wedding trivia ii: director’s cut

Time for part II of wedding trivia (see part I here).


Part IV: Mystery Topic

16. What famous Bay Area based psychedelic rock band was led by singer Grace Slick?

17. Golden-voiced Don Cornelius hosted what long-running music show? And for a bonus point, the title of what Snoop Dogg movie is a reference to this show?

18. Name the four railroads in Monopoly.

19. What luxury car brand has had models including the Phantom, Wraith, and Silver Shadow?

20. The title of what 1987 John Hughes movie is also the theme of this category? For an extra two bonus points, name the costars of the film.



16. Jefferson Airplane. The ‘plane split into two bands in 1972: Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. The latter disbanded in 1984 and spun off into just Starship, principally famous for “We Built This City,” oft-considered the worst song of all-time and/or the 1980s (and written by Bernie Taupin, no less). In 1990 ITT repurposed the song for their ad jingle “We Built This Business.” Here is a brief list of great psych rock band names: Captain Beefheart, Sopwith Camel, Dr John the Night Tripper, Fifty Foot Hose, Frumious Bandersnatch (which sounds like something from the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator), The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Ultimate Spinach, and Lothar and the Hand People.

17.  Soul Train, and Soul Plane (one point each). Soul Plane scores a 4.4/10 on IMDb and includes the pilot (Snoop) referring to their altitude as “higher than Redman at the Source Awards” … which is actually pretty funny. Soul Train played for 35 years, from 1971-2006, encompassing more than 1100 episodes, and was the longest running syndicated program in TV history until being surpassed by Entertainment Tonight. Goddamn John Tesh.

18. Reading, B & O, Pennsylvania, and Short Line (one point each). Here’s a fun fact: Monopoly was originally created to provide in object lesson in the dire consequences of monopolization. So, that was a swing and a miss.

19.  Rolls-Royce. This turned out to be a surprisingly difficult question. The alternative car-related question was going to be: “The founder of this luxury Italian car company once said, ‘I don’t care if the door gaps are straight, when the driver steps on the gas, I want him to shit his pants.’” That was Enzo Ferrari, and an actual quote. Also Enzo Ferrari was kind of a monster, and did not care one whit for the safety of drivers on his race team (see here and here if you are interested in the history of racing).

20. Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (one point), starring John Candy & Steve Martin (one point each). For those of you that don’t know me, I deeply respect the pathos of the late 80s John Candy ouevre, and I ride hard for this movie. A top-five part is when the farmer says “her first baby, come out sideways…and she didn’t scream or nothing.” Also great because that was Dylan Baker, in a two-line role that foreshadowed his future as the actor you call when you want James Spader level creepy, but without the James Spader sense of vague, unspoken menace. Like, more of an ineffectual creepy.


Part V: Current Events

21. When he was “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” his name was an unpronounceable symbol. Draw the symbol.

22. Muhammad Ali, the only three-time heavyweight champion, died recently. Where did the famous Rumble in the Jungle fight take place, and who was his opponent?

23. The Rio Olympics are coming up soon. Name the 10 events that comprise the decathlon.

24. The rebooted sequel TMNT 2 was #1 at the box office recently. Name each of the four turtles and the color headband they wear. For up to two bonus points: name their rat mentor, and their nemesis that featured a talking brain lodged in a robot’s abdomen.

25. The Democratic and Republican national conventions are coming up at the end of July, which hilariously marks the “start” of the campaign season. In what cities will the conventions take place?



21. Check your answer here. At the press conference announcing the name change, floppy disks were passed out, with a font that contained only that symbol, so reporters could actually print it. Also, if you’re one of the two people I know that I haven’t shared this with yet, please enjoy Prince blowing everyone off the stage with this blistering guitar solo, throwing his guitar into the air and strutting off stage, and the guitar never comes down:

22. Kinshasa, Zaire (now Congo); George Foreman (one point each). I strongly recommend When We Were Kings.

23. The first day includes the 100-metre dash, running long (broad) jump, shot put, high jump, and 400-metre run; the second day includes the 110-metre hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, javelin throw, and 1,500-metre run. Anybody remember that great track & field game for NES?

