Thursday, February 28, 2008

The newspaper article

Who knew? This was online the whole time. I was just looking in the wrong place. :) Click the title to see the orginal, although I copied the whole thing.

Bar Exams: Trivia nights turn drinkers into thinkers

By Ragan Robinson
Record Staff Writer
Question: How can you leave a bar smarter than when you went in?
Answer: You probably can’t. But you can try.
In a couple of Hickory hot spots, beer takes a backseat to trivia.
At Buffalo Wild Wings, where video trivia lets patrons play against people across the nation, a corner table fills with aficionados of useless information almost every afternoon. The restaurant/bar plans live question-and-answer contests weekly starting Feb. 11. That is, when football season’s finished.
At McGuire’s Pub, where CNN (instead of sports) plays on the two not-so-big-screen TVs, the hardcore connoisseurs rate obscure facts higher than football.
This Monday wasn’t the first they spent vying for first-place in a two-hour contest. Hostess Carmen Eckard says 30 to 40 people usually join in. This week drew about 25. And they all tried their hands at the game, even 24-year-old Justin McKinnon and 25-year-old Herb Fleschner. They came in for food and ended up huddled over glasses of Pabst Blue Ribbon, trying to figure out what the mnemonic device “two old angels skipped over heaven carrying ancient harps” is supposed to help you remember. (It’s used in math to remember the equations for Tangent, Sine and Cosine: Tangent = Opposite/Adjacent; Sine = Opposite/Hypotenuse; Cosine = Adjacent/Hypotenuse.)
Luckily for them, there were a couple of football questions, too.
Eckard researches questions, presents them to players and tallies the scores. She’s such a fan of trivia that she agrees to get paid in McGuire’s gift certificates. If she didn’t lead the game, Eckard says she’d just be sitting around the bar asking her friends the same questions, anyway.
But then Roger Golightly might not be arguing with her answers. He’s a regular on trivia night. Usually, he’s got a crowd, but this week he was playing solo under the team name “Left-out Lamont*,” a little piece of classic TV trivia in itself.
“I have a BA and PhD in philosophy,” says Golightly. “I know everything that’s unimportant.”
The futile facts stuck in his head kept him in first place until the final two rounds, when team “No Love” pulled into the No. 1 slot. Austin Lutz was one member of the four-person team. He’s a regular for trivia night.
“I guess people come just to test their knowledge,” he said, admitting, “There’s probably a little arrogance in it.”
Bartender Doug Rockett is sure of that.
“Any way you can say, ‘I’m better than you,’ that’s what we all like to do,” he insists.
Across town at Buffalo Wild Wings, self-described trivia-holic Bob Bates swears the video trivia he plays almost every day keeps his mind sharp and helps him learn new things. He just can’t remember any of them at the moment.
Jeff Sigmon chimes in to help. He’s there about twice a week from around 3 p.m. until his wife calls to tell him to come home.
“We learned the Indian word for water is Minneapolis — or something like that,” Sigmon says.
OK, so maybe it’s the social aspect of the game that keeps them coming back. At their table, answers fly through the crowd (four people on Tuesday but often the six-seat table overflows). When Bob knows he’s right, he sometimes even insists his fellow players change their choices.
If they do well enough, Buffalo Wild Wings gets ranked among the top venues in the nation.
“We’ve been No. 1 many times,” Bob says.
John Bruen used to see Buffalo’s on the leader board when he played in Cornelius. That’s why, when he moved to Hickory, he headed straight for this bar. Bob and the gang immediately invited him to their table.
“There’s a fellowship that comes with this,” Bruen says. “As soon as I knew I could come here and play the game, I felt at home again.”

Golightly named his one-man team after the season three episode of “Sanford and Son,” entitled “Wine, Women and Aunt Esther.”
More proof of Golightly’s useless knowledge:
“‘Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well’ is a misquote. The actual quote, which Golightly spouts without so much as a scratch of the head: “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr’d in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it.”
The word “trivia” comes from the Roman “tri via,” for crossroads, where there was information that may or may not be of use. (He doesn’t think Eckard’s right about Trivia being the goddess of the crossroads.)

No comments: