Plagiarize, Plagiarize, let no one else’s work evade your eyes…

Just so you know, that opening line was from a famous Tom Lehrer song, “Lobachevsky” – a song about mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky.  I am never forget the day…

Anyways, I cite the source above because of this.

Zachery Kouwe, a reporter for the New York Times, was caught quoting from sources without proper acknowledgment or accreditation.   Among the places where he “borrowed” quotes and accreditations were the Wall Street Journal and the Reuters news service.  The web blog “The NYTPicker” pointed out Kouwe’s transgressions, while a report in the New York Observer explains that Kouwe resigned from the paper, and gave a very wan excuse about being, in his own words, “stupid and careless and … thought it was my own stuff, or it somehow slipped in there. I think that’s what probably happened.”

See, here’s the problem I have with this.  Kouwe should have known better.

He received a B.A. from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.  Just like I did (class of 1985 – Dear is thy homestead, glade and glen, let’s beat up on Franklin & Marshall again).

Back about 100 years ago, Hamilton College students, who tired of having professors proctoring during tests and exams, instituted something called the Honor Code.  In exchange for teachers letting students have the opportunity to study and take tests without any oppressive monitoring, students would self-police themselves against cheating or plagiarism or the like.  If a teacher discovered that a student may have borrowed quotes or text from another source without any citing or acknowledgment of that source, that student would be judged by an Honor Court of his peers; proof of cheating or plagiarism would be grounds for class failure or expulsion.

As a student in the early 1980’s, I saw notices of Honor Court judgments posted in the college postal center; notices in which classmates were caught submitting materials with whole paragraphs borrowed from other texts, or materials used from other sources without proper citing or accreditation.  These students thought they could get past things on a free pass, only to find out that within a week they were passed out of school.

In 2002, Eugene Tobin voluntarily admitted that he had plagiarized various quotations as part of an on-campus speech.  He left the campus shortly thereafter.

I should note that Eugene Tobin, at the time, was the president of the college.  The Honor Code is not limited to students.

Somewhere along his time at Hamilton College, Mr. Kouwe would have signed a piece of paper acknowledging his responsibilities toward the Honor Code.  Now granted, when I was a student at Hamilton, we didn’t have quickie research materials like Wikipedia or the blogosphere.  We didn’t have access to a dedicated internet.  Heck, some fortunate students on campus had their own telephone modems, at a state-of-the-art 100 baud transfer speed.

But that didn’t mean there wasn’t temptation available.  The college library had a complete set of the encyclopedia-based “Masterplots” series, in which great novels and texts were trimmed to summary form.  And you could still pick up a copy of Cliff’s Notes at any bookstore.  There’s even an apocryphal story about a student at Hamilton who thought he could get something past his professors by not only copying the material, but by removing the reference material from the library so that it could not be checked against his thesis.  Of course, that didn’t mean that the professor didn’t have a copy of that same reference material in his office.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m blameless.

Yes, I’m ashamed to say, I did plagiarize once in my writing career.

It was in the third grade.  I wrote a small poem for the school newspaper called “The First Christmas.”  I think it began with the words “The first Christmas had no winter snow / The first Christmas had no mistletoe…”  Of course, it never dawned on me that it was wrong to copy the song lyrics from a recent animated Christmas television special.

But that was in the third grade.  I was eight years old, but I learned from my mistake to never let that happen in my printed work ever again.  And no matter how stellar or how pitiful my term papers were at Hamilton College, whatever I put down on paper was my own idea, or I sourced and listed references when it wasn’t my idea.  It was tough, and it was difficult, but I learned and understood – and it made me a better writer today.

And I don’t have to worry about appearing in the “corrections” section of the New York Times.

