Answers for July 2003

My WINNER this month is one of the long-term stayers:

Edi Winkler

from Modbury, SA. I nearly got a job there once, but I wasn’t good enough. Neither was the company, with mass redundancies some years later. I could have met up with some of the directors in the dole queue.

Note this stunning discovery by last month’s winner:
<<But actually I didn’t get as many wrong as you thought. Jaws II does in fact contain the line “glub glub” – see scene 21 in – I expect a fulsome apology forthwith. 😉 >>
Indeed so, I do apologise to you Cathy & everyone else. My search for obscure questions continues – it looks like I had better success this month.

Question 1

One sound occurs in nearly all spoken languages – what is it?


The long ‘a’ as in “father”. The short ‘a’ sound (as in “as”) is comparatively rare.

Other Answers

  • ” “, that is, silence, however it does not occur in teenage grrl/daughter speak.
  • “argh” (9 out of 10 anthropological linguistics experts agree that pirates also occur in nearly all spoken languages).
  • “australiansaretheworldsgreatestpeople” Right?
  • “Bug-Ga”, universally shrieked by all the world’s peoples when they thwack a finger with an errant hammer. (It is NOT true that “Farrk” is a universal sound. Not ALL people are exposed to ‘The Osbournes’ or ‘Big Brother’ or ‘The Sopranos’.)
  • Schwa: “uh” a middle, relaxed vowel sound (like the first “A” when an American says uh-meric-uh instead of “America”)
  • *cough* Or, alternatively, n (
  • “thrrrrrp”, aka the raspberry. This single sound can convey an incredibly complex and complicated array of meanings, and is utilised at some stage by all humans to allude to contextual disbelief or disavowal, ranging from: “If you think I’m going to eat mashed broccoli and parsnip, even with aeroplane noises, then you, my dear patronising progenitor, are sadly mistaken” through to “I find the invitation to copulate with you utterly ludicrous and excessively unattractive”.
  • A difficult question to answer using only typed characters, Dr Bob. I can’t really make the sound without the use of my vocal chords, so I’ll describe the sound wave in question. It starts off with a low wavelength and a low frequency… and as the frequency (F) increases, so does the wavelength (W) such 3F=2W^2 [ouch – this would force the speed of sound to change, so you’d hear the sound sort of out of order]. The amazing thing about this sound is that it actually sounds the same regardless of the gender of the person making it, it’s a completely gender-neutral sound. If there were more sounds like this in a language, one could construct a language that would sound the same spoken by both men and women.
  • a fart – it’s got to be! [This answer from an Aussie, living in London]
  • A strong A. ‘Aaaaargh’ just comes naturally to any culture in its early stages. Especially when you’re still competing with other carnivores.
  • aaaaaaaaa
  • Aaaaaachooooo!
  • Aaaaagh!
  • Aaaarrrggghhh! The sound made by people all over the world as they attempt another of Dr Bob’s quizes.
  • Among the vowels, “a” is the “universal”, and so is the “n” among consonants. If you’re going to answer “Naa” to me, you’ll fall in contradiction.
  • Arrrrrrrggggggg!
  • bad question – there are at least six sounds in “all spo-ken lang-uage-s”
  • eee as in “eee where are my keys?”
  • eh?
  • F*ck (trust me – they all understand “How Much? F*ck off!”)
  • g (ugh?)
  • Glub, glub! (Fancy that line occuring in TWO films. Weird, eh 🙂
  • In our language ‘one’ means a unit of something.
  • It’s the groaning noise a man makes when he realises that he has forgotten his wife’s birthday.
  • Just the one? How about the Schwa (that upside-down ‘e’ thingy)?
  • k
  • ma
  • Mmmmm for mammary and McDonalds.
  • muttermutterbloddyamericansthinktheyowntheplacemuttermutter
  • n … occurs in (nearly?) all human languages…
  • Not all languages have a full alphabet, but everyone starts with an A [not all – Somali starts B,T,J…]
  • okay
  • Oooof!
  • Oooomph – which translates in nearly all languages to “Get your fist out of my ribcage”.
  • Oooooh.
  • Ouch!
  • Probably ah..As in “Ah, good question Doctor Bob. I wish I knew the answer”.
  • That would be a burp..!!
  • The awkward silent pause
  • The clearing of phlegm from the throat is universal. [Especially in Belgium, where half the country is Flemish]
  • The ‘doh’ sound so well enunciated by Homer, both the new one and the old – as in the Iliad, book 13: “And Ajax son of Telamon answered, ‘I too feel my hands grasp my spear more firmly; my strength is greater, and my feet more nimble; I long, moreover, to meet furious Hector son of Priam, even in single combat.’ Furious Hector son of Priam answered ‘doh'”
  • The hiccup
  • The low front vowel “a” occurs even in languages that only have one vowel. I cannot think of a language without it. There is at least one bilabial consonant in every language but this could be a stop, “p” or “b” or a nasal “m” or any combination of the three. All languages have slight variations of “mama”, “papa” and “baba” as these are the first sounds babies make.
  • The moaning sound you make when getting intimate with your partner? [I’ve forgotten that, but I do make a moaning sound when it becomes clear that nothing is going to happen]
  • The nasal consonants ‘m’ and ‘n’. They’ve been so successful in French that they’ve taken over from all the other consonants and started to co-opt the vowels too – two thirds of all syllables in French are currently pronounced “n” or “on”, and the proportion is rising – as is “l’ consonon n’sal”. 4/7. Reminds me of Sheckley’s “Shall we have a little talk?” -> Onn. n’non nonnonon onnon. On’n. On’n-on’n-on …
  • The sound of imitating a fish hitting a face.
  • Ummm …

