Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Quick Note Before I Eurostar It

Just a little missive before I go.

Anyone who hasn't sent their Monster Quiz back and has suggested they may do so, can still send it in.

I will mark it and give you the score and the Answers and Errors file and may even include you in a mini-Latecomers League Table. I could even integrate it into the finals results table. Well, I say I could. Hmm.

You can take your time and return it within a week or three. I don't really mind.

So go on. Return it. You see I'm already missing the marking. The marking. The beautiful, relentless marking. Maybe there is a nascent teacher is growing in me.

REMEMBER: I will only give the answers out to people who have returned their scoresheets. A small price to pay, and far cheaper than a fiver.

A Hundred Strong BH82 For Pondering on a Summer's Day

Have you heard? Pamela Anderson has got married to Kid Rock. Shocking, her taste in rubbish rockheads. The rapping idiot in the porkpie hat with that mascot dwarf. Next she'll be marrying a Russian circus. Or maybe not.

Anyway, before I depart to Paris and wander about frazzled by the Sun and dazed by vin, here is one hundred of the not quite best, but fine by me questions.

As for Answers and Errors file, I will be sending out the file to everyone who has completed it once I get back on Thursday night. Sorry I couldn't do it sooner, but I've been snowed under with whatsits and jobbies. Not literally, in the latter case. That would be disgusting. I ain't no gong farmer you know.

1 Famed for its Konig pilsener and its regional brands Licher Pilsner and Lubzer Pils, which brewery was founded in Hamburg's Altona district in 1879 and produces 12.9 hectolitres of beer per year?
2 Which 24-year-old Australian motorcycle racer rides a Suzuki GSX-R1000 and is the reigning World Superbikes champion?
3 Which pair, one the MP for Dewsbury, the other MP for Tooting, were the first British-born Muslims to be elected to the House of Commons
4 In the 1989 Tour de France which French cyclist and Tour winner in 1983 and 1984, did Greg Lemond beat by just eight seconds to win the competition?
5 In which sport is the Swatch-FIVB World Tour a competition?
6 Which Ethiopian tribe in the remote corner of country known as the Omo Valley is famed for its unique rituals, including its coming-of-age ceremony, which sees young men of the village jumping over cattle while their female relatives are whipped? One spelling of its name is shared with a Norwegian town.
7 What "workshop of potential literature" was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and Francois Le Lionnais?
8 Which native Iranian dynasty from Azerbaijan ruled from 1501 to 1736 and established Shia Islam as Iran's official religion and its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty, thereby reigniting the Persian identity and acting as a bridge to modern Iran?
9 All that remains of the only cinematic version, made in 1899, of which Shakespeare play starring Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree is a two-minute death scene?
10 Directed by Jacques Duvivier, which 1937 movie was based on a novel by a former French cop writing under the pseudonym Detective Ashelle and starred Jean Gabin as the eponymous French criminal living in Algiers' Casbah?
11 Directed by Gillian Armstrong and based on a 1901 Miles Franklin novel, what became Australia's first film in competition at Cannes in 1979 and starred Judy Davis as the heroine Sybylla and Sam Neill as Harry?
12 Which geography teacher from Cirencester famously interrogated Margaret Thatcher on the TV show Nationwide about the sinking of the General Belgrano?
13 Who took the photograph of Patti Smith that became the cover of her classic album Horses?
14 What is the capital of the Pays de la Loire region and the prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique departement, as well as being the most important city of Brittany?
15 Which socialist leader has been tipped to become the first female President of France?
16 In which film did the recently deceased actor Paul Gleason say: "Back off! Or I'll rip out your eyes and piss on your brain"?
17 Which American politician said in 1962: "Britain has lost an empire and not yet found a role"?
18 The 1966 British-Italian film Blow-Up was loosely based on which Argentinian writer's short story Las babas del diablo?
19 Which man created the Vespa scooter in 1966 when he arrived at Florence's patent office and posted a trademark for "a motorcycle with a rational arrangement of organs ... and with covers concealing all mechanical parts"?
20 Which actress is married to sculptor Robert Graham Jr.?
21 One of its company's exclusive bottlings, which Hennessy cognac is currently on sale for £3250 at Harrods?
22 Apart from cognac, what are the ingredients of a Sidecar cocktail?
23 Mr McGarry was the legendary bartender of which London establishment during the early 20th century?
24 The name for which specific type of yellow sheep's milk is used to refer to all yellow cheeses in Bulgaria and Macedonia and on English-language menus in the former country is always translated as "yellow cheese"?
25 Traditionally produced in the Brazilian state that gives it its name, which cheese comes in three varieties: Frescal (fresh cheese), Meia-cura (slightly matured cheese) and Curado (matured cheese)?
26 Which fashion company makes the popular Roxanne and Emmy bags?
27 Known as the Helen of the West, what Caribbean island in the Windward group is home to the landmark known as the Pitons, which rises to 2000ft above sea level?
28 Which founder of the Zen school of Buddhism was also known as the Tripitaka Dharma Master?
29 Which Hangzhou poet (733-804AD) is famed for his contribution to Chinese tea culture and is best known for his book The Classic of Tea/Cha Jing, the definitive work on cultivating, making and drinking tea which he wrote between 760 and 780?
30 Popularised by Benjamin Ginsberg, which "Mountain Tea" was found in the Wilderness Mountains and discovered on the South African cape and is the only vitalising caffeine-free tea?
31 What Irish nationalist secret society was founded by John O'Mahony in the US in 1858?
32 What simple cocktail is also known by the name Mimosa?
33 In Irish mythology, what name was given to the warrior-hunters who served the High King of Ireland in the 3rd century AD and whose last leader was Fionn mac Cumhail?
34 An anglicisation of the Irish word for a judge, what statutes were written in the Old Irish period (c.600-900AD) governed everyday life and politics in Ireland until the Norman invasion of 1171?
35 Who was the first British Miss World in 1961?
36 Which Nobel Laureate (1903) published the first of his peasant novels, Synnove Solbakken in 1857, followed by Arne in 1858 and En glad Gut/A Happy Boy in 1860, but is probably best known for writing the words to the National Anthem Ja, vi elsker dette landet/Yes, We Love This Land For Ever?
37 Which 19th century French composer wrote the national anthem of the Vatican City?
38 Which English company wrote a national anthem for Newfoundland?
39 Vande Mataram is the national song and Jana Gana Mana the national anthem of which country?
40 Who was assassinated by a "disappointed office seeker"?
41 Part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), what was the secret police force of the Russian Empire in the late 1800s and had a name meaning "Security Section" or "Security Station"?
42 Deriving its name from the ancient Greek meaning "artisan" or "craftsman", what term was used metaphorically of a creator of the laws or the heaven or even the World in Plato and refers in some belief systems to a deity responsible for the creation of the physical universe and the physical aspect of humanity?
43 In which religious tradition does the term Sophia refer to the final and lowest emanation of God?
44 The letters of which word, found engraved on certain antique stones make up the number 365 in the Greek notation and was also the name given to an Archon, which had the head of a rooster, the body of a man and legs like serpents?
45 Who turned James Bond into the bored housewife Jane Fleming in his novel All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye?
46 What is seen as Ireland's equivalent of Aintree because it hosts the Champion Stayer's Hurdle?
47 Situated at the foot of the mountain massif Vitosha, which capital city is home to the Banya Bashi Mosque, the 10th century Boyana Church and the gold-domed Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, one of the world's largest Orthodox churches?
48 Released in 2004, what was the last ever hand-drawn Disney feature film?
49 Which General raised the newly created Argentine flag on the shores of the Parana for the first time on February 27, 1812?
50 The Argentinian newspaper, La Capital, which was founded in 1867 and is the country's oldest still-published newspaper is based in which city?
51 The first electromagnetic/optical planetarium projectors were designed and built by which man in Germany in 1924 on a suggestion by the German astronomer Wolf? He founded an eponymous manufacturer of optical systems in Jena in 1846.
52 In which Cuban city is Che Guevara's Monument and Mausoleum?
53 What sport was once called plankgliding in the late 19th century?
54 Which artist painted Dog Walking at Night Disturbs Roosting Owls and produced the ceramics known as the Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun at the UNESCO building in Paris?
55 Which French Fauve painter was known for his stenographic technique in which he used light washes of colour put on by swift brush strokes, and in 1938 completed one of the largest ever paintings, a huge epic to electricity, the fresco La Fee Electicite for the Exposition Internationale in Paris?
56 By what familiar name do we know a complex mix of chlorohexide gluconate, glucona delta lactone, glycerin, glycerin hydroethylcellulose and methylparaben in a solution of water and sodium hydroxide?
57 Based in San Francisco, which string quarter was founded by violinist David Harrington in 1973?
58 Which peripatetic Argentinian composer made his opera debut with Ainadamar (meaning "Fountain of Tears" in Arabic), which was premiered in August 2003 and tells the story of playwright Federico Garcia Lorca and his lover Margarita Xirgu?
59 Which American minimalist composer is best known for his 1964 aleatoric work In C and was known during the Sixties for his "All-Night Concerts" during which he performed mostly improvised music from evening until sunrise, using an old organ harmonium "with a vacuum cleaner motor blower blowing into the ballasts" and tape-delayed saxophone?
60 Known in his native country of Argentina as "El Gran Astor", who is considered the most important tango composer of the latter 20th century for creating the nuevo tango style and composing the tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires?
61 Which Portuguese singer and actress (1920-1999) was known as the "Queen of Fado" and produced recordbreaking records like the 1968 single Vou Dar de Beber a Dor and the 1970 album Come que Voz?
62 Which French actress and hugely popular chanson singer had a voice that "encompasses millions of poems" and published her autobiography Jujube in 1982, sang Je suis comme je suis (1951) and Les Dames de la poste (1952) and appeared in the films Everyman's Feast (2002) and Lily, Love Me (1975)?
63 Who was called "The Butcher of the Cabana" for overseeing the execution of many dissidents in the eponymous prison?
64 Sometimes adopting Vernon Sullivan as a pseudonym, which controversial and oft-banned French poet, Raymond Chandler translator, singer and jazz musician wrote L'Ecume des Jours, of which there has been three translations, Stanley Chapman's Froth on the Daydream being the most highly regarded, and collaborated with Darius Milhaud on the 1958 opera Fiesta, while his most famous song was Le deserteur, a pacficist song written during the Indochina War?
65 The son of parents from Guadeloupe, which French singer made his name with comedic songs, for example, Mais non, mais non (1969) inspired Jim Henson to write the Muppets' song Mahna Mahna?
66 Which four US states come together at The Four Corners, an intersection in the middle of a large Navajo reservation?
67 Which festival, now in its 37th edition, is curated by veteran French photographer Raymond Depardon and takes place in a city in the south of France in the Bouches-du-Rhones departement?
68 What Daniel Woodrell novel was made into the Ang Lee film Ride with the Devil?
69 Superman's employer The Daily Planet is said to have been modelled on which Canadian newspaper?
70 Said to be France's most successful living artist, who won the Hugo Boss award in 2002 for his exhibition Celebration Park and was inspired to make the two-channel video The Third Memory (1999) by the film Dog Day Afternoon and also liberated a cute Manga character called Annlee by buying her rights?
71 What is the biggest UK jail with 1456 beds?
72 Who produced the jazz-funk R&B album Head Hunters in 1973 and the ten years later the top ten UK hit Rockit?
73 In French film parlance, what is "un navet"?
74 From the Pashto for "council" or "meeting", what is a Afghan tribal assembly of elders which takes decisions by consensus called?
75 Wife of the Serbian mobster Arkan, Ceca is considered the biggest star of what musical genre, which mixes Europop and traditional Balkan music?
76 What did Man Ray call "the red badge of courage"?
77 Classified by content into such song categories as hamd, naat and ghazal, what devotional music of the Sufis was originally performed mainly at Sufi shrines throughout what is now India and Pakistan and can trace its roots back to 8th century Persia, with the form of music we known today being essentially created by Amir Khusrau in late 13th century India?
78 What name is given to the caste of musicians and storytellers of the Maninke Empire of which the Mande of West Africa are descendants?
79 Huayno is the folk music of which country?
80 Played by such musicians as Oumou Sangare "The Songbird of ....", what genre of West African popular music is named after a region of Mali near the border with Guinea and is performed mostly by women, who use lyrics that address such female problems as childbearing and fertility, and who play such instruments as the (fiddle-like) soku, djembe drum and six-stringed (harp-like) kamelengoni?
81 Which north Italian harp-building firm started the first harp-exclusive museum in 2005?
82 The Biblical "harp" was actually what type of lyre with ten strings?
83 Which Austro-Hungarian won the first ever Grand Prix, the Grand Prix de l'ACF, in 1906 driving a Renault on a course 60 miles east of Le Mans for 769 miles over two days?
84 In which sport do you have to compile quadruple peels, quintuple piles or sextuple piles and finish with scoreline like -2qp+25sxp+26qnp-26sxp+1?
85 The 1945 Yalta Conference was held at which cliffside palace, constructed to be a summer residence of the last Russian Tsar
86 What was the Yalta Conference codenamed?
87 What is the most widely known name of Lukumi (meaning "friends") or Regla de Ocha, the set of related religious systems that fuse Catholic beliefs with traditional Yoruba ones?
88 Which critic coined the name Les Six in 1920 to describe a group of composers working in Montparnasse?
89 Which French Resistance fighter is possibly the least remembered member of Les Six and wrote his only opera L'Occasion while working at his home in St Tropez?
90 Which Les Six member wrote the 18 short works Petit livre de harpe de Madame Tardieu for the Paris Conservatory's Assistant Professor of Harp, and such operas as Le Marchand d'Oiseaux, Zoulaina, Le Marin de Bolivar and composed her masterwork La Cantate de Narcisse in collaboration with Paul Valery?
91 Known for a long time as the man behind the 1962 instrumental The Alley Cat, which 82-year-old Danish jazz and pop pianist has recently seen a resurgence thanks to the title track from his recent project Jukebox, which was used in a Coca-Cola campaign in Germany and became a hit in his home country and the US and a chart-topper in Japan?
92 What arboreal, black-furred gibbon (Symphalangus syndactylus), native to the forests of Malaysia and Sumatra, is the largest of the lesser apes?
93 The infamous site of a forced removal of its inhabitants during the 1970s, the famous slum known as District Six is situated in which city?
94 Basing it on the recollections of his sister Mr Correll who had been to Japan with her missionary husband, who wrote the short story Madame Butterfly, which was made into the David Belasco play and then the Puccini opera?
95 Freely based on the play in verse La Coupe et les levres by Alfred de Musset, which 1889 Puccini opera centres on the eponymous confused young man who is struggling to choose between the chaste love of his hometown girl Fidelia and the passion of the exotic gypsy Tigrana?
96 What structure is located at "40 degrees, 44 minutes, 53.977 seconds north; longitude 73 degrees, 59 minutes, 10.812 seconds west?"
97 What city has the coldest average temperature of any national capital in the world?
98 The Malian musician Toumani Diabate is considered by many to be the world's finest player of which instrument?
99 Blending native Romani vocabulary with Spanish grammar, what is the othe name given to the jargon Spanish Romani that is spoken by the Gitanos or Zincarku Gypsies who originate from Spain?
100 Commonly referred to as the Casco Antiguo (The Old City), which Spanish city is located on a protruding peninsula named the Isle of Leon?