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The Lawton-Fort Sill Cavalry are Trying to Kill Me

Last night I was in Rockville, Maryland, for a Premier Basketball League game between the Lawton-Fort Sill (Okla.) Cavalry and the Maryland GreenHawks.  Very competitive game, both teams had the lead at one point or another before the Cavs pulled ahead and won 105-99.  The game also had a decent Albany Patroons alumni factor, as Lawton head coach Micheal Ray Richardson coached the Pats for two seasons, and the Cavs’ Shaun Fountain and the Hawks’ Harvey Thomas, played on the 2008-09 squad.

I should also note that at the game, I was almost killed.  Twice.

This is the nature of a sports photographer.  Whereas some photographers will stay in one static location and shoot from one angle for the entire game, I will shoot from as many possible locations and with as many different lenses as I have in my arsenal.  I’ll shoot from the corner of the court, from the balcony, from the sidelines, from the back row, from everywhere.

Terrance Mouton scores on a layup.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Terrance Mouton scores on a layup. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Now I should mention that at one point in the second quarter, I was shooting under the Hawks’ scoring basket, using my Kiev Mir fisheye wideangle lens.  That lens, in that location, gives me a shot of the crowd from both sides of the arena, as well as the positioning of the players under the basket.

The drawback is that I have absolutely no peripheral vision when I’m shooting with this lens.  A few seconds after this photo was taken, I was caught in the middle of a player pileup, as Shaun Fountain came crashing into the picture – bounced off the scorer – and landed on me, the heel of his foot going right into my toes.

And it hurt.

A lot.

I was walking around the facility for a couple of minutes, trying to walk it off, and thanking the Lord above that it was only a point guard that stepped on my foot and not a big PBL center like Puerto Rico’s David Rosario, or there would have been little toe-shaped marbles in my sneaker.

Tim Ellis scores two points. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I decided at that point that I had enough photos under the basket, and moved to the corner, across from the Lawton bench, for the third quarter.  Lots of action there.  I was using my Nikon F/1.8 85mm lens to snag some serious action shots, including this nice one of Tim Ellis getting two points.  I should note that a few minutes before this shot, Ellis actually slammed a shot that brought down the entire backboard stanchion.  This backboard, similar to the basketball backboards used in the Armory, is locked into an upright position by a cotter pin.  During the game, the cotter pin became loose and fell out of its slot.  So when Ellis slammed it home in the third quarter, the basketball backboard actually collapsed to the ground.  A few minutes later, the cotter pin was replaced, the backboard was erected, and the game continued.

However, a few seconds after the shot you see here, another scrum took place, with Lawton’s Brandon Dean diving for a rebound, and racing over to the corner to get the ball – right at me.  He missed me by only a few inches, but took out two chairs on my left.

I tell you, a guy could get a serious complex with stuff like this.

Still, I was able to get some great shots at the game, and I tell you, it’s good to be behind the camera lens again.  How else could I get shots like the slideshow below?

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

The Mystery of the Antique Camera Film

February 21.  I’m in Manchester, New Hampshire, killing time before a late afternoon Premier Basketball League game between the Manchester Millrats and the Capitanes de Puerto Rico (which Puerto Rico won in very convincing fashion).  Looking for something to keep me entertained for an hour or so before the game began, I came across the Log Cabin Antique Shop, a large antiques dealership and auction house.  What the heck.  I pulled my Pontiac 6000 into the parking lot and figured, I’ll window shop for a while and then head off to the game.

A little background – my aunt Elaine has operated a successful antiques and treasures store in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, the Golden Past Antiques Store.  How dedicated is she to the antiques concept?  She still owns a crank cash register for purchases.  But Wolfeboro is up in Northern New Hampshire, and I’m in southern New Hampshire right now.  Plus, her shop doesn’t open until May.

