Afternoon Inquisition

Afternoon Inquisition 2.4

As you know, Stacey usually poses the Afternoon Inquisition on Wednesdays, but she’s been sent on a dangerous, top secret mission, so you all have to look at my ugly mug for today.

So . . . . I was watching Jeopardy! the other night, and I ran like four categories in a row before missing a clue. Now, I’m not a trivia master or anything like that, but I usually do fairly well at questioning the answers. That night, however, the categories were right in my wheelhouse, and I was unstoppable. It reminded me of the classic episode of Cheers where Cliff Clavin made an appearance on the game show, and got his dream board before melting down in the Final Jeopardy round.

In what areas are you a font of knowledge? What categories would make up your Jeopardy! dream board?

Also, just for fun, try to end your comment with a trivia question for subsequent commenters to answer. I’ll start: What does a labeorphilist collect?

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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87 Comments

  1. The Simpsons. I am genuinely surprised when there is a Simpsons fact I don’t know (although the later seasons are spotty).

    I would love to have said something that’s at all relevant to my degree or my job…but alas, the first thing I thought of was The Simpsons.

    Apparently I lead a sad, sad life.

  2. Hmm. Dream board…

    Video Games of the 80’s
    Australian Movies
    Culinary Microbiology
    Ornithology. (Yes, Rebecca. You’re surrounded.)


    What North American bird stores it’s food by impaling it, still living, on barbed wire fences?

  3. Futurama
    Computers
    Giants of Science
    Geek Culture
    Video Games

    Uh, yeah. I have very few fields in which I consider myself an expert. Lots of fields where I have a great understanding of the basics, though.

  4. Hollywood History, World History, US History, WWII History, Star Trek.

    (One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…)

    First Captain of the Enterprise?
    (hint not Christopher Pike)

  5. I usually clean up on college jeopardy. The sad part is I was doing that in high school. I really like the rounds where all the categories are band names, then the last category references the bands mentioned.

    I am a tool of execution that has not been properly fitted. (rhyme time)

  6. @Liza: “What company did Charlie co-found in 1919”

    United Artists? Sad if true considering who is running it now.

    @JSug “I have very few fields in which I consider myself an expert.”

    Ditto. There are quite a few where I know more than the average person, but none that I’m truly expert on unless “wife annoying” counts. I’m wondering if the average reader around here is more or less likely to be a renaissance person than the average human? I know computer science types like me have a reputation for being deeply geeky, somewhat deserved, but within nerf-gun distance of my cube are musicians, weavers, chefs, hockey players, motocross maniac, gardeners, and even a Morris Dancer. That sounds fairly renaissance to me.

  7. @teambanzai “First Captain of the Enterprise”

    Henry Miller Shreve

    Trick question. Star Trek acknowledges the existence of the shuttle Enterprise, the aircraft carrier as well the dozens of ships that precede them. If you mean the first space ship then @infinitemonkey nailed it.

  8. I’m a pretty solid general trivia person. I tend to do well enough to get by in most areas, though I would be VERY hesitant to claim mastery of any one.

    If I were picking a slate of categories for a Jeopardy game, I’d probably do best with a smattering of pop culture and film related questions, along with some history, literature, and general science. But one can never tell. Even within those categories I’m at least as likely to have a dry spell as a hot streak.

    As for a question for you all:

    Alfred Hitchcock was famous for comparing actors to cattle. Yet, despite working with many great cinematic performers, only one person ever won an Oscar for a role in a Hitchcock film. Name the person, and the film for which they won the award.

  9. I honestly think my best Jeopardy board would be maybe five “Potpourri” columns and one “Computer Science”. CS is my passion, so I’d fare pretty well there, but the rest of my knowledge is spread pretty thin.

  10. @Bjornar:

    There is no capital of Assyria. It is no longer a nation.

    I really can’t think of anything I’m extremely well versed in. People are often impressed by the amount of “interesting” (useless) facts I can recite about a broad range of subjects, but I lack real depth in all of them.

    Where was Penn Jillette born? (Should be easy for this crowd)

  11. Military history, general science, astronomy, rules of thumb, units and measures.

    For $100, 1.2 cubic feet per minute is what unit of measure?

    For $200, 830 divided by person’s weight in lbs (in feet) plus 13 inches is what formula?

  12. @Sam Ogden: Bill. In honor of Bill joining the military.
    @infinitemonkey: A recumbent incumbent.

