The Weekender, October 30, 2020


If there’s ever a great weekend for trivia, this one should be it. Tomorrow is Halloween, and there’s a ton of Halloween trivia out there. Then, just hours after trick or treating would have ended, Daylight Saving Time comes to a close, and as long-time readers know, I’ve written about DST-related trivia at least a half-dozen times. Monday is a relatively boring day but then Tuesday is Election Day in the U.S., and elections are a wealth of trivia.

But this year — and this weekend — trivia seems extra trivial. Halloween, which is definitely a family favorite in my house, is going to be a stay-at-home affair (although I will wear my wizard hat). My town usually has an exceptional Halloween experience; one set of four streets turns into an all-town street party as hundreds of kids and their parents descend on the same block. It’s not just lots of candy and costumes, either; you regularly see houses decorated to the nines and one house even shows a movie in their front lawn. This year, that’s canceled.

Daylight Saving Time isn’t a big deal in a typical year, but this year it’s kind of comical. I can’t speak for any of you, but I can’t go a week without forgetting what day it is, or sometimes even what month it is. That’s new for me — and 100% pandemic-created — and anything that throws off my internal clock isn’t going to be a good thing. Plus, the earlier sunsets are exactly what we don’t need right now. Daylight Saving Time ending seems kind of cruel, albeit only moderately so. (And, for what it’s worth, I’m not an advocate for year-round DST.)

And then there’s Election Day. I can talk about Presidential trivia for days on end — there’s SO MUCH great trivia out there, as evidenced in part by last Thursday’s email. I don’t think I need to address how this election is the opposite of trivial. I’m not going to use this space to advocate for a candidate or anything like that; if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know how I feel about the choices, and I’ve long said that Now I Know isn’t a venue for that discussion.

I don’t mean for this email to sound as dour as it is — I just think there’s a time and place for trivia, and while this newsletter is the right place, today’s not the right time. Find ways to celebrate Halloween safely, don’t forget to change your clocks, and vote your conscience. 

The Now I Know Week in Review

Monday: Where Men and Women Literally Don’t Speak the Same Language: The word “literally” is the important word there.

Tuesday: Starving Garfield: A lighthearted cartoon goes very dark.

Wednesday: The Big Yellow Man Washed Ashore on the Beach: The title of this one would have been a good children’s book title, too, if you simplified it a bit. Like, if you changed “washed ashore” to “I found” or something like that.

ThursdayThe Great Pumpkin Float. I kind of want to go into a pumpkin boat. It sounds really fun, right? On the other hand, a squirrel as been terrorizing the pumpkins decorating my neighborhood, and it’s kind of gross, so I have to imagine sitting in a pumpkin boat must also be kind of gross.

And some other things you should check out:

Some long reads for the weekend.

1) “The House on Blue Lick Road” (, 10 minutes to hours upon hours, October 2020). Before you read this article, click this link first. It’s a 3-D tour of a home that was, recently, up for sale. But the 3-D tour went viral and now the house is listed as off the market. I won’t spoil the tour for you, but really, poke around for a good five to ten minutes. Then, once you’ve hit the point where you really need to know what’s going on there, read the story. Thanks to Anthony for telling me about the story (I had already explored the house!).

2) “‘It’s the Most Outrageous Thing I’ve Ever Seen. It Makes No Sense.’” (Texas Monthly, 37 minutes, October 2020). The subhead: “DNA evidence proved Lydell Grant’s innocence. So why won’t the state’s highest criminal court exonerate him?”

3) “A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage” (The Awl, 13 minutes, November 2011). For the first time in years, McDonald’s is bringing the McRib sandwich back nationwide. Here’s a 13-minute essay overthinking the world’s most talked-about sandwich. (That’s a guess, or perhaps hyperbole; I have no idea if it’s actually the world’s most talked-about sandwich.)

Have a great weekend!