Sunday, May 20, 2007

Life, the Universe, and Everything

When I got up this morning I found Ro watching cartoons in the living room, so I went to make some coffee (without my coffee I'm about as useful as unplugged computer). While we were having breakfast, Ro started asking questions about Life, the Universe and Everything; these are typical of her, but hard to deal with when you're not fully awake. Guess I'll have to give her the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to read soon. Yesterday I got, "Ma, who invented chalk?" and "How do they make chalk?" Well, that was easy, I just said, "We'll just look it up on Google later." Thank God for Google! (If you ever wanted to know, and even if you didn't: James Pillans (1778-1864) was the inventor of chalk). Other times she asks me questions like, "Why does everyone have to grow hair there?" - The "there" referring to the land down under. This for some reason horrifies her, and when I said I didn't really know why, but everyone has it, she asked if there was any way to get rid of it. I was prepared for, "How are babies made?" and stuff like that, but I never expected my 10 year old would be asking me about pubic hair removal. Kids are just chock-full of surprises.

This morning's questions were considerably more philosophical, the kind that are labeled "Do not operate before having your morning coffee", and hardly the kind you can just answer with "42". First she asked, "Is the world going to end someday?" To which I truthfully said I didn't know for sure, but if it does we probably won't be around to see it. Next, she asked how the Universe was created. So, I sighed, put down my coffee and briefly explained the Big Bang to her, and she seemed satisfied enough. I went back to my coffee, thinking I was off the hook. But then she said, "How can space be infinite, is it really true that it never ends?" This brought me back to my childhood summers, when I used to sit on my backyard swing in the summer, look up at the stars and wonder how the Universe could be infinite, and become completely dizzy with the idea of something that has no limit. "The Universe must have an edge somewhere, how can anything go on forever? That's impossible. But if it has an end, then what's beyond that end, and does that something have an end?" This is what I used to think when I looked up at the night sky, until one day I decided that thinking about it wasn't getting me any closet to finding an answer, and I stopped questioning it (This was around the time I became interested in boys, so as you can see I had more important issues to concern myself with). I'm afraid I couldn't satisfy Ro too much on this question, since I never had a really good grasp on the concept myself (I know the universe is infinite, it's easy to say, but I just can't imagine it). So, I just told her space is infinite and it's something that's very hard to understand since you can't see it, you just have to accept it - I'll let her lie under the summer sky at night to ponder this for herself (at least until she starts being interested in boys, that is).

So, for today I decided to find some questions for you to think about. These are not quite as philosophical as Ro's questions, but they'll tickle your mind a bit:

1. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

2. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

3. Why do women wear evening gowns to go out at night? Shouldn't they be wearing night gowns?

4. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

5. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? It's just stale bread.

6. When cheese gets it's picture taken, what does it say?

7. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?

8. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

9. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

10. If horrific is akin to horrible, why isn't terrific akin to terrible?

11. Why isn't 11 pronounced onety one?

12. Do Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "4's"?

13. Why is it that if someone tells you that there are 1 billion stars in the universe you will believe them, but if they tell you a wall has wet paint you will have to touch it to be sure?

14. Why do you park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?

15. Why are there locks on the door of stores that are open 24/7 365 days a year?

And now for the most important question of all, "If the best humor is over at Central Snark, then what are you still doing here?"

Update: For some reason this post was saved with comments "off" - Blogger is driving me nuts. My comments sometimes disappear, the comment window can't be maximized, or the connection doesn't work and I click on "save" and it doesn't. AGHHH! Anyway, comments are now on, so I expect you to answer at least one question, or add a question of your own. Or, at the very least say "Hi" so I can actually tell this @#~|@*$"%&* Blogger, oops I mean stupid Blogger, is working. Anyone who answers a question gets an automatic "A"!


  1. 6. When cheese gets it's picture taken, what does it say?

    This question is going to plague me for the rest of my life...

  2. Thank God Ro wasn't asking me those questions.

    I still can't figure out how my can opener works.

  3. 3 words for you:



    Why do people use blogger when wordpress is so much better? :)

    but did you know that when it snows your eyes become large and ....

