Pebble Beach Carmel

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

The Russian poet and novelist Vladimir Nabokov once said, “I think it is all a matter of love; the more you love a memory the stronger and stranger it becomes.” A complementary corollary might also be true: Our typical days of routine and repetition are destined to be forgotten.

This is why vacations are so important. They give us a chance to unwind, to detach, and to recharge. They also give us a chance to create new permanent memories. An image, an unexpected experience, a long look into someone’s eyes: each of these might create something permanent, something tucked away in the hippocampus for repeated and welcome retrieval.

We don’t always realize these opportunities when they are set before us, for we are often in a hurry. We rush through time without considering where we are, what we might see, or how we might express our adoration of the nearby people who love us. We spend our time distracted, or focused on incidental objectives, not realizing that the grains of sand are slipping from our fingers. As Wordsworth put it in one of my favorite sonnets, “Little we see in Nature that is ours; / We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”

Vacations can interrupt this cycle of rudimentary memory loss. This past Saturday, for instance, my wife Kate and I packed the minivan with our children and their amusements and drove off to Monterey. We parked the van at our hotel hours before check-in, and then strolled the mile down the hill past 100-year-old homes, parks filled with Monterey pines, and an increasing number of bed and breakfast inns before we arrived at Monterey’s thriving downtown. After lunch we walked towards the ocean and discovered that vendors had set up their wares in huge booths in the plaza between the history museum (which we toured) and the art museum (which we saved for our next visit). Our favorite vendor had created insects, aliens, and superheroes out of recycled scrap metal. Another, a gun dealer, insisted that my children needed rubber band revolvers in order to enjoy our trip. They declined.

That afternoon we watched sea lions from afar, laughed at the names of boats in the marina, and did backstrokes in out hotel’s heated pool. The next day we explored more of Monterey, walking for miles along the same seaside bike path that Kate and I once traversed via tandem bike when we rode the 17 Mile Drive as youthful honeymooners. Our waitress at the Carmel restaurant where we had a late lunch of Italian food remarked that she didn’t miss the wall of heat that awaited her when her shift at the Sacramento Whole Foods had concluded. My daughter Geneva, now a Wisconsin college student, later told me privately that she loves that wall of heat. We ended our Carmel adventure at the beach, whose fine-grain sand my son Truman much preferred to the climbing rocks of Monterey.

I hope Kate and the kids will long remember our weekend of adventure, and not the bouts of traffic that awaited us on the way home. Last night before falling asleep, we remarked that we couldn’t believe that we had left just the day before, and that we seemingly had fit a week’s worth of experiences into those 36 hours. California has so much to offer us, and we are lucky to call such a place home, if we take advantage of it. I hope all of you can similarly expand your understanding of a weekend or a week away, and thus create memories that will continue to become stronger and stranger because of the love you invest in them.


Today’s Pub Quiz was largely written in the car on the way back from the coast, but the answers have since been fact-checked. Expect questions on chain stores I would have seen from the highway, rascally children, notable multitasking inventors, the cover of The New York Times Book Review, Australians, fathers and sons who play baseball, books for children written in German, cows, tough guys, finding the doctor in the family, reddish foreheads, Paula Poundstone, southern countries, unusual protagonists, centuries for authors, Star Wars, prominent birthdays today, time travel, fennel in the kitchen, English football hooligan brothers, people named Kate, phenomenal women, geologic highlands, categories of chair, uptown and downtown, unusual splits, Academy Awards, law school, the state of the future internet, and Shakespeare.

I love how busy the summer has been in everyone’s favorite eatery. Come early to claim a table tonight!

Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Science.  The hyacinth macaw is native to which continent? 


  1. Books and Authors.   The sharpest wit of the Algonquin Round Table was nominated for an Academy Award for her work writing the screenplay of A Star is Born. Always a progressive, when she died she left her estate to Martin Luther King Jr. What was her name?  


  1. Current Events – Names in the News.     Film director George A. Romero died recently at the age of 77. For what horror film is he best known? 


