Tough Trivia, 5/13/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is the first of the new Entertainment category: Trey Parker and Matt Stone are a creative duo known for several long-running comic projects. Two of their best-known award-winners—in widely divergent media—were both subjects of concern due to religious protests. Can you name them?

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Yesterday’s question was: Temperature scales are all designed to do the same thing: tell us if we need to put on a sweater or head for the beach. And they all have two fixed points, based on that most necessary of terrestrial substances. So, what are the freezing and boiling points of water in degrees Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin, and Rankine? Bonus points if you know the average human body temperature on those scales.

The answers are:

Fahrenheit: water freezes at 32 degrees, and boils at 212. Body temp: 98.

Celsius: water freezes at 0 degrees, and boils at 100. Body temp: 37.

Kelvin: water freezes at 273.15, and boils at 373.15. Body temp: 310.15.

Rankine: water freezes at 491.67 degrees, and boils at 671.67. Body temp: 558.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 5/12/21

Today’s Tough trivia question is the first under the new categorical rotation as a Science question: Temperature scales are all designed to do the same thing: tell us if we need to put on a sweater or head for the beach. And they all have two fixed points, based on that most necessary of terrestrial substances. So, what are the freezing and boiling points of water in degrees Fahrenheit, Celsius, Kelvin, and Rankine? Bonus points if you know the average human body temperature on those scales.

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Yesterday’s question was: Stars of comic books, television, and movies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are actually named after four classic artists. Name the artists… in order of their birth (the artists, not the turtles).

The answer is:

Donatello was born Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi around the year 1386 and died December 13, 1466, in Florence.

Leonardo da Vinci was born Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy. He died on May 2, 1519, in Amboise, France.

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born March 6, 1475, in Tuscany, Italy, and die February 18, 1564, in Rome.

Raphael was born Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino on either March 28 or April 6, 1483 in Urbino, Italy. He died on April 6, 1520, in Rome.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

Tough Trivia, 5/11/21

Today’s Tough trivia question — the first in our new categorical rotation for the Arts category — is: Stars of comic books, television, and movies, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are actually named after four classic artists. Name the artists… in order of their birth (the artists, not the turtles).

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Yesterday’s question (the first of the new History questions) was: This is one of my favorite trivia questions when I give talks on the Presidents. I usually present it as a series of hints sprinkled through the talk, but for you, I’ll give all the hints at once. Name the only two people who have received electoral votes in five different elections.

Hint 1: They were members of two different political parties.

Hint 2: They each had a win-lose record of 4 and 1.

Hint 3: They were both active in the 20th century.

The answers are: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard M. Nixon.

FDR was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in the election of 1920 (James M. Cox was the presidential contender), and they lost. Then FDR was elected President in 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944 — the only President to be elected more than twice.

Nixon was one of the youngest Vice Presidents when he was elected on Republican Dwight Eisenhower’s ticket in 1952 and again in 1956. In 1960, Nixon lost the very close presidential election to John Kennedy. He went on to lose the election for governor of California in 1962. But then Nixon made a come-back, and won the presidential elections in 1968 and 1972, the 1972 election by one of the largest margins of victory.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

HR842, the Pro Act

I’ve just sent the following letter to my Congressional representatives, expressing concern over a portion of this bill, which has already passed the House, and is currently in the Senate (if you’re interested in reading the bill for yourself, see this link):

I’m writing because I’m concerned about H.R. 842, titled “An act to amend the National Labor Relations Act, the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, and for other purposes.”

I’m especially concerned about one of the definitions. It is in Title I, Section 101 Definitions, subsection (b) Employee, specification (B), which says “[an individual… shall be considered an employee… and not an independent contractor, unless] the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer…”

This concerns me both as a freelance writer and as the owner of a small publishing company. As a writer, I write stories and articles for which I am paid as a freelancer and which appear in magazines and books. The companies which publish my work are in the business of publishing content like that which I write, which certainly sounds like “the usual course of the business.”