  4. at least you didn't get...

    "Why do bees hum?" (because they don't know the words) sorry... reverting to bad jokes from a worse show (Hee Haw).

    funny post, my friend. i wish i could tell you the questions get easier when your kids get older, but they don't. well, they kind of do, since they usually involve money and/or the car, in which case you only need one word: No. it's just a bit harder to say when your kids tower over you. agggh!. ; ) xox

  5. Ah yes, having similar conversations with my daughter. All I can say is thank goodness for Google.

    6. When cheese gets it's picture taken, what does it say?


    Hey, you said I'd get an A just for showing up!

  6. Mark me as HERE!

    I've been going through similiar conversations with my daughter, so I'm loving this post (oh, and, um, because YOU wrote it, too, of course).

    I'm going to start using onety-one now.

  7. 10. If horrific is akin to horrible, why isn't terrific akin to terrible?

    As you probably know, this one confuses the heck out of Spaniards trying to learn English, since "terrífico" really means what it should in Spanish. Why they made a shortened version of "terrorífico" is anybody's guess.

    Nice blog, btw, Theresa. I've been following it for a couple weeks now.

  8. Captain Corky: I'm glad you beamed up. Oh no, now I'm guilty of tormenting your soul with my cheesy question. Live long and prosper, my friend.

    Dan: Maybe this girl can help you out with your can opener, she sure seems to know a lot about the subject. Or maybe you'd prefer to learn how to open a beer with a one dollar bill.

    Rjlight: I've been thinking about switching, but haven't quite decided to take the plunge yet.

    Why do people use Blogger? That's a good question, you get an A+ for that one. I started with blogger because it was the first thing I found when I decided to blog.

    And now it's snowing on Blogger and I'm beginning to see the light of Wordpress.

    Neva: An A+ for you too for the question and the answer. My kids will love that one.

    I am not looking forward to the questions I'll get from my kids in the future. Especially not the ones about what time they should be home.

    G: I don't know how our parents ever managed without Google, it's wonderful.

    Good answer, you get an A+ for showing up and giving an answer. (And that way you and Neva won't fight over who got the better grade)

    Jocelyn: A+ for you too, for showing up, for having to put up with your daughter's questions, and for kissing up to me ;)

    Erik r: Welcome. Spaniards find lots of confusing things in English, which is not surprising, because there are lots of things that don't make sense. For example "head" and "bead" have the same vowels but are pronounced differently. My husband often asks me about pronunciation and grammar, and always ends up saying, "English is just so weird."

  9. I'm starting to believe in genetics.

    15. To keep out the riff-raff and keep in the ruffles.

  10. Doug: I loved that answer. An A+ to you too! Although, if the riff-raff has money to spend, I'm sure they'll be welcome to stay.

  11. I will answer question #0, which is implied in the text before the funny questions.

    Q) how can space be infinite?

    A) space is not infinite. It is unbounded. Unbounded means that you will never reach the edge, no matter how far you travel nor in what direction. But it's not infinite, because that would mean there is an infinite amount of energy in the Universe, and the night sky wouldn't be black.

    As far as using "onety-one", I will pass on that; but I do use "eleventy-one" for 111, which I picked up from Bilbo Baggins.

  12. Jim: An A+ for my favorite brother-in-law! Okay, unbounded. Would you like to come over and explain that to Rocío? I have the feeling that her infinite and your unbounded are really the same concept. Maybe we'll wait a few more years before we get into terminology discussions with her. For now I have enough with "Who invented...?"

  13. I have an example of unbounded that makes the difference clear. Imagine you are standing on a very large, smooth ball, which is getting bigger all the time (as if air were being pumped into it). You can move any direction you like on the surface of the ball. Now, the ball is finite; however, no matter how far you travel over its surface, you will never reach an edge. Thus it is unbounded. Outer space is kinda like that.

    PS Do you know where your towel is today?

  14. 42 really is the best answer to all of those questions.

  15. I'm with you on that. Whatever the question, just say "42".