Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
After lunch on the day of our Pub Quiz, I’m still trying to figure out what to write about.
Saturday I presented a talk at the University of the Pacific Writers Conference, co-presenting with my friend the Davis novelist and professor Scott Evans. In addition to presenting with Scott, one of my favorite parts of the conference this year was the opportunity to have lunch with the novelist and professor Sandra Hunter, and Gabrielle Myers, a writer, teacher and chef with whom I have taken creative writing classes at UC Davis. I loved hearing about Sandra and Gabby’s writing projects, and participating in each of their workshops about writing.
Another conference presenter was KCRA on-air reporter Mike Luery, talking about his book Baseball Between Us. The next day, Mike was being roughed up by reporters at the state capitol building, where American Nazis and sometimes masked counter-demonstrators were battling, with handheld and thrown weapons, near the front steps of Sacramento’s grandest building. Footage showed people pushing mike around and down as he was trying to conduct interviews and report the conflicts. The protester who stole his iPhone later returned it.
I was considering writing as essay about the extent to which the Trump for President campaign was fomenting and excusing this sort of political violence in Sacramento, but I much prefer the positive way that my wife Kate represented my former home: “Seeing so many disturbing images coming out of Sacramento yesterday, I know that those photos and videos do not represent the beautiful city in which Andy and I lived when I moved to California 25 years ago. Affectionately called Sactown, or more often just plain Sac, Sacramento is one of the most integrated communities in the U.S., with its diverse cultures blending together smoothly into a beautiful cultural mosaic. Sac is known for its festivals and its rivers and of course its gorgeous urban forest.”
All of this happened yesterday as I was hiking with my sons through the wilds of Fairfax, California, starting early before the heat got too bad. You know who else takes early hikes from Deer Park up to Five Corners on a Sunday morning? Bird by Bird author Anne Lamott, whom I last saw give a talk in Berkeley in 1990. Best known for her novels and her writing about the writing process, she is also eloquent on religious topics, such as when she says, ““You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” As you would expect, Lamott kindly greeted my boys and me, and then the four of us, separately, returned to beholding the equally kind canopy of relief created by the trees (and the nuts) around us.
Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions about the following topics: The Bonfire of the Vanities, a kind of fighting, Super conflicts, the U.S. Supreme Court, ancient templates, Canada, Google’s plans for all of us, preparing a face to meet the faces that you meet, people who change their minds, Milton Berle, Ireland, American chivalry, living life, hat tricks, astronomical units, people named Morgan, Star Wars, the likeness of leaves, endangered species, a wife’s favorite lager, basketball, American painters, Jamaica, not quite outshooting Jordan, dudes named Kevin, southern greats, busy streets, Nigeria, countries named after cities, loudness, rebuilding lives, Pakistan, the easiness of being green, working class heroes, and Shakespeare.
I hope you can join us tonight. The air conditioning will be powerful.
Here are some questions from a June Pub Quiz:
- Film. Alexander Gould voiced the title character in the highest-grossing animated film, and second highest grossing film, of 2003. Name the film.
- Countries of the World. Located in the Horn of Africa, what country shares a border with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south?
- Books and Authors. What are the five letters in the last name of the author of Tuesdays with Morrie?
- Shakespeare. Created early in the 17th century, what is the name of the Shakespeare character who accompanies her husband when he is deployed to Cyprus in the service of the Republic of Venice?
P.S. Instead of the Pub Quiz, I will be reading a poem to thousands at Community Park next Monday, the 4th of July. Perhaps I will see you there? More likely, you might see me.