Friday, December 21, 2007


Quick quiz, folks.

Who can tell me what happened on October 10, 1582 in Rome?

Hint #1: Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same day. Though it was obviously not this day.

Update: Congratulations to all of you who got it right, and complete boo to those of you who did not. It turns out that Oct. 10, 1582 did not exist, along with about 10 other days. This was caused by a switch from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian one. Because of this, certain areas of the world went from Thursday, October 4 directly to Friday, October 15.

The crazy thing is that this didn't happen everywhere. England, for example, did not recognize this switch. This means that, though both Shakespeare (who lived in England) and Cervantes (who lived in Spain) died on April 23, 1616, one actually died about 10 days earlier!

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's late. Also, what am I missing?

I need to wake up in about 4 and 1/2 hours for my last final, so naturally I pick tonight to be unable to go to sleep.

When my mind does its racing thing and it's late, I naturally go to my old standby. You know, "Boo hoo, and whoa is me."

Anyway, I was in that mindset when a question occurred to me. How do other people perceive me? Especially upon first viewing? If you haven't read this blog and have not had the opportunity to delve into my hopes, dreams, self-doubts, and self-directed personal aspersions, how would you perceive me?

I'm afraid, at this point, I have no idea. I'm too close to the subject. Do I come off as self-centered? Uppity? Vague? What about childish?

I'm sure I also come across as generally pleasant, but that's not really what I'm interested in. I'm more curious about the negative traits that immediately come to mind.

The seed for this question appeared several months ago, after a traffic court session. The other two judges and I (plus one other girl) all went to a local brewery for dinner. For those of you counting, the judges included a male, a female, and a me. That means sitting at the table were two guys and two gals.

And as the conversation flowed, I noticed something. I talked to the two girls like they were two regular folk (i.e. guys). If they had an opinion that I disagreed with, I let it be known. I was as abrupt and abrasive as I would be with anyone. That is to say, I wasn't a real asshole or anything. I just didn't go out of my way to be conciliatory.

Which is what the other guy did. It was almost bizarre to watch. Instead of treating them like people, he treated the girls in a deferential manner. Instead of disagreeing, he listened and said some nothing, like, "Oh, that's very interesting" or "there you go."

It was strange, to say the least, to compare our styles. Then it occurred to me that maybe that was part of my problem. Let's face it: I'm not going to be getting a ton of ladies with my looks. We can just automatically put that to one side.

So what are other qualities that do the same job? Personality. But what does that mean? And the answer to that is, "I don't know."

I really don't. I have no freaking clue. Based on my experiences at Triangle, I always assumed it meant being willing to talk to women at all. Clearly, that is not the case. I have no trouble talking to women. I do it all the time. In fact, if I had to select 15 top friends of the past 6 years, I'd guess at least 9 of them would be female.

So what the hell is the problem? Ans: Ida Know. THIRD BASE!

Opps. Wrong sketch.

But seriously, women-folk, I need some advice based not upon what "everyone knows," but rather based on experience. In your experience, do the guys with whom you are interested talk to you in any way that is different than par for the course? Is there some kind of magical manner of being that I am completely missing?

Or are looks really the only thing, and I'm just totally screwed?

Man. That would suck.

Note: If you are going to respond to this one with advice, PLEASE don't speak in generalities. I don't want to hear, "I like guys who are self-confident." I have no freaking idea what that statement means. If you like guys who are self-confident, tell me the little clues you perceive that make him that way.

If, instead, you are going to respond by suggesting some category other than communication and looks, feel free to speak in more broad terms.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Answers to every stupid question

I found the following list of supposedly "thoughtful" questions, decided they were stupid and irritating, so now I am taking the time to answer as many of them as I can. If I don't have an answer now, I offer to let anyone else take a question and figure it out, or I'll try to come back to it when I can.

Where did hamsters live before we put them in cages as a pet?

They came from the Syrian desert, brought over by a man named Aharoni in 1930.

Why do people say "no offense" when they're about to offend someone?

Usually, because they are incorrectly using the phrase. "No offense" was originally "no offense intended." It was said when a statement could be construed in one of two ways or when possible offense could be taken from a statement. I really did mean that the speaker did not intend to give offense. Frequently, these days, it is used because idiot assholes like to use phrases in their daily speech.

Why do they have the back pain medicine on the bottom shelf at the pharmacy?

I don't use backpain medicine. Before answering this question, can anyone verify it? I would have guessed that they only keep the cheap medicine on the bottom shelf and keep the high dollar medicine (including expensive back pain medication) on the eye level shelf.

They have a show called "Unsolved Mysteries." What other kind of
[1]mysteries are there?

Solved ones? Alternately, the use of the term "unsolved" might be meant to indicate that the mysteries indicated could be solvable at some point, unlike, for example, religious mysteries, which are more philosophical in nature.

Do they make coffins wider for dead fat people or is it a 1 size fits all kind of thing?

Coffins are multiple sizes. Don't you remember old west movies where the undertaker would measure both participants in a showdown?

If Santa lives at the North Pole... where does the Easter bunny live?

Up your ass?

Does Jell-o EVER go bad? There usually isn’t an expiration date on it?

No. Gelatin is a protein produced by partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from the bones and connective tissues of animals. There is nothing available to go bad.

Edit: Audrie has pointed out that Jello has "best by: " dates, thus negating the original question. My further theory goes that this has something to do with jello already being packaged with sugar. Unlike gelatin, sugar is not a simple protein and may have alternate properties.

When the person who writes the obituaries dies, who writes their obituary?