Question 2

What was the original name of the journal American Mathematical Monthly?

Dr Bob Confesses:

I don’t know what to make of this, as there are no other sources of the information and nobody else found it. But in the book “Pi Unleashed” (damn, I have revealed one of my sources) in the discussion of the 1897 Indiana legislation to fix pi at 3, the fledgling journal’s name has a footnote thus “The magazine had actually existed earlier but under the name of ‘Ladies Diary’”. Maybe the German authors a little joke here are having. Or they for plagiarism are looking, and I into their trap have fallen. So this question has been either a 100% victory for me, or I have got it totally wrong yet again.

Equally Plausible (well actually, better) Answers:

  • American Pi
  • 2 + 2 = 5
  • American Masturbators Anonymous
  • American Math
  • American Mathematical Bifortnightly
  • American Mathematical Weekly, which just goes to show that American mathematicians thought they had much more to say than they did.
  • American Mathematical You-Pay-For-Twelve-Issues-But-Only-Get-Ten-Yearly
  • American Sex&Drug&Rock’n’Roll Monthly?
  • AMM
  • AMM way
  • Annals of the History of Computing
  • Answers in Genesis
  • As far as I can see it was the “THE American Mathematical monthly”. Issue 1 was published in 1894 and is available online from JSTOR. Is this a trick question?
  • Australian Mathematical Monthly (in a hostile acquisition and take over move, we stole it away from you).
  • Belgian Phrenology Daily Journal. It was later changed when they realised from the letters to the editor that their readership consisted mainly of people who liked to hit other people in the head, and were angry about the publication’s lack of coverage on the topic of retrophrenology and puzzling emphasis on things mathematical.
  • Both the “Journal of the American Mathematical Society” and “Memoirs of the American Mathematical Society” wrap up at about the right time.
  • Calculation Circulation
  • Colonial Mathematical Monthly
  • Dick and Jane Have Fun With Their Numbers
  • FHM – For Him Mathematically ?
  • Fish Trajectory Estimations Monthly.
  • Fun with Numbers
  • Guess what: “The American Mathematical Monthly : the official journal of the Mathematical Association of America” is given by the Library of Congress, the British Library, and every other catalog. Any other name that Dr. Bob has seen might be the product of some local library’s bindery.
  • Hard Sums
  • I could be silly and say something like “There wasn’t a previous name because it was started in 1894 as ‘The American Mathematical Monthly'” but I would probably be wrong.
  • It started off as the American Mathematical Weekly but there were not enough people who could add up in the USA to make it viable. Whatever it was, it should have been “The Beginner’s Guide to SI Units – How to distinguish them from imperial”, or perhaps “Mathematics and elections – how to add up votes in Florida”
  • It was “American Mathematics and Numerology Monthly” but printing costs were adding up so they had to subtract their costs, decimate their staff and divide their readership.
  • Originally known as The New Idea, the American Mathematical Monthly was renamed in 1438. They were afraid people would mistake the name for “No Idea”.
  • Perhaps it was called the Annual American Mathematical.
  • Pi – the Quest for 20 Places
  • Pi equals 4.6 (we Americans don’t use the metric system).
  • That depends on your opinion of what the original name was. Are you talking about the title of the first publication, or the title I read first, or the title before the original publication (eg this would make the movie Scream’s original title Scary Movie)?
  • The Alice Cooper Digest.
  • THE American Mathematical Monthly
  • The American Mathematical Monthly – see Formed by Benjamin Franklin Finkel in 1894. He was later played by Alan Alda in the film and long running TV series M*A*T*H.
  • The American Mathematical Monthly according to all the info I could find. It’s the definite article that makes all the difference.
  • The Colonial Mathematical Monthly (pre-1776?) later it was changed to “The Tom Lehrer Song Book”
  • The Porn Mag Hider
  • They used to call themselves “Maxim” but the name just didn’t work for their readership.
  • Um, “Gleanings in Bee Culture”? Nah, it was probably an intra-society newsletter called ‘The Monthly’, then some squeamish berk got all thing about it when a few women started to participate in mathematics. If I’d been editor, I just would’ve called it ‘The Routine Chocolate Binge’ as an in-house joke, and been done with it.
  • Uncle Sam’s Semester Sums
  • I would not have a clue [And here, I think we have a thing in common]

