During my first semester in college, I had a calculus instructor who began every class by writing a problem on the board and then flipping a coin. If it came up heads, the problem on the board became our quiz. If it came up tails, no quiz for the day. It made Tuesdays and Thursdays extremely stressful, especially since the class started at 8:00 a.m., and I was usually hungover until 10. Probably why I stopped going after the third week.
Me, I’m just going to give you the quiz straight up. No coins. That’s because my son commandeers all my spare change and deposits it in his piggybank. On a side note, it's a freaking miracle I passed that calculus class. Word to the wise -- unless you plan on calculating the trajectory for NASA's first manned mission to Mars, or, I don't know, teaching math, you're probably safe skipping calculus in college. I wish I could go back in time 19 years and sit with 1991 Me while that moron selected his classes for the first time.
OK, then, I hope you’ve been paying attention to current events. Let's get it on.
1. Where was President Obama born?
a. Hawaii. I may not like him, but I am not certifiably insane.
b. Kenya. I firmly believe that 49 years ago, the Hawaii Department of Vital Records joined forces with the Democratic Party and then-19-year-old Nancy Pelosi to begin laying the groundwork to groom a randomly selected toddler born in a tiny African village to become President of the United States. I mean, that TOTALLY makes sense.
c. 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey, England. Wait, maybe that was Harry Potter.
d. Venusville, the red-light district on Mars from the movie Total Recall. "Quaaaaaid. Start the reactor. Free Mars."
2. Where is the controversial so-called “Ground Zero” mosque being built?
a. On Ground Zero. Inside that big hole. Those sons of bitches.
b. Two blocks away, a bit farther away from Ground Zero than a mosque that is already there.
c. I’m not sure. I move my lips when I read.
3. How many colleges did Sarah Palin attend before earning her bachelor’s degree?
d. Eleventy billion
4. Who would win in a fight to the death between Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann?
5. Do you accept Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as indisputable scientific fact?
b. No. I’ve got a better handle on this thing than scientists who are way, way, way smarter than me. Get me another Coors.
c. Do you like my new Calvin Peeing on Jeff Gordon sticker?
6. Do you pay too much in taxes?
a. Yes. I believe that roads, bridges and sewer pipes will fix themselves.
b. Yes. I have never used any government service or government commodity in my life. I am 100 percent self-reliant. Glenn Beck says I am a real American.
c. Yes. I work 20 hours a week at Jiffy Lube, but I strenuously object to any tax increase on people making more than $250,000 a year.
7. (DEMOCRATS ONLY) Are you a vegetarian?
a. Yes. I went to Berkeley and listen to Annie Lenox and don’t accept my biologically assigned role on the food chain. I believe in evolution, I just choose not to help mankind evolve.
b. No. I’ve got these effing teeth for a reason.
8. (REPUBLICANS ONLY) Assuming you oppose a woman’s right to choose to terminate her pregnancy, do you also oppose the death penalty?
a. Hal? Hal?
b. You’re trying to trick me. When I said “all human life is sacred,” I didn’t mean garbage like murderers. I meant babies.
9. What is Afghanistan?
a. The capital of Iraq
b. A small, unstable nation in Asia where the September 11 plot was hatched and planned and where, and I know this sounds crazy, but maybe, just maybe, we should have been focusing our military efforts for the last nine years.
c. President Obama’s middle name
10. (ONLY IF YOU VOTED FOR OBAMA) What grade would you give President Obama for his first two years in office?
a. A (I think he’s doing a fantastic job)
b. B (Making some progress. Once we get these midterms behind us, he can really focus on the work of America).
c. C (Starting to get annoyed)
d. D (Can I change my vote to Hillary?)
e. F (We’re screwed in 2012)
11. (ONLY IF YOU DIDN’T VOTE FOR OBAMA) What grade would you give President Obama for his first two years in office?
a. F: (Told you so!)
b. H: (Apocalypse is at hand!)
c. Double Q: (For Christ’s sake, I’m actually thinking Palin might do a better job).
d. Z (I saw something on the Internets that says he helped plot the 9/11 attacks)
12. Do you believe in the phenomenon of climate change?
a. No. It’s like totally ludicrous to think that burning fossil fuels and pumping out a jllion cubic tons of carbon monoxide every single day for the last 100 years would have any effect on our planet. Did you see how much snow we got last winter? We’ll be fine.
b. No. Those e-mails from Switzerland prove it’s a gigantic hoax! So what if the polar icecaps are melting faster than a McDonald’s soft-serve cone?
c. Yes. I think Al Gore is sexy. I hear he’s single. And “handsy.”
13. (True or False) Vaccines cause autism.
a. True. Jenny McCarthy says so.
b. True. I believe this even though the chief author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, M.D., has had his medical license revoked, the study linking vaccines and autism has been retracted, the authors of the report have withdrawn their support for it, and multiple studies have proven that there is no link between vaccines and autism. Oh, and Wakefield’s study was funded in part by an autism drug manufacturer. But whatever.
c. True. Despite having no medical training whatsoever, I am suspicious of vaccines even though their development constitutes one of mankind’s crowning achievements. I also enjoy watching deadly childhood diseases stage a comeback.
d. False. I’m pretty sure it’s false. Like 90 percent sure. Maybe I should space out the kids’ vaccine schedule just to be sure. F**king Internet.
