Answers for January 1999

Our WINNER for the epic time-wasting quiz of January 99 is:

Diane Bull

Who said :”Dear Dr Robert, your quiz is still the highlight of my life. Which indicates the quality of my life.” Sorry to hear that, Diane. Come around to my place – and I will show you something trivial.


Question 1

Are peanuts nuts?

Real Answer

No – they are edible fruit containing a dry kernel which, unusually, the fruit does not open to release. Almond, brazil & walnut are in a similar twilight state.

Better Answers:

  • Peanuts are actually more pea than nut. If we apply strict botanical terminology, the term nut is restricted to a one-seeded fruit with hardened, woody external walls that do not split open to release the seed, thus excluding the peanut. However, in common usage anything nut-like goes.
  • It depends on how much nurturing they receive while growing up … and “nuts” is not a politically correct description.
  • No, even though they come from Queensland
  • No, they are simply misunderstood.
  • No, they’ve just been badly misrepresented.
  • No. a peanut is either a legume, or just a figment of our imaginations planted there by the world governments just to mess with our minds.
  • No. Otherwise you wouldn’t have asked.
  • Not too sure about Linus and Lucy Van Pelt, but Charlie Brown is schizoparanoid, and I think that qualifies, with walnuts.
  • Only if they’re silly enough to get picked.
  • According to the DSM-IV they are nuts. [What cult is that?]

Question 2

Did dinosaurs generally eat grass?

Real Answer

No – True grasses don’t appear in the fossil record until the Cainozoic, after the extinction of the Dinosaurs.

Better Answers:

  • Do megaflora count as grass? If so, yes. If not, probably yes anyway.
  • I’m pretty sure they generally and specifically ate whatever they felt like.
  • They mostly ate other dinosaurs, cycads and most of the cast of Jurassic Park. Those that ate grass were usually too stoned to notice T-Rex creeping up on them and so came to an evolutionary dead-end somewhat in advance of their fellows.
  • Nope. As the great progenitor of grass, Teosinte, had yet to show up on the botanical scene. Besides, with those vestigial forelegs, T.Rex could never have managed the chilled salad fork.
  • Not the carnivorous ones, anyway.
  • They had to eat the grass because fire hadn’t been invented – otherwise they would have smoked it.
  • We are not sure whether the answer is: No God would have given them something tastier or Yes if that was God’s plan

Question 3

What did Hitler have for breakfast?

Real Answer

Well, I always thought it was chamomile tea and one or two apples, but I have forgotten where I got this from and in any case there are other stories.

Better Answers

  • A Sausage McMuffin (known as a wurstenconstipaten), savoured over an ironed copy of Deutsche Welt. Oh, and the Sudetenland.
  • Austria. Czechoslovakia. Poland. Norway. Belgium. Yugoslavia. Denmark. The Netherlands. Luxembourg. (in no particular order)
  • Crisp sandwiches.
  • Drei vegetarisch Bratwurste und Braunbrezeln
  • Eggs, with a bit of braun on the side.
  • Eventually and thankfully, lead.
  • He didn’t eat breakfast. [he probably more like massacred it]
  • One day Hitler was sitting down to breakfast after his niece had shot herself. He was served Ham, and said it was like eating a corpse, and from that point on he never ate meat.
  • Typically, one each of the four German food groups: fats, starch, sugar and flatulence-causing legumes.
  • Something fresh from the oven? [Groan]
  • Lox & Bagels
  • According to Friedlinde Wagner (grand daughter of the composer), whose mother was a friend of Hitler, his breakfast usually consisted of a glass of milk and two slices of dry bread whenever he came to stay at their house.

Question 4

How many people (sedentary, desk-workers etc) could have survived on the alorific intake of Elvis Presley in the weeks before he died?

