And now, due to overwhelming popular request...
The "Ask Bob" Archives

Why isn't "phonetic" spelled the way it sounds? --- Gregg Colman

Actually, it is. We are all just mispronouncing it. The proper pronounciation is: P-honey-tick. --- Bob

Why does sour cream have a "use by" date???? --- Laser7300@...

Laser: If you had ever visited my refrigerator, you would have known the answer to your question. I have, to date, well over fifty sour cream containers dated from the Nixon era to the present. All but the most recent (less than three months old) have grown into small lush blue and green forests of mold. It’s really quite beautiful! I am currently introducing “Sea Monkeys” to the mix in hopes of starting a miniature wildlife preserve. So, the sour cream, although long “expired” for purposes of human consumption, has far from outlived its usefulness. In fact, you are right! They should take off the “use by” dating and market the sour cream as miniature forest starter kits. Good idea, Laser! --- Bob

Bob I love your answers. My question is - when do you update the
questions and answers? Grahame Cooke, New Zealand

Grahame: I don’t know what time it is in New Zealand right how, but I updated your question and answer at 7:25am Central Standard (North America) Time. The specific time can vary. You can not put a time frame on inspiration. I tried being inspired and insightful for a specific fifteen minute period each day for one month. This did two things, it gave me 23.75 hours a day to eat, sleep, play... to basically do as I pleased. However, I found that during that fifteen minutes that I had set aside to “work” I was nervous, fidgety, and worried about being inspired and productive. Needless to say, I came up with no answers during that month.

Now, I’m trying a new approach. I sleep 15 minutes a day and try to be inspired and insightful the other 23.75 hours. I’m on my third day. I’ll let you know how it’s going. Right now, I have to make another vat of coffee. --- Bob

Bob: If you’re driving a car at night, and you’re traveling faster than the speed of light, will you be able to see your headlights shining in front of you? --- Lincoln Kathner

Lincoln: The answer is quite simply, no. The lights in your rear view mirror will be that of your own vehicle. The ones that you saw shining in front of you were probably shining in a parallel dimension. And, quite possibly were not the lights of a car, but some of the “Thousand Points of Light.” that George Bush referred to in his presidential campaign. At the time, I thought that he was just having flashbacks to some of those “Secret Society” meetings during his Harvard days. But, as of late, I have been enlightened with similar visions of thousands of little points of light when, through no fault of my own, a three pound can of tomatoes fell on my head from the pantry shelf. The points of light, all twinkly and bright lasted for ten to fifteen seconds to my best recollection. And, strangely enough, during this experience, it may have been your car that I saw whiz by. Do you drive a Rambler? --- Bob

Bob: Why does it do that? --- Phil

Phil: The untrained reader would sluff off your question as an attempt to be cute, or to taunt me with trite rhetoric. While I, on the other hand congratulate you on bringing to light one of the most important questions one can ask. It is a veritable “Key to Discovery.” Phil, take this key and turn it in the deadbolt of your brain. Unlock your wildest imagination. And, if you don’t find yourself pleasantly surprised that you have tapped into the full potential of your mind, you will at least obtain a pretty good headache. And, that’s not all that bad. For with every headache, comes the opportunity to appreciate your normal head when the pain subsides. Remember too, that headaches are good for your cardiovascular system. Clinical research has shown that asprin can also prevent heart attacks. Keep thinking. ---Bob

Dear Esteemed Knower of All Things:
I have only two questions, O’ Wise One.
1. You know how cartons say "Open Here". What are the chances of seeing one that says, "Open Somewhere Else"?

2. How do "Don't Walk on the Grass" signs get there?

Dear Laser 7300: First of all, thank you for your acknowledgment of my wisdom. I take this as quite an honor and complement from one such as yourself. I have always been intrigued with the Laser and find it a most valuable tool in my scientific research, physics lab, and veterinary medicine practice. I only have a Laser6200, so I guess I am a few generations behind - that would explain the random burns in my workbench and accidental neutering of dogs. Sorry, I digress... to answer your questions:

1. “Open Here” started as a Christmas/Holiday Gift Tag/Box idea (similar to Open Me First - a tag that was developed by the Kodak Company for use on their Brownie and later Instamatic line camera gift packs). The idea was that if you opened that gift first, you could get photos of the other gifts being opened. Curiously, John Proctman, a disgruntled Kodak employee credited who claims to have come up with the phrase “Open Me First,” never got credit for his work (not even a Christmas bonus). So he left Kodak and started the Consolidated Corrugated Christmas Container Corporation of Buffalo, New York. His idea was to print a phrase right on the box allowing the packaging of gifts without the need for wrapping paper or taped-on tags. He proceeded to print millions of boxes in various sizes with the phrase “Open Here” since the phrase “Open Me First” had been trademarked by Kodak and therefore not available. What John had failed to account for was the fact that most gifts come in their own packaging, and did not warrant the purchase of a box. Left with millions of boxes in his warehouse, John Proctman fled the country leaving the bankruptcy court to liquidate his entire stock for pennies on the dollar to the International Box Corporation (IBC). The IBC figured correctly that people would see the “Open Here” phrase and think that it merely meant to open the box along that seam. They, and other corrugated box manufacturers have continued the practice of printing this phrase on their boxes ever since.

2. I have no idea. I thought someone just walked over and stuck it there. But, leave it to someone with your smarts to see the irony in THAT notion. --- Bob

dear bob...this question has been nagging at my belief in evolution. how did the dolphins blowhole get from his nose up to the top of his head? did it do it one huge mutative jump...or were there a series of mutations as the nostrils migrated steadily northward to the top of his head. i spend a lot of time natural history museums..(on my way to the local adult bookstore),and i ain't never seen a fossil of the dolphin with an intermediate blowhole. so this leads me to believe that dolphins went from having nostrils to blowholes in one generation....which kind of sounds like it was an act of god or something...i don't know..maybe an alien experiment? what do you know about this bob?
holding my breath on this one...arthur sqeebles

Dear Arthur:
Before I get to your excellent question, let me instruct you as to how to obtain capital letters in your typing. Put your hands on the keyboard with your middle fingers on the “d” and the “k.” Now, look to the left of your left little finger (sometimes called a pinkie), and to the right of your right little finger (also called a pinkie--- except in parts of Africa where it would make no sense to refer to any finger as a “pinkie”). See the keys that have “shift” written on them? If you press these down at the same time that you are striking a key on the keyboard, it will make that letter a capital letter. Isn’t that simple? If you practice putting those pinkies to work while typing, YOU CAN MAKE ALL SORTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS. You can also use the “caps lock” key to the upper left of the keyboard right above the left shift key. This will ALLOW YOU TO MAKE CAPITAL LETTERS WITHOUT USING THE SHIFT KEY. But, beware! Using all caps in the web/internet culture means you are shouting. So, use your capitals sparingly. --- Bob Schuck

Bob, you mean to tell me you can't find a better looking photo of yourself to put on your "Ask Bob" page? I think I would use somebody elses' photo if that's the best you have. And don't give me the excuse of "It's the lighting". Even Hollywood made Frankenstein look better than your photo. --- JIM

Dear JIM: I’m surprised that you question the quality of my photo. I had famed photographer, Annie Lebowitz take the shot. From what I heard, she was one of the most sought-after photographers of the twentieth century. Actually, I questioned her ability when she pulled out one of those disposable cameras for the shoot, but you know those artistic types... always experimental. Annie’s father, Frank Lebowitz (from the deli on the corner) said that Annie’s work appeared in her school newspaper once. And, that she took first place in the sixth grade art exhibit. Annie also told me that when she finishes seventh grade, she would be taking a summer school course in photography at the local library.

Well, I'm sorry that her work doesn’t meet up to your standards. Quite frankly, I wasn't all that impressed either, but she’s just a kid, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. Maybe when I get a few bucks ahead, I’ll go down to the Photomat and have them snap a shot of me.

However, JIM, I really wish that you would use my page to ask those pressing questions that have been nagging at you for a lifetime. Because that, JIM, is what I’m here for. Not as a celebrity, heart throb, fashion-plate, but as a well of knowledge into which you can dip your ladle, wet your tongue, and quench your thirst for truth. --- Bob

P.S. By the way, JIM, that Frankenstein photo that you were referring to was also shot by Annie Lebowitz (Annie’s great grandmother on her father’s side), and was extensively retouched to cover a hideous make-up job done by Maxine Factor (Max’s younger sister).

