Chaos Erupts in Iowa

Filed under: Chambers Quiz — Chamberlain @ 11:15 am
No. 165

This morning’s eagerly anticipated announcement of the Chambers’ botanical quiz winner ended three weeks of intense suspense and speculation. For many, however, suspense turned quickly to disappointment, suspicion and anger as crowds gathered about the home of Calvin F Gatch Jr, burning the Iowa Farmers Association flag to keep themselves warm in the midst of the Midwest’s blackberry winter. Mr Gatch, the declared winner, had not ventured from his compound for two weeks when, after several abortive incorrect entries, he stumbled upon the correct answer – the Bead Fern, known better by most of us as Onoclea sensibilis. Here is what we know about this specimen (the fern, not Mr Gatch):

Sensitive Fern (Bead Fern)
Onoclea sensibilis

Sensitive fern gets its name from the tendency of the fronds to wither at the first slight frost.

• Family: Dryopteridaceae
• Habitat: wet meadows and woods, swamps, streambanks; usually in slightly acidic soil
• Height: 18-24 inches
• Location of spores: on separate fertile fronds, within bead-like modified leaflets
• Stipe (leaf stalk): yellow or pale tan, dark brown at the base with a few scales
• Growth pattern: random
• Persistence: deciduous

Here is a photo of a stand of these ferns which up till now we did not know we had here at Moone Athy

Alas, the location of this stand, at the base of a north-facing slope at the edge of a newly planted wood, has not as yet been correctly identified by any contestant, so no prize can be awarded – Quam tristis et afflictus! – as Spiro Agnew used to say.

The Clan offers its reluctant and perfunctory congratulations to Mr Gatch and hopes that the clean-up at his compound goes uneventfully.

There is much more to relate than we have time for today so stay tuned to your inbox…


  1. Who knew the Bead Fern could cause such an uproar! The coverage of this event and the risks the journalists at Our Rumpus have taken to bring it home to us is awe inspiring. Wait a minute….I think I recognize some of those Iowa Farmers Association flag burners…could it be Johnny (man(notice lack of hair)in yellow), Claire (notice the scarves), and JT (is that his plastic light saber)? Aha!

    Comment by Kate Smith — May 5, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

  2. When approached by the LC earler this year for a contribution to the Moone Athy Botanical Quiz fund, I suggested that the family adopt an “Obama” style collection system, wherein the family’s high fliers subsidize those of us who are a little down on our luck.

    The LC informed me that the family is locked into a Sarah Palin style model wherein the winners of the Botanical quiz contest — because they spend their lives wimpishly bent over microscopes instead of adventurously exploring Alaska searching for Russia –must supply their own prize.

    Is not now the moment for Chambers descendants to challenge this pretender LC?

    Comment by Uncle Calvin — May 6, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  3. The rumpus in Iowa attracted my attention – I assumed the crowds were anticipating my upcoming visit for announcing my campaign. I am sorely disappointed to find that there is another truther in the pack of contestants, a Calvin somebody or other. He’s fired. I know the LC personally – he is no imposter. I’ve seen his birth certificate myself. He had good grades.I’ve seen them too. He’s VP material.
    How about I supply the botanical quiz prize in exchange for the votes of Rumpians??? Then the LC and I can get down to business…

    Donald Trump

    Comment by Donald Trump — May 7, 2011 @ 5:14 pm

  4. Dear Donald,

    The Moone Athy trustees extend a special invitation to you for all our Easter and Thanksgiving Day parties. To what address should we send the bill?

    We think we have located a hitherto unknown fern at Moone Athy which we’d like to name in your honor. If you will fund the prize for this year’s winner, it might tilt the LC in your favor. However, please don’t send the prize money to the LC until the ongoing investigation is completed. From what we hear, there’s likely to be jail time. Uncle Calvin is the acting treasurer of the Moone Athy Botanical Quiz fund and will ensure that you receive proper documentation and charitable contribution credit.

    Comment by Uncle Calvin — May 7, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  5. You fellas need some serious mediation. Fidel, Muammar, Kim Jung Il and I will be happy to straighten things out once we’re done laying a wreath for Usama – a task that’s been more difficult than I expected. Once we’re done with that we can focus on your problems.

    My Carter Center may be willing to subsidize the botanical prize and other functions that seem to be an annoyance, barring objections from Rosalynn…she may need convincing – sometimes these family things can be contentious – which is why I try to stay with simpler issues – Hamas, Israel and the like….

    Will be in touch once I’ve discussed with Rosalynn.

    Jimmie Carter,
    Plains, GA

    Comment by J. Carter — May 9, 2011 @ 2:20 pm

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