Answers for June 2000

Sorry, the answers are 10% late this month; I have been on holiday in (would you believe) North South Australia. I had a nice holiday, well, except for Pauline Hanson appearing in the town to make a speech (or possibly to register a new party). Following the success of my talk to NSW Skeptics – I got a free meal and ran away before being lynched – I will attempt to give similar trivia demonstrations to Brisbane and Gold Coast Skeptics on July 12 & 13. See the May answers for locations. Our triple, tripartite, tridimensional winner of tremendously terrifying and thoroughly titillating trivial tripe this month is the long-suffering

Tony Ellis

of Moe, Victoria – the only town to be named after a stooge!


Question 1

As the perpetrators sped across Suva on their way to carry out the Fiji coup of mid-May 2000 what went wrong?

Correct Answers:

  • Sped? Across Suva? Impossible I would say. If they were speeding, the ever vigilant Fijian police would have booked them. They probably didn’t notice the guns while they were writing the ticket.
  • They got stopped by police and booked for speeding on the way to the coup – “Off to a Turkey shoot then are we? Well, be careful of all those guns now, and drive slowly the rest of the way”.
  • They got there. They took the democratically elected government as hostages. They claimed they had “authority” from the “general council of chiefs” to set up a new “government”. Oh yes, and Mr Speight was interviewed live by Richard Carlton. What else could go wrong?
  • The public started to support such a bone-headed enterprise.

Other Answers Being Held Hostage:

  • In the usual way of irony they stepped on a banana peel (q.v.) and fell.
  • George Speight got his skirt shut in the passenger’s side door and tore the hem.
  • George left his “first against the wall” list on the fridge.
  • They had the wrong map. They were intending to conduct a coup in Monaco (or Coup de Grace as it was once called)
  • In their haste they got a speeding ticket, and that was before they got to the car (a Toyota Corolla Coupe I believe).
  • Apparently the coup was not where they left it, so they carried out a TV and a microwave instead.
  • They were speeding and thus copped a ticket – as if George Speight didn’t have enough tickets on himself to begin with.
  • Nothing went wrong with the spate of speeding Suvans because, of course, everyone knows that one’s Sulu will always get any enterprise where it wants to go. (I admit that Ratu Sir Kamikazi Mara crashed and burned. But he wasn’t a perpetrator. I’m confused. Again.)
  • The dealer was all out of coups. They had to settle for a sedan.
  • They all wanted to be Mr Black (oops I don’t know if that’s politically correct).
  • They have underestimated the strength of MY forces, the fools! bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-!
  • Some of them turned chicken and flew the coup.
  • George Speight received an invitation to the reunion of his rugby club in Brisbane and almost called the whole thing off. (The coup that is)
  • First they realised they didn’t have a flag for the new republic / democracy / dictatorship / franchise. As they were heading into the local ‘Flags R Us’ (all unstable regions have one), they got pulled over by the police. ‘Hello Hello Hello, wot’s all this then?’
  • Ratu Sir Kamasisimara changed the way his name was spelled to Bob.
  • George spilled his kava down the front of his skirt and had to turn around to get a clean one from home.
  • They didn’t get hit by a meteorite?
  • They still ended up holding the coup in Fiji. Canberra would have been better – then we could have got shot of the GST and all those annoying little politicians we don’t like that keep popping back up after an election.
  • They forgot that their mums had told them to be home by 9pm. As a result they are now fearful for their safety if they leave the parliament building and go home.

Question 2

Now that we have survived the year 2000 leap year problem, what will happen in 3000 and 4000?

Wrong Answers:

  • 3000 is not a leap year but 4000 is.
  • I will age another year.
  • Nothing much, because there will be no official year 3000 or 4000 “AD”, because by then people will have abandoned the silly calendar we currently use for something more scientific, more accurate, and, most importantly, less culturally biased and less steeped in religious superstition.

Correct Answer (thanks to James Randi):

The year 4000 C.E. — and every year divisible by 4000 — will NOT be a leap year. That’s to take care of those pesky seconds but are “left over” in the solar year. I expect that none of you would be alive to take advantage of this esoteric knowledge. If I’m wrong, please inform me.

