Every columnist secretly wants to generate Pulitzer-worthy material.
Aspirations lean toward crafting cutting-edge, insightful, socially redeeming commentary that can free a wrongly jailed man or help bring down an organized crime cartel.
But sometimes folks just want to be entertained. And by “folks,” I mean the chatty readers of this particular column.
Case in point: I’ve had more people reference my “helicopter game” column from a few weeks back than ever mentioned my penetrating election-based Internet analysis.
OK, I cry “uncle.”
If you want mindless time-wasters to help ease the burden of your soul-crushing day job and/or Dullsville home life, then I’ve got one word for you: Sporcle.com.
I don’t know what the word actually means per se, but in context I’m referring to Sporcle.com.
Boasting “mentally stimulating diversions,” Sporcle is a repository for some of the most entertaining ways to test one’s knowledge. The site originally launched with a sports bent (thus the name, I guess), but gradually shifted directions after a U.S. presidents quiz proved so outrageously popular.
Since then, Sporcle has introduced 841 games that have been played nearly 14 million times.
Their collective awesomeness is a force to be reckoned with.
Take, for instance, one in which you are asked to name the 1980s Worldwide Box Office Top 20? Don’t forget all those “Beverly Hills Cop” sequels.
All the quizzes provide a countdown time limit. Some are list-oriented, such as the Superhero Secret Identities quiz. Others are purely visual — identify 63 pictures of Simpsons characters in 10 minutes. Sounds easy, but do you really know the name of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel’s wife?
The site isn’t just pop-culture based. Categories also include history, science, literature, sports and religion.
The games are ranked in terms of popularity and difficulty. These range from kid-friendly, simple ones like naming the Colors of the Rainbow or Chess Pieces. The most difficult include Banned Books and Grammy Best New Artists (insert Milli Vanilli joke here).
Don’t feel bad if you secretly pick the easiest one just to see how fast you can complete it. Sometimes I’d rather watch “Wheel of Fortune” than “Jeopardy.”
After tooling around for a few hours, my favorite “Sporcles” included Cereal Mascots, Misheard Lyrics, Most NCAA Final Fours, Euro Replaced Currencies and Guerrilla Movements.
I’m hoping they’ll introduce a new game titled Best Time-Wasting Web Sites. It would probably be easier to complete than one called Columnists Least Likely to Win a Pulitzer.