How 'Modern' Is Your Life?

Our Quiz Of 21st-century Terms Asks ...


You don't have to be a Gen Y-er to feel as if you're up on (or is that down with?) the current crazes, technologies and celebrities. But when it comes to actually explaining how plasma TV is better or who Star Jones Reynolds is -- well, that's another thing altogether.

Admit it. You're not sure whether South Beach is a fad diet or a new MTV reality show. Or both. And what does DSL stand for, anyway?

The following quiz should give you a better idea of just how au courant you really are. We started with a much longer list and winnowed it down to 21 must-know words, terms or names for the 21st century (or at least for 2006).

These are not the most significant, just the most telling ones we came up with. You've probably heard every one of them; now test your knowledge of what or who they are.

One, two or even all three of the answers could be correct.

Of course, you could Google them, but this is for your own information, not ours, so it doesn't make sense to cheat. If you don't know what Google is, read no further.

Comments? Please see page 8 for information on where to send them.

Pencils ready? Go.

How modern is your life? Take the quiz to find out


1. DVR

a) is the generic name of TiVo and Sirius.

b) is a next generation DVD player.

c) records television programs without a videotape.

2. Manga

a) is an Italian antipasto.

b) are Japanese comics.

c) was the precursor of the Oscar-winning movie Spirited Away.

3. Board Shorts

a) are swim trunks first popularized by surfers.

b) often have flower prints.

c) are another name for this season's popular trouser or city shorts.

4) Yellow Card

a) is a type of identification document for non-U.S. citizens.

b) is shown by a referee to a soccer player to indicate a flagrant foul.

c) is a punk-rock band known for its hit single "Oceanfront."

5) Good Cholesterol

a) is otherwise known as LDL.

b) there is no such thing.

c) may help protect against heart attacks.

6) Facebook

a) was started by two high school students in Boston.

b) is an online social networking site of more than 6 million students.

c) has a trend-watching feature called Pulse.

7) Rapini

a) is a vegetable related to the turnip and cabbage family.

b) is the Italian name for broccoli.

c) is one of the most popular vegetables in China.

8) Jessica Alba

a) was Entertainment Weekly's Must List starlet

b) was host for the 2006 MTV Movie Awards

c) is known for her blond good looks, not her acting ability.

9) V-chip

a) is a computer chip that filters out porn sites on the Internet.

b) is not sold separately, but is built into TVs manufactured since 2000.

c) can block television programs that have an inappropriate rating.

10) Sashimi

a) is a kind of sushi.

b) is fresh raw fish.

c) is a Japanese sash.

11) Netflix

a) broadcasts movies directly to your computer.

b) is the largest online DVD rental company.

c) has almost 20,000 titles and a million subscribers.

12) McPheever

a) is what fans of American Idol runner up Katharine McPhee have.

b) had the summer's hit single "Deja vu."

c) is an Emmy-nominated comedy series.

13) Craigslist

a) has free classified advertisements and message boards.

b) was founded by Craig Newmark for the Los Angeles area in 1995.

c) is an online directory primarily for urban communities.

14) Bluetooth

a) is one of LA's trendiest hotspots.

b) can provide a wireless connection from cell phones to headsets or to a car's audio system.

c) is a wireless headset that has a range of about 20 yards.

15) Gasohol

a) is an eco-friendly solution to the gas crisis because it doesn't pollute.

b) is inexpensive to produce, but automobile manufacturers have been slow to embrace it.

c) is a mixture of gasoline and alcohol derived from plants.

16) Podcast

a) is a digital audio file. You can play it in real time on your computer or download it to play later.

b) can only be played on an iPod.

c) is the same as a V Cast.

17) Red Bull

a) was in the news recently for glamorizing chewing tobacco use.

b) is the leading energy drink, according to Beverage Digest.

c) contains about 1 gram of protein per 8 ounces.

18) L. Ron Hubbard

a) founded the Church of Scientology.

b) wrote science fiction, including Battlefield Earth .

c) invented the self-improvement technique Dianetics.

19) Pinot Noir

a) is a red wine made from Pinot grapes.

b) was popularized in the 2005 film Sideways .

c) is indigenous to the Bordeaux region.

20) Espadrilles

a) are so-called because of their wedge shape.

b) have a rope or faux rope sole.

c) are always a casual sandal.

21) Sudoku

a) in its modern form originated in Indianapolis in the '70s.

b) is a puzzle that involves no math

c) was invented by a Japanese logician.


1) c

2) b and c

3) a and b

4) b

5) c

6) b and c

7) a and c

8) a and b

9) b and c

10) b

11) b

12) a

13) a and c

14) b

15) c

16) a

17) b and c

18) a, b and c

19) a

20) b

21) a and b

How modern is your life?

Give yourself one point for each right answer.

0-5 Never heard of People or Wired

6-10 Reads The Wall Street Journal's lifestyle sections to keep up with pop culture

11-16 Good at faking it

17-21 Hip and knowledgeable


We expect faithful readers to disagree strenuously with our choices of 21st-century terms ("Where are pixels, X Games, Snoop and OxyContin?"). So, in a few weeks, we'll run a second story with your suggestions. Please e-mail them to with the subject line "Modern Life Quiz" or fax them to Elizabeth Large at 410-783-2519 by July 31.

OK, use snail mail if you must: Modern Life Quiz, c / o Elizabeth Large, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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