On a typical Thursday night, the first round of trivia at Griff's usually passes without incident. A group named something along the lines of "That's Not Your Taint, That's Your Ass" might be in third place, while "Balls Deep" and "A Gentleman Always Pulls Out" perhaps are tied for second.
But you can count on the atmosphere of this Montrose Irish sports bar to get electrifying when, at some point during the second round, the trivia master's expression grows quizzical. He won't fiddle with his suit or adjust his glasses. He will merely run his tongue across his clean-shaven upper lip and gaze down at the podium.
The trivia master has a way with words, and he is about to prove it. For the rest of the game he will prod them and yank at them, twisting and teasing with magical results, like a clown wresting balloon animals to life among a crowd of roaring children.
Master of Ceremonies Vern has been described as "the Alex Trebek of Griff's bar trivia." He's a beloved figure: "Vern is hysterical, the questions are challenging and the crowd is friendly!" a TripAdvisor commenter says.
But somewhere along the line each Trivia night, the connection between Vern and the English language gets tenuous.
What follows are some of the more sense-defying specimens in his menagerie, all verbatim --- the last word being, of course, his.
6. The Flailing Begins
Is it true, or is it false, that famed actor...Wait. That famed actor -- ah fuck. Hold on. Wait. I have to ad-lib this shit. All right, I got it, I got it: IS IT -- thank God for my memory -- IS IT TRUE OR IS IT FALSE, that famed actor James Stewart attended Princeton to become an architect, but while there switched his major to acting. Is it true? Or is it false? That famed actor, James Stewart, attended Princeton to become an architect, and while there switched his major to acting? CLASS OF 1933...Aw shit!
5. Clue: It Was Not One Pencil
What young children's artsy instrument, or skill-learning toy, was first sold for a nickel in 1903? It's -- I have to be fair. It was a package deal. Meaning -- meaning, it wasn't a pencil -- one pencil -- for a nickel. In 1903. But I just want the product. Alright let's move on. I'm going to repeat it. What young children's artistic instrument -- or skill-learning toy -- was sold FOR A NICKEL in 1903. Think about it: It's, it's a -- it's a toy, to play with, but -- it's also improving one's skills. Learning skills. And it exists TODAY. It exists today. One word.
4. Dinosaurs Can Be So, So Confusing
Okay, this is an interesting question. I didn't make this up. But it looks like I made this up. What came first, the Dino Turtle -- the reason they, I, well, the dino- is Greek for, is a prefix for, "great," or "terrible." So what came first, the Dino Turtle . . . And it's, the scientific term for it is- Eileen . . . Eileen Chullis. So whoever discovered it must have had a wife named Eileen, or a girlfriend named Eileen . . . Eileen Chullis. Or: the Dino Nuit. The scientific term is kryo-, kryostega. K-R-Y-O-S-T-E-G-A. The Nuit -- the Nuit -- Dino Nuit -- is N-E-W-T. So . . . And I'll give you a little -- kryostega is the early, ancient alligators. Or crocs. Crocodiles. Okay. I gave you a hint. So is it the Dino Turtle or the Dino Nuit, prehistoric alligator. Which one of those two creatures came first?
3. Never Confuse Your Equipment With Your Instrument (We Think)
The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC that took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramses II. And: The Hit. Hit-tite Empire . . . Aw, let me start over. In the Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC that took place between the forces of the Egyptian Empire under Ramses II and the Hittite Empire, IS BEST KNOWN for the use of what type of battle equipment. Five to 6,000 of them were involved. "Equipment," I stated. Not to be confused with "instrument" -- fine line. What battle of . . . okay. Forget all this bullshit. WHAT IN 1274 BC, innovated back in the yonder days, the battlefield . . . OKAY? Five to 6,000 were used in this battle. And I'm looking for "battle equipment." That's all I'm saying.
2. We're Not Sure What Happens Here, But It Involves Nuts
Food question. What do almonds and the United States of Georgia -- I mean -- Shit. What do almonds and the US state of Georgia have in common? What do ALMONDS and the U.S. state of Georgia have in common? Huh? What was the answer? I made this up. I thought it was clever. I made this up--I mean, the facts are true. But I made the question up. I thought it was kind of neat. What do almonds and the state of Georgia -- I'll leave out the U.S., I don't want to throw anybody off -- the state of Georgia have in common?
And final question for Round 2, question 20, multiple choice . . . Hint? Does anybody require a hint? With almonds and the state of Georgia?! No, seriously. I'll give a hint, if you need a hint. So "yes," a hint? I'm talking about almonds as in "nuts." Okay, I have a "no" by two teams. "No." When I said "nuts" everybody got it. Nobody? Okay: Good deal.
Giants! That sucks. No, not that they lost to the Giants. But my question sucks. Yeah. I said "won." Okay. I fucked up. Okay, okay, okay! I fucked up. Twice now. Okay: Honor system. Give me, give yourself one point. Honor system. So, add one point whether you got it right or wrong, I don't care. I'm not going to have a riot towards my podium. It's 75 cents a question, something like that. God, Jesus Christ, you got that much in free food.
Okay, moving on, before I lose my cap. Okay, I've settled down, this is supposed to be fun. So: I apologize if I lost my cool. But for those that doesn't take my apologies: Eat me. Alright folks! Who's going to do the toast? Professor Catlip is going to do the toast, and . . . AND I ALSO RETRACT when I said you can eat me, I take that back. That was immature of a 58-year-old to say something like that. So I take that back -- you don't have to eat me. Blow me.
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