David Jaggard's

Quorum of One

Issue number 48                April 26, 2003


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Quorum of One is intended for adult readers

This issue:

A special public service for graduating college seniors!

This is the time to be boning up on your specialty in preparation for the grueling aptitude tests you'll be taking at the end of the school year. Since sample questions to help students prepare for the GRE, M-CAT and L-SAT exams are readily available on the Web, This Publication has decided to devote this issue to excerpts from the:


Tobacco Lobbyists Aptitude Test



The test is in two parts: Verbal Skills and Math Skills. You will have 45 minutes to complete each section. Or you can take the "light" version of the test, which has fewer and easier questions. In that case you will have 20 minutes to complete each section, but your score might be inconclusive and you may have to take a second or even a third "light" test right away. So it might ultimately take up more of your time and energy than the full, original test.  But don't blame us!

Do not open the test booklet or begin marking answers until you are told to do so by the monitor. If you feel that this rule should not apply to you, and have left a bag containing $50,000 cash in locker 917 at Dulles International Airport Terminal G, you can begin right now and take as long as you want to finish.


Part One: Verbal Skills

In this section of the test there may be several answers that seem to be correct, but in each case you must choose the one best answer.


Module A: Sentence completion

Choose the word or words from among the five possible answers that best fill in the blank(s) in the given sentence.


Sample question:
Where there's smoke, there's ____

A     Fire

B     Someone enjoying a fine tobacco product

C     Someone exercising his inalienable right to enjoy a fine tobacco product

D    Someone exercising his or her inalienable right to enjoy a fine tobacco product

E     An entire group of like-minded men and women, all young and attractive, exercising their inalienable right to enjoy fine tobacco products as well as each other's witty and, I must add, downright flirtatious conversation


The correct answer, of course, is A. You may now proceed with the test.


1.     Hey buddy, got a ___ ?

A    cigarette

B     match

C     ashtray

D    lung

E     brain

2.     Would you ___ if I ___ ?

A    mind ... smoke

B     go ballistic ... enjoy myself

C     call in jack-booted storm troopers ... exercise my basic human rights

D    beat me senseless ... speak out in favor of freedom

E     murder my children and my pregnant wife ... uphold the constitution


3.     ___ me! This is a ___ ___ area!

A    Excuse ... no smoking

B     Pardon ... restricted pleasure

C     Obey ... Puritans only

D    Bow down and worship ... narrow-minded killjoys

E     So sue ... mob rule


4.     When its ___ ___ are ___, an industrial corporation has to ___ ___ the ___ ___.

A    domestic markets ... saturated ... invest in ... Third World

B     advertising options ... restricted ... begin sponsoring ... volleyball playoffs

C     customer bases ... dwindling ... ahh, "educate" ... younger generation

D    core products ... regulated ... spread around ... old do-re-mi

E     professional ethics ... suspected ... act like ... persecuted victim


5.     ___ ___?! ___ ___ ___ ___ ___?!

A    Thirty-four percent ... Where'd you get those figures

B     Influence peddling ... Who would stoop so low

C     Recruit children ... Don't they need entertainment too

D    Developing countries ... They actually have money there

E     It's addictive ... Why didn't anyone tell us



Module B: Analogies

Choose the answer that most closely corresponds to the given analogy. In these questions, the colon (:) represents the relation "is to" or "are to", and the double colon (::) represents "as". Again, several answers may be correct but there is only one best answer.


Sample question

Punitive damages : fraud ::

A     fines : negligence

B     prison time : telling little white lies

C     solitary confinement : forgetting a couple of minor details

D    torture : exaggerating maybe a little

E     summary assassination : just trying to make an honest buck, fer chrissake


The correct answer is, obviously, C. You may now proceed with the test.


