Correspondence from the clueless - UPDATE
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 95 12:52:12 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: Correspondence from the clueless - UPDATE
[More unanswered questions from Marilyn Vos Savant's column. The Fun_People
posting "Correspondence from the clueless" 11/1/94 (see the Fun_People
Archives at <http://www.empire.net..>) contained the best
questions printed in her October 23, 1994 column. -- psl]
[UPDATE: now it's http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/ -psl 9/98]
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: Chris Small <email@example.com>
For those who think that "Ask Marilyn" is a waste of valuable Parade
Magazine real estate, I submit a collection of questions that have
stumped her, [the first group] taken from her October 11, 1992 column.
("Ask Marilyn" is a column in which Marilyn Vos Savant, listed in the
Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest measured IQ,
answers questions from her readers.)
Why do some men wear blue bikini underwear?
- V.C., El Cajon, CA
Does water sink or float?
- L. T., Tinley Park, IL
Why is it that everyone else knows you have bad breath before you do,
especially when the nose is only one inch from the mouth?
- B. M. , Tempe, AZ
Why don't false teeth decay?
- Mrs. C. D. L. Cheraw, SC
I want to know if the light in the refrigerator goes out or stays on
when the door closes.
- L. H. K, Lewiston, IN
I want to pass on a neat tip: used dental floss can be added to soups
for heathful fiber reinforcement.
- G. M., Portland, OR
Do fish ever get thirsty?
- B. G., Alburquerque, NM
Is it possible to video record dreams?
- Mrs. S. Z., Summit, IL
Over the years I've eaten in many Chinese restaurants, and noticed that
none of them had windows. I have asked at many different Chinese
restaurants, and no one seems to know why. Is it for privacy, tradition,
or some other reason? Can you help me find out?
- L. R. S., Lincoln Park, MI
Do fish have necks? (P.S. Due to legal problems stemming from a divorce,
if you must publish the answer, please use a ficticious name and address.
- F. E. B., Fort Lewis, WA
How can a family of three make 27 bags of garbage out of six bags of
groceries? (P.S.: They *do* eat.)
- R. A. K., Sun Prairie, WI
What aspirin would you choose if you were stranded on a desert isle?
- S. S., Fort Walton Beach, FL
After death, will human flesh sunburn? I'm very curious about this.
- D. G. C., Richmond, VA
Do insects survive being slushed down the toilet?
- T. D., Fargo ND
This idea has been pestering me off an on for about 20 years. How did the
lady bug get its name? Also, is there a bug called the man bug?
- T. C., Astoria, MY
Will a ceiling fan cool a dog?
- L. B., Vero Beach, FL
My dog is an Australian shepherd, and I sometimes wondered what language
she would speak if for some strange reason dogs were able to talk. Would
she speak the language from which her breed was derived, or would she speak
English like my family? If she spoke English, would she have an Australian
- J. P., June Beach, FL
If you empty a swimming pool and fill it with cola, could you swim in it,
or would you sink to the bottom?
- M. H., Fountain Valley, CA
How could the Wizard be "of Oz" and also *be* Oz? This has stumped me
for a long time.
- C. R., Superior, WI
Where I work, we had a question about which is older: time or dirt. I told
them if anyone would know, Marilyn would know.
- F. J. D., Ambridge, PA
Do the rules of ethics change every 10 years? If not, how often?
- G. W. S., Washington DC
Was Gorbachev the first Soviet leader to weigh more than his wife?
- J. H., Carteret, NJ
Why does some car's enhaust smell like chicken soup?
- M. L., Stayton, OR
If all the women in the world sprayed their hair at the same time, how would
it affect the O Zone?
- M. J. W., Harrisburg, PA
If you melt dry ice, can you swim in it without getting wet?
- S. R., Newark, NJ
I'm a gifted student. I want to know how mice were discovered and when.
- J. W., Camp Lejeune, NC
Why are earlobes the most underrated part of the human body?
- S. C., Brooklyn, NY
My question concens the exact time. I would like to know when (on what date)
it was started, where (at what location), how it was determined, and who
- H. T. B., Baltimore, MD
I have a question for which I can't find an answer from either books of
knowledge or from my most intelligent friends: why do my dogs show no
interest in television?
- F. E. S., La Mesa, CA
I've heard that because rabbits have a high body temperature and their body
heat dissipates very fast through their long ears, they've been used to heat
houses. Can you tell me how many rabbits it would take to heat a three-room
apartment when the temperature outside is 45 degrees?
