November 27, 2012

Trivia Blog: Road Trip and Fall

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...


Oh, middle America, you’re so… middle-y…

If you’ve ever read David Foster Wallace’s excellent essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” (within the collection that bears the same name), then you now know how it feels to drive from New York to northwest Ohio.  I had the wonderful experience of making this drive in order to be part of the family holiday shenanigans last week.  Why not fly, you ask, and skip the monotony of 10 hours of never-changing scenery and Pennsylvania state troopers who hide in the trees like ninjas?  Because the airlines are a collective of dickwads who feel it’s okay to charge someone $500 for a roundtrip ticket for a sub-2 hour flight around the holidays, and I refuse to support the rape of the American flier.  (Rape of the American Flier, by the way, is an excellent title for a dramatic thriller or Michael Moore documentary.)

So, when given the much cheaper option of renting a car from the good folks at Budget (thanks, Budget!), we decided to go that route instead and get all up in Route I-80 to Toledo.  If you’ve never been, I cannot stress to you enough how much the entirety of the middle of the country (or at least the portion from Pennsylvania to Iowa) looks exactly. the. same.  Being forced to drive through that sameness for so many hours can push you to the brink of turning into Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  But it can also teach you a lot.  So here, for the benefit of future cross-country drivers, are the Main Things I Learned Whilst Driving from New York to Toledo:
  • There is always a Rihanna song playing somewhere on the radio.  Also, Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
  • I don’t care how many commercials I see featuring emaciated children in war-torn African villages.  There are no worse places in the world than rural truck stop/gas station bathrooms.  Where you at, Sally Struthers?
  • We need to start being concerned about the high suicide rate within America’s deer population.
  • There are far too many things that are “World Famous” in the state of Pennsylvania.  If they were truly “World Famous,” they wouldn’t be stuck between a Dress Barn and a strip club that probably features not one, but two amputee dancers.  Get it straight, Pennsylvania.  You’re only “World Famous” for the following things: the worst football fans in the NFL, cheesesteak, Amish furniture, and the epically stupid shit that came out of Rick Santorum’s mouth from 2005 to 2012.
  • Arby’s.  Always Arby’s.  And fuck yourself if you ever say regular fries over curly fries.
  • Tollbooth workers in the Midwest are light years better than their counterparts here at NYC’s bridges and tunnels.  They sometimes go minutes, or perhaps even hours, without seeing another human being, and when they do, it’s like that scene inCast Away when an at-the-end-of-his-rope Tom Hanks sees the ship passing by.  An NYC tollbooth worker actively tries to pretend you’re not there.  I could tell one of them that I have their kids duct-taped and stuffed in my trunk, and they’d still give me nary a glance while collecting my $12.
  • I’ve heard the print version is good, but the audio version of Tina Fey’s Bossypants is pheeeenomenal.
  • I’ll never not giggle when I pass a sign telling me how to get to Big Beaver, Pennsylvania.
  • There is no species so readily willing to defend his pride than the Dad stuck driving his family across the country in a minivan.  Passing this guy on the right while he putters along in the left lane because his daughter’s 27th consecutive viewing of Dora’s Enchanted Forest Adventures has finally driven him insane is like kicking a sleeping grizzly bear in the balls.  He will take your passing as an affront to his lost manhood and be up your ass within 1/8 of a mile, the safety of his own family be damned.  At least until his wife wakes up, realizes what he’s doing, and screams at him until he slows back down and gets back in the right lane.  Can you tell I don’t have kids yet??

November 20, 2012

Trivia Blog: I Don't Give a Thanks

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...


