Ujiji? Who Ever Heard Of Ujiji? Hope You Have, Coz It’s Quiz Day.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Don’t worry Ujiji is just part of a question in today’s selection, you don’t have to know where it is to score a point. Although if you do, give yourself a bonus.

The rest of the questions are easy, difficult and some somewhere in between.

But you won’t find out unless you give them a try.

And, as always, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

So enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 09

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Q.  1:  In which country is the Province of Lapland to be found?

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Q.  2:  An ‘Anemometer’ measures what?

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Q.  3:  What are baby beavers called?

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Q.  4:  What is the name of the smallest and southernmost region of mainland Portugal, known primarily for tourism?

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Q.  5:  What quantity is measured in ‘Amperes’ ?

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Q.  6:  In the human body what is the more common name for the ‘clavicle’ ?

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Q.  7:  What is the name of the main airport, one of the busiest in the world, that serves the city of Chicago?

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Q.  8:  What color is the innermost zone in an archery target?

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Q.  9:  What vegetable is used if a dish is cooked ‘Florentine’ ?

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Q. 10:  How many compartments does a cow’s stomach have?

            a)  2                b)  4                c)  6                d)  8

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Q. 11:  Who said “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” at Ujiji?

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Q. 12:  Which novel is the story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza?

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Q. 13:  Where would you find the ‘Sea of Tranquility’ ?

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Q. 14:  How many British MPs are there currently in the House of Commons?

            a)  450              b)  550              c)  650              d)  750

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Q. 15:  And a related question, the ‘Storting’ is the parliament of which country?

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Q. 16:  Which field sport involves teams of 10 for men and 12 for women each carrying a netted stick with which a ball is caught, carried or thrown?

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Q. 17:  Who flew ‘Spirit of St Louis’ across the Atlantic to make the first solo flight across that ocean in 1927?

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Q. 18:  Who wrote ‘The Day of the Jackal’, a story about an assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle?

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Q. 19:  Which French king built the Palace of Versailles?

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Q. 20:  True or false, Miley Cyrus is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  In which country is the Province of Lapland to be found?

A.  1:  Finland.

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Q.  2:  An ‘Anemometer’ measures what?

A.  2:  It measures wind speed.

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Q.  3:  What are baby beavers called?

A.  3:  They are called ‘Kits’.

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Q.  4:  What is the name of the smallest and southernmost region of mainland Portugal, known primarily for tourism?

A.  4:  It is known as the ‘Algarve’.

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Q.  5:  What quantity is measured in ‘Amperes’ ?

A.  5:  Electric current.

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Q.  6:  In the human body what is the more common name for the ‘clavicle’ ?

A.  6:  The collarbone.

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Q.  7:  What is the name of the main airport, one of the busiest in the world, that serves the city of Chicago?

A.  7:  It is known as ‘O’Hare Airport’.

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Q.  8:  What color is the innermost zone in an archery target?

A.  8:  Gold.

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Q.  9:  What vegetable is used if a dish is cooked ‘Florentine’ ?

A.  9:  Popeye’s favorite, ‘Spinach’.

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Q. 10:  How many compartments does a cow’s stomach have?

            a)  2                b)  4                c)  6                d)  8

A. 10:  The correct answer is b)  4.

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Q. 11:  Who said “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” at Ujiji?

A. 11:  (Henry Morton) Stanley. (You get the point for ‘Stanley’.)

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Q. 12:  Which novel is the story of the gentle knight and his servant Sancho Panza?

A. 12:  Don Quixote.

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Q. 13:  Where would you find the ‘Sea of Tranquility’ ?

A. 13:  On the Moon.

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Q. 14:  How many British MPs are there currently in the House of Commons?

            a)  450              b)  550              c)  650              d)  750

A. 14:  The correct answer is c) 650.

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Q. 15:  And a related question, the ‘Storting’ is the parliament of which country?

A. 15:  Norway.

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Q. 16:  Which field sport involves teams of 10 for men and 12 for women each carrying a netted stick with which a ball is caught, carried or thrown?

A. 16:  Lacrosse.

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Q. 17:  Who flew ‘Spirit of St Louis’ across the Atlantic to make the first solo flight across that ocean in 1927?