Old chalk boards! Green ones! How do you clean them? no chalk I buy will write on the one we use at work! I thought one time I saw "chalk board spray" to re-surface the board. Any ideas? --- Liz Johnson

Dear Liz: They haven’t made those green chalkboards since the late fifties when they quickly stopped making them because they were found to make students sick. Apparently, the color, combined with fluorescent lighting gave off a dizzying effect that made students anxious, fidgety, struggle with the simplest of math problems and spell pourly. This same “chalkboard effect” (as it was dubbed in the 1965 by Dr. M. Bliopia) had a more profound effect on the male students. To some young boys it created uncontrollable intestinal gas, others suffered from sudden uncontrolled lunging of clenched fists at other students (misinterpreted as “bad temper”). It also caused nausea and a disdain of otherwise quite satisfactory cafeteria food.

I haven’t admitted this until now, but I was one of those young men adversely affected by the “chalkboard effect.” My particular affliction was a vision problem. I couldn’t see the yellow chalk on the green chalkboard unless I sat in the front row. Up until the second grade (when they installed the new green chalkboards) my vision was fine. It plummeted in quality within two weeks causing me to require the same “Coke-bottle” glasses that I still wear to this day.

So, to answer your question, “How do you clean them?” YOU DON’T! You rip the damn things off the walls, cut them up into little pieces and haul them to your local landfill. Then you replace them with those new erasable marker “white boards” that, to this point, have not proven to produce flatulence. --- Bob

Hey Bob! Why do birds suddenly appear everytime you are near?---Macafee

Dear MacAfee: I know you didn’t intend to be rude by asking that question, but it is a problem that has caused me considerable embarrassment, and one that I’ve had to learn to live with. When I was a boy I used to think it was because of that time I got birdseed stuck in my hair at my Aunt’s wedding. But, after all of the seed was removed, they kept following me---right on into high school when they quickly nicknamed me "Birdbrain." Even now, as an adult, birds seem to follow me around often landing on my head as I walk down the street. And when I sit in the park, pigeons come in groves around my bench and peck at my hair... Hey, come to think of it, maybe they like the lard-substitute that I use as a hair tonic! I bet that’s it! Macafee, you just might have helped answer a problem that has plagued me for years! Tomorrow I’m switching to Vitalis. Then I might start attracting "chicks" if you know what I mean. Thanks for your help, MacAfee!

Hey Bob! Why are there so many Snapple flavors? Do people actually drink all of them? --- MacAfee

Dear MacAfee: The root of the problem lies in the naming of this beverage. To the best of my knowledge, the original apple flavored beverage which was to be called “Apple” was sabotaged by Bill Gates who was launching his own line of fruit beverages called MicroSoftDrinks. When Bill saw what he assumed to be an attempt on Apple Computer’s part to launch a competing soft drink, he had one of his minion attorneys on payroll in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office pen in an “SN” before “APPLE” on the “Apple” trademark application. By the time the application went through as “Snapple”, it was too late. Being a startup company without much operating capital, the company could ill afford the time, nor the attorney's expenses needed to correct the application, so they accepted the name “Snapple” for their beverage. But now, they were faced with a false advertising class-action lawsuit (also instigated by Bill Gates we might assume). The lawsuit complained that customers thought that they were purchasing the juice of a “Snapple,” a new, genetically engineered fruit. Instead, they were misled and sold regular apple juice instead. In order to satisfy the lawsuit, the Snapple Company frantically introduced many other flavors including combinations of different fruit juices blended with corn syrup and purified water from artesian wells off the coast of Vermont in order to come up with the one, preferred flavor of the “Snapple fruit.”

So, you see, the variety of Snapple flavors you see on the shelves of your local grocer and convenience stores today is the direct result of another pathetic attempt on the part of Bill Gates to achieve world domination.

And no, people don’t actually drink them all. Each particular flavor is produced in 100 gallon barrels and introduced to the marketplace in small test quantities. Until that one distinctive “Snapple” flavor is found they will not go into full-scale production. Thanks for asking. --- Bob