Martin Landau

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

I only met Martin Landau once, but it was memorable. In 1984, the Paramount Theatre National Tour of Dracula, with the tall and seemingly-ghastly Martin Landau in the title role, had come to the Kennedy Center for the month of December, 1984. My father had already (favorably) reviewed the production on TV, lavishing praise on Landau himself as well as on the costumes and set designed by the author and illustrator Edward Gorey. As a result, I knew Landau was in town, even though I never got to see him on stage.

Like many great American cities, Washington DC was known for its repertory movie houses and second-run movie houses. Founded in 1967, The Biograph was a movie theatre that exclusively showed old second-run films, and thus offered a cinematic education to film lovers in the pre-VHS era. The Biograph was less than a mile walk to the Circle Theatre, which showed a different double feature every day ($1 matinees). The Circle was less than a mile from the White House, and both these theaters were less than a mile from the Columbia Hospital for Women, where I was born.

Soon after our 1984 holiday break began, I joined my high school friend Moose (now a senior environmental planner and member of the city council of Morristown, New Jersey) at a showing of the 1972 absurdist comedy titled Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask). The film was inspired by California psychiatrist David Reuben’s best-selling book of the same name. Moose and I had spotted Landau in the lobby before the film began – he was wearing a dark jacket, but not a cape – and had said hello to him. He greeted us kindly.

One vignette in the film is titled “Are the Findings of Doctors and Clinics Who Do Sexual Research and Experiments Accurate?” In it Woody Allen plays a researcher who visits mad scientist John Carradine’s sexual research lab, and barely escapes before he and the reporter with him become unwilling subjects of his insane experiments. This scene was in part a parody of Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster, which provided Bela Lugosi his final speaking role. Because of the gothic elements of this part of the film, Moose helpfully and loudly pointed out that the mad scientist’s castle seemed like a place one would find Dracula! Afterwards as we were filing out of The Biograph, Martin Landau pretended to be amused by us, commenting, “Very funny, fellows,” or something to that effect.

Five years later, Martin Landau would be nominated for his first Academy Award for acting in a Woody Allen film, Crimes and Misdemeanors. Ten years later, he would win an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Wood. I have often wondered if Martin Landau would have taken those projects had he not so enjoyed his December evening in The Biograph Theatre in Washington, D.C., with two obstreperous but well-meaning teenage film-lovers nearby.

Martin Landau died this past weekend at the age of 89. I wonder if, as was the case with Belosi, he will be buried wearing a cape. I’m grateful to him for the decades of entertainment he provided in film, on TV, and on stage, and for the momentary kindness he showed me in 1984.


In addition to topics raised above, tonight expect questions about relatively old men, monsters, Disney, Martin Luther King, people who are born stars, continental hyacinths, retirements, prominent islands, Zacharys, prominent theatres, franchises, the move away from cash and credit cards, science fiction possibilities, Delaware and New Jersey, matriarchs, prominent American poets of yesteryear, slavery in America, peninsulas, wrists and posteriors, rich doctors, sergeants missing their middles, camels, George Carlin, U.S. states, modern medicine, catch phrases, Katy Perry, mobsters, firearms, Costco and others, smartphones, current events, and Shakespeare.

Speaking of Shakespeare, have you yet checked out the offerings of the Davis Shakespeare Festival? Check out the calendar here:

Also, Sacramento Poet Laureate Indigo Moor is coming to town Thursday night at 8 to read at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Please join us for this fantastic opportunity to see one of California’s best poets perform.

Summers are busy at the Pub Quiz. Come early to claim a table! See you tonight.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Irish Culture. What Irishman is the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion?  


  1. Fresno. In what California county does one find the city of Fresno?      


  1. Books and Authors.  Whose book Treasure Island provides most of our misconceptions about pirates?  



P.S. I will be reading a poem about marijuana tomorrow night around 6:30 at the Davis City Council meeting. You are invited to join us.

Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

The weather reports yesterday revealed that San Francisco was 40 degrees cooler than Davis, so we packed ourselves into the minivan and headed right over to the Presidio. Somehow we found a parking space directly in front of The Walt Disney Family Museum. By the time we stepped out of the museum after our tour, the Presidio’s main parade grounds were filled with a huge community picnic, complete with food trucks, loud and happy music, and even cocktail tents. Many families brought their own semicircular half-tents to protect themselves from the elements. At 2 PM we sat on the chilly grass to watch the sailboats out on the Bay near the fog-enveloped Golden Gate Bridge. After that, we enjoyed some Indian soul food that seemed just a bit too spicy for all of us. It was magical.

Soon we started our afternoon-long hike, walking past the pet cemetery on our way to Chrissy Field. The San Francisco Bay trail kept us close to the ocean. We could see Anita Rock, and imagined the swim from Alcatraz, a topic on which our 11-year-old Truman is an expert. He recounted a story that I remembered vaguely from a Clint Eastwood film while we zippered up our hoodies against the cold leeward winds. Finally, at the Palace of Fine Arts, we took pictures amid the fake ruins, as people do.

When we got home late last night, a friend had written me to say that we should drop in on her the next time we are in that neighborhood, saying that she had cookies for the kids and cocktails for the parents. Writers are always looking out for each other. Kate and I and the kids will take her up on that the next time weekend temperatures reach triple digits. When feeling overheated, why not visit winter in the middle of summer?

Meanwhile, today’s newsletter arrives late because of another writing project for me. On the 4th of July, our mayor Robb Davis asked if I would read an original poem at the July 18th City Council meeting, a meeting largely devoted to a discussion of city cannabis dispensary policies. With that in mind, I have adapted the John Lennon-penned lyric “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” I hope you will join me at 6:30 that evening for the parodic fun. I always love it when a bunch of Davisites march out of the City Chambers as soon as I am done performing, stating with their feet what so many of us are thinking at such events: “I am only here for the poetry.”


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will touch upon topics raised above, as well as the following: TV shows that may be cultural touchstones but which I just don’t watch, that which  is difficult to measure, associates, the utility known as the internet, pop stars, places where people dance, eight letters, embattled scions, the need of floss, 20 somethings, obscure sports, the remarkable survival of Dylan, pirates, algorithms, zombies and such, amateur singing contests, peninsulas, reigning champions, Frank Rich is now on Instagram, frogs and toads, talent, Batman, Neptune, rude motormen, pies, overtures, the language of yes, blamelessness, departed people named Patrick, organic compounds, spuds, “reality,” Canadians, people named Betty, Republicans in the Bible, The Washington Post, and Shakespeare.

Sacramento poet laureate Indigo Moor reads on July 20th at 8. Mark your calendars and arrange for babysitters!

See you tonight for the Pub Quiz.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Unusual Words. What three-syllable T word, means “cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control”?  


  1. Pop Culture – Television.     What forensic anthropology and forensic archaeology crime procedural TV show finished its 12-season run on Fox this year?  


  1. Another Music Question. What are the three numbers in the title of Jay Z’s new album?  


Patsy Martha_Jefferson_Randolph_portrait

Patsy Jefferson

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

Thomas Jefferson and his daughter Patsy shall feature prominently in the 4th of July poem that I present to you and all your friends tomorrow, assuming that you come out to Community Park for the Davis fireworks. My Independence Day poems always have the largest audiences, and cause me the most concern, for they must be less whimsical and interior than my typical poems. “Keep it short,” one passerby said to me on the street yesterday. I love living in a city where people offer unsolicited opinions to poets. It means that they care, and even that poetry can matter to everyday citizens.

Howard Zinn taught me in history class that patriotism for the historian is fraught, for, as Zinn said, “human history is a history . . . of cruelty.” Set in 1776, my poem is too short to effectively complicate or comment upon the phrase “all men are created equal.” Neither Patsy Jefferson, nor Jefferson’s paramour Sally Hemmings, nor Tom and Sally’s children knew equality. I’m still figuring out how to acknowledge slavery and sexism in a poem that is meant to evoke the ideals of America.

