Christopher Anderson/Mad Plaid Photography##Trivia contestants at The Oak in McMinnville.
Christopher Anderson/Mad Plaid Photography##Trivia contestants at The Oak in McMinnville.

Ossie Bladine: Trivial passions

I am admittedly not that great at trivia. But after five years of hosting twice-a-month pub trivia events, I’ve become a pretty darn good quizmaster. 

Live trivia games at local taverns were first popularized in England and Ireland in the 1970s. According to an article at, pub trivia competitions evolved because taverns had, unlike a majority of the homes at the time, televisions. When TV game shows were popular, bargoers began shouting out trivia answers, inciting some spontaneous and friendly competition to determening who was the most knowledgeable socializer on any given evening. 

Sound Check

Ossie Bladine is editor of the News-Register, organizer of the Walnut City Music Festival and a quizmaster who extends a gigantic ‘thank you’ to his wife who takes care of the kid while Daddy goes off to socialize at the bar.

According to the article: “The friendly rivalry, lighthearted banter and increased bar business attributable to the television quiz shows inspired pub owners to offer ‘live’ quiz shows as a regular feature on their pub entertainment calendars. At one point, as many as 500 teams competed in weekly inter-pub matches in Lancashire County, England. To this day, ‘live’ pub quizzes enjoy immense popularity throughout Britain and parts of Ireland.”

Certainly in the United State, too. Pub Trivia is big business these days. Geeks Who Drink, for example, Denver-based business, hosts bar trivia at more than 700 pubs and restaurants in 42 states — including a weekly game at McMenamins Hotel Oregon, featured in the News-Register earlier this year. 
I guess if this whole newspaper thing doesn’t work out, trivia will have to be my fallback. 

Whether one has formulated a menu of questions and answers, or is a competition participant, trivia is great exercise. Like doing crosswords, Sudokus and other puzzles, trivia stretches your neurons and jogs your memory for knowledge sometimes useful and oftentimes endearingly useless. 

If you’ve never been, I encourage a trip to a trivia night. They are Tuesdays at Hotel Oregon, first Thursday at Wildwood Hotel in Willamina, and (if you want to attend the best one) first and third Wednesdays at The Oak (although refer to Ossome Pub Trivia on Facebook for upcoming dates, as there may be a temporary halt in service due to a soon-to-be-born baby). (Shameless promotions always pair well with pub trivia.) (Parenthesized comments do, too.) Join a night even if random facts aren’t a specialty of yours. From my experience, even the last place team always has a good time. 
Now, here’s a little primer of what you may be up against by attending a trivia night:

Category: McWalnuts

1) Name one band that has played at, or is scheduled to play at, The Walnut City Music Festival.

(Shameless promotion, again, for my music festival.)

2)  Combine walnuts with mayonnaise, celery and apples to make what traditional salad? 

3)  What tiny little thing in the Hans Christian Andersen tale about her had a walnut shell for a bed? 

4)  The name of what tree in the walnut family is used to make superior baseball bats, including the ones used by Babe Ruth? 

5)  What long running TV series included the 1976 episode titled, “The Pride of Walnut Grove”? 

6)  What deformed growth of a walnut tree is prized by woodworkers and artists for each piece’s completely unique grain pattern, creating items like one of a kind tables, clocks, guitars, gun stocks, bowls ... 

Category: Fake Trivia
(An alternative name for this is “Common misconceptions.”)

1) Despite what some sources claim, t he modern image of this character was not created by the Coca-Cola Corporation.

2)  Despite common misguided assumption, the word Sushi has nothing to do with raw fish; its etymology actually refers to what ingredient?

3)  This guy did not actually invent the telescope, although he did greatly improve it. 

4)  What famous phrase attributed to Sherlock Holmes was never actually said in any of the books?

5)  Despite fake online “amazing facts,” Mel Blanc was not allergic to this vegetable.

6)  What two celebrities are often wrongly celebrated as the only members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who have nothing to do with playing or managing the game? (Although they are featured in the Coopertown museum?)

7) The famous belief that these creatures engage in periodic mass suicide is unsubstantiated.

8) What company’s slogan of a certain number of varietals actually has nothing to do with an actual count of its product line?

Category: 2012

1) What two states became the first to legalize recreational marijuana?

2) The 50th anniversary of what special operations force was observed during the 2012 Fleet Week San Diego?

3) The publisher of what series of reference books announced in 2012 it would discontinue its print edition after 244 years?

4) What 2012 Disney movie release recorded one of the largest losses in cinema history with a $200 million dollar write down?

5) Name the top five highest earning athletes of 2012, according to Forbes Magazine (one point for each).

6) In the Mayan Long Count calendar, the date correlates to which date in the Gregorian calendar?

7) In July 2012, what rodeo and festival that calls itself the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth broke attendance records while celebrating it’s centennial?

Category: Potpourri

1)  Within 15, how many dots are there on a Pac-Man board?

2) The name for which vegetable contains all five vowels?

3) The children’s literature section of the publisher Penguin Books works under what related name?

4) What is the longest river contained entirely within the state of Oregon?

5) In Norse myth, where do the Gods live?

6) Title given to the photograph of Earth taken in 1990 by Voyager 1 from a distance of about 6 billion kilometers; later used as a book title by Carl Sagan.

Category: Connections

(Random set of questions, but the answers all share a common link. Bonus points for coming up with the connection.)

1) What is the capital of the Cornhusker State?

2) The turkey vulture is also known by this unappealing moniker?

3) In 2016 this ex-president of Mexico had a few choice words about a certain candidate for U.S. president

4) In English, what are the two indefinite articles?

5) Heat travels by three main methods: conduction, convection and what other method?

6) Name the actress who would write the following fictional note to Mother (many clues within letter): “I wish I could talk to you instead of your answering machine! I had a bit of mad money, so I went looking for Mr. Goodbar in Manhattan. But, between the Manhattan murder mystery and the crimes of the heart, something’s gotta give.”

At the pub, scoring usually goes like this: first two questions of a category are worth two points, the next two worth 2 points and the last two worth three points (further bonus questions usually worth two). Partial credit is involved often, but don’t worry about that too much here. Scroll down for answers:





1) Not going to list them all, but check us out on Facebook to see if you got the point!
2) A Waldorf salad
3) Thumbelina
4) Hickory
5) Little House on the Prairie
6) Burl

1) Santa Claus
2) Galileo
3) Rice (sticky and vinegared)
4) Elementary, my dear Watson
5) Carrots (He was the voice of Bugs Bunny)
6) Bud Abbott, Lou Costello
7) Lemmings
8) Heinz

1) Washington and Colorado
2) Navy SEALs
3) Encyclopedia Brittanica
4) John Carter
5) Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Roger Federer.
6) December 21, 2012
7) The Calgary Stampede

1) 240
2) Cauliflower
3) Puffin Books
4) John Day River
5) Asgard
6) Pale Blue Dot

1) Lincoln
2) Buzzards
3) Vicente Fox
4) A, an
5) Radiation
6) Diane Keaton
Connection: All answers connected to previous or upcoming bands at the Walnut City Music Festival. (Shameless.)


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