Real Answer

About 60

Better Answers, in ascending order:

  • None, as Elvis consumed it all so that there was none left for equitable redistribution.
  • None. Anyone who ate that much would probably die of heart disease.
  • 1 drug dealer, 2 night club bouncers, 3 accountants, 4 law enforcers, 5 GI JOES …. 6 Jackson Brothers, 7 little Colonels, 8 CIA agents, 9 Blue Hawaiians, And the cast from Jailhouse Rock
  • 11[No – that only covers his elevenses]
  • 12 – It is well known that Elvis consumed about 18,000 calories a day at the end of his life. This gives 12 people a minimum requirement of 1500 calories per day.
  • 20
  • 30-100 – The Burger King’s terminal diet, as described in the UK Sunday Times, 24th December, 1995, averaged around 94,000 calories/day (excuse the lack of metric conversion) and went something like this on a typical day:Breakfast (5 pm) – 5,000 calories: six large eggs cooked in butter with extra salt, 1lb of bacon, half a pound of sausages, 12 buttermilk biscuitsDinner (10pm) – 84,000 calories: Two “Fool’s Gold” sandwiches [a jar of peanut butter, a jar of strawberry jam, one pound of crisp-fried bacon on a baguette x2]Supper (4am) – 5,000 calories: 5 double-hamburgers and deep-fried peanut butter, mashed banana sandwiches.Plus other snacks as required, between meals.Allegedly 94,000 calories/day would nearly do two Asian elephants and would “fuel a normal man for a month”, so I guess the answer to your question would be about 30, if we’re considering normal men and normal diets. However, we need a lot less to simply survive, so maybe around 100 or so inactive anorexics could survive on this.
  • The entire population of Rwanda
  • 1.476 billion
  • All of them

Question 5

When Norwegian bureaucrats on Spitsbergen complained to head office in Oslo about mice in their office, what brand of cheese were they told to use in the mouse traps? And under what further condition?


Only Gouda cheese … and not past its use-by date

Better Answers:

  • It allowed the killing of only five mice provided that only 3-5 traps of a particular type were used, Gouda cheese was used in the traps, and the cheese was not out of date. Also, only union workers could be used to set the traps. [And many similar answers from those who looked up the archives of Norway’s Aftenpost]
  • Five, and only five, mice could be caught, provided that: (a) between three and five traps of a specified type were set; (b) the bait was Gouda cheese; and (c) the cheese was not out of date. Comments: Good quiz. I like the Norwegian bureaucrats & the mice. There isn’t any further comment that can be added to that. Truth is genuinely stranger than fiction (unless it’s von Däniken in which case fiction is definitely stranger than truth)
  • Limburger cheese, and if they didn’t use that, and the delegation saw when they came over on a surprise inspection, everyone in the office would be summarily executed.
  • Lindenberger. But they had to first fill out “Cheese Request Form Q65” in triplicate. [Quite possibly true – there’s probably not much cheese on Spitzbergen and they would have to requisition the right stuff from Oslo]
  • Lychies. With real lye in them.
  • Rat-trap cheddar. But it was expressly forbidden for the Norwegees to speak of the bait as anything other than “mouse trap cheddar”; due to government downsizing and fiscal irresponsibility.
  • Red Leicester, grilled on toast, with a rosemary garnish. No, really!
  • To ensure ethical practice, the cheese had to be cryptosporidium free (and not obtained from Elvis’s fridge) and served at room temperature in smorgasbord fashion ad libitum.
  • Swiss Cheese with the traps behind the holes so that the mice could not see them


Question 6

How many cats are there in Melbourne?


Approx 900,000 pet cats plus 200,000 feral cats. The Skeptics seem to favour cats as pets.

Better Answers

  • Boingggg! *Vague question*. Please define, in a agriculturally and botanically meaningful manner, the term “cats”.
  • Not enough.
  • 42956
  • 827,342 +/- 237,803
  • 2,182,837 and that includes 178 jazz bands.
  • 12,345,000 No wait; 12,345,006 No wait; 12,345,024 No wait; 12,345,018 (I just saw a bag of kittens floating down the Yarra.)
  • 4,000,000
  • Quite a few, I’d say.
  • There’s the Geelong Cats. No wait, they’ve been absorbed
  • Too many – especially if you are a VCE student. (A little local humour there.)
  • Too many.