Answers to BH82
1 Holsten-Brauerei AG 2 Troy Corser 3 Shahid Malik, Sadiq Khan 4 Laurent Fignon 5 Beach Volleyball 6 Hammer or Hamar 7 Oulipo or Ouvroir de litterature potentielle 8 Safavids 9 King John 10 Pepe Le Moko 11 My Brilliant Career 12 Diana Gould 13 Robert Mapplethorpe 14 Nantes 15 Marie-Segolene Royal 16 Trading Places 17 Dean Acheson 18 Julio Cortazar 19 Enrico Piaggio 20 Angelica Huston 21 Hennessy Ellipse 22 Cointreau and lemon juice 23 Buck's Club 24 Kashkaval 25 Minas cheese (from Minas Gerais) 26 Mulberry 27 St Lucia 28 Bodhidharma 29 Lu Yu 30 Rooibos 31 Fenian Brotherhood 32 Buck's Fizz 33 Fianna 34 The Brehon Laws 35 Rosemarie Frankland 36 Bjornstjerne Bjornson 37 Charles Gounod 38 Sir Hubert Parry 39 India 40 President Garfield 41 Okhranka or Okhrana 42 Demiurge 43 Gnosticism 44 Abraxas 45 Christopher Brookmyre 46 Punchestown 47 Sofia 48 Home on the Range 49 General Manuel Belgrano 50 Rosario 51 Carl Zeiss 52 Santa Clara 53 Water skiing 54 Joan Miro 55 Raoul Dufy 56 K-Y Jelly 57 Kronos Quartet 58 Osvaldo Golijov 59 Terry Riley 60 Astor Piazzolla 61 Amalia Rodriguez 62 Juliette Greco 63 Che Guevara 64 Boris Vian 65 Henri Salvador 66 Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona 67 Rencontres D'Arles 68 Woe to Live On 69 The Toronto Star 70 Pierre Huyghe 71 Wandsworth 72 Herbie Hancock 73 A flop or turkey 74 Jirga 75 Turbofolk 76 Lipstick 77 Qawali 78 Griot 79 Peru 80 Wassoulou 81 Victor Salvi 82 Kinnor 83 Ferenc Szisz 84 Croquet 85 The Argonaut Conference 86 Livadia Palace 87 Santeria 88 Henri Collet 89 Louis Durey 90 Germaine Tailleferre 91 Bent Fabric or Bent Fabricius-Bjerre 92 Siamang 93 Cape Town 94 John Luther Long 95 Edgar 96 Empire State Building 97 Ulan Bator 98 Kora 99 Calo (originally Zincalo) 100 Cadiz

Saturday, July 29, 2006


So here are the results you have all been waiting for.

*Drum roll*

Of the ninety people who completed the quiz, two of whom abstained from publishing their scores and real names, topping out with a massive 391 points is Robert Kinghorn. An astonishing performance considering his best ever performance at a Quizzing event (he has been to three) was his last at Chesterfield, the day of the Portuguese and Lampard-inflicted agony, where he finished with 84 points and came twelfth. This is a huge jump of 22.2 per cent on that performance (compared to second placed MQer who attended that GP too, who dropped down 3.7 per cent.)

Congrats to Robert, on what was a relentlessly filled scoresheet.

Then, of course, it is Kevin, Mark and Pat, and then nosing in front of Bayley is Eric Wildsmith with a brilliant 300 (anyone who broke 300 deserves the highest praise), punching well above his normal weight of his tenth-placed overall 58.2 per cent question average and 14th position in the overall rankings. Well done to him.

Yet, most amazing of all the performances was perhaps the American Paul Freund's 287. Some of the answers he gave - "John Reid", "Crufts", "Cynthia Payne", "92 hereditary Lords", "Bow Bells", "Anton Dolin", "PH Newby", "British Library", "Plasticine", "Horatio Pugwash", "Fluorspar" for Derbyshire Blue John, and "Nine days" for the General Strike - suggest a deeply held Anglophilia.