- F. K., Columbia, MD
From "Ask Marilyn", October 23, 1994.
Once in a while I am disappointed with the questions you choose to answer,
because I consider them trivial, not worthy of your intellect, but others
really show your brilliance. Maybe this will stump you, but I'm including
a question that has intrigued me for some time. I hope you can give me a
serious answer. Why don't the Chinese use potatoes in their food?
- H. C., Tampa, FL
How come so many squirrels are killed crossing the street? Don't they know
how to cross?
- J. H., Carteret, NJ
During the last Olympic Games, one contestent in the diving competition did
a series of spins and then straightened out into a plain old belly flop!
Wouldn't that have been a lot less painful if the pool had been filled with
- G. A. G., Portland, OR
Have there been any biographies written about King Brian Boru, ruler of
Ireland from 976 to 1014? The books I've found only mention him briefly.
- M. G., Warner Robins, GA
You know everything. How many parts does a typical automobile have? In
particular, how many parts are in a two-door 1979 Honda Accord (with power
steering and air conditioning)?
- D. E., Houston, TX
How come the Lord wanted us to have gums? Is there a significant reason for
- S. C., Brooklyn, NY
H2O = water. Why can't people manufacture it? The formula seems simple
- E. F. R., Fresno, CA
On many products "natural flavoring" is listed as an ingredient. What is
"natural flavoring", and where can I get a bottle of it?
- S. P., Upper Marlboro, MD
Not being a mathematical genius, I usually pass on your brainteasers, but
I would be interested in knowing the odds of my pistol-grip hose nozzle
squirting me in the face when I drop it while washing the car. It seems
- C. S. B., Kernville, CA
I would like to know why flies can find their way into a house through an
open window, but they can't ever find their way back out.
- J. A., Portland, ME
Hypothetical question: In one fell swoop, God removes the thumbs of every
man, woman, and child on Earth! What do you believe would be the major
immediate, short-term, and long-term effects?
- C. W. S., Newport News, VA
You still haven't answered my questions about oranges and the cable system.
I have some other questions that I don't think you have the answers to: What
are we going to do when all of our "landfills" are fill? Where is our clean
water going to come from when our "dumps" have contaimated all our wells?
Those are my questions, Marilyn. Forget about the oranges and the cable
system questions. If you can answer these, you will have done a good-enough
- J. E. N., Marion, OH
What happens to gum after it is disposed of? Does it rot away, or does it
stay on Earth forever?
- S. A., Frankenmuth, MI
Why do ducks have orange feet? This question came up in conversation a
couple of years ago, and no one seems to know the reason. Especially since
geese have black feet. Please help clear this up.
- C. J. S., Reston, VA
Why does a fly die when it's hit with a flyswatter?
- A. N., Lakeland, FL
I know your higher intelligence makes you superior in proble solving, math,
science, and social questions. The problem is this: My car needs a
transmission overhaul. The last man I had do one charged $460. Can you
overhaul my transmission for a reasonable price?
- B. P., Anitoch, IL
What are the odds of a person in Michigan getting dumped on by a bird? How
does getting hit by bird-droppings compare to getting hit by lightning,
cars, or lawn rakes -- and any other useful statistics you may feel we in
Michigan should know for safety reasons?
- J. S., Bay City, MI
How many cans of chicken noodle soup does it take to use up one chicken?
- P. S., Holton, MI
Why do baseball players spit so much? Football players don't. Basketball
players don't. Soccer players don't.
- J. S. P., Savannah, GA
Why is it that if I have a hole in one sock at my big toe and then move that
sock to my other foot, the hole is still at my big toe and not at my little
toe, the way I expected?
- M. H., Vale, NC
Will you please explain how and why cockroaches turn over on their backs
when they die?
- F. E. J., New Orleans, LA
If humans use cow's milk for themselves, what do the cows use to feed their
- D. L., Astoria, NY
It seems to me that you must really be lacking material for your column when
you choose to print some asinine letter about someone eating corn on the
cob into a perfect square. I wrote you a letter over two weeks ago asking
a real and pertinent question, yet you have cosen to ignore it: Why are
manhole covers round? (I'm making copies of this letter, and I'll send one
to you every week until I see it in print.)
- B. B. B., Aurora, CO
[For this last one, also see "Of Microsoft and Manholes" 3 Jan 1995 (in the
Fun_People Archives) -- psl]
© 1995 Peter Langston