Question 7

If it had existed, what would have been noticeable about the god Odin’s horse, Sleipner?


Sleipner possessed eight legs, apparently giving incredible speed and endurance, allowing it to run through fire, air and water.

Better Answers:

  • The fact that it existed!
  • Nothing.
  • He would have worn one of those pointy hats
  • It was an octo-horse, the result of some early genetic engineering attempts by the aliens who obviously inspired those Norse Sagas [Not far off from the actual legend, see next answer]
  • One day in Asgard the gods needed a wall fixed. One of the gods tricked the bricky out of payment, by turning himself into a young mare, and distracting the bricky’s 8 legged cart horse with some sex for a few days. The Bricky was in default for not making his deadline and did not get paid. Later the god (Loki) returned to Odin after giving birth to the Foal Sleipnir who had dad’s 8 legs and the god’s ability to fly over land & sea.
  • Sleipner, also known as the blacksmith’s delight, could have won the 3 legged race twice over by himself with two legs in the air
  • The number of legs; it was supposed to have 8. This was a fairly graphic allusion to the funereal custom of a warrior’s body being born on the shoulders of 4 of his colleagues. Odin wasn’t a dreadfully cheering chap to worship. [Comparable to the God of the Old Testament?]
  • It’s not an actual horse, it’s just a transsexual badger.
  • Very expensive to buy shoes for [Call Imelda Marcos and ask about giraffe-leather shoes]
  • Its third placing in the Caulfield trifecta.

Question 8

Where in Africa could you find penguins?


On the beaches of Namibia, for one place. They come out of water at 4ºC onto sand at 50-60ºC, so they are not real happy about it.

Better Answers

  • Anywhere you like as long as you’ve got a big ice box.
  • Boulders Penguin Colony False Bay, near Simonstown. Also known as Jack Ass Penguins, the area is also home to Van the Penguin Man
  • Cairo Bowling Alleys
  • In most good book shops throughout the continent.
  • In its natural habitat the African black footed penguin, Spheniscus demersus, is to be found on coastal islets of South Africa.
  • In penguin rookeries (is that the right word?)
  • Oh, I think that most larger zoos have them…
  • Big Jim’s House of Stuffed Exotic Animals, 114 S. Main St, Johannesburg.
  • On the menu at the Cafe Mohammed, Tripoli
  • Printed on the shirts of those golfing chaps

Question 9

Why are hippopotamus’s tails the shape they are?


They are short, vertical and flat, in order to spread the stuff around when the hippo shits. An entire ecology of plants and animals survives on the nutrients in hippo poo, but that is another trivia question.

Better Answers

  • Because if they were any other shape they would be called “feet”, “hands” or some other bodily appendage.
  • I don’t know, but the elephants got their trunks from a crocodile on the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River (or so Mr. Kipling says, and he wouldn’t tell lies)
  • So that they can kill people easier. 🙂
  • The hippo’s tail is shaped like a plunger for fixing blocked toilets. [fairly close to the truth]
  • They’ve been reduced to their miniscule size by continually rubbing their bums on the backs of crocodiles as they sit around in rivers.
  • To be effective “biogenic colluvial matter” spreaders. No shit! Hippos broadcast their excrement and they use their tail in an analogous manner of fan blades in the expression “when the shit hits the fan”.

Question 10

What happened to the giraffe in the Manila Zoo?


