Fernandez with medal

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


Hollywood screenplay author Brian Koppelman once said, “Resilience is a writer’s best friend. Train like a marathon runner. Move a little further each day, despite the pain.” Abraham Lincoln likewise said, “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” I think of these accomplished writers on Patriots’ Day, the holiday set aside for Bostonians to cheer those who participate in the Boston Marathon.


I used to watch the Marathon go by from my Warren Towers dorm room during my freshman year at Boston University. In later years, I would stand along the route with the other impressed fans, cheering as people would race past us, faded from a few hours’ intense effort. A runner myself, I enjoyed exploring Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods, alone with my thoughts or with my running mixtape on the Walkman. For me it was more meditation than competition.


Now that I bike every day, I feel like I am doing my part, that I needn’t run in the evenings and on weekends as I used to do when I was younger. But of course, that’s a lame excuse. What Koppelman and Lincoln say running and walking, above, need not be merely metaphorical.


Take, for instance, my friend and former student Josh Fernandez. Less than a decade younger than I am, Josh flew to his once-native Boston this week to compete in the Boston Marathon. A review of the searchable results reveals that he ran at about a 7.5-minute mile for more than 26 miles, finishing with a time of three hours, 20 minutes, and eight seconds. Now-vegan Professor Josh teaches us all that intense training, patience, and an exploration of the relationship between discomfort and accomplishment could help any of us realize our athletic and creative dreams. Do you have any lame excuses that you would like to re-evaluate?


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on some of the topics raised above, as well as on Studs Terkel, the ways a crow flies, the great cities of London and Dublin, a morning coffee, second to social media, Welsh exports, bards, the great depression, Julius Caesar, futball, Easter memories, navy jobs, precarious bridges, sexually active arachnids, people who want their money, elegies, Phillip Larrea and Barbara West, the first practical lead-acid battery, hilarious and scary, aquatic transformations, the good of notebooks, international poetry, really old carbine anagrams, plagiarism, more than Oprah, shells, high angles, geological speaking, waiting for a move to be made, shaking with what might be called ageism, Bismarck and Jamaica, international poetry and poets during National Poetry Month, and Shakespeare.


As is the case with the Boston Marathon, the de Vere’s Irish Pub Pub Quiz pushes us to our best performance when more competitors bring their game. See you tonight.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Countries of the World.  What is the name of the sovereign and unitary monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula?


  1. American Rivers. 156 miles long, The Big Muddy River joins the Mississippi River south of the town of Murphysboro. Furthermore, the Big Muddy River drains areas of the following counties, all in the same state: Franklin County, Jackson County, Jefferson County, Marion County, Perry County, Union County, Washington County, and Williamson County. Name the state.    


  1. Science.  Tabasco peppers start out green. What color do they become when become fully mature?


P.S. Poetry Night is Thursday, and you should join us. Phillip Larrea and Barbara West will be our featured performers.


Angry Tree


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


Some see this as a dark time, a time when the trees are wreaking their revenge upon us for what we have done to them.


Perhaps that’s overstated, but to me, if feels that way. I don’t know if you have been reading the news, but the trees of Davis seem to be hurling their branches at innocent Davisites like the Ents taking on Saruman and the Orcs during the attack on Isengard. This past Wednesday, April 5th, outside of the Student Community Center, a 32-foot tree branch fell 40 feet from a eucalyptus tree upon four of my colleagues in the University Writing Program. All were hospitalized and had to take some time off from teaching, but we believe that all will recover fully.


And then this past Friday night a 400-pound oak tree branch crashed through the patio of the beloved Pence Gallery, 212 D Street, right behind our Irish Pub. This happened during a fundraiser for Third Space, the artistic collective that has seen its rent skyrocket and its space contracted. People were standing outside in the path of the branch just a few minutes before it came down, but then came inside to hear some of the live music. I myself was standing on the now-destroyed patio just an hour before the mishap. Fortunately, no one was hurt.


Are the trees angry at us? As I was telling these stories in the back yard of one of the foremost art advocates in Davis during a Davis Shakespeare Ensemble donors’ event yesterday, people were looking up to the canopy of trees with concern. One told me that during one windy day last week she drove her car rather than riding her bike, for fear of the trees. Some people at the DSE event opted to stand a greater distance from me, as seemingly I am the only connection between the University Writing Program, Third Space, and the Pence Gallery.