Back to the Log Cabin Antique Shop.  There were several vintage cameras in the store, all available for purchase – most of them were old box cameras or tiny toy cameras.  There were no Nikons – I’ve had some success in purchasing an old Nikon camera and re-using the lens for my D700, but there were none to  be had.  No Leicas or Rolleis or Hasselblads, either.  There were plenty of Kodaks, Canons and Polaroids, though… just saying…

Anyways, although these cameras at the antique store were interesting, they weren’t interesting enough for me.  I picked up one, looked through the grimy viewfinder, and put it back.  I picked up another one, looked for the shutter mechanism, snapped off a pretend photo, and put the camera  back.  I picked up another camera, snapped a photo, pretended to wind the film –

Hey, wait a minute.  This thing is acting like it’s still got film IN IT.

I snapped another photo.  Then I looked – this camera DID have film in it!

Kodak Brownie "Super 27" camera.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Kodak "Super 27" Brownie Camera. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I checked the camera out.  It was a Kodak Brownie “Super 27” camera, with a viewfinder and a little spot where you could put a flash cube inside.  It was part of a boxed set.  I talked with the dealer, paid $15 for the camera and the packaging, and put the prize in my car.

Upon returning home to Albany, I carefully took the film out of the camera.  The film had to be wound onto its original spool, and care was necessary to not expose the undeveloped film to sunlight.  Of course, I’m still looking at this reel and thinking… what type of pictures are on this reel?  Are they vacation photos, are they family photos, are they baby’s first steps, are they someone’s honeymoon photos – and where has this camera been for 40 years?

I did some more research on the camera.  The Kodak Brownie Super 27 was manufactured between 1961 and 1965, has one f-stop (f/8) and two shutter speeds (1:80 and 1:40).  It has a receptacle for a flash cube – it’s that little door on the left side of the camera.  It takes two AA batteries to power the f lash, and as I was surprised to find out, the original batteries were still part of the package I purchased.

Yeps, here they are – two AA “Penlite” Eveready batteries.  Who wants to be the first to experiment with these batteries and see if they actually still work?  Any volunteers?  Bueller?  Bueller?

There wasn’t a manual included in the package, but I was able to download a manual online from a collector’s site.  The camera can handle 127 film (also known as “vest pocket” film), either black and white or color.  There are companies that still make 127 film today; you can purchase Efke film from B&H Photo online for about $5.

The camera had two focus factors – “close-up” and “beyond 6 ft.”  The flash settings were either “cloudy bright” or “sunny.”  This was a bare-bones camera, sure and plain.  The likelihood of me ever taking pictures with this camera were slim at best.  For all intents and purposes, this camera will end up on a shelf with some other cameras I’ve collected over the years – a Nikon E series camera from the 70’s, a Kiev-19 model from about 10 years ago.

But it’s the film this camera has held in its tiny compartment for 40 years that has intrigued me.  The reel inside was listed as “Kodacolor-X,” and required a color process known as C-22.  Which, unfortunately, won’t work with your local one-hour-photo store.  No, this reel needs to go to a specific and dedicated photo development company.  And after much searching on the Internet, I found such a company – Rocky Mountain Film Lab in Colorado.  I placed this reel, along with $42.50 ($36.50 for processing, $6 for shipping) and sent it off.

Part of me realizes that this is undoubtedly a crapshoot – there’s no way that 40-year-old film, especially color film, will have survived this long.  There’s no guarantee that there weren’t light leaks in the camera that damaged the film.  There’s no guarantee that the only thing on that film were the couple of shots I took at the antiques shop.

But what if I’m wrong?  What if there are actual photos on this reel?  And what if, for the first time since that reel was initially inserted into the camera, there’s a collection of memories awaking from a slumber that would rival Rip Van Winkle’s?

As soon as the photos come back, I’ll let you know the outcome.

Week 2 of the Elbo Room 2010 Trivia Tournament

Looks like things are picking up for the Elbo Room Trivia Tournament.  Tres Hombres, a “legacy” team who have played at various other Elbo Room tournaments, braved the rainy weather to arrive at the restaurant for the game.  And after one week, Mayhem – who rebranded themselves as Wehrmacht last week – are now calling themselves “Con-Fear-Acy.”  Whatever works, I guess.