Ken Jennings, mucho Jeopardy money winner, was almost a hundred points behind, but even his 193 was a very very good score in light of all those British railway and soap opera questions I set. Man, I'm really really sorry about those. The blank spaces made cringe somewhat after a while.

In the other real mini-competition of the quiz, Bart Vereecke of Belgium was top of the non-Anglophone country competitors with 171.5 (half a point more than Erik Derycke), even beating out a significant group of Brits.

That's about it, I could go on all night, but the scores really do speak for themselves. And otherwise, I could really bore myself to death if I did.

Also see below for the scores for the guys who had most British/Anglo-bias to cope with (apologies guys, The Colossus, which is currently being roadtested at three different global locations is coming and will equalise all those troubles away).

Next stop:The Colossus. Stay tuned for details, which I will be releasing possibly mid-August time.

Top 88
1 Robert Kinghorn (UK) 391
2 Kevin Ashman (UK) 361.5
3 Mark Bytheway (UK) 326
4 Pat Gibson (Ireland) 318
5 Eric Wildsmith (UK) 300
6 Ian Bayley (UK) 292
7 Paul Freund (USA) 287
8 Fred Filby (UK) 265
9 Scott Dawson (UK) 250.5
10 Barry Simmons (UK) 247.5
11 David Stainer (UK) 247
12 Kathryn Johnson (UK) 246
13 Nick Mills (UK) 239.5
14 Chris Quinn (UK) 233
15 Barbara Thompson (UK) 231
16 Paul Dean (UK) 230
17 Peter Smith (UK) 227
18 Nic Paul (UK) 223.5
19 Tim Westcott (UK) 223
20 Phil Smith (UK) 221
21 Darren Martin (UK) 218.5
22 Alan Gibbs (UK) 218
23 Quentin Holt (UK) 216
24 Mark Grant (Australia/UK) 214.5
25 Diane Hallagan (UK) 213
26 David Good (UK) 209
27 Paul Davis (UK) 208
28 Dorjana Sirola (Croatia) 204.5
29 Keith Andrew (UK) 199
30 Chris Jones (UK) 197
31 Peter Ediss (UK) 196
32= Sean O'Neill (UK) 195
32= Ray Ward (UK) 195
34 Ken Jennings (USA) 193
35 Brian Wilkins (UK) 188
36 William Barrett (UK/Ireland) 186.5
37 Alan Bailey (USA) 177
38 Howard Pizzey (UK) 176.5
39 Paul Emerson (UK) 176
40 Bill Stratton (UK) 174
41 Dom Tait (UK) 172.5
42 Bart Vereecke (Belgium) 171.5
43 Erik Derycke (Belgium) 171
44 Jenny Ryan (UK) 170.5
45 Jo Vandebroucke (Belgium) 168
46 Trine Aalborg (Norway) 164
47 Andre Martinez (UK) 162
48 David Prevezer (UK) 161.5
49 Chris Curtis (UK) 161
50 Ian Walsh (UK) 159
51 Ian Webb (UK) 158
52 Stuart Solomons (UK) 157
53= John Harrison (UK) 154
53= Ted Phillips (UK) 154
55 John Parcell (UK) 150.5
56 Julie Aris (UK) 148.5
57 Will Jones (UK) 147
58 Villapark John (UK) 144.5
59 Colin Wilson (UK) 141
60 Andrew Teale (UK) 140
61= Thomas Kolasaeter (Norway) 138.5
61= Frank Van Nieuwenhove (Belgium) 138.5
63 Neil O'Donovan (Ireland) 138
64 Steven DeCeuster (Belgium) 135.5
65 Greg Butler (UK) 134.5
66 Tore Dahl (Norway) 133.5
67 Harald Aastrop (Norway) 132
68 Bart Permentier (Belgium) 130
69 Peter MacGibbon (UK) 129
70 Andrew Corns (UK) 128.5
71 Ben Fletcher (USA/UK) 128
72 James Lucy (UK) 121.5
73 Helen Saxon (UK) 120.5
74 Myron Meyer (USA) 120
75 Andrew Whittingham (UK) 116
76 Albert November (Belgium) 113
77 JanIQ (Belgium) 108.5
78= Sreeram Iyer (India) 107
78= metsfan101 (USA) 107
80 Jon Strom (Norway) 102.5
81 Karen Skjanes (Norway) 98.5
82 Tauno Vahter (Estonia) 94
83 Jayakanthan R. (India) 84
84 Martin Dewett (UK) 78
85 Jan Gunnar Fredriksen (Norway) 75
86 Diederik Huys (Belgium) 67
87 Erik Lepik (Estonia) 64
88 Ivar Areklett (Norway) 52

The non-UK and Ireland-based, non-native English speaking contingent who will do so much better on The Colossus (I promise)

1 Bart Vereecke (Belgium) 171.5
2 Erik Derycke (Belgium) 171
3 Jo Vandebroucke (Belgium) 168
4 Trine Aalborg (Norway) 164
5= Thomas Kolasaeter (Norway) 138.5
5= Frank Van Nieuwenhove (Belgium) 138.5
7 Steven DeCeuster (Belgium) 135.5
8 Tore Dahl (Norway) 133.5
9 Harald Aastrop (Norway) 132
10 Bart Permentier (Belgium) 130
11 Albert November (Belgium) 113
12 JanIQ (Belgium) 108.5
13 Sreeram Iyer (India) 107
14 Jon Strom (Norway) 102.5
15 Karen Skjanes (Norway) 98.5
16 Tauno Vahter (Estonia) 94
17 Jayakanthan R. (India) 84
18 Jan Gunnar Fredriksen (Norway) 75
19 Diederik Huys (Belgium) 67
20 Erik Lepik (Estonia) 64
21 Ivar Areklett (Norway) 52

Thursday, July 27, 2006

BH81 Straight Up

Words fail me.

This is because I am frantically doing work in advance before I go places. Foreign places. Places where people speak weird. Wish me luck when I depart.

1 The star of 42 mostly musical movies and husband of actor and director Dimitris Papamichail, which singer and actress's movie Ipologhagos Natassa sold 751,000 tickets in Athens, making it the most successful film of all time in Greece, and died of pancreatic cancer in 1996 aged 62?
2 Which feminist artist, author and educator has produced such works as the needlework-based Birth Project (1980-85), the 1993 Holocaust Project and her best known piece, 1979's The Dinner Party, a homage to women's history in the form of a large triangular table with symbolic ceramic plates representing 39 famous feminist guests of honour?
3 Who played George in Drop the Dead Donkey and can now be seen playing Amos Diggory in the Harry Potter films?
4 What band did The Strand evolve into?
5 Which 12th century scholastic theologian and Bishop of Paris wrote the compilation of Biblical texts known as The Four Books of Sentences/Libri Quattuor Sententiarum, the standard textbook of theology at the medieval universities from the 1220s til the 16th century?
6 Independent from c.1078 to 1375, which Armenian Kingdom was a state formed by Armenian refugees fleeing the Seljuk invasion of Armenia and was located on the Gulf of Iskenderun of the Mediterranean Sea in what is now southern Turkey and ruled over by the Rubenid or Roupenid dynasty?
7 Which French chronicler, who belonged to a noble family of Picardy, continued the work of Froissart by writing a two-book Chronique that covered the period between 1400 and 1444 when according to another chronicler, Matthieu d'Escouchy, he stopped writing?
8 Which Duke of Burgundy was assassinated on the Bridge of Montereau in 1419?
9 Considered the greatest Russian poet before Pushkin, which Minister of Justice and personal secretary to Catherine the Great was known for such odes as On the Death of Prince Meschersky (1779), God (1785), Waterfall (1794) occasioned by the death of Potemkin and Bullfinch (1800) an elegy on the death of his friend Suvorov, as well as providing the lyrics for the first Russian national anthem, Let the sound of victory sound!?
10 Appointed to the Prussian court aged 14, which German composer settled in England in about 1700 and wrote the music for The Beggar's Opera in 1728?
11 Which actor was the father of the child, who lived to be only three-days-old and was buried in the Hollywood Memorial Park cemetery under a headstone with the inscription The Little Mouse?
12 Which Frenchman published his long poem La Jeune Parque at 46 years of age and later inspired James Merrill to write his 1974 poem Lost in Translation with his poem Palme?
13 Which French physicist's hypothesis states that "any moving particle or object had an associated wave" and thus created the new field of mecanique ondulatoire or wave mechanics?
14 In which city was Bruce Lee born in 1940, which gave rise to his Cantonese given name, Jun Fan?
15 The poet Okot p'Bitek, who is best known for the English version of his Song of Lawino, which dealt with the tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up the urban life and wishes everything to be Westernised, hailed from which country?
16 Which American songwriter and Communist Party member set an Alfred Hayes poem to music with the song Joe Hill in 1939 and wrote the Paul Robeson signature song/cantata Ballad for Americans, with lyricist John La Touche, and the musical poem on the life of Abraham Lincoln, Lonesome Train?
17 Which athlete became the first Olympic champion to come from Uganda when he won the 400m hurdles at the 1972 Games?
18 Which TV show's signature tune, Eye Level by the Simon Park Orchestra, was a 1973 UK number one?
19 Who created the fictional housewife Mrs Miniver in 1937 for a series of columns for The Times in 1937 and wrote the hymns Lord of All Hopefulness and When a Knight won his Spurs?
20 Currently falling on the third Monday in July, what Japanese holiday is Umi-no-hi?
21 What word describes the Russian version of the "holy fool" or "idiot" archetype that can be traced back to medieval times, with the Russian Orthodox Church numbering 36 such figures among its saints, including St Basil?
22 Which late Argentinian novelist wrote La traicion de Rita Hayworth/ Betrayed by Rita Hayworth (1968) and Boquitas pintadas/Heartbreak Tango (1973)?
23 Brigitte Bardot married which skier in 1963?
24 Who composed the song La Belle Vie in the Sixties that was turned into The Good Life and was famously performed by Tony Bennett?
25 Kicki Hakansson was the first what?
26 Coincidentally celebrated as Pi Day, what is Albert Einstein's birthday?
27 According to the 2001 UK Census, what London borough is the most ethnically diverse district in the country?
28 Synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of divinity, what is the Sanskrit word for "Goddess"?
29 Famous for its investigations, the weekly satirical magazine Academia Catavencu is published in which country?
30 Released on March 27, 1970, what was Ringo Starr's first solo album?
31 Meaning "hit-hit" in Hebrew, Ga-ga is a form of which sport thought to have originated in Israel?
32 The five large islands Sylt, Fohr, Amrum, Nordstrand and Pellworm and the ten islets collectively called Halligen comprise which group?
33 Lager Sylt was the name of the World War Two concentration camp that operated on which Channel island between March 1943 and June 1944?
34 The Fire Temple or Dar-e Mihr or Atash Kadeh is a place of worship for which religion?
35 What term describes a Shinto shrine and its surrounding national area designed solely for the enshrinement and worship of a kami which has a gate in the form of a torii leading to it, and in common usage, refers to the buildings of a shrine?
36 What kind of organ transplantation is denoted by the acronym LDLT?
37 What is the collective corpus of Jewish religious law, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot or commandments) and later talmudic and rabbinic law as well as customs and traditions?
38 What is defined as a biological molecule that catalyzes a chemical reaction?
39 Which Peruvian journalist, socialist and political philosopher, who died aged 35, is best known for his 1928 work Seven Interpretaive Essays on Peruvian Reality, which is still widely read in South America?
40 Kriol, a form of Creole, is the most commonly spoken language in which Central American country?
41 Originally called "Government Metalworks", what company was formed in 1951 when Finland decided to group together various factories working on war reparations for the USSR under one company and is also the name of an "Automotive" mechanical production company in Uusikaupunki that has produced vehicles for Saab?
42 In Spanish-speaking countries, the character of a little mouse named Ratoncito Perez is the equivalent of what in English-speaking cultures?
43 What nationality are the pair of golfers who won the last men's WGC-World Cup in 2005?
44 The Italian town and commune of Lombardy, Campione d'Italia, occupies an enclave within which Swiss canton?
45 Cupid, the natural satellite of Uranus that was discovered by Mark Showalter and Jack Lissauer in 2003 using the Hubble Space Telescope, was named after a character in which Shakespeare play?
46 Which Dan Brown novel introduced the character Robert Langdon in 2000?
47 What does the word "ta'anit" denote when used to describe a Jewish holiday or festival?
48 What Italian city's name was given to the Nineteenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church held from December 13, 1545, to December 4, 1563, which was convened as a response to the challenges posed by the Protestant Reformation?
49 Who wrote the 1975 Nebula and 1976 Hugo Award-winning sci-fi novel The Forever War and its sequels Forever Free and Forever Peace?
50 What victory on September 5, 1781 of the Rear Admiral Comte de Grasse and French fleet over the British fleet led by Rear Admiral Thomas Graves was the only major defeat for the Royal Navy in the 18th and 19th centuries?



Answers to BH81
1 Aliki Vougiouklaki 2 Judy Chicago 3 Jeff Rawle 4 Sex Pistols 5 Peter Lombard 6 Cilicia 7 Enguerrand de Monstrelet 8 John the Fearless 9 Gavrila Romanovich Derzhavin 10 Johann Christoph Pepusch 11 Charlie Chaplin (by Mildred Harris) 12 Paul Valery 13 Louis(, 7th duc) de Broglie 14 San Francisco (Jun Fan meaning "invigorate San Francisco") 15 Uganda 16 Earl Robinson 17 John Akii-Bua 18 Van der Valk 19 Jan Struther 20 Marine Day 21 Yurodivy 22 Manuel Puig 23 Francine Breaud 24 Sacha Distel 25 Miss World 26 March 14 27 Newham 28 Devi 29 Romania 30 Sentimental Journey 31 Dodgeball 32 North Frisian Islands 33 Alderney 34 Zoroastrians 35 Jinja 36 Living Donor Liver Transplantation 37 Halakha 38 Enzyme 39 Jose Carlos Mariategui 40 Belize 41 Valmet 42 Tooth fairy 43 Welsh (Stephen Dodd & Bradley Dredge) 44 Ticino 45 Timon of Athens 46 Angels and Demons 47 Fast 48 Council of Trent 49 Joe Haldeman 50 Battle of the Chesapeake

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

BH80ero: Great Quiz Taste, Nearly No Blog Blabber

I'll keep it simple today. Or this morning, as my clock tells me.

Got up at 2.35pm.

I came back to London.

I was sweaty.

Watched two Brain of Britain semi-finals.

Beat Mr & Mrs Stainer and Brewis at a music intros quiz.

In Their Faces.

Obviously, we were too real for them.

It is getting late. One must sleep.

1 Appointed Astronomer Royal in 1742, who is best known for discovering the aberration of light?

2 Sometimes denoted by the Greek letter lambda, what term describes the location of a place on Earth east or west of a north-south line known as the Prime Meridian?

3 Known as Brandenburg-Kustrin when it was an independent state of the Holy Roman Empire (1535-1571), most of which historical region of the Margraviate of Brandenburg east of the Oder river was transferred to Poland and its expelled German population replaced largely with Poles shortly after the World War Two?

4 Taking its name from a ruler's title meaning "the one who leads the warriors", what geographical unit of administration dates to medieval Romania, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia and Serbia and is now used in the native languages for the 16 second-level administration units of Poland and an Autonomous Province in Serbia?

5 Which 18th century French architect, of the international circle that introduced Neoclassicism, is best known for The Pantheon in Paris, which was built in 1755 onwards originally as a church dedicated to St Genevieve?

6 Called Il Moro ("the Moor"), which illegitimate Medici, Duke of Penne, Duke of Florence from 1532 and ruler of Florence from 1530 until his death in 1537, was the last of the "senior" branch to rule the city-state and the first to be a hereditary duke?

7 At which battle of July 21, 1403 did Henry VI defeat the rebels and kill Henry Percy?

8 Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed which treaty on July 21, 1774 to end the Russo-Turkish War that had raged since 1768?

9 Who was inaugurated on July 21, 1831 in order to become the first king of Belgium?

10 Who shot dead Dave Tutt in the market square of Springfield, Missouri on July 21, 1865 in what is seen as the first true western showdown?

11 Where in Iowa on July 21, 1873 did Jesse James and the James-Younger gang pull off the first successful train robbery in the American West?

12 Which conference partitioned Vietnam into North and South Vietnam in 1954?

13 At which Russian research station in Antarctica was the world's lowest temperature (-89.2 degrees C or -129 degrees F) recorded on July 21, 1983?

14 Impeached by Robert Walpole and kept in close custody between 1715 and 1717, which poet and diplomat wrote his longest humorous poem entitled Alma; or The Progress of the Mind, during his imprisonment, and published it along with his most ambitious work, Solomon, and other Poems on several Occasions, by subscription in 1718?

15 Whose final film as a director, 1949's Hello Out There, was never released, with his previous movie They Dare Not Love coming out in 1941?

16 Having been inspired to produce such works as Odalisque and Leila by Victory Hugo and George Sand respectively, who moved away from literary subjects and into realism after a trip to the Netherlands in 1847 with such paintings as The Man with a Pipe, which the Paris Salon jury rejected?

17 Which Japanese architect was responsible for the recent redesign of New York's Museum of Modern Art?

18 Which organisation awards the Rumford Medal?

19 The Franco-Prussian War began in 1870 over the possible ascension of a candidate from Prussia's Hohenzollern dynasty to the vacant Spanish throne due to whose abdication in 1868?

20 Born Rudolf Willhelm Adolf Ditzen in 1893, which German writer chose his pen name as a reference to a horse in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, The Goose Girl, and is best known for his 1932 novel Little Man, What Now/Kleiner Mann, was nun??

21 Commemorated in the name of the main auditorium of New York's Carnegie Hall, which Ukrainian-born violinist, who died in 2001, was married three times: briefly to the ballerina Nora Kaye, then to Vera Lindenblit for 43 years and finally Linda Reynolds?

22 Born Katherine Laverne Starks of Iroquois Indian and mixed Irish and American Indian heritage, which jazz and popular singer sang such hits as Bonaparte's Retreat, her cover version of the Xmas song The Man with the Bag and her 10-week number one Wheel of Fortune?

23 Which Canadian film director, who made his directorial debut with 40 Pounds of Trouble in 1963, published an autobiography called This Terrible Business Has Been Good to Me in 2004?

24 Born to a Dutch couple in Jakarta, which singer gained international stardom in 1982 with his distinctive cover of the Irving Berlin song Puttin' on the Ritz in Germany, which reached number four in the US charts the next year?

25 Winner of three Olympic golds (Normal hill in 1984, Large hill - K120 and Team large hill - K120 in 1994), who is the most successful German ski jumper of all time, with only the Finn Matti Nykanen having won more World Cup victories?

26 Who became a household name in the US in 1999, after scoring the fifth penalty kick that gave her country the win over China in the World Cup final and celebrating by ripping off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra?

27 The singer-songwriter Eivor Palsdottir comes from which autonomous region?

28 Known as "Pepi" to friends and family, which brother of Johann Strauss II wrote the Pizzicato Polka with him as well as, on his own, many waltzes that remain in the classical repertoire including Spharen-Klange (Music of the Spheres), Delirien (Deliriums) Mein Lebenslauft ist Lieb und Lust (My Character is Love and Joy) and Dorfschwalben Aus Osterrieich (Village Swallows from Austria)?