This might be the stupidest question of all. It would make sense if we were running out of people on earth, and not making new ones. For the sake of consistency I will answer it: New obituary writers.

Why do old men have hair in their ears?

I don't know the answer to this one. Genetics?

Why are buttons on guys' shirts on a different side than girls' shirts?

In researching, I have two different possible answers. One is that men just wanted to be sure they weren't buying women's clothing.

The other is that male dressing cues come from military clothing. For example, the first button jackets for men were modeled after the latching designs of armor, which were designed to stop a right-handed opponent from jamming a pike through the seam. (link) Meanwhile, from the same link, women may have draw their cues from nursing and housework concerns.

If bunnies don't lay eggs why is it on Easter that we hide eggs from the Easter Bunny?

We don't hide eggs from the easter bunny. We just hide eggs for kids to find.

For a more thorough discussion, look here. But here is the useful phrase: In Medieval Europe, eggs were forbidden during Lent. Eggs laid during that time were often boiled or otherwise preserved. Eggs were thus a mainstay of Easter meals, and a prized Easter gift for children and servants.

Why are things typed up but written down?

My guess is that it is due to paper going up on typewriters. Meanwhile, handwriting goes from the top of the page to the bottom. Alternately, I'd guess it could come from putting "down" the pen and ink to the page.

How come u can kill a deer and put it on your wall but it’s illegal to keep them as a pet?

First off, is it actually illegal? Second, deer can be dangerous, are wild, and carry disease.

Why does caregiver and caretaker mean the same thing?

They don't. A caregiver is one exclusively relegated to the medical profession or the giving of care to other people. A caretaker can do that, but may also be in charge of overseeing the operations of buildings, or being janitors, etc.

In some books, why do they have blank pages at the very end?

From wikipedia's "Intentionally blank page" entry:

Intentionally blank pages are usually the result of printing techniques. Book pages are often printed on large sheets because of technical and financial considerations. Thus, a group of eight, sixteen, or thirty-two consecutive pages will be printed on a single sheet in such a way that when the sheet is mechanically folded and cut, the pages will be in the correct order for binding. Such a group is called a section or signature. Books printed in this manner will always have as many pages as a multiple of the large sheets they were printed on, such as a multiple of eight, sixteen, or thirty-two. As a result, these books will usually have pages left blank.

For example, if a book with 318 pages of content is printed using 32-page signatures, it will require 10 signatures, 320 pages in total. At the very end of the book — that is, at the end of the last signature — there will be 2 unused (blank) pages.

If you were on a plane going the speed of sound and walked from the back of the plane to the front, would you be walking faster than the speed of sound?

While I don't have a technical background, I believe this is where a small portion of the theory of relatively comes into play. Specifically, we are all ALWAYS moving at such great velocities, as the earth revolves, rotates around the sun, and goes speeding through the universe. "Moving at the speed of sound" really only means moving at the speed at which sound waves may travel in a given field of liquid, solid, and/or gas (i.e. a non-vacuum).

Therefore, the plane we are in is moving at the speed of sound against the field of gas around it (the air outside), and if you compare us inside to that outside air, we are, indeed, moving faster than the plane. However, it would be more appropriate to compare the people within the plane to the bubble of air also within the plane (our own gaseous field). In that comparison we are, in fact, only moving as fast as we are walking.

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into?

The vacuum.

What does OK actually mean?

Old Kinderhook. It actually means "All Correct," and comes from intentional misspelling that occurred along the east coast in stupid newspapers. During Martin Van Buren's presidential run (Van Buren was a native of Kinderhook, NY), it was popularly used to refer to Van Buren. Since that initial popularization, it has, of course, taken on a world of its own.

What does the K in K-mart actually stand for?

Kresge, the last name of its founder.

Why do we feel blue? and what color does a smurf feel when they are down?

A smurf is an animated drawing. Drawings don't feel. From the wikipedia entry on blue: In the English language, blue may refer to the feeling of sadness. "He was feeling blue". This is because blue was related to rain, or storms, and in Greek mythology, the god Zeus would make rain when he was sad (crying), and a storm when he was angry. Kyanos was a name used in Ancient Greek to refer to dark blue tile (in English it means blue-green)

Why can't you eat pancakes for dinner?

I can and do.

Why do donuts have holes?

From Wikipeda's entry on dougnuts: Hanson Crockett Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented the ring-shaped doughnut in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship when he was only sixteen years old. Gregory was dissatisfied with the greasiness of doughnuts twisted into various shapes and with the raw center of regular doughnuts. He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship's tin pepper box and later taught the technique to his mother. [2]

If this isn't right, we may never know who came up with the center-free doughnut.


Why do the numbers on a phone go one way and the numbers on the calculator go the other?
Why don't you hear thunder with heat lightning?
Is light still faster than sound when it's going through your TV, and if so, when you get a live broadcast from China or something shouldn't all the sounds come after the actions?
Do the different "M&M's"® colors taste different?
If you’re born at exactly midnight is your birthday on both those days?
If you're caught "between a rock and a hard place", is the rock not hard?
If one man says, "it was an uphill battle," and another says, "it went downhill from there," how could they both be having troubles?
Why is it you can walk down a road, even if it goes uphill?
Why do we say "bye bye" but not "hi hi"?
Can blind people be dyslexic when they read Braille?
How do you handcuff a one-armed man?
Why is the abbreviation for pound lb. when l or b isn't in the word pound?
Why do they call the angel of death an angel if all it does is bring pain and suffering?
Why doesn't the glue in the bottle dry up?
If Luke took a bath, would the water be lukewarm?
If an anarchist group attained political power, would they by principle have to dissolve their own government?