14. (FOR DEMOCRATS ONLY) Do you think Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is doing a good job?
a. Shaking my head sadly, looking around in case any Republicans are pointing and laughing.
b. How the eff did we get stuck with her again?
c. So let me get this straight. The Presidential line of succession is currently (1) Biden and (2) Pelosi? Oh, my God, I just soiled myself.
d. All of the above
15. (FOR REPUBLICANS ONLY) Do you think Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is doing a good job?
b. Pop quiz high-five!
c. Seriously, I don’t know what we’re gonna do without her.
d. I mean, really, she’s their Sarah Palin minus the charm and awesome hair
16. (FOR DEMOCRATS ONLY) The most embarrassing thing about the Democratic Party is:
a. Nancy Pelosi
c. The federal budget deficit
17. (FOR REPUBLICANS ONLY) The most embarrassing thing about the Republican Party is:
a. August 29, 2008, the date the Palin machine was unleashed upon us like one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
b. The fact that every single hate group in America votes Republican
c. That when we win back Congress in November, we’re going to eff things up just as badly because we haven’t got the first effing clue on how to fix things.
18. The immediate aftermath of another Islamic terrorist attack against the United States would be:
a. Palin 2012 bumper stickers
b. All of us suddenly realizing we’re living in one of those near-future science-fiction movies on Sy-Fy where America has become a police state.
c. Having to buy my hummus in the Arab-American Relocation Zone (Mid-Atlantic)
d. All of the above
19. What is the primary reason that the U.S. economy continues to struggle?
a. My cable company charges $200 a month for service for a bunch of channels I’ve never watched, leaving me little money to spend in the marketplace. FIOS actually stands for F*ck, I Owe a Sh*tload
b. No one knows what’s really wrong, but I saw my college economics professor hoarding canned spaghetti and bottled water and muttering to himself.
c. Paris Hilton keeps getting arrested and doesn’t have time to inject capital into the gross domestic product.
20. How often do you check your e-mail?
a. Once or twice a day.
b. So often that I sometimes check it while I’m checking it.
c. What up, Gramps? You still use e-mail?
EXTRA HARD EXTRA CREDIT QUESTION
1. The primary cause of the American Civil War was:
a. The debate over slavery
b. The debate over states’ rights vs. the power of the federal government
c. The collapse of the two-party political system.
Hang on, let me count up the political parties in America right now. Democrats, one. Republicans, two.
Hello? Oh, hey. Really? A third party? Growing stronger? A little militant? Awesome.
Update on Facebook Status Updates
In light of last week’s column, I’ve implemented a moratorium on using Facebook. Other than the five or so minutes it took to post the link to this week’s column, I haven’t been on Facebook since last Monday afternoon. Lest you think I have superhuman willpower, I am not gonna lie to you. I had Mrs. Corner change the password for me, in essence locking me out of my own account. In my defense, I could request a new password, but I haven’t done that.
If any combat veterans are reading this, they’re thinking, “My eight-man squadron held off 300 Taliban soldiers for fourteen hours in Kandahar and you’re proud of yourself for not logging onto Facebook? I just threw up in my mouth.”
Aaaaanyway… some astute readers have identified a few additional Facebook status update categories worthy of derision. Let’s make fun of them (the categories, not the readers), shall we?
The Weather Observation
Here’s the deal. If I live in the same city as you, then I know what the weather is like. If I don’t, well, your weather situation is pretty low on my priority list.
So-and-so is pondering.... Thinking… Worrying…
Hey, here’s a two-word update for all your friends who’ve been subjected to your update. “Not caring.”
The Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe
Not real woe, like illness or foreclosure or anything like that. Just your basic FML woe that happens to everyone, except that most everyone else just shuts their pie hole and moves on. Except you. Because you’re special. Look, I’m sorry your dream of becoming an astronaut fizzled out when you got a D in high school physics, but as Drew Carey said: “You hate your job? There’s a support group for that. It’s called ‘everybody.’ They meet every day at a bar."
*This week's title is taken from Keanu Reeves' 1994 movie Speed. As you may recall, there's a scene early on in which Keanu's partner (played by Jeff Daniels) tests him with a pop quiz about the best way to save a hostage from a terrorist who's using him for cover to make his escape. Ten minutes later, Keanu puts a bullet into his partner's upper thigh to save him from Dennis Hopper's mad bomber. One of my many problems with that movie is the scene where the bus crashes into the unoccupied cargo jet and explodes into a huge fireball -- what if it had been a loaded passenger jet taxiing out onto the runway? Now that would have been a dark ending.
Looking back, Speed was an average movie at best and pales in comparison to the brilliant Point Break. Don't tell me Ben Affleck didn't come up with The Town without a few late-night viewings of that revolutionary piece of filmmaking. Hey, guess who directed Point Break? Kathryn Bigelow, who won Best Director for The Hurt Locker. It's OK. You don't need to be ashamed anymore. I get it. I love Point Break too.