I love oddities and factoids. People are so unpredictable and inexplicable. Ponder is: Is human behavior not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine? Can we always tell when folks are lyin' to us?

The questions below are based, as far I know, on real life incidents. See if you can pick the Truth from the (manufactured) Fiction.

Have fun.


1. Roman poet Virgil, author of the Aeneid,

(a) was so enamored with his own words that he had them tattooed to his back.

(b) once penned a eulogy for a fly.

(c) never rewrote any poetry, because he was paid by the word.

(d) in order to overcome writer's block, often locked himself naked in a room with paper and stylus, with nothing else to do.

(e) was once accused of witchcraft and publically flogged.


2. In one of the first cases to educate parents about the danger of poorly made toys, Disney was forced to recall Donald Duck toys made of celluloid because they

(a) contained poorly insulated battery packs that leaked acid.

(b) were contaminated with Legionnaire's Disease.

(c) contained Satanic messages hidden in the box artwork.

(d) burst into balls of fire at the slightest provocation.

(e) had recordings that said "I hate you" and "I want to kill you".


3. When Chinese Princess Tou Wan and her husband, who reigned from 157 to 141 B.C., died, their bodies

(a) were accidentally entombed upright due to bad tomb design and seismic instability in the area.

(b) were sent off in a boat which was then set afire by a flaming arrow shot from afar.

(c) painted with gold.

(d) dressed in suits made of jade plates.

(e) were entombed in a castle which burned down, fell over and sank into a swamp.


4. In an effort to expose the absurdity of the naval superstition that Fridays were unlucky, the British Admiralty commissioned a ship named the "Friday", which had a keel laid on a Friday, and which was commanded by a Captain Friday. On its maiden voyage, the ship

(a) was overrun by rats, abandoned by its crew and set afire.

(b) collided with another ship and sank without leaving its harbor.

(c) disappeared without a trace.

(d) returned home without incident.

(e) was purchased by Walt Disney for display at Disneyland.


5.Theodore van Rupjik (1641-1684) was a Dutch oil painter who used an unusual part of his anatomy as a paintbrush, until dying of turpentine poisoning. The body part he used was his:

(a) fingers.

(b) toes.

(c) elbows.

(d) tongue.

(e) butt.


6. In December, 1996, Oklahoma inmate Bernard Crawford escaped from prison by diving into the back of a truck, hiding among (and covering himself with) the cargo. Eventually unable to stand it anymore, he jumped off, but was soon spotted and re-captured. The truck was hauling:

(a) used motor oil.

(b) cold wet pig slop.

(c) Hello Kitty dolls.

(d) oily rags, gasoline canisters and matches.

(e) Barry Manilow records.


7. Rob Watkins, 35, of Odessa, Ontario, claims to have eaten during his lifetime 10,000

(a) goldfish (the fish, not the crackers).

(b) ping pong balls.

(c) pages of his old manuscripts ("He ate his own words").

(d) Kraft macaroni and cheese dinners.

(e) nails (the metal kind).

8. Evangelist John Holme was fined $1700 in Salisbury, England, for a stunt in which he delivered a sermon while:

A. naked, except for a layer of white paint ("Our sins are washed white as snow!")

B. demolishing a car, apparently without the owner's permission ("Release yourself from worldly desires!")

C. chained inside a submerged chest ("The Lord has set me free!")

D. in a motorized paraglider ("He spoke from the heavens!")

E. subduing wild horses singlehandedly ("Get your body in submission!")


9. A California mother -- known as "the cool mom" -- is facing three years imprisonment for hiring what as "entertainment" during her 16-year-old-daughter's slumber party?

A. Flame-swallowing illegal immigrants.

B. Pit bulls.

C. A stripper.

D. An adult toy store owner (who showed off some of his wares).

E. A local radio personality (who had been drugged and kidnapped for this purpose).


10. The Liko-L tourist agency recently launched one-day trips to:

A. a sewage treatment plant.

B. a kim-chee (Korean sauerkraut) factory.

C. Beanie baby factory.

D. toxic waste dumps.

E. Chernobyl.


11. Which of the following statements is false?

(a) Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin.

(b) Lincoln Logs were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright's son John.

(c) The guillotine was invented by Dr. Joseph Guillotin.

(d) The Waring blender was invented by Fred Waring, of the society band, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians.

(e) None of these are false.


12. After six failed attempts to get elected to the Danish parliament, comedian Jacob Haugaard succeeded in 1994. Which of the following was NOT one of his campaign promises:

(a) good weather.

(b) free nasal hair grooming.

(c) better Christmas presents.

(d) guaranteed tail winds for all cyclists.

(e) standard-size dust bags in vacuum cleaners.


13. Edwin Heyliger allegedly shot and killed his roommate, Levon Howard, after Howard became irate over the issue of:

(a) an electricity bill that never got mailed.

(b) a missing case of Leinenkugel's.

(c) who drank the last of the Kool-Aid.

(d) university funding of safe rides.

(e) whether or not to keep a cute little puppy they found who kept tripping over his big floppy ears in the most endearing way.


14. Philip Pyne of Romford, England, was rushed to the hospital after he tried to fix an anticipated problem. He intended to get drunk and feared he might fall off his barstool so he:

(a) affixed himself to the seat with instant glue.

(b) roped himself to the stool and cut off circulation below his knees.

(c) had his friends carry him around on his stool, but, also being drunk, his friends dropped and fell on top of him.

(d) attempted to tack his legs to the stool with nails.

(e) tried to suspend himself from the ceiling.


15. In the 1994 "Great Midwestern Think-Off", held in Minnesota, amateur and professional philosophers officially decided that, yes, life does have meaning. The semi-finalists in this contest were (pick two):

(a) an incorrigible puller of fire alarms.

(b) a (parttime) fisherman.

(c) a beekeeper.

(d) a (retired) physics professor.

(e) a Pulitzer-winning poet.


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