Monday, July 8, 2013

Tripe of the Month Club

From the archives...

Tripe of the Month Club
-by Sean Fitzmorris

[Not so] recently my wife and I received in the mail a brochure offering us to join the “Book of the Month” club. The booklet stirred some curiosity in us, so we scanned through it, seeking out titles that would grab and hold our attention. We were not disappointed. As we perused our choices, we were astounded at some the names of the books offered.

Now don’t get me wrong; I know that there are only so many hundreds of thousands of words in the English language. Therefore writers must be severely constrained as to titular choices. In view of these obvious restrictions, therefore, naming works is all about shock value. Grab the reader’s attention by the throat like a rabid pit bull on crack and don’t let go until he buys that book! It is for this reason that we have books with names like we noticed in the Book of the Month Club presentations.

One of the first titles to catch our notice was How to Cook Everything. What an ambitious tome this must be! Imagine! Detailed instructions on cooking everything! My mind boggled with the possibilities. Oh, I’m sure it had all the usual trite recipes, ingredient lists, metric conversion charts and so on. But one can only assume that there are steps to preparing for a delicious repast shoes, concrete, hazardous gasses, the aforementioned pit bull and presumably, the book itself. How far does it go? Does this volume avoid the obvious taboo of, say, cannibalism? On whom were the recipes for everything tried? Woe to the unfortunate soul who had to undergo the dubious honor of being the guinea pig for the chapter on “Sharp Objects.”

Another title that surprised me was Fitness Walking For Dummies; A Reference For the Rest of Us. Fitness walking for dummies? I must say that if anyone needs to purchase a book on how to walk, then I doubt if fitness is truly their most pressing problem. The last time I researched the matter of walking, I realized that the process of actually getting up and going over to the bookshelf pretty much resolved any questions I might have had. Evidently, though, I have not appreciated all the subtle nuances of walking, since someone found it necessary to write an entire volume expositing what for all these years I have taken for granted. Maybe it goes through the history of walking, possibly devoting chapters with titles such as “The First Big Step - Crawling from the Primordial Ooze”; “From All Fours to Biped Locomotion – An Illustrated History”; and of course the requisite tear-jerking stories of persecution and the human spirit, “Walking Through the War Years.”

Rules for Aging is another name that touched a curious place in me. I can just picture the Nursing Home Police stationing themselves down the corridors of the retirement center, handing out citations to all the inmates who were non-compliant with the Rules for Aging. Who exactly is supposed to get these aging individuals to learn and later follow these rules? And who made them up? Some inconvenienced young person, I’ll wager, who is bitter over having to care for his older parents that gave up their own lives to unselfishly provide for such an ingrate. I always figured that aging individuals had pretty much earned the right to make up the rules for themselves and didn’t need some whippersnapper to tell them what to do.

One gripping story that I can’t wait to read is called How to Clean Practically Anything. This must be the long-awaited sequel to the previous How to Cook Everything. Logically, one would need to clean up after cooking “everything.” So what a handy reference this must be! I wonder if the author accepted the challenge of describing how to clean dirt. Anyone can figure out cleaning linoleum, clothes, walls, cars and so on, but really spic-and-span dirt is my test to them. So how ‘bout it?

A few other titles raised some thought provoking questions. For instance, how did the author of Extraordinary Sex Now manage to find the time to actually pen this tome? Furthermore, how did he/she determine what was “extraordinary” as opposed to the merely ordinary? No doubt there are those among us who would consider any sex extraordinary, no matter how plain. What about the author’s partner(s)? Did they too consider this sex extraordinary? How do we know that the author is not such a dullard to the point that extraordinary sex is any form of copulation during which his or her partner didn’t fall asleep? One would think that Slow Hand: Women Writing Erotica would be a natural successor to this work. But I’ll gamble that absolutely none of the heroes and heroines in Slow Hand display a working knowledge of any of the advice given in Extraordinary Sex Now, perpetuating my probably misogynistic theory that women don’t even know what they want, so how can we men?

Don’t even get me started on Get Anyone to Do Anything. I can only assume that this is the great-granddaddy of encyclicals from which all the other book titles I have reviewed here spring. How to Manage Your Mother was another title which drew my inquisitive gaze, but about which I found it necessary to write an entirely separate article.