Dear Bob:
Please answer these questions because Bill Nye the Science Guy had a nervous
break down when I tried to ask him.
1. Why are there so many male smurfs and only one female smurf and why are
they blue?
2. Why is it that we must say "take" a dump, when in reality we are "leaving"
a dump? Where did this term originate?
3. Why do dogs "bark" instead of just saying "who's there"?
4. Why do all the chinese people have "Moe" haircuts? And, why is there only one Moe-hican, were there more Moes at one time?
5. Why is it when you add 25% more mass to something like a candybar you only
need to reduce 20% to bring the candybar to it's original mass? Where did the other 5% go? Does this contradict the law where matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed?
6. Is Beakman gay?
7. How was Fred Flinstone able to make a turn in his car and why did his car
have a steering wheel?
8. In the movie Joe's apartment how were the able to make the roaches speak English and not Insect like they usally do?
9. Why do we have five fingers in each hand and not 6 or 7 or even more?
10. How are they able to turn a female deer into white powder?
11. Is Ronald Mc Donald an albino?
12. How are the Japanese people able to rebuild Tokyo so fast after Godzilla and pals demolish it?
13. Is Randy Rikter (from late night with Conan O'Brien) really porky pig in
I have more but, I better quit for now. ---Curious, Mike

Mike: One thing I know for sure, Bill Nye did not have a nervous breakdown, he merely wished to avoid telling you that you are a complete fool! Your questions indicate that you don’t have a clue as to how to differentiate fact from fiction, reality from make-believe, or cartoons from documentaries. And, judging from the fact that you did not reveal your last name, I’m sure that more than one of your parents (I’m guessing that they’re first cousins) may have gotten ahold of your e-mail, read it, and informed you that you will NOT be signing the family name to that! You raise one interesting question though, the one about the candy bar with 25% more... unfortunately, you took up so much space with your other questions that I don't have any space left to answer that. Maybe next time. --- Bob

Dear Thick-Eyebrowed Bob,
I noticed you have thick eyebrows (thanks for the photo on your way cool web page), causing me to sprout TWO questions, if that's permissible - which I doubt. So take your pick.
1) By the end of the day, does dust fall out of your brows and get in your eyes?
2) Do your Smart Genes come from your mom or your dad? --- Charlene B.

Actually, Charlene, my eyebrows were burnt off in the war. What you are seeing in the photo above are artificial brows that I have superglued onto my glasses. Yes, they are effective at keeping the dust out of my eyes during most of the day, but yes, if I remove my glasses (and my brows) dust does go into my eyes if there is even the faintest of breezes. So, I have resorted to spraying the brows with Endust prior to my placing the glasses on my head in the morning. This acts like a dust magnet. By the end of the day I am sporting what looks to be a pair of wooly gray caterpillars above each eye. The condition worsens when I must travel to Los Angeles and Denver for some reason. Andy Rooney, I believe, has the same cross to bear.

As for my Smart Genes, I don’t know. I was an orphan. I never met my parents, and so far have no clue as to my actual identity and origin. I took my name from a giant shipping container on a Southern Pacific Railway car when I was eleven. However, I believe I got the spelling wrong. But then... who cares? --- Bob

Bob: Why is there air? --- James Norton

The answer is simple my friend, to differentiate the earth from the other planets. You see, if there was air on other planets, mankind would be tempted to move from earth. Of course, the interplanetary moving vans would be affordable only by the western civilizations and a few wealthy opportunists in third world countries. This regionalized evacuation of the planet earth would result in the globe being imbalanced. It would start to wobble. It would leave orbit and civilization as we knew it would cease to exist. To demonstrate the principle, try this little experiment: glue a brick to one side of your desk globe. Now give it a spin. See what happens? Not a pretty site is it. So just stay here and enjoy the air.--- Bob

Dear master of all knowledge, Bob: I have always wondered about the little pieces of paper that staff in delis use to pick up donuts. They use them to keep their germs off your donuts, which is good, but when they pick up your donuts, they drop the donuts WITH the germy paper in your bag! Why don't they use the paper and drop your donut and then throw away the paper? --- James Warden

The problem is not with the “germs” on the paper, it’s with the “germs” in your head that come from witnessing this event. If you continue to have a problem with this, and insist on continuing your consumption of donuts, I would suggest two things: 1) Next time you order donuts, ask if you could pick and place your own donuts. Make up something about always wanting to work in a donut shop or something. Or, B) Before they pick out your donuts for you, ask for two of the little pieces of paper that you can put over your eyes so you don’t witness the transfer of the hypothetical “germs” take place. That way you can sit back and enjoy your donuts without the “germs” entering your brain and flicking on your paranoia switch.--- Bob

Esteemed Bob:
My Brother and I have a serious dilemma that continues to perplex us. We have talked to several others but to no avail. WE NEED YOUR HELP, so here it goes: HOW DO YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM IN SPACE???
Your help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely, US

Dear US: Are you and your brother planning a trip to space? If not, why should this concern you? It is my feeling that you are dealing with a very personal issue; one that is best keep quiet and not talked about in public venues. Ones bathroom habits are private matters that, unless you are a Urologist, Proctologist, or the Tidy Bowl man, shouldn't concern you.

