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Spot-the-Fake Super Happy Quiz 1

Updated on September 9, 2014

LabKitty Presents

As you may recall, noble patriot James O'Keefe exposed NPR as a clotured instrument of Cthulhu by tricking them into telling truths on hidden camera. As such, it is only a matter of time before the cast of Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me is rightfully water-boarded to death and the vital nutrients harvested from their lifeless corpses. (Although as of this writing, these pink rascals are STILL besmirching our airwaves. [shakes fist])

Among other things, this means we may never acquire the dulcet tones of Carl Kasell on our answering machine.

Spot-the-Fake Super Happy Quiz

First in a Series

On the other hand, we suspect that by the time you read this, derpa-derpa-gate will likely be buried somewhere mid-to-bottom in the where-are-they-now file. Jeez, Jimmy, what are you going to do for an encore? Beat up a puppy?

On the third hand, everyone knows that the Chinese character for "crisis" is the same as the character for "opportunity" (or not). And with the cast of WWDTM in crisis, it provides opportunity for LabKitty to expropriate their loverly quiz segment, the one where they present three news stories and some brave caller from Moosehead or Circle Pines must identify the fake one. Unless it's the other way around and there's two fakes and a real story. Whatever.

So here's our game: Below we present three interesting factoids, accumulated over our lifetime of nerditude, only two of which are true. Your job is to spot the fake (ergo: game name). We provide the answer at the bottom of the page (no cheating!). There's even a quiz clicky thing where you can enter your answer and then see how everyone else did!

Ahem. IF YOU JUST OPEN A NEW TAB AND WIKI THE ANSWERS, UR DOING IT RONG. For our part, we promise there is a clue or clues in the text such that you should be able to spot the fake from the information given, and not from knowledge of some arcane nerd trivia.


This, our first installment, is art-themed.

Let's rock.

Item #1

Egyptians intentionally broke the legs on hippo statues

On your next visit to the local art museum, head for the mummy section and find a showcase of burial artifacts. Mixed-in with the cats and the scarabs and the de-braining hooks, you will likely find at least one statue of a tiny hippopotamus. Ancient Egypt was lousy with these things, both in real life and in the afterlife. The hippo was the Egyptian patron saint of farming, and you often got buried with one to make sure your spirit would be well-fed in the next world.

However, if you look closely at the hippo, you'll will find that the legs are broken. One or more legs may be missing outright; otherwise you'll have to look carefully for a fracture line. Wait until the museum volunteer walking the perimeter is distracted and press your nose up against the glass for a better view. Careful not to bring down her ire and/or flashlight upon you.

One might think the legs were damaged by careless handing as Lara raided the tomb, or perhaps by the Hulk smash of invading armies as Egypt traded hands over the eons. Or maybe simple time and shrinkage has hobbled the fragile ancient pottery.

Not so! The hippo's legs were broken intentionally before the figurine was entombed.

Who would do such a dastardly deed? And why?

Here in the modern world, from the safe vantage of zoos, we view hippos as comical, almost cuddly creatures. Not so in ancient Egypt. There, the free-roaming beasties were a genuine mortal danger, rampaging through camp and town, trampling villagers and crops underfoot. Nature's own Sherman tank.

As it would be bad form to burst through the gates of Valhalla shrieking like a little girl with a specter hippo hot on your heels, the beasts got knee-capped before they went in the coffin with you. Thus you could join your ancestors in the afterlife in peace, playing Uno or shuffleboard or watching Oprah reruns or doing whatever it is you do for eternity up there without fear of some ginormous herbivore stomping around in your mummy parts.

Item #2 - The Last Supper was bombed in WW-II

Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is one of the most iconic paintings of all time. As you probably know, it depicts Jesus gathered with his followers for a last supper before being arrested by the Romans. Da Vinci depicts the moment Jesus announces one of the disciples will betray him (that would be Judas, fourth from left; elbow on table). This act, leading as it did to the crucifixion, condemned Judas as one of history's greatest monsters. Although as someone (probably Joseph Campbell) has pointed out, without the crucifixion there would be no Christianity, thus Judas' true standing is rather complicated. Maybe Dante might have given that some thought before portraying Judas as such a villain in The Inferno.