Question 3

If you are driving in Russia and you see a sign that says “Cmon” what should you do?


  • These are the Cyrillic letters for s,t,o,p
  • Cmon Feel The Noize
  • Ask the pesky russian lass next to you for a translation. Failing that, ask her if she knows of any good place to get drunk with vodka, and engage in some hearty Russian singing. (Actually better not mention the word ‘engage’).
  • Brum, brum … (but no, without looking up the Cyrillic alphabet, its more likely to be the opposite – Cmon=Stop)
  • Cmon is the name of a computer language. Thus you would pull your Trabant to the side of the road [although it would probably be there already], pull out your laptop and have programmed break.
  • Consider seriously whether proceeding will take you to better places than retracing your steps [which probably depends on whether the nose of the car is pointing westwards or eastwards]
  • Consult your phrase book, or bat your eyes at some handsome polylingual companion.
  • continue singing “aussie, cmon, cmon. come on aussie cmon”.
  • Disregard it, just as you would any other foreign road sign.
  • Do a Lleyton Hewitt impression.
  • ‘Give way’. This was suggested by a Russian-speaking colleague who has never actually been to Russia, so if you go to Russia and have a bingle, we take no responsibility for your stuff-up. When driving in Foreign Parts, I suggest that you follow this simple rule: if it’s bigger or has larger calibre guns than you, give way, and possibly money.
  • Halt. Get out of the car. Put your right hand on your hip, and point your left index finger at Ursa Major. And boogie. (But beware of crows. And Crows).
  • Hard without the Cyrillic alphabet but the closest I could get was 1) ‘pitches’, so either get out of your car and play sport or 2) slow down because of hazardous conditions i.e. your car is pitching? The other spelling I tried came up with “smosh”, so it could also be an accident ahead. Cool new word ‘smosh’!! [Cooler than SMERSH anyway]
  • I could go ask my Russian co-worker what this means but I don’t want to stand up. So, I’ll guess that it means it is time to take another swig of vodka. Or it could mean stop. It has the right number of letters for that.
  • I do not know but I’ll take a guess and say “Stop”. I doubt that American CB radio jargon has reached the steppes.
  • I don’t know, but what’s kinda exciting is that a google search for “Russian traffic signs” gleans but a single response for which there is a google club just for this phenomenon and I was so amused by the single response, I stopped looking because I knew I’d reached a successful conclusion.
  • I would stop and start thinking the same thing
  • I’d start singing “Cmon on commmrad cmon cmon cmon commrad come on”
  • I’d suggest you obey it commerade.
  • Keep your duelling fish ready.
  • Look astounded that the Russians have the technology to employ the use of talking signs?
  • Need I really say? Come on….
  • Oh, God. Never thought that english-spoken people could read the cyrillic “Stop” as “C’mon”. Why don’t you convert to a safe neo-latin, pretty, romantic language? [Or instead to Italian]
  • Pray! There’s a bloody great convoy of trucks a’cmonin over the hill
  • Pull over, as I can’t drive
  • Put on a gas mask FAST
  • Read your phrase book while taking both hands off the steering wheel, signal left, turn right, take a video of a frustated local. Well that is what the tourists here do.
  • Run as fast as you can to avoid the rancid herd of beatlesheads wayyy past their useby.
  • Sneeze.
  • Start fighting
  • Stop eyeballing the rear view mirror and concentrate on the road ahead. ‘Cmon’ is the mirror image of a word in the Cyrillic alphabet which is on the front of the vehicle behind you. The nearest translation I can get for it is a mildly offensive exclamative, although it could be an acronym for the Russian Mafia…
  • Stop the car, and proceed with caution [as you inevitably would, if the car has stopped]
  • Stop. Beware of any anvils falling overhead, or trains coming out of painted tunnels and keep an eye out for the wiley coyote. Try not to swear because you will be censored, like the Road Runner was. Beep Beep!
  • Tch, Dr Bob, “Cmon” is not written in Cyrillic so one would not see it while driving in Russia. If one did see such a sign while driving then one would be near Wimbledon, Roland Garros or Kooyong gazing upon a billboard entreating one to pay good money to go hear Lleyton Hhewitt bellow the word while hitting fluffy balls over a low net for no good reason. (By the way, it is spelt “C’mon”. Tch again.)
  • Think to myself with a smile and the thought I would be having would be…Cmon on aussie cmon cmon..!!
  • Trust my lead husky, which can probably read Russian better than I can.
  • Watch out for U.S. dollar-starved Russian prostitutes hurling themselves in front of your car!
  • Well again that depends on a number of important factors. What way is the sign facing? If it’s facing the other way (and you catch a glimpse of it in your rear-view-window) then you probably shouldn’t do anything, unless you see another facing your direction.
  • Whip out a Russian-to-<Your-native-language> translation dictionary.
  • Who’d know ..ask a Russian. I’d scratch my head and say “What the hell does that mean, get that bloody Lada out the road ya dozy bastard and don’t spill the vodka ya stupid great nogoodnik”.
  • Wonder why a Russian sign would include a letter that the Cyrillic alphabet doesn’t use.

