Answers for September 2000

This month produced one of the best crops of answers ever, including brilliant efforts by Paul Bello, John Coffin, Tony Ellis, Dave Hawley, Norm Poyser, Sam Roth (sp?), Markku Uttula and David Wicks, among others. I have not stopped being cheerful since the first answers came in at the start of the month. But the gold medal goes to the only person to get question #1 right – winemaker, bon viveur, strainer of the grape and amateur sexer of aardvarks:

Brian Miller

Follow up to July & August – I downloaded Sean Kelly’s rendition of John Cage’s piece 4’33” from http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/28/the_sandwiches.html. It is an MP3 file of size 4.2Mb. I suppose I should have known what to expect. Using PKZIP, it reduces to 27kb. (Why even that much?)


Before We Start – A Universally Useful Answer:

  • Look! Over there! *reads correct answer from Dr. Bob’s desk while he’s distracted, feeds same back to Dr. Bob.*

Question 1

Some years ago, the Australian art critic Robert Hughes had a new washing machine installed in his New York apartment. What was unusual about this incident?

Answer

From “Music by Philip Glass”, page 54:
At that time I was earning a living as a plumber and had gone to install a dishwasher in a loft in Soho [New York]. While working, I suddenly heard a noise and looked up to find Robert Hughes, the art critic of TIME magazine, staring at me in disbelief. We had met before, and he knew me at sight.
“ But you’re Philip Glass! What are you doing here?”
It was obvious that I was installing his dishwasher, and I told him I soon would be finished. (I have always been careful about deadlines).
“But you are an artist,” he protested. “I won’t permit you to work on my dishwasher!”
I explained that I was an artist, but that I was sometimes a plumber as well, and that he should go away and let me finish the job.

Comment by Mrs Dr Bob:

In that last sentence, delete “sometimes”

Cleaner Answers:

