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June 04, 2006

Raindrops on Roses, Whiskers on Kittens

Over Memorial Day weekend, Audrey introduced me to an awesome new pastime: trivia night at 540 Clement in the Richmond. My Sunday nights will never be the same again.

Although I arrived too late last weekend to answer such questions as What country did the US invade in 1983? or Which three US presidents never served in office prior to being elected president? -- Grenada and George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, by the way -- being forced to dredge out the answers about United States history from my memory did excite me in a way that only a card-carrying history nerd could understand. On a late-night trip back from Berkeley later that week, Audrey and I decided that a means of acquiring vast amounts of useless knowledge would be to pick favorites of things most people wouldn't think to opine on. Below are a couple examples of some of my favorite (non-traditional) things:

  • Amino Acid - This one is easy: phenylalanine. Why? I like the sound of phenylalanine. Now I realize that a case based on functional use could be made for histidine, but well, whatever. As for tryptophan -- two rings? Are you serious? Can we say trying way too hard? Get out of here tryptophan!
  • Wilson's Fourteen Points - This one's easy too: #3, regarding the removal of all economic barriers and establishment of an equality in trade. Clearly. Least favorite? Again, obvious: #14. Hell, the Senate didn't even ratify the charter for the League of Nations. Thanks, Henry (Cabot Lodge).
  • Greek Letter (from Diff. Eqs.) - A bit more difficult, but still not too bad. Favorite: η, of repeated eigenvalue fame. Least favorite? ξ, mostly because I could never draw the damn thing and in all my problem sets ξtert looked like <squiggle>tert, and it was a major source of frustration. (Yes, I realize this is petty, but I really don't care. I don't like ξ, and if you have a problem with it, you ξ-sympathizer, you can rot in hell.)

There are so many more: favorite Supreme Court Justice (of the 19th century? 20th century?); favorite Supreme Court case; Triple Alliance vs. Triple Entente; favorite WWI front; favorite WWII battle; favorite French Republic; favorite Treaty of Paris; and the list just goes on and on. Trivia night! Interested in joining our team? Let me know. Think I'm a total, incorrigible geek? Well, let me ask you this? Who was your favorite Soviet General Secretary of the Communist Party? (Clearly, Nikita Khrushchev).


Wow, I think I've had just enough geekiness for the night by reading your post. Thanks.

krushchev? and you made fun of me for picking carbon as my favorite element? way to say your favorite color is white, my friend.

yet another goal for FY06 - winning trivia night!

the saving grace of that post was actually you mentioning krushchev. at least your humour's still intact. :)

You should borrow my book, Vital Statistics: An Amazing Compendium of Factoids, Minutiae, and Random Bits of Wisdom. The only problem being, the books layout and typeface looks like someone dropped acid before designing it all.

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