Having participated in Redwood Summer 27 years ago, and having raised tens of thousands of dollars for organizations such as The Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, I would hope that the trees would see me as a friend. Perhaps the trees do not discriminate.


As April is National Poetry Month, let’s conclude with a poem. One of my favorite 20th century British poets, Philip Larkin, expressed a somewhat forlorn attitude towards our leafy brethren in his springtime poem “The Trees”:


The Trees


The trees are coming into leaf

Like something almost being said;

The recent buds relax and spread,

Their greenness is a kind of grief.


Is it that they are born again

And we grow old? No, they die too,

Their yearly trick of looking new

Is written down in rings of grain.


Yet still the unresting castles thresh

In fullgrown thickness every May.

Last year is dead, they seem to say,

Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.


I hope you find inspiration to begin afresh this spring. Start by joining us tonight at the de Vere’s Irish Pub Pub Quiz!


In addition to topics raised above, expect questions about counties that have a river in common, slight cultures, epistolary imperatives, Latino men, golden ages, organ transplants, broken records, the absence of tongues, peppers, specific executions, monarchies we can stand, Irish products, bosses who are not babies, unwelcome flowers, Ancient Greece, religious customs, calabash dorks, yellow diamonds, W.C. Fields associates, slave ships, exchangeability, really platinum, the gold rush, Sylvester Stallone, sound responses, storms of germs in Nevada, the plural of hypotenuse, the iPhones of big brothers, and Shakespeare.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Internet Culture. No longer Windows, what is now the world’s most popular OS in terms of internet usage?


  1. Bonus Anagram.  What word is both an anagram and often a synonym of the phrase “dirty room”?


  1. Another Music Question, this time about 67-year-old Songwriters Who Were Born in Tuskegee, Alabama. What winner of the Johnny Mercer Award has written three of Billboard’s Top 100 Hits of All-Time?



P.S. Thanks to everyone from Pub Quiz who attended Poetry Night last Thursday, especially Cara and John.




Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


On the Myers-Briggs personality test, I used to be an INFP, but now I am an ENFP. Perhaps all my time working with a microphone has changed me into an extrovert. While I have become louder since I first took the test 17 years ago, when it comes to my improvisational nature, I’m still a “P” for “prospector” rather than “J” for “judge.” This might be seen as ironic, because of how much time I spend evaluating, whether it be student essays or your submitted pub quizzes. The judging also refers to planning, and while as a poet I favor discovery, serendipity, and improvisation, I also recognize the benefits of having a plan, something I impress upon my students when helping them determine direction (and even velocity) as they prepare to graduate from UC Davis.


At Disneyland last week, I was reminded of this Tony Gaskins quotation: “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” This speaks to the importance of having a plan. In his book Living Forward, purposeful living mentor Michael Hyatt talks about the necessity of avoiding drift, or letting the prevailing tides or someone else’s plan determine what you do and how you spend your time.


In the context of these thought leaders, let’s recognize that if you don’t come up with a plan, you will spend most of your time at Disneyland standing in a really expensive line. Last week we noted that the wait times for some lines were more than an hour, and that the Disney architects in some instances craftily conceal the length of the line, leading us to believe at one point that it couldn’t possibly be a 40-minute wait for the Little Mermaid ride, when actually we crept along for close to an hour.


With a Disney trademarked fast pass, however, one can stop by a ride early, register one’s intent to participate at a later time, and then go enjoy other parts of the park instead of queueing endlessly. When one arrives with one’s pass, one skips right past the hundreds of people who hadn’t planned as well, feeling for them a mix of sympathy and pity. Don’t we all realize that a little planning and delayed gratification can pay off rich dividends later on? As it is in Anaheim, so it is in life.


Meanwhile, a friend of mine has become the Executive Director of the Mendocino County Tourism Commission. As one who prospects rather than judges, I don’t like to plan too much, but I do see in my future a family picnic in an uncrowded redwood grove, and a visit to an unpretentious Ukiah winery. Although they were both kind to me this past week, I will not miss my time with I-5 and cast members at Disneyland. Perhaps I will return to them both on some future date, but only after some restorative time spent with the quieter treasures that can be found on the Lost Coast. I will save my drifting for the Pacific.