  • The dirt and grime is an insightful analysis of post colonial Australia with New Yorkian undertones. The vibrant use of salt and oil brings with it echoes of the old masters as the post iconoclastic metaphors drag on in endless phrases of self aggrandisement ……….
  • I wondered where my new washing machine had got to!!
  • That an Australian art critic could earn enough money to rent an apartment in New York.
  • That the people turned up to do the job.
  • The lift going up collided with the lift coming down.
  • When he plugged it in, the whole city was plunged into darkness, causing the great New York blackout of 1977 and the subsequent baby boom.
  • A *man* arranged to have a *washing machine* installed? Most human males seem to believe in pixies that take the dirty clothes out of the hamper, and return them clean later – I’d always assumed that this bit of secret men’s lore was the inspiration for the ‘South Park’ underpants gnomes. Most men require years of training just to recognise when garments actually require laundering <disdainful sniff>. Some of them never get past this stage.
  • As soon as the machine was delivered and installed Bob turned it on and jumped into it, and immediately became very agitated.
  • Cripes, it’s bloody unusual finding a NY apartment with room for a decent sink, let alone a thumping great washing machine.
  • Hughes just wanted to Surf a domestic fatal shore.
  • An Australian with a washing machine? Maybe he’s an Omosexual.
  • He deconstructed it immediately after installation.
  • He mistook it for a piece of modern art and had it installed in the living room with a plaque reading: “White on white metal sculpture by M. A. Tag.”
  • He threw random pages of an old Websters dictionary in it, and it reassembled them as the script for “Beyond the Fatal Shore”
  • He wanted to use the washing machine to launder money given to him as bribes by artists wanting a good review.
  • Hughes has no floors in his apartment. The washing machine was delivered, and it immediately fell down to the 5th floor of his chi-chi apartment on some tony avenue in New York, where a scribbling schizophrenic, urban obsessive had constructed a replica of the Eiffel Tower from wooden toothpicks.
  • In New York, washing machines had previously been segregated into ghettos called “laundromats”. There, the New Yorkers could make them perform the repetitively menial task of removing dirt from clothes. Bob Hughes was the first New York resident to defy this segregation convention and start the integration of washing machines into New York’s home environment – something that had been happening successfully and without any undue comment in many other places in the world previously.
  • It was ten stories up, and the delivery man had a hernia in R.H.’s laundry. R.H. came in, and thought the prone man was a sculptured work of art. R.H. immediately wrote a stunning review, which was published the next day.
  • Nothing! I know quite a few Americans (several from New York) and NOTHING surprises me any more. And Robert Hughes – even less so.
  • Obviously the conjunction of the items “Australian” and “washing machine”. Unless it was performance art?
  • It wouldn’t fit through the cat flap. Then it wouldn’t get the peanut butter stains out of his shirt.
  • The unusual drama surrounding art critic Robert Hughes’ near-fatal washing machine installation in the far north of New York took yet another twist yesterday when he was ordered to face a rewash on dangerous laundering charges. Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Miller said he had found numerous stains in the trial magistrate’s clothing a few years ago and that Mr Hughes had no case to answer. Justice Miller said New York magistrate Antoine Bloemen had demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the stains presented and ordered a rewash. The ruling is a further blow for Mr Hughes, who faces other criminal proceedings over clothes softeners he allegedly tipped outside the electrical store of the prosecutor and the New York City Director of Prosecutions. Mr Hughes, 60, had been washing a NBC documentary in his apartment in May several years ago when the washing machine crashed. He spent several months recovering in hospital. Adding to the legal spin cycle time, two of the three men injured when Mr Hughes’ washing machine collided with an imported Holden Commodore coming the other way have since been charged with conspiracy, accused of washing woollens with a synthetic cycle program under oath in exchange for $30,000. (text from The Age, 26/09/00, slightly modified because of space constraints)
  • The unusual thing was he had a washing machine installed. Most Americans like to outsource everything, cooking, dog-walking and the laundry. (Ref: every apartment based Americian sit-com)
  • The unusual thing was that there were eleven there already. [He was forming a cricket team and needed the 12th man]
  • The washing machine man was composer Phillip Glass, who insisted that tapping monotonously on the washing machine with a spanner for the next 4 hours was high art. Hughes eventually snapped, and attacked Glass with an aluminium crutch. [For another 4 hours?]
  • What does it matter? It is art, isn’t it?
  • You mean he WASHES?
  • From the “Readers Letters” section of the February, 1978 edition of “TUBBS: Washing Machine Monthly”, featuring a full colour centre spread of a rather playful industrial SpeedQueen. “I always thought these stories were made up, but last week something happened that certainly changed my mind. I’m a 23 year-old, blonde, washing machine installer, and judging by the whistles I get regularly, I’d say my 36DDs fill out my overalls pretty well. So anyway, last week I was called out to install this new Westinghouse (my favorite) at some guy’s apartment. The guy didn’t say nothing, just showed me where we wanted it, and then sat there, staring at me installing it! And so, about half an hour later, I finished and as I gave him the paperwork to sign, he asks me to test it. I tell him I just did, and then he tells me what he means. And that’s when it got weird. He said he often spent a bit of time out of town, and his girlfriend was getting lonely. Then he said how she once said sex with him was like riding a washing machine spin cycle, and that gave him the idea to get one to keep her company. And he wanted me to try it! Well, that was the first time a customer wanted that! And I figured, what the hell, since I had no other work that morning, and I do enjoy a good Westinghouse (I did say it was my favorite), why not? So I threw a slightly unbalanced load into the machine, started it up, and climbed on. Now let me tell you something about the Westinghouse. The knobs on that control panel are the absolute best if you know what your doing and where to sit! And believe me, I do! I set it to go straight to the spin cycle, and I went straight to heaven. It must have been ten minutes later when the machine stopped, and I staggered back to earth. And then get this. The guy says now he wants me to ride him, and compare! So I think again, what the hell, and I get my gear off while he strips, and in no time, he’s on the floor looking like the Washington Monument, and I’m on top. And here’s the weirdest bit. It felt exactly like the washing machine! It was amazing! When I finally got back to the warehouse that afternoon, I told them all what happened, and they told who I’d been banging. Robert Hughes, the Australian art critic! Now I’ve had my share of art critics, but these Australian ones are something else!”

Question 2

What do Finns call the 4th or “ring finger” of the hand?

