Trivia Bits – Week of May 29

May 29, 2017  
Filed under Trivia Bits

WEEK OF MAY 29

The U.S. Military Academy Class of 1846 stands out as possibly the most poignant in West Point’s history. Those 59 classmates, who studied, trained and made friendships together at the academy, included 22 who achieved the rank of general during the American Civil War — 12 on the Union side and 10 on the Confederate. Among them were George B. McClellan, briefly general-in-chief of the Union Army; Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, who died at Chancellorsville; and George E. Pickett, who led the unsuccessful Confederate charge at Gettysburg.

Star-nosed moles can detect scents underwater — an ability that makes them unique among mammals. They do this by exhaling bubbles into the water, then re-inhaling them to sniff for insects, fish and other prey. Like most moles, star-nosed moles have poor eyesight. They compensate for this with a cluster of super-sensitive tentacles around their noses that allow them to detect even the slightest movement. That star-shaped cluster of tentacles also gave the star-nosed mole its name.

Cayenne pepper is named for Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana. The pepper itself originated someplace in South America, possibly French Guiana, possibly not. Never the most hospitable place to live, French Guiana is a French overseas department notorious as a penal colony for much of its history. Trivia buffs know it as the largest European Union territory outside Europe. It is also the European Space Agency’s main launch site, the second-busiest in the world after Cape Canaveral.

At the library, geology books are shelved in the 550s, sports in the 790s, French lit in the 840s. That’s the work of Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), who devised the Dewey Decimal system of library classification — the world’s most widely used library classification system. Dedicated to order and simplification, he also was an advocate for spelling reform. He shortened the original spelling of his first name from Melville to Melvil and, for a time, took to spelling his last name Dui.

Baauer’s 2013 dance song “Harlem Shake” is the most recent instrumental track to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Prior to that, it was Jan Hammer’s “Theme from Miami Vice,” which hit No. 1 in 1984. Why so long between instrumental chart toppers? It wasn’t always so. The 1970s had 10 of them, from the Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein” in 1973 to Herb Alpert’s “Rise” in 1979. And that doesn’t include Silver Convention’s 1975 hit “Fly, Robin, Fly” — not strictly an instrumental even though its lyrics contain a mere eight words.

The fabric pattern we call plaid in the United States is called tartan in Scotland, where a “plaid” is a length of tartan fabric that may be used as a blanket or (more often) worn as an accessory by men in full Highland dress. The plaid, in the same tartan pattern as the man’s kilt, is wrapped around the chest and over the shoulder, and then belted at the waist.

TRIVIA

1. Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” was delivered on what occasion?
A) A campaign stop in Pennsylvania
B) Christmas
C) Dedication of a Union Army cemetery
D) Independence Day

2. White-nose syndrome is a deadly disease that affects what creatures in North America?
A) Bats
B) Bees
C) Cows
D) Pigs

3. “Papillon” is a French word meaning what?
A) Bell
B) Butterfly
C) Pepper
C) Prisoner

4. Thomas E. Dewey, Republican presidential candidate in 1944 and 1948, was the governor of what state?
A) Arkansas
B) New York
C) Ohio
D) Wisconsin

5. Which instrument represents the grandfather in the children’s symphony “Peter and the Wolf”?
A) Bassoon
B) Cello
C) Clarinet
D) Oboe

6. Illustrator Grace Drayton created the red-cheeked kids used for decades in ads for what product?
A) Alka-Seltzer
B) Campbell Soup
C) Mott’s Apple Juice
D) Oreo cookies

ANSWERS

1) Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” was delivered at the dedication of a Union Army cemetery in November 1863.
2) White-nose syndrome is a deadly disease that affects bats in North America.
3) Papillon is the French word for butterfly.
4) Thomas E. Dewey, Republican presidential candidate in 1944 and 1948, was the governor of New York.
5) The bassoon represents the grandfather in “Peter and the Wolf.”
6) Grace Dayton illustrated children’s books and magazines, but perhaps is most famous for creating the Campbell Soup Kids.

 

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