In addition to topics mentioned above, tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions about topics raised above, as well as the following: Orange County, the potentially deleterious effects of early retirement, lost universities, refused prizes, favorite queens, varieties of oceans, Billy Graham, college life, fated explorations, Steven Spielberg, what we know about pirates, closed off-ramps, swagger, Reader’s Digest, big houses, proposals, the declination of windows, hermits in low “mountains,” Portland as part of a crowd of accomplishments, rearranged dirty rooms, five Santas, pinched turtle toys on jungle cruises, Alabama, coming out to the Emmys, Disney ubiquities, losing and finding one’s family, blue eyed benefactors, bicycle safety, and Shakespeare.


Come join us for some fun this evening. We start at 7.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from a Pub Quiz I hosted in 2012:



  1. Pop Culture – Music. In the world of music fandom, the word “stan” is a portmanteau of stalker and fan. The word originated when what musician released a song with the title “Stan”?


  1. Sports. Three members of the 500 Home Run Club played primarily for the San Francisco Giants. Name two of them.


  1. Science. H Words in Biology. What H word is an organic nitrogen compound that triggers an inflammatory response?



P.S. Poetry Night takes place at 8 on this coming Thursday, the 6th of April at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Julia Levine and Gillian Wegener will be our featured poets. You should come!



Autonomy Mastery Purpose with eagles


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, author Daniel Pink explores the three motivations that most drive employees (and perhaps all of us) in a knowledge economy: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. This past quarter I shared this lesson and many others with the artists, designers, actors, musicians, and film-makers in my Writing in Fine Arts class. While every student in the arts should follow her passion, such a student should also have a plan for success. Mentors are especially important to students striking out into the world, as my students will do soon, as are deliberate practice and immersion in the books and ideas presented by thought leaders in one’s field.


That deliberate practice in my UC Davis writing classes comes from iterative work on multiple assignments totaling 6,000 or more words, submitted to me for evaluation and guidance. The most enterprising and assiduous of my students also take advantage of office hours. In addition to the two office hours I offer during the week in Voorhies Hall, I also offer many appointments and standing Sunday evening office hours at a café downtown. In such places students benefit from the sort of individualized instruction that is more likely internalized by the aspirational writer as she considers how she will soon be making a living.


Yesterday I received this note from a student who might have worked the hardest in Writing in Fine Arts this quarter:


Dear Dr. Andy,


I wanted to thank you for all of the time you took with me during your office hours to work on my papers. I really appreciated your assistance and have never had a professor take so much time to do what you did for me. You truly care about your students’ success and for that, I thank you. I learned a great deal in your class in regards to improving my writing and really enjoyed the topics we had.


I was wondering if I needed any assistance with any future papers that I had, if I could come to your office hours?


Again, thank you so much. Enjoy your break!


Notice how kind and crafty this student is, to share the praise before sharing the ask, more office hour visits in the spring. The answer will be yes, of course, though one must always prioritize the needs of current students. All of us in Davis are lucky to be exposed to the energy and ingenuity that UC Davis students bring to our town and our university. As I help such students approach autonomy and mastery as writers, they help me reconnect with my own sense of purpose. I wish the same for all of you.


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on topics raised above as well as the following: that which you like, MGM, people who are upset, African beasts, packing imperatives, impressive parks, Saturday jollies, Irish mysticism, emojis, cruel fruits, Grammys, long-delayed reunions, the moon, revelatory thread, Africa, famous albums, familiar nicknames, becoming what we want, pictures that are the best of them all, solo ventures, science fiction, famous magazines, words like “vitrify” that are perfect for anagrams, different sorts of vision, animated mutants, the delights of the unorthodox, superheroes, basketball memories, a Magoo do, the pleasures of youth, smartphone apps, and Shakespeare.


I hope you can join us tonight for the Pub Quiz. We always have more fun when you are there.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Great Americans.  What is the prime number of U.S. presidents after Lincoln who served in the Civil War?


  1. Name the Similarity. What do bowling, rain, streets, and typography have in common?


  1. Pop Culture – Television.     Of the co-creators of the TV show titled Key & Peele, what is the last name of the man who directed the hit film Get Out?


P.S. April 6th is our next Poetry Night. Please circle that date on your calendar now. Happy spring break!


