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A quiz from Fred’s birthday gift
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler color mug

Finding a birthday gift for Fred this past week was a major accomplishment. He needs very little, and doesn’t like gadgets. 

Do you women have a problem finding gifts for guys? Here’s help. Our daughter educated me, since she knows how to effectively search the internet. Me? I have trouble asking the questions, well enough, finding the answers!

“Just Google it, mom,” she says.

“Google what?” I ask.

“Look,” she says. “Go to Amazon. Type in ‘Birthday gifts for Men, age (bla bla).’” She had entered Fred’s age in the question. Up came all kinds of appropriate gifts.

Now, I am not suggesting you immediately buy from Amazon. But, the ideas? They’re great. To help your local businesses, go find those things. If you can’t, well, then go to Amazon.

It was too late to use this suggestion, though. I had already bought a book, “The Book of General Ignorance.” I liked it. 

The gift was definitely not for Fred. He glanced at it. I now have the book. It’s mine.

Perusing my book, I decided to make up a questionnaire. Let’s see if you are generally ignorant.

Join my club.

Question 1: Who invented the ballpoint pen? a. Mr. Biro; b. Mr. Bic; c. Mr. Quiet; d. Mr. Loud. Since fountain pens had to be regularly dipped in Indian ink, and either leaked or were very slow drying, something had to be done. In 1888 a tanner named John J. Loud created a pen with an ink reservoir in the pen. Hungarian Laszlo Biro (1899-1985) improved Loud’s ideas, and eventually the term “biro” and ballpoint in Britain became synonymous. The first biros were manufactured in 1943, when Biro licensed his pen to Frenchman Marcel Bich. He improved the pen, called his company BiC and today, this business is thriving – as the world’s greatest ballpoint leader.

The answer is: Bich.

Question 2: What do camels store in their humps? a. fat; b. partly digested food; c. water. Camel humps don’t store water, but store fat, kept as energy reserves. (Women, here’s our excuse! We are reserving our energy.) Water is stored through the camel’s body, particularly in the bloodstream, and camels can drink up to 50 gallons of water at a time. They can go without water for a week.

The answer is: Fat

Question 3: Which way does the water go down the drain? a. Clockwise; b. Counterclockwise; c. Straight down; d. It depends. The widely held belief that it is the Coriolis force, created by the earth’s spin, that drives bathwater into a spiral is untrue.

The answer is: d. It depends 

Question 4: How many senses does a human being have? a. five; b. no sense; c. at least nine. Five senses we all know about: taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing, were first listed by Aristotle, who although being very bright, often got things wrong. There are four more commonly agreed senses. “Thermoception,” the recognition of heat (or its absence) on our skin. “Equilibrioception,” our sense of balance determined by the fluid-containing cavities in our inner ear. “Nociception” the perception of pain from the skin, joints, and body organs. Noted: the brain has no pain receptors. Headaches do not come from inside the brain. “Proprioception,” body awareness, or the unconscious knowledge of where our body parts are. (I wonder, then, about the phrase, “some don’t know their back side from a hole in the ground.”)

The answer is c. At least nine

How did you do? See, I told you so. We are all paddling the same canoe.   

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at or juditabler@awomansview.