Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

Happy Mother’s Day! Just as a grocery store near a hospital knows to stock ample flowers for people who wish to bring a gift during visiting hours, so do Whole Earth Festival retailers know to stock extra earrings before traveling to Davis for Mother’s Day Weekend. I bought Kate some gorgeous purple recycled glass earrings from aan artisan jeweler named Maggie George.

May 15th is also important in the echoing recesses of my poetry-reciting subconscious for my favorite stanza, stanza five, of my favorite ode, John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale.” Here’s the stanza:


I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 

  Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 

But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 

  Wherewith the seasonable month endows 

The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;

  White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; 

    Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves; 

          And mid-May’s eldest child, 

  The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 

    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.


Writing this newsletter on Sunday evening, I find it difficult to maintain the delightful enjambed rhythm of Keats perfect lines while enduring the aggressive grunge in the café speakers above my head. Luckily, I once memorized these (and the rest of the) lines of Keats’ ode while walking though Boston and Cambridge about 30 years ago. Just as some things cannot be unseen, some things remain in our memories, ready to be called up for poetic emergencies, or for pub quizzes and newsletters that must be written when the café WiFi fails, as was the case this time. It’s always something.

In addition to grading essays, preparing entertainments for my pub-crawling friends, and checking in on my convalescing wife Kate, I also have to consider strategies for finding summer employment for my freshman daughter, home Friday from her first year at the oldest college in Wisconsin. If you have suggestions or a position for a peanut-allergic liberal arts student with excellent writing, teaching, and art-studio skills, please drop me a line. I know that she doesn’t want to be stuck writing Pub Quiz questions all summer.

In addition to issues raised above, tonight expect questions about the following topics: the Russians, geography, cyber politics, American states, Quinnipiac polls, dreams, punctuation, people who first needed help, jesters, Wisconsin, inaugurations, famous corners, cells that eventually differentiate, big prizes, Canada, film geography, the Russians, symbolic flowers, lead singers, hymns, mothers, the Russians, varieties of okra in Oklahoma, Lil Wayne, boats, surviving crewmates, comparisons to Watergate, astronomy, Serbs and Croats coming together, party time, and Shakespeare.

If you recruit a brand new Pub Quiz team of four or more all first-time players to join us this evening, I will arrange for them to dine on some delightful and complimentary pub chips. You could also tell them Poetry Night is Thursday.


See you this evening!


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Countries of the World.  Katmandu is the capital of what country?  


  1. Star Wars. Starting with the letter D, to what planet does Yoda flee during his self-exile?      


  1. Science.  Of the two large bones in the human forearm, one is the radius. What is the other?  



P.S. The founder of Copper Canyon Press, William O’Daly, will be our featured poet at Poetry Night Thursday at the John Natsoulas Gallery. O’Daly is also the foremost translator of Pablo Neruda’s (adorable pun!) late poetry. We start at 8, and you are invited. Here are the details:


The Poetry Reading Series is proud to feature the poet, essayist, and novelist William O’Daly on Thursday, May 18th at 8 P.M. Opening for O’Daly will be widely-published poet and fiction writer Madeline Gobbo. They will be performing at the John Natsoulas Gallery at 521 1st Street in Davis.


William O’Daly is a poet, essayist, novelist, professor, editor, and translator whose work has been widely published and honored. His novel, This Earthly Life, was selected as a finalist in Narrative magazine’s 2009 Fall Story Contest. O’Daly was also selected as a finalist for the 2006 Quill Award in Poetry. His other published works include the poetry chapbook The Whale in the Web, The Road to Isla Negra, and eight books of translations of the poetry of Pablo Neruda. A longtime proponent of creativity and literary excellence, William O’Daly is the co-founder of Copper Canyon Press.


