Year-End Quiz

Grandma Alice is pretty happy to have Christmas done with. She says we’ve taken all the fun out of it. Shopping for the elves is always a chore. This year they asked Santa for their own surround-sound 60-inch plasma TVs. I think they got socks and ear-flap beanies. Pa Alice wouldn’t get out of his lounge chair for Christmas dinner, so we had to shove him into the dining room for the event, then back into the living room in time for the football games. Yours truly just lay low and ate pie until everything blew over. I also put the finishing touches on our traditional year-end quiz, your chance, once again, to demonstrate how much smarter you are now than you were a year ago. Please, don’t thank me. Consider it my Christmas gift to all of you.

Monkeys are like us. We are like monkeys. We’re both annoyed by the same things. Crying babies, f’rinstance. Say you’re in a restaurant next to a table full of monkeys celebrating some important monkey event. One of the monkey babies starts squeaking and wailing and just won’t shut up. Based on careful scientific observations, what would you see the other monkeys do?

A. Stuff the monklet’s little mouth with hors d’oeuvres and napkins.

B. Roll up the kid and cram him into somebody’s big designer purse.

C. Plug their ears with dinner rolls.

D. Pelt the offender’s mother with cutlery and meatloaf and peas until she makes the kid shut up.

Rice is completely interesting. Really. No kidding. As far as we’re concerned, the most fascinating thing about rice is:

A. You know those little plastic bags that rice comes in at the food mart? Well, each contains 29,000 tiny rice units!

B. Despite global warming and gentrification, in 2007 we managed to squeeze out of our planet more than 650 million tons of rice!

C. When half the world’s population sits down to dinner (and lunch and breakfast), they can count on the meal being a big bowl of rice! Every day. Day after day. Year after year. For a lifetime.

D. In 1996 some dazed entrepreneur actually received a U.S. patent for man-made rice, a blend of some globby ooze with a little starch and fiber! You get extra credit if you can tell us why he bothered to invent it in the first place.

Big baby eyes are pretty slammin’. Hard to resist. Almost as cute as a basket of puppies. But big blue baby eyes take the doggone baby cake. Make all the aunties coo and mush all over the place. What irritating things can happen to big blue baby eyes?

A. Sunlight can activate the melanin pigment in those baby blues and — oh no! — they turn hazel!

B. Puberty can disrupt the cutie’s body chemistry and — oh no! — they turn hazel!

C. Some particular medication can affect the cool, come-hither blues and — oh no! — they turn hazel!

D. Former blue-eyes can head for the optometrist’s office for colored contacts.

John (KUUUUUUU-SI) Coleman, TV weatherperson, had Mark in Santee flummoxed. “You can see Hawaii from Del Mar,” sez John. “Huh? No way!” sez Mark. “Way,” sez John. “What way, Matthew?” sez Mark. “Holy telescopes!” sez Matthew. Pick out the true stuff from the junk:

A. Hawaii is really a lot closer to Del Mar than most people think, so it’s no problem to see it.

B. Cold air trapped under warm air makes things on land look as if they’re floating in air because light beams are bent, so theoretically Hawaii could reflect high enough in the sky to be seen from Del Mar. It’s called a superior mirage.

C. Most people in Del Mar spend too much time in steam rooms and spas and through brain softening are hallucinating that they are actually in Hawaii.

D. No, really. Hawaii is way closer to Del Mar than you think. Way closer. When you fly there, the planes just circle around for hours to make you think Hawaii is far away.

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