Answers:

  • If what we call the ‘ring’ finger is the fourth finger on someone’s hand, there’s an extra finger in there somewhere – polydactylism would certainly be identified as such in Finland, or any other developed country for that matter (except for Tasmania, where it proves you are a communist or a homosexual or both and will see you condemned to death by burning, drowning or Brian Harradine).
  • “Nimetön” (“nameless”). The others are “peukalo”, “etusormi”, “keskisormi”, and “pikkusormi”. Hey, the first ever question here I knew the answer to! Now don’t tell me the umlaut doesn’t work.
  • A Finnger?
  • Anything they like – it can’t hear them.
  • ARGH! RUN! NAKED COMPUTER PEOPLE! According to the naked computer people page (http://www.iuakk.fi/~teroli/home/suomi.htm), the answer is “nimetön” (the letter between the “t” and the second “n” is an “o” with some kind of typographic growth (two dots on top) (in case your character mappings are different)). And I thought I’d seen everything on the ‘net. Please excuse me while I go and wash my eyeballs…
  • Blue….no green. Oh rats, I’ll skull my drink anyway.
  • Bob.
  • Darling. There isn’t a lot to do in Finland during those long winter nights.
  • Either way, I’ll make sure my Finnish friends wash their hands before coming near me.
  • I don’t know about the Finns, but the Swedes call it the “ring, ring why don’t you give me a call” finger. Thinking of that answer made me Hungary. I think I’ll go and have a Danish, but I won’t be Russian into it [Or Rumanianating on it afterwards. Have I told’Germany puns like that before?]
  • I don’t know, but I’m sure they’re very concerned about what the rest of the world thinks about what they call it.
  • I rang Neil, and he said he and Tim just called the finger a finger, but called the joint above it the fuck knuckle. (Sorry about the Split Enz reference)
  • Lacking imagination, they often refer to it as the “Fourth Finger.”
  • Nimetön. Loosely translated, this means “Insert carefully into ring.”
  • Nose-picker
  • Ready?? It’s really exciting!…“Nimeton” (the “o” has an umlaut). Told you! See http://www.iuakk.fi/~teroli/home/suomi.htm.
  • Ring-finger = Nimetön. However finger = ‘sormi’ and ring = ‘soida’ or ‘rengas.’ So the Finns’ term for ‘ring finger’ contains no reference to rings or fingers, Leaving one to wonder what the hell ‘nimetön’ means. [It means “nameless”] http://www.iuakk.fi/~teroli/home/suomi.htm#body
  • Rude-olph!
  • Sven?
  • The “pronubus” in any language.
  • ‘The 4th or “ring finger” of the hand.’ Except they call it in Finnish.
  • The Finns, neutral since World War II, take no sides on the ever controversial question of what to call the fourth finger of our hands.
  • The rinngenn fingernnen
  • The second finger. They count them from the other side. If that’s right, I’ll be amazed, because I just made it up.
  • The suffering finger.
  • The third finger. There are four fingers and one thumb on the standard hand.
  • They call it the heart finger, and they believe that if you wear a ring on that finger it will restrict blood flow to the heart, causing heart failure.
  • They call it, oddly enough, “Cecil”. Strange sense of humour, those Finns…
  • They call the fourth finger nimetön (literally nameless). The thumb is called lomitrel(literally brainless, like this question.)
  • They use it to dial phones – it’s the “Finn Ringer”.
  • Tony. They were going to call it Fred, but Frida the big toe got jealous.

Dr Bob (pirating from Umberto Eco) adds:

  • Replace akka for each a and ulla for each o to make a paragraph look Finnish.
  • Replakkace akkakkakka fullar eakkach akka akkand ullakka fullar eakkach ulla tulla makkake akka pakkarakkagrakkaph lullaullak Finnish.

Question 3

Who invented the Cat Flap?