Speaking of ideals, the comedian George Carlin once said, “Scratch any cynic and you will find a disappointed idealist.” Conservatives and progressives alike have elevated few practicing idealists among their ranks during this dark era, while evidence of cynicism is widespread. Donald Trump’s second most-shared tweet ever portrays him physically assaulting a person with a CNN logo standing in for his head. As a journalist myself, I’m concerned about what violence might be inspired by the president’s message. Trump’s focus on violence, on the blood of women, and on petty vengefulness would make any of us skeptical about his interest in making America great again.

Thomas Jefferson knew that the First Amendment was first for a reason, saying, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.” I hope Independence Day will give all Americans an opportunity to reflect on our individual and collective freedoms and responsibilities. And I hope you can stand close enough to the stage to hear my short poem just before the fireworks tomorrow!

In addition to the topics raised above, expect questions tonight on the following topics: American heroes, lion tamers, ferrets, Patrick Ewing, the talk of Fresno, Prague and LA, country music themes, elusive lions, antagonists, arbitrary cruelty, the color yellow, musical instruments, London newspapers, corralling horses, Paris, European hotspots, many kilometer trip from Ireland, confident billionaires, white tigers, masterpieces, inconvenient business trips, American positions that no longer exist, prim clothing during the Revolutionary War, forensics, dactyls, runoff, documents, the current administration, and Shakespeare.

See you tonight at 7!


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:

  1. Bonus Anagram. I’m thinking of a country whose one-word common name (or short name) is an anagram for word ACRIMONIES. Name it.   
  2. Frederick Douglass. In the 1840s, Frederick Douglass founded and published an abolitionist newspaper that has this as its slogan: “Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all Brethren.” The name of the newspaper was THE BLANK STAR. Fill in the blank with the logical monosyllabic word.  
  3. Pop Culture – Music. Over their lifetimes, which of the following three has sold the most records, at 145 million? Adele, Katy Perry, or Barbra Streisand? 


P.S. Poetry Night Thursday at the Natsoulas Gallery will feature poetry by Jane Beal, author of 25 books! I hope you will join us at 8 PM on July 6th for this free event.


Outdoor Piano

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

Yesterday my wife Kate, my son Jukie, and I spent about 15 minutes on a large metal porch-style swing beneath a shade pergola on the north bank of the Ohio River. Behind and around us was the $100 million dollar Smale Riverfront Park, while across the river from us we could see picturesque General James Taylor Mansion and General James Taylor Park, both named after the founder of the city across the river from Cincinnati, Newport, Kentucky. The temperature was around 80 degrees, with pleasant breezes coming off the Ohio and Licking Rivers.

Over our left shoulder we could see Great American Ball Park, Where the Cincinnati Reds (once called the Cincinnati Red Stockings) were playing the Washington Nationals. Farther west up the river one could see Paul Brown Stadium, where the Bengals play. From our Embassy Suites hotel on the south side of the majestic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, one could see both stadia, all of Smale Riverfront Park, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, where we spent much of the day this past Wednesday, learning more about the history of Slavery and Civil Rights in the U.S. While there we also completed interactive exhibits on Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks. Because my youngest son Truman is such a history buff, we haven’t been talking too much about that incredible experience since, for the jealousy would be too much for him. He’s already read a few books about Harriet Tubman.

My son Jukie’s favorite feature of the trip was the 19-foot-long outdoor piano, complete with 32 keys and huge chimes above that resounded with the notes chosen by the stomping feet of children frolicking below. Jukie loves wind chimes, both ours at home and those at the entrance of the south Davis Rite Aid. He smacks them all every time we enter or exit our community pharmacy, sounding a discordant fanfare that might befit the King of the Surrealist Poets every time he would step on stage or enter the reception room of his imbalanced palace.

