Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
I heard a fascinating interview on the radio show To The Best of Our Knowledge while returning from relatively chilly Berkeley hills yesterday evening. Discussing the show’s theme of “Demanding Democracy,” Dr. Cornel West and talk show host and author Tavis Smiley confronted the political establishment, especially President Obama, focusing especially on the problems of poverty that we face as a nation. Smiley noted that while the country as a whole struggles with recovering from the recent recession, many communities of color (and the working poor of all sorts) actually find themselves deep in an economic depression reminiscent of the Great Depression of the 1930s. I saw some evidence of this last week in Santa Monica. My son and I had a spare hour before meeting some former students of mine for dinner, so we parked down by the Santa Monica Pier and walked around a bit. In the beautiful stretch of park between Ocean Avenue and the Pacific Coast Highway we talked to people who were struggling with the poverty that West and Smiley speak of. I read in a study found on the Ocean Park Community Center website that nearly 3,000 homeless people live in Santa Monica; evidently many of them last week were reading, people-watching and sleeping on the soft and manicured public lawns near the sprawling Pacific Ocean.
A 2009 head count in Yolo County revealed that Davis was home to 114 homeless people, 23 of them children. Our homeless folks are not as visible or as numerous as they are in Santa Monica, but the ongoing efforts to address the problems associated with homelessness could still benefit from our support. Groups such as HomeBase can share with you more about those efforts. Meanwhile, during this election year we can all think about what it means to “demand” democracy.
Thanks to my friend Ted for performing the duties of substitute Quizmaster last week. Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature questions on snow, American states, news websites, highways, science fiction films, ancient colors, local celebrities, spiritual leaders, people with seemingly American names like Smith and Harris, baseball, the periodic table of the elements, US Presidents, never at dusk, gospel music, Iowa, Mexico, zesty atoning, moons, banks, games that are over, Homer, mixed drinks, Olympic medals, foul weeds, title characters of Oscar-winning movies, fine wires, race, running mates, football, Greece, cheese, and Shakespeare.
If you have a friend who you think should be subscribed to these weekly newsletters, please direct that person to http://www.yourquizmaster.com so he or she can sign up! I learned this week that the longtime mayor of Beavertown, Pennsylvania, Cloyd Wagner, is a new subscriber. He also edits the Beavertown News.
P.S. Here are five questions from last week’s Quiz:
1. Mottos and Slogans. In addition to asking how you spell relief, what antacid product sponsors the yearly “Relief Man of the Year Award” for relief pitchers in baseball?
2. Internet Culture. According to the websites Kred and Klout, which current Olympian has the greatest social media influence?
3. Newspaper Headlines. A blackout in what country last week plunged 600 million people into darkness?
4. Four for Four. Which of the following Die Hard movies, if any, were released during the lifetime of Hailee Steinfeld, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her acting work in the 2010 film True Grit? Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard.
5. Occupations on the Screen. Alan Napier, Michael Gough, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Ian Abercrombie, and Sir Michael Caine have all played the character Alfred Pennyworth. What is Pennyworth’s job?
P.S. Yesterday I saw the poet Connie Post perform her work in a deli in Crockett, California, and I am pleased to say that the former Poet Laureate of Livermore is coming to Davis on Thursday to read from her new book at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Occasional Pub Quiz attendee CJ Morello will be opening for Connie, and I bet he will join us for the after-party at de Vere’s. Details at the website Poetry in Davis.