Sporcle Dad Knows American Presidents We're not sure anyone gets it

If you’re here, it’s likely because you didn’t get some (or any) of the Sporcle Dad jokes. Well here is a guide to just what the heck was going on in that tiny little dad brain when it comes to American presidents.

You should know that the “Knows” Sporcle Dad quiz are more difficult. The “Talks” quizzes take a subject then finds punchlines related to each of the Sporcle categories. Some pop culture knowledge and tangential thinking should do it. This quiz features punchlines related directly to the subject, in this case American presidents. You might want to brush off that history degree for this one. Enjoy!

If you haven’t yet played the “Sporcle Dad Knows American Presidents” quiz, head over to Sporcle first to see how you do.

Do you like George Washington?
Yes, he really sank his teeth into problems.

According to legend, President George Washington had false teeth made of wood. Actually, he never had wooden teeth. While he was President, his teeth were made of hippopotamus and elephant ivory. Before that, his false teeth were made with real human teeth.

Do you like James Monroe?
Yes, he was a capital guy.

President James Monroe supported the creation of African colonies which would be home to free African-Americans who wished to repatriate. Those colonies became the nation of Liberia whose capital, Monrovia, is named for Monroe.

Do you like John Tyler?
Yes, he was bound to succeed.

President John Tyler was the first person to become President by succeeding a President who died in office, in this case William Henry Harrison.

Do you like James Buchanan?
Yes, he was very single-minded.

President James Buchanan was the only President never to have married. Scholars debate whether he was celibate or perhaps the first gay President.

Do you like Abraham Lincoln?
He wasn’t bad. At least he didn’t split hairs.

During his first campaign for the Presidency, Abraham Lincoln‘s background was embellished somewhat. One of the most enduring images is of Lincoln clearing land and splitting rails to build fences.

Do you like Andrew Johnson?
Yes, he kept everyone in stitches.

Prior to entering politics, President Andrew Johnson worked as a tailor.

Do you like Grover Cleveland?
No, he couldn’t keep it together.

President Grover Cleveland is the only President to have served nonconsecutive terms, making him both the 22nd and 24th President.

Do you like William Howard Taft?
Yes, he was big on personal hygiene.

At 5’11” and 335 pounds, William Howard Taft was the heaviest President. A special oversized tub was installed in the White House for him. During his term a rumor spread that he had become stuck in a tub in the White House, but this was untrue.

Do you like Woodrow Wilson?
No, he was very taxing.

In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing Congress to levy an income tax was ratified. President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Revenue Act of 1913, codifying an income tax for the U.S.

Do you like Herbert Hoover?
Yes, that guy was dam good.

In order to create jobs and stimulate the economy in an effort to stave off the coming Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover initiated several public works projects including Boulder Dam. Speaking at ceremony for the beginning of a project related to the construction of the dam, Interior Secretary Ray Wilbur named the dam Hoover Dam. This was an unpopular choice because things were not normally named after sitting Presidents. The name became more unpopular as Hoover led the country farther into the depression.

Do you like Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
Yes, he was really in it for the long haul.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served longer than any other President. He was elected four times but died shortly into his fourth term. After his presidency, the Twenty-second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, limiting the President to two terms.

Do you like Harry S. Truman?
Huh? I thought that guy was defeated.

Harry S. Truman became President in 1945 upon the death of President Roosevelt. When he ran for election on his own right in 1948 he was such an underdog that the Chicago Tribune printed an edition announcing his defeat before the votes were counted.

Harry Truman, he wasn't defeated..

Harry Truman, he wasn’t defeated.

Do you like Dwight D. Eisenhower?
No, he had a complex.

During World War II, Dwight David Eisenhower was a five-star general in the U.S. Army and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe. In 1951, he became the first Supreme Commander of the newly formed NATO. He was elected President in 1952 and again in 1956. In his farewell address in 1961, he warned against deficit military spending and private military contractors, coining the term “military-industrial complex.”