A. 17:  Charles Lindbergh.

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Q. 18:  Who wrote ‘The Day of the Jackal’, a story about an assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle?

A. 18:  Frederick Forsythe.

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Q. 19:  Which French king built the Palace of Versailles?

A. 19:  Louis XIV.

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Q. 20:  True or false, Miley Cyrus is the daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus?

A. 20:  True. Here she is with her Wrecking Ball….

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Drained Of Life – Almost

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

The last couple of blog post have concerned people featured in the Darwin Awards, “Never Hitch Your Wagon” about someone who wasn’t eligible because he survived his and his wife’s stupidity, and “Little Dumb And Large Dumber”  because their dumbness did make them successful Darwin Award winners.

I had a friend who almost featured in the Darwin Awards too. The only reason he didn’t was because they didn’t exist in those days and probably none of us would have had the presence of mind to nominate him anyway.

I won’t tell you his real name, have to expose the innocent and protect the guilty and all that, but his nickname was “Goners” pronounced “Gone-ers”. It was a nickname he gained after the incident I am now going to tell you about, and for most of his friends he’s still stuck with it to this day.

It happened when we were all young guys, in our teens and spending a leisurely summer messing around and generally enjoying life the way you can before you get older and wiser and burden yourself with responsibilities and debt and so forth. Then the Dads were paying the mortgage and bringing home the bacon (sometimes literally) and we were carefree and happy.

This day we decided to go for a walk along a nearby river. None of us were keen fishermen but we liked the river and walks along the riverbanks and the little stony beaches that the river’s meanders had left here and there. That particular summer was hot and a bit of bathing in the cool clear unpolluted water was also on the agenda.

It wasn’t a big river, no Amazon that’s for sure. Just about 50 feet across, or thereabouts, and maybe four or five feet deep towards the middle. There were a few deeper holes that serious fishermen tended to use, but we were always content messing around in the shallower water. It was fun and safe. In fact thinking and writing about it, I wish I was back there right now.

But I’m not, so on with the story.

Part of the river bank was relatively flat with only a slightly sloping bank down to the water. Other parts were a straight drop. And yet others consisted of a fairly steep slope down to the water’s edge.

Local farmers had dug drains at intervals to let rainwater run off their fields into the river, and between where the man-made drains ended and the river began, the water flow had over the years dug its own ‘V’ and then ‘U’ type trenches by eroding the top soil.

These had to be negotiated when one was walking along the riverbank, but it wasn’t a problem. That was how things were and everybody just accepted it and got on with it. I’m sure nowadays there would be a bureaucratic do-gooding group wanting all sorts of rules and regulations both to disrupt the farmer’s lives and to spoil the nature walk for the rest of us. In those days some interfering busybody was more likely to end up in the river and they knew it so they stayed away.

Of course, when I said the drains weren’t a problem, what I meant was they weren’t a problem for most of the people most of the time. But there’s always one idiot who will find a way to mess up even a nice summer’s day stroll along the riverbank.

Enter “Goners” into the story.

Although the day I am recounting was idyllic weather wise, during the previous night there had been a thunderstorm and some furious rain for a little while. The result of that was that the following morning there was considerable run-off of rainwater from the fields, via the farmer’s drains into the river. This made the areas close to the drains a little wet and slippery, not to mention mucky.

We had been walking for a few miles, successfully crossing all the open drains we had encountered. And then it happened!

“Goners” tripped or lost is concentration or something, but his balance went and he headed over the side of the riverbank.

At first this caused unbridled hilarity amongst the rest of us. We were laughing and pointing and cheering. If we had had pens and paper with us, no doubt we would have held up makeshift score cards critiquing the ‘dive’. But we hadn’t so we just laughed and laughed, not only at the dive but at the frantic wriggling and gurgling of “Goners” in the trench.

Then somebody twigged on what was happening and said, “OMG I think he’s drowning!”

“How can you drown in three inches of water?”, came a chorus of incredulous replies.

But he was.

“Goners” was in BIG trouble.

He WAS actually drowning in probably less then three inches of water.

“Goners” had fallen into the drain nature had made with the water erosion. Obviously he didn’t intend to, and, unprepared, he fell head first, with his arms by his sides, as opposed to being in a normal diving position with his arms outstretched in front of him and slightly raised.