Darn, I Thought Nobody Would Know This

  • Sir Isaac Mewton
  • Sir Isaac Neuter… I mean Newton.
  • Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the invention of clap trap … oops! I mean the cat flap-door. http://www.sniksnak.com/facts2.html
  • Sir Isaac Newton. His cats kept meowing to be let in or out, and this was seriously cutting in on his “think time.” So he punted one of them clean through the door. While covering the hole to keep out the weather, he got the idea for the cat flap, and the rest, as they say, is history.
  • Isaac Newton built the first cat flap for the convenience of his pet. When she had kittens, he added cat flaps for each of them to the door as well.
  • Isaac Newton, the smart-arse bastard. When he wasn’t hanging counterfeiters, casting horoscopes, searching for the philosopher’s stone or chasing little boys. Among many web references, see http://www.sergeants.com/fq-catrv.htm and http://209.130.72.188/nmerc/trivia_today.htm
  • It was Sir Isaac Newton who first realised the gravity of the cat-flapless situation. He had a cat that was the apple of his eye that kept meowing and orbiting the house. He also invented the kitten flap, which was a smaller cat flap in the middle of the bigger one which would let kittens in.
  • Isaac Newton – he was actually knighted for the development of the cat flap. The Royals’ cats soiled the carpet too often; Sir Isaac recognised the gravity of the situation. Incidentally, for many years the standard for the metric unit of force (the Newton) was a gold cat flap that required exactly this force to open. Newton’s first law is actually “I can never just sit here or work steadily at a uniform pace without being compelled to change the kitty litter by the force of its excessive odour”. Quite naturally, this has often been misreported as “an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force”.
  • As a skeptic, I would think that the Cat evolved, rather than was “invented”. And it’s MR FLAP to you.

Non Newtonian Answers:

  • Someone who tried to cross a tabby with an albatross, then tossed it off a cliff…cat flap…get it?……… Ho hum. OK, OK, I’ll get back in my box now.
  • The prototype cat flap was invented by Mr Fluffybottom, a neurotic Persian-Burmese cross who was the very first cat to be chased headlong through a screen door by a shrieking, clutching, water-pistol-wielding four-year-old child. His innovation had been pre-empted by his predecessor, Mr Miaow, but unfortunately Mr Miaow was chased through a leadlight panel beside the door, therefore being unable to refine his idea.
  • Although Isaac Newton is generally lauded as the inventor of the cat flap, I sincerely doubt that he was the first to think of and build such a device. He probably gets the credit for drawing fractal doors in the margins of “Lectiones Opticae”, or something… This is a silly question. I choose, instead, to answer the question: “Who invented the most interesting cat flap?” The most interesting cat flap is of course the one described in the patent “Photon Push-Pull Radiation Detector For Use In Chromatically Selective Cat Flap Control And 1000 Megaton, Earthorbital, Peace-Keeping Bomb” (GB 1426698, 1976). This cat flap was designed to allow ginger cats to enter a home, but exclude neighbouring black cats. While the patent is held by Arthur Paul Pedrick, there is some debate as to who actually invented the device. It is generally suspected that this is the work of Pedrick’s cat, Ginger.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Any horny male cat
  • Cat flaps were created in the 9th nanosecond after the big bang and are a secondary fundamental particle.
  • Chubby Checker. Unfortunately, it never caught on, and Chubby, a bitter and broken man, was forced to do the Twist instead.
  • Ernest Hemingway.
  • Fritz the cat in his one and only movie of the same name
  • German engineer Curt Flapp, who thought that the invention of the pet door, or “curt flapp”, would be his legacy upon his death. unfortunately, due to a typographical error when the product was pattented, mr. flapp now is all but forgotten.
  • Mr. Ronald Habadash of Lisbon. He frequented “Cat Houses” quite often, but his wife was always finding him and beating him senseless. He created a Cat Flap in the door so he could slink out while his wife was still flinging things about the room.
  • New Scientist: Fossilised Cat Flaps have just been unearthed in Darkest Uganda where it is believed a man called Og carved the first one for his little demons, but since his cave had no door his invention went unacknowledged for several millennia, until Newton ripped it off
  • No, you’re supposed to ask who instigated the “cat flap” – i.e. the “animal rights” incident where PETA insisted that it wasn’t okay to try out experimental cat distemper vaccines on cats, but it was okay to inject them into humans!
  • Researchers have found a diagram labeled “Felix Portus” in one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks. It also includes a helicopter for cats.
  • The cat, I mean only female cats have them 🙂
  • The German guy with the daffodil stuck in his buttocks.
  • The inventor of the cat flap first invented the boogie jive, but someone else took the credit. The cat flap, although a very mobile dance, never made it past the door.
  • The man for whom it is named, of course … Edward Flap.
  • The same guy who invented the “Chicken Dance” and the Hokey-Pokey. [OK, now get this. There was a great loss recently in the entertainment world. Larry LaPrise, the Detroit native who wrote the song Hokey Pokey, died last week at 83. It was especially difficult for the family when they went to put him in the coffin. They’d put his left leg in and….well, things just started going downhill from there.]
  • Things like cat flaps are not so much invented, but common sense. Cats can be such a joy, but also very annoying when they work out what the door bell is for. I put a flap in when my cat kept losing its key.
  • Thomas Edison. It’s a little known fact that Edison invented the cat flap for his much-loved moggie Fluxus, and that he later invented the light bulb so that Fluxus would be able to see when he went inside the house.
  • Tiddles, the world’s first flying cat. Tiddles also invented a hammock for felines made out of a closed loop of string that was to be arranged around the fingers of her owner’s hand – the cat’s cradle! Unfortunately her life was cut short by a mountaineering tragedy in the Catskill Mountains.
  • Whoever it was, he probably had a very, very smelly house until the day before he invented it. On a serious note, I think it was that guy who invented gravity after a cat fell out of a tree and landed on top of him. Or did he invent the apple? Or did a cat invent him?
  • You leave out the other fundamentals: WHAT invented the cat flap, WHEN was it invented, HOW was it to come to pass and WHY was it so?
  • Werner von Braun, in one of his more whimsical moments, during a lunchbreak while designing the V2 Rocket. Unfortunately, the Cat Flap turned out not to improve the performance of the rocket.

