Bottlenose Bulletins

We had a dolphin round this week. Our columnist isn’t just weird.

Published December 13, 2023

Citation Needed

According to legend, a sped-up kookaburra was used to make the chattering voice for what ’60s TV dolphin who was much slower than lightning? Flipper

My admiration for fan wikis is well documented, so I was delighted to discover the entry for “Hollywoodedge, Dolphin Chirps Vocal PE024601” on the 130,000-page Sound Effects Wiki while fact-checking this question. According to the Wiki – which, no, I am absolutely not fact-checking right now – this particular sound effect has been used in countless TV shows, from Arthur to King of the Hill.

Naturally, a goofy sound effect like that is mostly found in cartoons and kids’ shows, but how about “Elevator Bell DingsL PE192801”? It’s not often that you’ll find Better Call Saul and Grey’s Anatomy on the same list as The Boss Baby, Final Destination 2, and, hell yeah, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. And even that impressive list pales in comparison to that one cat yowl you hear everywhere.

Rabbit Holes

In 2018, a very horny dolphin named Zafar forced a summer swimming ban in the Bay of Brest, on the northwestern tip of Brittany in what country? France

Top headline on this story: “Nefarious porpoise.” The whole Zafar business broke the same week that Louis C.K. returned to stand-up after his own sexual misconduct, so Slate leaned hard into the dolphin story in a biting satirical piece on the discourse around Problematic Faves™ whose actions are swiftly excused. Big recommend.

Zafar, uh, “loved” people and vessels alike. Unfortunately, the latter may have killed him in 2020. Y’know what they say: Don’t ever fall in love with a Dutch cargo ship.

The Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square is always donated by what Scandi-nation that once knighted a penguin? Norway

I can have as many weird animal stories as I want! It’s MY column, mom!

Sir Nils Olav is no mere knight. As of this year, he’s a major general of the Norwegian King’s Guard, the third highest rank in the army. (Technically, it’s Nils Olav III; the O.G. Nils was knighted in ‘72.) And the penguin isn’t even Norwegian: He lives at the Edinburgh Zoo, where he also serves as the Baron of the Bouvet Islands, a remote, uninhabited Norwegian territory near Antarctica. Nils Olav joins other military heroes such as Staff Sergeant Reckless the horse, Wotjek the Polish bear, and Lance Corporal Billy Windsor the English goat (who was temporarily demoted due to a head-butting incident in the presence of the queen). 

Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire” and Doja Cat’s “Paint the Town Red” headline the 88th and latest edition of what as-seen-on-TV compilations? Now That’s What I Call Music!

It won’t surprise you that I am a YouTube Video Essay guy. I highly recommend this video on the Now! series from Mic the Snare, which quickly covers the history of Now! before diving into the state of the series in 2023. His commentary is amusing and irreverent without being pretentious or overly snarky, like some busy music nerds I could name. Longer videos covering the definitive music of the 2010s, 2000s, and 1990s are also great watches.

Pedantic Predicaments

The Greeks said their love god Eros was born out of an egg, but his Roman counterpart Cupid was the child of Mars and what seductive shell-rider? Venus

I’ll make this one fast: No, we’re not accepting Aphrodite! She’s Greek! Take it up with Botticelli! We also wouldn’t accept “Aphrodite Flytrap,” or “Aphrodite Williams,” or “Aphrodite de Milo” – wait, uh, never mind, I take that last one back.

Mark Gartsbeyn is a resident fact-checker at Questionist’s parent company, Geeks Who Drink. He writes a weekly column on the idiosyncrasies of his work, which appears on Questionist each Wednesday.