More Useful Answers

  • Lots of IT consultants will make lots of bananas, (did I say bananas, sorry, I mean money) out of the Y3K &Y4K bugs.
  • Conspiracy theorists will make lots of money flogging books on how to survive the Y3K and Y4K bugs.
  • There will be no problems with computers, because having had to deal with the y2k problem, and knowing that there might be a problem, people will be forwards looking enough that they will care about a problem that _might- affect their antedecentants.
  • What makes you think anyone alive today actually cares? [Well I do. Year 2000 was very nice and now I am going to make money out of this one]

Equally Correct Answers That Will Not Generate Very Much Money:

  • You’ve got it all wrong – it’s the year 4095 that’s going to be special, it’s actually FFF (in hex) or 7777 (Octal), so it must be reeaaaally special. [And 2025 will be the first three-digit year in base 45 … Ching! Dollar signs ring up in my eyeballs….]
  • I don’t care. I’ve had enough of computer dating problems. [Me too – I took one out and it never called me back] Ooo er. Y2k, bah humbug. Now the great 1990 decade roll-over bug, now that was something. In my day, we only had ONE digit to store dates. 2 digits, sheer luxury! [Oh, you had digits … we had to use notches on a stick] [Oh, a stick, how nice, what I would have given for a stick ….]
  • In 2999 CE, nobody will give a rat’s arse about whether to leap or not to leap: goofy religious sects will convince large numbers of people that The End Of The World Is Nigh (Mike Willesee XXXII will present a one-hour holoscreen special detailing the scientific proof that this will definitely happen), and Barry Jones XXVII will explain why the millennium party plans are premature but the masses will ignore him. Then about February 3000, food reconstitutors and water purification units will plummet in value, as people try to sell their bunker fittings. Later in the year, a man in a dress will stage a coup on the moon. Europa will export bananas to Queensland. Queen Camilla IV will do a birthday walkabout, accompanied by the current Queen Mother in her golf hoverbot (she may or may not be dead by then, it’s hard to tell, gin has a strangely preservative effect on the tissues). A whole bunch of other stuff will happen, too, but my crystal ball is idling rough in the cold weather today – however, I advise everyone to tell your descendants to back “Martian Marauder” in the 4000 Holden-Kawasaki Melbourne Cup.
  • According to my crystal ball, Fitzroy will reform a football team with Elvis playing full forward, win the pennant and have a series of mp3 hit singles
  • Assuming you have an answer you can prove correct 1000 & 2000 years in advance, can I have next weeks Tattslotto answers? They are not leap years. [Well I might ask, how do you know that? Eliminating 11 of the 45 numbers is quite a useful prediction]
  • Collingwood will win another premiership.
  • If the temperature continues to rise, as predicted, most of the water will boil off by 3000. There won’t be any problems because there won’t be any humans to cause them. [Ah, but what about methane from ants farting?]
  • Literalist bible believers will continue to say the second coming of Jesus is imminent.
  • Most current Microsoft and UNIX software will have failed thoroughly by then, and they will still be trying to do the Y3K and Y4K fixes. A significant amount of money will have been spent on them, and they will still be late in arriving and will be shot full of bugs. However, OpenVMS, a proprietary operating system born in the 1970’s, will still be chugging on merrily – it is good for up to about the year 5800.
  • That’s a very big question, Dr Bob. How will you know if the answers are right?
  • There will be another debate about whether or not the year 3000 or 4000 represents the start of the new millennium.
  • We will have big millennium parties and all get thoroughly pissed again, but I probably won’t be around to enjoy it (except perhaps as a frozen head on a Popsicle stick).
  • We will have The Millennium Bug hype revisited and re-revisited, we will get the third and fourth comings of Christ and maybe they will have developed an original plot for Home And Away
  • What about the year 10,000, when we go to five digit years? Why are software development people SO short-sighted?

