The great Minnesota brain freeze: 82 chances to cheat with Google and win valuable prizes!

Ever spent a lunch hour plowing through Google news, only to realize at the end that you don't remember a single thing you read? Not the name of the radioactive poison that someone slipped into a former KGB agent's Cosmopolitan (polonium-210). Or how many firefighters are suing the city of Minneapolis over sexual harassment claims (three). Or what the word "firecrotch" means (look it up).

The news relies on our amnesia: How else could we be surprised at another market bombing in Mosul, another disgraced suburban gym teacher with feely hands? Truly, with so much information available from so many sources, practically everything is forgettable.

Which makes it all the stranger that we remember those facts that we designate as "trivia." Odd dates and names that we can't manage to clear from our heads with a cache dump. The hometowns of Wisconsin's serial killers. The Pillsbury Doughboy's birth name. The meaning of the word "firecrotch" (we looked it up).

In that spirit, we offer the Mn SAT, a collection of Minnesota questions that are too petty to recall, yet too piquant, too silly, too sticky to shed from our memory bank. There are 82 questions here, and you could probably lead a perfectly rewarding life without knowing the answer to a single one of them.

Still, we vote with whoever it was—Gandhi? Jesus?—who said that useless knowledge is its own reward. In case you don't agree, however, there are bona fide prizes attached to the Mn SATs:

• The first-prize winner will receive a trio of gift cards to local restaurants Bellanotte, Naar, and Amore Victoria (total value over $300).

• The second-prize winner will receive two tickets to the January 26, 2007 game between the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames

• The third-prize winner will receive a copy of a truly trivial work, Eric Dregni's Weird Minnesota


1. Take the interactive quiz at SNAIL-MAIL ENTRIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

2. Ballots may be cast online until noon central time next Tuesday, December 12.

3. In case of tie scores, the winner(s) will be chosen by drawing from the pool of tied entries.

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