It’s a trope of caper movies like Ocean’s Eleven, action flicks like The Expendables and — yeah, I’ll go there — syndicated cop-comedies like V.I.P. and She Spies. (USA Network, how I loved thee back then.) You need to get something done, you put together a team filled with specialists — a pickpocket, a con artist, an explosives artist, a sniper, what have you.
That’s sort of how my Thursday nights have been for the past few months.
A pack of friends gathers each week to play trivia at one of our favorite neighborhood bars, and I’m not bragging when I say that Team Name wins more often than not. (Our name was inspired by the fact the bartenders who run the event always tell players to make sure that they’ve written a team name at the top of each sheet.) And the more I thought about it, the more I realized we’re sort of like the Ocean’s Eleven of trivia:
- Smarmy Bastard specializes in U.S. political history.
- The Bulgarian is the international specialist.
- Molten Chocolate Babycakes is the go-to guy for technology and animation questions.
- “Baby!” knows movies.
Me … well, I’m good at music — and surprisingly more attuned to sports than I thought! — but mostly I’m the weirdo. Below are a few questions that I knew the answers to right away, not even like, “Hmm, let me ponder.” If you want to test your knowledge, highlight the blank area with your cursor; the answer’s in white text and will show up against your highlight.
- Vermiculture? Composting with worms.
- Kiwi fruit were introduced in the U.S. as “Chinese gooseberries.”
- Sheryl Crow sang the theme song for the Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies.
- Poison’s only #1 hit? “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” (Everyone else at the table: “Poison did not sing that.” Me: “I am one thousand percent certain that is the correct answer.”)
- The wind that takes its name from the American Indian word for “snow eater”? Chinook.
- The last actor to refuse an Oscar? Marlon Brando. (What happened instead? A woman named Sacheen Littlefeather gave a speech about the plight of the American Indian. I knew that part, too.)
- They use the plant’s inner bark to make cinnamon.
- Which actor, who won the Golden Globe in 1987, also released a song titled “The Return of 007”? Bruce Willis.
- In the “Fun with Dick and Jane” books, their little sister is named Sally.
- Actor Brad Pitt just became the first male face for Chanel #5.
We’re not good at Broadway/theater questions (bad gays!); there always seems to be one, so that’s our Achilles heel. And when we knew that MCB and B! would be out of town for a week, I decided we needed to pull in a ringer: Tyra Sanchez, who as director of youth programming at Theater Works is a two-fer in his knowledge of theater and kids TV programs.
He’s the one who taught me about Phineas and Ferb, which, yay. However, he’s also made me watch a full episode of Shake It Up once, so, boo. And it’s because of him that I got unduly excited about the sign at right appearing outside my subway window on a trip to New York.* (He was the first person I texted when I snapped the picture, too.)
* Grown-ups without kids: Please click here for context.
Anyway, I cued him up with a few test questions: Who voiced Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Who told Dumbo he could fly? What was the first Disney movie released on Blu-ray before DVD? (Past questions, all.) He got two out of the three — which was two more than I would have — so I couldn’t wait for Thursday night. (Answers: Demi Moore, Timothy Mouse, and Bolt.)
Unlike regular bar trivia, where you punch in A, B, C or D, our bartender Drew kicks it old-school style: wet-erase markers and laminated cards. He collects the answers every five questions and move to the next round, and at the end of the game you get your answers back with a score circled at the top. Just like school, only with vodka! (Although some of my high school classmates probably combined vodka and school, now that I think about it.) Drew reads the right answers, then announces the winning team.
So last night we’re at question 17 or so — our last card! — and we haven’t had a Disney question. We always have a Disney question, and I never know the answer. “I don’t know if I’m being much help,” Tyra says, feeling a little odd about drinking for free in exchange for answers he’s not providing.
The next question: “Which Disney movie features a villainous cat named Lucifer?” Yes! (Answer: Cinderella.)
We won by 1 point. In addition to splitting up the cash, Team Name also scored tickets to tonight’s B-52’s concert. I figured it was only right that Tyra take ’em.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 6-8-12|
|The shirt: Lightweight cotton flannel long-sleeved button-down
by Converse One-Star, from Target.
|The pants: Lightweight denim from Uniqlo, New York.|
|The shoes: Sneakers by Puma, my Christmas gift from Big Booty Judy.|