Question 4

When the Swedish pop group ABBA was assembled in the early 1970s they had to overcome an unusual legal difficulty – what was that?


They needed permission to use the same name as an existing company – Unfortunately, they got it.

Other Answers

  • Freda, Ute, Carl and Kirk had to change their names so that it would spell the right acronym.
  • Simply just going to Australia.
  • A fish cannery was already using the name –
  • ABBA was the name of a Swedish canned fish company, which luckily agreed to lending their name to a pop group.
  • Abba, the Swedish fish cannery, already had the name in use, so ABBA had to use capital letters. This always causes a problem when using “grep -i”!
  • Apparently it’s an Aramaic name for god/father, but god refused to appear in court to defend her copyright.
  • Apparently, under a Swedish Law first placed on the statute books in 1312 and never repealed, it is illegal to reverse the first of any adjoining letters if they are identical.
  • Article 35(a) of the Swedish Constitution of 1775, which prevents “lack of talent” and “Swedish” being linked in thought or in deed. There was also a problem with the section of the Swedish Criminal code that states that short ugly Swedes can’t appear in public (especially as male members of pop groups)
  • At last a question about Quality Music! Björn and all had to prove they had nothing to do with the American Bed & Breakfast Association
  • At the time Swedish corporate law prohibited company names that were anagrammatic.
  • Being able to let them wear those clothes in public
  • Being Swedish they are not allowed to use acronyms.
  • Canned fish. I thought it might be the hebraic word for ‘father’, I thought it might be very beginning of the alphabet, and instead… just canned fish. Anyhow, I believe canned fish is a bit better than Abba’s songs.
  • Having group sex [And this from a Tasmania school girl. Tut tut, whatever next. Bigger group sex I suppose]
  • I remember watching ABBA sing (sic) ‘Waterloo’ on UK TV in the Eurovision Song Contest of 1973 or ’74 and noticing that the blonde bird had very bad teeth. Next time I saw her on TV she had perfect pearlies. Dunno if that was an unusual legal difficulty or not. Don’t care, either.
  • In :SveDen: in ~ThE 1970S, woMen: cOuldn’T :sIng: iN A bAnd ~vithout~ slEepiNg with the ~maNagEr~ ~fiRst.
  • It is all a bit fishy but apparently some cannery had the nerve to be using the very name that Anna, Bjorn, Benny, and Annafrid wanted to use. So they had a big legal fight and the band won
  • Legally tone deaf
  • Lurex catsuits were a hanging offence.
  • Not sure … wasn’t Freda’s father a Nazi? Could be something to do with this????
  • Registration of their trademark? I’d hardly call that a legal difficulty, more like a registration issue.
  • Stockholm municipal law of 1743 states that no respectable person of female persuasion shall attire more than 1/12 of a inch layer of red lipstick. This law was abolished after the famous ‘Bjorn unrests’ in Stockholm, 1975.
  • Swedens “National Dignity Act” of 1957
  • Swedish law says that only people who can sing can perform on stage. Somehow they overcome that little difficulty.
  • That ABBA was already the name of a Scandinavian fish packing company. (The conflict may have been resolved by hiring the company to manage crowd control at concerts. Or not.)
  • The fashion police of all non-Swedish nations outlawed their look in the 1960s and they were unable to tour until a resolution rescinding the former ban could be voted on by the world congress and NATO.
  • The noise pollution act under the shit music clause
  • The only one I could find was that Agnetha was contracted to CBS records who took a royalty from every Abba recording up to 1976 when the contract expired, even though CBS had nothing to do with Abba.
  • Their name was the same as a well established Swedish fish company (as you can see at so they reversed the second “B” and the rest is pop history (and my wife made me write that)
  • Their signature ‘reversed B’ in the logo the band used could not be reproduced on any legal documents (not being in the typeface of any printers or typewriters of the time), forcing them to print all documents in a ‘wet’ ink, so that the first ‘A’ and the backwards ‘B’ could be produced by careful folding (and subsequent mirror-imaging) at each point where <blank><blank>BA occurred.