Yes, I know the old adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But as book covers are all that the Book of the Month Club has given me to go by, I say that they are fair game. Now please excuse me, but I must go finish reading The Idiot’s Guide to Forming Premature Opinions.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Trivia Quiz from April 17, 2013 - "First & Foremost"

First Time for Everything (10 questions)

1. What two people appeared on the first cover of TV guide in April 1953?

2. The first known humans to fly did so over what city?

3. Who was the first person to break the sound barrier?

4. Who was the first actor to star in a talking motion picture?

5. The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was from what country?

6. Who was the first female artist inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

7. Who was the first canonized American saint?

8. The first heavier-than-air flight took place where?

9. The first nuns in New Orleans, known as “casket girls,” were of what Catholic order?

10. Antoine Peychaud was the creator of what New Orleans cocktail?

1. Lucile Ball & Desi Arnaz Jr.
2. Paris (Nov. 21, 1783 in a hot air balloon)
3. Chuck Yeager
4. Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer
5.  Ireland
6. Aretha Franklin
7. Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini
8. Kitty hawk, N. Carolina
9. Ursulines
10. Sazerac

Boozehounds (10 questions)

1. The Irish word for whisky is Uisce Beatha. What does it literally translate to?

2. Sake was originally made by people who chewed the rice & spit it into fermenting vessels where it would become an alcohol. By definition, sake is therefore ___
a. wine
b. liqueur
c. beer
d. sour mash

3. What causes the bubbles in Guinness to sink rather than rise when a pint is poured?

4. “The Green Fairy” is both a brand name and euphemism for what alcoholic beverage?

5. What type of drink is known by the same word as the Low German word for “swallow?”

6. V.S.O.P. on a bottle of cognac stands for what?

7. Anheuser-Busch can trace its roots back to 1852 and the Bavarian Brewing Company in what North American city?

8.  What liqueur is named after its color?

9. What South American country claims exclusive appellation rights to the type of brandy known as Pisco?

10. Falstaff beer shares a name with a character that appears in 3 of William Shakespeare’s plays. Name one Shakespearean play in which Falstaff appears.

1. Water of life
2. c. beer
3. The shape of the pint glass
4. Absinthe
5. Shnapps
6. Very Superior Old Pale
7. St. Louis, Mo.
8. Chartreuse
9. Peru
10. Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, The Merry Wives of Windsor

The Old Gods of Carnival (10 questions)
Every answer or question has to do with a current carnival krewe.

1. Bacchus was the god of what?

2. Fathered by Poseidon and born of Medusa was the winged horse known as what?

3. What krewe gets its name from this mythical Himalayan utopia?

4. This god is the Titan that holds up the celestial sphere.

5. This krewe takes its name from the Greek god of transitions & boundaries, and conducted souls into the afterlife.

6. This was the greek goddess of the night.

7. This god of the sea was Poseidon’s first son. His name even means “first.”

8. This Egyptian god is often depicted with the head of an ibis, and holds a rod and an ankh in his hands.

9. Whoever held this position in ancient Rome was revered as a god.

10. Name what each of the 9 muses are the muse of. It's not necessary to name the muses themselves, just what they are the muses of. 1 point for each correct answer. You must be specific. (Hint: there are 10 domains, one muse pulls double duty)

1. Wine
2. Pegasus
4. Atlas
5. Hermes
6. Nyx
7. Proteus
8. Thoth
9. Caesar
10. Calliope: epic song, Clio: history, Euterpe: lyric song, Melpomene: tragedy, Terpsichore: dance, Erato: erotic poetry, Polymnia: sacred song, Urania: astronomy, Thalia: comedy & bucolic poetry.

 Places to Go, Things to See (12 Questions)
I took all these photos in Orleans Parish, on the East bank. Answer the questions as specifically as you can.

1. At what intersection am I?

2. What landmark is directly behind me?

3. What building am I in?

4. What building is directly behind me?

5. These nudists are frolicking on the lawn of what building?

6. What restaurant am I spying on?

7. At what intersection can I get their poboys?

8. In what neighborhood or on what street can I get world famous creole tomatoes?

9. What building am I standing in?

10. In the French Quarter, what city-run building is immediately to my right?

11. What building is directly behind me and this guy?

12. What is this?

1. Canal Blvd. & Robert E. Lee.

2. Lee Circle

3. Canal Street ferry terminal

4. St. Louis Cathedral

5. Lakefront Airport

6. Cafe Maspero

7. Elysian Fields & St. Claude

8. 3100 block of Chartres, the Bywater

9. Canal Place

10. Fire station

11. Tad Gormley Stadium

12. Mardi Gras Fountain at the Lakefront

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Trivia quiz from Feb. 6, 2013

Celebrity Animals - 15 Questions
Name the species or breed of the famous animal!
Example: Lassie - Collie (not just dog). King Kong - Gorilla (not just monkey).