Imelda Marcos was accused of stealing, among numerous other things “several animals from the Zoo, including the giraffe”

Better Answers

  • Claustrophobia, arachnophobia … what’s the fear of heights phobia?
  • It became a matching pair of shoes [Yes! Or very nearly]
  • It got eaten by 47 wooden badgers after the great snowstorm of 1926.
  • It was probably eaten. From what I’ve seen of Filipino cuisine they are second only to the Chinese in consuming anything that will dissolve in gastric acid (and a lot that won’t!)
  • It was the black board special at the local BBQ
  • Phoned home.
  • (might be getting my zoos mixed up) I think it got frightened by a fireworks display and in its panic broke its neck.
  • Was there a zoo in Manila? [it may have been stolen by Imelda Marcos – would have been useful to keep the stolen animals in]


Question 11

Translate from Latin into English: birota ignifero latice incita (from a recent papal encyclical)


Motorcycle (“two-wheeled [thing] by fire-bearing liquid driven”)

Much Better Answer than The Real One:

The ignorance from my biro has the capacity to incite atheism

Somewhat Better Answers:

  • “Don’t crush that flaming dwarf, hand me those pliers, Earl..”
  • “If you can read this, you’re too close…”
  • Fiery bulls are good on the barbie with lettuce
  • Hats burn when ignited by milk
  • I dress up in Latex and go cruising on my Pope Bike
  • If it’s fun, it’s a sin
  • Stop it or you’ll go blind!
  • My bicycle was burning and my lettuce was lit – this comes from the recent book of Papal bull “Encycling through Tuscany with Stephanie Alexander” [Stop it – if I can’t stop laughing I will probably go blind]

Question 12

Translate from Norwegian into English: Alla känna apa, men apa känna ingen


“Everybody knows the [performing] monkey, but the monkey knows nobody”

Better Answers

  • Bob, we do know some Norwegian including wishing you Godt Nyttar and suggesting that you are a cod that has been out of the water for a while, but as for your apes that can do nothing we are stuck
  • “All men are apes, but man alone can set fire to apes.” [Hmmmm … very true, very true]
  • This was taken from an obscure version of Snorri Sturluson’s “Edda” (The “Rhymes for Young Berserkers” edition), the full text being as follows: All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men Couldn’t put Sven together again Especially after me & Odin and Thor & the boys Hacked off his limbs and fed them to those ravens.
  • “I canna do it captain, the engines canna take much more a this…”
  • All bullshit aside, men are full of it.
  • Everyone knows Apa, but Apa has Alzheimer’s
  • God is an ape, male apes can’t get it in.
  • Hey baby, would you like to come to my place for a whale omelet
  • Norwegian women are icy, Norwegian men more so
  • Well, it’s not an Abba song. [but knowing me, knowing you, it’s the best we can do]

Question 13

Translate from Pidgin into English: Magimix bilong Yesus



Better Answers

  • “Jesus, he gottum big Aussie billabong, mon.”
  • cyclone
  • It comes from a phrase used in an obscure PNG cargo cult which believes that three mysterious men in tall white hats bring gifts of assorted kitchen appliances to any bastard born in a manger (significantly derived from the French – “to eat”) on Christmas Day.
  • Jesus makes the Magimix go round
  • There are somethings that man was not meant to know, and this translation is one of them…
  • We are all God’s children [Well Jesus was, for a start]
  • That meal was good enough for Jehovah.

Question 14

Translate from English (circa 1910) to English (circa 1999): Gyratory circuses


[road traffic] Roundabouts

Better Answers

  • Ballroom Dancing
  • Brothels
  • Convoluted conundrums
  • In 1920 the Brits had to get in a Americian to the BBC to introduce plain English. One thing he did straighten out was Gyratory Circuss became trafic Round-Abouts. [and now they can work on the grammar and spelling eh?}
  • Round-abouts, but we still don’t know how to use them
  • Something to do with the 4-year cycle of Senate and House elections in the US.
  • This roundabout won’t let me off!

Question 15

What is the derivation of the Japanese word “intoray”, meaning “scaffolding”?