Question 3

What European country exports bananas?

Correct Answer:

Iceland (Alright, I cheated and looked in this months mag. Or was this a conspiracy to catch out all those of us who cheat at this quiz?)

Bent Answers:

  • You obviously bought the Great Banana Trivia Book at the Big Banana on your last visit to Coffs Harbour. Two banana questions in a row. The UK imports loads of bananas but as the Poms think they are all growing the wrong way, they sell them all to the French.
  • Would you believe Norway? They also export camels.
  • Who cares? Australia exports nuts. Both Ken Ham and Andrew Snelling have moved to the USA.
  • Well not Belgium, that’s for sure, or Hergé would never had made that dumb mistake and drawn them growing downwards in “Tintin and the Broken Ear”, would he?
  • The Vatican. Oh, sorry, I thought the question was what European country is bananas.
  • The UK. I mean, look at the exports: Python, Fawlty Towers, Not The Nine O’clock News, Ben Elton, Dawn French, Red Dwarf, Terry Pratchett, etc etc etc they’re clearly all bananas. Quentin Crisp was a fruit, but I don’t know if he counts.
  • The one that has bananas to export. Probably Portugal.
  • The Canary Islands.
  • Switzerland
  • Spain.
  • Not Finland.
  • Norway
  • I’m guessing France because they NEVER let go of their colonies, so no doubt some tropical banana producer counts as French territory.
  • I’m a Queenslander what would I know about European bananas?
  • Iceland – because they are already refrigerated!
  • Hveragerði in Iceland exports bananas, presumably for frozen banananana (sorry, too much T.Pratchett there) probably for use in frozen daquiri’s…
  • Give me a break, I’m still trying to figure out which end is up!
  • France.
  • Finland. They export those frozen choc banana thingies to cinemas worldwide.
  • Finally an easy one! Obviously Greece, that’s where we get Nana Mouskouri!
  • Britain … or more precisely, its colonies in the Caribbean. [The Poms lost those years ago – perhaps they haven’t noticed]
  • Bananas imported into France, Spain and the UK (from the Caribbean) are transported to other EU states. Technically this makes France, Spain and the UK exporters of Bananas.
  • Australia cunningly smuggles them out disguised as Australian Dollar coins.
  • All of them – they buy them from Latin America at a low price, and re-sell them to other countries, getting the middle man’s profit.
  • Zimbabwe. As I have already told you the Rev Canaan Banana used to be head of state (I wish you would pay attention) there, but when he was caught him interfering with a choir boy, he was exported. What? Zimbabwe isn’t a European country? You pedantic bastards are what give pedantic bastards a bad name. The joke doesn’t work any other way because the Rev C Banana was never head of state of Iceland.

Question 4

Why was the prolific author Barbara Cartland buried in a cardboard coffin?

Correct Answer:

A thousand outrageous quips spring to mind, but as soon as one seems to be foremost, another equally good one rushes to my cranium and I break up laughing uncontrollably again.

Token way-off-target answer:

She died penniless

Here we go:

  • It seemed like a good idea. When she finally died, it was an even better idea.
  • She was worried that if she came back to life as a Zombie, that she wouldn’t be able to get out of a regular coffin.
  • So the worms could get to her quicker just in case she was just faking. Apparently the Queen Mother stood by the graveside singing “I won! I won!”
  • Dame Barbara was buried in a cardboard coffin because of her concern for the environment – which is a bit rich, really, coming from a woman who probably single-handedly destroyed more trees with the prolific publication of her trash fiction than any other person has managed. (Apart maybe from that God bloke and his followers, with their best selling trash fiction, ‘The Bible’).
  • Her makeup was sufficient for embalming purposes, but the cardboard box improved her appearance.
  • Revenge for the cardboard characters she foisted off on the public.
  • To quote the late, great Miss Minnie Bannister, Goon extraordinaire, “You can’t get the wood you know.”
  • After wasting so much wood pulp during her extraordinarily long literary (?) career, Babs had a fit of the guilts about wasting yet more on a wooden casket.
  • Obvious answer: She was dead. Less obvious answer: she wanted to continue in paperback!
  • For ease of pulping and recycling as Stephen King’s love-child.
  • They could not think of anything else to do with all of her unsold books, so they recycled them into cardboard coffins, thus putting her remains in remainders.
  • Because it’s much easier to scratch your way out of if you’re not dead.
  • I don’t know why they bothered with the whole burial thing, frankly, she was obviously mummified many years ago.
  • She felt guilty about all the trees that were wasted to go into her books. This answer has been submitted without comment. [Until now]
  • After penning down so many, she had finally become a cardboard character herself.
  • Because they couldn’t find a wooden one in pink.
  • Was it a recycled Icelandic banana carton? Who knows, who cares… Her books have been a waste of thousands of trees already, one tree more for a coffin wouldn’t have been much more. Then again, maybe they were her recycled books in which case it was an admirable usage.
  • What else would the Queen of Paperbacks be buried in?
  • Family members get the last word at funerals. Enough said.

