The Whatcom Literacy Council in Bellingham, Washington, invited me to their annual “trivia bee” benefit on Friday night as a “lifeline”: teams who didn’t know an question could, in lieu of answering, display a replica of my face, indicating that they’d just take my answer instead. Sometimes I knew it, sometimes I didn’t. Que sera, sera. Did you know that licorice was a legume? Well, me neither.
I wanted to thank the fine bookstores in Salt Lake City, Denver, Oakland, and Bellingham who hosted last week’s Maphead signings, and everyone who came and chatted. Maybe I’m a biased observer because I was the one all hopped up on Diet Dr Pepper and wearing a smart blazer, but I thought all the book events were really fun. Two separate people told me a great geography factoid: during the late 1980s, the University of North Carolina had the highest paid geography graduates in the U.S. by a large margin. Do you know why? The answer is apparently a textbook example of why arithmetic means can be misleading, but I’d never heard it before. If I had, I would have used it in the book. (In Mormon circles, incidentally, a similar story is told about Steve Young inflating BYU’s law school ranking.)
Tuesday night I’m speaking at a banquet honoring “Star Scholars” in Ventura County, California. I didn’t put it on my Appearances page because I didn’t know if it was open to the public. Turns out it is–if you pay $50 for dinner. Sort of a big if. I only mention this because people have complained that there’s no L.A. signing on the Maphead tour. If you shell out for the junior achievers thing I will totally come to your table while you’re eating your chicken and peas and make smalltalk and sign your book.