  • There was at that time a legal limit in Sweden on how high platform soles could be.
  • They had to engage in a “sill”(herring) fight with the fish company ABBA. As luck would have it, they later got money from Monty Python, by selling the exclusive story for a documentary.
  • They had to get permission from Frida’s ex husband to sing a song she and him wrote at the Eurovision song comp.
  • They had to overcome the Swedish law that prohibits the recording of sappy, infantile music. And overcome it they did.
  • They had to reverse a ‘B’ because “Abba” was already a well-known trade mark in Sweden for fish preserves. Alternatively, palindromic band names were illegal in Sweden.
  • They were arrested in France for crimes against fashion
  • They were assembled from scratch with the parts from forty-three separate cadavers. The legal difficulty arose when trying to fill in the birth certificates for the newly created performers. Eventually, the creators used composite names made from the donors’ names, which is why they’re so silly.
  • They were legally dead.
  • They were shagging each others partners
  • They were under the age of eighteen, and could not legally engage in sexual intercourse with groupies.
  • Three of them had suspended sentences for crimes against fashion, with Frida being on a weekend detention scheme for Wearing A Ludicrous Crocheted Hat Thing In A Public Place. In addition, Bjorn’s hair had been required to surrender its passport. It was only when they were able to convince a magistrate that they were all at it like rabbits with each other that they were given special permission To Go Abroad And Be Stereotypically Swedish In Foreign Parts.
  • Try to convince the Swedes of the seriousness of their situation? Better yet, who cares?
  • Well, the Swedish government didn’t allow songs in languages other than Swedish to be recorded, so they had to fight a constitutional battle to record an English version of “Waterloo” for the Eurovision song contest.
  • There was already a fish cannery in Sweden called Abba and there were legal arguments about how one could tune a piano, but couldn’t tuna fish.
  • I always wondered what the connection was between Abba’s music and the stench of decades of processed fish leaching out of the walls.

Question 5

Did Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, ever go whaling?


Yes, but he didn’t like it

Answer by Sam Ross

This utterly unfunny limerick has been bouncing around in my head since grade 3 (thanks to Miss Nankervis, who spent several weeks teaching us limericks that were all scrupulously unoffensive and excruciatingly unamusing) and I just have to get it out. There was an old man from Nantucket Who kept all his cash in a bucket But his daughter named Nan Ran off with a man And as for the bucket, Nantucket.Thank you Dr Bob, I feel much better! Miss Nankervis also took my copy of ‘Moby Dick’ away from me, deeming it unsuitable reading for a 9-year-old, and I had to break into her desk at lunchtime to get it back. If you’re Out There In Dr Bob Land, Miss Nankervis, here’s one for you: There was an old man from Nantucket Who said to his mate, “Now, Starbuck it Would seem right to me That we put out to sea And find that white whale, and I f*** itNow where was I? Nantucket….. whaling….. oh, yeah, as a young man Melville sailed on a whaler as cabin boy … [Later:] Please accept my profuse apologies for the anti-Nankervis waffling in what is usually a refreshingly light-hearted setting, Your Serene High Bobness, but I kid you not, that teacher seriously messed with my mind and I still get very peeved about it – I lost count of the books she confiscated from me, but Moby Dick was the one that outraged me to the point of breaking and entering. I think she was really, really annoyed that anyone could find Melville more engaging than Enid Blyton. She tried to stop the librarian from loaning books of ‘an unsuitable level’ to me, and after I was found in possession of ‘Operation Gomorrah’, from my dad’s extensive library of military history, she wrote to him threatening to report him to the police for child abuse for allowing me to read his books. His belief was that if children showed interest in reading about such things, they might work out how bloody stupid grown-ups could be and be motivated to be smarter when they grew up. Sometimes, I fear that Miss Nankervis may have had the last say after all. I wonder if she emigrated to the YouSay?