As a publisher, I hire freelance cover designers and freelance editors to help craft the books that I publish. Putting the books into publishable form is the usual course of my business (and of course, the writers themselves are not my employees). None of those writers, editors, or cover artists are tied only to my company: they can and do use their talents for many companies, which is as they and I want it.

This clause may not apply to me, but it’s not a stretch to read it as applying emphatically and specifically to my various endeavors. Can you please see about rewriting it or otherwise emphatically noting that those of us in the freelance writing, editing, and publishing fields will be explicitly exempted from any such burdens? Thank you.

Tough Trivia, 5/10/21

I’ve been gratified by the positive responses I’ve been getting to these Tough Trivia questions, so I’ll be continuing them indefinitely. But in the coming days, I’m going to make a few tweaks. The questions are going to go onto a regular daily category rotation (I’m still working out the details), and I’m also hoping for more input from you. Do you have a favorite trivia question you’d be willing to share? (Don’t post it, but do drop me a private message with it.) Is there a specific category or theme you’d like to see more of? (Feel free to post it in a comment.) Stick around: I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. And now, on to today’s question:

This is one of my favorite trivia questions when I give talks on the Presidents. I usually present it as a series of hints sprinkled through the talk, but for you, I’ll give all the hints at once. Name the only two people who have received electoral votes in five different elections.

Hint 1: They were members of two different political parties.

Hint 2: They each had a win-lose record of 4 and 1.

Hint 3: They were both active in the 20th century.

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Stars-fig4Friday’s question was: Can you name all the five-star generals (and admirals) who ever served in the US military? (There are probably fewer of them than you think.)

The answer is:

The US military established five-star ranks in 1944, to remedy the awkwardness of some US commanders being placed in the position of commanding allied officers of higher rank. The five-star rank was retired in 1981, upon the death of Omar Bradley.

The Fleet Admirals were:

  • William D. Leahy (appointed December 15, 1944, at the age of 69; died July 20, 1959)
  • Ernest King (appointed December 17, 1944, at the age of 66; died June 25, 1956)
  • Chester W. Nimitz (appointed December 19, 1944, at the age of 59; died February 20, 1966)
  • William Halsey, Jr. (appointed December 11, 1945, at the age of 63; died August 16, 1959)

General of the Army was a four-star rank in the years after the Civil War (granted to Ulysses Grant, William Sherman, and Philip Sheridan, who died in 1888). During World War II, it was established as a five-star rank. The Generals of the Army were:

  • George Marshall (appointed December 16, 1944, at the age of 64; died October 16, 1959)
  • Douglas MacArthur (appointed December 18, 1944, at the age of 64; died April 5, 1964)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (appointed December 20, 1944, at the age of 54; served as President, 1953–1961; died March 28, 1969)
  • Henry H. Arnold (appointed December 21, 1944, at the age of 58; became the only five-star general of the Air Force when the Air Force was formed in 1947; died January 15, 1950)
  • Omar Bradley (appointed September 22, 1950, at the age of 57, while serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; died April 8, 1981)

In addition, two officers who had previously been promoted beyond four stars were retroactively granted five-star rank: Admiral of the Navy George Dewey (appointed in 1903, but the appointment was made retroactive to 1897; he died in 1917), and General of the Armies John J. Pershing (appointed in 1919, he died in 1948).

And finally, as part of the bicentennial celebrations, George Washington was posthumously made permanently senior to all other offices with the title of General of the Armies on July 4, 1976, and the appointment was made retroactive to July 4, 1776.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

Pete du Pont (1935-2021)

I just saw this article that Pete du Pont — scion of the family that founded their eponymous chemical company, and two-term governor of Delaware — has died. The article notes:

During an appearance at the Hotel du Pont in downtown Wilmington, where du Pont announced he was abandoning his presidential campaign, he praised an electoral process that gave a shot at the White House to a former small-state governor with unorthodox ideas.

“You’ve given me the opportunity of a lifetime. You listened, you considered and you chose. I could not have asked for any more,” du Pont said. “For in America, we do not promise that everyone wins, only that everyone gets a chance to try.”