Fast forward 400 years and Europe has lost its mind (again) and is engulfed in war (again). It's 1943 and the Italians have thrown in their lot with Hitler. Currently, the allies are advancing up the Italian peninsula on their way to Germany in this great campaign to rid the world of tyranny and oppression.

The immediate problem is that The Last Supper is housed in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan (the fresco was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza to grace the refractory). Milan is blocking the allied advance. You can probably see where this is headed.

On August 15, 1943, allied bombers are dispatched to squash the town flat. One or more bombs strike the refractory during the raid. The Last Supper is not damaged, but the roof of the place is caved in, exposing the great work to the elements (and random sniper fire). The custodians do what they can, covering the painting in tarps and whatnot until the danger passes.

Eventually the war would conclude and Santa Maria delle Grazie would be rebuilt. The painting miraculously (no pun intended, but who knows?) survived the ordeal with only minor damage. You can now travel to Milan and see da Vinci's masterpiece for two bits a gander.

fight for me!
fight for me!

Item #3

"Whistler's Mother" was not Whistler's mother; she was a model from a WW-I recruiting poster.

Next to the great landscape artist Alfonzo Church, James McNeill Whistler may be the most famous American painter of the 19th century. A lesser-known oddity is that he spent most of his life abroad. Whistler traveled to Russia with his father as a boy, studied extensively in Europe after flunking out of West Point, and eventually settled in London where he would remain until his death in 1903. How this makes Whistler an "American" artist is a little hard to grok. Perhaps the insecure psyche of the burgeoning American cultural scene simply needed a hero, just like Bonnie Tyler.

In any event, Whistler's most famous painting is, of course, Whistler's Mother or, as originally titled, Arrangement in Grey and Black. However, at the time of its creation Whistler's aged mother was too frail to make the long sea voyage from America to London. Thus, when possessed of the idea of painting a tribute to mom, Whistler was stuck either trusting his memory or finding a suitable stand-in. He chose the latter. Specifically, he chose an amateur model appearing on a Canadian WW-I recruiting poster that Whistler saw one night outside a pub in Piccadilly Square.

And it may have been for the best, as it no doubt spared Whistler the well-intentioned albeit soul-destroying carping sons know so well. Wasn't he over his little painting thing yet? All the other boys from the neighborhood have respectable jobs on Wall street. Why wasn't he married? What smells like onions?

Thus did Whistler create one of the most iconic images ever put to canvas. Something unmistakably American - a tribute to the heartland, the amber waves of grain, the hardscrabble life of the simple folk - painted in a London studio using a Canadian model. Probably while drinking Irish coffee and eating French fries and Belgian waffles.

Pencils Down!

Egyptian sculptors indeed vandalized burial hippos and the Last Supper was indeed bombed in WW-II. However, while Whistler's mother indeed appeared on a WW-I recruiting poster, we have reversed the chicken and the egg: it was the famous painting that inspired for poster, not the other way 'round.

So Item #3 is your fake.

The clue? (remember, we promised you should be able to spot the fake from the information given). We note that Whistler died in 1903 (s'true!). This was a decade before WW-I started (also s'true!). Ergo, it would have been impossible for him to use a WW-I recruiting poster model for a stand-in.


Image Credits

Image of hippopotamus statue from and please go there and buy one so we don't go to jail. Image of The Last Supper appears according to the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. Whistler's Mother recruiting poster from the nice people at and you can go to their fine website and purchase this and many other vintage posters.

All other weirdness (c) 2011-14, LabKitty Design

Reader Feedback

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    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Enjoyed this episode of "Breaking the Hippo Kneecaps." What will you do for an encore? Of course, I failed the quiz, if getting the right answer was the point. Will this be on the final?

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      clearly I need to study up a little lol

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well, seems I got it wrong. :( Ah, well - very interesting stuff! :)


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