We heard discordant sounds at the outdoor piano, as well, for the keys were too spread apart for one to make much of a song; most of the young kids were just thrilled, as Jukie was, by the powerful cause and effect of the deep sonorous reverberations resulting from uninhibited dancing! But then one Reds fan stepped forward. Some of the parents had seen him there before, and knew to gather their children so he could have room to perform. Wearing his Reds baseball cap and a team jersey, he was able to pick out – perhaps I should say “leap” out – the notes of our National Anthem. After he finished, the gathered crowd had cheered, and Jukie looked up at me and smiled, indicating to me that the magic of our trip, of the Ohio River breezes, and of a song with an intensified and almost melancholy poignancy, had formed some summertime memories that will not be soon forgotten.

In addition to some of the topics raised above, tonight expect clues on the following: blondes, brethren, pregnancies, accomplishments under 25, tequila, unseasonably warm weather, nuns, fuel efficiency, cross bodies, differentiated binary categories, fibers, telephone repair engineers, Oceana, abolitionists, the conflation of a language and the people who speak it, sword alternatives, candidates for Governor, blood, air travel, unwelcome suits, cabin pressure, retied at Google, late resolutions, Kentucky, acids, front men, humidity, Emmy-winners, Columbia University’s Department of Medicine, Academy Award nominees, bonus anagrams, ornamental leather, domesticity, Katy Perry, large gatherings, particular stars, acrimony, Senators, realistic firearms, slogans for chemicals, and Shakespeare.

Are you planning to join the City of Davis at Community Park on the 4th of July? There will be poetry.

I hope you can join us tonight for Pub Quiz. We sold out last week, but tonight, more teams will probably be willing to sit outside. I recommend that you arrive by 6:30. We start at 7.


Your Quizmaster


Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Mathematics. When considering a group of numbers, we think of average as the mean and the middle value as the median. What word refers to the number that comes up most often?      


  1. Science.  What do the letters MMR in a MMR vaccine stand for?  


  1. Books and Authors.   Battlefield Earth, The Color Purple, and Shoeless Joe were all published the same year that Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne were born. With a three-year margin of error, tell me the year.  


Avocado for Health



Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

The Buddha once said that “Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”

In our household, we believe that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. It has been widely reported that, before the Affordable Care Act, more than 500,000 Americans a year would declare bankruptcy as a result of medical bills. My wife Kate and I have a better understanding of how that could happen now that we’ve received the $80,000 bill for Kate’s April emergency appendectomy and week-long stay in the hospital. I’m grateful to have health insurance through my job at UC Davis (and even more grateful that Kate received such excellent care at Sutter Davis Hospital and continues to recuperate). Our out-of-pocket expense will be $250.

How does one maintain one’s health? The Buddha had something to say about that, too: “To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”

According to Becker’s Hospital CFO Report, “National healthcare expenditures rose 5.3 percent in 2014 to $3 trillion, or $9,523 per person, accounting for 17.5 percent of gross domestic product.” I wonder if healthcare costs have continued to rise since 2014.

From today’s New York Times I learned that when he was president, Harry Truman proposed universal healthcare. The American Medical Association had other plans: “A.M.A. officials decided that the best way to keep the government out of their industry was to design a private sector model: the insurance company model.” This is one of the answers to the question posed in the title of Christy Ford Chapin’s op-ed: “How Did Health Care Get to Be Such a Mess?”

My cousin MJ Bailey, the only person alive who knew my grandmother well (she died when my father was in his early 20s), has a different view on health care. Today she posted this opinion: “One good thing about being as old as I am: with a little bit of luck, I will no longer be around when this crazy, violent world finally implodes.” Isn’t that sanguine?

I do not think that my cousin MJ is a Buddhist.


In addition to the topics raised above, tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on the following: Dad jokes, Michael J. Fox, digital music, the plural of phoenix, ballads, bathroom habits, sporty teammates, Harper Lee, short tales of the tape, Democrats, bewilderment, the second half of the alphabet, famous people named John, L. Ron Hubbard, unpleasantries that we have forgotten were once German, Christianity, today’s headlines, first ladies, mathematics, high temperatures, lethal weapons, repeated birds, puns, angry inches, unwelcome light shows, broken clocks, signs that are turned into relics, masks, father figures, Portland, foxes, and Shakespeare.