Ah. Very good. Now where were we:

  • Define “whaling.” Does administering hard spankings to Walt Whitman constitute “whaling?”
  • Erm… yes. Good old 50/50
  • Funny – I thought Moby Dick was a hip hop artist.
  • He may have done. He served as a cabin boy and later as an ordinary seaman on a whaling ship and jumped ship among the Typee cannibals in the Marquesas Islands
  • He once went fishing
  • I don’t know, but I think he went out with a lot of sailors.
  • I don’t know, but one of his descendants – using the stage name ‘Moby’ – can be heard wailing on a number of CD’s available at most music stores.
  • In December 1840 he signed on a whaling ship, the Acushnet, to cruise for whales in the Pacific. Such voyages usually lasted three or four years. Not surprising that they cruised for whales, only the cute ones of course, after a couple of years sailing around they’d be pretty lonely boys.
  • No – the closest he got was shouting “Thar She Blows!” in the bath tub. Umm… Sorry.
  • No but Nathaniel Hawthorne showed him plenty of sea men.
  • No, but he starred in the first Inspector Clouseau film, asking: “Is that your Minkey?” and a great idea was born. He also had a whale of a time at The Party. I don’t think he ever visited W(h)ales either.
  • No, some of his books were based on his own experiences but in Moby Dick, he used whaling as a metaphor for human conditions.
  • No. However, he did enter a fish fight and lost. The whole book is just a analogy of this incident.
  • Nope, he wrote the book based on conversations with whalers. What’s more interesting about Moby Dick is that it sold so poorly during its first 50 years. Somewhat under 5,000 copies, if I recall correctly.
  • Nope. But then again, neither did Gregory Peck.
  • Of course – doesn’t everybody?
  • Only on his misbehaving children
  • Sure did, Bobby boy. In December 1840 he signed on as an ordinary seaman on a whaling ship, the Acushnet.
  • Sure he did. The Acushnet. Too easy, if even an italian can answer to that (we study a lot of Dante and devils, nothing about sperm whales). Too easy… or is there a trick?
  • Yeah, thats how he met Moby.
  • Yes – with both US and Australian whalers. He didn’t like it much though.
  • Yes but he didn’t catch anything.
  • Yes he did. He jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands and ran off with a Typee tribesman. His subsequent novel “Typee” was about their ill-fated love affair [or about cars – I knew a bloke who had a Type E Jaguar]
  • Yes, but the whale was probably harbouring terrorists and weapons of mass destruction inside.
  • Yes, he did, and he was also troubled by a mutiny by Australians – a nation infamous for its biased and unfair quizmasters.
  • Yes, well he went fishing and he hooked up a ‘big one’ and it got away … it could have been a whale.
  • Yes. He worked aboard the “Acushnet”, the “Lucy Ann”, and the “Charles & Henry”, all of which were whalers. He used the characters he encountered afloat as the basis for those in his novels – the first known incident of Typee casting.
  • Yes “…In search of adventures, he shipped out in 1839 as a cabin boy on the whaler Acushnet. ” (
  • Whale oil beef hooked if I know but judging by the inaccuracies in the book I would guss NO
  • Good old Herm sold lots of books which only goes to show that one can bank on the whales whether or not one goes whaling. (A good thing you didn’t ask if Don Bradman ever went whaling. I would then have had the opportunity to say that no, Don didn’t, but he wanked on the bails quite frequently, heh heh. Oh strewth, I’ve said it anyway… forgive me, O dead national icon…forgive me…don’t smite…don’t smi

Question 6

Who’s this? <picture of farmer with UFO and string>

Answer Which Nobody Got, Despite The Resultant Photo Being On the Same Bloody Skeptics Website:

This is how Paul Trent, a farmer in McMinnville, Oregon, probably forged his famous 1950 UFO photograph, which baffled the Condon investigation in 1969 (see for the photos). At there is an astonishing analysis of how the picture was taken, exactly how Paul Trent stood when he took it, and what the object might plausibly have been. One would hope that the affair might have ended there, but no, they have to stoop to having a UFO fair in McMinnville with the likes of Stanton Friedman blowing in – see for example – how very embarrassing.

