December 21, 2006


Slate - The Explainer

The following article is from today's Slate Magazine. They have a regular feature, The Explainer, where strange questions are answered. It's very cool. And apparently, sometimes the Explainer gets stumped. So today, they have posted the questions they've been unable to answer this past year. I have helpfully answered them in their stead. My answers are in red.


The Explainer's Unanswered Questions From 2006

Q: What comes after 999 trillion?
A: 1. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Q: Why do train whistles at night always sound lonely and mournful? Not so in the daytime.
A: The same reason a child crying in the night makes you want to rip your own tonsils out. When everything else is silent, the noise has much more noise-space to take up, and therefore sounds louder.

Q: Given the exchange and dispersion of matter, how likely is it/how often do we inhale/consume and/or incorporate into our own protein structure molecules that were once in some historical figure, say Abraham Lincoln?
A: Why is it when someone asks questions like this, they never want to know how many molecules of breath they've shared with say, Ted Bundy or Lizzy Borden? The scientific fact is that the air has gone in and out of too many of us, and the sagging of my breasts is actually a further indication of personal global warming.

Q: Lasers are now powerful and small (at least I think they are), so why don't our troops carry laser guns?
A: Because everyone would want to be Luke Skywalker, and nobody would want to be the angry little runty guys.

Q: Why is smooth peanut butter cheaper than nutty?
A: I've no idea where you live, but it costs the same here in Canada. Even if it didn't, I would gladly pay more for chunky. It doesn't slide off of hot toast, and I do not like to have to buy bread with guardrails just to keep the peanut butter onside.

Q: If we taught animals to talk, how would that affect the world?
A: We would all be trapped in a never-ending version of the movie Babe, which is initially quite cute, but after you watch it a few times, you realize it is quite creepy.

Q: What would happen to the stock market if a meteor impacted the earth? What would happen to the global markets and the U.S. market? Say a meteor hits inside U.S. borders and takes out two states.
A: People like me, who choose not invest in the stock market, would stand around and say 'told you so'. And, do the two states have to be adjacent? I can think of several I can live without, but I'll need to know if they have to be touching.

Q: Is it possible to collect all the cookie dough in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream and actually bake cookies from it?
A: It is possible, though while your children are playing in the run-off of ice cream like they're trapped in some Willy Wonka Wonderland, the cookies will end up tasting like something Rachal Ray dumped EEVO on and is passing off as homemade.

Q: How clean is bar soap in a public bathroom? Is it "self-cleaning," since it's soap? It seems like a health hazard to me.
A: You're just asking that so you can pretend you wash your hands. I don't believe you.

Q: Why did Zidane head-butt his opponent in the World Cup final? Do the French not fight with their fists?
A: I believe there was a 'yo mama' comment that preceeded the contact, though it is well known that the French do not, in fact, fight. They drink copious amounts of rather nice red wine, smoke stinky cigarettes that would get them booted from any establishment in North America, and sit around ogling very thin French women. They really have no reason to fight.


Q: When we are approaching another person, like in a hallway, why do we step to our left? That is, try and pass right-shoulder-to-right-shoulder.
A: The right is our jousting arm, and we all secretly want to be in the Knight's Tale movie, even if just for a moment, because that was when Heath Ledger looked the cutest with that medieval hair.

Q: I have been pondering this situation for as long as I can remember (maybe age 7-8) and it drives me nuts. It makes me feel like my head will implode if I think any harder. Is the universe infinite? It must end somewhere. But when it ends … there must be something on the other side … right?
A: If you believe that age 7 to 8 is a very long time, you have bigger things to worry about than a definition of infinity.

Q: If a group of passengers on a hijacked plane wanted to, could they bring a plane down by all of them using their cell phones at the same time?
A: Only if they had the old fashioned phones that weighed as much as cement blocks, and they coordinated their aim and threw them at the hijackers at the same time. Otherwise, they will just be snapping pictures and watching reruns of the O.C.

Q: Why do humans die so young? In biblical times, people lived for several hundred years; now living to 100 is considered a long life. What happened?
A: The fact you are getting your science facts from the bible makes me realize that the ongoing educational debates in some states is warranted.