It will be warm this evening, so come early to claim a table inside.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Name That 50 million population Country. What country borders Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru?  


  1. France. What does the French equivalent of the British Parliament call itself? Is it A) French Arrondissement, B) French Congress, C) French Parliament, or D) French Tuilerie. 


  1. Science.   What M word do we use for the largest, strongest and lowest bone in the face? 



lying nose image

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


Last week at the Pub Quiz I asked a question about Senator Al Franken’s book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Al Franken has explained in several of his 200 recent interviews for his new book, Al Franken: Giant of the Senate, that lying makes him particularly incensed and outraged. Franken has talked about how it was his questioning the veracity of his former colleague and friend Jeff Sessions that led to Sessions perjuring himself about his various unreported meetings with Russian officials. The Russians seem to be tripping up everyone in the president’s cabinet, as if they were all marks, eager to be conned by expert con artists. The fragile “take” from this con, its purpose and prize, if you will, would be the ideals that undergird American democracy.


There is one con artist who is even more sinister than Vladimir Putin, and who lies much more than the stars of Franken’s “Liars” book, whom Franken has in retrospect since called “quaint.”


I am thinking of a liar who lies habitually, automatically. He offers small lies and large, watching to see how his audiences respond, adjusting the tenor and scope of his lies accordingly.


Sometimes he lies incidentally, practicing his lies the way that one of us might practice a second language. He practices his lying for larger cons, for longer cons, for cons with higher stakes.


He lies ruthlessly in order to hurt others, to maim them. He lies to undercut their character, to ridicule their dreams. He shows no mercy.


People spend a lot of time responding to his lies.


He lies to beguile, leaving willful misimpressions with the recipients of his lies. Such lies often comfort the gullible, making them eager for the security provided by the subsequent lies. Sometimes he makes us laugh at his lies. Some even cheer. The need for illusion is deep.


Sometimes he lies to men and women the same, hoping for the same result. Sometimes he lies to men and women differently, hoping for differentiated results. He is often successful.


If his followers catch on, they usually do so too late. His first lie kills their faith in the truth. His second lie kills their hope. He is known to be the master of the second death.


He contradicts shared truths, undermining our core beliefs. He uses lies to separate us into groups. He finds us new enemies. He teaches us not to trust. According to the plan, we soon don’t know what to believe. He bonds uncertainly to fear; the eventual result is despair.


Charismatic people attract his special attention; he tells them his best lies. Often he can convince such people to lie for him while he stands back, watching them remotely, and with a slight smile. Sometimes people don’t even know that they are doing his work.


These days, he is our consummate liar, our expert liar, our progenitive liar. He is a producer of lies, a director of lies, a trailblazer of lies, a father of lies.


He is called many names. As you have guessed by now, most people know him as Satan.


In addition to topics raised above, tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on the following: Jason Alexander, plural nouns, new records, names in the news, first class treats, ungulates, Gene Wilder, unusual behaviors, big rewards, the recipients of famous letters, the question of currency, female heroes and villains, nautical architecture, really old things, people with their own planets, the control over recent rains, old ladies named Sarah, flutes, moisteners, time-travel, plots redux, favorite dances, people born in the 1970s, Jason and Joshua, that which survives to the present, second place, lovely directives, rules for hosts, cocktails, unusual reluctance, fathers, maroon thieves, the meddling French, border lands, retreads, 1969, resolutions, tenths, evolution, and Shakespeare.


Some prefer to watch TV rather than hang with friends. Some can even do both. Make your choice, and we will see you this evening.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Newspaper Headlines.   In addition to The U.S., name one of the two other countries that do not participate in the Paris Climate Change Accords. 


  1. Bachelorettes. The thirteenth and current season of The Bachelorette features Rachel Lindsay, a 32-year-old professional from Dallas, Texas. What is her occupation?  


