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Senior Life Brain Trivia Workout


1. Which of these hamburger chains sponsored a 1984 television advertisement featuring three elderly women inspecting a large hamburger bun with a small meat patty inside, with one of the women (played by Clara Peller) yelling, "Where's the beef?"

A. McDonald's
B. Burger King
C. White Castle
D. Wendy's


The correct answer is D. Clara Peller was 81 when the Wendy's ad debuted on January 10, 1984. The 4-foot 10-inch Peller had worked as a manicurist for 35 years before being discovered in a local commercial at the age of 80. The ad was credited with boosting Wendy's annual revenue that year by 31 percent! The line "Where's the beef?" became an iconic catchphrase of the '80s, even making it into the 1984 Democratic primary presidential campaign. Democratic Senator Gary Hart had moved his candidacy from dark horse to the lead over rival Walter Mondale based on "new ideas", that he claimed were like those of JFK. Mondale's response in the debates was, "When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad, "Where's the beef?"

2. Which of these painters is well known for cutting off part of his own ear?

A. Paul Cezanne
B. Paul Gauguin
C. Pablo Picasso
D. Vincent van Gogh


The correct answer is D. Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who has become much more famous after death than he ever was in his lifetime (he sold only one painting while alive, but many of his works nowadays command prices of millions of dollars). Throughout his lifetime he suffered frequent bouts of mental illness and depression. The 1972 song "Vincent" by Don McLean was written as a tribute to van Gogh. McLean’s song has the opening line "Starry, Starry Night…", which is a reference to Van Gogh's famous painting “The Starry Night.” It also includes these heartfelt words: "They would not listen / they did not know how / perhaps they'll listen now."

3. Which of these horse races is NOT part of U.S. horse racing's Triple Crown?

A. Belmont Stakes
B. Breeders' Cup
C. Kentucky Derby
D. Preakness


The correct answer is B. The start of the Kentucky Derby is celebrated each year by the crowd singing the beautiful and moving song "My Old Kentucky Home." The race is one and a quarter miles, the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs), and the Belmont Stakes is one and a half miles. Only eleven horses have won the Triple Crown, and none have done it since 1978. Recent previous Triple Crown winners (won all three races in one year) include Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), and Affirmed (1978).

4. In 2002 Liverpool Airport in England was renamed as a tribute to which member of the Beatles? (Hint: His first wife was named Cynthia.)

A. John Lennon
B. Paul McCartney
C. George Harrison
D. Ringo Starr


The correct answer is A. The son John Lennon and Cynthia had (Julian) was the inspiration for the song "Hey Jude." Paul McCartney had written it to comfort Julian during his parents' divorce (it was originally titled "Hey Jules"). John's second wife was the better known Yoko Ono. Liverpool Airport in England was renamed John Lennon Airport in March 2002. Most people think of the four members listed in the possible answers as "the Fab Four" (as the Beatles came to be called), but earlier members were bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, drummer Pete Best and drummer Andy White. The group's name evolved from the Blackjacks to the Quarrymen to Johnny and the Moondogs to the Beatals to the Silver Beetles to the Silver Beatles to the Beatles.

5. If a professional golfer wins the Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, what color jacket would the winner put on in the championship ceremony?

A. Red
B. Golden yellow
C. Green
D. Brown


The correct answer is C. The tradition of the green jacket when winning the Masters dates to 1937. Members of Augusta National wore green jackets during the tournament that year so that fans in attendance could easily recognize them if a fan needed to ask questions. Golden yellow jackets are given to the new inductees each year at the NFL Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Tiger Woods has made a tradition of usually wearing a red shirt when playing in the final round of a golf tournament. I found two possible reasons: 1) He wears the color red as a sign of his college days at Stanford University. 2) "I wear red on Sundays because my mom thinks that that's my power color, and you know you should always listen to your mom."

6. What river flows through the Grand Canyon?

A. Red River
B. Rio Grande River
C. Arizona River
D. Colorado River


The correct answer is D. The Colorado River begins with snow runoff from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. It then flows generally southwest across several states and flows through the Grand Canyon before reaching Lake Mead (the lake formed behind the Hoover Dam). After leaving the Grand Canyon it empties into the Gulf of California (in northwest Mexico).

7. In horse racing, what term is used in the U.S. to describe a jockey's jacket colors?

A. Silks
B. Cottons
C. Satins
D. Tweeds


The correct answer is A. Silks are the colorful jackets worn by jockeys during a horse race, which are used to identify the horse (although they actually identify the horse owner). In the very early days of horse racing there were usually few entrants in each race and identifying a horse was usually not a problem. However, as horse racing grew in popularity (about the mid-1700s), identity did become a problem, and silks began to be used regularly as an aid to both judges and spectators. “Silks” were originally often made from silk, but nowadays super-light synthetic material is often used.

8. What common fruit is SOMETIMES called a vegetable?

A. Grape
B. Lemon
C. Orange
D. Tomato


The correct answer is D. Tomatoes are not the only fruit with this ambiguous definition. Green beans, eggplants, cucumbers, zucchinis and pumpkins are all botanically fruits, yet are cooked as vegetables. New Jersey’s Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has designated the tomato the state vegetable, but Ohio made the tomato the state's official fruit!

9. Which of these animals is NOT native to Australia?

A. Kangaroo
B. Koala bear
C. Dingo
D. Rabbit


The correct answer is D. Although you may have seen pictures of very large rabbit herds in Australia, they actually are an invasive species. They were introduced to Australia in the late 1700s as a food source. A few got loose, and with few natural predators they reproduced rapidly. Soon rabbits had become a major threat to native wildlife and a destroyer of farmland. Nowadays, Australians do their utmost to eradicate them.

10. When the first transcontinental railroad was completed in the U.S. in the 19 th century, in what (now) U.S. state did the two parts coming from the east and west meet? (Hint: Brigham Young and his followers settled in what is now this state.)

A. Utah
B. Nevada
C. Arizona
D. New Mexico

The correct answer is A. A golden spike (later retrieved) was the final railroad tie spike driven in a 10 May, 1869 ceremony in Promontory Summit, Utah Territory. Transcontinental railroad passenger train service began five days later from Omaha with a first-class trip (scheduled to take slightly more than 4 days) costing $111. The second-class fare was $80 with fewer amenities and the raw immigrant class was $40, with no amenities. Utah became the 45th state of the U.S. on 4 January, 1896.

11. What was the birth name of Marilyn Monroe?

a. Norma Jeane Baker
b. Marilyn Baker
c. Norma Jeane Mortenson
d. Marilyn Mortenson


The correct answer is c. Marilyn's name at birth was Norma Jeane Mortenson (Mortenson was a misspelling of her mother's separated name at the time), but she later used the name Norma Jeane Baker (Baker was her mother’s earlier married name). She chose her stage name after her mother's maiden name of Monroe and Marilyn Miller, a popular Broadway musical star of the 1920s. Marilyn was married three times: to James Dougherty on June 19, 1942, to baseball star Joe DiMaggio on January 14, 1954 (elopement), and to playwright Arthur Miller in a civil ceremony on June 29, 1956.

BRAIN WORKOUT TRIVIA is the brainchild of John C. Sproul.

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