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asisaid Challenge Returns: Predestination

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:10 AM

The Rules of the Challenge
You are on your honor not to Google or otherwise use electronic search tools to find the answers. The points will only be awarded to (a) regular commenters on asisaid or (b) people I know well via other means. I reserve the right to determine what these two categories mean and further reserve the right to disqualify any participant at any time for any reason. Call it unconditional election, if you wish and think that isn't potentially presumptuous coming from a mere mortal.

There is no guarantee of prize value or receipt and no purchase necessary to receive it. The prizes have no cash value and will be awarded at the sole discretion of Timothy R. Butler. I reserve the right to end the Challenge at any time. Domain registration, if chosen, will be provided through Universal Networks and its registrar affiliate. Void where prohibited. You must be of legal age, typically 18 years old, to participate in this challenge for a prize. All ages and locales are welcome to participate “just for fun.”

Not One to Break a Resolution Already

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:03 AM

I haven't even had time to read my blog comments, but I didn't want to break my resolution to post a challenge question today, so here we go.

Intermediate Question (2 pts. for each possible answer)
Which nation(s) joined the EU as of today?

The Story So Far

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 7:17 AM

OK, so I'm going to give Mike the full 20 points on Eliot; he didn't get the title, but he did get some of the background. The quote is the beginning of “the Wasteland,” a poem made up of five smaller poems. The first poem, the one quoted, is “the Burial of the Dead.” Eliot wrote “the Wasteland” in the early twenties, in response partially to the collective societal shock and breakdown after World War I, and also his own personal nervous breakdown that brought him to Switzerland to recuperate.

Some of the other significance stems from the negative look at flowers and April. Eliot is nothing if not an allusionary poet. He is always alluding to other works, and what is a better known beginning to a poem in English literature than the beginning of Chaucer's prologue to the Canterbury Tales? While Chaucer's April is full of life budding, Eliot's reinvisioning of the world as a wasteland turns that happy image on its head.

Y'all should go read “the Wasteland.” It is worth it, just be forewarned it isn't easy, but I have confidence that my readers are up to a challenge.

Mike: 20 pts.
Jason: 5 pts.
Dave: 3 pts.

More to come.

Challenge Revisited Update

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:34 AM

Here's a little update on the Challenge questions from the other day.

For the Easy question, Dave is right, it is Donald Rumsfield. 2 pts. for him.

For the Intermediate question, Jason is right, despite crying foul. 5 pts. for him.

For the Hardquestion, Mike is right on who it is, so he'll get some points. The question for the moment is this: can anyone do better with an answer. If so, there are more points to be had in doing so.

asisaid Challenge Remix

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:49 AM

OK, so the last asisaid Challenge ended in a fizzle. Kevin was way ahead, but didn't actually want to win and I got busy and didn't have time to assemble new questions. Flip was the second highest in score, and she is no longer reading blogs, as far as I know. So, here's your chance to start and make a name for yourself as an amazing Challenge question answerer.

Here's why you'll want to participate: prizes! The winner will get a new, really nice hosting account prepaid for six months from my company, and either a free domain name for one year (registered via or a $10 iTunes Store gift card. No purchase necessary, purchase will not increase chances of winning, void where prohibited.

Let's start off with two questions. The rules are simple: (1) I must either know you from elsewhere or you must be a regular commenter on asisaid as of today to participate. (2) You are on your honor not to use Google or other online search tools to come up with answers to these questions. The questions are meant to be a challenge, but Google, et al., make a challenge not much of one. No Google, no Live Search, no Yahoo, no Amazon. (3) I reserve the right to remove a participant at my sole discretion. Got it? OK, let's get started.

The winner will be the person who accumulates 250 points or has the most points when I decide to end the challenge.

Easy Question (2pts)
What notable government figure of recent times was ten days short of setting a record as the longest lasting occupant of his or her office?

Intermediate Question (5 pts)
What notable issue of Christian doctrine did St. Nicholas participate in a major debate about and where was the debate?

Hard Question (20 pts)
Who wrote the following quote and what work does it belong to? And, for 2 extra points, what is the title of that part of the work? For 3 more bonus points, tell the background about the work.

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Happy challenging!

Challenge Revisited: Find a Quote, Get a Prize.

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 2:14 AM

One of these days, I am going to revive the asisaid challenge, but in the mean time, I want to again remind everyone of my extra BIG BONUS ROUND that was announced on December 14, 2004:

5.) BIG BONUS ROUND: I don’t know the answer to this one, but I want to. Who was the author of the quote “Seek truth knowing there can be no conflict between God and truth.” My friend who gave it to me recalls originally reading it in a 1960’s magazine aimed at soon to be college freshmen, such as he was at the time (200 pts. [no typo there]). You may use Google and other search engines on this question and this question only.