Question 4

The British are planning to land a probe on Mars in 2003. What will it do after it has landed?

Answer:

To the amazement of any nearby denizens of the Red Planet, it will play a pop song (by Blur), display a modern art picture and release balloons with sponsor’s names on them. (These are all genuine scientific experiments, but the Poms have noticed a way to make money, hopefully enough to fund the entire space program).

Much More Plausible Answers:

  • Like so many probes before it, it will lie there for all eternity in thousands of pieces.
  • Complain in a loud whingeing voice about the flight, the weather, the atmosphere, the ambient temperature, the uniformity of the terrain, the rocks and the lack of liquid water.
  • Draw a pension from Martian Social Security and be highly offended if anyone suggests that if it finds Mars so unsatisfactory it should return to Earth.
  • Complain about the heat.
  • Complain about the food.
  • Complain about the weather.
  • Down tools.
  • Lose a cricket match.
  • Gripe about the weather/meat/prices/locals.
  • Let all the Manchester United fans out without benefit of oxygen suits
  • Tell all the other probes how substandard and classless they are, while taking frequent breaks for tea-cakes and gossip.
  • Form an orderly queueueueue (visual pun).
  • If it manages to get through the Martian Defence System, once it lands the probe will instantly start whinging about the heat, complain that the Martian meals don’t all come with chips cooked in lard, put on some shorts and scare away all the Martians with its ultra-white legs (“The reflection from its legs is burning my eye-stalks!), get extremely sunburnt, then go home and whinge that it should have gone to Majorca for a holiday instead.
  • The probe will be named “Nimetön”, powered by a Robert Hughes Washing Machine, manned by Wallace & Gromit, and will carry out testing of the new Martian Cat Flap and will be searching for the existence of crunchy peanut butter lifeforms.
  • Absolutely sod all. Here in the UK we’re still using imperial measurements. The best British space project’s still the one in my garden on Bonfire Night.
  • Conk out – The current American models seem to have improved of late, and now they do this quite quickly (smaller, faster, and cheaper). The first generation took ages to stop working, meanwhile requiring vast resources for collecting and manipulating the resultant flood of data. It remains to be seen as to how successfully the British can emulate their American counterparts.
  • The complete “British Space Probe to Mars” programme is based on the Aardman Productions classic short animated film: “A Grand Day Out”, starring the enormously popular Wallace and Gromit. So the answer will probably be “put the handbrake on properly”.
  • The Beagle 2 mission will try to answer three questions: Does Mars have water, carbonates and organic matter? If so, the conditions for past life on Mars are fulfilled. Does the organic matter have an ordered structure and more of isotope carbon-12 than the carbonates have? If so, then life may have already developed on Mars in the past. Finally, does methane, the simplest carbon molecule of all, exist in the Martian atmosphere? If so, then life can be active NOW on Mars! In its spare time, it will probe for and hopefully locate the remains of the failed US missions, assemble them into a metric calculator, and return this to NASA.
  • Electronically place a bouquet at Kensington Palace
  • Send NASA a postcard – “wish you were here”.
  • See http://beagle2.open.ac.uk/ and http://www.marsnews.com/missions/express/ for lovely descriptions of Beagle2, Mole and Grinder.
  • Unfasten seatbelts and return all chairs to the upright position.