Very Near Miss:

  • Hmm…could it be Paul the ‘special effects’ man from ‘Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men’. That thing attached to the string looks suspiciously like a flowerpot hat. No..could it be Paul Villa notorious UFO picture faker from the ’60s? All I have to say is what a sad drawing.

Not Far Off:

  • An imaginary character named Paul. Presumably part of an instructional cartoon on faking UFO pictures.
  • Looks like Adam the gardener, or maybe Bob the builder. But what is he doing? Building a bolas? A bull-roarer? A boat bottom barnacle scraper? A device for protecting food from bears while camping? And does he know there is a UFO attached to his abdomen?

And Of Course:

  • Paul
  • Paul <insert last name here>
  • It’s Paul, apparently.
  • Paul Small-Rocktier
  • Paul some one
  • Paul the weight tyer to a rocker. What a stoner.
  • It’s Paul. (I expect this answer to be edited out, along with the hundreds of identical entries 🙂

And Finally These, Off the Planet and Out There with the UFOs:

  • “Dr Moby’s Prostate Therapy Clinic”. Umm… Sorry. Again.
  • A camper who wants to wants to hang his food off the ground (in order to avoid bears amongst other things) [Alternatively, to get better access to the food, leave the food alone and hang the bears off the ground]
  • A very paranoid fisherman. Those undertows can be lethal. Or possibly the inventor of the first spinning top with a built-in bola
  • Ah, so “Paul” is in fact a CIA agent, and the above picture is from a heavily circulated fake al Qaeda manual full of brain-dead techniques. The illustration is part of the instructions for how (not) to sink a body.
  • An Australian visiting Argentina being given instructions on how to make a bolo for hunting rhea (or is it emu there)?
  • Archimedes before he had a bath and eurekad.
  • Are you sure it’s Paul? Looks more like a Peter to me (the one from Heidi, actually).
  • Bob the builders older brother..!!
  • Daniel Boon
  • He doesn’t look a bit like a Paul. He’s a George. It’s the gardening hat that gives it away.
  • Hmm, a plump bloke with no fingers, no penis and the world’s longest bolo. Must be someone who’s recently had his fingers burned and his nuts cut off and wants to take revenge on his oppressor from a long distance. Yep, I’ve got it, it’s Kim Beazley in Perth about to let fly at Simon Crean in Canberra.
  • I do believe its my old mate Paul
  • I won’t even embarrass myself by attempting to give an answer for this one.
  • It’s a bloke called Paul Stringfellow.
  • It’s either Dr. Bob the Builder or Senor Bob the Argentinian Bolas maker…
  • It’s Gallileo in his King Gees – or King Gee in his Gallianos.
  • It’s Paul Fishfighter explaining how to use a device designed to keep you upright at the bottom of the sea. This is standard equipment when participating in underwater fish fighting. Very elegant. It’s all in slow motion.
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
  • Mr. Paul Schnick’n’Schnack, a 40 y.o. nerd, who’s still attending the boy scouts meetings, showing how to make a zroobavel double-weight minkle-knocker.
  • Mr. Rock and string man
  • Not a clue.
  • Paul <insert last name here>
  • Paul Anchor, no relation to the better known Paul Anka. This Paul was employed by Herman Melville during his whaling days. His job was to throw the weighted ends of the thread around the whale’s pectoral fins and use the sink plunger to remove lint from the whale’s navel. In a time of need the skipper was believed to have pawned the ship’s anchor and chain. Paul licked the plunger, stuck it to the deck and then lasso’ed a passing whale. The whale tired of towing the ship and stopped for a rest. The ship was safely anchored until the whale awoke. Hence his last name.
  • Paul Ball-less (see crotch)
  • Paul Bunion
  • Paul Flowerpotman. He’s Bill and Ben’s father.
  • Paul Hogan, AKA Crocodile Dundee explaining how to survive in the outback?
  • Paul Lemming, attempting the worlds first (failed) bungy jump.
  • Paul Melville of the Swedish Pop Group “C’mon!” doing something strange with rocks and thread.
  • Paul Tanenbaum, professional thread wrangler. This picture is taken from his best-selling self-help book “Advanced Thread Management Techniques For Dummies”.
  • Paul the Muscle-man
  • Paul the Peckerless Pervert, because after putting those loops he’s holding in his left hand around his penis, he dropped both rocks off a cliff. Wiped that smirk right off his face, it did.
  • Paul, John and the other two rock stars. Okay I am going into the bizarre land here.
  • Since he doesn’t seem to have any ears I was going to guess Mark ‘Chopper’ Read, maybe preparing to garotte an African Elephant that he thinks has been dealing drugs. It could be a man named Paul – Who performs every night in a hall – Whose most famous trick – Is to stand on his dick – Then roll off the stage on one ball (Miss Nankervis didn’t like that one, I can tell you).
  • Thanks for the Clue! Now it is so evident! I wonder I could not understand it before! Oh, gosh, thanks, thanks! It is a picture in which Paul the Martian shows how to build a very simple tool to depict crop circles. The very question is: “Why a martian do not use a normal starship to do that?”
  • The last thing you see before being electrocuted in Alabama’s death chair.
  • This is just some drawing. What do you mean, “who is this?” Nobody! That’s who it is. Generic guy. He is about to blow himself sky-high with a land mine anyhow, so it doesn’t matter.
  • This is Paul Coalsketch, neoprene wader tester for Cabelas. And to finish the instruction: 4] Then loop middle of thread (180 pound test) three times about your left hand in a pattern large enough to easily slide over your head and allow to tighten about the neck, making sure the microphone in your right hand is positioned very close to your mouth. 5] Using the sound found in nearly every language, clear the phlegm from your throat. 6] Jump directly into a deep, murky lake where you utter “glub, glub” into the microphone where it is then immediately broadcast via the built-in buttcheek speakers. This calls in the rock fish that will lock on to your bait rocks at each end of your thread. 7] Press the self-inflate button located on the left shoulder strap of the Cabelas neoprene waders to instantly pop to the top with your catch. Microphone sold separately.
  • Vita Sackville-West, demonstrating how to train a tree.
  • Well the question is “who is” as opposed to “what is”…hmmm…as he’s wearing dungarees, someone called Billy Bob?
  • What clues to we have from your picture? Well firstly although you’ve converted it to a GIF it was originally a JPEG, and it seems you’ve edited out all instructions except for 3, however suggesting there could be 6 steps… possibly 7. We know also that what he’s holding is refered to as thread and not as rope. So far we have ‘paul “6 step” rock OR rocks thread’ for our search. What we’re looking for is a JPEG representation of the image in question. Unfortunately I am unable to complete the search for this character in overalls, I give up… what’s his name?
  • Alright, you win this one.

