Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Quiz 2

I wrote another quiz for lockdown 2, but in the end it didn't get used. Enjoy:
There are 10 rounds of 5 questions, the answers follow at the end.

Richard "Bamber" B

1.1 What was the name of the dog who starred in a viral video in 2011 when he was out of control and chasing deer in Richmond Park.
1.2 What sport do the Wolverhampton Wanderers play.
1.3 How many votes does the US electoral college cast?
1.4 What form of entertainment is "No Man's Sky"?
1.5 Which television presenter had shows called "Newswipe", "Screenwipe" and "Antiviralwipe"

(On what part of the body do you wear the following articles?)
2.1 Fascinator
2.2 Stillettos
2.3 Cummerbund
2.4 Dear Stalker
2.5 Winkle Pickers

(Name the country these dumplings come from)
3.1 Ravioli
3.2 Bhaji
3.3 Gyoza
3.4 Pierogi
3.5 Dim Sum

(Would you find these things on a stage? on a battlefield? or in Star Wars?)
5.1    7.62 NATO
5.2    SM58
5.3    T16
5.4    T34
5.5    ES-335

6.1 How long did the Hundred Years War last?
6.2 After what animal are the Canary Islands named?
6.3 What country makes Panama hats?
6.4 What is Boris Johnson's First Name
6.5 What colour is an adult grey horse?

(What things are these varieties of?)
7.1 Oak, Ash, Spruce, Poplar.
7.2 Maris Piper, King Edward, Charlotte, Golden Wonder.
7.3 Actic, Sandwich, Common, Little.
7.4 Humpback, Blue, Minky, Beluga
7.5 Cox, Granny Smith, Bramley, Braeburn

(Where do you see these sequences of colours?)
8.1 Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
8.2 Bronze, Silver, Gold
8.3 Red, Red and Amber together, Green, Amber, Red.
8.4 Black, Brown, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Grey, White.
8.5 Yellow, Yellow, Red, Dismissed from the field.

(Questions about the history of internet polls gone wrong)
9.1 In 2016 What name won the poll to name the Arctic Survey's new research ship?
9.2 In 2012 The Horace Mann highschool in America won an internet poll to decide the school at which Taylor Swift should perform. What's special about the Horace Mann school?
9.3 In 2012 What town in Alaska was the rapper Pitbull sent to, to perform, after it won an internet poll?
9.4 In 2010 What country won an internet poll to decide where Justin Bieber should tour next?
9.5 In 2011 What name won an internet poll to choose the name of Mountain Dew's new apple flavour?

10.1 How do you make a sausage roll?
10.2 How many people work at <company>? (It was probably "Royal Mail" or “Dennis” when I first heard the joke.)
10.3 What do you get if you cross a sheep and a kangaroo?
10.4 What’s the difference between an elephant and a postbox?
10.5 What's black and white and read all over?

1.1 Fenton. FENTON! Oh Jesus Christ. Fenton!
1.2 (association) Football.
1.3 538.
1.4 Video game.
1.5 Charlie Brooker.

2.1 Head
2.2 Feet
2.3 Waist
2.4 Head
2.5 Feet

3.1 Italy
3.2 India
3.3 Japan
3.4 Poland
3.5 China

5.1 Battlefield - ammunition cartridge size
5.2 Stage - vocal microphone
5.3 Starwars - I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than two meters.
5.4 Battlefield - Soviet medium tank
5.5 Stage - Gibson hollow body electric guitar

6.1 116 years
6.2 Dogs - canines (in Spanish)
6.3 Equador
6.4 Alexander - Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson
6.5 White. They are born black, go through grey, and end up white.

7.1 Trees.
7.2 Potatoes.
7.3 Turns (seabird).
7.4 Whales
7.5 Apples

8.1 Rainbow.
8.2 Sporting medals.
8.3 Traffic lights.
8.4 Electronics (resistor colour codes).
8.5 Football.

9.1 R.S.S Boaty McBoatface (I voted for P.E.C.T)
9.2 The Horace Mann School for the Deaf.
9.3 Kodiak - "Me not working hard? Yea right picture that with a Kodak. And better yet, go to Times Square. Take a picture of me with a Kodak"
9.4 North Korea
9.5 Mountain Dew Hitler did Nothing Wrong

10.1 Push it down a hill.
10.2 About half of them.
10.3 A wooly jumper.
10.4 You don't know the difference between an elephant and a postbox? You'd make a terrible postman.
10.5 Newspaper.