  • Get attacked by green humanoid aliens, if British science fiction is anything near a reliable guide.
  • A small Union Jack will be waved around as “Rue Britannia” [sic] is played. The locals will look on and remark: “It’s that bloody H. G. Wells again.”
  • Whack a flag down, proclaim Mars as a part of the Empire and then look for some water to make a much needed cuppa after all that messing about in space.
  • It will have a good probe, and after it has finished probing, it will probe some more.
  • Due to intermarrying with French probes, it will claim it’s rightful throne and begin a series of conquests.
  • Bounce back into space. Or bury itself a long way down.
  • Discover that it has only made it as far as bottom of the Thames estuary.
  • Turn off its transmitter (that’s what they usually do).
  • Decide why landing didn’t give it any feeling of satisfaction.
  • Join the Martian football team, which includes Elvis, Diana, Bigfoot and Nessie as draft picks.
  • It doesn’t matter, they are sending it to the wrong place (as any good alien will tell you, if you are going to send a probe somewhere then it has to be to Uranus).
  • Have a nice cup of tea and a malt biscuit. It will then mark out a cricket pitch and wait for Bangladesh to send a team.
  • Expose all paedophiles who now live on Mars for what they really are.
  • It will prepare itself a nice hot pot of tea, and enjoy that tea with high quality crumpets. Exploring a new planet should after all be done in a civilized way.
  • Throw out Prince Charles, then close up and fly away quick.
  • Have tea, sing god save the queen and kick Charles out of the hold. At last he gets to be king.
  • After it stops and makes a cup of tea, it will drill into the soil, grind up the sample (using a dentist’s drill designed by a Hong Kong dentist) and then stop working in the best traditions of British technology. (Trust me, I’ve owned 3 Rovers, a Jaguar and a Hillman Minx – I know about these things)
  • Colonize and subjugate the population of Charybdis Scopulus, after which the citizens will rise up against tyranny and taxation without representation and then dump tea into Ortygia Harbor. Queen Elizabeth will send the Queen Mum to Albor Tholus to celebrate her 103rd, or god knows how old she’ll be, birthday, everyone will wave little Union Jacks and sing God Save The Martians. Charles and Camilla will not attend.
  • Trip over the debris.
  • Probe. There. [Ouch]
  • Have tea time, old chap. Blimey!
  • Search for water to get the teapot boiling.
  • Whatever MI5 will say it will do. Do you understand, or do we need to make you understand?
  • Depends on the definition of “landed”, but the verb “disintegrate” comes to mind.
  • As a skeptic do you really believe that the British could even launch a space probe?

Question 5

What percentage of peanut butter is sold as crunchy peanut butter?

Official Answer:

According to Kellogg’s (note: no mention of Ellen White, the evils of sex or the joy of enemas): “Peanut butter is an $875 million dollar business at retail. It is eaten in 75% of U.S. households. This household penetration is down 5% in the last decade, a decline that is attributable to the introduction of a host of new lunch and snack products, the foremost of which is Lunchables. Peanut butter consumption is primarily on sandwiches. About 85% of all consumption is as a spread on bread. Although peanut butter and jelly make up about 46% of the consumption, many consumers eat peanut butter without jelly. Creamy peanut butter represents about 70% of the sales, and crunchy the remainder. Peanut butter also comes in reduced sugar (Simply Jif), reduced fat, and honey roasted (Skippy) varieties, though the vast majority of category consumption is of regular peanut butter.” http://www.kellogg.nwu.edu/faculty/sterntha/htm/module3/8.html

