Answers for September 2012

Sorry, late again!!  Only one entry anyway!!  Pity, I was proud of these questions.

Q1: Where does the name “derrick” for a small crane originate?
A1:  Derek is the English language short form of Dederik, the Low German form of the name Theoderic. Theoderic is an old Germanic name with an original meaning of “people-ruler”.  Common variants include Derrick, so it seems that cranes are called derricks because they are taller than people & are imposing & could therefore be said by the intellectually challenged to “rule” over people. (It’s a crap answer, Dr Bob, but you’re stuck with it…)
Real answer: Thomas Derrick, English executioner, invented a device for hanging his clients.

Q2. How have the rules of the traditional game of “conkers” been recently modified in Britain?
A2:  Actually, the rules stayed the same but the name recently changed to “bonkers”, reflecting the intellect of those who believe that bashing one’s nuts together is a fun pastime.
Real answer: Conkers was made illegal in 2012 😦

Q3.  Dr Bob’s mother was once at a posh British Xmas Dinner, hosted by a wealthy family with servants. A magnificent Roast Turkey had been prepared, which the maid brought in on a silver tray; very elegantly to begin with but she tripped and dumped the barbecued bird on the carpet, right in front of the horrified guests. What did the hostess immediately say?
A3:  “Well, I say, we won’t gobble THAT gobbler, will we now, ha ha, snort, chortle!  Oh, by the way, while I have the floor, you are sacked, Hortense, effective now, this minute.”
Real answer: “Take it out, Susan, and bring in the OTHER ONE”

Q4. Norway kept threatening to boycott the 1936 whaling congress. If they had indeed left, what countries would have remained?
A4:  Australia, which was at the wrong conference anyway.  One of the Australians earlier had overheard a Norwegian say in relation to the regular appearance of the large cetaceans, “You can bank on the whales” and immediately thought it was a conference of bankers.  (It is no coincidence that, in Australia, “bankers” and “wankers” are synonyms.)
Real answer: Just Britain

Q5. A traditional folk song about Ned Kelly contains the lines “You know the country well, Ned, so take your comrades there / And profit by your knowledge of the Wombat and the Bear” – what does this mean?
A5:  Easy – a wombat eats roots and leaves; as did Mr Kelly.  And the (Bundy) bear is all about rum, Mr Kelly’s favourite tipple.
Real answer: These are rivers, in northern Victoria

Can one be skeptical of skepticism?  Or should one be certain about it?