Tree in springtime

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


My wife Kate asked me to find her a SPRING quotation for an essay she is working on, perhaps one that she will publish tomorrow, the first day of spring. Below you can see what I found.


“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

― Pablo Neruda


“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

― Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


“What a strange thing!

to be alive

beneath cherry blossoms.”

― Kobayashi Issa, Poems


“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”

― Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg


“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


“Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.

Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.

Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.

Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.”

― Yoko Ono


“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


“She turned to the sunlight

And shook her yellow head,

And whispered to her neighbor:

“Winter is dead.”

― A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young


“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

― Rainer Maria Rilke


“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

― Anne Bradstreet, The Works of Anne Bradstreet


“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind”


“Nostalgia in reverse, the longing for yet another strange land, grew especially strong in spring.”

― Vladimir Nabokov, Mary


“If people did not love one another, I really don’t see what use there would be in having any spring.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

― Mark Twain


“I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.”

― Virginia Woolf, Jacob’s Room


“The sun just touched the morning;

The morning, happy thing,

Supposed that he had come to dwell,

And life would be all spring.”

― Emily Dickinson


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on one of the topics above, as well as the following: minor characters, places named after Queen Elizabeth, the worth of a pretty face, places to find the news, British hatchbacks, famous generals, records in Los Angeles, greens, and reds and golds, football and other games, self-important chairs, two prime numbers, starting with the letter A, faraway places, kings and queens, defense against the coming rains, invitations to leave, televised surprises, Pulitzer winners, bucks and does, precipitous drops, Greek and Trojan heroes, feminist authors, experimental films, China localities, population centers, unusual majors, Hawaiian exports, current events, and Shakespeare.


I hope you can join us tonight as we enjoy the spring weather!


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Mottos and Slogans. Starting with the letter L, what are the two names of the San Francisco company that uses the slogan “Quality never goes out of style”?


  1. Internet Culture. Who recently came out with a gaming console called The Switch?


  1. Newspaper Headlines.   Immigrants founded 51% of US billion dollar startups. Founders from which country are responsible for the highest percentage of these startups, at 14%?


P.S. Do you follow Your Quizmaster on Twitter? Do so now at https://twitter.com/yourquizmaster!



Driftwood in the Stateroom

Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


Probably everyone’s favorite scene from the Marx Brothers’ classic A Night at the Opera is the “Stateroom Scene.” Are you familiar? In the transcript, below, Groucho Marx plays Driftwood:





Driftwood finishes ordering from the steward and steps back into his cabin, closing the door.

Driftwood: Well that’s fine. If that steward is deaf and dumb, he’ll never know you’re in here.

Fiorello: Why sure, that’s all right…

(A knock on the door)

Driftwood: Yes?

Chambermaid: We’ve come to make up your room.

Fiorello: Are those my hard boiled eggs?

Driftwood: I can’t tell until they get in the room. Come on in, girls, and leave all hope behind. But you’ve gotta work fast ’cause you’ve gotta get out in ten minutes…

Fiorello: Hey, Tomasso. Wake up. They’re gonna fix the beds…

Driftwood (to the chambermaids): Say, I’d like two pillows on that bed there, huh?

(As the chambermaids struggle to get to the beds, Tomasso in his semi-conscious state begins to drape himself over the chambermaids.)

Driftwood (to Fiorello) Hey, there’s a slight misunderstanding here. I said the girls had to work fast – not your friend.

Fiorello: He’s still asleep…

Driftwood: You know he does better asleep than I do awake?

Fiorello: Yeah, he always sleeps that way. Now he’s half asleep.

Driftwood: Yes, he’s half asleep and half nelson…

(A knock at the door)

Driftwood: Yes?

Engineer: I’m the engineer. I’m here to turn off the heat.

Driftwood: Well, you can start right in on him.

Fiorello: Wake up, Tomasso… Tomasso, we’re a gonna eat soon…

Driftwood: You know, if it wasn’t for Gottlieb, I wouldn’t have got this room? (a knock on the door) Just hold him there a second…

Manicurist: Did you want a manicure?

Driftwood: No, come on in! I hadn’t planned on a manicure, but I think on a journey like this, you ought to have every convenience you can get… (Tomasso’s foot gets in the way of the manicurist). Hey, listen, I’m getting the manicure. Get out of here, will ya?