    I have what I’ve heard called “cocktail party knowledge.” I can seem authoritative in most subjects for about 5-10 minutes (about the length of a cocktail party conversation) before I’ve run aout of thigs to say. So I could do well in the top half of most subjects but I’d be lost in the bottom half and final Jeopardy

  13. @Chew – Oh, I gotcha. I still have no idea, and google is no help.

    Whatever it is, the distance gets shorter (or height gets lower, whatever) as you get fatter, and it doesn’t take into account the person’s height. I can’t think of anything like that.

  14. @davew: Did you just claim that LISP (created/discovered in 1958), FORTRAN (1956), ALGOL (1958), and COBOL (1959) are descendants of BCPL (1966)? I can see some argument for smalltalk based on linear time, but honestly, not much based on syntax or function.

  15. I’d have a hard time picking. I’m another who knows more than most people about most things, but don’t have many real areas of expertise. I know the early nineteenth century history of the fur trade and settlement of the Oregon to BC area pretty well, and fur trade life and history okay from working in a related museum. I know anthropology and astronomy ok, and science in general. I’m comfortable in literature and music, though nothing recent or in depth.

  16. I’m a trivia generalist. I do pretty well in all but the “sports” category. I know quite a lot about aviation and airlines, of course.

    How many rivets are there in a Boeing 747? A general number will do, as no one except Boeing has the exact number and they’re not telling.

  17. Viticulture and oenology (growing grapes and making wine), my dream at one point was to have my own vineyard and operate my own winery. I studied for a few years and had an internship at a University research vineyard/winery. Then I stopped wanting to do it as a career and now know way to much about grape flavored booze.

  18. Canadian Government
    The Life & Music of Prince
    The Novels of John Irving
    ’80s Rock
    Cheers to Frasier! (both those TV series)
    and
    Celebacy
    (Which reminds me of a joke: What did the new priests do after getting ordained? They went out and celebated.)

  19. I tend to get all of the geography and astronomy related questions right. I love history too, but my knowledge there is hit or miss. It’s mostly concentrated around Medieval Europe, World War II, and early Chinese history. And since I listen to so much classic rock radio I can name a lot of those songs after hearing a the first few seconds of them.

    @teambanzai: Wasn’t the first captain’s last name April? The first name escapes me…

  20. As I recall, without looking it up , it’s that DNA has the T ( thiamine, thymine? ) and the RNA has the U ( uracil?).

    I guess I would take my chances with type 2 diabetes , baseball, sitcoms, and movies.

    What is type 1.5 diabetes?

  21. I compete in a charity trivia event every year with my best friend and her husband. I am the “Arts and Lit” ringer of our trio. I also do pretty well with random factoids, some sports, and pop culture up until about 1995.

  22. My local bar, years ago when I still drank in a local bar, had a sort of Cliff Clavin idea and promised to send me to any Jeopardy audition that happened anywhere close, but I gave up the bar before it ever came about. I have sometimes said that the underside of the pub table of my mind is stuck with the chewing gum of information. Of course, I’ve also been looked at funny.
    I’m good at art, lit, music and history but I shine at:

    Victorian literature
    P G Wodehouse
    Pterry
    Needlework
    Some specialized areas of history
    Science (at least as far as intelligent Arts majors can be expected to understand it)
    and anything to do with words.

    My ‘Oh, godz, NO!!’ categories include popular culture (who ARE these people?) and sports.

    What’s Berlin work and why is it called that?
    For extra credit, how long did the Hundred Years War last?

  23. Beer and wine, and coffee and tea. I can bore most avid drinkers to Z’s with my two decades of professional background in both industries. I’m passionate about the history, flavor analysis and the technical production sides of these life sustaining quaffs.

  24. Star Wars. It is my lifelong obsession. I can give you the indepth life story of pretty much any background character who appeared for half a second onscreen in any of the movies.

    Trivia question : what Star Wars ship’s shape was based on a street-light that George Lucas once saw?

  25. @dysomniak: Looks like no one’s answered? Greenfield, Massachusetts.

    I’m pretty decent at the history of science, history of anthropology, and turn of the (last) century religious and social upheavals in America.

    In what decade was the first sex change operation performed in the US? (I got this one right at a trivia night but the homophobic bastards in my group didn’t believe me and wouldn’t use my answer.)

  26. I have a bunch of esoteric knowledge. My best categories would probably be:
    General Science
    Chemistry
    Japanese Culture
    Japanese Language
    Heck, almost anything to do with Japan
    Math
    Video Games

    And Jeopardy needs less Broadway, Opera, Poetry, Pop Culture, and Sports.

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