Monday, October 26, 2009

Fun and Curses

This weekend was interesting, in the sense of "May you live in interesting times" form of the old Chinese proverb.

(If you are really curious, that phrase is reputed to be the mildest of three canonical Chinese curses. In order of increasing severity:
  • May you live in interesting times
  • May you come to the attention of those in authority
  • May you find what you are looking for
For the convoluted history, check out "May you live in interesting times" from Wikipedia.)

Saturday night was the Ninth Annual Community Caring Hands Trivia Contest. Our team was the defending champion and we won going away again Saturday. That makes if 3 out of the last 3 years and 6 of the last 8. Proof positive that we are indeed trivial. Our team consists of a CPA, lawyer, surgeon, a home schooled jack of all trades, a school teacher, and myself. The school teacher was a sub for our retired librarian - she was off at a family reunion in Lincoln and so couldn't join us this year.

The contest is always fun and is a fund raising event for Community Caring Hands, a local group formed when we were informed that we we too small an area to support a Habitat for Humanity branch. A retired professor from the local community college presides in full academic robes. (He has written a newspaper trivia column for the last 20 years, so he has an amazing amount of trivia to hand.)  There are between 15 and 25 teams each year with each team consisting of 6 members. The master of ceremonies reads each question aloud and the teams have 30 seconds to write their answers on a slip of paper and give them to the runners when time is called. The contest is divided into 9 groups of 8 questions each, with each group concentrating on a specific broad areas. Some of the groups are Science, Entertainment, Literature, Geography, TV, etc. Prizes are also awarded for the most amusing (and incorrect) answers in each group.

To give a flavor of the questions, here are a couple that stuck with me form this years contest:
  • What was the given name of the Joker from Batman Comics?
  • What geographic feature known to the Lakota as the Six Grandfathers was renamed after a lawyer as punishment to the Lakota?
  • What astronaut flew in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs?
  • The travelers in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales were served by someone with the same title as a U.S. Navy rank. What is that rank?
(The answers are in the first comment - no peeking!)

That was the fun part of weekend. The cursed interesting part is that the dryer quit heating on Sunday. So that means that today I have it disassembled all over the laundry room to see if it is one of the thermostats or the heating element that has departed these earthly realms. Fortunately it warmed up a bit outside today and is windy and in the fifties so I could hang all the damp and wet clothes out to dry in the breeze.

Which in turn reminded me of my childhood. I can remember hanging bedding out to dry in the winter when I was a kid and letting it freeze dry. I always thought that was neat, especially going out and bringing in the sheets as the sun went down. They'd be these big stiff crackly things that expired their last bit of moisture as they thawed entering the warm house. Now that I am no longer a kid, the whole thing seems no where near as neat now.

So what was your weekend like?


  1. The answers in order are:

    E. Nigma

    Mt. Rushmore

    Wally Schirra


  2. In my family, "Interesting" is a cuss word. Greg learned that early on. If I said, 'Hmm, taste... interesting..' He came to understand it as, "Aleta doesn't like this." Hehe.

    I'm horrible at questions like that. My brother has a file cabinet memory. I don't. I think that's why I blog, so I won't forget things. Lol.

  3. I wish I was better at those kind of questions too! It would be fun to be on Jeopardy. I hate when the high school players are more prepared than me :)


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