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82974.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:43 am Reply with quote

I wouldn't have known about it, but Mat has some great stuff about how the staff at London Zoo responded to the blitz on London by killing most of the animals themselves, which could go in the notes. I'll see if I can find it.

82975.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:50 am Reply with quote

Actually I'd misremembered that - it's better:

London Zoo is preparing for war. In case the Regent's Park buildings should be involved in an air raid, all the poisonous insects and snakes have been destroyed. The chimps tea party goes on as ever, but other animals are being evacuated to the peace and safety of Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire, while a scheme is also afoot to raise money for the upkeep of the animals that remain.

Members of the public are being asked to adopt an animal and pay for its upkeep. The costs will vary from sixpence a week for a dormouse to thirty shillings a week for a penguin.

but also:

Children Of War: The Second World War Through The Eyes Of A Generation by Susan Goodman (John Murray, 2005) reports a family getting home from their hols in September 1939, going to the cattery to pick up their mog, and finding that after the first air-raid warning the cattery staff had "understandably panicked" and euthanased all the cats. It seems this was a bit of a craze for a few weeks - disposal of pet bodies became a minor problem, due to their abundance. People were anticipating a catastrophic, apocalyptic bombing campaign to begin within days, with millions dead, cities wiped from the map, and they thought it was kinder to "put them to sleep" than let them suffer the terror of bombing. One less thing to worry about, too, of course. It doesn't say whether the same thing was happening in old people's homes, but you've got to wonder ... (MatC)

82976.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:54 am Reply with quote

Maybe it's something we can stick in with a general Elephant question. We never did use your pachyderm dentistry question last series.

82978.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 5:57 am Reply with quote

Yes, that looks right.

82994.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:28 am Reply with quote

I wonder if they could squeeze in a reference to the "Elephantoplasty" Monty Python sketch?



82997.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:35 am Reply with quote

Remind us, Tas.

83002.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:09 am Reply with quote

Essentially, it is a skit on surgery, in which the interviewer (played by John Cleese, I think) talks to the surgeon (played by Graham Chapman) about the surgical grafting of an elephant to a patient. In fact, the elephant (as there is no hint of person) is called Mr George Humphries.

I can't find a script online, but the soundtrack is on The Monty Python Instant Record Collection, Side 1. (Between "Novel Writing"...which cricket-style commentary on the author Thomas Hardy, and "How To Do It"....a jolly wheeze based on 'Blue Peter' style explanations of how to do such things as playing the flute "Well, you blow in one end, and move your fingers up and down the outside!" "Thanks, Jackie!" "Great!")





83007.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:15 am Reply with quote

Thanks. I dare say the idea was suggested to them by the surgical procedure of rhinoplasty, which really does exist, of course.

83018.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:29 am Reply with quote

Almost certainly, I would say!



QI Individual
83023.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:46 am Reply with quote


JC: Tonight on "Who Cares" we examine the frontiers of surgery
and with us is the international financier Reginald Crisp and
his most successful patient to date, the elephant Mr. George
George Humphries: [Honk]
JC: Mr. Crisp, the surgery on Mr. Humphries is truly
remarkable, but why an elephant?
GC: Well, that was just a stroke of luck, really. An elephant's
trunk became available after a road accident, and Mr. Humphries
happened to be walking past the hospital at the time.
JC: And what was Mr. Humphries reaction to the transplant of
the elephant's organs?
GC: Surprise at first, then later chock and deep anger and
resentment. But his family were marvellous, they helped pull
him through.
JC: How long was he in hospital?
GC: Well, he spent the first three weeks in our intensive care
unit, then eight weeks in the zoo.
JC: I Mr. Humphries now able to lead a fairly normal
GC: No. Oh, no, no. No. No, he still has to wash himself in
rather a special way, he can only eat buns, and he's not
allowed on public transport. But I feel these are very minor
JC: Uh-hu.
GC: ...when you consider the very sophisticated surgery that
Mr. Humphries has undergone. I mean each of those feet he's got
now weighs more than his whole body did before the
elephantoplasty, and the tusks are...
JC: Uh, some years ago you were the centre of controversy, both
from your own medical colleagues and from the church, when you
grafted a pederast onto an Anglican bishop.
GC: Well, that's the ignorance of the press, if I may say so.
We've done thousands of similar operations, it's just that this
time there was a bishop involved. I wish I could have more
JC: Is lack of donors a problem?
GC: There just aren't enough accidents. It's unethical and
time-consuming to go out and cause them, so we have to rely on
whatever comes to hand: chairs, tables, floor cleaning
equipment, drying-up racks, pieces of pottery, and these do
pose almost insurmountable surgical problems. What I'm sitting,
in fact, is one of our more successful attempts. This is Mrs.
Dudley. She had little hope of survival; she'd lost interest in
life, but along comes this very attractive mahogany frame, and
now she's a jolly comfortable Chesterfield.
JC: Uh-hu, I see.
Cars outside: [Crash]
GC: Oh, excuse me! (runs away)

83040.  Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:32 am Reply with quote

I remember it now. It has a very strong whiff of undergraduate about it, doesn't it?

83316.  Wed Aug 02, 2006 11:03 am Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure this is correct, although I read it ages and ages ago so I'm likely to be wrong...

Elephants have a layer of cartilage in their feet between the bone and the pad. This acts as a shock absorber, with the outside of the pad hitting the ground before the centre. The sound produced when the pad hits the ground is then trapped in the air pocket, and so the elephant can walk silently despite its size.

83393.  Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:32 pm Reply with quote

You'd think the air would be trapped at first but then squished out with the most tremendous farting noise. Good info, smiley - now all we need to find out is whether it's true or not.

83413.  Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:18 am Reply with quote

You'd think the air would be trapped at first but then squished out with the most tremendous farting noise. Good info, smiley - now all we need to find out is whether it's true or not.

Perhaps if you punctured the air-sac and then put a straw into the hole, you could get the farty noise that Flash wants?



83525.  Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:08 am Reply with quote

I had a quick trawl of the internet to see if there was any reference to elephant foot suspension...

Here are a few of the results (not sure about their reliability):


some african hunter site although I don't like the fact they condone hunting animals

some elephant facts


p.s. maybe you could get elephants with different foot sizes to get different pitched foot fart noises and play a tune! :oD


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