From The Side of the Road… step right up for the annual column quiz

In case you need to take your mind off of current events, and the inevitable rancorous arguments that accompany them, it might be good to apply your mind to a pop quiz. Think of this as bluegrass sudoku, even though it’s absolutely nothing like that. 

This is our annual column quiz, to see if you’ve been reading this column and retaining anything at all on Wednesdays. If you haven’t, don’t feel bad; I’ve retained very little myself. All questions will relate to column topics from the past year.

Traditionally we do this around the middle of the year, which is defined here as between May and whenever. Most of us lost all sense of time along about April of 2020, so what difference does it make? Merry Christmas, by the way.

You can grade yourself at the end. Or not; we’re very loose about this, and it will not affect your future employability or your prospects for marriage. Here’s how the grading system works, and you may classify yourself accordingly (reprinted from an earlier quiz):

If you get all five questions right, thank you! You’ve been a faithful reader. You’re helping me sleep at night, and you’re probably keeping yourself off the streets, too, where you would no doubt have gotten yourself into trouble, causing your poor old mother endless worry.

If you get four out of five right, well done! You’re a regular reader, and show clear aptitude for retaining useless and generally false information. I hope you’re registered to vote.

If you get two or three right, you’re a casual reader, and that’s okay. You tend to read the column on a slow Bluegrass Today news day, when there are no video announcements of band personnel changes, and no bluegrass musicians have undergone any medical procedures.

If you get only one right, you almost never read this column, or if you do, you don’t bother to store any of the content. That’s okay, really. I respect the fact that you’re probably keeping your mind free for matters of substance like Platonic philosophy, the Detroit Tigers’ starting lineup, or the lyrics to Little Bessie (long version).

Good luck!

1)  “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald of Bluegrass” most likely refers to:

A. A song that “turns the minutes to hours”

B. A really long song that includes some people dying at sea (or a large lake)

C. The Hills of Roane County but set on a freighter

D. Barbara Allen but with a load of iron ore

E. Old Home Place sung to the tune of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (It works; try it some time)

2)  “Where does the camping trip end and the nightmare begin?” is which of the following:

A. The slogan for a very unsuccessful bluegrass festival

B. A billboard for a used RV dealer in Indiana

C. One of the taglines for the movie Deliverance

D. The title of a new book about winter camping in Canada

E. A cheekier way to say “Are we there yet?”

3)  In ceremonies held at the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, which three heavily-used adjectives were retired from active use?

A. Hard-driving, dynamic, and tight

B. Hard-driving, smooth, and chunky

C. Dynamic, full-figured, and sparkly

D. Smooth, silky, and manageable

E. Tight, relentless, and squeaky

4)  If your idea of a perfect Saturday evening is going out to a bar, hissing at people, and occasionally biting someone in the leg, your bluegrass spirit animal is . . .

A. A rabid mule

B. The leader of your last band

C. Your former spouse

D. Morris the cat

E. An awful dreadful snake 

5)  Who are “The Blue Turf Male Children?”

A. The principal characters of the new Stephen King novel

B. A dance troupe affiliated with a Chinese religious cult

C. A progressive bluegrass band from Wisconsin, abbreviated with the acronym “BTMC.”

D. “The Blue Grass Boys” after being run through the same word substitution app that recently had the Commonwealth of Kentucky referring to Tom T. Hall as “Tom T. Corridor” in a press release.

E. The sequel to the sci-fi thriller “The Blue Turf Vixens”

Answer Key: 1:B, 2:C, 3:A, 4:E, 5:D