Frequently Asked Questions & Rarely Asked Questions

Do you know what time it is?
Yes, I do.
Why do NASCARs and racehorses run counterclockwise?
The first official racetrack in America was Newmarket, built in 1665 on Long Island, NY Following British tradition, the horses ran in a right-handed, or clockwise, direction. After the Revolutionary War, anti-British sentiment prompted track owners to reverse the direction of the races (this sentiment also caused Kings College to rename itself Columbia University). Auto races were originally held on horse tracks, so auto racing followed suit, counter-clockwise.
Who wrote the song Happy Birthday?
Possibly the best-known song ever written, was composed by Mildred Hill, a pianist and teacher in Kentucky, and published in 1893. The original words, Good Morning to All, were written by Mildred's sister Patty as a daily greeting in her classroom. Patty later changed it to the birthday lyrics. Today, Warner/Chappell owns the copyright. Each time the song is played on air or in film, a fee is generated, totaling about $2 million every year.
Do fish get thirsty?
Yes, and they drink lots of sea water (salt water is not good for humans to drink) - they have special mechanisms on their gills that enable them to excrete the excess salt they drink.
Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called pygg. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as pygg banks. When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it caught on.
Why do ships and aircraft in trouble use mayday as their call for help?
This comes from the French word m'aidez - meaning 'help me' - and is pronounced mayday.
Why are zero scores in tennis called love?
Also in France, where tennis first became popular, a big, round zero on a scoreboard looked like an egg and was called l'oeuf, which is French for egg. When tennis was introduced in the US, Americans pronounced it love.
Are there any questions you just won't answer?
Yes, sometimes I don't know the answer and some are questions like these:
      Why do we park in the driveway and drive in the parkway?
      Why do we need a hot water heater? If it's hot it doesn't need to be heated.
      How can we have jumbo shrimp?
      Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
      Why do our noses run and our feet smell?
      Why does quicksand work slowly?
      Why do we call them apartments when they are all together?
      If cows laughed, would milk come out of their noses?
      When will a building actually become a built?
Why are blue jeans called blue jeans?
The color of the fabric dye is blue and the early tailors in the American West came from the Italian port of Genoa (pronounced Jenn•O•Uh). The word Genoa was Americanized into Jeans.
And the name denim?
Much of the original fabric was referred to as serge de Nim, fabric from Nims, France. de Nim = denim
Most meetings are governed by Robert's Rules of Order. Who was Robert?
'Robert's Rules of Order' was a structural procedure created in 1876 by Henry Martyn Robert who was an army engineer during the Civil War. He was charged with accomplishing certain missions, but found it hard to organize everyone in order to achieve his assigned goals. He took, seriously, the concept of equal representation as put forward by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, so, he came up with the structure most every organization uses, to this day, to make decisions.
Why are 7-Eleven stores called that?
The original store in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas opened up at 7:00 in the morning and remained open until 11:00pm. These hours were quite revolutionary at that time and the new name of the Ice House exploited that customer benefit.
What is Bob Dylan's birth name?
Robert Zimmerman.
How about John Wayne?
Marion Robert Morrison, from Iowa. He later used the middle name Mitchell, and occasionally used Michael. On the grammar wheel, the opposite of Marion is Duke.
Did Al Gore really invent the Internet?
Well, not really, but he did sponsor legislation to fund the early development of it, thereby putting some truth to his claim that he is partly responsible for the Internet being what it is today. It was actually 'invented' in 1969 by the military to allow research universities with military contracts to communicate with one another and was called the ARPAnet - Advanced Research Projects Agency network.
What does Manhattan mean?
Land of hills. Yes, hills! There were forests, creeks, and undulating hills on the island prior to the Europeans 'discovering' it.
Why is the Ivy League called that? Is it the ivy-covered walls?
Not originally. The League had four teams at first, written in Roman numerals as - IV, pronounced Eye Vee, or Ivy. Now there are eight schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale.
Where was God born? Who created God? Where is God from?
Unfortunately, no photographs were taken nor records kept of God's birth so we will never know for sure. Over the years, many theories have been proposed about God, including: he's a mythical superpower, a concept to believe in, and just a character in a book. You decide what makes the most sense for you.
Why do we call the Living Room the living room since we live all throughout the house?
Rooms where we socialized used to be called parlors. The custom in Victorian times was to also use that room for funerals - the deceased would be laid out for private viewing. Well, people had enough of that so they created funeral parlors outside the home specifically for the deceased. The former home parlors were then designated, not for the dead, but for the living. Hence, Living Room.
Are you really as fat, old, and ugly as people say?
Yes. I'd show you a picture to prove it but I've already gotten in trouble once with the FCC for inappropriate web images.
Why is WD-40 called that?
In 1953, chemist Norm Larsen was developing a formula to prevent corrosion (a task done by displacing water). WD stands for Water Displacement and it was the 40th formula in the experiments. Consumers found numerous other uses for WD-40, although not near as many as have been found for duct tape. These two products, WD-40 and duct tape, are really all anyone ever needs to get thru life (well, and a box of Kleenex).
Why is Kleenex called that?
The material from which Kleenex is made was originally called "Cellucotton," and was designed by Kimberly-Clark during World War I. It was used in gas mask filters during the war, as a replacement for cotton, which was in demand for surgical dressings. Kimberly-Clark created the first facial tissue in 1924 originally marketed as a cleaning tissue for removing cold cream. In the 1930s, they received letters from customers suggesting its use for colds. Early advertising recommended using disposable Kleenex instead of a cotton handkerchief with the slogan "Don't Carry A Cold In Your Pocket". Because of the success of this brand, it has become a genericized trademark in American English and many people refer to any tissue as a "kleenex". Kimberly-Clark places "brand tissues" after "Kleenex" in all of their advertising to inform the public that Kleenex is a brand of tissue, not the actual term for "tissue".
Well, that was all sort of interesting, but you didn't explain why Kleenex is called that.
Oops, sorry. No, I guess I didn't.
How do I get to Carnegie Hall?
You should take a cab - its on the corner of Seventh Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan. But why would you want to go there? It takes practice, practice, practice - and who has time for that these days?
Do you pray?
No, not anymore. I have too much self-respect to talk to imaginary creatures and expect them to listen and honor my requests. Religion (unfounded beliefs) has value mainly due to how it makes us feel. Intellectually, its not real - emotionally, it can sometimes feel significant.
Did the Indians really sell Manhattan for $24?
Yes and no. There actually was a transaction in guilders (Dutch currency - worth about $24 at the time) between some settlers and the Natives living on the island. But the Natives thought they were simply agreeing to let these white folks use the land - which they would have done for free. They had no problem with sharing use of the land (little did they know what that would lead to). Native Americans had no concept of the notion of land ownership. People can't own land - it belongs to the Earth. The Europeans, however, were well into this notion of ownership, rights, and "Scuse me, that's mine, back off."
Why do we call a chicken breast 'white meat'?
During the uptight Victorian era, some felt it was inappropriate to say breast, leg, or thigh at the dinner table; so white meat and dark meat were substituted in their place. Victorian gentlemen were heard to comment, "My, that's nice white meat you have on you."