Less Lunchable Answers:

  • 100% of peanut butter sold is crunchy – although my husband tells me that some of it tastes smoother if you take it out of the jar first.
  • “peanut butter spreads,” a relatively new category now allowed by the American FDA, contain only 60% peanuts, whereas “peanut butter” (smooth and crunchy) are required to contain a minimum of 90% peanuts by law. AND did you know that “Arachinbutyrophobia” is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. 83% of all Americans purchase peanut butter. Their consumption equates to more than 700 million pounds of peanut butter annually, or enough to cover the floor of the Grand Canyon.
  • “Crunchy peanut butter” is a complete subset of “peanut butter”, sold or otherwise. So the answer is 100%.
  • 100% of the crunchy stuff. And depending on your definition, 100% of the Super-crunchy variety too. Sometimes I am chastised for getting smooth instead of crunchy (by mistake) but I guess this is _buying_ it as crunchy, not selling it as crunchy. Actually a small amount of smooth peanut paste is bought to use as a special glue to hold pieces of bread to the roofs of small dogs’ mouths, but that is an entirely different story.
  • 100%. It is all “crunchy”, in the sense that it requires mastication (careful!) before swallowing; it is simply a question of relativity. If you have no teeth, smooth peanut butter can acquire the qualities those of us with normal dentition might refer to as “crunchy”.
  • 22.3% – Why – I dunno – I just reckon 22.3%.
  • 37%
  • 37.0063%
  • 40%
  • 70%
  • All of it. Crunchy is a relative term – if an ant was attempting to eat smooth peanut butter, I bet bits of it would get stuck in its teeth the way crunchy bits get stuck in mine.
  • Before the Health Department cleaned up that factory, it was unofficially a good deal more than it is now.
  • Dunno – I’m arachybutyrophobic.
  • Enough, fortunately, to keep the stuff on the supermarket shelves for ‘crunchy’ aficionados like me. (What a bummer it would be if the only peanut butter was the wussy ‘smooth’ variety or, worse, if there was no peanut butter at all.)
  • Fixty-fibe puffent – forry, but I hab a dablefpood ob id ftuck to the woof of by bouf.
  • I don’t care. I don’t eat peanut butter because it’s cruel to peanuts – they have feelings too ya know!
  • In the U.S., 0%, since it’s billed as “chunky” instead of “crunchy” [This message came from our correspondent in a place called Uiowa]
  • My kids prefer plain peanut butter sandwiches, in fact, my son ONLY eats peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. [Look what happened to Elvis Presley]
  • My SWAG is, Fifty percent [50% what? 50% usable? Robert Hughes can wash it for you]
  • Needless to say, smooth peanut butter takes up 69% of total foodstuffs used for sexual lubricants, that good enough? [No, it’s not good enough – it hurts like hell]
  • None that I buy.
  • Somewhere between 0% and 100% (inclusive), depending on the scope of the question. If the question refers to the crunchy percentage of peanut butter involved in transactions taking place right now, this very instant, then the answer can only be anything between 0% and 100% (inclusive), and changing continuously every instant. If the question refers to the average crunchy percentage of peanut butter transactions in the immediate history of several weeks, then the answer is approximately 40% with seasonal variations (lower percentage in winter, due to increased sales of smooth and constant sales of crunchy). If the question refers to the crunchy percentage of all peanut butter from now, back to when Dr Kellogg decided to bring the joy of peanuts to the dentally challenged, it would be very difficult to give any number, as the earlier sales records are too unreliable to produce any meaningful data. If the question refers to something else, then I must say I have no idea what you’re talking about.
  • That would depend on what you meant by “crunchy”. In Canada, for example, what you probably mean by “crunchy” peanut butter is referred to as “chunky”, a slight difference at best, and a purely semantic one, but whether or not “chunky” and “crunchy” are the same product would certainly affect the answer to this question. So, just to be on the safe side, I’m going to assume that “crunchy” can also be taken to mean “chunky”, “nutty”, “natural” and “smooth”, all purely semantic differences to be sure, as in terms of flavor there is no real difference to be found. The answer, then, would be this: 100% of peanut butter sold is “crunchy”, or some other similar, peanut butter.
  • The percentage that grows so old on the shelf that it dries into a crunchy form.
  • The percentage that has crunchy bits in.
  • There are some mysteries so deep that even the Australian Skeptics would be better off not knowing. Get my meaning? Hmmmm? [I don’t understand]
  • Trivial Pursuit teaches us that the answer to these types of questions is invariably 10% or 90%, unless it’s 0%, 100% or 50%. So I’m going to say 30%.
  • You know something? A man can lose a lot of sleep over questions like that.
  • You mean there are other types?

