Special Sub-Topic: Good Clean Fun
|I'll start at the highest level before sinking towards the murky depths. Which British monarch is popularly believed to have boasted "I have a bath twice a year whether I need one or not"?|
Elizabeth I. In buttermilk apparently. This seems rather self-defeating, as after a couple of days I suspect that the smell of rancid milk would be worse than odours created by just not washing.
I have been utterly devastated to learn during my research, that she may never have said this at all, and it is probably just a joke. History can be terribly disappointing sometimes. It always lets facts get in the way of a good story. She wasn't even bald.
|Which even more revolting British king only had two baths in his entire life?|
James I. One bath shortly after birth, one shortly after death. So strictly speaking, he only actually had one bath in his life. To add insult to nasal injury, he also refused to wash, preferring to dab the tips of his fingers with a damp napkin occasionally. It is thought that he may have had a skin disease that made water painful on his skin, but that doesn't explain why he also never changed his trousers. It is reported that when one pair wore out, he would just put another pair on over the top.
|After Thomas a Becket's murder it was noted that his clothes were so full of lice and worms that they had the appearance of a cauldron bubbling over. What was generally supposed to be the significance of this impressive infestation?|
Becket's holiness. It is thought that, although even the cleanest were not without vermin in 12th century England, Becket actually encouraged these generally unwelcome visitors as a spiritual discipline. So strictly speaking, it was his determination to 'mortify his flesh' in pursuit of holiness that was admired by the crowds.
|Approximately how many bacteria live on 1cm of human skin?|
100,000. Despite this being a slightly frightening thought, many sites on the web are rushing to re-assure me that this is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing. Bacteria have some useful habits from breaking down rubbish to making yoghurt err... yoghurt.
|The colour of your ear wax varies according to your ethnic background.|
t. I had never heard this before I started writing this quiz (insert obvious joke here), but apparently most Asians and Native Americans have dry ear wax which is grey in colour - or gray in color, if you're Native American, I suppose - while people from other ethnic groups have yellowish sticky ear wax. This fact was brought to you with the help of the good folks of 'Grossology' http://www.webaddesign.net/grossology//faqs/970616.html
|Which country is the proud owner of the single most unhygienic service station in Europe according to research undertaken by the AA Motoring Trust in 2004?|
France. The worst service station for hygiene, friendliness of service, price and quality of food, and shopping facilities is Village Catalan. However, the overall loser is England. These results are rather arbitrary - only 6 service stations were tested in the UK, and only Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland were included in the survey.
If you like motorways, you may want to read the whole story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/3831659.stm
|Illegal imports of which product are a 'serious problem' in Ukraine according to a US Embassy report of 2003?|
Washing powder. Oh, the glamour of international politics. My illusions about dashing smugglers crossing borders while wearing 18th Century costume have taken a bit of a tumble too. Not quite diamond smuggling. Still, at least if they are dressed as highway men, their lace-frilled shirts should be dazzlingly white.
|What caused the closure of the UK Houses of Parliament in the summer of 1858?|
The overpowering stench of the nearby River Thames. The summer of 1858 became known as 'The Great Stink'. For some years, cholera epidemics had been sweeping through the poorer areas of town, but parliament had been slow to clean up the Thames, which had become an open sewer as well as the source of London's drinking water. However, it was only when the smell began to inconvenience politicians that action was taken to solve the problems.
|A salubrious area is a nice place to live.|
t. 'Salubrious' is derived from the Latin word 'salus' meaning health, and The Oxford English Reference Dictionary gives the following definition:
1) health-giving, healthy
2) (of surroundings etc.) pleasant; agreeable
|"Almost all the floors are made of clay and rushes from the marshes, so carelessly removed that the bottom layers sometimes remain for 20 years, keeping there below spittle and vomit and urine of dogs and men, beer that has been thrown down, leftovers of fishes and filth unnameable". A comment by Erasmus describing middle class homes in which country? |
England. He added "It would help also if people made the council keep the streets less dirty from filth and urine". This still remains the dream of many Londoners. (Letter to John Francis, date unkown: read it here http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext05/7eras10.txt if your Latin is up to it!)
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