Geek Trivia: The 20 all-time favorite columns

Which of The Trivia Geek's hundreds of Geek Trivia columns -- written over an almost eight year period spanning multiple formats and attempts at cancellation -- constitute his personal top 20?

On August 31, 2001, your friendly neighborhood Trivia Geek, Jay Garmon (me), was handed the keys to a so-called TechMail known as Geek Trivia. That first column was barely 200 words long, was sourced from, and involved some inside-baseball production trivia about The Simpsons. During the course of the next seven years, the column would grow to more than 80,000 subscribers in more than 200 countries, would twice dodge the cancellation axe, and would become the lynchpin of this, the Geekend blog.

And this is the last Geek Trivia I'll ever write for TechRepublic or the Geekend. The Trivia Geek is hanging up his spurs after seven and a half years of slinging interrogative minutia across the World Wide Web. The editorial authorities here at TechRepublic have paid me the ultimate compliment by dubbing me irreplaceable; Geek Trivia won't go on without me, so this is the final entry for the newsletter and the column under this humble masthead.

Before we close shop, however, there is one last trivia question I'd like to put to the audience; one that I hope will be worth the seven years or so of work and research it took to conjure.


Get the answer.

Which of The Trivia Geek's hundreds of Geek Trivia columns -- written over a nearly eight year period spanning multiple formats and attempts at cancellation -- constitute his personal top 20?

Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Geek Trivia: What science-fiction work was the first to propose a manned artificial satellite -- a space station?
  2. Geek Trivia: What substance in Wint-O-Green Life Savers makes these candies more prone to triboluminescence?
  3. Geek Trivia: What was the first video game to recognize the famous "Contra Code?"
  4. Geek Trivia: What other famous science-fiction spaceship forced a redesign of the original Millennium Falcon model for the original Star Wars film?
  5. Geek Trivia: Why has no one ever recorded the lyrics to the original Star Trek theme?
  6. Geek Trivia: Who were the only two true guest stars in the history of Mystery Science Theater 3000?
  7. Geek Trivia: How many nuclear power sources have operated on the moon?
  8. Geek Trivia: What is the maximum prize a one-day contestant on Jeopardy! can earn, and what are the odds of it occurring?
  9. Geek Trivia: What was the original name of the Nintendo video-game character Mario, and what was his occupation?
  10. Geek Trivia: What was the world's first coin-operated video arcade game?
  11. Geek Trivia: Who was the first fare-paying civilian passenger on a spaceflight, and how much was the fare?
  12. Geek Trivia: Why didn't Yuri Gagarin qualify for FAI space records?
  13. Geek Trivia: What is the largest aircraft to have flown more than once?
  14. Geek Trivia: Who is the original creator of the faux holiday Festivus?
  15. Geek Trivia: What country managed to observe two Fourths of July in the same year?
  16. Geek Trivia: What is the strange, physics-defying mystery known as the Pioneer Anomaly?
  17. Geek Trivia: What European Space Agency-member country recruited its first astronaut with a radio ad?
  18. Geek Trivia: When did the famous 1984 Macintosh Super Bowl commercial first air?
  19. Geek Trivia: Where can one find the world's only known naturally occurring nuclear reactor?
  20. Geek Trivia: How many times has the catchphrase "d'oh" appeared in a script for The Simpsons?

That's not just an auspicious arrangement of addle-pated addenda; it's a grateful, gracious, glumly grandiose goodbye to the great fans and greater friends of good, old-fashioned, and at long last finally finished Geek Trivia.

The quibble of the week

If you uncovered a questionable fact or debatable aspect of Geek Trivia, you were encouraged to post it in the discussion area of the article. Every week, yours truly chose the best quibble from our assembled masses and discussed it in a future edition of Geek Trivia. Well, there will be no future editions of Geek Trivia at TechRepublic, but there is time for one last quibble.

If it wouldn't be too much trouble, your friendly neighborhood Trivia Geek would be greatly appreciative if you'd quibble with my Top 20 Geek Trivia list -- by sharing your own favorite column, or favorite memory, of Geek Trivia. You can find every Geek Trivia that appeared as part of the Geekend and the Geek Trivia columns that predate this blog.

Post your selections and sentiments in the discussion area below, so we can send this grand old column off in the style it deserves: endlessly and fiercely debated by its most passionate supporters. Nothing says love like an ironic flame war. Thanks in advance, and thanks more for all the years of support.

Jay "The Trivia Geek" Garmon

By Jay Garmon

Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...