Monday, 23 November 2020

Crypto Beans

 I've heard the same rumour twice in the last few months, so to my mind it is now unassailable truth. When the nutritionists and canning experts were developing baked beans, they looked at the French cassoulet. That is a dish of beans, chicken, and white wine. The canning experts said that chicken was too expensive and changed it to pork, and that wine was too exotic for English/American tastes and changed it to tomatoes (equally wet, equally acidic). So apparently, before beans were just baked in a sweetened tomato sauce, they were baked with pork and fresh tomato.

In the same way that cryptozoologists look for animals that don't exist (dragons, bigfoot, monsters, etc.) I'm trying to develop a recipe for belly-pork with beans and tomatoes that probably never existed. It's going well so far, and in a hot pan you can turn pork fat, fresh plum tomatoes and stock into a very nice sauce. I'll publish my recipe when I finish tweaking it.

Richard "development kitchen" B

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Chairman of the Bored

 In the UK we're now in the middle of a second national lockdown. I called it "Lockdown Two: Electric Boogaloo", but one of my friends pointed out how similar that sounds to the chorus of an incredibly annoying 80's song "We're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue". So now, as well as having nothing to look forward to, no social interaction that isn't on a screen, no pubs and no restaurants, when I think about our situation I get an Eddie Grant song stuck in my head. The highlight of my week is now playing boardgames on the computer.

When the second lockdown was rumoured I thought that the correct thing to do was not to react. I thought that anything I did could reinforce panic, so I dutifully didn't go and stock up on tinned goods or toilet rolls. One of my friends learned better what we missed in the first lockdown. When he first heard the rumours about the second lockdown he went straight out and panic-bought a short haircut. I wish I'd had that level of foresight and decisiveness.

Richard "corona-combover" B

Tuesday, 10 November 2020


 Over the years my mother has taken in quite a few rescue cats. I don't think she had ever wanted to, but my sister keeps trying to look after disadvantaged cats, and then leaving them at our mum's house.

The latest cat is big and fat, elderly, arthritic, and has a tumour on his lip and ear, he also bites occasionally and isn't well disciplined with the litter tray. He had been on a strict diet, but in recent weeks his stomach has distended and he was taken to the vet. He is suffering from progressive right heart failure and the vet offered to put him down straight away. However he didn't seem sick enough (in fact he seems positively happy when my mum's about) so a future appointment has been made to end his life and he's been brought home for a fortnight of palliative care. He's allowed to eat whatever he likes for his 28 last suppers, and he doesn't get punished if he makes a mess on the carpet. The luxury!

Richard "worst advent calendar ever" B

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Your Powers are Weak, Old Man.

 I'm getting old. It's becoming clear that I need glasses to see things that are really close – probably death staring me in the face.

I had a long a tiring week last week, and on Friday at about 8:30 or so after finishing the meagre stock of beer that I had in the fridge, I just gave up with the day and went to bed. Luxurious though it was, it made a depressing contrast with how I used to be able to behave.

I remember one time with my best friend when we were both in peak (drinking) condition. Pubs closed at 11:00pm, as god intended, and we went back to his house and drank all the beer in the fridge. We were still thirsty so we went to the cellar and either drank or spilled all the champagne that was waiting for a special occasion. By the end of the night we had been reduced to drinking unwanted-gift-gin with summer-fruits-cordial. I felt like I might die, but I managed to get up and go to a wedding the next day.

Richard "lightweight" B

Tuesday, 27 October 2020


 Through most of my life I have really enjoyed going to the science museum in London. My father said that he felt both honoured and decrepit when he saw an instrument he'd designed in there. Among my favourite exhibits were a huge steam engine by the door (it wasn't running on live steam but it was turning), demonstrations of bridge building and rocketry in the basement, a recreation of Babbage's difference engine, and a working 2 digit telephone exchange with dial telephones and Strowger switches. The aviation section was also very good.

The last time I went was a few years ago, and it will probably be the last time that I go. It was very crowded and all seemed a bit run down. The steam engine wasn't turning, there were no demonstrations in the basement, the telephone exchange had been taken away, and the café was expensive and slow.

I did however see one exhibit that really caught my imagination, but I've forgotten one of the key details about it. There was a set of very old sherry glasses that one of the pioneering microbiologists had used at home to grow cultures. I love the idea of groundbreaking scientific research being carried out at home in whatever glassware came out of the drinks cabinet. The problem is that I can't remember who's they were. Did I see Jenner's sherry glasses, Lister's? Pastuer's? somebody else's?

Richard "Sherry glass museum" B