This was not a week of trivia I would like to remember.  I think I can equate it to Napoleon marching into Russia.  Everything’s fine for the first round (I was able to recall with what team Pete Rose achieved his 4,000th hit – Montreal Expos, and what, after hockey, is Canada’s other national sport – Lacrosse).

But the final question of the second round killed me.  The 10-point question was “What president was the first to have his inauguration broadcast in color?”  Trying to remember when live color television was effective, I thought of Eisenhower.  Then I used my double-chance option (put down two answers as a hedge) and said Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson.

It was actually John F. Kennedy.  I burned a double-chance and because I got both guesses wrong, I lost TWENTY points.  CRUNCH.

Things didn’t go any better in the second half, as I was unable to recall which four teams would get the first four picks in the NFL draft (I did get the Rams, but I also said the Raiders, Browns and Seahawks, when it was the Buccaneers, the Redskins and the Lions).  So I got 8 points for getting one of the teams right, while everybody else picked up 24 or 32 points for hitting at least three or four of the correct selectors.

By the final question, I had 74 points and was holding on to fifth place.

The final category was ESPN.

I threw in all my chips and hoped for the best.

“What New England state was Chris Berman born in?”

Are you kidding me?  I thought Chris Berman was born in Bedrock next door to the Flintstones, you’re telling me he was born in New England? 🙂

In this case, I had to go with whatever educated guess I could come up with.  I know he likes to talk about his alma mater, Brown.  That’s in Rhode Island.  I got nothing else.  I put down Rhode Island.

Which wasn’t right.  It was Connecticut.

The point totals, however, didn’t give Woo Hoo a Go Go or the Skidmarks any advancement.  Skidmarks got the answer right, but hey only bet a few points.  Woo Hoo a Go Go was in the lead, but they had Berman being born in Massachusetts.

So three new teams picked up playoff points – Tres Hombres came in third and got one playoff point; Con-Fear-Acy (Mayhem) got three points for coming in second place, while The Bears won for the night and nailed five playoff points for their efforts.

So after two weeks, here are the standings. There’s a new column called “attendance,” in which teams that show up each week receive a black star. Twelve black stars earn you a white star, meaning you have fulfilled attendance requirements (to be in the finals, you must attend 75% of the qualifying weeks). Just trying to make this easy for everybody.

Elbo Room Trivia Standings – Week 2
Trivia Team Points Totals Attendance
T-1 The Bears 5 5 ★★
T-1 Skidmarks 5 ★★
T-3 Con-Fear-Acy (Mayhem) 3 3 ★★
T-3 Woo Hoo a Go Go 3 ★★
T-5 Tres Hombres 1 1
T-5 Street Academy 1 ★★
T-7 The Super Winners ★★
T-7 The Nature of Play
T-7 The Know-Nothings
T-7 Team Liz

Such is life.  Let’s see how the tournament progresses.  14 weeks left to go.

Albums I Want to Be Buried With: Dragon, “Body and the Beat”

Unless you’re from Australia or New Zealand, you’ve likely never heard of the rock band Dragon.  And you would be sorely deprived from this loss.

Dragon was one of Oceania’s most popular rock bands; they evolved from a prog-rock group into a solid core of dedicated tunesmiths; they broke up, they reunited, had more monster hits, they toured the world, they broke up, they reunited, they influenced a generation of musicians from Down Under.

Dragon, "Body and the Beat"I first learned of Dragon in 1983, when I was a college student.  The year before, I had actually written an editorial for Billboard magazine about the benefits of college radio as a promotional tool for new artist releases.  The article was very well-received (in fact, Billboard ran it in their 1982 year-end issue), and a few months later, I received a cassette tape full of Australian Top 40 songs from a mobile DJ named Jim McCaslin.

McCaslin was an American who moved to Melbourne, Australia and became a successful mobile disc jockey and promoter.  Over time, he sent me several cassette tapes of the top hits in Australia – stuff that hadn’t hit American radio stations yet, including InXs and Real Life and others.  On one of the cassettes was a track by Dragon, an uptempo song called “Rain.”