It is their attempt to pronounce “Intolerance” – the 1916 epic movie of this name by D.W.Griffith showed scaffolding, which the Japanese had never seen before.

Better Answers

  • “Why lots of metal poles on outside of builring?” “Builring is being painted, but painters, not in toray.”
  • Building workers were given Intoray whisky so they were brave enough to climb the scaffolding.
  • It comes from “intray”, which are stacked so high you have to climb to see the top
  • Derived from an ancient Japanese word which means “Potential Workplace Lost Time Injury”
  • Knowing those inscrutable, obsessed folks, something to do with being “well hung”.
  • My Cousin works as an English teacher to Japanese and says no way can you spell a Japanese word ending in ray. Even so we can’t even guess the answer. [maybe it was ‘intoru’}
  • Toray means monkey and these were used by the Japanese to scale castle walls and secretly open the castle gates. Saying “In! Toray!” was used to get the monkey going [when there was nothing else to do, presumably. How did they get it to climb the walls?]
  • This is obviously derived from the great Japanese builder Ray Tamagotchi. It comes from his tragic death while constructing a dais for Oda Nobunaga’s (q.v.) victory celebrations. When it collapsed and somebody asked where the damages bill should be sent, the reply was “send it in to Ray”. [Groan]


Question 16

When Oda Nobunaga’s warriors captured the Japanese capital city of Kyoto in 1569, on entering the city what was the first thing he confiscated?


Three particular tea bowls. These had individual names and were famous up and down Japan, at least among tea drinkers, among whom Oda evidently was numbered. History sometimes asks us more questions than it answers. Anyway here is the quote from Japanese Arts and the Tea Ceremony (by T.Hayashiya, M.Nakamure, and S.Hayashiya, Weatherhill NY 1974) – “On Nobunaga’s entry into Kyoto in 1569 he immediately made use of his authority to confiscate such well-kown tea caddies as the Matsumoto Nasu, an eggplant-shaped o-meibutsu owned at the time by Matsumoto Shuho; the Fuji Nasu (see figure), also an o-meibutsu and likened to Mount Fuji for its noble shape; and the Hatsuhana (First Flower) Katatsuki, a high-shouldered tea caddy given its name by Ashikaga Yoshimasa on account of its great nobility and beauty.”

Better Answers

  • According to all my sources this event actually happened in 1568 rather than1569.Perhaps he confiscated all the sake?
  • All the toblerones.
  • All the toilet paper. He was busting.
  • Ukuleles, banjos and guitars … He didn’t want anyone playing folk music at his soldiers … smart man, that Oda …
  • Every concubine and marital aid in sight. [luckily it was dark]
  • Following the collapse of his victory dais, he confiscated all of builder Ray Tamagotchi’s property as confiscation. Later Japanese rulers went on to confiscate all sorts of things such as swords and weapons, and large parts of Asia.
  • The dictionary of More Comprehensive Names.
  • The emperor
  • The local house of prostitution
  • The microphone … he then proceeded to slaughter the Kyotans with the worst kara-oke in history.
  • The TV rights from the 20 or so Japanese film crews recording the event on Ancient Sony Handicams

Question 17

What was remarkable about Napoleon’s bouts of sex with Josephine? (that is, on those occasions when they did actually get it on)


According to my sources, they had a very energetic and vigorous technique, often knocking the furniture over and waking the servants.

Better Answers

  • He wasn’t impeached
  • Burkes Backyard say: Josephine use to serve him hot chocolate with Lavender to get him going. On their wedding night in the middle of sex he was bitten on the leg by a dog, and spent the rest of the night bitching to Jo.
  • He wore full military uniform … complete with hat
  • Josephine was always on top because while history depicts Napoleon as being inclined to place an arm inside his tunic the fact is that he was one-armed and was thus unable to support himself in the standard monastery position. [I think you mean “missionary” position, or do monks have more fun than I thought?]
  • Never lasted more than 60 seconds
  • They apparently went on for some considerable time
  • She only agreed to it if old Napoleon would sing “The Times They Are A-Changin”
  • The events were rather odorous. Napoleon would write home from somwhere disgusting like Egypt and say: “I’m going to be home in two weeks…… don’t wash”
  • That they ever actually got it on at all is remarkable, considering all that unwashing that little Nap pleaded for.
  • That with that tiny tadger of his, he was actually capable of such activities.
  • He used to comb his pubic hair – this was the origin of the boner-part [Groannnnn]

Question 18

Could L Ron Hubbard play the ukulele?