Manicurist: Did you want your nails long or short?

Driftwood: You’d better make ’em short. It’s getting kind of crowded in here. I don’t know. This isn’t the way I pictured an ocean voyage. I always visualized sitting in a steamer chair with a steward bringing me bouillon. You couldn’t get any bouillon in here unless they brought it in through a keyhole.

(A knock at the door)

Engineer’s assistant: I’m the engineer’s assistant.

Driftwood: You know, I had a premonition you were going to show up. The engineer’s right over there in the corner. You can chop your way right through… Say, is it my imagination or is it getting crowded in here?

Fiorello: I’ve got plenty of room…

(A knock at the door)

Driftwood: Yes?

Woman: Is my Aunt Minnie in here?

Driftwood: Well, you can come in and prowl around if you wanna. If she isn’t in here, you can probably find somebody just as good…

Woman: Well, can I use your phone?

Driftwood: Use the phone?! I’ll lay ya even money you can’t get in the room! This boat will be in New York before you can get to that phone…

(A knock at the door)

Cleaning lady: I came to mop up.

Driftwood: Just the woman I’m looking for. Come right ahead. You’ll have to start on the ceiling. It’s the only place that isn’t being occupied… (knock at the door) Tell Aunt Minnie to send up a bigger room, too, will ya? (knocking again)

Steward: Stewards…

Driftwood: Ah, come right in!

Fiorello: Hey, Tomasso, the food! The food!

Driftwood: I’ve been waiting all afternoon for you stewards…

(The stewards crowd into the room as Tomasso dives onto the trays in his semi-conscious state. The next visitor is none other than Mrs. Claypool, who after knocking on the door, finds the cabin suddenly bursting open as people cascade into the ship’s hallway.)


My birthday party in the back room of de Vere’s Irish Pub was very much like this stateroom this past Friday, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Much like my life these days, people had time or room to stop by, shake my hand or give me a hug, and then went on their way. The Mayor spoke, my daughter spoke, some favorite former students and colleagues spoke, and then we all had homemade carrot cake, brought by a guest all the way from Lodi.


I agree with comedian Eric Idle; he once said, “I have been very blessed in my life and rewarded with good friends and good health. I am grateful and happy to be able to share this.” Thanks to all of you who participated, or who wanted to but were turned away lest you trigger chaos, as what happened to Mrs. Claypool.


In addition to a different comedian from the ones mentioned above, expect tonight questions about bests, mature trees, desert divisions, the big switch, San Francisco quality, startups, improv comedy, penguins, thousand-mile journeys, binderies for bombs, German immigrants, Ireland in full color, Prince and Eminem, fateful trucks, the opposite of Titus Andronicus, two times three, Tilda Swinton, tall mountains, ages and eons, Italian cities, pugilism, animation, countries of origin, David Attenborough, lovely hats, sharp wits that sharpen knives, that which we have got to have, Academy Award nominees and winners, swift action, Twitter, and Shakespeare.


Spring has sprung, so you should spring over to de Vere’s Irish Pub tonight. Set your clocks. We start at 7.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1.  Voters. Which of the following will be the largest generation of eligible voters in 2020? From youngest to oldest: Centennials, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation.


  1. Pop Culture – Music. What American DJ Duo has the 5th and 6th top selling singles in the nation this week with “Closer” and “Paris”?


  1. Science.   What P word do we use for a large molecule, or macromolecule, composed of many repeated subunits?



P.S. Poetry Night returns to Davis this week, with a March 16th reading at the Natsoulas Gallery featuring Erin Rodoni, with Lauren Rudewicz as the opener. Rodoni has a new Sixteen Rivers Press book out titled Body, In Good Light.


Read what Thomas Centolella  says about this new book: “The aesthetic that courses throughout Erin Rodoni’s sumptuous debut—tender and bittersweet, but also clear-eyed and unflinching—recalls Rilke’s ninth Duino Elegy, in which the earth’s dream is ‘to resurrect / in us invisibly.’ That ache of regeneration and rejuvenation is made manifest in Body, in Good Light. In the section entitled ‘A Sort of Light We See as Flesh,’ the poem ‘The Chapel’ brings us to a woman’smemorial service, where Rodoni faces ‘an altar draped in fabric / that belongs to no faith.’ At the end, though, she says: ‘We praise/ the faith of whatever machine // keeps the warmth in her hands.’ By extension, that warmth extends to the poet, to those she holds dear, and, thankfully, to us.”