As he had slid down the riverbank towards the water he had embedded himself farther and farther into the drain, trapping his arms by his side.

And when he reached the water, which was indeed barely three inches deep at the edge, his face including his nose and mouth were submerged under the level of the water.

The frantic wriggling wasn’t just to try to free his arms, but to try to get his mouth and nose out of the water to grab some much needed air. And he clearly wasn’t having much success.

Once we realized that he was in real trouble, of course it was all hands on deck so to speak and everyone rushed to his assistance. Two of us each grabbed one of his feet and pulled him back up the bank a little so that his head came out of the water. Much to his relief, and ours, “Goners” made a few huge grabs for air and the crisis seemed to be over.

Now I don’t know to this day whether what happened next was a deliberate act, something sub-conscious, or just another minor accident, but with his movement and gasping for air his feet, which like the rest of him were slippery with the muck from the drain, managed to slip out of our hands and he slid back into the water again. Gurgle, gurgle, wriggle, splutter, gurgle….

We knew he was in no danger this time and yes, we did laugh again. It was funny for everyone but “Goners”. Some of us – not me you understand, no definitely not me, of course not, don’t be silly, how could you think such a thing – could have played that game all day, pulling him out of the river and then letting him slide back in. Thinking about it now, we probably invented a new water-boarding technique, to us at the time it was just fun.

But we must have thought better of it after a couple of ‘dunks’ because the we pulled “Goners” out of the drain completely and back up on to dry land.

When he got his wits about him once again he said, “Thanks guys. I was nearly a goner.”

And that was his nickname for ever more, “Goners”.

It shows you just how easily and innocently things can happen that under different circumstances would have had a lot more tragic results.

Postscript:

Strangely enough, many years later, in the very same river as it happens, a guy called Willy (the same as featured in my blog post “Willy And Woof”) did the very same thing while walking back home from a bar, very, very drunk. That time however there was no one around to help.

Now he could have been a Darwin Award winner!

 

 

Little Dumb And Large Dumber

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”


Are there some people who are too dumb to live?

It’s an interesting, if not much asked, question.

Certainly people do get killed in unusual ways. Of course that is not always their fault. Sometimes they are the victims of circumstances beyond their control. No one can plan for the drunken idiot who slams his car into another. Nor should we live our lives in fear of such things. Take as much care as necessary without impacting on your own life and enjoyment is the best we can do. And usually that is more than enough to get us by.

Back to the initial question.

I think there is a lot of evidence to show that there are indeed some people who are just too dumb to live. There’s a thing called the Darwin Awards that every year highlights some of the people who have, as they put it, strengthened the gene pool by doing away with themselves under the stupidest of circumstances. Some of them are very amusing indeed and I hope to feature other examples in this blog from time to time.

This one is about two people meeting their end in a peculiar, and for the rest of us, funny way.

It happened in the little town (called a city) of George, in Grant County, Washington. As well as being a play on the President’s name, George, Washington, with a population of little over 500, is famous for the similarly sounding Gorge Amphitheatre. This is a 20,000+ seat concert venue located above the Columbia River, that offers lawn-terrace seating and “concert friendly weather”.

Actually it is considered to be one of the premier and most scenic concert locations in the US, and some say even the world. It has been the host to artists such as The Who, David Bowie, Coldplay, and Pearl Jam, the latter even releasing a box set album featuring their entire performances from 2005 and 2006.

However the group that caused the trouble for the two intrepid zeros who are the subject of today’s blog post was Metallica. When they were playing at The Gorge, Robert Uhlenake (24) and his friend, Ormond D. Young (27) decided they wanted to go along.

However, unable to get any tickets for the sold out gig the two instead decided to stay in a nearby parking lot and drink. By the time the show had started they had made their way through eighteen beers.

That was when they did something that stupid people, especially drunk stupid people, should never do.

Yes, they hit upon an idea.

And that idea was to scale the seven foot wooden security fence around the perimeter of the site and sneak in. The rest of the plan involved moving their truck up to the edge of the fence, get on top of it and simply jump over the fence.

So far, so good.

Then they decided that Young would go over first and assist Uhlenake later.