  1. Pop Culture – Music. Last week the re-issue of what 50-year-old album sold 75,000 total copies to reenter the Billboard 200 at number three? 



P.S. Thursday is Poetry Night in Davis. Please join us at the Natsoulas Gallery for poetry by Wendy Williams and Jen Vernon. We start at 8 PM.


Wendy Patrice Williams is a writer, educator, and poet. Williams is the author of two chapbooks, Some New Forgetting and Bayley House Bard, and, in 2016, an actual “first poetry book with a spine”:  In Chaparral: Life on the Georgetown Divide (Cold River Press).


Jenifer Rae Vernon’s first book of poetry Rock Candy was published by West End Press in 2009. Rock Candy received the Tillie Olsen Award as the best book of creative writing that insightfully represents working class life and culture from the Working Class Studies Association, SUNY, Stony Brook, in June of 2010.

de Vere's Toasted Pints joined together in camaraderie


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

On the afternoon of September 11th, 2001, I spent some time remembering how in the early 1980s, alone and at dusk, I stood between the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan and beheld their unfathomable height. On June 12th, we will note the one-year anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since September 11, the mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando. When I heard the news, I remembered the night in 1992 that my then fiancée Kate and I spent with her brothers in a gay nightclub in Houston. Inspired by our discovery of the new song “I’m Too Sexy,” we danced with abandon.

Kate and I met in London, a city whose resolve is famous, whether it be the determined responses to the Blitz bombings during World War II, to the Republican attacks during the Troubles, to the fire at the Kings Cross tube station (while we were living two miles away), the transportation bombings of July 7, 2005, or the attack Saturday night on London Bridge. There is some discussion in the press now as to whether Britain is “reeling.” Mostly the Brits just seem ticked off, and have shown an unwillingness to give in to panic, or to refrain from favorite activities, such as enjoying a pint at one’s local pub.

I feel the same way about our Pub Quiz. You might notice that I don’t share a lot of “bad news” on the Quiz, unless you discount inevitable questions about electoral and federal politics. We need our own respite from terrorism, domestic or foreign, and from alarmist (some would say “catastrophist”) responses to terrorism, whether via television broadcast, newspaper headline, or tweet.

I invite you to join me tonight, and to raise a wine glass or a pint to first responders everywhere. Their everyday bravery ensures us the (public) space, physically and psychologically, to go about our daily business, and to spend time with our dearest friends. Those of us not on the front lines can confront terrorism daily with our free expressions of resiliency, democracy, camaraderie, and comedy, all allies in the ongoing elevation of humanity.

In addition to topics raised above, tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on penguins and other little animals, John Cleese, one film per decade, black vs. blue, China, renewable energy, legal documents, glory, slams, unfinished final novels, The Great Wall, comedians, continental crust, Pixar movies, world capitals, deplorable containers, liars, Agents of Shield, television studios, bonus pythons, Horace, twins who overhear trivia contests, Lawrence of Arabia, dangerous minds, redheads, homophones, Japanese animation, climate, avatars, all the single ladies, cuckoo’s nests, groups of balloons, friends of Captain America, bones, old people, England, Irish pubs, and Shakespeare.

See you tonight!


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Food and Drink. Which typically has more liquid, soup or stew? 


  1. Pop Culture – Music. Starting with the letter B, what was the last name of the composer of the lullaby sung most often by parents of babies? 


  1. Science.  Copra is the dried meat, or dried kernel, of what C fruit? 

Memorial Day in Davis

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

Happy Memorial Day. This morning I was honored to take part in a ceremony honoring the war dead of the City of Davis, of Yolo County, and of California. Songs were sung and played, names of the Davis fallen were read, and I read a poem from my book In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War (available for purchase at the Avid Reader on 2nd Street). Everyone’s favorite part of the morning ceremony was the remarks prepared by Imelda “Mel” Russell, the local historian who works out of the Davis branch of the Yolo County Library. Russell told stories about her own connection to World War I (as someone born in London), and our city’s connection to The Great War. One hundred years ago 900 people of a population of about 14,000 were chosen to serve. Many didn’t return home.

