Monday, April 04, 2011

Monday Miscellany : A Question, Mary Pickford and a Bag of Throw-outs

A QUESTION : We won the pub quiz again on Friday and the prize, of course, is a free drink and the honour of setting the quiz for the following week. So this is an appeal for anyone out there who has any good pub quiz questions they feel like sharing. You know the kind of thing, "What name is shared by the largest waterfall in Asia and a popular denture fixative paste?" (don't waste your time looking for an answer I just made that up). Any kind of question would be welcome, be it a straightforward one (what is the capital of the state of Kentucky?) or one of those counter-intuitive, mind-bending puzzlers which always make you want to punch the question-master on his nose. Remember the audience will be in West Yorkshire so "Who is the current Attorney-General of New Zealand?" might not be suitable. If you have any suggestions please add them to the comments to this post, but just in case any of the participants in the Rock Tavern Quiz are reading this, don't include the answers : I will get in touch if I need these.

MARY PICKFORD : The archive picture I have selected to accompany the call for submissions for Sepia Saturday this week is a gorgeous photograph of Mary Pickford. Finding the image via Wikimedia took no time at all, but what was time consuming, and gloriously so, was the trail of recreational research that it led me into. I had never appreciated what a long and fascinating life she led and how important a figure she was in the development of the motion picture industry, both in front of the camera and behind it. I was commenting on one of last weeks' Sepia Saturday contributions the other day - after I had perhaps had a glass or two of single malt - and I suggested that behind every old photograph there is a digital thread that can lead us on the most fascinating journeys. That is the beauty of old images. If you want to set out some of those digital threads for others to follow you can always come and join us over at Sepia Saturday.

A BAG OF THROW-OUTS : In my last post I told of the time when my father worked at the Mackintosh chocolate and toffee factory in Halifax and how the sweet smell of boiling toffee used to greet me when I would go and meet him from work. Several people have asked if we got free sweets and chocolates. The answer is that they were not free, but they were very cheap. Each Friday, the factory would sell its workers large brown paper bags of what were called "throw-outs" (misshapen or rejected chocolates of all types) and my father would come home from work with one or two bags of these. The problem was, of course, that familiarity bred a kind of sweet-toothed contempt, and what were Christmas and birthday treats for other children became rather boring fare for us. There was, however, a brief period of renewed pleasure when Mackintoshes were taken over by Rowntrees and the weekly bags would suddenly contain misshapen Smarties and twisted Kit-Kats. But in time, even the wonder of these became somewhat pedestrian.


  1. The cat is first
    Betsy is worst
    Oh you must have been hard up having all that candy
    Oh so handy..haha
    But yeah I can see how it would get old
    While other kids thought it was so bold
    There is a halifax over there too
    While that's near where I live in Canada maybe we should sue
    Using the same name it two places
    Must confuse some faces
    But it's be done thousands of times
    As they just aren't good at thinking up rhymes
    Nice little post
    Now I say goodbye to you the host

  2. Here's a good pub quiz question for you:

    Two inventions from long, long ago (but still in use, if much less so than before) perform the same function, but one has thousands of moving parts and the other has just one, unmoving part. What are they, and what do they do?

  3. Alan:

    Q: The Eels is a rock band fronted by Mark Oliver Everett. What is the connection between Mr E (as he is known) and the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

    A: Mark Oliver Everett is the son of physicist Hugh Everett III, originator of the Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum theory.

  4. Pat : What can I say, today?
    Roy : I am still thinking, I will get in touch when I am forced to give in.
    CB : And for a bonus what is their connection with Saturday Night Fever? (that is a serious question not a throw away line)

  5. There is a bar in Philly that does Quizzo on Wednesday nights, I can only remember a few of the questions but here's one: What book starts with the line "It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking 13." or "How is the date of Easter determined?" Just a couple of thoughts.

  6. Most of what I now know of Mary Pickford -- one of the very first Movie Stars (That's capitalized for a reason!) -- is because of her association with Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (both idols of mine). Ah, those were the days... when one became a celebrity for actually having done something of note!

  7. dude i would be the size of a barn if someone in my fam worked at a chocolate factory...or candy factory...

    what world city houses the largest toilet facility at over 1000 heads?

  8. I remember a pub like that. Well...actually it was more of a BBQ&Beer joint. No questions asked but if you were high scorer on the pinball machine, you could walk away with a case of your favourite( providing it co-incided with what they had in stock and you were willing to share, afterwards... ) Mary Pickford! I ken what ya mean on the side research. I've books on th' subject(s) at hand. Silver Fox can aver to that ;)

    And I think I inherited my sweet tooth...

  9. ... and now, of course, Rowntree are part of the monstre that is Nestle!

    Talking of quizzes, the funniest answer I ever heard to a question on The Weakest Link...

    Q: The M27 runs from Southampton to which other south coast city?

    The answer given? LEEDS!!!!!!

    I didn't now whether to laugh or cry!

  10. I love the candid relaxed Mary Pickford. Plus you're my 11:11 sighting for today. Did you do that on purpose?

  11. What is Pat doing over here teasing me?

    Love the photo of Mary Pickford. What a beauty she was. Looking forward to Saturday!

  12. The one thing that stayed in my mind about Mary Pickford is the fact that she was born Canadian. In fact, a lot of good actors/actresses/singers are from Canada and then went over to the states. Of course, that was the place to go to get a break in entertainment.

  13. Q. To whom was this said?

    A member of Parliament said to ________: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease." "That depends, Sir," said
    ________ "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

  14. Alan: at a guess, I'd say The Eels' track, 'Saturday Morning'?

  15. CB : Sorry, I got my waist mixed up with my waste again - well this time I got my Saturday Night Fever mixed up with my Grease! The questions should have read : "what is their connection with Grease?"

  16. I always get caught on the 'stans' Afghanistan Uzbekistan . .so many, so little time. You got cheap sweeties? Gawd all we got was 5 loaves of bread each week (my father worked for a large bread company) and then the dog would pinch one and bury it, we'd find them months later scattered beneath the flower beds, mouldy but intact. Resourceful pup.

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