29 Which composer, who fulfilled an oft-stated lifelong dream of dying at the console of the great organ of Notre-Dame de Paris when he suffered a stroke while giving his 1750th recital on June 2, 1937, composed six symphonies, "24 Pieces In Free Style" and "24 Fantasy Pieces", which includes his famous Carillon of Westminster?

30 What smokeless propellant made from the high explosives nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin was patented by Alfred Nobel in 1887 whilst he was living in Paris?

31 Known by his middle name "Randal", which MP and pacifist was the first Briton to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1903 for his work as secretary of the International Arbitration League?

32 Which president of the ANC won the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize?

33 In which year was the Nobel Peace Prize last not awarded?

34 The earliest published volume to contain the puported revelations of Joseph Smith, which book is among the most rare and valuable books in American history because the original printing was almost entirely destroyed by an Anti-Mormon mob in Independence, Missouri in 1833?

35 Which July 20, 1866 battle of the Austro-Prussian War saw the Austrian navy led by Admiral Wilhelm von Tegetthoff defeat the Italian navy near the island of Vis in the Adriatic?

36 The 1917 Corfu Declaration led to the creation of which post-war kingdom?

37 Which Middle Eastern capital came under martial law on July 20, 1924 after the American vice-consul Robert Imbrie was killed by a religious mob apparently enraged by rumours he had poisoned a fountain and killed several people?

38 Called Heilong Jiang (Black Dragon River) in pinyin and Sahaliyan Ula (Black River) in Manchu, which river forms the border between the Russian Far East and Manchuria in China and was regarded as sacred by the Manchu and Qing dynasty?

39 What agreement, signed on July 20, 1936, authorised Turkey to fortify the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, but guarantee free passage to ships of all nations in peacetime?

40 Seen as the man who bridged the Revivalist architecture of Imperial Russia with Stalin's Empire Style, which Russian architect first gained major prominence when he designed Kazan Railway Station in 1913 after winning a contest for a Moscow terminus of the Trans-Siberian Railway, then went on to build Lenin's Mausoleum on Red Square and the NKVD Headquarters on Lubyanka Square?

41 Which Jordanian king was assassinated while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem in 1951?

42 What kind of missile was successfully launched for the first time from the submarine USS George Washington on July 20, 1960?

43 The most important portrait painter in the reign of King Louis XIV, which Perpignan-born artist's most famous picture that he painted of "The Sun King" in 1701 today hangs in the Louvre?

44 Author of Elements d'ideologie (1817-1818), which French Enlightenment aristocrat and philosopher coined the term "ideology"?

45 Known for such works as Boys Bathing in Munich's Neue Pinakothek, which German-Jewish painter resigned his presidency of the Prussian academy of arts in 1932 after he was forbidden to paint and is famed for his comment made when he saw the Nazis march through the Brandenburg Gate and celebrate Hitler's takeover: "One cannot eat as much as one would like to vomit"?

46 Born Jeanne Roques, what was the professional stage name of the French silent film actress most remembered for her vamp persona in the roles of Irma Vep and Diana Monti in the early motion picture crime serials Les Vampires (1915) and Judex (1916)?

47 Which Hungarian painter, photographer and Bauhaus professor coined the term "the New Vision" for his belief that photography could create a whole new way of seeing the outside world that the human eye could not and experimented with the photographic process of exposing light sensitive paper with objects overlaid on top of it to create what he called a "photogram"?

48 The Reichstein process, named after the Polish-born Swiss Nobel laureate, is the principal industrial process for the artificial synthesis of which vitamin?

49 Who famously stated that he and his partner had "knocked the bastard off"?

50 Which English snooker player unsuccessfully challenged John Pulman for the world championship in 1964 and 1965 and won the World Professional Billiards Championships seven times from 1968 to 1983?

Answers to BH80
1 James Bradley 2 Longitude 3 The Neumark or the New March of East Brandenburg 4 Voivodship 5 Jacques-Germain Soufflot 6 Alessandro (though Pope Leo XI was also called Alessandro de'Medici) 7 Shrewsbury 8 Kuchuk-Kainarji 9 Leopold I 10 Wild Bill Hickok 11 Adair 12 Geneva Conference or Geneva Accords 13 Vostok Station 14 Matthew Prior 15 James Whale 16 Gustave Courbet 17 Yoshio Taniguchi 18 Royal Society 19 Isabella II 20 Hans Fallada 21 Isaac Stern 22 Kay Starr 23 Norman Jewison 24 Taco Ockerse or Taco 25 Jens Weißflog 26 Brandi Chastain 27 Faroe Islands 28 Josef 29 Louis Vierne 30 Ballistite (composed of 10 per cent camphor and equal parts of nitroglycerin and collodion) 31 Sir William Randal Cremer 32 Albert Lutuli 33 1972 34 Book of Commandments 35 Battle of Lissa 36 Yugoslavia 37 Tehran or Teheran 38 Amur 39 Montreux Convention 40 Aleksey Shchusev 41 Abdullah 42 Polaris 43 Hyacinthe Rigaud 44 Destutt de Tracy or Antoine Louis Claude Destutt, comte de Tracy 45 Max Liebermann 46 Musidora 47 Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 48 C 49 Edmund Hillary 50 Rex Williams

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shakedown BH79

So I've decided to do a mini-series of four 50-question BH quizzes.

Swoon before my gracious, unyielding generosity.

As per usual, they have mostly been culled from a certain web encyclopedia; oh, I know, get the sceptic knives out why don't you? But let me bore you once again and muse on the nook it has crawled into in my life. So I got over the bollockiness of scummy, zit-ridden 17-year-old nerds and aimless twentysomething Generation@ Josef K's controlling it and moulding it to their specific pop-culture debased design. However, I'm all in favour of those kinds of gateskeepers: the integrity-fuelled information junkies.

There's an entirely different and disparate band of Wiki-desperados. Some may call them dreamers. Individuals with ambition and a future. Those people are dumb. Because I truly detest the disparate band of these jumped-up, self-promoting wangmasters who seem to be waging a campaign of "Look at me!" on this web encyclopedia. A quote from Big Brother's seventh evictee Nikki seems very apt - you know what it is. Don't make me repeat it.

I'm talking about people who write their own entries: the barely achieving finance director, the yeah-awight-mate bedroom dance DJ and their hyper-inflated dreams of fame, the struggling emo band who haven't sold enough to even afford a Happy Meal, the increasingly egotistical school headmaster. People who have fouled their own nests with onanistic outpourings. They're all at it, trying to create some importance in their lives by giving themselves a Wikipedia entry. But nothing comes from nothing (hey, at least most journalists don't do it? No, they're too busy writing screeds saying how much they hated Wikipedia, but now quite like it despite its manifest flaws ... funny how journalists are always late by a matter of a couple of years ... ooh, I think I'll just retreat into a corner and punch myself repeatedly in the stomach for being a hackneyed hack ... you don't know the truth ... though you could handle it and have a few belly laughs and make a few horrified facial gestures: the fish hooked top lip and crazed, crossed eyeballs is always one good one to put on).

And yet, more are created every day and keep on coming ... up for deletion. In the past couple of days I have come across the Wikipedia comment that "this looks like an advertisement" quite a few times. When I've read the "entry" and seen absolutely no links embedded in the text and realised some punk bitch decided to make themselves 0.01 per cent more noticeable in the world (who would look on Wikipedia for such people? Apart from agencies doing background checks). And so I come to the conclusion that this person has no shame - forget about the article deletion (though the damning words should be used as evidence in the trial) - and they deserve to be flogged to within one inch of their lives. Actually, sod it. Just whip them to death. Whip them into oblivion. They deserve it after all. I would wash all such scum off the cyber-streets. Travis Bickle-style.

Now excuse me, while I stifle some sadistic chuckles for half a minute.

Okay, giggles over. I mean, if you want acceptable a way of becoming part of Wikipedia you get your MATES to write your entry. No abject shame in that. I didn't even ask the friend in question to do it. He went ahead and wrote it anyway (and never actually told me at all). But if you do it yourself, and inevitably write some ego-boosting biased tripe about how great you are, then you are truly lost to the world of decent people. Scions like Bill Gates, Santa Claus, Stone Gossard and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Okay, back to the BH quizzes. They are, as ever, connected by one singular and dominant leitmotif. The theme of my enduring and mighty ignorance. I know jackdiddlysplat about that person or thing and therefore learn it by plastering huge, foul blocks of text concerning that person or thing across my blog. In the process, hopefully, while you stare at them and weep like big jessies, they will be soaked up by my brain and stay there, resting in my neurones for the rest of my days.

