Encino Has Smart Kids and Dumb Phones

Guest post by George Healy,
the ‘Far Flung Correspondent’ of
Maria’s Italian Kitchen in Encino.

Pretty much everything worth knowing can now be found, indexed and quantified on Google.

Take a moment. Did your mind trip on that statement or did it go down like a smooth glass of Sangria on a hot San Fernando Valley night? Probably the latter, and if the former not so much a trip as a stub of the toe. And yet…

For about a year now Maria’s Italian Kitchen, Encino, has hosted a daily trivia challenge with a twist – the questions are either prohibitively hard or impossible to find via Google, Siri or the like. And these questions are posted in the restaurant ALL DAY, so that diners can ponder them during the course of their meal.

The answers, by design, don’t come lightning fast like a Final Jeopardy round with music, buzzers or a time clock…no, they come with a good measure of thought. Where it really gets interesting?  Kids are starting to outperform both adults and smart phones users in coming up with the right answers.

How are they doing it you might be wondering? Two examples:

One recent question asked – in the past, what animal was most frequently drawn on maps to symbolize countries taking land from other countries?

Google, for some reason, will tell you ‘elk’ (try it yourself). This is clearly wrong. But a young Maria’s customer named Ben (aged 10) decided to draw a map of the world, using crayons, and then draw animals on it to see what would make the most sense. In five minutes he arrived at the correct answer – an octopus!

More than 70 people tried to answer that question, using what amounts to tens of thousands of dollars in technology consisting of phones, tablets, laptops, internet servers, and so on,) all told only Ben got it right.

Another question posed – in the early days of phone service, why were almost no farmers signed up for it?

Again, Google failed. But McKenna, a sharp 14-year-old, decided to list objects found on farms to see if there was a clue there. That’s when she posited that the farmers were “doing the cups-and-string thing”, maybe using their wire fences as a circuit. This is absolutely right.

From these examples we can deduce: pretty much everything worth knowing can be found, indexed and enjoyed in an imaginative mind.

Besides getting a belly full of satisfaction at deducing the right answer, guessing the right answer wins you a free dessert (close answers win a little something too).

As a special bonus, if you’re reading this now, stop by Maria’s Italian Kitchen Facebook Page to answer this weeks trivia question to win a free dessert!  The question, currently pinned at the top their page:

Paul McCartney told a University of Oxford class that the 6 songs that best capture Rock and Roll are: Long Tall Sally, Anarchy in the U.K., Wonderful Tonight, ___________, ___________, and _________. Can you name any of the other three?

Get one of the songs right in the comments will win you a free dessert!

Maria’s is open for lunch and dinner with an award-winning happy hour and a great place for the family to enjoy great Italian food from the old country.  Stop in and see if you can guess the trivia question of the day.

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