Okay, the back half of my quiz-answer give-away. I guess after this, everyone who cared could go take that quiz on Facebook and get 100%. But that perfect score would be a lie. You would know it. I would know it.
(Q) How many film adaptations of the novel I am Legend have been made?
(A) Four. Most people go for three because they know the main ones: The Last Man on Earth (starring Vincent Price), The Omega Man (starring the recently-deceased Charlton Heston), and I am Legend (starring Will Smith, whom I think is cool, I don’t care what you think). But the one you don’t know about is I am Omega, which was an ultra-low budget flick that came out in . . . November of 2007! Yup, just weeks before I am Legend hit theaters. That’s just so tacky. Thanks, IMDB!
(Q) Who was the only U.S. President to be born in Illinois?
(A) Ronald Reagan. Of course most people think of Lincoln, but as any Illinoisan worth their weight will tell you, Abe was born in Kentucky and didn’t move to Illinois until his late teens/early 20’s. And Reagan seems like the last choice in the world, doesn’t he? I mean, he was a movie star and later the governor of California, and elected to office from California. But he was born in a small town called Tampico in northern Illinois, and moved around to several Illinois towns with his family throughout his childhood. No other President has been born in my home state. Thanks, history book from 8th grade!
(Q) It is estimated that there are ___ elementary particles in the observable universe.
(A) 10^80, or 10 to the 80th power, or 1 followed by 80 zeros. I once tried to debate this with my smart friend Kevin, since I found out that there are, on average, 10^15 neuron connections in a single human brain, and each one of those connections has to have LOTS more than a single particle involved right? Right, Kevin? Huh? Mr. Smarty Math Guy? Well, said Kevin, the difference between 10^80 and 10^15 is not 10^65. Exponents do not operate in such a simple add-and-subtract fashion. The difference between 10^50 and 10^49 is greater than the difference between 10^40 and 10^39. To think otherwise is a common mistake made by not-as-smart-as-Kevin people like myself. And 10^80 may not sound like too much, but that’s actually a pretty freaking huge number.
(Q) Which is correct?
(A) Final Fantasy IV was renamed Final Fantasy II in America. I actually haven’t been too fond of this question. The wording was repetitive and confusing, rather than challenging, and it was the second question to deal with the naming of a Final Fantasy game. Anyway, the way the story goes, Final Fantasy, the first one, was released in 1988 (1987?) in Japan, and then released in America in 1991 (1990?). Well, by the time it came out in America, Square had already finished making Final Fantasy III and released it in Japan. Since Final Fantasy was such a big hit in America, there were plans to release Final Fantasy II in America, renamed Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls, but those plans fell through. Shortly after, the Super Famicom/Nintendo came out, and one of the earlier titles on it was to be Final Fantasy IV. Well, neither Square nor Nintendo wanted to waste time on bringing Americans up to speed with the series, and since they didn’t want to create confusion with the numbering, they renamed it Final Fantasy II (which didn’t matter as far as continuity was concerned since all roman-numerated Final Fantasy games are original stories and never continuations of previous titles). After that, they were going to translate Final Fantasy V and release it as III, but by the time they got to it, VI was already out in Japan, so they translated and renamed that one Final Fantasy III instead, and skipped over V altogether. Then there was HUGE buzz over the next game in the series, VII, since it was going to be on the brand-spankin’ new Sony Playstation and was going to use 3-D graphics and cool cinematic cut-scenes and blah blah blah . . . and finally the Japanese were nice enough to bring Americans up to speed and did not renumber the game as IV and kept the title Final Fantasy VII. But Americans were confused (understandably), because they didn’t know where Final Fantasys IV, V, and VI were, but in reality, they had played IV and VI, but had never played II, III, or V. Confused yet? Here’s an easy trick: what are the real numbers for the American-released Final Fantasy games numbered II and III? Double them: IV and VI. See? Now you can be as cool as me.
(Q) The search engine Google is spelled differently than Googol because . . .
(A) of a spelling error. A googol is 10^100, or 1 with 100 zeros after it, which (if you refer to two questions prior) is more than the number of elementary particles in the observable universe. That’s a pretty darn big number. The folks at Google intended the name of their site to reference this, probably because it ties in nice with the search engine thing, but they got the spelling wrong. Oh, well. I think “google” looks better than “googol,” anyway.
(Q) The Gibson SG (guitar) was originally named what?
(A) Les Paul. In 1961, Gibson Guitars completely redesigned its famous Les Paul guitar. It was popular, but the man himself, Les Paul, didn’t really like it, so he asked that his name be removed from the guitar. They renamed the guitar the “SG,” or “solid guitar,” since its whole body, including the neck and headstock, are a solid piece of wood. Famous SG players include Angus Young of AC/DC, The Edge of U2, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, and (formerly) Scottie Bobsin.
(Q) What provided the visual inspiration for the creation of The Joker?
(A) The protagonist from a 1920’s silent film. The Man Who Laughs, to be exact. The actor was named Conrad Veidt. The Joker was created in 1940 as a vicious, heartless murderer, and a deck of cards was where the name and idea came from (well, according to one story, anyway, as there are a few, but whatever). But his appearance (this is not disputed) was based off of the character from the old-even-then film. Another fun fact about the Joker was that he was intended to be a one-to-two-shot villain, who would die shortly after his first story. However they kept him around and he has since become the most famous of all the Batman villains, let alone villains period.
(Q) How many actors have portrayed Batman on-screen? (this does not include voice actors)
(A) Seven. You might count five: Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and Christian Bale. The other two are Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowery. Who? They both played Batman in serials in the 1940’s. I had to get their names off of Wikipedia.
(Q) When Superman was first introduced, he did not have all the powers attributed to him now. Which of these has he ALWAYS had?
(A) Super Strength. The earliest version of Superman could “leap tall buildings in a single bound,” but he could not fly. Nor did he have x-ray vision, ice breath, heat vision, or a whole list of other things; those all came later. He was super-strong, was nearly invulnerable to any attacks (a strong bomb or intense explosion could take him down), and was very fast. The creators justified the powers he did have by stating how a grasshopper can jump hundreds of times its own length in one leap, or how an ant can lift many times its own weight, and said that Kryptonians were an evolutionarily advanced alien race, and everyone on that planet could do what Superman did. I’ve read the first issue of Action Comics. It’s all in there.
(Q) “Weird Al” Yankovic claims this religious perspective.
(A) Christian. He said it in some interview. He’s not Jewish. Yeah, you read that right. Weird Al Yankovic is not Jewish.
(Q) The famous Jackson family is from . . .
(A) Gary, Indiana. This fascinates me because they’re so famous, so talented, and so notorious that it’s so hard to believe that they came from a dump like Gary. I mean no offense, Tito, but it’s a dump. Sorry.
Okay. That’s all. I’m going to go think about my next blog . . .