July 25, 2010

General Musings for the week 25th July 2010

This week I had one of those 'movie moments'. It happened like this: I was flicking through the channels on the TV one afternoon when I came across a Discovery Channel program called 'World War II in HD colour'. It had - as one would expect - a large amount of high definition footage that was either originally in colour or had been colourised later on. For various reasons I managed to avoid studying any history at school so I am playing catch up - especially with twentieth century history so I sat and watched it. It was focusing on Mussolini and his attempts to build a second Roman Empire at the start of the war. I was paying attention but essentially letting the information wash over me as I relaxed. I thought nothing more of the show until Monday evening.

On Monday evening I was invited by a friend to attend a pub quiz (For those who don't know, the pub quiz involves sitting in a bar in small groups answering sets of questions on diverse topics such as Name That Year, General Knowledge, The Numbers Game, and History. The team with the highest score wins a cash prize). The team I was on - 'The Reprobates' - was coping very well with the competition and indeed by the time we got to the 'History' round we were in the lead. As I mentioned earlier History isn't my best subject so I sat quietly and let the other team members have a go at some of the questions ("How were Henry VIII 2nd and 4th wives dispatched?") until it came to the final question: 'Which country deposed King Zog of Albania in 1939?' The whispers went round the table: "Germany?", "Russia?", "Was it Greece?". I listened for a while until suddenly the afternoon's viewing seeped through my unconscious mind and the answer appeared like a mirage in front of me. I could see a map graphic that had been displayed showing a tricolor flag advancing across a narrow stretch of water and ending in Albania. I had the answer!

"It's Italy" I whispered.
"What? Italy? They never invaded anywhere? They just surrendered"
"It's Italy" I repeated. "Trust me"

We put Italy in our answer and were fortunate enough that it was, indeed the correct answer. Nobody around the table knew the answer and - up until 4 hours earlier - neither did I. But thanks to The Discovery Channel we were able to add one more to our score. Incidentally we tied for first place and had to answer a tie-breaker questions which was 'How long was the Airship 'The Hindenburg'". Various answers were posited ranging from 30 feet long to 150 feet long. I guessed 537ft and was ridiculed for it. "It's never that long, that's almost twice as long as a football field. Don't be stupid"

The correct answer is 803ft.

Next week: "My adventures in World War I" or 'How I spent a day preparing for a major motion picture'

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