Poetry Night starts at 8 on March 16. Join us!


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


What fun we had Saturday Night! My friends at Sunrise Rotary organized an annual “Trivia for a Cause” fundraiser that took place at the spacious Davis Senior Center, and I got to host! My duties included writing and putting on a pub quiz, offering a live auction of clues for the trickier questions (some hints went for as much as $60), and talking up the different local charities that the teams were playing for. By the end of the evening, I was out of breath, and my head was spinning.


A visit to Rotary.org reveals the Rotarian’s primary motto: “Service Above Self.” We are lucky to live in a city whose good will and investment in education have resulted in an overabundance of citizens who recognize service to others, such as my own service to my students, as an important element of a fulfilling life. Service and outreach are foundational goals of our town’s land grant university, and the Rotary folks apply those principles even more vigorously than most of the rest of us. It should be recognized in what author Gary Vaynerchuk calls our “Thank You Economy” that there is wisdom in the Rotary motto that “One profits most who serves best.” One of the best ways to do well is to be good.


I’ve benefited tremendously from the support of friends, family, and associates in Davis. 2017 is an exciting time for me: my 25th year of marriage to Kate, and the beginning of my sixth decade on earth. Kate is throwing me a birthday party Friday night. If you are not a Facebook friend of Dr. Andy and would like to know more, feel free to ask me about the birthday gathering when we see each other tonight at the Quiz.


As you can tell from my habit of giving away valuable swag every Monday night, we are trying to get RID of stuff, rather than accumulate it in the form of birthday presents. As a result, if you want to do something kind for me on my 50th birthday, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Smith Lemli Opitz Foundation, an organization that supports medical research into a rare syndrome that is well known to our family and the families of many people whom we appreciate and adore. Find details at http://www.smithlemliopitz.org/donations/.


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on voters, people named Alexa, silver bullets, the trees found in Chinese swamps, Texas, Romans, the Philippines, horseshoes, provincial life, nightmarish arachnids, threats to our Superiority, beautiful losers, superheroes, occupations in common, the Truman question, persistent wrongdoing, 18 points in Scrabble, periodic painting, piano music, evil shape-shifters, bald antiheroes, unusual and hasty pets, subunits, also-rans, bad habits, Centennials, and Shakespeare. Three of the questions have not been written.


Happy birthday to occasional Pub Quiz participant Grammy Jo. Jo won’t be able to join us tonight, but you yourself should not let the gentle rain and cold temperatures keep you from competing in the de Vere’s Irish Pub Pub Quiz. See you at 7!


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Sports. What is the name of the Buffalo NHL team?


  1. Science.   Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of OSA. What do the letters OSA stand for?


  1. Great Americans.  Of what state was the current Vice President most recently governor?



P.S. Do you know someone who should sign up for this newsletter? Convince them for me!


Red Mailbox


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


Happy Oscars aftermath day! Typically I would devote an entire newsletter to the Academy Awards, but I have too many topics to cover.


Can it be that, in the restricted-press Trump era, even the Academy Awards have become political, partisan, and divided? Dressed in a coat and tie to watch the “returns,” my 11-year-old son Truman had actually seen LaLa Land, so he yelped with joy when the film was named best picture. Later he was disappointed (again!) when the mistake was corrected and explained to the confused celebrities. It will be at least a handful of years before Truman gets to see Moonlight on Video, even though all but a few scenes are appropriate for him right now. Then he can learn why it is such an important film. Until then, we will always have “City of Stars” to play and hum around the house.


By the way, what was Warren Beatty thinking? Was there a conspiracy? These are some of the questions I’ve seen asked on social media in the last 12 hours. Someone suggested that a different Best Picture winner should guide the process in the future: No Country for Old Men. This incident made me wonder: if someone handed me a doctored pub quiz answer sheet with an incorrect answer on it, would I read it out loud? Maybe if I were reading the answer to a billion people, I would confirm with my producer first. Poor Warren. I can see why people have become so distrustful of the (any?) electoral process.


