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Play Trivia Tonight

Play trivia tonight!

Trivia is a glorious and time-honored Williams tradition dating back to 1966. Once in January and once in May, all Williams students—and anyone else who wants to, for that matter—are invited to stay up way too late for a night of music, goofy acting, and things-you-know-but-can’t-quite-remember. It’s the final exam for everything you never learned at Williams College.

We are Taha Noa Noa, the team who won last January’s contest. That is the prize for winning trivia: more trivia. If you win this contest, you have the privilege and requirement of running the next one.

The denizens and hanger-ons at EphBlog disagree about many things. But we all agree that you should try out Trivia at least once during your four years at Williams. Instructions here.

Best team name this year? I vote for We Know Words. We Have All The Best Words. Does any team have an EphBlog connection?

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Today’s Williams Trivia Minute

I’ve listed below a few of my favorite questions from the most recent Williams Trivia contest posted to the web (January 2010).  NB: these aren’t for trivia novices (anyone who can get at least five correct wins my everlasting respect, plus an invite to join Eric Soskin and I for bar trivia in D.C.).  No cheating (e.g., Google or looking up the answers on the Trivia website), although if you are desperate to satisfy your curiosity, answers are here.   I’ll post the answers tomorrow morning … oh, and if you REALLY want to waste time, check out one of the always-fantastic super bonus questions.  For example, for how many of these album covers can you name both the album name and artist?  I only got 10 … ouch.  It’s classic-rock heavy, so I’m guessing PTC can do better …

(1) From which religious organization did Matt Groening admit stealing the Simpsons characters?

(2) In 1993, Michael Jackson patented a dance move that allowed the wearer of special shoes to lean forward beyond his or her center of gravity.  What is the name of this patent as registered by the U.S. Patent and Trade Office?

(3) What state would you be in if you were at the farthest point from a McDonalds restaurant — that you could be — in the lower 48 states?

(4) Speaking up in a college classroom can be intimidating.  So one major midwestern college created a system where students can Twitter, Facebook, or text their questions in class without saying a word.  What’s the brand name of this sizzling suite of software?

(5) Williams College is a contender for the oldest college trivia contest in the country. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point [JZ note: damn them!!!!] contest is in contention for the largest.  What two men write the questions for the Stevens Point contest?

(6)When an ’89 Eph (pron. EEF) got cranky on national TV, cupcakes were sent to cheer her up.  Who delivered this sweet treat [JZ: and who was the Eph; regular Ephblog readers should get this one]?

(7) A summer 2009 event commemorated the very first intercollegiate baseball game. Each modern-day player wore a baseball cap emblazoned with what?  Be specific.

(8) Who is the only fictional character to be honored with an obituary in the New York Times?

(9) Across two separate launches in 1961 and 1963, the U.S. purposely put into orbit approximately 1 billion identical orbiting objects. What were these objects?

(10) Everyone knows old volumes in the library give off a certain mustiness.  Turns out, there’s a new scientific method of figuring out the condition of the paper through that mustiness. What’s this non-destructive method called?

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Williams Trivia

From EphNotes:

Williams Trivia Contest this Friday!

The Williams Trivia Contest, a semi-annual event since 1966, has caused thousands of Williams students, alumni and friends to commit their souls to the gods of Trivia for a night. Learn more on Trivia’s homepage and on Facebook.

Register for this Friday night’s contest here.

If you don’t play Trivia at least once during your four years at Williams, you are making a mistake.

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Williams Trivia Minute

Installment one of a new Ephblog feature: Williams Trivia Minute, where I (or any other Ephblogger who is so-inclined) steals a question or three from the Trivia archives, a tremendous repository of procrastination material if I’ve ever seen one.  My plan is to repeat this feature whenever Ephblog veers towards the insufficiently trivial (eg, anytime I see a comment like this).  For installment one, it seems appropriate to start with some Williamsiana:

Did you know that West College burned to the ground in 1951?  What is the oldest building on campus that has never burned?  When was it built?  And as a bonus, what current campus building incorporates some of West’s charred remains?

If you’re ready to give up, you can find the answer, along with some other cool Williamsiana, here.

(NB: if you want to simulate the true Williams Trivia experience, stay up for 24 hours straight, consume copious volumes of cheap alcohol, run around like crazy and perform a random sketch, THEN try to answer this question … oh, and be sure to plan a really important meeting for early the next morning).

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Trivia

Trivia starts in a few hours. You should play at least once during your time at Williams.

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Play Trivia

The 84th Semi-Annual Williams Trivia Contest is tonight. If you don’t play Trivia at least once during your time at Williams, you are making a mistake. If any readers are playing, please update us on the event. Non-players are welcome to suggest funny team names, ideally based on campus controversies. Standing By Myself? Quality of Privilege Defenders?

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Play Trivia

If you haven’t played Trivia at least once in your Williams career, you are missing out. Play tonight. Perhaps one of the team names will feature a campus controversy. Note that “Mary Jane Hitlers” is still available . . .

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Ferry ’69 Quote on Trivia

Surely this quote from Frank Ferry ’69 about Williams Trivia belongs on our Quote Wall.

It is a tremendous emotional experience. We don’t deal in minutia, which may be defined as useless facts with no emotional value. Trivia concerns something you know but can’t quite remember.