1 Known by the names Brother Number Four and Chhit Choeun, which Khmer Rouge commander and organiser of the "Killing Fields" died this month in a millitary hospital while waiting to stand trial in 2007 for crimes against humanity?
2 An aristocratic house believed to be the birthplace of Roman emperor Augustus was recently uncovered under which of the Seven Hills of Rome?
3 The Bengawan Solo River, at some 540km in length, is the longest river on which island?
4 Who is the Palestinian Prime Minister?
5 The second and fourth highest peaks of which mountain range were renamed at the beginning of the month Independence Peak and Avicenna Peak?
6 Three members of which country's royal family were killed in a car accident in Menlo Park, California on July 5 this year?
7 Sealed during the Sino-Indian War, which mountain pass between India and China was reopened in July this year for the first time in 44 years?
8 Tranistria is a breakaway region of which Eastern European country?
9 What surname is shared by the identical twin brothers who are Prime Minister and President of Poland?
10 The first confirmed flight of what kind of aircraft operating under its own power was made in Toronto by aerospace scientists on July 8?
11 Which country's GSLV rocket carrying the INSAT 4C satellite failed on July 10?
12 Emomali Rahmonov is president of which country?
13 Which founder of the Red Army Choir wrote the music for the national anthem of the USSR, which became the anthem of Russia, aka The Hymn of the Russian Federation, with new lyrics by Sergey Mikhalkov in 2001?
14 Discovered in 1789 by William Herschel, Enceladus is the sixth largest moon of which planet?
15 What is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one apart from the intended recipient knows of the existence of the message?
16 Which Genoa-born Renaissance polymath invented the polyalphabetic cipher in c.1467?
17 The Gerlachovsky stit is the highest peark in which European mountain range at 2655m?
18 King Farouk of Egypt was forced to abdicate in 1952 by army personnel belonging to which clandestine revolutionary movement founded by Colonel Nasser after the disastrous War of 1948?
19 Founded in Liege in 1881, what is the world's oldest international sport federation?
20 On the First Crusade, which French noble was elected first Defender of the Holy Sepulchre of The Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1099?
21 Known in old Hungarian as Nandorfehervar, at which siege did John Hunyadi, Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary defeat Mehmet II of the Ottoman Empire in 1456?
22 In 1793, which Scottish-Canadian explorer reached the Pacific and became the first Euro-American to complete a transcontinental crossing north of Mexico?
23 In which US city did The Preparedness Day bombing take place on July 22, 1916?
24 Outside which Chicago theatre was John Dillinger shot and mortally wounded on July 22, 1934?
25 The first spacecraft of its eponymous programme, what was intended to fly by Venus but failed to launch on July 22, 1962?
26 In which city did the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer live in a body-part strewn apartment?
27 Founded in 1222 by a breakaway group of Bologna university students, what is the second oldest university in Italy?
28 Which leading ideologue and exponent of the Russian Enlightenment published seven volumes of his History of Russia from the Earliest Times between 1771 and 1791 and wrote about his belief that inequality was inherent to human nature in the first Russian work of utopia, Journey to the Land of Ophyr, in 1783?
29 Far more famous for something else, which albino Anglican priest and scholar (1844-1930) was the first non-Wykehamist to be educated at New College, Oxford?
30 Famous for his research into organic substances and their decomposition which in 1943 eventually led to the discovery of the antibiotic drug streptomycin, which Ukrainian-born biochemist won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1952?
31 Which American artist created the monumental sculptures, .125 for JFK Airport in 1957 and La Spirale for UNESCO in Paris in 1958, with his largest sculpture being the 20.5m-high El Sol Rojo for the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City?
32 Which Algerian-born French boxer became world champion knocked out middleweight champion Tony Zale in the 12th round on September 21, 1948, but died the next year in an Air France plane crash that also killed the violinist Ginette Neveu?
33 What was the popular single-word name of the Indian playback singer whose formal name was Zoravar Chand (1923-1976) and was nicknamed the man with the golden voice?
34 Known for the funnel-shape gowns of stiff duchess worn by such clients as Pauleine de Rothschild and Gloria Guinness and having Hubert de Givenchy for his protege, which fashion designer of Basque ancestry opened his Paris couture house on avenue George V in August 1937 but closed it in 1968 due to disillusionment with the advent of pret-a-porter?
35 Who released the studio albums You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish, Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends, R&B Skeletons in the Closet and The Cinderella Theory during the 1980s?
36 Which Canadian jockey became internationally famous in 1973 when he rode Secretariat to the first Triple Crown win in 25 years, and remains the only jockey to ever have won five of the six consecutive Triple Crown races?
37 Born in Avignon, Vaucluse in 1946, which French singer had such hits as Mon Credo, Viens dans ma rue and La premiere etoile written for her by Andre Pascal, while her French cover of Engelbert Humperdinck's The Last Waltz saw her gain attention in the UK and her other classics include Acropolis adieu, Ne me quitte pas and Santa Maria de la mer?
38 How many Olympic golds did Lasse Viren win?
39 Olympic gold medalist in 1924 at the 10,000m and 3000m steeplechase and in 1928 at the 5000m, which Finnish athlete was nicknamed Peraseinajoen Susi: The Wolf from Peraseinajoki?
40 Which American professional WWE wrestler, whose real surname is Hickenbottom, is called The Heartbreak Kid?
41 Which Dallas team play in the NHL?
42 Swindon-born Rick Davies is the founder and a member of which progressive rock group and pop band?
43 Named after the Polish-American book dealer who acquired it in 1912, which mysterious illustrated book with incomprehensible contents of which 240 vellum pages survive is thought to have been written about 400 years ago by an unknown author in an unidentified script and unintelligible language and is currently item MS 408 in the Beinecke Rare Book Library of Yale University?
44 Conceived of and discussed thoroughly by Terence McKenna from the late Sixties til his death in 2000, what theory attempts to predict the ebb and flow of an eponymous property in the universe as an inherent quality of time?
45 Which 1921 debut novel by Aldous Huxley centres around a hero called Denis and a party held at an eponymous house, owned by self-appointed historian Henry Wimbush?
46 Who wrote the book Father of Frankenstein, which was the basis for the 1998 film Gods and Monsters?
47 What sonnet, written in 1883, was solicited by William Maxwell Evarts as a donation to an auction conducted by the "Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue ot Liberty" to raise funds to build the pedestal?
48 Containing a set order of daily prayers, what is the prayerbook used by Jews all over the world?
49 With an estimated population of 11.2 million; five million of whom are in the US, which Jewish group are descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland?
50 Credited with being the first person to use parallax in calculating the distance to a star, which German mathematician (1784-1846) and astronomer systemised the eponymous functions discovered by Daniel Bernouilli?





Answers to BH79
1 Ta Mok 2 Palatine 3 Java 4 Ismail Haniyeh 5 Pamirs (by Tajikistan) 6 Tonga 7 Nathula Pass 8 Moldova 9 (Jaroslaw and Lech) Kaczynski 10 Ornithopter 11 India 12 Tajikistan 13 Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov 14 Saturn 15 Steganography 16 Leon Battista Alberti 17 Tatra Mountains (located in Slovakia) 18 Free Officers Movement 19 International Federation of Gymnastics 20 Godfrey of Bouillon 21 Siege of Belgrade 22 Alexander Mackenzie 23 San Francisco 24 Biograph Theatre 25 Mariner I 26 Milwaukee 27 Padua 28 Mikhail Shcherbatov 29 William Archibald Spooner (as in "spoonerisms") 30 Selman Waksman 31 Alexander Calder 32 Marcel Cerdan 33 Mukesh (Mukesh Chand Mathur) 34 Cristobal Balenciaga (Eisaguirre) 35 George Clinton 36 Ron Turcotte 37 Mireille Mathieu 38 Four (5,000m and 10,000m in 1972 and same in 1976) 39 Ville Ritola 40 Shawn Michaels 41 Dallas Stars 42 Supertramp 43 Voynich manuscript 44 Novelty theory 45 Crome Yellow 46 Christopher Bram 47 The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus 48 Siddur (pl. siddurim) 49 Ashkenazi 50 Friedrich Bessel

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Amazingly! These ramblings have nothing to do with quiz or trivia

(Why not? Because I felt like it okay? You got a problem with that and want to sort it aht outside? Thought not)

Ooh, can you sense the tumbleweed and the harsh wind propelling it across this blog? It has been a bare and desolate place for the past week, whose only sounds have been the echoes of passing visitors growling: "He never updates anymore! The swine!"

I've often thought that a blog is a reverse-garden. Let me leave you with that thought for a sec, while I try and rustle something else up (sadly, it is not a hot Sunday dinner. For that I apologise.)

Sunday morning. Summer. Sigh. Morning becomes afternoon with no perceptible difficulty. Another sigh. It is all really dead time until September isn't it? Apart from burning blocks of toilets at Reading Festival, nothing gets sorted in the late July and August hedonistic holiday plunge, so you put off life until everyone slopes off back to work like Resident Evil zombies on a Valium prescription, waiting for the nights to draw in and Christmas to come and thinking of another, more interesting summer to come and turn us into sweaty, mad monkeys again. Anticipation of the future is much more exciting than actually living in the present.

Here's a summation of the last week for me:

Tempus Fugit Like Crazy
1) Where the hell did it go? Where did June go? The days seem like hours at the moment. A minute ago I glanced at my computer clock and it said 06.12 and now it's 15.46! That might be a slight exaggeration, so what? Am I actually using some mild time-travelling device, which speeds up life by 20%? I want it to stop functioning so well. Because I have no idea where all the time goes, as Sandy Denny once asked before dying in some silly-tragic way I can't recall. Nina Simone sang it too, but she spent most of her time getting abused by thuggish husbands, trying to remove people's heads with the sound of her angry Diva-empowered voice, and shooting French children with her air-rifle. (Another ace TV programme idea from The Quiz Blogger factory: Shooting Delinquent Hoodie Kids with Nina Simone. Pity she's dead. It would have been a ratings winner.)

Impure Shores
2) I've been to the beach twice this week. The first time in six years that I have deigned to sample the seaside delights of Littlehampton and swim in the sewage-tastic brine of the English Channel.

Why go? Minor healing reasons, the fact that it is ten minutes walk away and, forgetting the further implications of the incoming analogy, like Mount Everest was to George Mallory - "Because it's there!" - and the unappetising thought of being stuck in the house and being slowly roasted like pork crackling to the sound of Noel Edmonds yakking on like a deranged, self-appointed Messiah about his "dream factory". One solitary and senseless reason, however, takes precedence over the rest: the L.A. coast has a charm all of its own. The same kind of cheap charisma that I can't help falling for in a packet of sour Skittles or salt and vinegar Squares. Shabby, but surprisingly nice. Home.

