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Pop Quiz

The Oscars are past and one of my long suffering readers (longer time friend) finished in a dead heat with me in our annual Academy Award contest; we each prognosticated correctly on twenty of the twenty-four categories. Yes, there was gambling involved – the winner gets a milkshake; this year we'll have to buy each other one.

As a teacher of history and English, I often found the proverbial spot quiz to be a good attention getter. It always snapped my head from a fog in 8 a.m. college courses.

So, as we shake the winter cobwebs into spring, here's something of a surprise quiz and a contest rolled into the equinox. The correct answers are being held inside a hermetically sealed cookie jar on my great uncle's back porch, and being guarded by the accounting firm of Phixit, Bry, Berry and Cheatham.

Questions range from the incredibly local to vastly global. No orangutans, Northern Harriers, or red-legged frogs were harmed in the production of this feature. Please do not send your answers to the editor or “The Maj,” they have far better things to do with their time. Send all answers, partial responses, or simple curses, no later than April Fool's Eve, to yours truly at Since it's Yahoo, that will make it easier for the NSA to track your future email, text, or twitter communications.

Winners will receive prizes ranging from a nearly all-expenses paid trip around Beulahland to a full jar of homemade, hand-cranked Macdonald apple cider – non-alcoholic unless one of the great uncles has gotten to it first, in which case all consumption should occur far from fireplaces, wood stoves, or lit matches.

Some questions will be multiple choice, others may require actual intelligence and a fill-in response. All answers are objectively verifiable by the final judge. I'm sure you can guess who that is. Here goes:

1. The West Coast blogosphere lit up this winter with fears about radioactivity leaking from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant across the Pacific Ocean to North American shores. According to a recent Sierra Club finding, white bluefin tuna caught off the California coast contain levels of radiation equal to that found in

A. ten square feet of the Chernobyl plant one year after its nuclear accident

B. ten square feet of the Three Mile Island plant one day after its nuclear mishap

C. one bite of banana

D. three square feet of Uncle John's house after the white lightning incident of 1947

2. When Vern Piver used to stand on a springboard, he was

A. coaching the ten meter AAU diving team during his off seasons from minor league baseball

B. cutting down a redwood

C. preaching to a little known, and less understood, Northern California cult

D. coaching the Fort Bragg High School swim team

3. Sixteen-year-old Elif Bilgin of Turkey

A. had her name radically mispronounced by John Travolta before she sang the Oscar winning best song during this year's Academy Award broadcast

B. killed the world's oldest creature, a 507 year-old clam, when she pried it open

C. won a $50,000 science prize for creating a bioplastic from banana peels

D. shot and killed the world's last western black rhinoceros while on safari with her family

4. Woody Fryman was/is

A. a left-handed porn star of the 1960s

B. a left-handed pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1960s

C. an ambidextrous porn star in British skin flicks of the 1960s through 1990s

D. the president of the Ambidextrous Society of North America (ASNA) from the 1960s until his untimely death on September 11, 2001

5. Which Mendocino County Supervisor publicly professes his belief in conspiracy theories surrounding the events of September 11, 2001?

A. Dan Hamburg

B. A only

C. All of the above

D. A, B, and C

6. What local disc jockey regularly refers to Willits as “the cultural capital of Mendocino County”?

7. An albino redwood can be found in which one of these State Parks or Preserves:

A. Van Damme

B. Jug Handle

C. Standish-Hickey

D. Hendy Woods

8. What actress received an Academy Award nomination for her role in the film version of fellow AVA contibutor Todd Walton's novel Inside Moves?

9. What everyday food derives its name from the Latin word for milky juice? If you say, “milk,” go back to Number 1 and find an ambidextrous albino redwood to complete the questions for you.

10. The correct answer to this question may surprise some so-called historical docents on the coast. Let's make it simple for them. True or False. The town of Mendocino was named for the local grocery store-owning Mendosa family?

11. Speaking of the town of Mendocino, residents of Anderson Valley better be careful about references to The Anderson Valley or sooner than you can say Buckey Walter, people will be talking about the village of Boonville. The Question: Which fluent Boontling speaker appeared mulitple times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson? Give his Boontling appelation and Anglicized name.

12. What flower is most closely associated with infidelity? And what U.S state is this flower most closely associated with (often in song)?

13. Here's your lucky question. What insect is known as a “lucky bug?”

14. St. Patrick's cabbage, though found in abundance in the west of Ireland, is actually a native of what other European country?

15. Since we're just past Oscar time, another movie query: Among film crews a “squib” is short hand lingo for

A. a repeatedly flubbed line by an actor, as in Hitchcock's remark to Robert Cummings, ”A cow could squib my dialogue as well as you.”

B. a vial of red liquid – it took 147 squibs to depict James Caan's death scene in The Godfather

C. a break in continuity – Clooney's beret moved from side to side on his head as the scene progressed from one editing cut to another

D. an underage assistant who receives remuneration off the official payroll

16. Many readers will know that Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is based, in part, on actual events. Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea describes real life events on the whaling ship Essex that closely parallel the tale of Ahab's Pequod. Moby-Dick himself was based on a real life white whale named Mocha Dick. What was he named for?

A. The coffee and cocoa drink favored by the captain of the Essex

B. a conical shaped island

C. The color of the water at the mouth of the Orinoco River where he was first seen

D. The nickname of the cabin boy aboard the Essex

17. Which of the following was not a major league baseball player of the 1800s?

A. J.Montgomery Ward

B. Moses Fleetwood Walker

C. J.C. Penney

D. Old Hoss Radbourn

18. What Mendocino County native was the cartoonist and illustrator of the long running comic strip ‘Little Annie Rooney’?

19. The short days of winter oft times cause people to return to the simple pleasures of cooking up honey oil hashish. Well, if not that, perhaps card playing. What still popular card game was invented by Sir John Suckling in the early seventeenth century?

A. Canasta

B. Bridge

C. Cribbage

D. None of the above. There never was a Sir John Suckling. What kind of idiot makes up a name like Sir John Suckling and, besides, no card games of the seventeeth century are still being played today.

20. I'm running out of steam, which makes me think of the steamship Sea Foam, which makes me think of the age old question, what makes the sea foam?

A. Chemical waste

B. Detergent waste water released into oceanside streams around the world

C. powdery single-celled algae

D. Eggs dropped by White-footed Boobies as they leave Wake Island. Cracking eggs on the surface of the ocean cause yolks to drop to the bottom and egg whites create the foam we see washing up on shorelines

Tiebreaker Question: What is the Biblical value of Pi? What physicist discovered this?

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