Madeline Gobbo is a poet, fiction writer, and widely-acclaimed artist and illustrator. Originally from Hood River, Oregon, Gobbo has worked recently as the store artist at The Booksmith in San Francisco. Her stories have appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse and Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable, for which she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the illustrator of Loose Lips, an anthology of erotic fanfiction, and her collaborative fiction with Miles Klee has appeared in Joyland, Hexus, Another Chicago, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
An open mic will follow the readings by our featured poets. Please bring your poems, short stories, and songs. Participants will be asked to limit their performances to five minutes or two items, whichever is shorter. The Poetry Night Reading Series is hosted by Dr. Andy Jones, the poet laureate of Davis, and is run by his assiduous army of interns.

Upcoming Poets include Wendy Williams, Indigo Moor, and Mary Moore.




Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,

This morning my wife and I met with the man who last month saved her life. An accomplished surgeon, the man in question is exceedingly humble, thanking Kate repeatedly for letting him serve her by removing her ruptured appendix. Dr. Herminio Ojeda of Sutter Davis Hospital is a personal hero of mine. Kate spent a week in the hospital, having come home this past Tuesday, and is now resting comfortably. She has been forbidden from lifting anything over 15 lbs, including our children.

On the same day that she came home from the hospital, our beloved Auntie Merlyn passed away. Merlyn Potters was a longtime staff employee at UC Davis, a mother and grandmother, a friend and an artist. She knew the work of my Dad and step-mom from her days in Las Vegas (where my Dad taught at UNLV and my step-mother was a DJ at KNPR), so Merlyn and I had many long conversations about family and other topics. She was also unaccountably devoted to our daughter Geneva, born just a couple days before Merlyn’s granddaughter, Haley. Never before had Kate or I met someone who was so instantly in love with a tiny baby, a love for and obsession with Geneva that we heartily shared. Merlyn will long be loved and missed, for she brightened the worlds of everyone who had the pleasure to know her.

Treasure and hug the people who are close to you.

Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on the following topics: Getting in trouble for what you like, European leaders, people named Nancy, knives, welcoming guests to America, big boxes, histories, executive advice, spooky bonnets, bones, exile, world capitals, buddy films, library science, American cities, opera, mendacity, games of chance, metrics, Palin imitations, Chinese trees, the Joshua who did not fit the battle of Jericho, church sayings, the down under, and Shakespeare. I haven’t yet written the anagram question.

I hope you can join us tonight. I sat outside at the Pub twice this past weekend, and found it to be refreshing and lovely. All of us should try to spend more time outside doing the things we love.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Unusual Words for X-rays that take detailed pictures of structures inside a patient’s body. The C in CT scan stands for “Computed.” What does the T stand for?  


  1. British History. With a two-decade margin of error, in what year was slavery abolished throughout the majority of the British Empire?  


  1. Pop Culture – Television. As announced this morning, who is Kelly Ripa’s new co-host on her TV show Live?  



P.S. Happy Birthday to the late Davey Marlin-Jones!



Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


The Pub Quiz is ready for tonight, and the Quizmaster himself is filled with gratitude. Here are a few of my favorite gratitude quotations:


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.” Alphonse Karr

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire


Tonight’s quiz will include questions on the following topics: tennis, tall pinnacles, attempted unseatings, small couriers, elegant sorrow, electronics, vast educated expanses, peas, flaps, nuisances, not lions, chanteurs, concrete roses, lightnesses, springtime, opera (finally!), tilted axes, an untold dirtiness, humility, slavery, x-rays, complex molecules, DNA, Venice, Oh Clark, U.S. presidents, foolish adverbs, T words, British honor returned, and a couple other topics that are yet to be determined.

I look forward to benefiting from all the community and camaraderie that you can muster this evening. See you at 7!


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Science.  We use what T word for a large, herbivorous mammal, shaped like a pig, with a short, prehensile snout? 


  1. Books and Authors.   The author of the best-selling book on is a British novelist born with the name of Erika Mitchell. What is her pen name?   


  1. Current Events – Names in the News.  What notable musician, upon having been asked if he then still lived in Minnesota, responded, “I live inside my own heart, Matt Damon”? 


P.S. Thanks to everyone who donated during the KDVS Fundraiser! With your help, we raised over $800 for the station during the hour of my show.


