Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
November 18th, 2004
Quiz Team


Quiz Team mixed up with Moeller

Sorry about reporting on the Quiz Team’s Tuesday performance so late, okay Harrison? I’ve been waiting for the actual scores, which came on the announcements only yesterday.

The St. X Quiz Team had “mixed results” (according to Wednesday’s announcement) on Tuesday’s meet against Moeller, in the first game of the regular season.

Moeller didn’t make this game as much of a big deal as in years past, probably because this was only the first game of the year. About half of the team members were however wearing those trademark blue and yellow Hawaiian shirts of theirs.


The Varsity team consisted of Brett Seifred, Sean Barber, Jay Kiger, Michael Knadler, and Ed Kelly. Starting off, moderator Mr. Sunderhaus paused things for several minutes due to a problem in another room. St. X started the match quite slow, missing all questions in the Life Science category (more on that later), but made a comeback to run neck-and-neck with Moeller throughout the category rounds. At the end of the American History category, St. X lead by only a point or two.

The scoring of the Alphabet Rounds didn’t help at all, each team receiving 14 (?) points. During the Lightning Rounds, however, Moeller went on a buzzing spree (get it?) and answered a string of questions in a row, beating out St. X by a harrowing 53–51.

First Reserve

The First Reserve (JV) team consisted of Doug Lim, Harrison Lee, Bryant Shannon, Ken Schweiter, and yours truly. Mr. Hussong made the mistake of trying to substitute me in for a player directly after the Alphabet Round, forbidden by league rules, but that issue was quickly resolved.

I returned to the hotseat in time for the Physical Science (physics) questions, where I made begun my lamentable performance. Between waiting too long to buzz in with Physical Science answers to feeding the team captain the wrong answers repeatedly in American History, I may have just earned my place on the Second Reserve. (Though I slightly redeemed myself in practices today – gotta love geography.)

The scorer, a St. X student, had some difficulties keeping track of the points – it was his first time, after all. But I’d like to thank the audience and moderators for their patience in working with him to get the scores straightened out.

Doing damage control from the start of the Lightning Round, Mr. Hussong substituted me back out, and the team rebounded, defeating Moeller by a still narrow 59–52.

Second Reserve

The Second Reserve (Freshman) team consisted of AJ Arand, Jonathan Sarky, Chris Kovaleski, Alex Polley, and Daniel Bryer. Despite the overall inexperience between both sides, each team made a good performance.

The Second Reserve beat Moeller by a comfortable 54–39.

Coming attractions

The November 30th match against Elder has been postponed, and the makeup date has yet to be determined. The next scheduled game is against Middletown-Fenwick.

Read on for my performance, as well as those sample questions you know all the answers to (of course).

Vestigial answers

I’m still a bit frustrated that Mr. Hussong decided not to put me in for the Varsity match. There are of course a few entirely valid explanations:

  1. He wanted me to play in the First Reserve match because the reservists needed some reinforcements.
  2. I’m the sole surviving senior on the team (hat tip to James Ficker), so he has the liberty to put me wherever he plum wants to. (I did, after all, play First Reserve as a freshman.)
  3. I haven’t been studying Mr. Hussong’s Packets of Knowledge.

The third explanation is sadly the truest. Junior year, my excuse was the industrial-strength workload from my classes. Senior year, my excuse is the industrial-strength workload from my college applications. You get the idea.

But I have been learning, too. The reason I was so frustrated was that I knew all the answers to the first two rounds of the Varsity match. The Life Science round covered third quarter biology material, so I was clearly the only member of the team who had a clue against Moeller’s legion. (Plus, I had just taken the SAT II Biology E/M, so I kinda knew what was going on.)

Here are some tasty questions to munch on for awhile. (As usual, none are verbatim.) From the Life Science round:

This term describes features on an organism that are common to various species due to common ancestry.

This term describes similar features on two different organisms that are not due to common ancestry. A classic example is the wings of a bird versus the wings of a bat.

This term describes a feature on an organism that is no longer used by that organism, and is usually retained in a smaller state.

This question was from the Lightning Round. Someone made a wild guess, which does make sense, but was way off.

What US state contains the cities of Madison, Jefferson, and Houma?

And I of course knew all of the answers. It’s striking how much Louisiana (and New Orleans in particular) come up in Quiz Team nowadays, both in our team practices and in the GCAL matches. Which is nice for me, since I was born in New Orleans.

Proving oneself

So when I actually had the chance to show off my knowledge in the First Reserve match, I floundered.

This was a toss-up question in the Physical Science category. I should’ve gotten this one, but someone beat me to it – with the wrong answer. Moeller got the question right.

What is the vector quantity that represents the distance traveled from the origin at a given time?

This was a team question in the English/World Literature round. I read the poem in Mr. Cahill’s class last year, and I clearly remember the poem. But I could not for the life of me remember the answer.

For this question, I will give you a blank, and you must fill in the blank.

This Robert Burns poem is titled “Ode To A .” Its subtitle reads “On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough.”

This was a team question in the American History round. The team captain was for some reason relying on me to feed him the answers. I’m sure it was already painfully obvious that I’m no good with history.

In 1777, George Washington’s troops camped at Valley Forge. In what state is Valley Forge located?

A purpose

At least I had a purpose being present at the matches Tuesday. Not only did I help people find their way out of the laborynth that is Cincinnati State; Mr. Hussong also relied on me to mass transport students to and from St. X.

Out there

I bet you didn’t know the answer to this question, which was in the English/World Literature category during the Varsity match. None of us knew it either, but someone did answer before thinking.

What is the five word name of the Robert Browning tale in which a rat-catcher lures both rats and children out of town?


  1. Reminder: The Quiz Team’s match against Elder has been postponed; the makeup date will be announced later. The next scheduled match is next Tuesday against Fenwick.

  2. Correction: The Fenwick game is next Tuesday, December 7th.

  3. It appears the Quiz Team is suffering from a bit of miscommunication.