200 points equals winning a round of asisaid challenge, so in other words, I'll give you one year of free web hosting (100 meg account valued at $60) and either a $15 iTunes Gift Card or a free domain name for two years, if you can provide me with the who and where of this quote.

Note: unlike normal asisaid challenge questions, you may use Google and any other tools at your disposal to find this. I really want to find this quote, so if you can provide me with its source using any means you have (presuming they are legal), please use them! Moreover, you need not be a regular asisaid reader to participate in this round — if you find this page while Googling, please feel free to join the search.


Bring Back the Challenge

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:41 AM

It's been about six months since the last asisaid Challenge question set was published. The contest expired before anyone nabbed my prize of six months of free web hosting and a domain name. I'm thinking about reviving the challenge with a new prize (maybe an iTunes gift card…). Anyone interested, or is this something I should just let die?

For the Rain It Rainth Everyday

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:10 PM

A friend of mine from out of town commented back in May that St. Louis does not have refreshing afternoon storms to cool down the air after a hot day. Actually, sometimes we do have them, but this spring was rather dry. Now, we are catching up, and in a big way. There is a storm with what sounds like straight line winds of up to 80 MPH (129 KPH) heading our way as I write. I might be gone for awhile if the power is taken out. That reminded me of a song from a play.

He that has and a little tiny wit—
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,—
Must make content with his fortunes fit,
For the rain it raineth every day.

Where is this quote from? That is an asisaid Challenge Question worth 10 points.

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, &c.
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain, &c.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, &c.
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain, &c.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, &c.
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain, &c.

What is different about this part of the song? That is a challenge question worth 20 points.

Challenge Set #10

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 9:47 PM

For instructions on how to play the Challenge, click here (also see the modifications listed here).

Kevin: 220 (up from 215 on April 16) — An incorrect but good guess concerning April 29 helps Kevin.
Flip: 130 (up from 105 on February 13) — Nietzsche and Homer moves Flip forward.
Christopher: 70
Jason: 35
Josiah: 30
Eduardo: 20
Ed: 10
Chris (answering vicariously for his wife): 10

New Questions
10.1) What are the three most popular countries for tourism in the world (in correct order). (10 pts.)

10.2) What was launched this day (May 14) in 1973? (5 pts.)

10.3) What was Ludwig Wittgenstein's view of how we could relate different religions? (10 pts.)

10.4) What part of speech is “accusative” in English? (5 pts.)

10.5) Who said this and where? (10 pts.)
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself—
Yea, all which it inherit—shall dissolve,
And like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.

10.6) Whose shoe was lost this week during the evacuation of the U.S. Capitol Building and who returned it? (5 pts.)

Remaining Questions
9.3) What is happening at 6:00 PM, 13 days from now (presently, it is April 16). (5 pts.)

9.5) What bill has made it to the President's desk in recent days that has the support of retailers and is hated by some consumer advocates? (5 pts.)

Challenge Set #9

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:46 AM

House Cleaning
Let's answer the unfinished questions of the past:

7.4.) Who was the one clergyman to sign the U.S. Constitution? What was his affiliation? (5 pts.) Whoops, I should have asked for a signer of the Declaration of Independence instead. The answer then would be John Witherspoon, who was president of what is now Princeton University for a time.

7.5.) What are the two parts of AT&T, other than Baby Bells, that will be reunited if the SBC-AT&T merger is approved by regulatory agencies? What makes this merger such an interesting contrast to AT&T's 1998 acquisition of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI)? (10 5 pts.) If you check the numbers, AT&T paid sizably more for the upstart TCI than SBC is paying for the telephone company, Ma Bell, just a few years later.

8.1.) Who wrote/spoke the following and, if applicable, what is it? What other thing — I'm being intentionally vague here — derives its name from a phrase within here? (10 pts.)
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
The answer here is William Butler Yeats (notice the connection to my name) and it is a poem entitled The Second Coming. Kevin guessed Achebe's Things Fall Apart for the latter part of the question, which is exactly what I was shooting for.

8.3.) Name the ties of the apostate UCC denomination to the Puritans and eighteenth century Methodists. (10 pts.) BONUS: Link it to the German Pietists as well for 5 pts. The Congregational Christian church resulted from the merger of a part of the eighteen century Christian movement (which in turn came from Methodist/Revival influence) and the Congregational Church, the church of the Pilgrims. This new church merged with the Evangelical and Reformed church, which traces part of its roots back to the German Pietists that settled in Missouri and elsewhere.

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