Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
My favorite line from Jennifer Egan’s award-winning novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, is this one: “Sure, everything is ending,” Jules said, “but not yet.”
A huge fan of vampire movies that I watched obsessively with my best friend Tito, I used to play a thought game when I was a child. If I were a vampire, how would I safely negotiate traveling around my mom’s workplace, the huge public library downtown, during the daytime? The sun’s rays must be avoided, I told myself. I became an expert at a needless skill, knowing which sections of a four-story block-large public building were the darkest.
Fast forward a few decades, and I realize that my wife and I often discuss how to adjust the shades in our south Davis home so that we protect the interior of our home from the summer sun at every hour, and thus save on our air conditioning bills. My daughter Geneva’s room faces due north, so as a vampire she could safely read and sleep in without our even having to buy her room-darkening shades.
As I write this, I am sitting in the direct morning sunlight of my son Jukie’s room, situated over the garage on the east side of our home. Despite the season and the warm morning, Jukie’s curtains have been thrown open, and his room is bathed in light.
While this setup would be unsafe for vampires, I am enjoying the light knowing that it is a finite resource this morning, for today is the day of the solar eclipse. I hear there are certain areas of Oregon where Hotel 6 rooms were rented for $500 or more last night, because of the relative scarcity of space for eclipse-watchers. The camp grounds were awash with tents this morning. Some people are sitting in stadiums today, so they can watch the midday shadows engulf the others like a wave at a baseball game. Others have found perches atop ridges, so that the magic of darkness can be beheld in a valley below before it engulfs the viewer. Today scientists expect animals and even some plants to “freak out.”
Today is the first day of school for my son Jukie, who attends Greengate School in Woodland. With our San Diego vacation behind us, today is the first step in an inexorable countdown towards the end of summer. First the back to school sales, then the five days of vacation, then the “paper parade” at Patwin Elementary where all the students learn the names of their new teachers, then the last weekend of summer (did you enjoy it?), then Jukie’s school-bus arriving at 7 AM on eclipse day, then the newsletter hurriedly typed in direct morning sunshine, then the spooky partial darkness, then the last day of summer for Truman (tomorrow), then the first day of school at DJUSD (Wednesday), and then Geneva flying back to college (Thursday).
Alice walker once wrote, “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.” Indeed, when one is older, the years pass by so quickly that it almost seems unfair. However, if one is both self-reflective and pays close attention, sometimes one can watch the days, the hours, or even the minutes go by at an unhurried, almost dawdling, pace, much like watching the moments of daylight extinguish during the uncanny, creeping midday darkness on the day of a solar eclipse.
In addition to topics raised above, tonight expect questions on the following topics: the mottos of pubs, particular favorite months, notable antagonists, World War II, Venezuela, end-of-career renunciations, slim people, football, public villains, historians, ovaries, travel opportunities, cities that are bigger than Davis, science fiction romantic comedies, Latino culture, millionaires and billionaires, audited media, Oscar-winners in Sacramento, aimless and boldly impudent women, the nothing that can come of nothing, nighttime, people in low regard, improbable prisoners, Italian words, Science articles from 1990 (the year I moved to Davis), a city of hills, Oscar nominees, Troy Garrity, faraway assassins, and Shakespeare.
Thanks to my colleague Dr. Ted for hosting last week’s Pub Quiz. I will be hosting this evening, and forever more. I hope to see you.
Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:
- Irish Culture. The flag of India and the flag of Ireland both feature the same three colors. What are they?
- Textiles That Start with L. What word do we use for a delicate fabric made of yarn or thread in an open web-like pattern?
- Science. What kind of acid gives lemon its sour taste?
P.S. Cecil Day Lewis, no vampire, says that “Summer has filled her veins with light and her heart is washed with noon.”