Again, so far, so good.

But what they had not figured into their plan was that, while the fence was seven feet high on the parking lot side, there was a twenty-three foot drop on the other side.

Young, who weighed around 255 lbs and was quite inebriated, jumped up and over the fence and promptly fell about half the twenty-three foot distance before a large tree branch broke his fall AND his left forearm.

Not content with that he also managed to get his shorts caught on the branch.

There’s a kind of a rule in life, I don’t know whose it is (it’s not Murphy’s, maybe I’ll claim it for fasab if no one else has it), that when things start to go wrong they have a tendency to keep on going from bad to worse. So it was for young Mr Young.

He was now in a lot of pain and his broken arm made it impossible for him to extricate himself and his shorts from the tree in the normal manner. But hanging there and looking at the bushes down below, he thought the thing to do was to cut his shorts off and fall to the ground. The soft bushes would cushion the impact of his fall.

This he did and when he cut the last bit of fabric from himself, he suddenly plummeted to earth.

As he did so he also lost his grip of the knife.

The “soft” bushes that Young had cleverly spotted from fifteen foot up in the air hanging from the branch were actually holly bushes and landing in them caused a massive number of cuts, and jags.

All that would have been bad enough for a mere mortal but Young wasn’t done yet.

He also had the misfortune of landing squarely on a holly bush branch; effectively impaling himself.

Then the knife, which he had accidentally released fifteen foot above where he landed, now joined him stabbing him in his left thigh.

Apparently, he was in a lot of pain.

Enter his friend Robert to the rescue.

Robert Uhlenake had apparently observed the last bit of this fiasco and, despite his inebriated state, had the awareness to realized that his fiend Young was in trouble.

Then he also did that thing that stupid drunk people should never do.

He hit upon the idea too, this time of lowering a rope to his friend and pulling him up and over the fence.

The problem with this plan was that Uhlenake was outweighed by his friend by a good 100 lbs. But undaunted by this he was still determined on a rescue bid and figured he could use their truck to pull his friend Young back up.

Unfortunately, because of his state, Uhlenake put the truck in reverse, rather than drive, broke through the fence, landed on Young (killing him), and subsequently died of internal injuries himself.

The two were found dead at the Gorge Amphitheater after the show. Uhlenake was in the pickup that was on top of Young at the bottom of a 20 ft drop. Young was found with severe lacerations, numerous fractures, contusions, and a branch in his anal cavity. He also had been stabbed and his pants were in a tree above him, some 15 ft off the ground.

For a while it was a mystery but the story as outlined above was eventually pieced together.

The final words on the story should perhaps go to Commissioner Appleton who summed it all up saying,

“So that’s how a dead 255 lb man with no pants on, with a truck on top of him and a stick up his ass came to be”.

 

 

Travel Agents Get Asked Some Funny Things

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

Only very occasionally these days do I use a travel agent. I prefer to organize things myself online. But then I am a fairly experienced traveler. For many other people, particularly the intellectually challenged it seems, the travel agent is their first and last port of call when organizing a vacation.

The following are actual stories provided by travel agents. Since I read these I’m wondering if there should be some kind of proficiency test before one is allowed out of the house let alone venture into another county or country.

That’s one for the bureaucrats to ponder over, but it probably won’t happen, after all most of them couldn’t pass it, and they all like their little trips at our expense.

As usual, I hope you enjoy.

 

What the travel agents said:

 

I had someone ask for an aisle seat so that their hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window.

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A client called in inquiring about a package to Hawaii.

After going over all the cost info, she asked, “Would it be cheaper to fly to California and then take the train to Hawaii?”

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I got a call from a woman who wanted to go to Capetown.

I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information when she interrupted me with “I’m not trying to make you look stupid, but Cape Town is in Massachusetts.”

Without trying to make her look like the stupid one, I calmly explained, “Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa.”

Her response… click.

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A man called, furious about a Florida package we did.

I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando.

He said he was expecting an ocean-view room.

I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, “Don’t lie to me. I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state.”

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I got a call from a man who asked, “Is it possible to see England from Canada?”

I said, “No.”

He said, “But they look so close on the map.”

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Another man called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas.

When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had a 1-hour lay-over in Dallas.