I embraced the flashbacks to younger years when as a significantly skinnier teeanager I spent time hanging out with my brother and assorted temporary holiday buddies by the river, in the arcades, tennis courts, pitch and putt courses, on the promenade and just about anywhere I would avoid at the age of 27 as if they were breeding grounds for plague rats. This reminiscence was further elaborated on when I bought an ice cream cone (dipped in a chocolate covering for a 10p surcharge... yes, classy) and waved a shotgun in rubbish fashion at House of the Dead II. They were underwhelming, and made me glad to think that novels and assorted poncey literature had rushed in to fill the bleak vacuum vacated by doing rubbish teen-stuff, like trying to obtain Playboy specials and forbidden bottles of Newky Brown. Man, all those years I spent playing Final Fight (they didn't even have Street Fighter II anywhere). When I could have been reading The Brothers Karamazov! Shiver-brrrr.

I was burnt by the sun too. I know this because for two days afterward having a slightly warm bath felt akin to having the skin flayed from my body and buckets of Super-Scovilled chilli powder being poured on and rubbed vigorously into every pore vigorously. Yowser. I found out that my easily-browned half-Asian skin was not immune to the sun at its cruellest and most devastating height at Glastonbury 2003. My face turned a bit Singing Detective. It scared people. Yet, I did not learn, this week I stayed in the sun's pitiless gaze as if daring it to try and fry my epidermis. It did. Taught me proper. My arms now look as if they have been grilled medium-rare.

And so I wondered most of all, just who goes to a beach on a weekday? Except for aspiring Oblomovs like myself, naturally. I look around and see youngER people and think bad and insidious things about how unemployed they are. After all, they can't all be Portuguese or Polish (immigents filling up our street and not talking the language: it's disgustingful). So your increasingly Tory mind concludes they must all be on the dole, living it up, grrrr, paddling in taxpayers' seawater, grrrrr, basking like glazed peacocks in scorching sunshine we working folk paid for. It's enough to make you want to start brandishing a nailgun.

Now school is out and hell has most certainly broken loose its army of noxious minions, who just happen to look like schoolchidren (they aren't kiddies; they be monsters and demons), across this parched land, across the paths that I had walked without previous encumberance. Trolls, pixies and Piczo glitter addicts of varying immature size and cheeky and dirty mouths will flood the pebble beaches and the pedestrianised town centre and kick their football repeatedly into our garden and then ask for it back in a such an astoundingly dumbened voice that it makes Wayne Rooney sound like Ben Fogle. They've done it three times today already, and still I am shocked at the words emerging from their slurred mouths. Must be all that pre-teen bingedrinking and crystal meth they're doing.

Beverage Newsflash
3) Coke Zero tastes even worse than Pepsi Max. Let alone Coca-Cola. You cannot imagine the disappointment I felt when I realised I was pouring flat battery acid down my throat and not a divine elixir that filled every cell in my being with a golden light. They heaped empty promises and spunky, youthful adverts on me. I was taken in like a barroom sap and now I lie broken at the side of the consumer road. Granted, Coca-Cola also tastes like flat battery acid, but there's so much sugar packed into every fluid ounce that you don't notice the simultaneously corrosive and dulling effect it has on your insides. The soothing carbohydrate rush covers up the internal rot all too well.

Also, I've just realised the double-edged sword that is the name Coke Zero. Zero as in nada, nothing, zip, zilch, Zelig. It should bloody well be called Coke Less Than Zero. At least, you would have looked cool imbibing something inspired by Brett Easton Ellis's young wasted wastrels. Even if it tasted like strained bogwater, you would have still felt the pure rush of contented nihilism flowing through your diseased veins.

Thus, I demand redress. REDRESS. (Don't ask me what that means)

That's It!
4) Apart from the sweaty film magazine party I briefly graced with my presence on Thursday, the free two-hour Mandarin lesson that scared the bejesus out of me (I can now say "One, two ... how are you ... sad... ten ... red ... white ... I am" in the language of our future Sinoverlords!), the five-second surgeon's appointment at Worthing Hospital, the surprisingly emetic effect of just two pints of Samuel Smith Alpine Lager, and the cursory preparation for the trip to both ends of the Auld Alliance. Nope, all those things were nought in the face of some ramblings about Coke Zero, how hot the sun is and how much young people annoy me with their sheer younginess and, of course, how time though eternal is always fleeting and fleeing from me. You see I've got my priorities exactly right.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Pucker Up, ITV Mandarins, It's Clobbering Time

Hmm. Saturday. Newspapers and linguini amitricana and sitting in bed staring at the bare sky outside. Sunshine and indolence. Did I go out? Did I heck. I've got to revise The Colossus. Again and again. And one more time for luck. As you can see, I could drive forever.

Ooh, look it's that TV I cry. No World Cup, I think and I cry a little. Instead I have to settle for this week's shinier than a crazy diamond, new quiz show.

Pokerface has been on on ITV every day this week and I have watched it.

(See here for barebones webpage ... the online game potential has been ignored by the chumps that be)

My one-line verdict: it has been underwhelming.

My one-word review: meh.

And my far more considered meditation on the nature of its lack of goodness: A few months ago I did consider phoning up to do my 30-second monologue audition piece, but such plans didn't come to fruition on account of not being arsed.

I knew the chances were slimmer than slim at best (thousands of places for 36 places: better odds than Frank Lampard scoring a goal at the moment, I know, but still far too anorexic to spend a precious pound or two). So I took up the role of Pokerface viewer and prognosticator, with the direst of expectations, and with as much enthusiasm as one can muster at the prospect of someone sticking a cactus up their bottom. When ITV do quiz shows, they do them badly, with the likes of Millionaire only coming along every 15 years.

The problem with concept peeps like Ant and Dec is that they are celebs. Concepts thought up by celebrities are, and it's scientifically proven in labs and albino mice and stuff, three times more rubbish than real programme makers. But being famous makes up the shortfall, and so our primetime schedules are adorned with frivolsome follies. Good God, do you remember Boys and Girls on Channel 4? Chris Evans, I wave my fist at yet, but at the people at Horseferry Road, I wave both my fists in pustulating rage and bare my teeth in a menacing manner too.

The Weakest Link compensates for the banter by pumping in non-stop infusions of questions. Even if I think it has descended into a tired slew of insults, it does get the balance right. Here the banter is stupid. They say what is on their minds (everyone else is crap), but they don't say what is on their minds (I'm crap as well), so it sounds silly.

Now if I was let on the show, I would go doolally. I would spit venom in all directions, deriding all the other contestants, shouting out equivalent questions and answers in rat-a-tat succession, and interrogating everyone else with other trivia questions, instead of making claims that were as heavy as clouds and as substantive as Jade Goody's brain, and I would say I know people who know and you are not one of those who know people who know know.

And that is exactly why I didn't even try to audition. I knew too much every which way: of trivia and of the trivia world. My brain is burdened with so much of both kinds of knowledge, I get constant, agonising cricks in my neck whenever I turn or tip my head inexpertly. It's a very heavy kind of knowledge, you see.

However, I would confuse them as well. It offers an opportunity for some, hey, wacky fun. Instead of the bollocks each bravado-boosted contestant spouts like a CD on repeat every single night, for instance:

"I did great! Oh yeah, I didn't absolutely brilliant. I am happy as. Near the top. No, on the top, standing proudly at the top looking down on all these insects. Got every question right, which is better than everyone else because they are rubbish and I am absolutely brilliant. I'm great, super and smashing!"

This would be me...

"I did so badly that I'm going to press the Fold button immediately. Everyone else is much too clever and brilliant. I am kicking in my testicles from the inside. Shameful. I'm a real thicky for going on this show and coming up against five potential Nobel Prize winners. These guys could actually be curing cancer at this very moment. They are that clever. Unlike me. I'm rubbish. Especially at general knowledge. Really rubbish."

And if they ask me how I am feeling I will say:

"God, I feel terrible, like I've just been gang-raped by a Cossack raiding party."

This is because I also want to be cruel and want everyone else to leave with empty pockets having confused them with my outward signs of crapness and brilliance. Possibly because it would give me jollies.

Lack of consistency will trick them into thinking I don't know anything and that I will certainly fold. Instead they will fall and receive only air-kisses from Antandec for their televisual troubles.

I am a sadistic and merciless God me. Mwuah-ha ha ha bloody ha ha. And an extremely cunning one. Ha some more.

Yes, it would be Jolly Central.

Another problem is that this show is far too obsessed with the drama of the its concept. The quizzes are just a way to get there, but little is made of them with comparison to Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, where people agonise and grapple with the manifold intricacies of their often troubled and confused minds for the sake of many, many thousands of pounds. Millionaire keeps it simple that way.

On Pookerfeeace, they come fast and are over too soon. It disrespects the quiz and the "awe" element of viewers being impressed by contestants pulling answers mysteriously and dramatically from the bleak, rambunctious tangle in their heads. The questions are also slightly too easy, as they are very listy and have three-answer choices (though they could be worse).

If I get more than three wrong in the whole 28-q show, I get very, very surprised. This suggests why someone like myself would be a persona non grata as a potential contestant: it is not challenging enough for even a regular quizzer.

The ceiling for talented quizzers is set far too low and even such background knowledge as contestants having been an "University Challenge captain" is seized upon by a gleeful Antandec as something that might intimidate other contestants into such a supremely scared state that they would rather headbutt themselves to death on their own question monitors than face the prospect of a quiz drubbing from a dreaded UC Captain. And, as you know, UC Captains know the thinner end of bugger-all.