I got to host the Patwin Elementary School PTA Fundraiser this past Saturday night. I have learned that while hosting a pub quiz can be exhausting, hosting a pub quiz, live auction, and raffle results read is even more exhausting, especially when one is master of ceremonies for the entire evening. I don’t know where Davis Enterprise columnist for life Bob Dunning finds the energy to have hosted so many events for our city and our schools over the years. Of course, he does have his columns to call upon for material. At least Saturday night we raised a boatload of cash (maybe $10,000?) for the Patwin Elementary PTA. Arts education has to come from somewhere, and I don’t sense that it the arts are a priority of the current administration.


Speaking of Pub Quiz fundraisers, the Trivia for a Cause fundraiser takes place this coming Saturday night, March 4th, at 7 PM. Here’s how the Davis Enterprise puts it:


“Davisites are certain they’re smart. Those looking to prove it should play Sunrise Rotary’s “Trivia for a Cause” at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St.


Now in its eighth year, the contest is emceed by Andy Jones, Davis’ poet laureate emeritus [Editor’s note: I am the current and reigning poet laureate] and doyen of the city’s quizmasters. Seats are $30 and teams should be between six and eight people, though individual players are welcome. Table sponsorships are available for $400.


The top three teams will win money for a public service project or nonprofit organization of their choice. First place will win a minimum $2,000.


And the more teams that play, the higher the possible payout. The winning team also will earn the title of ‘Smartest People in Davis.’”


I hope you can join us for that event. Rotary representatives will be available to share details, and Davis City Councilman Lucas Frerichs will be on hand to crown the “Smartest People in Davis” this evening at about 6:45. Come early for the fun and the gloating.


Finally, I will close with some advice. Before you hire someone for a big job, such as handing Warren Beatty a red envelope or running a branch of our military, confirm that the person to whom you plan to give the responsibility is qualified. So far, poor vetting has now cost Donald Trump his Labor Secretary, his Navy Secretary, his Army Secretary, and his National Security Advisor. It’s almost that he and his campaign team could not have foreseen that they would won the election. Only Steve Bannon, Breitbart visionary, might have had an idea of what was coming. I suppose that every film needs a script-writer.


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on some of the topics raised above. I even borrowed one question from the Patwin event, so if you attended that, you will have a deliciously unfair advantage. Expect also questions on the following: Star Wars (not prequels), four primary characters, Bizarro World fallout, a late pass for victory, The H.M.S. Titanic, Puerto Rican representation, successful genera, interrupted dreams, Burkina Faso and Benin, Brexit complications, returning cages, country music that I can stomach, unique misfortune, spending the second quarter of 2016 on your phone, close shaves, outlaws, Bruno Mars, glamour, unusual pairings in upstate New York, old crushes, Daniel Radcliffe, first alarms, previous occupations, horror television, A-Listers, instability, miserable manias, tick tock, opening numbers, cinematic commitment, and Shakespeare. I have not yet written question 25.


See you tonight!


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Presidential Politics on Presidents Day. As no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the election of 1824, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to elect as president the candidate who had won fewer votes than his main competitor in the popular election. Who became U.S. President in February of 1825?     


  1. Science – Strong Winds. A hurricane is a storm that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean and northeastern Pacific Ocean, a typhoon occurs in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, and a two-syllable synonym for these occurs in the south Pacific or Indian Ocean. Name it.


  1. Books and Authors. Which Virginia Woolf book features Septimus Smith & Clarissa Dalloway?  


P.S. Also join us for Poetry Night on March 2nd. Amos White and Emma Fuhs will be featuring.

Feb 20-2017 Newsletter PDF


Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


This past Saturday morning out my window I saw a young man sprinting down the greenbelt. He zoomed down the bike path like a film’s unaccountably speedy protagonist who benefits from post-production special effects to race off towards the horizon. Soon thereafter, I saw a pack of runners running in tight formation behind the first, all members of what I assumed were the UC Davis cross-country team. Brushing my teeth at my bathroom window, I admired their early-morning chutzpah.


Soon thereafter another group of runners came by, and then another, and then a long line of them. Some were doggedly focused, while others farther back in the pack were chatting casually with their buddies or pushing baby-joggers. While the runners, joggers, and, eventually, race-walkers came in all ages and sizes, most had a commonality that I should have spotted at first: Davis Stampede t-shirts. The race route went right past my home, and all the runners participating, from the youthful professionals to the casual fun-runners, were exhibiting more discipline and living more loudly than I was from my bathroom and bedroom windows, watching them go by. Maybe this is what John Lennon, in the last single from his posthumous album Double Fantasy, meant by “Watching the Wheels.”


