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 » December 2004 » Trivia answers....

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12/07/2004: Trivia answers....

Good response to this set, and I think that most of the questions were answered correctly--offhand, I can think of only two that weren't answered, namely numbers (3) and (8).

1) Last time, we asked for the list of the original seven Mercury astronauts. This one is a little harder; who were the members of the second group of astronauts (nine in all) appointed by NASA? (As before, names at a bare minimum; extra credit for ranks/branch of service for military astronauts and employer for civilians).
Neil A. Armstrong (civilian, test pilot for NASA)
Maj. Frank Borman, USAF
LT Charles Conrad, Jr., USN
LCDR James A, Lovell, Jr., USN
Capt. James A. McDivitt, USAF
Elliot M. See, Jr. (civilian, test pilot for the General Electric Company)
Capt. Thomas P. Stafford, USAF
Capt. Edward H. White II, USAF
LCDR John W. Young, USN

2) Of the nine astronauts appointed in the second group, one is still carried on the rolls as an active astronaut. Who is that?
John W. Young, who is (according to his NASA biography at: http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/young.html) currently Associate Director (Technical) at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. According to his NASA biography Young is an active astronaut and eligible to command future Shuttle astronaut crews.

3) In the classic film comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail, there is a sequence where a narrator fills us in on the plot development while a hand turns pages in a book which features pictures of a number of knights. One of these knights is "The aptly named Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film", and his picture is that of an infant. Who is the actual infant who posed for this portrait?
Michael Palin's son, William

4) In the American-Chinese spy plane standoff in the spring of 2001, the Navy personnel on board the captured P-3 Orion were extensively interrogated by the Chinese. Apparently, some of the information the Chinese wanted was information that they could not get from more conventional espionage channels. One such example came from 1977. What top secret did the Chinese ask the Americans to explain?
The meaning of the lyrics to the Eagles' hit, "Hotel California".

5) What business has run a 4x7 advertisement on page 3 of the New York Times in every issue of that paper since 1897?

6) In 1900, the average for men in the United States was 6.5. Today, it's 10.5. What is it?
Shoe size.

7) Ivory Soap has, for years, touted itself as 99 44/100% pure. What I want to know is, what's in that remaining 0.56%? Can you tell me?
Uncombined alkali, carbonates and various mineral matter.

8) All the southpaws I know kvetch about how they're discriminated against in a right-handed world. Want to know how bad things are? In two sports, left-handers are barred by the rules from competing. What sports are they?
Jai alai and polo.

9) While not enacted in the rules, left-handers are at a grave disadvantage in competing for one of the more important defensive (i.e., non-pitcher) positions in baseball. So much so that in the whole history of Major League Baseball, only two players at this position have been lefties, and they've had very short careers as catchers (though both had fairly substantial careers at other positions). What position is that? (Extra credit if you can name the two players.)
Catcher. The only two southpaw catchers to play in MLB have, interestingly enough, both played in Chicago: Dale Long, Cubs (1958) and Mike Squires, White Sox (1980). Both caught only two games those seasons.

The conventional explanation for this is that since most batters are right handed, and therefore stand on the left side of the plate, a catcher who throws with his left hand is handicapped since the batter is standing in his way when he attempts to throw to second or third base.

10) Two of the nominees for major awards at the 2003 Academy Awards were not present at the ceremony that year. Who were the absentees, and why?
Roman Polanski--couldn't show up to collect his Best Director Oscar, because he's still a fugitive, having absconded from the U.S. to avoid sentencing to prison for a statutory rape conviction. Donald Kaufman--couldn't have picked up a Best Original Screenplay Oscar, because he does not exist (Donald Kaufman is the fictitious "twin brother" of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, who was given screewriting credit for the screenplay of Adaptation.

11) EXTRA SPECIAL CHRISTMAS SEASON BONUS QUESTION: The classic Chuck Jones animated Christmas special, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! features a classic song: "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch", which is sung in a deep, rich bass by a person you've probably never heard of, though it's just about impossible that you haven't heard him his most famous part. Who is he, and what is that famous part that you'd never associate with his name, if you knew it?
Thurl Ravenscroft, who is best (un)known for doing the voice of "Tony the Tiger" in the Kellogg's [Sugar] Frosted Flakes commercials.

Len on 12.07.04 @ 07:15 PM CST

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