Why don't you and your brother spend your time thinking about more important matters, such as: Is there a giant alien-constructed tower on the dark side of the moon? And, is the face on Mars really a face, or just a massive carving similar to those we have on Mount Rushmore? It’s fairly obvious to me that if aliens are capable of building these structures, they are certainly capable of equiping the area with some sort of bathroom facility, or at least a porta-potty. --- Bob

So, why when I buy a new sweater does it say "made of 100% Virgin Acrylic?" Are plastics really living organisms, and if they are living organisms, then all the excitement about Dolly the sheep was just a sham, because a saw at least a thousand red Virgin Acrylic sweaters at Target last spring, which means there were a lot of frustrated male acrylics running around after too few female acrylics. ---Bob Dansk

Dear Bob: I’m not surprised that with the name Bob, you are an enlightened individual. Indeed, the whole Dolly thing was a sham, created in a powerful photo alteration program called Adobe Photoshop. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with your question about Virgin Acrylic. What you don’t seem to understand is that “Virgin Acrylic” refers to the fact that the acrylic sweater was never worn before. Once you bring it home and wear it for more than 20 minutes (unlike mattress tags), you are required by law to remove the “Virgin Acrylic” label. This also applies to stores when they accept virgin acrylic sweater returns. They can loose their license to sell virgin acrylic if it is discovered that they have not pulled the tags or scribbled out the word “virgin” on returned sweater labels. As to the frustrated male acrylics; wrongo, sweater breath! The acrylic is an assexual, self-reproducing organism. Duh! ---Bob

Dear Bob, The Catholic religion forbids the eating of meat on Fridays. Or at least I heard that. However, what if you're taking a cruise ship vacation on a Friday and you cross the international date line. Is it then alright to eat meat if you are Catholic? - Jim Young

Dear Jim: I’m no Pope (I’m not even celibate). In fact, I believe that the original manuscripts that mandate celibacy have a typo and are missing an "R." What the original manuscripts say, I believe, is celEbRate - not celibate. Anyway, your question pertains to the eating of meat on Fridays, which has nothing to do with the Catholic faith, rather school cafeteria workers who would rather cook macaroni and cheese and fish sticks on Fridays because it is a quicker cleanup allowing them to leave earlier and get a longer weekend. Next time you are in a public or parochial school, check out the kitchen at 1:30pm on a Friday... it’s deserted! Whether you are on a cruise ship or in a school cafeteria on a Friday, you will find this same phenomenon (however, schools seldom cross the international dateline). --- Bob

My Man Bob: How come whenever I ask girls out they "just want to be friends?" Is there something wrong with me? Am I taking the wrong approach? Is dating hopeless these days? I'm sure you have no trouble getting dates, being the smart person that you are. Do you have any tips on becoming a smart, handsome hunk like yourself? Thanks, Lonesome in Louisville

Dear "Lonesome in Louisville:"
If you hadn’t addressed me as “My Man Bob,” I would have been certain that I had gotten a piece of Dear Abby’s mail by mistake.But you are right about one thing; I am a handsome hunk. Yes, thanks to years of plastic surgery at the local college of plastic surgery, I ain’t half bad to look at. Those colleges offer great rates if you are willing to put up with eight people leaning over you and up to thirty more staring down from in the gallery above, which can be rather embarrasing with parts of your face ripped open, but it’s all in the name of education and I’m willing to do my part to help. As far as being smart, that’s something that you are either born with (such as in my case) or it is a trait acquired by hanging around people who are born with it. And, in your case, rather than entering into a mentoring relationship, I’d just as soon that we “just be friends.” ---Bob

Bob: How do they fit thoses people in answering machines? I mean, it answers your phone, and records messages for you so you can call them back! --- The Tick