Yes. Apart from being good at starting crackpot religions, LRH was an accomplished musician, being particularly deft on the ukulele and banjo.

Better Answers:

  • Could he what! He purchased his famous ukulele in Hawaii in 1927, and played it for 40 years or more entertaining troops and spreading the word of Scientology.
  • Could he what! If it wasn’t for a mysterious broken string incident, dianetics would never have been invented.
  • No, but he could certainly string along thousands of people.
  • No, he lost his ukulele in Kyoto in 1569.
  • No; nor could he write science fiction, but he didn’t let that stop him trying.
  • Of course he could; anyone that could invent Dianetics had to be into hula skirts, etc.
  • What? You mean that there’s people out there that CAN’T play the ukulele?!?!?!
  • Yes, with his teeth
  • Maybe, but his speciality was the fiddle.

Question 19

In the 1930s why were so many meteorites found in Kansas?


There had been lecture tours on the subject, rewards were offered and people began to look for them, for the first time in a while

Better Answers In Descending Order of Seriousness

  • Several thousand years ago a meteorite shower left a trail of pallasites (stoney-iron meteorites) across part of Kansas. Although first found by Europeans in the 1800’s, people went actively searching for them during the depression (to sell).
  • The prevailing westerly winds of dust bowl fame stripped so much topsoil, that the iron, chornditic and carbonaceous chondritic high-density meteorites were left as aeolian lag deposits.
  • The dust-storms of the 1930’s stripped away much of the topsoil and left the iron meteorites exposed; most particularly on a farm near Greenburg which has become known as the meteor farm after >7000 were found there.
  • Because of the advent of tractors digging them up, and it was so easy to fool anyone who came along to buy a rock.
  • It’s the only place people really looked because there was just nothing to do in Kansas in the 1930’s. [yes it’s mostly crops – not many farm animals …]
  • A large meteor broke apart after striking a small ranch style house 2.3 miles above Kansas.
  • Personally I blame that girl with the strapped down breasts and her taste in men of steel? iron? ah, tin.
  • It was an intergalactic attempt to wipe out the Yellow Brick Road gang, led by Ma Dorothy.
  • It was generally agreed to be the target for the intergalactic meteorite toss…..
  • They weren’t meteorites, they were bits of the Wicked Witch of the West

Question 20

What was Bob Dylan doing while he was composing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands?


Recording Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. The studio was booked from 2pm onwards and the session muso’s showed up, but Bob drifted in at 4pm with the first couple of verses on a scrap of paper. He frantically made up the rest during the session.

Better Answers:

  • Composing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. [Alright – but this answer does not contain the essence of the information that was sought]
  • Writing down the lyrics and the music
  • ‘Stayin’ up for days in the Chelsea Hotel,Writin’ “Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” for you [Sara].’
  • Eating a poorly made hot ham and swiss on rye sandwich. It’s generally accepted that the mayonaise was runny, the mustard wasn’t spicy enough, and the bread was just a few days past peak freshness. [Evidently you know more about this occasion than the rest of us]
  • Milking cows
  • Playing his Arabian drum
  • Thinking how he could top “Tangled Up in Blue.”
  • Knock knock knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  • Masturbating [Well my record of Blonde on Blonde does have something ucky spilt on this track, but I always thought it was beer from a party]
  • Thinking of Josephine stuck with that loser of an emperor