Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
As you may have read in the current issue of UC Davis Magazine, I hold extra office hours for my students on Sunday evenings at a local restaurant. The bike ride home from this welcome duty is especially enjoyable because of the cool temperatures, the peaceful and shady greenbelts, and the absent traffic. One sees far fewer cars and fewer bicycles in the summer in Davis, though, as my wife Kate points out, one also sees far more bike helmets on the (townie) bicyclists who remain. So many sights await us in the summer, as Aldo Leopold reminds us: “In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.”
Inspired by Olympian Kim Conley, this summer I have begun an ambitious exercise regimen that might not be possible during the busier school year, when there are so many more people in the meetings I attend. As I learned recently, health concerns actually helped to determine the generous break that American schoolchildren enjoy (the same break that shapes the UC Davis academic calendar). Here’s how Juliet Lapidos explained the choice in a 2007 article in Slate:
Gradually, [public school administrators] shortened the school year by about 60 days and eliminated the summer quarter. Reformers could have instituted a long break in winter, or spring, but they picked summer for three main reasons. 1) Poorly ventilated school buildings were nearly unbearable during heat waves. 2) Community leaders fretted that hot, crowded environments facilitated the spread of disease. 3) Wealthy urbanites traditionally vacationed during the hottest months, and middle-class school administrators were following in their footsteps.
For many of us, the summer break provides an opportunity to see summer films. My wife is a huge move fan (she even watched that Vampire Hunter film), and I treasure the opportunity to spend time with her, so in the last 10 days I’ve seen four films on the big screen, two of them in the large auditorium at our fabulous art-house theatre, The Varsity. And while watching those films by Woody Allen and Wes Anderson, I was reminded that directors matter. In the film class that I taught for the English Department 11 years ago, we would have called Allen and Anderson auteurs.
Tonight’s Pub Quiz will feature plenty of film questions, as well as questions about other summer adventures. Expect questions about Liv Tyler, wallets, Italian words, presidents, Lindsay Lohan, Euros, animated characters, people portrayed by Stanley Tucci, states that border Tennessee, soul(s), mice, football legends, Oscar nominees, bunchbacked toads, numbers you would have learned in school, rich men, lucky men, the grand old Duke of York, fruit, people who are sometimes confused with fish, pop stars, buildings, hurling belches, film quotations, Lynyrd Skynyrd, magic skills, gymnasia, galactic villains, depressed authors, Native Americans, the green island known as Ireland, Santa Claus, shiny objects, privileged radicals, legislators, and Shakespeare.
I hope to see you this evening. In the summer time, for every team that goes on vacation, two or more teams stand ready to claim the extra table.
Here are five questions from last week’s quiz:
1. Mottos and Slogans. According to the updated commercial slogan, choosy dads also choose what kind of peanut butter?
2. Internet Culture. What is the Twitter handle of Your Quizmaster?
3. Newspaper Headlines. What three-syllable word completes this first sentence from a story in today’s Agence France-Presse? “Every year in Japan people are hospitalised after eating BLANK; sometimes the result is fatal. But despite apparent dangers, strict rules on serving the toxic delicacy in Tokyo are to be relaxed.”
4. Four for Four. The terrible storm on the east coast has hobbled which of the following cloud-based companies, if any? Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest.
5. California. The three first-incorporated cities in California (in the winter and spring of 1850) all start with the letter S, and the three different counties where they are found ALSO start with the letter S. One city is Sacramento. Name one of the other two cities.
P.S. Congratulations to Jennifer, the Pub Quiz enthusiast who has been regularly assisting me with tallying votes, even last week, when she was more than 40 weeks pregnant. She and Mark have been joined by Owen, and all are well.
P.P.S. Happy birthday to Oliver Jones, my favorite writer.