I reminded myself that it was once I who stepped foot into the arena. Although I had run longer distances when living in Washington DC and in Berkeley, the Davis Stampede was the occasion of my longest run with a number on my chest, a 13.1-mile half-marathon. Perhaps I feel excused from such weekend stamina experiments because of my daily bike commute, but I still noted a pang of regret and exclusion with every runner who jaunted happily past my home. These people are really living, I thought, participating in life fully, and I was merely sitting on the sidelines, remembering my running glory days.


That said, a couple hours after this moment of morning reflection I was being introduced to a large crowd by Jay Brookman, commander of Davis VFW Post 6949. I got to sample a different sort of glory that comes with the thrilling rush of public speaking. As your poet laureate, I am often called upon to offer an original poem or two at important events, such as Saturday’s “Breakfast for Heroes.” As you may know, y most recent book, In the Almond Orchard: Coming Home from War, reflects upon what Sacramento Valley heroes might be feeling upon being discharged from service. The topic was relevant, as the crowd of 200 or so had gathered to recognize our city’s public servants, whether they be ROTC cadets, teachers, public safety dispatchers, police officers, student writers, scouts, or veterans of the year. Particularly impressive was Francis Resta, World War II veteran and former Commander of that same VFW Post.


I would like to say that all eyes were on me as I took the stage, but instead everyone watched my son Jukie as he ran for the exit, opening a side door as loudly as can be imagined, as if, instead of merely using the handle, Jukie thought it best to open the door with a collection of wind chimes or a huge dead blow mallet. The resulting noise created was notable, but I chose not even to look to the side to see what was going on: for me it was show time!


Luckily, when it came to keeping Jukie safe, I was surrounded by heroes. Accompanied by a number of boy scouts, perpetual Davis leaders Don Saylor and Lucas Frerichs headed out a side door to attend to Jukie while he pruned some of the trees and sat on the huge sculpture in front of the Veterans Memorial Center, watching the cars go by in the winter sunshine. 1970s househusband John Lennon might have admired Jukie.


While some are content with “watching the wheels go round and round,” I say that now is a time when we need more heroes to follow the lead of Don and Lucas by stepping up and showing themselves. Some are speaking out in the political arena, reminding us all of constitutional values and the checks and balances established by our nation’s founders. Yesterday’s town hall with Congressman Garamendi gave some of our neighbors an opportunity to share their boldness. Some are arranging for food and shelter for our Oroville neighbors to the north, 180,000 of whom have recently evacuated their homes. In fact, as I write this early Monday morning, the aforementioned Don Saylor is serving breakfast and coffee to evacuees living temporarily at the Yolo County Fairgrounds. And some heroes work day after day in public service jobs, to be recognized and celebrated, if at all, for a couple hours on a Saturday morning in February before returning to the work to be done.


Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on some of the topics raised above, as well as on the Grammys, the memories of science fiction authors, Bram Stoker, intermediate-range ballistic missiles, islands, digital downloads, protected elephants, dunked heads, cabinets, music to be heard in bars, odd creatures, knights, state nicknames, ratios, doctors in the house, delicacies that I have never tried, population density, real races, mammal commonalities, little states, Golden Globe nominated singers, entanglements, people named after their jobs, and Shakespeare.


Tonight will mark the last pub quiz night of Trivia Newton John, a Hall of Fame team that has competed amiably, while winning occasionally, in the pub quiz for many years. I hope you will join us this evening to raise a glass in their honor. Also, the break in the precipitation should continue today and tomorrow. Tonight some may even want to sit outside!


See you this evening.


Your Quizmaster






Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Mottos and Slogans.    Starting with the letter C, and with two N’s in its name, what company uses the slogan “See what we mean”?


  1. Newspaper Headlines.   What European company recently topped Toyota to become the world’s biggest carmaker?


  1. Know Your Metric System. Rounded off to the nearest kilometer, how many kilometers are there in a marathon?



P.S. Poetry Night is this Thursday. Our featured poet will be Dorine Jennette! Please join us at the John Natsoulas Gallery. We start at 8.