I immediately fell in love with the song and wanted copies of it – not only for myself, but for the college radio station.  And proceeded to drive everybody at the college radio station absolutely bonkers by playing this song morning, noon and night.

Eventually I was able to obtain a copy of the Body and the Beat album on vinyl and eventually on CD; of the ten songs on the LP, five of them became Oz Top 40 hits, including “Rain” (which hit #2).  “Rain” actually charted in America, getting as high as I believe #88 on the Hot 100 charts in the summer of 1984.

The lineup at the time of this album’s release was almost a United Nations of pop music – the Hunter brothers, lead singer Marc Hunter and his brother Todd, were from New Zealand, where the band originated.  Paul Hewson (no, not the one who became Bono) was also from New Zealand, he wrote many of the group’s earlier hits, including “April Sun in Cuba,” “Are You Old Enough” and “Still In Love With You.”  The drummer, Terry Chambers, was a former member of XTC.  The keyboardist, Alan Mansfield, was from New Jersey, and had worked as the producer for the Body and the Beat album.

The respect Dragon received in their native land was extremely deep and dedicated.  One of Keith Urban’s first gigs was as a musician on Dragon’s 1993 album Reincarnations. Another legendary guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel, was part of Dragon in the mid-1980’s, appearing on their album Dreams of Ordinary Men – an album that was produced in New York by the great Todd Rundgren.

When Marc Hunter was diagnosed with malignant throat cancer in 1997, Australia’s top musicians and bands held two fundraising concerts for him.  Members of such legendary bands as Little River Band and Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel and Australian Crawl, performed Dragon’s greatest hits in those sold-out concerts. This YouTube clip shows Jimmy Barnes of the band Cold Chisel performing “Rain” at the Marc Hunter tribute concert.

Marc Hunter passed away in 1998, but the band Dragon still performs today.  I still have my copy of Body and the Beat; it’s an autographed copy signed by all six members of the band.  It’s framed and hanging on the wall of my home office.

Remembering wrestling announcer Joe McHugh

Ah, weekend professional wrestling.  Fun stuff.  When I was growing up, it aired at 11:00 a.m. or 12 noon on WRGB, most often on Saturday or Sunday.   I started watching pro wrestling in the early 1970’s, when the brand of wrestling provided in upstate New York was the World Wide Wrestling Federation (what we know today as WWE), the champion was Bruno Sammartino, the popular “baby faces” included 600-pound Haystacks Calhoun, Italian born (but Native American as far as I knew back then) Chief Jay Strongbow, and the “Polish Power,” Ivan Putski.  And we booed and hissed the evil Grand Wizard of Wrestling as he brought Stan “The Man” Stasiak to the ring, he of the dreaded “heart punch” finishing move.  We booed Olympian strongman Ken Patera, who once broke Billy White Wolf’s neck by applying a rotating “swinging” full nelson submission hold.

It was fun, you knew who was going to win (it sure wasn’t Tiger Chung Lee, Steve King or “The Unpredictable” Johnny Rodz), and those wrestling holds actually looked like they could legitimately injure someone.  How much did I actually believe as a kid that pro wrestling was real?  True story – there was a pro wrestling card at the Armory in around 1980 or so.  I know this because later that evening, when I had to go to the local Handy Andy to pick up some last-minute groceries for my folks, up at the register – in street clothes, purchasing some beers and snacks – were Pat Patterson, Tony Garea and the Iron Sheik.  And as God is my witness, the first thing I did was look at the Iron Sheik’s feet – his wrestling boots had curled-up points on them, and I always thought that was because of some deformity in his feet.  In the Handy Andy store, he wore regular black shoes like anybody else.

Anyways, I tell this story because I had a reminiscence about one of the most memorable characters in 1970’s professional wrestling – a character who may never have won a match.  I don’t think he ever lost one, either.  He got in the ring, did his job, and got out without anyone touching or bothering him.