Do you like John F. Kennedy?
Yes, he was tough. He was known to torpedo his enemies.

During World War II, President John F. Kennedy was only a lieutenant, but he served with distinction. His command, patrol torpedo boat PT-109, was sunk by a Japanese destroyer. He led 10 crewmen to safety on a nearby island. For this, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism and the Purple Heart Medal for injuries. Later in the war, Kennedy led one of two boats on a mission to rescue 87 stranded Marines. He was again awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.

Sporcle Dad Talks Artists We're not sure anyone gets it

If you’re here, it’s likely because you didn’t get some (or any) of the Sporcle Dad jokes. Well here is a guide to just what the heck was going on in that tiny little dad brain when it comes to artists. If you haven’t yet played the “Sporcle Dad Talks Artists” quiz, head over to Sporcle first to see how you do.

Sports
Do you like Red Grooms?
Sure, who doesn’t love the Galloping Ghost?

Red Grooms, American sculptor

Red Grooms, Give my Regards to Browdway

Red Grooms, Give my Regards to Browdway

Red Grange, American football player, the “Galloping Ghost”

Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost

Red Grange

Geography
Do you like Gainsborough?
Never been. That’s in Florida, right?

Thomas Gainsborough, English painter, best known for The Blue Boy

Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy

Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy

Florida, a lame reference to Gainesville and some random ‘boro.

Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Music
Do you like Dalí?
Yes, but I really hate that Jolene chick.

Salvador Dalí, Spanish surrealist

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory

Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory

Dolly Parton, American country singer, who sang “Jolene, please don’t take my man,” as seen on YouTube

Dolly Parton, Jolene

Dolly Parton, Jolene

Movies
Do you like Hopper?
Yes, all those little bugs were so cute.

Edward Hopper, American painter

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks

Edward Hopper, Nighthawks

Hopper, the evil (but still kinda cute) grasshopper from A Bug’s Life

Hopper

Hopper

Television
Do you like Munch?
Yes, Tony Shaloub was great in that.
Hindsight punchline: Yes, Tony Shaloub was a scream in that.

Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter, famed for The Scream

Edvard Munch, The Scream

Edvard Munch, The Scream

Tony Shaloub, American actor, known for Wings, Men In Black, and Monk

Tony Shaloub as Mnk

Tony Shaloub as Monk

Just For Fun
Do you like Rodin?
Yes, he’s way cooler than Godzilla.

Auguste Rodin, French sculptor famous for The Thinker

Auguste Rodin, The ThinkerAuguste Rodin, The Thinker

Auguste Rodin, The Thinker

Rodan, Pteranodon-like Jaapanese movie monster, initially an enemy but ultimately an ally of Godzilla

Rodan

Rodan

Entertainment
Do you like Stella?
No, I never got what all the shouting was about.

Frank Stella, American painter

Frank Stella, La scienza della laziness (The Science of Laziness)

Frank Stella, La scienza della laziness (The Science of Laziness)

Stella Kowalski is a character in Tennessee Williams‘ masterpiece play A Streetcar Named Desire. The best known scene from the play (and subsequent film) involves Marlon Brando, playing Stella’s husband Stanley, standing below her window calling her name, “Steellaaaaaa!”

A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire

History
Do you like Pissarro?
No, that armor’s just too over the top.

Camille Pissarro, Danish-French impressioniist

Camille Pissarro, Hay Harvest at Éragny

Camille Pissarro, Hay Harvest at Éragny

Francisco Pizarro, Spanish conquistador responsible for the fall of the Inca Empire

Francisco Pizarro

Francisco Pizarro

Literature
Do you like da Vinci?
Yes, that was a great book.

Leonardo da Vinci‘s enormous body of work includes the Mona Lisa, drawing the Vitruvian Man, and designing the first helicopter (in the fifteenth century!).