But is that version accurate? I seem to remember it being longer . . .

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Trivia Recap

Did any of our readers participate in Trivia on Saturday? Jonathan mentioned it before. Here is the main web page. Participants didn’t put team details on Willipedia. Comments:

1) Loved the team with nothing but Yorgeys.

2) Loved the trash talk from JC Superstars, the winning team. “We have God on our side! (and his son)”

3) The future of Trivia seems secure since there was plenty of First Year participation. Besides the winning team (based in Lehman), a Williams C team came in 4th. Many/most of the teams, however, seemed off-campus.

4) Did the existence of neighborhood housing have any impact on Trivia? For example, were any of the teams explicitly based on a neighborhood? Did any of the neighborhood governing boards encourage participation? Recall that revitalizing Trivia was one of the benefits that neighborhoods were supposed to create. This was always a bogus argument since it implied (with zero evidence) that the popularity of Trivia had fallen in the last 20 years.

5) Was participation greater or less than usual? The contest was remarkably close. The top 3 teams were with 11 points of each other and there were 5 teams within 50 points of the winner. How many students on campus participated? Ideally, Trivia would have both lots of alumni and lots of student participation.

6) Where is the recap (like this one from 2004) for the contest. A member of Suite Suite Lovin ought to record this history while it is still fresh.

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Trivia is in progress!

The winter contest seems to have started, even though it’s not midnight yet. I’m sure I’d know why if I were on campus. To follow the fun if you’re awake now, go to http://www.suitesuiteloving.com/

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Trivia Results

Congratulates to Awesome Sauce for hosting what appears to be a successful Williams Trivia contest(much earlier) today. Kudos also to Suite Suite Lovin’ on their victory. Now they “get to” host Trivia next January!

1) Best question: “Give us a perspective on cluster housing in the style of Dr. Seuss.” I realize that this was an Action Item, but surely there is a script or two about. Fans of CUL would love to read them.

2) No doubt participation was much higher this year than previous years because of Neighborhood Housing!

3) Best team name? Dharma Initiative!

4) It would be fun to read a recap of highlights and a summary of how the scoring went. Did anyone write one this year?

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Trends in Trivia Participation

In all our many discussions about Williams housing, a recurring claim (see Mike’s comments here) has been that, back in the misty past of affliation, “Williams traditions” were more robust and important in campus life. A subsidiary claim is that one of the primary reasons for this robustness is that seniors living with sophomores passed on these traditions.

Color me skeptical.

But, rather than polemics, I am interested in data. The two most commonly cited examples are the decrease in participation in snow sculptures and in Trvia. Leave aside snow sculptures for now. Question: Is is true that participation in Williams Trivia is lower now than it was 10 or 20 years ago?

A priori, I am certainly ready to believe that it is. Students today, what with all this technology stuffery, have many more entertainment options than we had back in the 80’s. But consider the Williams Trivia site.

Compare the final scores from Spring 1992 and Winter 2004. As best I can tell, Trivia was as about as widely played in these two eras. As best I can recall from the 1980’s, Trivia was no more popular then. I certainly don’t recall anyone playing in Carter House during my three years there.

To do a thorough study, we would need to know more, of course, about the size of the teams, the number of current students who were playing and so on. But, poking around the site, I see no evidence that would support the claim that Trivia today is much less widely played than it was 10 or 20 years ago. See also David Ramos’s ’00 comments here.

If there is such evidence, I would appreciate knowing about it.

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Go Play Trivia Right Now

Trivia starts in 20 minutes. Go play. If you spend 4 years at Williams and never play a serious evening of trivia, I suspect that you will regret it for the next 20 years.

My only fear is that someone will use “ephblog” in their team name . . .

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Trivia

Trivia is next week. If you don’t play a serious evening of trivia at least once in your four years at Williams, you are making a mistake. How can you resist a game in which the rules include such gems as:

In recent years, a garish velvet painting has been awarded to the best (i.e., most naked) Action Trivia performance of the night. In addition, many teams hand out various toys and trinkets of a silly nature, to reward achievements real and/or ridiculous. Some teams also take the opportunity to hand out extra copies of their on-air questions. Speeches are made, applause is cheap, and breakfast is soon.

The best-loved questions are the ones that refer to half-remembered aspects of a book, TV series, film, comic, or whatever. Players like to unpeel the folds of their brains like artichokes, searching for the gunk underneath. In particularly lucky circumstances, these questions can cause the delicious tension of what was once called “T.O.T.”– the Tip of Tongue factor– when people know the answer but cannot immediately retrieve it.

It is no coincidence that such questions are the most difficult to come up with. But whether the struggling player manages to Heimlich up the answer in time or not, these are the questions that will be recalled with fondness, often years or decades after the contest has ceased to be. One such question beats any fifty passingly amusing “News of the Weird” oddities. Trivia should grip the heart as well as the brain. When an answer is revealed, hopefully it will make the team without the points shout, “Ahh, SHIT!”, not “Who CARES?”

With the wealth of material now available on the internet, it is a good idea to at least attempt to web-proof all of your Boni as best you can. Ideally, Williams Trivia should challenge the abilities and memories of the teams, not the scope of AltaVista.

Ahh. Altavista. I remember her fondly.

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