6.     Industry : people ::

A    sunlight : flowers

B     flowers : wedding

C     cake : wedding

D    frosting : cake

E     cherry : frosting


7.     Government : industry ::

A    dam : river

B     roadblock : felon

C     pigeon : statue

D    condom : shower

E     rubber glove : physical exam

8.     Tort litigation : government ::

A    bottom : barrel

B     mucus : membrane

C     pustule : cheek

D    pus : pustule

E     pit : outhouse


9.     Lawyers : tort litigation ::

A    moths : candles

B     looters : earthquakes

C     stalkers : movie stars

D    sharks : chum

E     freshmen : porn


10.   "Victims" : lawyers ::

A    campers : mosquitoes

B     sturgeon : lampreys

C     zebra carcasses : hyenas

D    bloated zebra carcasses : flies

E     bloated rotting zebra carcasses : maggots


11.   People : "victims" ::

A    barrel : rotten apple

B     ointment : fly

C     soup : fly

D    swimming pool : urine

E     lung : tumor


Module C: Critical Reading

Questions 15-20 will refer to the following excerpt from the oeuvre of one of history's greatest writer-philosophers:


"Brevity is the quality that makes cigarettes, speeches, love affairs and ocean voyages bearable."     H. L. Mencken


12.   What phrase best describes Mencken's attitude toward "ocean voyages"?

A    bemused tolerance

B     begrudging acceptance

C     besotted ebullience

D    bedraggled comeuppance

E     bespectacled jurisprudence


13.   But nonetheless he does, does he not, clearly state that he finds "ocean voyages" to be "tolerable", doesn't he?

A    Actually, he said "bearable"

B     Yeah, but that means the same thing

C     Not exactly

D    Well, close enough

E     No, it's not the same at all


14.   Hey, there's no need to:

A    Pick nits

B     I'm not nitpicking! It's a significant difference: "tolerable" means that something can be endured without causing actual physical harm, whereas "bearable" means that something can be endured with a modicum of pleasure.

C     Oh come off it, you really believe that?

D    Sure do! The latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary lists 14 precedents for the use of "bearable" in contexts indicating, if not outright pleasure, at least mild, detached amusement, whereas in the citations for "tolerable" there are seven...

E     All right, all right! Have it your way! Sheesh.


15.   Ahem. And "tolerable", or "bearable", whichever the hell, is a positive assessment, isn't it?

A    Hmmmmm...

B     Weeeeellllll, yeeeeeeesssss...

C     Yeah, I guess, pretty much

D    Kind of -- I suppose you could call it that

E     Oh yes, absolutely. No doubt about it


16.   All right then. So if he has a positive viewpoint on "ocean voyages", that means that he has a positive viewpoint on all of the other items in his list too, doesn't it?

A    Doesn't it?


C     Yeah, yeah, all right already


E     Jeez buddy, chill a little, will you?


17.   So it can be deduced that Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956), one of the pillars of American journalism and literature, one of the great thinkers of the twentieth century, was wholehearted in his endorsement of "ocean voyages" as well as everything else on his list, including, I must add, love itself?

A    No

B     Whaddaya mean "no"?

C     Oh all right, YES! Happy now?

D    That's better

E     When do I get my $50,000?



Part Two: Math Skills


In this section of the test, there is only one possible correct answer to each question.


18.   A right triangle has two sides measuring 17.65 cm and 24.54 cm. The junction of these two sides does not form a 90 degree angle. How long is the other side?

A    12.4 cm

B     22.1 cm

C     15 cm

D    0.021 inches

E     These are just numbers. They don't really signify anything.


19.   The national government in a certain country makes $34.5 billion per year by taxing a certain product, money which finances schools, hospitals, environmental protection projects, anti-crime programs, community outreach services, day care centers, substance abuse recovery clinics, retirement homes, orphanages, free family counseling and kitten rescue squads. If such a product were suddenly taken off the market, how much time would it take for the country to go to hell in a handbasket?

A    Five days

B     Three months tops

C     A year, two years

D    Maybe five years, but no more

E     Any country that would even consider outlawing or even restricting the sale of such a product has already gone to hell


20.   A train leaves Pleasanton at 5:34 pm, traveling at a constant speed of 54 miles per hour toward Niceville, 212 miles away. At 6:10 pm, another train leaves Niceville, traveling at a constant speed of 62 miles per hour toward Pleasanton. Should both trains have smoking cars, or should the God-given rights of honest tax-paying citizens be unthinkingly squashed, mutilated and hurled aside just like the pennies that two kids put on the tracks in Groovyburg (located 61 miles from Pleasanton and 151 miles from Niceville), causing the first train to derail, instantly killing a number of passengers and closing down the entire line for five days so that the two trains never met?

A    This is a math question?

B     Well, it's the math section...

C     So what are we supposed to figure out?

D    I don't know -- how many people were instantly killed in the wreck?

E     Who's to know? 17?


21.   Of the 17 passengers who were instantly killed in the train wreck described in the previous question, six were habitual smokers. Did they die any sooner than the non-smoking victims?

