The things you learn when you least expect it… I spoke at Pasadena Rotary the other day, and longtime member Nat Read warmed up the crowd first, as he apparently does every week. Read is the author of a very fine new book called Don Benito Wilson: From Mountain Man to Mayor, published by my friends at Angel City Press, and he runs a consultancy in communications and government relations, so by nature he’s a guy interested in whaddya-know facts. His topic this week: Bar Bets Guaranteed to Make You Money (in this Recession). Here are four of the best, and as long as your bar mates weren’t at the last Rotary lunch or haven’t read this post, you’re sure to earn some cash.
1. Which L.A. County Metro light rail line has a station at LAX?
— Blue Line
— Gold Line
— Green Line
— None of the above
Many in the room took Nat up on his $10 bet, and we were all sure it was “None of the above,” because we all know the folly of how Los Angeles has no light rail to Los Angeles International Airport. But what even those of us who should know better were forgetting was this: Union Station is also officially known as LAX in the Amtrak system. So the answer is “Gold Line.” (Nat made the betters pay up — but he donated the money to Rotary’s considerable charitable efforts.)
2. Which city is wetter, Pasadena or Seattle?
It may rain more days in a year in Seattle, but Pasadena is wetter. Seattle gets lots of gentle, misty rain, while we get rarer but torrential downpours, so we set the records on a per-day and per-month basis.
3. If you traveled around the world, due south from Pasadena, what foreign country would you come to first?
Most people answer “Mexico” without thinking. But Mexico is considerably east of California’s coast, and South America is further to the east. If you flew straight south from Pasadena’s City Hall, you’d cross untold miles of ocean, passing over Antarctica (which is not a country) and hit land right on the border between Iran and Pakistan.
4. Which is the hottest city, Pasadena or Miami?
By now you’re savvy that the answer is not what you’d think, but if you try this fresh on a barstool buddy, you’ll get ‘em. The answer, of course, is Pasadena, which hit 113 degrees three times, in 1917, 1988 and 1990. Miami highest recorded temperature was 99 degrees. Sure, the humidity can make it seem hotter, but that’s not the question!