Education matters: man vs. machine

Editor's Note: Numerous instances of plagiarism have been discovered in Dan Kimber's "Education Matters" column, which ran in the News- Press from September 2003 to September 2011. In those columns where plagiarism has been found, a For the Record specifying the details will be appended to the piece.

The man-versus-computer contest played out on Jeopardy last month resulted in a victory of artificial intelligence over human intelligence.

IBM is celebrating its centennial year, and the company's supercomputer, Watson, demonstrated just how far computing technology has come. Its programmers built a machine that stumped the brightest minds, so hooray for technology!

Before I unleash upon you my annual mental challenge — Watson would not have fared so well with my 50 questions — I want to announce that at 7 p.m. on Monday, the annual Scholastic Bowl will be held at Glendale High School, pitting our high school's four brightest kids against each other in a battle of the brains. I invite you all to come and see a group of our own 17- and 18-year-olds dazzle you with how much they know (and remind most of us how much we've forgotten).

What follows here is a mish-mesh of half-clues, subtle meanings, a few plays on words, and other complexities in which we humans excel and computers traditionally do not. I can think of 10 people who will do better than IBM's brain child would have done. I give you an A for anything over 50%.


1. Actor brothers of actor father; they "spanned" the generations.

2. One of the Three Amigos who was a regular on SNL.

3. Where did Fats find his thrill?

4. The least-known original presidential cabinet member. (Precedes "Who's there?")

5. Six a.m. over and over again.

6. "South Pacific" song; major grooming problem.

7. Past president + Wright invention = 60s group.

8. Adjective to describe one of the 12 who was a skeptic.

9. Next line after, "plop, plop, fizz, fizz ………."

10. Mick's song, romantic suggestion, freaked out an older generation.

11. Henry's son; ugly car.

12. Blank EKG for him now that he's left S. Fran.

13. Young people in China; think of Kevorkian.

14. After she sang the song, the president might have gotten her to blow out the candles.

15. Dudley and Bo's "performance" song.

16. A gasp in River City — they've got trouble, with a capital T which rhymes with P. Why?

17. Sink it or be behind it — you lose.

18. Jack gets a lobotomy.

19. Without my umbrella, this keeps happening. (BJ Thomas song.)

20. He and his "mom" tended the 12 rooms off the main highway.

21. B.H, R.V., and the B.B. all died on the same day in the same way. Who are they?

22. "Frankly my dear; I think this could be the beginning of a great friendship." Two movies, last lines.

23. Classical piece/United Airlines commercial.

24. LBJ defeated AUH20 in '64. Who did he defeat?

25. High point for the ark.

26. Who uttered the anti-simian sentence, "….you damn dirty apes?"

27. Her long hair hid her charms; exquisite chocolate.

28. What the tree might have sung to Sonny.

29. His slumber was interrupted by bowlers.

30. Bells are ringing, Hostess is singing — what product?

31. Presidential nickname; dating arrangement; European people.

32. Mr. Sullivan objected to Mr. Morrison's use of what word on his show?

33. Polite request about toilet-paper testing (popular ad).

34. John W. B. and Lee H. O.: both ______. (double butt + not outs) (Forgive me for this one.)

35. Young Steve McQueen vs. Big Jelly.

36. The one of the three "B's" who had a lullaby.

37. What line follows the line, "Who put the bop in the bop she-bop-she-bop?"

38. What state answers the question, "Who's the prostitute?" (This is a groaner.)

39. Early 60s dance/ African tribe.

40. Type of flowers/kissing requirement.

41. Beatles song/chess board number.

42. Which of the seven was beardless?

43. Tiger lily's home.

44. A good name for a body shop; denture cream.

45. Before the two blues (most expensive properties), there are the three _____ (color).

46. Where did Don McLean drive his Chevy?

47. Invader of Rome/Hopkins character.

48. Oxymoronic motorcycle club.

49. Subtract a famous Christmas street from an all-Black regiment in the Civil War. Answer?

50. In what European capital does the Devil wash his hands? (Think Scandinavia, and forgive me.)


l. Bridges: Beau, Jeff and father Lloyd. "Spanned" the generations. Get it?

2.Chevy Chase

3. On Blueberry Hill

4. Knox

5. "Groundhog Day"

6. "I'm gonna wash that man right out of my hair."

7.Jefferson Airplane

8. Doubting (Thomas—one of the disciples)

9. "Oh what a relief it is."

10. "Let's Spend the Night Together"

11. Edsel

12. Tony Bennett (He left his heart there.)

13. Euthanasia

14. JFK andMarilyn Monroe

15. "Bolero"

16. the presence of a pool table

17. 8-ball

18. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"

19. "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head"

20. Norman Bates (and his dead mother)

21. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper — plane crash

22. "Gone With the Wind" and "Casablanca"

23 Rhapsody in Blue

24. Goldwater

25. Mt. Ararat

26. Charleton Heston —"Planet of the Apes"

27. Lady Godiva

29. "I Got You, Babe"

30. Ding Dong

31. Dutch

32. "higher" (Ed Sullivan objected to Jim Morrison's lyric in "Light My Fire")

33. "Please don't squeeze the Charmin"

34. assassins

35. The Blob

36. Brahms

37. "Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong?"

38. Idaho

39. Watusi

40. tulips

41. 64

42. Dumbo

43. Never Never-Land

44. Fixadent

45. yellows (in Monopoly)

46. To the Levee (when the levee was dry)

47. Hannibal

48. Hells Angels

49. 20. 34th Street from 54th Regiment

50. Helsinki (groan)

DAN KIMBER taught in the Glendale Unified School District for more than 30 years. He may be reached at