Francesco Melzi, Leonardo da Vinci

Francesco Melzi, Leonardo da Vinci

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, not that great a book really
The Da Vinci Code

Language
Do you like French?
No, no hablo francés.

Daniel Chester French, American sculptor, best known for the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial

Daniel Chester French, Abraham Lincoln

Daniel Chester French, Abraham Lincoln

“No, no hablo francés” means “No, I don’t speak French.” In Spanish.

Science
Do you like Pollock?
Yes, they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Jackson Pollock, American painter, famous for his unusual style of “drip painting”

Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31

Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31

Pollock, a tasty North Atlantic fish

Pollock

Pollock

Gaming
Do you like Leroy Neiman?
Yes, he’s funny, but I wouldn’t want him on my raid.

Leroy Neiman, American painter, famous for his colorful paintings of sports, athletes, and musicians

Leroy Neiman, 33 for 3: Larry Bird

Leroy Neiman, 33 for 3: Larry Bird

Leeroy Jenkins, epic WoW fail as seen on YouTube (“At least I have chicken.”)

Miscellaneous
Do you like Botticelli?
Oh yes, especially with white sauce.

Sandro Botticelli, Italian Renaissance painter famous for The Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus

Vermicelli, a round pasta similar to spaghetti, especially good with clam sauce

Religion
Do you like Church?
No, I prefer pagan rites myself.

Frederic Edwin Church, American landscape painter, member of the Hudson River School

Frederic Edwin Church, Niagara Falls, from the American Side

Frederic Edwin Church, Niagara Falls, from the American Side

Paganism was originally a derogatory term for non-Abrahamic religions. Today it is at least somewhat more accepted as Modern Paganism. While rites are involved, they are generally less formal than church.

Holiday
Do you like Saint-Gaudens?
I don’t know. Is that the day with the trees?

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, American sculptor responsible for many Civil War monuments and the $20 “double eagle” gold piece

Saint-Gaudens double eagle

Saint-Gaudens double eagle

Arbor Day because trees. Trees because plants. Plants because gardens. Gardens because Saint-Gaudens. Saint-Gaudens because sometimes you’re desperate for one last dumb joke.

On Being a (Better) Writer In Three Easyish Steps

We authors, who trade in fictions for a living, are a continuum of all we have seen and heard and, most importantly, all that we have read.
–Neil Gaiman, Trigger Warning

I woke up at 4 a.m. with the end of this piece clear in my mind. I made myself get up and write it down because I liked it. While I was up, I might as well write down the beginning I thought of earlier. Except… I wish I had written that down.

Our lives are full of wishes like that. Yes, most of the time it’s the time of our dentist appointment. (When was that?) But sometimes it’s an amusing anecdote from work. Sometimes it’s a story or recipe from your grandma. Sometimes it’s an award-winning novel that will be read by millions. No matter the topic, no matter the audience, it’s your story. Write it.

I have been fortunate enough to have Angela in my life for inspiration and encouragement. Together we have written three nonfiction books that I think are quite good.

What I haven’t done is write fiction. Angela has and does. I love her stories and am so proud to watch her getting better and better. What I haven’t done is write. Anything. Lately. This is an exhortation to myself as well as to you. Just write.

In that spirit, here are my musings on being a better writer in three easy (some easier than others) steps, as inspired by the stellar Neil Gaiman. Originally, these were my thoughts on writing fiction, but they apply to any type of writing. After all, Neil began as a journalist, and as with all great writers, often his fiction is more true than truth. Now read this. Then write.

Step One: Read

Homework: Read the introduction to at least one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections. (Extra credit: Visit Neil’s blog and Tumblr.) You will notice a pattern. Neil frequently says something like, “I read STORY by AUTHOR. I liked how AUTHOR wrote STORY. One or more of my stories is inspired by how STORY was told by AUTHOR.”

