Special Sub-Topic: Those Lovable, Not-So-Dour Scots
|He emigrated, nearly penniless, from Dunfermline to the US at the age of 13, became a "bobbin boy", and ultimately accumulated one of the greatest fortunes in American history. Who he?|
Andrew Carnegie. It is quite ironic that a people legendary for their supposed miserliness gave the world a man whose name became nearly synonymous with philanthropy. Carnegie gave away approximately $350 million in his lifetime, amounting to some 90% of his estimated fortune. No one
better embodied the American success story than did this tiny, twinkly-eyed steel baron, arguably the most beloved millionaire in history.
|A sports hero somewhat without honor in either his native land or the US, this mustachioed Canadian (and likely descendant of one of the great Highland clans) is probably, all things considered, the greatest harness racing driver in history. Who is he?|
John Campbell. He now effectively co-owns the Meadowlands-- the sport's top track-- with the decidedly non-Scottish Luc Ouellete, though old guys remember him racing a stable of his own horses, Argyel Harry most prominent among them, at little Monticello Raceway in 1975. Angel Cordero, Jr. couldn't walk three feet in NYC without geting mobbed; Campbell could probably walk across Manhattan unrecognized.
|This noted (fictional) Scot taught at the "Marcia Blaine School For Girls" in Edinburgh, and had a strange fixation on romance and leaders of the far, far right. Maggie Smith won an Oscar for the film role. Who was she?|
Miss Jean Brodie. From the wonderful book by (Jewish/Scottish!) Muriel Spark. Smith won best actress in 1969 for her portrayal of the charismatic, opinionated, and decidedly pro-fascist gadfly. The film was a bit racy even for the annus mirabilis of 1969, and quite astonishingly so for something concerning the famously undemonstrative SCOTTISH!
|The now-legendary Scottish poet, Ewen MacTeagle, who still pops up on TV reruns with some regularity, was a very unusual artist. What in specific distinguished his poems?|
They were all about borrowing money. A Monty Python creation. The boys could be quite cutting about the French and Germans (and the Brits as well!) but they were often funniest when taking a gentle poke at their unoffending neighbors directly to the north. Cleese (as McTeagle scholar) speaks lovingly of the "brilliantly allegorical 'What's twenty quid to the bloody Midland Bank?'", but stresses that "Can I have fifty pounds to mend the shed?" is McTeagle's greatest work. Other Python sketches and pieces abound with sly references to caber-tossing, sporrans, Berwick-on-Tweed, the "Provost of Edinburgh" and haggis.
|In perhaps the most memorable scene in the David Lean version (read: 'only version') of "Great Expectations", young Pip turns from his parents' gravestone and runs straight into the arms of the lurking escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, as the audience gasps. What Scotsman played Magwitch in the 1946 film? |
Finlay Currie. There are many wonderful performances in this classic, but perhaps none so memorable as that of the lumbering, craggy-faced Currie as Magwitch. Currie was a son of Edinburgh and died at 90 in 1968, though throughout his long and interesting life the great, squinty-eyed character actor never looked a day over 163.
|This fiery, red-bearded son of the crags and moors, known for his muscular build and paradigmatically Scottish brand of stoicism, was once heard to remark that he "dinna cry when me own father was hung for stealing a pig..." although he immediately thereafter broke down and cried at a mawkish theatrical production. Who is or was he?|
Groundskeeper Willie. A Glaswegian and arguably one of the greatest secondary "Simpsons" characters. Once characterized the French as "cheese-eatin' surrender monkeys." Also proselytizes subtly for the Scottish way: ("Git yer haggis right here. Chopped heart an' lungs, boiled in a wee sheep's stomach. Good for what ails ye!"). Pure, unrestrained comic genius.
|Scottish church reformer John Knox, in essence the father of the Church of Scotland (or Kirk, to be specific), had a relative who became President of the United States. Who was this?|
Polk. Polk's mother claimed to trace her ancestry back to Knox or his brother, and indeed the "k" in James K. Polk did in fact stand for "Knox". Polk was -- at least before the historians got to him-- a demonstrably successful president, but he was also also a rather irascible, stubborn and driven man who fought illness all his life and worked himself into an early grave.
|Scottish musician Gerry Rafferty, soon to become (briefly) famous for such 70's hits as "Stuck In the Middle With You" and "Baker Street",
played in a band called the Humblebums before forming the late lamented Stealers Wheel. What notoriously hairy and legendarily profane entertainer was in the Humblebums with him way back when?|
Billy Connolly. Connolly's new biog, authored by wife Pamela Stephenson, reveals among other things that he worked as a milk delivery boy as a kid, and delivered milk to Mark Knopfler, later of Dire Straits fame. Connolly, a great comedian and all-around wild man, may be the only English-language performer for whom American audiences require subtitles. Williams should be a partial-credit answer, since he is hairy and does a good Scottish burr. (The Joneses are Welsh.)
|This pale-skinned Glaswegian rock diva took America by storm in the early 80's; she's since graduated to more middle-of-the-road stuff (including a Vegas show with David Cassidy), but in her fifth decade
she's arguably even more stunning than she was as a kid. Who is the comely lassie?|
Sheena Easton. Ms. Easton, born Sheena Shirley Orr, irritated just about everyone with that overplayed "Morning Train" song, but when male listeners got a look at her, the complaints tended to fall off a bit. She lives stateside now, has two kids, both adopted, and was last seen sporting red hair and looking as good as ever. (Ashley MacIsaac is a GUY!)
|What was the name of the Scotsman who would become internationally famous as a result of some airborne micro-gunk landing on a petri dish he had left uncovered?|
Alexander Fleming. Hence the discovery of penicillin, the miracle drug that in essence kicked off the antibiotic era. Unfortunately, it appears that with the advent of MRSA and other wildly drug-resistant bacterial strains, the marvels of the antibiotic era may soon become archaic throwbacks to a more innocent age. Sir Alex was born in Scotland and to my knowledge the Belgians have never laid claim to him. Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond series and Art Fleming was the host of "Jeopardy" before Alex Trebek took over.
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