Message For You, Sir

The Hallman family gets serious about trivia

Like a lot of families, I was not able to get together with my parents and siblings over the holidays, partly due to COVID and partly due to the difficulties of traveling with a baby.

Thank goodness for modern technology that allows us to see and hear each other in real time through video calls. But it’s still not the same as meeting in person. One thing my family and I like to do when we get together is play games, and we all felt that our video calls were missing something, a shared experience, something we could *do* together and not just talk about.

My youngest sister, Mary, hatched this idea of playing a trivia game over Zoom. She already had a number of trivia questions prepared, so we spent our Thanksgiving competing to see who knew the most about pop culture, music, history, you name it.

We had so much fun that other members of the family started making trivia questions for the next Zoom call. In my free time, I crafted multiple choice questions often based on history podcasts I had just listened to. The hard part is thinking of believable but wrong answers so that the right answer is not obvious.

My sister Julie told us that she’s preparing a Jeopardy!-style game for our next video call with categories and point values.

Wow, this is getting serious!

I’ll share below some of the trivia questions that I’ve written so far. See if you can guess the answer without looking it up on the internet, and let me know if you think they’re too easy or too hard by sending me an email at andy.hallman@southeastiowaunion.com. I’ll publish the correct answers in my next column.

1) The African country of Zaire changed its name in 1997. What did it change it to?

A) Angola

B) Congo

C) Sudan

D) Wakanda

2) Tyrian purple, also known as Phoenician purple or royal purple, was a highly valued dye from the ancient world because when exposed to the sun, instead of fading, its color grew more intense. The dye was derived from:

A) Flowers

B) Berries

C) Seeds

D) Snails

3) The suffragette movement earned a hard fought victory in 1920 when women gained the right to vote through the passage of the 19th amendment. The suffragettes became associated with this color, which they wore in parades:

A) Pink

B) Blue

C) White

D) Black

4) The pandemic of 1918 killed 50 million people, and the virus that caused it became known as the “Spanish Flu.” Why?

A) Its origin was traced to Spain.

B) It was discovered by a Spanish scientist in America.

C) The Spanish press was the first to report it.

D) The spread of the virus was likened to the Spanish conquistadors.

5) The song “Silent Night” is perhaps the most famous Christmas song in the world. It was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 in this country:

A) Britain

B) France

C) United States

D) Austria

6) For many centuries during the Middle Ages, the Bible was written in only one language, and its translation into regional languages was forbidden. What language was it written in?

A) Hebrew

B) Latin

C) Greek

D) Aramaic

7) Julius Caesar’s forces crossed the Rubicon River in 49 BC, precipitating the Roman Civil War. Ever since, “Crossing the Rubicon” has come to mean what?

A) Advance past the point of no return.

B) Bite off more than you can chew.

C) Shoot yourself in the foot.

D) Burn bridges with former allies.

8) Which of these songs was not in the musical “The Sound of Music?”

A) A Spoonful of Sugar

B) My Favorite Things

C) The Lonely Goatherd

D) 16 going on 17