May I introduce you to Joe McHugh.

Not “Joe Mc-who?”

Joe McHugh was the wrestling announcer on nearly every television taping for the World Wide Wrestling Federation.  Back in those days, the WWWF taped their television shows at the Agricultural Hall in Allentown, Pa., and Joe McHugh was the house announcer (he also was the ring announcer for boxing matches held in the area).  He had what can be charitably described as one of the most enunciated dictations and accents I have ever heard on a professional wrestling announcer – it was almost as if you needed to hear every single syllable lest the acoustics in the  building swallow up the ambient sound.

Let me see if I can do a Joe McHugh ring announcement in blogspeak.  Bear with me on this.  It’s tougher than it looks.

“Laydeez and-uh genn-tull-menn, diss is championship wressling, as soo-pur-vised by the State Ath-uh-let-ic Commission … the time-keeper at thuh bell … the reff-furr-rees for this hour of wressling, Dick Wuhr-lee, Wee Willie Webb-bber, the doc-torr in at-tenn-dunce at ring-syde, Doctor George Zoh-har-ree-in, and-uh my name is Joo-o-o-o-o-o-oh McHugh. (bell rings)  Theee open-ning contess, it izz scheduled for one fall, with a tenn-minnit-time-limit, introdoo-sing in the ring at the present time, from Mon-tree-all, Canada, weighing in at twoo-hunndret eighty-too pounds, here izz Butt-chhuh Paul Vachon!  And hizz op-pohh-nent, from the Fee-jee Islands, weighing in at two-hundret fiftee pounds, here izz Jimmy Super-Fly Sanuka!!”

You think I’m making this up.  You think I’m doing the dialect from the Crocodiles of Zeeba Zeeba Eata from Pearls Before Swine.

Here’s a YouTube clip that proves I’m not.

McHugh passed away in 1993.  Can only imagine how he’s calling the action up in the big wrestling ring in the sky.  Probably takes him 5 minutes just to announce the next match, Owen Hart versus Kerry Von Erich.  Maybe someday the WWE will consider inducting McHugh into their WWE Hall of Fame.

If anyone even remembers Joe McHugh.  Cause once you hear him, you’ll never forget him.

Returning to Brown’s for Monday Night Trivia

It’s almost as if I never left.

The Taproom at Troy’s Brown’s Brewing last night was as packed with hungry and satisfied customers.  I went over to the hostess station and, almost from memory, requested my reserved Table #21 upstairs for trivia.

Yep.  Trivia was back at Brown’s Brewing, nearly six months after the last Wednesday night game was relocated to Revolution Hall.  In full disclosure, I and my friends Jeremy and Alexis played over at Rev Hall during that time period, as new hosts Marc and Anthony packed the joint with trivia aficionados.  But the game at Rev Hall ended a couple of weeks ago, and the hosts have set up a Wednesday night trivia game down the street at Meka’s Lounge, a martini bar.

And as much a I liked playing the Marc and Anthony trivia game, I wanted to come back to Brown’s if team trivia ever returned to their establishment.  And sure enough, it returned yesterday, as they signed on with Kevin Baker’s trivianightslive.com company for a Monday night game.  Steve Murray, who hosts games Tuesday night at McGeary’s in Albany and Wednesday night at Legends on Lark Street in Albany, would host the first round of trivia inside the Taproom in six months.

Even with short notice, there were at least eight or nine trivia teams in the building – from squads that played back in the day at Brown’s (including one team that sarcastically called themselves, “I Give This Game Three Weeks”), to teams I recognized from other trivianightslive.com games, including several members of Lynch’s Mob (who, with their trivianightslive.com host Ben Hovey on the team, called their squad “We Brought Our Own Trivia Host”).