That’s class. That’s the type of character we need to see from all our politicians.

Tough Trivia, 5/7/21

500dollarbillToday’s Tough Trivia question is: Can you name all the five-star generals (and admirals) who ever served in the US military? (There are probably fewer of them than you think.)

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Yesterday’s question was: Obsolete US currencies. Currently, the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the division of the Treasury Department that produces paper money), prints and distributes paper money in these denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. In days gone by, there were larger bills in circulation in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000 (though the $100,000 bill never circulated, and was used only for internal government transactions [remember, no electronic funds transfers at the time]). The government stopped producing them in the 1940s, and recalled them in 1969 (withdrawing them from circulation and destroying whenever they made their way into the federal reserve system), but they are still legal tender. Whose portraits graced the fronts of those bills?

The answer is:

100000dollarbill$500: William McKinley (President, 1897–1901).
$1,000: Grover Cleveland (President, 1885–89 and 1893–97).
$5,000: James Madison (President, 1809–17).
$10,000: Salmon P. Chase (Secretary of the Treasury, 1861–64; Chief Justice of the United States, 1864–73).
$100,000: Woodrow Wilson (President, 1913–21).
An interesting story about $10,000 bills is the old horseshoe of a million dollars in Binion’s Horseshoe Casino: https://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/question/binions-million-dollars/ .

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 5/6/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: Obsolete US currencies. Currently, the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the division of the Treasury Department that produces paper money), prints and distributes paper money in these denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. In days gone by, there were larger bills in circulation in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, and $100,000 (though the $100,000 bill never circulated, and was used only for internal government transactions [remember, no electronic funds transfers at the time]). The government stopped producing them in the 1940s, and recalled them in 1969 (withdrawing them from circulation and destroying whenever they made their way into the federal reserve system), but they are still legal tender. Whose portraits graced the fronts of those bills?

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Yesterday’s question was: How many national flags use only the colors red, white, and blue? Bonus points if you know how many use all three of those colors.

And the answer is:

IMG_137845 countries. 24 of them use all three; 16 use red and white only, and 5 use blue and white only. (No country’s flag is entirely red, white, or blue.)

Red white and blue: Australia, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechia, France, Iceland, North Korea, Laos, Liberia, Luxembourg, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Russia, Samoa, Slovakia, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

Red and white: Austria, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, Georgia, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Singapore, Switzerland, Tonga, Tunisia, and Turkey.

Blue and white: Finland, Greece, Honduras, Israel, and Somalia.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 5/5/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: How many national flags use only the colors red, white, and blue? Bonus points if you know how many use all three of those colors.

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Yesterday’s question was: Boeing makes a huge number of the passenger airplanes upon which we fly. They’re iconic for their model numbers: the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. (Nobody remembers the 717.) In which decade did each of those model numbers enter commercial service? Bonus question: one 747 holds the record for carrying the most people on a single flight. How many people was it?

The answer is:

The Boeing 707 is a long-range, narrow-body, four engine jetliner. First flown in 1954, it entered service with Pan American World Airways on October 26, 1958. Production ceased in 1978, after 865 707s were built.

The Boeing 727 is a narrow-body jetliner with three engines on the tail. First flown in 1963, it entered service with Eastern Airlines on February 1, 1964. The last, of 1,832 727s, was built in 1984.

The Boeing 737 is a narrow-body twin jet engine airliner, one of the most popular in the world. First flown in 1967, it entered service with Lufthansa in February 1968. More than 10,000 737s have been built so far.

1024px-Air_Force_One_over_Mt._Rushmore
The 747 in Air Force One livery flying over Mount Rushmore. In military terminology, it is known as a VC-25.

The iconic Boeing 747, is a large, long-range, wide-body airliner with four jet engines and the hump on the forward fuselage. It first flew in 1969, and entered service with Pan Am on January 22, 1970. More than 1,500 747s have been built. On May 24, 1991, as part of Operation Solomon (which evacuated Ethiopian Jews to Israel), one El Al 747 with the seats removed carried 1,088 passengers (including two babies born in flight) on the route: the most passengers ever on one aircraft.

