Just one more day to go after this…
1. What metal, the fourth most common element in the Earth’s crust, is the most common in the Earth’s core (both the inner and outer core)?
I considered the correct answer, iron, but then I had the following thought: That would make the Earth really heavy, wouldn’t it? Seriously, that’s what I thought. And then I went with nickel.
Note to self: THE EARTH IS HEAVY.
2. The Apennine Monte Titano is the home to what European microstate?
I said “Micronesia,” which is code for “I give up.” I never would have come up with San Marino.
3. Outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James, as well as most other members of the James-Younger gang, were from which U.S. state, in which the gang was centered?
Do you know what? Only now, as I am writing this blog post, do I realize that I knew the answer to this question. Knew it for a cold fact. Back in April, I did a school visit in Kearney, Missouri, where you can’t drive two miles without seeing some reference to the fact that Jesse James was born there. (But not, apparently, Frank? I don’t know.) No fewer than three kids asked me if I was planning on going to the Jesse James museum while I was in town. I left Missouri fully aware that it was Jesse James’s home state.
But when I saw this question, my mind processed it as “Choose a midwestern state” and offered up Nebraska, and I shrugged and went with it. Even when I saw the correct answer, I didn’t immediately realize this was something I should have gotten.
I think I might be phoning it in a little at this point.
4. The TV characters Vincent Barbarino, Arnold Horshack, Freddie Washington, and Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein were all members of what fictional gang?
Welcome Back, Kotter was a mainstay show in my house growing up. Family viewing. I have fond memories of it, and remember vividly the bits the writers came back to again and again because they were bereft of any new ways to develop these paper-thin characters: Epstein’s notes from his mother. Barbarino’s asking “Who? What? Where?” Horshack’s “Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!” (Even as a kid, I didn’t understand how Horshack had gotten into this “gang.” He was no gang member. He was the kid getting beaten up three times a week in the cafeteria.)
I re-watched an episode or two of the show as a grown-up, and lordamighty was that a bad idea. Painful. Just painful. “Not funny” is bad enough, but nothing is more painful than “not funny but backed up by a rabid laugh track.” Here, take a gander:
My God, is that James Woods in a guest role?! It is!
Anyway, so. I sure as heck knew these were the Sweathogs.
5. The automobile pictured here, from a 1917 newspaper advertisement, was the inspiration for the name of what arena rock band popular in the 1970s/80s?
I had no idea for the longest time, and then an answer dawned on me — a beautiful answer, an answer that was followed by doves carrying a banner bearing the message “You have done it! You are so smart!”
My answer was: Thin Lizzie. Because the Tin Lizzie was a car! Right? Wasn’t it?
It was! Specifically, Tin Lizzie was a nickname for the Model T, which is not the car shown in this question’s picture. What I wanted was REO Speedwagon. Phoo.
Favorite REO Speedwagon song: “I Do’ Wanna Know”. I still like the video, too, despite the strange notion that they should attempt to transform the lyrics of the song into a “script” for the characters to speak/sing, whether or not that makes any sense at all.
6. What distilled alcoholic beverage, native to Mexico, is made from the maguey plant (a type of agave), and is differentiated from tequila by the process and location of production, type of agave used, distillation frequency, and taste?
Like the Jesse James question, I felt this was more than something I didn’t know — it was something I had no experience with at all, something so beyond my knowledge that to even try to come up with an answer would be a waste of time. And then on the drive to work my mind whispered to itself a single word: Mescal. Oh, right! I’m glad some part of brain kept working on this when the rest had given up. It doubled my number of correct answers.