Of course, another team showed up – a group called “A Few Cards Short of a Deck,” who I have played against for several years.  Their team leader Ed is a good friend of mine; I met him when he was dressed up as the Albany Patroons’ mascot Lido the Panda.  He also talks a good game; before the matchup, he texted me that I should be prepared for the slaughter.  I texted back that you can’t spell slaughter without the word “laughter.”  Fun stuff.

Brown’s improved several other aesthetics to the trivia game that, in the past, often drove trivia patrons nuts.  The upstairs microphone and sound system, which often overheated and sparked out, was replaced with a new audio system that kept the volume levels at an acceptable sound level throughout the night.  When the host wasn’t giving out answers, the sound system played classic rock and roll songs from the bar’s Sirius/XM satellite connection.

My trivia teammate Alexis showed up (Jeremy had a prior commitment and understandably couldn’t attend), and we blitzed through the questions like there was no tomorrow.  So did several other teams; we nailed questions like what team the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated to win the gold medal at Lake Placid (it’s Finland, even though all the focus was on the US-Russia game), who won the Oscar for best actor in The Pianist (Adrian Brody), and what state produced Apolo Anton Ohno (Washington).  In fact, at the halfway point Street Academy was tied for the lead with two other squads.  Murray brought a representative from each of the three teams up to the microphone for one tiebreaker “sudden death” question.

We stood at the microphone.

Murray looked at all three of us, and asked the question – “What musician is the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Miley Cyrus?”

Total guess.  Before anybody could get a word in edgewise, I blurted out “Joe Jonas.”

Murray pointed at me and said it was correct.

As I walked back to my table, one of the other teams good-naturedly commented, “You should be ashamed of yourself for knowing the answer to that question.”

I responded back, “You know what… I am ashamed that I do.”

As the game progressed, the questions got harder, but the top teams continued to battle on.  A quadruple bonus question came up – “With sixteen years between the oldest and the youngest, how old are Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, P!nk and Shakira?”

Again with a Miley Cyrus question.  Geez.

Alexis and I debated over whether or not Miley Cyrus had turned 18 yet, and we both agreed that if she had turned 18, it would have been a big deal with the tabloids.  So we settled on Cyrus being 17, which if we added 16 years to that, would have made Shakira 33.  I postulated two guesses for Lady Gaga and P!nk, and handed in our answer slip.

The answer – Miley Cyrus was 17 (we got that), Shakira was 33 (got that one too), Lady Gaga was 23 (total guess but we got it) and P!nk was 30 (which we didn’t get, I thought P!nk was 27, my bad).

As the final question loomed, five teams(including Street Academy) had point totals of 120 or more.  We all nailed the final question – in what year did the Winter Olympics first play in a two-year interval from the previous Olympics, thus breaking the pattern of Summer and Winter Olympics appearing on the same year?  It was 1994 in Lillehammer, and Street Academy and “We Brought Our Own Trivia Host” tied for the night.

Murray called a representative from both squads up to the microphone.  Sudden death again.

“What actor starred in the film ‘My Name is Bruce’?”

No clue.  I said Bruce Lee.  I was wrong.  Ben Hovey, the representative from the other trivia team, couldn’t come up with the answer.  It was Bruce Campbell.  Toss that question away.

Murray then pulled out a trivia sheet from a previous game and asked, “Who is the only person inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame AND in the Grateful Dead Hall of Fame?”

“BILL WALTON!” we both shouted out in unison.  Right answer, but no way anyone could tell who got it first.

Then Ben said to me, “Chuck, you win, I think the tiebreaker questions are from a game I hosted last week, and it’s not fair if I already know the answers ahead of time.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

He shook my hand, the game was over.  Street Academy won again at Brown’s. WHOOO!  Now that’s class, and I have to give props to Ben’s team for being honest and fair.  I hope they – and everybody else – comes back to Brown’s next week and we do this all again.

And out of force of habit, after I left the second-floor dining area at the Taproom, I went over to the hostess station and placed my reservation for Table #21 for next week.