I watched one of the scariest TV programs ever last night: Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? The level of ignorance in our country is astounding (but see my speculation below). Last night featured a high school history teacher, a “rocket scientist,” and a CFO. Here are the questions they couldn’t answer:
What country borders Spain to the west?
Completed in 1825, what man made waterway in New York state connects the Hudson River to the Great Lakes?
What US state was named after a King of England?
True or False: All birds are mammals.
Mount Kilimanjaro is located on what continent?
True or False: Vermont was one of the original 13 colonies.
The US state of Indiana borders which Great Lake?
Now, to my great shame, I drew a blank on Kilimanjaro, Hemingway’s fascination with the dark continent notwithstanding, and I simply wasn’t sure about the bird question.
The disturbing level of ignorance displayed by last night’s contestants, especially when combined with my uncertainty regarding the bird question, got me thinking: I wonder if the Show’s producer’s test the contestants beforehand, discern their weak points, then exploit them? If I were on the Show, for instance, they could probably use relatively basic science questions (“True or False: H2O is a compound that produces Pepsi”) to trip me. Unfortunately, I doubt that’s the case. The gentlemen on last night’s show probably are as ignorant as they appeared, and now I need to watch some Jeopardy to regain faith in my fellow Americans.
Brews You Can Use
The weekend forecast is gorgeous. Good drinking weather, and I’m going to the Tigers-Mets game tomorrow afternoon (Fox’s game of the week). Look for me down first base line, shortly into the outfield, about 15 rows from the field. I’ll be the drunk guy singing/screaming “Uno Placido Polanco” to the tune of “Uma Paloma Blanca” every time the second baseman comes to the plate or makes a good play.
Battle of the saints? I’ve never heard of such a thing. I’ll need to get a closer look:
Labatt’s new beer is called St. Urbain, and its logo features a Montreal street sign. McAuslan’s flagship beer is its St. Ambroise Pale Ale, and the brewery has long played up its Montreal roots, using a street sign in its marketing campaigns.
Using cold ones to make hot ones: A Chinese farmer has made his own solar-powered water heater out of beer bottles and hosepipes.
Maybe Wade Boggs reads this blog on Fridays. Link.
I hate dealing with kegs. The taps go bad, people complain that keg beer gives them headaches, the ice gets messy, the barrels leak, and when you return the keg and tap the next day, it takes forever to get someone to give you a refund. It’s going to get worse in Michigan: the keg deposit has been tripled to $30.00. That’s disappointing. The deposit has been $10.00 my entire drinking life. I thought “$10.00 keg deposit” was etched in stone someplace.
How many types of beer are there? I thought there were four: great, good, decent, and Budweiser. Turns out nobody really knows. It depends on how you categorize. This competition has 75 types. This competition has nine categories comprised of 27 classes.
Environmentalism might be anti-beer? Time to pitchfork Al Gore.
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In the last two years, the price of barley has doubled to $271 per ton as farmers plant more crops such as rapeseed and corn that can be turned into ethanol or biodiesel, a fuel made from vegetable oil. As a result, the price for the key ingredient in beer — barley malt, or barley that has been allowed to germinate — has soared by more than 40 percent, to around 385 euros or $522 per ton, from around 270 euros a ton two years ago, according to the Bavarian Brewers’ Association.
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