Question 5

What body or area has a flag of three horizontal stripes, blue green and red?

Correct Answer

– which nobody got (don’t you people read New Scientist?) Mars (I don’t know who decided this, or what the Martians think, or what use it will be – perhaps they will win an event at the Olympic Games – naah, then they would need a theme tune as well)

Various Vexing Vexillological Variants:

  • TV land. Specifically, a trinitron television set screen if viewed very closely
  • Liechtenstein
  • Barbara Cartload
  • Ireland. . .no, wait, Russia. . . uh Tadjikastan???
  • Blue green and red are only two colors, and therefore would only count as two stripes. Trick question.
  • The Lost City of Atlantis, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, Von Danikens Land, the Flat Earth Society’s HQ, Heaven, Hell, Hades, Tartarus, the Seventh Heaven, and numerous others as listed in my new book “The Many Coloured Flags of the Lost and Strange but True Worlds of the Unexplained”.
  • My body, especially after a session with the Rev Bananana and B Cartland and their collection of whips. The area is none of your business. I don’t ask you about your peccadilloes do I? Is it true that a peccadillo is the result of genetic manipulation of a peccary and an armadillo? Answer me that you know-all bastard.
  • My body has an area of three horizontal stripes – must get that bathroom window replaced. Also the bug crawling across my desk has stripes of blue, red, and green, although I can’t tell whether they are horizontal or vertical – depends on what way he is heading at the time
  • My body has a small blue green and red pennant. And a weathercock.
  • My flag has. Since the coup at Number 14. I have formed a separate state and installed myself as Emperor. I have declared war on the house down the back and will annex numbers 12 and 16 as soon as they go on holidays.
  • Lizbeth Gore, I saw it on Sports Illustrated. Still in therapy.
  • My body is those colours after my weekly session with Madam Lash. But I’m not a flag. Does that count?
  • The mythical land of Azerbaijan– which doesn’t exist. It is a myth created by the purveyors of the inherently false spherical earth theory. The reason that ‘Round Earth’ mapmakers add in countries is to explain the extra space you end up with when you project a flat surface on a globe. Maybe their ’round earth’ propaganda would be more believable if CNN faked a story about a war, famine or disaster in “the Republic of Azerbaijan” once in a while.
  • Azerbaijan and Malawi [A new country, challenged not only by terrible poverty but also by a major geographic rift that separates it into two parts with incompatible cultures]
  • I have no bloody idea (or interest)!
  • It is not Barbara Cartland’s body, she wouldn’t be seen dead in anything but pink. There are three contenders but they all have a little bit extra: Azerbaijan – this comes with a bonus white crescent and star; Mauritius – this comes with a bonus yellow stripe; South Africa – this comes with some natty white piping and a bonus black and yellow wedge.
  • The Garden of Eden. Blue symbolised the first fight they had (over an apple!), green was the colour of the apple and red was the colour of their faces when their deity said “gotcha!” The three horizontal stripes stood for their three children, and were horizontal, not vertical, as a mark of respect for the late Abel. This flag is still out there somewhere as absolute proof of the inerrancy of the Bible.
  • The flag of Azerbaijan consists of blue, red and green stripes, with white crescent and star in the centre. The unofficial Kanaky local flag of New Caledonia also has blue, red and green stripes, with a black thingy on a yellow circle on the left (it’s much prettier than the official ‘French’ flag). Thank you, Dr Bob, this was an instructive question; today I learned that ‘vexillology’ is the study of flags (it comes from the Greek for ‘pastime taken up by sad geeks who found trainspotting to be too stimulating’.)
  • The body of a rugby league half-back
  • Azerbaijan has stripes but it has a crescent & star as well, Eritrea has a red isoceles triangle between stripes of green & blue – it also has <cue irony> an olive branch. The Gambia has blue red & green but with white borders on the stripes. You probably have some esoteric flag in mind, something like the Icelandic Banana Freezers League emblem. Apropos of absolutely nothing, did you know Afghanistan won the “most frequent flag changes of the 20th Century contest”, it changed it flag 20 times since 1901.
  • The flag’s tattooed across my girlfriend’s buttocks, and she’s starting to regret it.
  • All of them.
  • My body, when I’m simultaneously DEPRESSED, JEALOUS, and ANGRY.
  • Most bodies with flags on are dead (see above about Barbara Cartland) so it doesn’t matter if the flag is purple with yellow and green polka dots, really.
  • The local yacht club in Sete, South of France.
  • A very vex(illolog)ing. Azerbaijan has blue/red/green with a crescenty thing in the middle and Gambia has red/blue/green with white borders between the stripes. Is it Elle MacPherson in a Benetton swimsuit? Can I phone a friend? [Yes, but not with that – use the telephone instead]