Special Comment:

  • Dr Bob, one more disqualification and we Dutch will take a horrible revenge on Australia – like discovering another New Zealand.

Ordinary Comments:

  • “How long is it supposed to take?” she asked. “The more beautiful the girl is, the quicker it is” I told her.
  • Bob, I keep you in my favorites under Health – you cheer me up!
  • Cool. You did a whole quiz based on the sport of fish fighting. Quite unexpected.
  • Diagram was a bit rough…..
  • Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.
  • DO publish the CORRECT answers, at least for Q2 and Q6 (well…Q5, too)…
  • Doctor Bob… You have surpassed yourself with completely obscure questions for this month. Well done. [Thanks – I printed out this remark and have stuck it below my monitor screen]
  • First contribution for a while – if you thought I was gone for good, you ain’t gettin’ off that lightly!
  • Hi Dr. Bob! How is that course at the university – “How to be a Drag Queen” coming along? I heard all about it on the BBC a few weeks ago. [There was such a course immediately after the one that I did recently take at Swinburne Uni, which was “How To Conduct An ISO 9000 Audit”]
  • hi Dr. Bobby PLEASE let me win kay? [Yes you win – Kay’s phone number is 1-555-802-1649]
  • I don’t like slubberdegullion snollygosters.
  • I know I’m resubmitting the same answers I already gave you except in a more expanded form, I hope these ones are more interesting than the last lot were.
  • I’ll try harder next month. Well, one of the next few months anyway.
  • I’ve gone skiing [and I’m sliding down a slippery slope too]
  • Lassie is a bitch
  • No comments
  • Not sure how to answer this question, pass.
  • Please let me pass this, Dr. Bob you are a legend
  • The picture looks like Richard Mill who played “Bull” on “Night Court”.
  • The squirrels have taken over and they’re making me nuts
  • Well, I could type that HAWKWIND RULES!!! But, I won’t. But, they do.
  • Why is that guy balancing a question mark on his head? [<sigh> So that it doesn’t fall off and break, of course. Anyway, we ask the questions]
  • You know, I’ve been fart-arsing around on the net for, oh, 15 years now and I still haven’t learnt. What hope is there?
  • LOL, you win this time, google loses.