The Boeing 757 is a narrow-body twin jet engine airliner. First flown in 1982, it entered service with Eastern Airlines on January 1, 1983. In 2004, the last of 1,050 757s was built.

The Boeing 767 is a wide-body twin jet engine airliner. First flown in 1981, it entered service with United Airlines on September 8, 1982. More than 1,200 767s have been built as of this year.

The Boeing 777 is a wide-body twin jet engine airliner. It first flew in 1994, and entered service with United Airlines on June 7, 1995. Boeing has so far built more than 1,600 777s.

The Boeing 787, also known as the Dreamliner, is a wide-body twin jet engine airliner. It first flew in 2009, and entered service with All Nippon Airways on October 26, 2011. Through March of this year, Boeing has built 994 787s.

The Boeing 717 is the odd one out. The aircraft developed between the 707 and the 727 was not as long as the 707, and only went into military service as the C-135. It first flew in 1961, and has been in continual service (in several variants) with the US Air Force ever since.

There is also a newer 717. In the early 1990s, McDonnell Douglas developed the MD-95, a twin-engine (two on the tail), single-aisle jetliner, which first flew in 1998, and entered service with AirTran Airways on October 12, 1999. Boeing acquired McDonnel Douglas in August 1999, and rather than cancelling the MD-95, they simply rebranded it as the 717. 156 of the airplane were built before Boeing ceased production in 2006.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 5/4/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: Boeing makes a huge number of the passenger airplanes upon which we fly. They’re iconic for their model numbers: the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. (Nobody remembers the 717.) In which decade did each of those model numbers enter commercial service? Bonus question: one 747 holds the record for carrying the most people on a single flight. How many people was it?

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Yesterday’s question was: Two men named John Marshall Harlan served on the Supreme Court. How were they related, and who appointed them?

The answer is:

800px-JudgeJMHarlan
John Marshall Harlan

John Marshall Harlan was born June 1, 1833, in Frankfort, Kentucky. His father, James Harlan, represented Kentucky in the House of Representatives (1835–39), and then served as Kentucky’s Secretary of State (1840–44) and Kentucky’s Attorney General (1851–19). John was named for Chief Justice John Marshall, and attended law school at Transylvania University. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1853. He was appointed adjutant general of Kentucky (1851–59), and elected county judge for Franklin County in 1858. He worked against secession, and then served in the Kentucky militia as a colonel in the first years of the Civil War. He resigned his commission when his father died in 1863. Later that year, he was elected Attorney General of Kentucky, and served for four years. After losing his bid for re-election, he worked as a lawyer while remaining active in politics. When David Davis resigned from the Supreme Court to join the Senate, President Rutherford Hayes appointed Harlan, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 1877. Harlan was the lone dissenting vote in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” He served until his death on October 14, 1911.

John_Marshall_Harlan_II_official
John Marshall Harlan II

John Marshall Harlan’s youngest son (he had six children), John Maynard Harlan, was a lawyer and alderman in Chicago. John Maynard’s only son (of four children), John Marshall Harlan II, was born in Chicago on May 20, 1899. He graduated from Princeton University, and won a Rhodes Scholarship. Later, he attended New York Law School, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1925. From 1925 to 1927, he served as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and then moved into private practice. During World War II, he was a colonel in the US Army Air Force, serving as chief of the Operational Analysis Section of the Eighth Air Force in England. He was awarded the US Legion of Merit and the Croix de guerre from both France and Belgium. After the war, he returned to private practice. In 1951, he moved into the public sector, serving as Chief Counsel to the New York State Crime Commission. In January 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Harlan to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and in March 1955, Eisenhower appointed him to the Supreme Court (he was the first Rhodes Scholar to sit on the Supreme Court). Throughout his adulthood, John II carried his grandfather’s gold watch, and when he joined the Supreme Court, he used the same furniture which had previously been in his grandfather’s chambers. He retired from the Court on September 23, 1971, and died of spinal cancer three months later, on December 29.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock