things it’s time for another pop quiz. But first a quick word about romance novels: I found many of the titles on the Romance Writers Of America website, an organization that promotes and supports local libraries everywhere, and that is no joke. And neither are the titles.

Now without further ado, since it’s all much ado about nothing anyway, here’s your pop quiz. Winners will have the satisfaction of knowing they spend too much time on the internet.

Romance Novel or Clickbait Headline?

  1. What She Looks Like Now Is Crazy
  2. Never Say Goodbye
  3. The Trouble with Dukes
  4. She Had No Idea Why The Crowd Was Cheering
  5. Falling for the Highlander
  6. Seven Minutes in Heaven
  7. If She Only Knew
  8. Forgive My Fins
  9. What Could Possibly Happen?
  10. One Night with the Billionaire
  11. This Girl Didn’t Know What’s Inside Her
  12. Lady Luck’s Map of Vegas
  13. Think This Is Normal?
  14. This Will Shock You
  15. How to Bake a Perfect Life
  16. She Created A Life Hack
  17. Barefoot and Pregnant?
  18. Things You Should Never Apologize For
  19. The Daddy Makeover
  20. These Workers Just Want Money
  21. A Hunger Like No Other
  22. Great One-Liners
  23. What Happened Next Changed Everything
  24. The Danger of Desire
  25. The Castle in the Forest

Let’s Get Quizzical.

We had this game when I was a kid. I never played it. I just loved the board.

Source: http://www.whichwitchgame.com/

It’s that time of year and also time for another quiz. Halloween is the season of monsters and death and ghosts and skeletons and demons and scary clowns and also the only time I can get the Monster Cereals, all of which makes it my favorite holiday. The candy is just, er, the icing on the cake. And the cake filled with blood and entrails and releases bats and ravens and tarantulas and hideous creatures from another planet when you cut into it, but that’s another story.

For this particular quiz I reached into the darkest, deepest, most horrifying recesses of my subconscious–in other words to my childhood.

Pop Quiz: Horror Film Or Children’s Game?

  1. Candyman
  2. Sorry!
  3. Re-Animator
  4. Doctor Giggles
  5. Last House On The Left
  6. Monopoly
  7. Human Centipede
  8. Kick The Can
  9. Snakes And Ladders
  10. Pitch Black
  11. Cabin In The Woods
  12. Basket Case
  13. Frosted Flakes
  14. Rock-Paper-Scissors
  15. Hungry Hungry Hippos
  16. The Stuff
  17. The Pit & The Pendulum
  18. Uncle Wiggily
  19. Risk
  20. Blind Man’s Buff
  21. Simon Says
  22. Mumblety Peg
  23. The Hills Have Eyes
  24. Stephen King’s IT
  25. Life

halloweenkey

It’s That Time Again.

bottleIt’s been much too long since I did a pop quiz. It’s state fair time, at least in the northern hemisphere where we’re moving into fall and the inevitable grim reaping of winter.

So here’s the latest pop quiz: amusement park ride or cocktail?

Because cocktails have a long history and are more diverse and weirdly named than Seattle bands I’ve tried to limit that list to the classics by pulling them from the 1922 Cocktails & How To Mix Them, and the list of amusement park rides is pulled from Wikipedia. What I’m getting at here is I didn’t make any of these up even though just about any name I could make up has probably already been the name of either a cocktail or amusement park ride somewhere. In fact I used to hang out in a bar that served a drink called Alien Secretion, which I’m pretty sure was developed by a bartender who read too much Burroughs, but that’s another story. And also I’ve given you easy links which means you could easily cheat on this quiz, but why would you?

 

Enough of my yakkin’. The topic of this quiz, since you’ve forgotten it by now, is, Amusement park ride or cocktail?

  1. Highball
  2. Singapore Sling
  3. Alpine slide
  4. Depth bomb
  5. Cliffhanger
  6. Rum punch
  7. Devil’s wheel
  8. Stinger
  9. Double Shot
  10. Silver Streak
  11. Gravitron
  12. Bosom caresser
  13. Reverse peristalsis
  14. Hayride
  15. Motion simulator
  16. Bloody Mary
  17. Power Surge
  18. Shoot the Chute
  19. Monkey’s Gland
  20. Topple Tower

answerkey2

drink1

Summer Blockbuster Quiz.

I have a lot to say about recent events but I’m not ready to speak about them just yet. That led me to wonder if I should simply stay silent. John Oliver’s preface to his show the other night made me think about that. In the wake of tragedy it may seem petty, even insulting, to try and make people laugh, but then I thought that without laughter we have no way of coping with tragedy. So, please, enjoy my stupid blog.

Deleted Scenes That Completely Changed Famous Movies—Summer Blockbuster Edition

1. “Welcome to my island resort! As you can see I’ve spared no expense providing every possible luxury. I hope to make it as big a success as possible. My accountant can’t see the sense in bringing some scientists here instead of trying to attract wealthier people, but I thought you lot and my grandchildren could help make the case that it’s open to everyone. Seriously, I need as many people as I can get. Lost billions on a major biotech project that looked promising but it turns out it’s just impossible to clone dinosaurs.”

2. “Hi, this is Dean Hoover at Faber College. I understand you and your colleagues have just lost your jobs at NYU. We’re starting up a parapsychology program of our own and we’re desperate for faculty. Would you be interested in coming to work for us, Doctor Venkman?”

3. “Thanks for giving me my dad’s old stuff. I know you’d like me to come with you but I really need to stay here and deal with the death of my aunt and uncle. They’re the only family I ever knew and I can’t just go off and leave the farm and everything else they worked so hard to build. Good luck on your mission Ben, um, I mean Obi-Wan Kenobi.”

4. “I’m sorry, they’ve decided they’re not going to fund the expedition after all.”

“Did they say why, Marcus?”

“Well, you know how these government bureaucrats are. There’s a chance of a war in Europe and they seem to think the money would be better spent on arms rather than going after a long lost cultural artifact.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I just hope if the Nazis do find the Ark of the Covenant they don’t melt it down for gold.”

“By the way, Indy, is your father still doing Holy Grail research?

5. “Stay here and work on the farm. The seas are so dangerous right now. I have enough money put aside that we can marry now rather waiting. Won’t you please, Wesley?”

“As you wish.”

6. B-[EXT. REDWOOD FOREST. NIGHT.]

The alien spaceship, like a large onion or the top of a minaret, stands, in a clearing. A dozen or so short squat creatures amble around it. The hoot of an owl momentarily spooks them. Their hearts glow. They separate and explore the woods. One moves away from the group. Long alien fingers carefully pluck a sapling from the ground.

Suddenly trucks drive up nearby. Men in heavy boots wielding flashlights get out. They run into the woods, their lights slicing the darkness. They spread out. One of the aliens appears to be cut off. It runs through the forest emitting a piercing scream. The men cluster, following it. The alien backs up to a massive trunk. The men close in around it.

Then several of the aliens appear out of the surrounding undergrowth. The men are surrounded!

CUT TO

[INT. SPACESHIP.]

A pale beige interior. The floors and walls are covered with strange lumps like the beginnings of stalactites or stalagmites. The room is foggy. Clusters of collected Earth plants are scattered around the room. The men all lie unconscious on the floor.

Overhead two of the aliens look down. One turns to the other.

E.T.: Let’s cut one and see what happens.

Now it’s your turn to test your movie knowledge! Match the movies to their corresponding posters.

moviequizmoviequizkey

Polite Quiz.

etiquetteThis quiz will test your knowledge of etiquette. If you encounter ambiguous or confusing questions consult the answer key before proceeding.

 

 

 

 

1) You’re walking with a friend down the street. You should

a) Walk on their left

b) Walk on their right

c) Decide based on whether they’re left or right-handed

d) Pretend to push them into traffic and laugh

2) A co-worker shares confidential information about a fellow co-worker with you. You should

a) Say nothing

b) Report the co-worker who spoke to you to HR

c) Report both co-workers to HR

d) Use the information to blackmail Kevin into bringing you duty-free Scotch from the conference he’s attending

3) You’re running late for a meeting and step into the elevator. You see another person approaching from a distance. You should

a) Hold the door

b) Let them get the next elevator

c) Pretend you don’t see them

d) Yell “Hurry!” while you’re pressing the ‘Door close’ button

4) You’re tweeting  a Periscope video that was shared from an Instagram link on Facebook. Should you also like it on Tumblr for your Tindr profile?

a) Yes

b) No

c) Only if the person who sent it has added you to their LinkedIn network

d) Get off my lawn!