Commentary:

  • 0/5. A stunning achievement.
  • A stint in the USA taught me to enjoy peanut butter and jelly (jam) sandwiches. Isn’t this unaustralian? What can I do to redeem myself in the eyes of my ocker colleagues? Help me please, Dr. Bob.
  • Are you related to DR Congo?
  • Do micro organisms masturbate? [Well, I think they CAN chew on peanut butter. I asked one, but it had gone deaf]
  • Do you DREAM these questions or do you have a contract with Satan to make them extra-weird? [I have a nightmare in which Satan asks me normal questions like “who won the most gold medals in the Olympic Games”, about which I have no idea at all.]
  • Does not contain rainforest wood. Made from incense cedar. Notation on No. 2 pencil carton. Best to you, Dr. Bob. [The #2 pencil is the most popular – so how come it’s called the #2?]
  • How long can you continue, Dr Bob? You must be running out of questions! [Oh really! You wanna bet?]
  • I am an orange kangaroo from Denmark. [Everybody else is a grey elephant. And you don’t think much about Djibouti or the Dominican Republic]
  • I fully expect you to publish the full text of all my answers. If you fail to do so, I can only conclude that you are part of the global cabal conspiring to silence me, and I will be forced to document your allegiances on my web page of Ultimate Truths (http://www.ectopia.net/~david/). [Hope it’s a big web page]
  • I spent two days reading through all the archived quizzes. Luckily, I’m a public servant so no-one noticed I wasn’t doing any work.
  • I was expecting olympic questions. Blessed relief, none appeared.
  • I went to my doctor and said “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” and he said “Ow! Yes it does doesn’t it!”
  • I wish that my room had a floor. I don’t care so much for a door. But this walking around without touching the ground is getting to be quite a bore. [Don’t install a washing machine]
  • If Ewan Chatfield and Javed Miandad were the only ones palying cricket, how may players would there be on each team? [1. Stop palying and start playing, before they turn on the TV cameras. 2. Many players – no ‘n’d in fact]
  • If ‘free will’ is a nebulous and contentious concept, and likely to be varied in both degree and context, how do you know that these comments are entirely ‘optional’. To add even more confusion to this paradox, I opt not in this instance to make a comment.
  • Just think what you could do with your memory if you didn’t have it stuffed with all these pieces of trivia, Dr Bob. [I did indeed contemplate that, on 17 July 1987 – but I forgot what I decided]
  • My brain has intentionally been left blank, sorry for the poor answers from me this month.
  • Now Bob, mate, these questions were a bit more realistic for the average housewife with five kids and a mortgage on a masonry brick home to cope with. [Actually, a five year old child could do these questions! I will go and look for one]
  • Thank you Dr Bob … this is quite enjoyable. [Well, thank you too, I …. no I had better not say it]
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Will Robinson!! This quiz will inevitably lead all good theists away from the light into the darkness and evils of skepticism. I call on everyone involved to stop answering the quiz questions and stop encouraging this sinful site. Then maybe I’ll get to win it again.
  • What is it about the sound of a keyboard that attracts cats so much better than calls of “Puss Puss Puss”?
  • Who was the only Australian Prime Minister to work in a winery, and what was the name of the winery? [I don’t know, but when I had some skeptics around for dinner and somebody brought out a wine named Menzies, Greg Keogh our esteemed Skeptics Webmaster and wine lover would not drink it]
  • Why did the skeptic chicken cross the road? [To investigate something on the Other Side. But skeptics are generally not chicken].
  • Why do I always leave these till the last day of the month?
  • wow, i used a lot of pretentious and unnessisary “inverted commas”, or “quotation marks” this month. i’m really not such a git as i seem… [Next month: The Shift Key]