(messy) Answers for August 2012

I’ll get these up i n haste to let you see the answers ASAP … will tidy up later

Q1 Why are flamingoes pink?

REAL ANSWER: Pink stuff in what they eat.

  • Because they can’t be bothered separating their whites from their colours when they do the laundry.
  • Because they’re embarrassed or because they’re gay or because they’re girls. Pick your own answer, Dr Bob.
  • Dr Bob, I know the answer to this one isn’t because they eat shrimps because I’ve watched QI and they asked the exact same question. It’s something to do with the algae in the water. Although I still like to think eating shrimps can make you pink.
  • Gay marriage protest
  • It was something they ate, much like when I last went green after eating a rather suspicious looking sausage I purchased near Flemington race course. In retrospect I am pretty sure a sausage that resembled a gorses thingy wasn’t a celebration of horse racing the vendor touted at the time.
  • Like everything else alive…you are what you eat. And flamingos apparently enjoy carotenoids!
  • Much more interesting than why they are pink (they absorb carotene, so in places where it’s important that they are very pink – like Las Vegas – they are fed extra carotene extract) is their mating habits. They won’t mate unless there are a lot of them (which reminds me of University days, but that’s another story). But they are easily fooled, and all you need to do is to put a lot of mirrors around them so they THINK there’s a lot of them, and hey presto, you’ve got a breeding colony.
  • Not surprisingly, and on a serious note, the flamingos at Taronga Park Zoo are sponsored by O’Brien Glass.

Q2 Truck drivers dislike the tachometer that monitors speed and distance; it used to be powered from the truck’s lighting circuit, so to disable it they would take the lighting fuse out. So the unpopular device was instead connected into the circuit that powered the brakes; how did the drivers overcome it then?

REAL ANSWER: Removed the fuse from the brake circuit!

  • According to the book I’m reading at the moment (‘American Journeys’, by Don Watson), paid some weasely guy with a laptop $500 to reprogram them.
  • By banging it with a really really big wrench.
  • By planting their right foot, accelerating to 180km/h and crashing spectacularly, thus smashing the tachometer into a thousand pieces upon which the triumphant driver could say with feeling to the boss, “Gotcha, you bastard!” just before dying.
  • Hang on, Dr Bob, you aren’t suggesting that truckies would deliberately tamper with equipment that they’re legally required to have? Shame on you! (Yes, by casting nasturtiums on your good self, I am cleverly directing you away from the fact that I don’t know the answer.)
  • Me being more of a pedant that you, Dr Bob, I point out with great delight that the device about which you speak is not a TACHOMETER but a TACHOGRAPH. And is this not a trick question????? Most truck brakes are powered by compressed air, not electricity.
  • The same way. Brakes is a semi are more of a luxury than a necessity anyway.

Q3 What would you find in a Nerparium?

REAL ANSWER: Dr Bob, admiring the Nerpas (seals found only in Lake Baikal). Well, that’s what you would have found if Dr Bob had been able to find the bloody Nerparium. There is only one in the world, or, possibly there aren’t any Nerparia now, but if there is one, I couldn’t find it.

  • According to Wikipedia there is a chance it is a Russian Submarine the K-152 Akula class submarine. Now this plain got weird given that they might also be seals which is still weird given the Akula I believe means shark. So in all I am pretty sure it isn’t a tank where Russian submarines cavort and play merrily. So I am going to go with the seals. Unless of course it has something to do with Nepal and in that case I give up.
  • I suppose everyone will say “Nerps” without knowing what a nerp is, even though a quick google says something about fat Baikal seals in Irkutsk. I’ll go part way with the expected crowd and say “A nerpa” (which, incidentally, is a word close to “sherpa” so one imagines that the difference is that sherpas climb to the top of the planet’s highest mountain while nerpas – more correctly ‘nerpy’ – descend to the bottom of the planet’s largest fresh water lake. Or something.)
  • I’ve been reading the blog of a world traveler who is currently circumnavigating the globe on a motorcycle. He said in his blog that Nerpariums are where Nerpas are kept, of course.
  • Nerps, natch! Or bored seals in a lap pool.
  • Nerps???
  • Tourists. Desperate ones. Well, what else can one do in Irkutsk?

Q4 Ivan the Terrible liked to play chess, but he modified the rules – how?

REAL ANSWER: Removed the King from the board, so as to make it impossible to capture the King (which would have been a career-limiting move anyway). Without the King on the board, there is not much point to playing chess … but complaining about that to I.t.T. would have been another career-limiting move. He played badly anyway, that’s why he was called “the Terrible”, by chess players, at least (if out of earshot).

  • “You beat me, I kill you.”
  • He allowed the King to eliminate all the knights and bishops – and a few pawns and queens and whatnot – before they could do any damage.
  • He had a stroke while playing chess which led to the instigation of what is now common chess commentary. Russian A; “I think he’s finished the game by dying” Russian B, “better check mate”
  • He made a rule that said the person who sets the board up has to have a stroke before completing the job. In hindsight, he probably should have asked someone else to set the board up for him after putting that rule into effect…
  • I am not going to look this up, but use my incomplete knowledge of ItT. So, he either introduced the colour scheme, or he just chopped opponents heads off if he didn’t win.
  • If you were Ivan the Terrible you could do what you bloodywell liked, so who cares!
  • I’m guessing it was “I win – you go home, you win – you get free holiday in Siberia”. Not much has changed since then. [Oh yes it has – I had to PAY for my holiday in Siberia]

Q5 Tsar Nicholas II celebrated his accession by providing a party with free beer in special coronation mugs. What happened that spoiled the party?

REAL ANSWER: Rumour spread that the beer was about to run out – many were killed in the resulting stampede towards the beer troughs.

  • A little issue with the caterers where a rumour that the beer would run out caused a mass panic leading to a keg load of people being crushed to death trying to grab a drink
  • Aussie bogans turned up en masse and drank all the beer, stole all the souvenir mugs and caused a stampede which wasn’t covered by the Australian media because of the 1400-odd people who died and the 1300-odd people who were injured, none were Australian/Western/English speaking. It takes at least 10,000 Russians killed before Western media is interested.
  • I suppose you mean the Khodynka tragedy but because the victims were mostly mere peasants, who didn’t count for much in Nick’s Russia (still don’t in Putin’s Russia, for that matter), their deaths really didn’t spoil the coronation. No, the real party-pooping spoiler was the fact that Nick’s coronation cake tasted like crap so he had the cake cook castrated immediately and then, to the chagrin of the refined Russian aristocrats present, decorated the remains of the cake with tasty crushed nuts.
  • It was a heck of a party. The Foreign Minister dropped dead during the coronation procession, people were trampled to death in a field, a storm raged through and wiped out everything with lightning and hail, and Nick got caught double dipping a celery stalk in the onion dip. Superstitious people might have thought all of that bad luck to be an ill omen, but they were proven wrong. (Unless, of course, you believe that being shot in a cellar and having your body destroyed with Sulphuric acid to be bad luck)
  • Someone beat him at chess?
  • The Tsarina abseiled off with James Bond and the Spice Girls decided to sing. [Well, that would have been a novelty]


  • Dr Bob, what do you think Ivan the Terrible would think of Australia’s asylum seeker policy if he was around today?
  • Hope you are not rushin’ through your trip, Dr Bob. [No, I’m Rumanian at the back of the pack]