5) You’re spending the night at Lord Buldlington’s manor. Whilst dressing for afternoon tea you discover your third valet forgot to pack an extra set of garters. You should

a) Send word to the sophomore footman that you require supplemental livery

b) Ask the underbutler to create a distraction in the parlor so your manservant can slip into Sir Merton’s room and “borrow” his walrus-ivory cufflinks

c) Feign illness and have a cold supper of smoked tongue and aspic in your room

d) Create a scandal by calling Lady Bertrille “a swotty knickerbocker”

6) You’re having drinks with coworkers. The person to your left has purchased a round for the entire table. Everyone expects you to do the same but you don’t have enough money. You should

a) Apologize and offer to pay for the drink the other person purchased

b) Buy drinks but quietly ask a friend to help

c) Decide you can be a little late with this month’s rent

d) Buy several more rounds and appetizers and wake up three days later in a Vegas hotel room with an armadillo and the word “ANTHROPOMORPHIZE” tattooed on your forehead

7) You make a bank shot off two rails and sink one of your opponent’s balls. You believe this is a foul and the ball should be replaced. Your opponent disagrees. According to the rules

a) You are correct

b) Your opponent is correct

c) The ball doesn’t count but should remain pocketed

d) It’s time for another round of drinks

8) You are driving down a narrow road and the driver behind you insists on tailgating. You should

a) Maintain your current speed

b) Slow down

c) Tap your brakes

d) You’re driving in Russia, so who cares? Go offroad!

9) You’re at an elegant dinner party and a dish you don’t recognize is served. You look at the array of utensils next to your plate. You should

a) See what the people on either side of you pick up

b) Use the shrimp fork

c) Use the oyster knife

d) Get a new plate each time you return to the buffet

10) You and a friend have made plans to go out. At the last minute your friend cancels but you learn later that your friend was seen out without you. You should

a) Say nothing and assume your friend had good reasons

b) Say nothing and save it for a later argument

c) Ask your friend what happened

d) Disguise yourself and start stalking them

11) You receive an email and forget to reply to it. After a week the sender sends a follow-up email asking if you received the first email. You should

a) Apologize and reply immediately.

b) Claim the email went to your junk folder

c) See if they’ll send a third email

d) Cut off all internet access, move to Borneo, and adopt a whole new identity

12) You’re about to drop your calling card at the Windermere House and you notice both Henry Greene and Aloysius Wells have left their cards first. You should

a) Leave your card on top even though this will reveal you were late

b) Slip your card to the bottom

c) Split and double down

d) Take Greene’s card and inscribe the word “Scallywag” on it

13) You’re at a party and are introduced to a large number of strangers. To remember their names you should

a) Mentally repeat each person’s name to imprint it on your memory

b) Repeat each person’s name once as you’re introduced to them

c) Suggest that everyone wear nametags

d) Just call everyone “Jeff”

14) A person to whom you’ve just been introduced asks how much money you make. You should

a) Say you don’t discuss personal finances

b) Ask, “Why, do you need to borrow some?”

c) Say, “Obviously more than you based on those shoes.”

d) Set them on fire.

15) You’re taking an online quiz and start to doubt your answers. You should:

a) Keep going. You’re doing your best and that’s all you can do

b) Quit because who really needs this crap?

c) Take “Potent Potables” for $600

d) Check the answer key

etiquette1answerkey1

 

Pop Quiz: Rhymes With Cheese.

Milk it for all it's worth.

Milk it for all it’s worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honor of National Poetry Month I thought I’d offer up this pop quiz: verse form or cheese?

  1. Rushan
  2. Urda
  3. Ghazal
  4. Sirene
  5. Rondelet
  6. Villanelle
  7. Tilsit
  8. Clerihew
  9. Mimolette
  10. Saga
  11. Paneer
  12. Triolet
  13. Cantal
  14. Rondelet
  15. Rodoric
  16. Limburger
  17. Limerick
  18. Havarti
  19. Haiku
  20. Sestina
  21. Sapphic
  22. Pantoum
  23. Feta
  24. Gorgonzola
  25. Vetch

Scoring:

20-25: The poetry reading/cheese tasting will be at your house

15-19: You took cooking as an elective while majoring in English, or vice versa

10-14: You’re good enough at guessing that I’d like to go to Vegas with you

5-9: It trips you up that the French have almost as many different verse forms as cheeses

1-4: You’re a menace in both the kitchen and the library

cheese

Pop Quiz!

quizThis is a special day and deserves a special pop quiz. Because April is the cruelest month and because there are reports that Shakespeare’s skull is missing I thought the subject should be poetry. For previous pop quizzes you can click the category over on the right or you can use this handy link. And now without further ado about nothing here is the quiz.