Readers’ Comments

  • I’m pregnant. [Crikey, now what do I say? Does your brother have a shotgun?]
  • Hints for all players on how to win this quiz. Bring Dr. Bob a degree of separation closer to Philip Glass.
  • Thanks for being willing to take input from North Americans. [No worries – do you have anything else I can take?]
  • If I ever make it on “Who wants to be (patronised by) a millionaire?” will you be my friend?
  • I just feel that I should FLAG the fact that your contest is of a very high STANDARD. (I’ll stop now before I go bananas).
  • I really have no idea, but I just love to read the answers people put in as jokes.
  • D’oh!!
  • Hmmm … Military coups, leap years, bananas, Barbara Cartland, and flags. Looks like your psychoanalyst has achieved something, although I recommend you continue your visits at $595 a visit for 5 more visits.
  • You may not believe this, but I really saw a spaceship land. The captain was a sentient carrot and all the other crew consisted of a variety of vegetables (or in their own language, a soup of vegetables). The captain disembarked, walked straight past me and said to the nearest tree “take me to your weeder”
  • That banana question was hard. I got sucked in to reading a whole lot of stuff about the politics of the EU on banana imports.
  • Is this really optional? [All the girls ask me that]
  • Is Anna Russell still alive? I think I’ve been channelling her this week – if she’s not actually dead yet, this has alarming implications. <hiyatahoooooo!> Oh, bugger, there it goes again…..
  • You do something to me. Something that simply mystifies me. Tell me, why should it be, you have the power to hypnotise me?
  • Prawn to thing 4. [Now that the square is empty, wine glass to e2]
  • Stop beating up on Hergé, Dr Bob. Upsidedown bananas notwithstanding, he was a very talented dude. Did you know that Steven Spielberg has admitted that Indiana Jones was based on Tintin? (Now if only Hergé could have drawn Harrison Ford…)
  • Sorry, I was 10% late with this quiz entry, but then I have removed the excise and sales tax for those parts which are applicable, then rounded up to the nearest 5 cents, then added the number I first thought of, then rounded down to the nearest Treasurer or Prof.Alan Fels. AAaaaaaaggh! I’m NOT mad, really!
  • What do you get if you cross an atheist with a Mormon? Someone who knocks on your door for no reason.