Q: How can I tell if I was the first person to use the term "K-fed-up" in relation to Britney's divorce?
A: You have never had an original thought in your life. The fact you would like to have one, and you would waste it on something like this, makes me realize you will never have one. You don't deserve one.

Q: Why is the No. 8 always the same combination (tamale, enchilada, rice, beans) in any Mexican restaurant I visit? This includes primarily the southeast United States but not obvious franchises.
A: Someone really sent you this question? Who the hell reads Slate for this?

Q: Hi, how does nature make water? How does nature combine one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms to make water? If we knew how nature makes water, then perhaps we can then find an efficient way of separating hydrogen from oxygen, thus creating the ultimate source for energy.
A: Nature doesn't make water. Niagara Falls makes water. Water is literally like stones. You just find it lying on the ground.

Q: Why is grilled chicken tasting increasingly rubbery and odd?
A: Because you are a lousy cook. Actually it's because when you eat at crappy restaurants, you're not eating chicken. You're eating nearchicken, which is injected with water and chemicals, than par-cooked so that by the time your order up your 3-minute meal, it's a feast for the eyes. They haven't perfected making it a feast for the tastebuds just yet. Stay out of fast food joints.

Q: i need more money.....what business can i start that will not take a lot of time...i have internet access daily...........and i have saturday morning free before 12 noon to run around. i work from 7am to 9:30 pm..............
A: Become a writer.

Q: Just suppose, one day someone wants to sell you an old gold bar. You don't know if it belongs to any treasure, and you can't find out if there is any reward for it, if it was a lost treasure. How would you go about melting it and selling it? The same would go for a gemstone about the size of a dinner plate. How would you go about selling it? If you're living in a country that is corrupt and you cannot trust the government, or anyone else, what can you do?
A: You set up a hotmail account from Nigeria. Send out an email, and watch all the suckers rush to help you. You may have to profess your love to someone, but its a small price to pay to unload a gemstone the size of a dinner plate. Are you serious? A dinner plate?

Q: Can you tell me how long it will take if you eat rat poison to see if it is going to affect you? Please e-mail me back. Because my niece ate some.
A: Dear Uncle Fabulous: If you didn't want to babysit, you should have just said so. Whatever you do, don't give her anything to drink.

Q: Hi. I just wanted to know if our eyeballs roll back when we are sleeping (or closed) or do they shake? Or …
A: We are like those ugly dolls from 40 years ago with the big plastic heads and the painted- on hair. Our eyes roll back, because that's where they run the movies that we call 'dreams'.

Q: PYGMIES: How/when/where/still in existence/do we mate with them?
A: Even pygmies have standards.

Q: Do dolphins actually save people? If so, why do they do this?
A: They save us so we don't eat them. They've seen what happens to everything else out there, and eagerly point out which way the sharks went. They are selfish.

Q: I have a sister that stresses the hell out of me. For example this one sister out of three knows that I am recovering from a serious car accident. I thank God for saving my life, and healing me each and every day. My question is can a person who complains and talks about the same complaining crap every day stress you completely out? About four days ago I had to tell this one sister (Annie) basically to get a life and stop bugging me with her problems and everybody else's. I reminded her that I am still in a neck brace and healing … I really need to know if a person can really stress you out with the same old thing over and over and over again. PLEASE ANSWER BACK ASAP.

A: Get a life and stop bugging me with your problems.

Q: Can someone be forced to masturbate?
A: Only for a few seconds.

Q: Why do we make a "lip-smacking" sound when kissing closed-mouth? We do make the sound; it doesn't happen on its own ...
A: It is the only way humans have of communicating that something is good. We are virtually incapable of speaking, writing, making music or art, singing or writing on overpasses. So we make that smacking noise.

Q: What's likely to happen to people, or what might they feel, when they're killed instantly?
A: I believe it's like when the plane lands after a 20 hour flight, and your seatmate finally puts away the photos, surrenders the armrest, helps you put away your untouched book and offers to trade addresses. And you give him the wrong one.

Q: Can a state in the United States split into two or more states? If so, how? I think Texas has a special provision for being able to divide into up to five states. But I am wondering about the others.
Click Here!
A: This may in fact be closer than we think, because if we lose the two states in the meteor-and-stock-market-question, we will be required to find two more. The flag has fifty stars, and this cannot be changed.

Q: I have noticed that a lot of mainstream movies feature men peeing. Are the actors really peeing?
A: Of course. And everyone in moves is also having sex, vomiting, driving into walls, falling out of planes and drowning. Why do you think it is such a tough business to break into?

Q: yea i have my own 620 gang and i dont know how to run it to make not look like a little bitch gang joke it is just me and my friend how do i run it?
A: A 620 gang. Is that like a retirement fund thing? If you have a pension plan, I'll join your little gang. Then you'll be up to three. Little bitches.

Q: Hi. How did the horse in the movie about dreams make it to not only survive but to win again? Was this movie true?
A: Sorry, it's just not true. You know how sometimes you wake up and think you've won the lottery? And you haven't? And you're sad? It's like that, but you're a horse.

Q: Working in my yard yesterday, I killed a gnat in my ear canal, where it had flown. I couldn't remove the body as my finger was too fat. What happens to it now?
A: You must put something bigger in there to eat it. If that gets stuck, well, you get the idea.

Q: What is the richest religion? Scientology has a lot of Hollywood stars and I think they actually make their members give money, but Catholicism is a very old religion with its own country. Also, Islam has a lot of members but I don't know about their money situation.
A: Interesting question you pose, and perhaps worthy of an experiment. Get all your friends and family to send me some money, and we'll see if we can't give that old Vatican a run....

Q: Is chicken considered meat?
A: Not to the chicken.

Q: Hello ... Could you tell me if there's been any kind of medical discovery in the last 30 years besides DNA.
A: Apparently a coconut that can use a keyboard.

Q: Are UFOs confirmed to be from other Alien Planets?
A: Certainly. Fox Mulder called the other day to tell me. Why do you think they say the truth is 'out there'? Because it's not 'in here'. Silly.

Q: How do you get to write articles for Slate. Do you have to go through a process?
A: Articles, yes. Questions, apparently no.

Q: I met a 40-year-old stripper back in February of this year. We had a special connection. Yet, she was homeless, going through a divorce and bankruptcy. She has three kids who live in Alabama and she pays $500 a month in child support. Moreover, she used cocaine. At one point, she was arrested for forgery. She spent a month in jail but was released under the condition that she become a narc for the police department. She gave the names of her dealers and would wear wires when drug deals were going down. I let her stay at my place and kept food in the refrigerator. This past Monday she took all her clothes, my money, and left. The night before, she hung out with some friends. I called her, and she said I was too good for her. She said she had never been treated so well. She said she would drag me down and she couldn't bear to handle that. I told her my hopes and dreams the night before. I wonder if I scared her off. I don't know what to make of it. I don't know if she met someone else the night before and doesn't want to tell me. It's killing me inside. I cried for her. I really cared for her. Can you give me some advice?
A: Never, ever tell a woman your hopes and dreams. You will scare away all the good ones.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only had to read your answers to the first couple questions to know that you're neither clever nor funny. Happy Holidays!

December 22, 2006 7:11 AM  
Anonymous eveline said...

I read ALL the answers to all the questions and had a good laugh. You should forward to Slate...Merry Xmas & Happy New Year.

December 22, 2006 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Blogger:

Are you on crack? This is one of the funniest things I've read in a long time. Where's your blog? Maybe we can judge your idea of real humour? Happy holidays yourself, crack-head.

December 22, 2006 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Lorraine & may you be as successful keeping us informed & entertained in 2007 as in 2006. All the best to you & yours. This blog was hilarious today - you sure know how to cut to the chase. Thanks again, Sandie (the Avon lady)

December 22, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

Thanks for your witty answers Lorraine. I found your site after reading Slate and Googling "620 gang". Unfortunately, I still don't know what that is...

Andy

December 23, 2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger Lorraine said...

Yeah Andy, I thought of asking my 15-year-old son, but decided I wanted to continue believing he is being raised in a vacuum.

December 23, 2006 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need to agree with anonymous here. Your replies were very dull and a waste of both my time and the "internet tubes".

Better luck next time.

December 27, 2006 3:30 PM  

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