A    No

B     No, of course not

C     Well, wait -- by a couple seconds maybe

D    Yeah, but not because of their smoking

E     I don't know -- what if one of them was standing in between cars to try to sneak a smoke because there aren't any smoking cars any more and was just lighting up at the time of the wreck and got splashed all over with diesel fuel from a ruptured tank and was suddenly engulfed in a billowing mass of flame that instantly burned off his clothes and hair, blistered and charred his skin until it fell off in five-pound chunks, roasted the tastebuds right off his tongue, boiled the fluid in his eyeballs until...


22.   HEY!!! Can it, willya? So from this we can clearly deduce that when your number's up, your number's:

A    Down

B     Over there someplace

C     Way in the back of the bottom shelf of the refrigerator

D    Up and there's not a goddamn thing you or anyone else can do about it, buster!

E     It's just a number. It doesn't really signify anything


23.   Qualitative analysis question:
At Research Lab A, 115 rats are injected with massive doses of an allegedly noxious substance every day for forty days. At Research Lab B, 400 white mice are injected with even larger doses of the same substance for sixty days. At the end of thirty days one of the rats in Research Lab A is still alive and the lab halts the experiment. At the end of fifty days, all of the mice in Research Lab B are dead, but the staff keeps on injecting them anyway for the full sixty days. So what, if anything, does this prove?

A    Lab A is more scientifically rigorous than Lab B

B     Lab B is more scientifically rigorous than Lab A

C     The two labs are equally rigorous in their scientific testing

D    The two labs will both receive funding from some damn government bureau next year, just watch

E     You can't tell shinola from information like this


24.   John and Bill are both pitchers on the same minor league baseball team. John throws a fastball at an average speed of 70 mph. Bill throws a fastball at an average speed of 62.2 mph. In one season they both throw fastballs for three out of seven pitches but otherwise spend exactly the same amount of time on the pitcher's mound. In percentage, how much more time has Bill spent on the mound?

A    12%

B     4%

C     16%

D    2.31%

E     2.31% -- time that he could have spent chewing tobacco, which would have provided the boost he needed to pitch faster than John, who enjoys the refreshment and stimulus of a little pinch now and then


25.   An opaque bag contains 12 white marbles, 23 black marbles and 16 red marbles. John takes one marble out of the bag. It is red. What are the odds that John is going to keel over and die from any cause other than a tobacco-related illness before he can take another red marble out of the bag?

A    Six to five against

B     I'll give you twenty to one for

C     Twenty to one? Are you crazy? I'm in!

D    Me too! Here's $50,000 in cash!

E     Woops -- forgot to tell you: John's already dead. Cancer of the mouth. So it was actually Bill who took the marble out of the bag and you all lose your bets.


26.   Square PQRS lies in the rectangular coordinate plane with opposite interstices and has opposite vertices at coordinates R(3.2, -4.4x) and P(-8.93, 6x). Before trying to figure out what the freakin' fork the value of x is, don't you wish you could take a cigarette break?

A    No

B     Yes

C     Yes, and I don't even smoke

D    Cup of coffee while you're at it, if it's not too much trouble

E     I got a hip flask here if anyone wants a little snort...


27.   And what if you were allowed to smoke during the test? Do you think your score would be:

A    12% better

B     12.1% better

C     12.13% better

D    Perfect

E     My score isn't even the point -- it's just that I should be able to if I wanted to.


28.   Bill and John took the same aptitude test on the same day. Bill's score is an integer divisible by 17. John's score is exactly 12% higher than Bill's score. The sum of their scores is a whole number that cannot be divided by 23. What is John's score?

A    Pretty good for a dead guy

B     Yeah, especially a minor leaguer who chewed tobacco

C     Hey -- you want to stop dicking around and finish the test, or what?

D    All right, all right: 614

E     Oh to hell with their scores, what's mine?


You have now reached the end of the test. Before turning in your test booklet you must sign and date the following disclaimer:


To the best of my knowledge at this time I can unhesitatingly assert that there is no scientifically proven connection between nicotine and lung cancer, tar and emphysema, cigarette ashes and that disgusting smell in my living room, or my score on the T-LAT and any "extra goodies" that I may have added to the, ahh, "gift pack", which by the way is in the locker right now.


Name (please print) ______________

Date ___________________________

Signature _______________________





¨©2003 by David Jaggard






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