Selling the drama that way makes it into something else. It's not a quiz show; it's a people show. I hate personality and people shows. Hate hate hate. Down with people. Down with Antandec's bloody script: the same every bloody night. If you notice what they say (and it has been the same inane deja vu-ridden, repeated yammerings) then there is something wrong with the show. Is it the same with Chris Tarrant? No, because much of that is done whilst pondering the question. Which is a far more pleasant way of doing it. That way we will forget the chatty drivel that marks much of the show.

Theoretically, you could win the million without answering a single question right and this is probably why they mentioned it in all the promotional guff, but you would be a brain dead moron to try and do so, so it has no bearing on the show AT ALL. It's that Hitchcockian device, the MacGuffin. It was like on Grand Slam; we were required to pony up a thousand each at the start just to play and this was meant to change things and make things matter. Only it didn't because we couldn't quiz any differently if we tried. And I didn't care, because it wasn't my money. It was somebody else's and I didn't have to pay it back. Ha! (Okay, I exchanged goods and services, but it was a free go really).

And then there are the fromage-fringed, one-on-one interviews done Martin Bashir and Princess Di-stylee. I really hate those. Let's go into a living room with some soft lighting and look as if we are settling down for an evening with some nice sherry. Twot off! That's precious quiz-question asking time there. Gone and disappeared into thin air. Dead and gone forever and for all time. Sickening. When I was talking about the simplicity that Millionaire has, I mean it has two discernible settings: Fastest Finger round and Contestant Hot Seat. Pokerface has the pre-programme get-together and interviews, the intro, the rounds, the folding, the loser interviews, the losers watching the climactic action, and the so on and on. Too much.

The sickeningness continued when I saw their choice of contestants. Yawn. They put a call into Hackneyed Central Castiing for a usual spread of token contestants, as per usual, i.e. shaven-headed middle-aged man, shortish 20something strawberry blonde woman, amiable 35-year-old black man and resolutely Anglo-Saxon spikey-haired youngish cheeky bloke. Where be the Asians? (Racists!!!) Where be the disabled? (Body-ists!!!!) And where be the grossly obese? (Fattists!!!) Hey, I want a far more expansive good token spread. One that's really tokenistic.

But maybe, it is not hate that I feel for Pokerface. Just indifference: Couldn't care less who won, couldn't care about the contestant interaction, couldn't care less about the show dynamics or fancy computer sounds or graphics, couldn't care less about the ending and who gets the million.

So careless was I that I switched over to Sport Relief and watched Kate Thornton watch the first ever dead twin baby birth on primetime TV. And for a second I thought it was a new programme: Live African Stillborn Births with Kate Thornton!

But don't worry! It wasn't and the baby was just a bit dopy and the whole experience made Miss Thornton look even more like the barren, burnt out husk of media whoredom that she truly is and ever will be. Crying at sleeping babies isn't quite the same as swimming the English Channel is it? (Well done, Mr Walliams, sir!) Though Live Baby Births from The Filthiest Third World Slums will surely be on the TV schedules in a couple of years' time. People might find it interesting.

Oh, UC
As for the return of University Challenge: The Professionals: there was a time when it was just starting out when I thought that bringing in the adults with decent and interesting jobs would usurp the relatively thick student version. Now it just seems you have to be attached to some fancy institution that has some semi-celebrity attached to it or an organisation most broadsheet-reading UK denizens will have heard of. The student version looks so much better when set side by side with it now.

I mean, do you think they would let a bunch of Tesco cashiers on the show? Er, not when they can get swanky, cool cachet-snuggling magazines like Prospect, The Idler and The Economist on the show? Not a chance.

The original UC at least aspires to welcome on the best contestants - no matter what their background is, class or what not, if they are good enough. On TP, it seems the producers actively search for an, ahem, certain class-specific note of recognition in teams.

Neither do I like the fact that the TP shows are shortened to have a flounce around their very upper middle class working environments at the start. It's filmed like a cheesy, company video "Come work at our bright, shining offices and meet your brilliant future colleagues and our brilliant water coolers". One word: bleargh. Now, if they put on a team of coalminers they could at least descend into some hellish black abyss and have the contestants talk about how much they hate it and yearn for the feel of the sun, or Jeremy Paxman's voice, on their skin.

The fact that they slip in appropriate questions suited to the two institutions - what I would call "bent" questions - and that two teams can cancel their champion-worthiness in the first round and thereby fail to make the top four that will contend for the title also irks mightily.

Resignation is the next step. So I just watch the show for the questions and get mildly impressed by some middle-aged guy, who if life had taken him into the slipstream of quizzing a couple of decades before could have developed into quite a tasty player. But no, it's too late now. What could have been will never ever be. Instead he/she gets a few starters right and fades into obscurity after his/her half hour of UC-ness. They never knew. A tragedy for them, a boon for the likes of me and you and everyone we know. Who do quizzes.

Now, if they are going to do these match-ups, why not ban all those useless writers (they come out of the woodwork for this one, don't they?) do some interesting match-ups: SAS versus Stonewall, the British Communist Party versus The 1822 Committee (I almost wrote Combat 18 and then I almost wrote the BNP, then I thought, they must have a dash of reality in them, but then, I did write them didn't I?), ASH versus FOREST, foxhunters versus football mascots, surfers vs clowns - these antagonistic or interesting blighters write themselves.

And after the quiz bit has finished, they can then hand over blunt weapons for the new, added-on physical combat section I've just thought up to make The Professionals an utterly essentially television watch.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Okay, I'm extending the deadline for MQ returns to Monday July 24.

You'd think people could spare two-and-a-half hours sometime, but no, apparently they have things called jobs, dissertations, families and social lives.

Hear me now. These are the beasts that must be slain in order to fulfill your quiz potential. Metaphorically, of course. I don't want chainsaws and machine guns being used to do the job literally. Otherwise, this would constitute incitement.

However, I'm thinking that I can't be bothered to yet compile the Answers and Errors file. I'm lazy like that. I start things that I can't finish. More Morrissey song titles, future and past, right in this space and going on to the end of forever.

The Soft, Aching Pain of Feeling A Hatful of Hollow
Ach. Ouch. The World Cup has gone, leaving me bereft and empty and without an excuse to stay in my bedroom.

So, so jealous of the Italians celebrating on the beautiful streets of Rome. If only England won the World Cup, then we would have full scale rioting and looting all over London. And wouldn't that be fun. Wouldn't that be beautiful in its own way?

Anyway, I blame Fat Frank. Down with Lampard. What good has learning all that Latin at private school done him? None whatsoever.

Friday, July 07, 2006

STILL writing about the MQ quiz

No, it hasn't taken over my life (he protests feebly).

I have 42 papers back of the 134 who requested the MQ. The return rate has dwindled to a trickle with one in the last two days. Where be the rest?

I know that the deadline is in a week, but I fear the rejection rate will be almost a third, which would be a great pity. After all, I won't email the answers and they will never ever know exactly how much they would have got.

However, let's wait and see. I am optimistic that the majority will come through, after all the feedback I've got so far regarding the MQ has been overwhelmingly positive.

In the meantime, I actually gone ahead and written the World knowledge 501-question (and yes, with 501, rather than 499). I can safely say it is far better than the previous, shoddy, Britishised effort. It has more academia but also more easier stuff. This is because all the UK-centred stuff has been substantially reduced allowing other subject material in. The Colossus (yes, new silly name) will make you happy if you do it, I assure you.

Once that is done, I will investigate what worked best and devise a model and quiz that will be even better. The third, however, will not be done for many months, as I have other pending projects. And yes, I will ask for a fee. After 1000-freebies, I reckon I deserve it. After all as Dr Johnson almost said, nobody but a blockhead ever set giant quizzes for free.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Just in case you were wondering...

... there are no questions 332 and 338 on the Monster Quiz.

It appears that I forgot those two numbers existed and decided to skip over them and head into the numerically larger future without their important and coherent contribution.

So all of you who were expecting a 501-question quiz may be very disappointed.

I apologise for the loss of my arithmetical skills, but then you do have the consolation of having a 499-question quiz, which is almost as good.

"Look! That's the twisted spire! Hmm, how interesting"
I'll always associate Chesterfield with a very homophobic 2 Live Crew song that I heard when I was 12-years-old. I don't think it's funny anymore (you see? A flash of maturity).

I just thought I would mention that.

Yep, went up to the Grand Prix, came fourth in the individuals and decided my time would be better spent playing buzzer quiz matches while England stamped, collapsed and missed their way to painful, agonising, gut wrenching defeat. Again, gorramit!

And somehow I am quite happy that I didn't spent two and a half hours in a crowded pub (no offence to today's pub attendees, it's more of a historical thing with me) with women screaming like they have been stabbed repeatedly. Blokes moaning in despair I can take most of the time, but the high-pitched squealing I cannot. That and the latent violence. When England lose, just afterwards you notice various men shaking uncontrollably and on the verge of crying or committing GBH on anyone. It's a tightrope, and I would rather not be in weeping or whomping range when it happens.

So I ignored it all, in the style of Bob Shankly closing his curtain on Everton playing in his backyard, and I didn't feel gutted having not watched the match. The mass depression only lightly flicked my side when I heard a man on the train talking to his wife on the phone and saying: "Portugal has won? Oh".

I am now only mildly disappointed and will wake up tomorrow and start laughing at Steve McClaren, as the whole nation MUST campaign to get him sacked before he does any damage (I mean as a manager, not as the assistant milquetoast melvin of coach). If we can do it in two months, we can get Big Phil, our nemesis, to manage this dissolute bunch of ragamuffins and perhaps send Rooney on a celebrity edition of Brat Camp.

You know what they say. You kill the thing you love. He's killed us three times and if that ain't love, I don't know what is (bloody FA morons so deep in moronicity they can't see that McClaren is going to be a disaster). It is destiny I tells ya.


Though he is not Mr Destiny. That would be Michael Caine (fraternal injoke there. ha. ha.)