Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Christmas this year finds me more generally content with my life than I have been in a dozen years. I hope the same is true of you and yours.

One of this year's new contributors to my happiness continues to be my kitty, Lucy. Here's a video of her that only her daddy could love--her Christmas present. It's a big hunk of freeze-dried turkey. Usually she gets these (her favorite treats) only a one-bite size piece at a time, but today I gave her a whole one. I had hoped to be amused by watching her claw it open, but her reaction was a little underwhelming. Oh well. As you can see at the very end, she went kind of bonkers once I helped her get past the wrapping.

Monday, December 23, 2013


I like the "Kennections" puzzles that Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings does twice a week for You answer five trivia questions, then have to figure out what theme all five answers have in common.

For a while, they accepted reader submissions. The ones that Ken liked best would run on the web site, and the authors would receive copies of Ken's books. I submitted four, none of which was ever selected. Rigged, obviously.

Anyway, last night I thought up another one--my best yet. I got the questions typed up just right, then went to fill in the submission form on the Parade web site. I was dismayed to discover that they have terminated the reader contribution feature.

But I can't just let this go unused. So I'm putting it here for your amusement. (It has nothing to do with poker.) I can't do the nifty magically-appearing answers like Parade does. I'll just have to rely on big blocks of blank text, forcing you to scroll down for the answers. I'll give you the five trivia questions, then a blank space, then the answers to those questions, then another blank space, then the answer to what the five answers have in common--the thing that Parade calls the "Kennection" between them.

Here we go.

1. Earth’s southernmost active volcano, Mt. Erebus, is found on which continent?

2. What December 23rd (hey, that's today!) holiday does a famous 1997 episode of “Seinfeld” describe as Frank Costanza’s alternative to an overly commercialized Christmas?

3. “Sweet Adelines” is the name for the female counterpart to what form of male quartet?

4. What type of public school uses a specialized curriculum to attract students from across geographically defined district borders?

5. In what city’s shipyards did electrician Lech Walesa become a trade union activist, leading to the formation of the Solidarity movement?

Scroll down for the answers. 

1. Antarctica. 

2. Festivus. 

3. Barbershop. 

4. Magnet. 

5. Gdansk. 

Now, figure out what those five answers have in common, then scroll down for the answer. 

They all have poles. (Or, in the case of Gdansk, Poles.)

How did you do?