You’re not out to copy another author’s style, but look how that person tells a story. What do you like? Word choices? Rhythm? Dialog? Description? Read a lot and learn what you like. Turn that into your own style.

Sheer conjecture: I like to think the primary benefit of having a creative writing class is not having a roomful of people telling you their opinions of your story, but having the opportunity to hear how a roomful of people tell a story.

Step Two: Live

Homework: Read the stories from at least one of Neil Gaiman’s short story collections.

Honestly, it takes more than one book, but you start to see the clues. In most (all, I’m quite sure) of Neil’s stories, there is a tiny grain of experience from his life.

Of course there are the tropes common to all of us: love, loss, hope. There are other things, still general, but things that bring the reader a bit closer, things like pubs and private drinking clubs and lonely trips to LA. Then there are things that are singularly Neil — a large house torn down to make room for a cluster of smaller ones, an ominous lamppost on the lane.

To try to dissect a story to understand the author’s inspiration is to rob the story of the sheer joy of reading it. Neil does talk about some of these things, but not to encourage you to go looking for them. Instead, think about how the tiniest thing can become a story.

That trip to the Grand Canyon as a kid? Burst dam epic or Wild West saga? The shock of coming home to find your first pet goldfish dead? A murder mystery or an eco-thriller? A Spanish language billboard in the Vietnamese part of town? A collection of oral histories on food (now available in paperback wherever books are sold)?

Be open to life — cliched message about gifts and blessings here.

Step Three: Write

I warned you that some of the steps are easier than, well, than this one. The first two steps are going to help you do this one better but not more easily.

Better, not well. No doubt, there are prodigies out there who write brilliantly the first time they put pen to paper. I am not one of these people. Let’s assume you aren’t either. (If you are, reading the rest of this won’t take much of your time, and it gives you an excuse to ridicule my advice later.)

Write something. Put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, voice to microphone, brainwaves to cranial implant. (I’m going to assume this advice has staying power.)

Now the important part — Neil says this, so believe it — finish what you start. Saying “meh” and quitting doesn’t make you a writer. Writers don’t create bits and pieces. Writers creates works — works of art.

Art? Most first time writer stuff you’ve seen is crap. Yes, yours; certainly mine. Again, virtually no one is good immediately in their chosen field. None of us are going to run a marathon or dice an onion rapidly or play Chopin flawlessly without a lot of practice first.

Write that first piece, the second, maybe the third. Now put them in a drawer and forget them. Just don’t forget the lessons you learned while writing them. Think about what you would do differently, and do it.

(In these technological times, the above mentioned drawer is likely to be figurative rather than literal. Regardless, don’t shred these early works. If you become famous, your heirs may be able to make a fortune foisting them off on unsuspecting fans. And congratulations on earning your cynic badge.)

Do what though? What do I write? Harry Crews, who lived a life as powerful as his fiction, once said (forgive the paraphrase; this was 25+ years ago): “When I started, I wanted to be a poet, but writing poetry was hard. So I tried short stories – too hard. So I wrote novels. That’s how most of us end up writing novels. That’s just easier.”

Right now, many of you are thinking about a delightful Neil Gaiman sestina and thinking “Wait…”

I’m not saying you’ll Peter Principle your way into your niche; I’m saying you’ll find your groove. Groove — not rut. You’ll hustle through a novel, then electric slide into something else.

With practice, you’ll learn what you like. And by practice, I mean writing and finishing what you start.

Homework: Visit the blog of Chuck Wendig.
If Neil Gaiman is the wise man atop the mountain, Chuck Wendig is the Olympic athlete who drops by the gym to help you with your form. In addition to being a fine writer (and by “fine writer,” I mean “bad-ass mofo.” Hi, Chuck!), Chuck dispenses excellent advice. Like: “Write, Penmonkey, write.” Like stories that move you, Chuck can move you to write with intensely focused words of wisdom.

It’s your life. They’re your stories. Who better to write them? Just write.