Signs your Thanksgiving is just not going to turn out the way you wanted:
  • Your Uncle Pete’s speech about the “welfare whores and fence jumpers” started before anyone even sat down to eat.
  • That out-of-control Honey Boo Boo parade balloon seems to be heading straight for you.
  • You’re a Detroit Lions fan.
  • Your Tofurkey tastes more like Tofausage.  Only, you’re pretty sure there’s no such thing as Tofausage.
  • Your nephew’s rendition of “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians” contains a surprisingly high amount of swear words.
  • The “wishbone” your Dad carved out and saved for you and your brother looks suspiciously large and cat-like, especially with the disappearance of Whiskers still hanging over the family celebration.
  • CANNED cranberry sauce, Aunt Irene?  Really?
  • Your cousin just jokingly referred to Black Friday as African-American Friday for the fourth time in an hour, and it’s not getting any funnier.
  • The Macy’s parade is promising a special reunion performance by *NSYNC, minus that no-talent hack Timberlake.
  • Great-Uncle Owen hasn’t moved in like six hours…

November 13, 2012

Trivia Blog: Weather or Not

These Trivia Blog posts come from the emails I send out as Quizmaster of the Gael Pub Trivia Night every Tuesday.  But seeing as how they comprise most of the writing I seem to do these days, I thought it fitting to include them on the Pale Writer blog as well.  I won't include things like info about categories or drink specials, but will keep the bulk of the rest.  Hopefully you enjoy, so much so that you come out some Tuesday at 8:30 (3rd Ave. b/t 82nd and 83rd)...


We’re back on track, baby.  After two weeks of having Trivia Night either packed to the gills with post-Sandy fun-seekers or shipped to a ridiculously snowy Wednesday after Election Night, we’re back to our normal Tuesday night slot of goodness.  (Slot of Goodness would be a great porn name, incidentally.)  Also, before I move on to the meat of today’s email, let me extend a special thanks to those teams who braved the freak snowstorm on Wednesday to come to Trivia Night.

Albeit a much smaller night of trivia, it was a lot of fun, we gave out a lot of prizes, and I think we all learned a little bit more about ourselves and our bodies.

Before we get to tonight’s categories, the rash of crazy weather that we’ve had the past couple years has got me in a predicting mood.  So here, for your preparatory needs, are some of the major weather events we can expect in our fair city over the coming months and years:

DECEMBER ’12 - In an unprecedented weather event, snow actually falls from the sky and remains on the ground not in the months of October or November, but in December, when it’s supposed to fall.  New Yorkers, confused and angry over the mass cancellation of December outdoor brunches, riot and tear down the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, killing Al Roker in the process.  Matt Lauer is unharmed.

MAY ’13 - In a weather event of seemingly biblical proportions, frogs fall from the sky, littering the streets of New York and providing a bountiful feast for hungry, French-cuisine-appreciating homeless.  Christian groups scramble to exploit the occurrence as proof that god wants to strike down the sinful heathens of NYC, but in the end it turns out the whole thing was a marketing stunt to promote Apple’s new iFrog, a combination mini-tablet, electric skillet, and fly swatter.

OCTOBER ’13 - A woman named Sandy gets drunk after consuming too many Hurricane cocktails, slamming her car into a ConEd truck while trying to navigate the Lincoln Tunnel.  No actual weather event occurs, but a few people recognize and appreciate the irony of the situation.

JANUARY ’14 - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the realm of local legend when, following a massive blizzard that leaves the tri-state area crippled, he clears the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels by spraying gallons of fruit-flavored syrup into each and consuming the packed-in snow like two giant snow cones.  When asked afterward how he thought of such an ingenious method of helping people affected by the blizzard, Christie responds, “Blizzard…?”

JULY ’15 - A record-breaking heat wave settles over the city, melting the carefully constructed plastic surgery work of thousands of Upper East and Upper West Side ladies’ faces.  Mistaking the mutilated spinsters for an approaching zombie horde, New York City Mayor Alec Baldwin orders the National Guard to fire upon the crowd, decimating the population of cab-stealing Manhattanites.  No one seems to care.

OCTOBER ’16 - As another massive hurricane approaches during the first of their monumental presidential debates, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton wins handily, as Republican candidate Chris Christie switches to hurricane mode, agreeing with everything Clinton says and, at multiple points, crossing the stage to hug her.

NOVEMBER ’16 - Light showers early on, but the clouds give way to sunny skies with a high of 57 later in the afternoon.