Monday’s Trivia Hootenanny!

– There are no rats in Alberta, Canada. Well, I’m sure there are a few, but for fifty years the Alberta government has worked hard to keep rat populations at bay. Here’s a brief write-up about the province’s rat eradication program on the official Alberta government website, and here’s a Wiki map showing the lack of rats in Alberta.

– It’s tempting to think of some foods as always existing, but the truth is that many of our favorite foods are extremely recent. Granny Smith apples, for example, didn’t exist until 1868 and first went on sale in the United States in 1972. Hass avacados weren’t bred until 1926, when full-time mail man and part-time horticulturist Rudolph Hass grafted seedlings from random avocado seeds (even scraps from restaurants!) onto Fuerte trees, then the predominant avocado strain. Hass’ original avocado tree, located at 430 West Road, La Habra Heights, California, survived until September 11, 2002 when it was cut down due to root rot.

– Roger Ebert likes black women. Back in the 80s, friends set him up on a blind date with a local talk show host. The date was a “genteel bust”, but Ebert did convince the woman to syndicate her show. Thus, thanks to Roger Ebert, everyone in America knows the name Oprah Winfrey.

– Duran Duran’s song “Sound of Thunder” is based on a Ray Bradbury short story of (almost) the same name: “A Sound of Thunder”. The story, set in 2055, concerns a hunter named Eckles who contracts with a company called Time Safari to go back in time to shoot a Tyrannosaurus Rex. One condition of his time travel is that Eckles cannot step off a path that Time Safari has created, as any subtle changes caused by time travelers might impact the future. Although Eckles is initially excited about the safari, he loses his cool when he sees the dinosaur, and so he runs off the path, crushing a butterfly in the process. When he comes back to present time, he finds that the world has changed. The song’s lyrics “I’m the man who stepped off the path” show that LeBon is supposed to be Eckles in the song. Read more about it here.

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