1. Rin Tin Tin

2. Shamu

3. Moby Dick

4. Toto

5. Mr. Ed

6. Marcel

7. Rex and King Zulu

8. Ling Ling

9. Punxsutawney Phil

10. Morris

11. Pepe Lepieux

12. Dolly

13. Ben

14. Clyde

15. Scooby Doo

1. German shepherd (or alsatian for the Europey types)
2. Orca or killer whale
3. Sperm whale
4. Border Collie (in the "Oz" books), Cairn Terrier (1939 "The Wizard of Oz" and 1978 “The Wiz”), Border Terrier (Return to Oz, 1985)
5. Palomino
6. Capuchin monkey (from “Friends” TV show)
7. White tigers (Audubon zoo)
8. Panda
9. Groundhog
10. Orange tabby
11. Skunk
12. Sheep
13. Grizzly bear (from “Grizzly Adams” TV show)
14. Orangutan (from the movie “Any Which You Can”)
15. Great dane

In Common - 10 Questions
What does each group of animals have in common?

1. Dodo, wooly mammoth, stegosaur

2. Penguin, kiwi, emu. (Given: all birds)

3. Leech, flea, bedbug (Given: all invertebrates, all parasites)

4. Bullfrog, Siamese fighting fish (betta), walking catfish (Given: all vertebrates, all aquatic, all lay eggs)

5. Minotaur, mermaid, centaur (Given: all mythical)

6. Monarch butterfly, spider, buck moth (Given: all invertebrate arthropods).

7. Honeybee, Fire ant, prairie dog

8. Rattlesnake, scorpion, platypus

9. Crawfish, silverfish, jellyfish (Given: all invertebrates, all have fish in their name.)

10. Whale shark, blue whale, ostrich (Given: all vertebrates)

 1. All extinct
2. All are flightless birds, all from southern hemisphere
3. All feed on blood
4. All breathe air and water
5. All are half-human
6. All produce silk
7. All live in colonies
8. All are venomous
9. None are fish
10. All are the largest of their species

Creature Feature - 12 questions
All these people have animal names in their name.
Example: This golfer is a little too popular with the ladies. - Tiger Woods

1. This actress is famous for the line “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup.”

2. Maverick’s sidekick.

3. This is one of the few famous white basketball players.

4. This guy somehow made a career of skateboarding.

5. This performer is now known as Yusef Islam

6. This man has achieved legendary near-godhood in Alabama.

7. Friends with Mr. Greenjeans.

8. This boy-band singer is out of the closet.

9. His real name is William Cody.

10. Jim Morrison’s nickname.

11. A king of England from 1189 - 1199.

12. Politician who wanted to establish “a contract with America.”

1. Gloria Swanson 
2. Goose
3. Larry Bird
4. Tony Hawk
5. Cat Stevens
6. Bear Bryant
7. Captain Kangaroo
8. Lance Bass
9. Buffalo Bill
10. The Lizard King
11. Richard the Lionheart
12. Newt Gingrich

Spot the Species! - 10 questions
Picture round

Name the species of animal! All are common to Louisiana.










1. Mallard duck
2. Tarpon
3. Ibis
4. Damselfly
5. Copperhead
6. Nutria
7. Mole cricket
8. Red ear turtle, painted turtle, or Mobile slider
9. Roseate spoonbill
10. Possum

I Could Eat a Horse  - 12 Questions
From what kind of animal does the food come?

1. Lox

2. Foie gras

3. Mutton

4. Haggis

5. Bouillabaisse

6. Unagi

7. Capon

8. Fugu

9. Butter

10. Chitlins

11. Kippers

12. Confit

1. Salmon
2. Goose or duck
3. Sheep
4. Sheep
5. Fish
6. Eel
7. Rooster
8. Puffer fish or blowfish
9. Cow
10. Pig
11. Herring
12. Duck

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trivia from Jan. 2, 2013

What do you consider "Home?" The world? The USA? Your city? Your neighborhood? That's the theme of the trivia quiz from Jan 2, 2013 where we consider the theme "Home." (Well, MY home anyway.) 
Categories are: World Sports, Patriotic Songs of the USA, New Orleans in Fiction, and Lakeview (my neighborhood). Answers are at the end of each category so grab a pen and a friend and test your knowledge!