If you have fear, you have at least as much bravery. Write it.

If you’re hurting or scared, it won’t last. Write it.

If you’re happy, that won’t last either. Sorry. Write it.

Your stories are worth it. Write them.

And remember, no matter what you write, or who you show it to, we’re with you. We love you.

Your gold star!

It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it’s called Life.
― Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

My gold star!!!!!

Five exclamation marks, the sure sign of an insane mind.
― Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man

Remember. We love you.

To My Valentine Gushy Love Stuff

It’s been a rough year. That sentence doesn’t even come close to expressing what I’ve put you through. The fact that you’re still here after this year… Either you really love me or you’ve got mental issues that you probably should explore. Quite possibly both.

This time last year, we were driving each other insane baking things, but I wasn’t holding up. Every now and then, though, I would see you through the fog. That’s what kept me going as long as I lasted. I love watching you work with your hands. I love watching you really get into something that you enjoy, when you’re excited about it.

You loved me while I was a turnip. That’s not something every husband can say about his wife. I did something stupid and selfish, and you turned it into one of the most selfless moments anyone could make. You stayed with me even though I can’t remember it. You fought for me.

You brought me home and took care of me for months. And it hasn’t been fun. I wish we had been playing doctor this whole time. You learned to read lips when I couldn’t talk. You encouraged me to write. You keep encouraging me to write more.

I’ve spent a lot of time these past months in silent contemplation. I watch you, and I think about how ridiculously lucky I am to have found you. I think about how much I admire the spirit that is you, your creativity, your wit, your passion. When I close my eyes, I see your face, your eyes, your smile. I feel your heart, the goodness that is you.

So, here is my Valentine to you, my love. I can’t promise you smooth sailing or sunny days. I won’t offer you the moon and stars above. I’m afraid I can’t even give you a great romantic meal. What I give to you is simply me with all my imperfections, warts and all. And know I love you with all my heart and all my soul.

Yeah, it’s all creative, but…

Brain Filter note: This is the post from our food blog that first expressed our desire to branch out with our writing. We are reposting it here because it bears repeating. Plus having nothing but that “Hello, World” post is really sad.

I do my best writing in the car — crisp sentences, flowing paragraphs, laser-guided word choice. I compose masterpieces on the way to get gas and while I am bringing home the groceries. Then I come home where I have a laptop, a desktop, an iPhone, a ridiculous number of pads and notebooks, and pens in a variety of colors that could only come from an unsupervised Angela shopping trip (or a purchase by her indulgent husband). I have a plethora of writing tools.

And I don’t record anything.

The emails to friends, the astute cultural observations, the jokes and anecdotes. All gone from my mind to make room for something utterly inane.

Angela and I have written three books. It’s obviously not all going to waste. But I want to do something creative.

Yes, what we do is creative. But what we do is the scientific principles of cooking, the logical process of recipes, and the beautiful truth of restaurants, farms, and people. Glorious people.

I love writing like that. But I want to write the things that will make people say, “wow, Paul certainly has imagination.” Or more likely, “wow, is Paul off his meds?”

I thought about slapping together a blog for my fictional ramblings, then I decided I already had a blog of non-fiction ramblings, so why not just add a simple entry to a menu and keep all my rambling in one place. Hence the “creative writing” page on the “our work” menu.

But why did I finally come home and pick up a (boring blue) pen? Recently I did an exercise where I was shown a series of six or so photos and I had to write a flash fiction piece about each one. That was fun.

The clincher, however, goes more to my state of mind. I took a survey where I was shown Rorschach ink blots and asked to describe what I saw in detail. The first one I did as asked, but by the time I got to the acid-tripping young Londoner watching the fuchsia bobbies dancing in the tulips while chasing away the Blue Meanies, I knew I needed to commit my stories to paper. (Yes, commit the stories, not me.)

So I created this out-of-the-way little corner of our website the web so Angela and I will have a place to explore.