So, the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis were bonkers. George Eyser won six gold medals in gymnastics, despite having a prosthetic leg. The US won 239 of the 280 medals awarded. There was a tug of war. But the crown jewel of all this lunacy was the marathon. The initial “winner” gave up and got a ride back to the start/finish line, where officials nearly awarded him a medal before he let them in on the joke (he was later suspended for a year because of it). The eventual winner was more or less dragged across the finish line by his trainers, who’d fed him brandy and strychnine to pep him up. The fourth place finisher stopped to take a nap in an apple orchard during the race.

24. Michelangelo (orange), Raphael (red), Donatello (purple), and Leonardo (blue). Give yourself one point for each correct pairing. Their rat master is Splinter (one point), and the anthropomorphic brain–robot is Krang (one point). There was a bonus point for this question, which was to send a person onstage to do an acapella rendition of the Vanilla Ice hit “Go Ninja Go Ninja Go” theme song. Very few people did so. Fun fact: the ninja turtles were initially created as a parody.

25. Cleveland and Philadelphia (one point for each). The modern practice of nominating conventions dates back to 1831, when the Anti-Masonic party—which, just like it sounds, was devoted to opposing Freemasonry—gathered in Baltimore to select a candidate (spoiler alert: he didn’t win). I had no idea the Anti-Masonic party existed, and I am filing it away for future trivia purposes. By the way, the candidate they nominated was William Wirt, a former Mason.


Part VI: Shapes

26. What popular toy oracle had predictions including “my sources say no” and “all signs point to yes”?

27. An accurate independent measure of longitude, specifying the east-west position on the earth’s surface, was not developed until the mid-1700s. What term is used to describe the line of 0 longitude?

28. Lisa Simpson and Bleeding Gums Murphy play the saxophone. Otto plays on the guitar. What instrument does Ralph play in The Simpsons?

29. If you’re standing in St. Peter’s square, what state are you in?

30. This potato-based snack food has a shape technically described as a hyperbolic parabaloid.



26. Magic 8-Ball. There are 20 answers in a magic 8 ball, one for each face of the icosahedron. We initially called it a “1970s toy oracle” but I learned that the magic 8-ball dates back to the 1940s. Initially it was a crystal ball called the Syco-Seer, but in 1950 Brunswick (the company that makes billiard and bowling supplies) contracted for someone to convert it to an 8-ball. But speaking of fad products: do yourself a huge favor and settle in for this article about the Sea-Monkeys fortune. It involves a dilapidated mansion and former B-movie star, a crypto-Nazi, corporate espionage, and lots and lots of Sea Monkeys, and is about 10 times more bonkers than that description makes it sound.

27. The line of zero longitude is the Prime Meridian. I always found it really interesting that the solution to calculating longitude boiled down to having a really precise clock.

28. The triangle. Some controversy on this question because there’s apparently an episode where Ralph shoves a flute up his nose.

29. Vatican City. Fun fact: apparently the insult “square” is a jazz-age reference to the boring complacency of standard four-beat (“square”) rhythms.

30. Pringles! Recipes for potato chips date back to at least 1822, and yet the apocryphal story (of an irate customer demanding crispy fries, and an equally irate chef spitefully slicing the potatoes millimeter thing before frying them) claims the invention in 1853. Pringles date to 1967.

•     •     •

Bonus question that I really wanted to include but couldn’t: What 1991 movie for adrenaline junkies featured Keanu Reeves as a undercover surfer? For a bonus point, what was his character’s name? For another bonus point, send someone from your team up on stage to do a dramatic reading of his “Bodie, this is your wake up call, man. I am an. F.B. I. AGENT!” line.

A: Point Break, Johnny Utah. I would love an explainer piece on why a famous college football quarterback turned FBI agent goes undercover using his own name, and a second explainer on how it’s possible that’s the least crazy thing about that movie.


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