Trivia returns: Year 42


By James Hall

January in Appleton: An icy wind rushes over the flat Fox Valley, bringing grim tidings of failed car-starts and seasonal affective disorder to Lawrentians and townies alike.

As the masses huddle for warmth around their outdated steam heating systems, they wonder why they decided to leave their sunny hometowns for this dismal wintry abyss. In times like these, what reason do we have to keep going?

For 42 years, the Great Midwest Trivia Contest has provided an answer to Appleton's winter doldrums. Promising 50 straight hours of energy drink-slurping, all-nighter-pulling, and mind-boggling mayhem, "Trivia," as it's known on campus, is the world's longest-running trivia contest and is often touted as Lawrence's greatest tradition.

The contest will be broadcast over WLFM beginning at 10:00:37 Friday, Jan. 26 and runs through Sunday. Questions are broadcast every three minutes on the air and teams that call WLFM with correct answers receive points, which are totaled at the end of the weekend. Winning teams receive prizes such as stainless steel bedpans and burnt stuffed animals.

Since the popularization of such powerful online research tools as Wikipedia and Google, questions have become increasingly difficult. Past years' questions include "What were the Stupids doing when they died in the book 'The Stupids Die'?" and "What is the adult magazine Eddie Murphy belittles in the opening scenes of 'The Golden Child'?" Answers: watching television and Chunky Asses, respectively.

In addition to difficult trivia questions, on-campus teams are invited to participate in action questions. Past action questions have resulted in the construction of enormous snow phalli, the collection of pounds of human hair, and extreme gunnysack races up Union Hill in the snow.

Trivia is organized by a team of Lawrence students known as Trivia Masters whose rituals and question-writing techniques are shrouded in mystery. Known for their propensity to engage in spontaneous skullduggery and for their fever-inducing sex appeal, this elite squadron has already spent months preparing for Trivia XLII.

This year's trivia masters are Drew Baumgartner, Adam Berey, James Hall, Corin Howland, Paul Karner, Meghan McCallum, Joe Pfender, Eric Prichard, Emily Saltzman, Jason Siroky, Katie Stanton, Erin Watson and Sara Welch.

Students interested in participating in Trivia may look for a team to join, or may start their own team. Starting a team requires only a computer with an Internet connection and a telephone, though competitive teams will usually gather a number of computers and telephones into a war room and solicit sponsors to supply them with free food throughout the weekend.

Teams must call WLFM between 6 and 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26 to register with a team name. Visit www.lawrence.edu/sorg/trivia for more information, or e-mail this year's Grand Trivia Master, James Hall, at hallj@lawrence.edu.