World Sports

1.  What is the sport of kings?

2. If you have 15 guys on a team who engage in a scrum and maybe a haka, what sport are you playing?

3. If you take an agricultural swing after being bowled, what are you playing?

4. In badminton, we often call it a “bird” or “birdie.” What is the projectile actually called?

5. What gravity-driven sport has its origins in the Pacific island of Vanuatu?

6. What sport are you engaging in if you wear a montera, hold a muleta and use a puntilla?

7. Sumo wrestlers try to do either of 2 things: Force the other wrestler out of the dojo or what?.

8. In what city were the first modern day Olympics held?

9. For what country and in which sport do the "All Blacks" play?

10. In cockfighting, what is the arena called where two roosters fight?


1. Horse Racing
2. Rugby
3. Cricket
4. Shuttlecock or Shuttle
5. Bungee Jumping
6. Bullfighting
7. Touch the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet.
8. Athens, Greece
9. New Zealand; rugby
10. Cockpit

Patriotic Songs of the USA
Name that tune! What is the title of each piece?










10. (Extra point if you can name the vocalist)


1. Grand Old Flag
2. Stars and Stripes Forever
3. Battle Hymn of the Republic
4. Hail to the Chief
5. America the Beautiful
6. America: My Country ‘Tis of Thee
7. Halls of Montezuma
8. The Star Spangled Banner
9. Yankee Doodle
10. God Bless America (Vocalist: Kate Smith)

New Orleans in Fiction

1. Actor Tim Reid inherited a New Orleans restaurant in what TV show?

2. Which Simpsons character got his own fictional series pilot set in New Orleans?

3. Irene Reilly and Myrna Minkoff are characters in what New Orleans based book?

4. On what New Orleans street did Stanley and Stella live in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire?”

5. Francis Parkinson Keyes wrote a novel set in a famous New Orleans restaurant. The restaurant’s name is in the title. What is the title of the book?

6. Which Star Trek captain is a native of New Orleans? (Kirk, Janeway, Sisko, Archer, Picard)

7. Nicholas Cage starred in “The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call: New Orleans.” This was a remake of what 1992 movie?

8. “Live and Let Die,” set in New Orleans, was which number of Ian Fleming’s James Bond films? (As in first, second, third, etc. Not including Casino Royale with David Niven)

9. Who played my cousin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in Oliver Stone’s, JFK?

10. What soundtrack song from Elvis Presley’s New Orleans movie “King Creole” reached number one on the Billboard pop charts?


1. Frank’s Place
2. Chief Wiggum (“Chief Wiggum, P.I.)
3. A Confederacy of Dunces
4. Elysian Fields
5. Dinner at Antoine’s
6. Capt. Sisko
7. Bad Lieutenant
8. Eighth
9. Gary Oldman
10. Hard-Headed Woman


1. What popular restaurant/reception hall was located where Tropic Oil Change is now located on Canal Blvd?

2. What is Lakeview Harbor’s sister restaurant?

3. The New Basin Canal stretched along what is now West End Blvd & Pontchartrain Blvd. It ran from Lake Pontchartrain to where? (Street intersection or landmark)

4. The semicircle shaped parks on either side of Canal Blvd. at Robt. E. Lee are called what?

5. What is the collective name for the structure of businesses at Canal Blvd. & Robert E. Lee?

6. What is the actual name of the potter’s field cemetery which stretches from City Park Ave to Delgado Playground?

7. What is the name of Lakeview’s team of 9-12 year old baseball players?

8. What is the only pet shop in Lakeview?

9. How many churches are on Canal Blvd?

10. The Homedale Inn, serving drinks since ____?

1. L’enfant’s
2. Port of Call
3. Howard & Rampart, near the Union Terminal
4. Peridot Park
5. The Rockery
6. Holt Cemetery
7. Lakeview Vikings
8. Coral Reef
9. 9 (including the disused synagogue)
10. 1937