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Rick Steelhammer: Celebrate National Trivia Day by digging deep in pursuit of the shallow

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Although National Trivia Day arrived on Saturday, there remains an abundance of the insignificant and unimportant to celebrate on the day following the unofficial holiday’s official observation date.

In fact, here’s some recently unearthed trivia to take into account now: National Trivia Day was created circa 1980 by Robert L. Birch of Falls Church, Virginia, to “raise awareness of the significance of trivia in the development of human curiosity.”

Suggested activities include hosting trivia contests or poring through reference material to discover new nuggets of useless information with which to impress glassy-eyed friends, family members and bar patrons.

There are plenty of national trivia factoids worthy of consideration, like the names of the dwarfs failing to make the cut for Walt Disney’s 1937 animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Disney showed good judgment in opting not to sign on characters created by his production team with names suggesting disabilities, including Wheezy, Deafy, Puffy, Burpy, Jumpy, Lazy and Stuffy.

Numerous nuggets of trivia lie just beneath the dusty surface of America’s political arena, like William Taft’s unsuccessful bid to create a stuffed animal that would rival the Teddy Bear, created by boosters of the previous White House occupant, Teddy Roosevelt. Unfortunately, Taft’s plush toy, the Billy Possum, lacked the huggable charm of the Teddy Bear and before long was playing dead on the nation’s retail shelves.

I choose to honor the unofficial holiday by narrowing the scope of trivial possibilities to people, places and things associated with West Virginia and presenting a brief quiz. Correct answers will appear next week.

1. What road were songwriters Bill and Taffy Nivert Danoff driving along when they began creating the words and melody for “Take Me Home, Country Roads”?

(A) River Road near Shepherdstown

(B) U.S. 60 through Jefferson

(C) Clopper Road near Gaithersburg, Maryland

(D) U.S. 340 at Harpers Ferry

2. What lyric once part of the above song was removed, at John Denver’s insistence, prior to recording?

(A) Dark and dusty, scenery without flaw; hot dogs topped with chili sauce, onions and slaw.

(B) Naked ladies, men who look like Christ; a dog named Pancho nibbling on the rice.

(C) All my memories gather round her, rising river, milk jugs on the water.

(D) Wife grew old there, older than the trees; I’m no spring chicken either, help me find my keys.

3. What Welch-born game show host watched in dismay as a statue of himself fashioned from LEGOs was spiked to the ground and destroyed by a co-host during a nationally televised New Year’s Eve countdown show?

(A) Lee Harvey Sajak

(B) Peter Marshall

(C) Soupy DeGeneres

(D) Steve Harvey

4. West Virginia was the first state in the union to use television cameras to:

(A) Record court proceedings.

(B) Prove the existence of Bigfoot

(C) Monitor traffic in highway tunnels.

(D) Provide coverage of the 1953 West Virginia ginseng season.

5. What West Virginia company launched America’s most iconic outdoor advertising campaign?

(A) Tudor’s Biscuit World

(B) Southern Xposure

(C) Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco

(D) The Rev. Bernard Coffindaffer’s Roadside Cross Ministry

Reach Rick Steelhammer at, 304-348-5169 or follow @rsteelhammer on Twitter.

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Funerals for Saturday, May 30, 2020

Barlow Jr., Jack - 3 p.m., Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

Cunningham, Jack - 2 p.m., Valley View Memorial Park, Hurricane.

Fields, Alice - 2 p.m., Letart-Evergreen Cemetery, Letart.

Halstead, Edna - 11 a.m., Danville Memorial Park.

Lovejoy, Bob - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Morris, Lewis - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Summers, Matthew - 1 p.m., Haven of Rest Memorial Gardens.