Ms. Russell read a poem that is familiar to those who have studied WWI literature, as I have, “In Flanders Fields” by John McRae:


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


As you reread this poem, please join me in reflecting on the lives and deaths of those who have sacrificed for our country.

Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on some of the above topics, but also on dried meats, spirits, distracting crashes, that which is unknown, identical twins, first-timers, weekly morning philosophers, a brigade of secretions, courage, hazards in New Zealand, addressing ADHD, the place for women, important treaties, Metacritic raves, thoughts on hope, judges, qualifications for peace, OJ, country music stars whom I can stomach, horrid soups made with adverbs, renewable energy, falling trees, The Bible, west wings, odd legs, first-person, anniversaries, ancient Greeks, sleep aids, and Shakespeare.

Having rested this holiday, I bet you will be ready to join us tonight before 7! See  you then.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Internet Culture. What does the acronym IoT stand for, where the O is lower case?  


  1. Feeling Prideful. In what year did the United States Supreme Court rule in that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional?   


  1. Pop Culture – Music. What is the mononym of the rapper and actor who had a role in the film for which he won an Academy Award for Best Song, titled “Glory”?  



P.S. Poetry Night this coming Thursday features Lawrence Dinkins, one of my favorite Sacramento poets. He will be taking a train to Davis to perform for you, but only if you show up to the John Natsoulas Gallery on June 1 at 8!



Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

In his film To Rome With Love, Woody Allen presents a vignette about an Italian clerk named Leopoldo who wakes to find himself inexplicably famous, with paparazzi tracking his movements on the streets of Rome, and reporters asking what he had had for breakfast.

I had this film in mind Friday afternoon when one of my tweets about that day’s Trump administration scandal (this once concerning Jared Kushner being named a person of interest in a criminal investigation by the FBI) started to go viral. For some reason, dozens of people I didn’t know were liking my insight, and others were retweeting me, including actual celebrities such as Bill Prady, co-creator and producer of The Big Bang Theory.

When I got home Friday, people on Facebook and via Twitter message had alerted me as to what was going on. My 25-word tweet had been shared in the lead article on the top story by British newspaper The Independent, and thus I was drawing a lot of attention from both people who agreed with me (more than 375 retweets and more than 600 likes) and people who objected. When I asked “Who’s the nut job now?” some of the more than 40 people who responded to the tweet answered that in fact I was the nut job. People throughout Davis will agree.

It is not too late for you to comment upon or object to my tweeted snark. Find out more at, and if you would like to see the original article in The Independent, please visit

Now I am left to wonder if the number of people who saw that tweet — more than 32,000 people – will forever trump the number of people who see every poem I publish in every media over the course of my lifetime. If you have a Twitter account, remember that you can follow Your Quizmaster at, and that you can follow Dr. Andy, snarky commentator, at

Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on the topics you have come to expect, as well as the following: Closed theatres, unclose elections, Tenleytown, Kings of Brooklyn, paychecks, elections, rushed scientists, organ binders, exalted songs, seats, poets named Michael, public playhouses, prominent scientists, questions of Christianity, enthusiasm, where we love, small hills and tall, larceny, estimated revenues, temporary appetite, software, rainfall drinks, DNA, three dimes, Emmy winners, video games, the jobs of notable people, the music of the spheres, beer blanks, Italian heroes, baseball, collateral, the internet, and Shakespeare.

I hope you can join us this evening. I will ask the staff to monitor temperatures in the Pub tonight. Your comfort is our priority. See you at 7!

Dr. Andy


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Books and Authors.   Author Maya Angelou was born the same year that the book The House at Pooh Corner introduced us to Tigger. Name the decade.  


  1. Sports.  For what NFL team is two-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers the quarterback?  


  1. Shakespeare.   Which of the following is closest to the number of lines that are spoken by court jester Yorick in the play Hamlet? 0, 10, 100, or 1000?  



P.S. Poetry Night is coming up on June 1!