 

 

 

Romantic comedy or Three Stooges short?

  1. Hold the Lion, Please
  2. The Adventure of the Red-Headed League
  3. Scrambled Aches
  4. Rhapsody Rabbit
  5. The Five Orange Pips
  6. A Scandal in Bohemia
  7. A-Lad-In His Lamp
  8. Guided Muscle
  9. Chariots of Fur
  10. The Problem of Thor Bridge
  11. Foxy by Proxy
  12. The Wistful Widow of Wagon Gap
  13. Hyde and Hare
  14. Xoloitzcuintli
  15. Hopalong Casualty
  16. Devil’s Feud Cake
  17. Gaslight
  18. Wild About Hurry
  19. What’s Opera, Doc?
  20. The Gulag Archipelago

Scoring:

18-20: Seek professional help

13-17: Hey, that’s not bad!

10-16: We’ve got a live one here.

5-9: You cheated and this is still the best you did?

1-4: No, really, seek professional help.

answerkey

Slowly Deflating Quiz.

spoonRegular readers are familiar with the occasional pop quizzes I throw out. I try to make them fun and a little bit challenging but not too difficult because nothing annoys me more than trying to do a crossword puzzle and halfway through feeling like the antediluvian legal scholar who created it decided no one would make it past 42-across and just started making up words and I want to hunt him down and beat him with a dictionary.

Anyway I got an idea for a pop quiz while reading Sam Kean’s The Disappearing Spoon, which is a really cool book about the periodic table and the elements that comprise it. It’s not a heavy scientific text but full of interesting stories like how in 1915 the Germans covertly took over a Colorado molybdenum mine which gave them an advantage in World War I, but that’s another story.

And then I started writing the quiz down and realized I was insane. It relied on some pretty rarefied knowledge and the clues were such a stretch I think even most chemists would find it tougher than tungsten. The answers are all scientists who aren’t household names, with one exception. Think bushy hair and moustache and sarcastic synonym for “smart person”.

They are also all scientists who’ve had elements named after them which narrows it down but they’re mostly still obscure and to make it even worse all my puns are a real stretch. And this may surprise some of the laity but the naming of elements can actually be controversial. Dmitri Mendeleev created the first modern periodic table and realized there were a lot of undiscovered elements to fill the spaces. He named the gap elements things like “ekaaluminum”. “Eka” is Sanskrit for “one” and was the element Mendeleev predicted would sit under aluminum on the periodic table. He was right about there being such an element but the scientist who discovered it named it gallium. When Marie Curie discovered polonium  in 1911 she named it in honor of her home country, Poland, which was not at the time a bona fide country and fighting Germany for independence. Now while the naming is less political scientists still rush for naming rights and some elements have gone unnamed for years while who really found them first is sorted out.

Still with me? Here’s the quiz. Get one or two and you can feel really good about yourself. Get more than half and you can non-sarcastically call yourself a smart person. Get zero and you get the grand prize: you can hunt me down and beat me with a dictionary.

Name the scientist suggested by the following puns.

1. He would prefer to wade.

Additional clues: called the “father of nuclear physics”, he won the Nobel Prize in 1908

2. Hard common vowel.

Additional clues: an Italian physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project

3. Ocean-going Star Trek villain.

Additional clues: the only living person to have an element named after him he discovered or helped discover ten elements

4. Heal him.

Additional clues: the only woman to have an element named after her (so far), she discovered both polonium and radium

5. One big mug.

Additional clues: a real smart person with a reputation for absent-mindedness. Think bushy hair and moustache.

6. Edict wash.

Additional clues: invented the cyclotron

7. Repair Bulgarian currency.

Additional clues: created the periodic table and predicted the discovery of many additional elements

This clue is also so far out if you get it without the additional clues you are either a science historian, a chemist, or are working in the wrong field

8. Doesn’t ring.

Additional clues: has a prestigious set of prizes named after him and invented dynamite

9. Hire Hunger Games star.

Additional clues: German scientist (oh, like that narrows it down) who discovered X-rays

10. A real sleeper.

Additional clues: Danish scientist who created a popular atomic model.

Answer key:

physicists

And all this is really an excuse to share Tom Lehrer’s The Elements. If you’ve all been paying attention you’ll know that since he wrote it the news of a few new elements has come to Harvard.

 

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