P.P.S. This coming Thursday is Poetry Night. We will feature a one-time substitute Quizmaster named Chris Erickson. A strong storyteller, Erickson is also the best absurdist comedian in Yolo County. Join us Thursday night at 8 at the John Natsoulas Gallery.




Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,


I ran into two Pub Quiz regulars late last night at one of my favorite coffee shops. Admitting that they’ve never known the winners’ circle, they asked for any help I could offer. I told them that the Pub Quiz had been written, and that they could expect five questions on actors and actresses. Bug eyed, they expressed their gratitude. I smiled, wondering how much help I had really just given them.

When the barista brought me my large orange-carrot juice, he told me how cool he thought it was that I run the Pub Quiz at de Vere’s, but that he wasn’t sure that he approves of my collusion with the Pub Quiz regulars whom I had just encountered on a Sunday evening. I told him that my “hint” would not make a difference in the final score, and he said that he was just “busting my chops.” “I’m not even 21,” he confessed, “so I won’t be there.” I informed him that we have teams of high school students who join us most weeks, and that de Vere’s doesn’t become a bar until 10 PM. He seemed intrigued, and told me he would start work on forming a team.

Here’s another hint that I didn’t offer this purveyor of juices: this week’s newsletter would reveal question #3, word for word:


  1. Newspaper Headlines: Events Coming Up Wednesday. This coming Wednesday at 5 PM marks the 17th annual fundraiser show for “Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour.” Do you plan to make a tax-deductible donation to KDVS of $5 or more Wednesday at 5 by calling 530 754-KDVS or visiting


If your team’s answer is yes, you get the point. If it’s no, you don’t.

Is that fair? It’s all for a good cause, your local campus and community radio station that has been offering underground, youth, and non-mainstream musical culture for more than 50 years. Home to one of the largest vinyl collections in the country, KDVS could keep me busy for the next few decades if I were to focus on hosting a jazz show, with no songs repeated from now until retirement. And because the station is run primarily by volunteers, some of our best community DJs join the station after retirement. It’s a sweet gig.

With tightening budgets at ASUCD, and a potential move from Lower Freeborn, the station is facing some financial challenges. Changes in media consumption also mean that the station is trying new ways to reach its audience at fundraiser time. If you value independent, free-form, community radio, consider making a pledge this coming Wednesday at 5 (set a reminder on your calendar now), or anytime this week. The station hopes to raise $55,000 during the weeklong fundraiser, and I myself hope to raise $1,000 between 5 and 6 on Wednesday. Care to help? Operators are standing by now!


Tonight’s Quiz will feature questions on topics raised above, as well as the following: gratitude to Shakespeare on his birthday, dragons and eyes, Ryan’s hope, immersion, blue devils, shoes and tails, minute additions, old pals, pyramids, colorful whips, assists, elemental names, conflict in Virginia, common languages, eclipses, fallen captains, chambers of the heart, pen names, unusual snouts, the film Pinocchio, housing in Montreal, marvelous kisses, KDVS, countries of the world, sons and daughters, reconsidering earth on Earth Day, trees that sway in the wind, show business jobs, moms and dads, the letter K, poets named Bhopla, the noodling of anthems, Cleopatra, compositions, favorite Sacramentans, revolutions, Hollywood legacies, and, as has been stated, Shakespeare.

We will have fun tonight, and teams will score even higher than they did last week! I’m hoping KDVS will also score.


Your Quizmaster


Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:


  1. Science.  How often do sexually active scorpions lay eggs? Once a year, twice a year, once a quarter, or never? 


  1. Books and Authors.   Born on this day in 1897, what American playwright and novelist won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth


  1. Sports.  The most valuable soccer team in Spain is also the most valuable soccer team in the world. Name it.  


P.S. May the 4th is around the corner, and this year it will also be a Poetry Night with Davis avant-garde novelist, performance artist, and comedian, Chris Erickson, the pride of Decatur, Illinois. Are you ready for Star Wars Day? There is so much to commemorate. Happy National Poetry Month.


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!



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!