Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » November 2004 » Yet Another Set of Trivia Answers

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11/30/2004: Yet Another Set of Trivia Answers

Not as much activity this time. No doubt everyone's in the tryptophan induced stupor following the holidays.... :-)

1) Name the original 7 Mercury astronauts. (Minimum acceptable answer is, of course, their names; extra credit for their ranks and branches of service as well...)
Capt. Leroy G. ("Gordo") Cooper, Jr., USAF
Capt. Virgil I. ("Gus") Grissom, USAF
Capt. Donald K. ("Deke") Slayton, USAF
LT Malcolm Scott Carpenter, USN
LCDR Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN
LCDR Watler M. ("Wally") Schirra, Jr., USN
Maj. John H. Glenn, USMC

2) And just for the hell of it, what are the original Mercury astronauts doing now? (i.e., if the astronaut is deceased, say so (extra credit for naming the cause of death and/or date of death); if the astronaut is still alive, what is he doing for a living?)
Cooper: Died October 4, 2004, of heart failure.
Grissom: Died January 27, 1967, in a fire in the Apollo 1 Command Module which also claimed the lives of fellow Apollo 1 crew members Edward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee.
Slayton: Died June 13, 1993, of complications from a brain tumor.
Carpenter: Living; currently a consultant in aerospace and ocean engineering.
Shepard: Died July 22, 1998, of leukemia.
Schirra: Living; currently principal of Schirra Enterprises, a consulting firm.
Glenn: Living; currently a retired United States Senator (D-Ohio).

3) It is possible to configure Google automatically to translate retrieved web pages into any one of a number of languages you choose. One of those language choices is "Bork Bork Bork". What is the origin of this "language"?
"Bork Bork Bork" is the "dialect" spoken by the character of The Swedish Chef in The Muppet Show. In addition to Google, it's possible to find a number of specialized "dialect translators" on the Web which will translate passages into "Bork Bork Bork", as well as Pig Latin, Jive, etc.

4) Annoyed by magazine subscription cards (you know, the ones that fall out of the pages of the magazine like a bad case of dandruff)? Bet you don't know who invented them.... Want to prove me wrong?
Alexander Graham Bell, while he was President of the National Geographic Society.

5) What was the original purpose for which Lysol was marketed? Hint: I doubt you'll ever find anyone using it for this purpose.
As a women's douche.

6) There's a mountan in Jordan called Jebel Musa. At the base of this mountain is a monastery, and in the monastery the monks keep a fire extinguisher next to the monastery's most prized possession. What is that possession?
The remains of what is purported to be Moses's burning bush (Exodus 3:2).

7) Who was Kimba Wood, and why did she have her 15 minutes of fame?
She was Bill Clinton's second nominee to be Attorney General of the United States, Her nomination was ultimately rejected because the nannies she'd hired to care for her children turned out to be illegal aliens ("Nannygate").

While not exactly the answer I'm looking for, I'll give some credit to anyone who points out that in one pont in her career, Judge Wood (she's a federal district judge for the Southern District of New York) was a Playboy Bunny.

8) Another legal question: in 1893 Justice Gray, writing for a majority of the United States Supreme Court, established an important precedent in botanical law in his opinion for the Court in the case of Nix v. Heddon. What critical precedent did he establish?
That the tomato is legally a vegetable (notwithstanding the fact that botanically, it is a fruit).

9) Remember the late 70's sitcom What's Happening? I've been trying to forget it all this time myself. And one of the things I've been trying to forget is this: how did the character Fred Stubbs (played by fellow St. Louis native Fred Berry) get his nickname, "Rerun"?
He had to repeat the 5th grade.

10) British actor Jonathan Hartman has tried out many times, all unsuccessfully, to join the Royal Shakespeare Company. Finally, he's devised a plan, albeit a weird one, to eventually succeed. What is that plan?
He's written up a will bequeathing his skull to the RSC, with the proviso that it be used as the skull of Yorick in productions of Hamlet after his death.

11) EXTRA SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SEASON BONUS QUESTION: What is the connection between country singer "C.W. McCall" (former Omaha adman Bill Fries), who reached number one on both Billboard's pop and country charts in 1976, and everyone's favorite New Age Christmas Music Mavens, Mannheim Steamroller?
The musicians who made up McCall's backup band, "The Old Home Band" (also known on some recordings and concert tours as "The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant Boys"), were also the musicians who started Mannheim Steamroller.

Bill Fries created the "C.W. McCall" persona to serve as the advertising spokesperson for the "Old Home Bread" brand of his agency's client Metz Baking Company; Chip Davis, Jr., founder of and chief creative force behind Mannheim Steamroller, worked at the same ad agency. Fries elected to play the McCall character himself in a set of ads featuring the character, because no actor which auditioned for the part performed to Fries's satisfaction. The McCall character and the commercials he appeared in became so popular that TV viewers would call TV stations requesting that they be played, and the Des Moines
Register actually would publish the airtimes of the McCall commercials in their television listings. Looking to profit from the popularity of the character, Fries decided to record an album. Fries wrote (and sang for the records) a number of songs, enlisted Davis to write the music for them, and used Davis's group of musicians (the first members of Mannheim Steamroller) as his backup band. The first album steadily gained popularity, giving them reason to produce a second, and the second album--Black Bear Road--featured the song "Convoy", which was McCall's biggest hit, hitting number one on both Billboard's pop and country charts in early 1976.

Len on 11.30.04 @ 07:51 PM CST

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