When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, “I heard Dallas was a big airport, and I need a car to drive between the gates to save time.”

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A nice lady just called.

She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:20am and got into Chicago at 8:33am.

I tried to explain that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois, but she could not understand the concept of time zones.

Finally I told her the plane went very fast, and she bought that!

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A woman called and asked, “Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to who?”

I said, “No, why do you ask?”

She replied, “Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I’m overweight, is there any connection?”

After putting her on hold for a minute while “I looked into it,” ( I was actually laughing) I came back and explained that the city code for Fresno is FAT, and that the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

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I just got off the phone with a man who asked, “How do I know which plane to get on?”

I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied, “I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these darn planes have numbers on them.”

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A woman called and said, “I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola on one of those computer planes.”

I asked if she meant to fly to Pensacola on a commuter plane.

She said, “Yeah, whatever.”

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A business man called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China.

After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him he needed a visa.

“Oh no I don’t, I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa.

When I told him this he said, “Look, I’ve been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express.”

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A secretary called in looking for hotel in Los Angles.

She gave me various names off a list, none of which I could find I finally had her fax me the list.

To my surprise, it was a list of hotels in New Orleans, Louisiana.

She thought the LA stood for Los Angles, and that New Orleans was a suburb of of L.A.

Worst of all, when I called her back, she was not even embarrassed.

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A woman called to make reservations, “I want to go from Chicago to Hippopotamus, New York.”

The agent was at a loss for words.

Finally, the agent asked, “Are you sure that’s the name of the town?”

“Yes, what flights do you have?” replied the customer.

After some searching, the agent came back with, “I’m sorry, ma’am, I’ve looked up every airport code in the country and can’t find a Hippopotamus anywhere.”

The customer retorted, “Oh don’t be silly. Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!”

The agent scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, “You don’t mean Buffalo, do you?”

She replied, “That’s it! I knew it was a big animal!”

hippo
Hippopotamus, New York

The Worst Tourist In The World

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

 

I don’t know whether any of you have heard of Mr Nicholas Scotti? I hadn’t until I read about him on the internet. But his story is one that fits well into the ‘stupidity’ category that is one of the underlying themes of this blog.

Mr Scotti holds the title of being ‘The Worst Tourist In The World’, or certainly one of the least successful ones.

Nicholas Scotti is of Italian descent and is from San Francisco, USA. In 1977 he decided he would like to visit his relatives in his native Italy.

An inexperienced traveller, Mr Scotti booked his vacation trip using a travel agent and on the appointed day made his way to the airport for the flight. Getting on a plane was a relatively easy and quick process back in 1977 (oh, those were the days!!), and Mr Scotti made it on to the plane without incident. He settled down for the long flight.

En route the plane made a one-hour fuel stop at Kennedy Airport and the passengers disembarked.

But Nicholas Scotti didn’t know about the re-fuelling stop. He thought that he had arrived in Rome, Italy. He duly left the airport and spent two days in New York believing he was in Rome.

When his nephews were not there to meet him, Mr Scotti just assumed they had been delayed in the heavy Rome traffic they had mentioned often in their letters.

While tracking down their address, the great traveler could not help noticing that modernization and new construction had brushed aside most, if not all, of the ancient city’s famous landmarks, but that didn’t deter him.

He also noticed that many people spoke English with a distinct American accent. However, he just assumed that Americans got everywhere. Furthermore, he assumed it was for their benefit that so many of the street signs were written in English.

Mr Scotti spoke very little English himself and next asked a policeman (in Italian) the way to the bus depot. As chance would have it, the policeman came from Naples and replied fluently in Italian, which only helped to reinforce his belief that he was in Rome, not New York.

After twelve hours travelling round on a bus, the driver got fed up with him and handed him over to a second policeman. This one was not Italian and a brief argument ensued during which Mr Scotti expressed amazement at the Rome police force employing someone who did not speak their own language.

Scotti’s brilliance is seen in the fact that even when told he was in New York, he refused to believe it. The man was a veritable genius!

To get Mr Scotti on a plane back to San Francisco, he was raced to the airport in a police car with sirens screaming. Even then he remained unconvinced. “See,” he said to his interpreter, “I know I’m in Italy. That’s how they drive.”