Dear "The Tick:"
What you aren’t realizing is that there are not any people in answering machines. The machines are merely relaying devices. They are attached (via the third and fourth unused lines in your phone line) to a large warehouse just south of Pueblo, Colorado. In this warehouse, there are thousands of illegal aliens (not the outer space type) sitting by large switching boxes with headphones on and notepads at their sides, vigorously jotting down the messages that your callers leave on your answering machine. When you push the button to get your messages, it signals the worker responsible for your machine to read back the messages. The reason it sounds like the person who called is that each of these illegal aliens that are hired must not only pass a grueling stenographer's test, but must master a correct impersonation of all 210 voice types. Every once in a while you catch yourself thinking, “that didn't sound like them...” Well, now you know why---you probably got a novice. How much do they get paid for this service? A measly $2.15 per hour and a fifteen minute McDonald‘s sack lunch break. But, they are happy to be in America.---Bob

Why did the Dukes of Hazard never use the doors to the General Lee? I know it had doors, it wasn't like a Nascar car. And its not like getting in through the windows is any easier, so what's the deal Bob?---Kelly

Bo and Luke just weren’t that bright. No, it wasn’t a matter of inbreeding (and I don‘t think it‘s fair to say that just because someone is from the South, that they‘re a product of inbreedin‘). As you recall episode #2 in which Bo and Luke high tail it to the General Lee (after booby-trapping Boss' outhouse), open the doors to get in, and both of the doors fell off their hinges (You may have seen this episode on TV‘s Practical Jokes and Bloopers). Then, in episode #4, Bo slammed his hand in the door and let out a line of cussing that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush. And in episode #5, the practical joking propmaster loosened the screws on the door handle so the thing fell off in Luke’s hand. Well, the director had it with the door monkey business and had the doors welded shut. And now you know the rest of the story.This is Bob Schuck. Good Day!

P.S. It was either that, or all of the stunt driving in the shows was done with little models that had the doors glued shut. I never was much good with model glue either. ---Bob

How come the people who work at McDonald’s never have a full set of teeth?
Thanks for your time. --- Robin Moenich

Oh, it’s not just McDonald’s, Robin, it’s ALL fast food restaurants! Have you ever been eating your way through a hamburger and you bite into what you thought to be a bone chip? Well, it's not a bone chip at all, rather a yucky practical joke that is commonly played by the "help" at fast food establishments throughout the country. It's a game they call "Hide Your Teeth in the Patties." To fight off their sheer boredom they take turns chipping out portions of their own teeth and stuff them into the fresh (?) burger patties. I tell you, there's been more than one time that I've bit down on one of those little suckers thinking, "Oh, great! I chipped a tooth!" Only to glance upward and see four or five employees standing behind the counter pointing at me laughing with their picket fence smiles.
But then, I guess that’s what we should expect from a bunch of minimum wage lackies. Pass the ketchup. ---Bob

When a person is being prepared for a lethal injection they use a alcohol swab to prevent infection. The person is going to die anyway so why do they do it?

Smily: Good question, Smilypirat (By the way, you spell pirat with an e on the end. And I believe that smily is actually spelled with an e also. Do you have an adversion to using "e"s or something. Think of all of the words you are missing out on! Words like EEEEEEE! ---the sound you make when you are riding a roller coaster, or EEEEEEE! --- the sound you make when you are runnning from the demonic ghost things that follow you up to your bedroom everynight. Or EEEEE! --- the sound that you make when you stick your toes into the ice cold water of Lake Superior in the middle of July.). Please concern yourself with more important issues than alcohol swabs, focus on your spelling. ---Bob

Why do they put Braille on the drive-through bank machines?---Katie Schott

Katie: Your question falls in line with an old question that has haunted me for years and I believe that the same answer applies to both. My question was, why do they have locks on the doors of establishments like convenience stores and Denny's Restaurants if they are open 24 hours a day 365 days a year? I traced the answer to an obscure but powerful labor union; United Lock and Braille Workers Union. Apparently, members of the union use the old mafia "protection" scare tactics to market themselves to unwitting clientele who neither need nor want their services. Either companies purchase their services or they may expect unprecedented harassment and lawsuits from blind locksmiths. ---Bob

Why is an equation with the highest power being 2 called a quadratic equation. I was always under the impression that quad meant four. Thanks --- Kevin Allen

Alright, when I launched this service, I was expecting questions about how lightbulbs work or why they quit working. Now you college boys who get a little terminology under your belts have to show off by spouting off your big words. Well, Knowledge Boy, the quadratic equation was actually discovered by a brilliant mathematical wizard dog from Northfield, Minnesota, by the name of Radick. His owner was the math professor at Carlton College. The quad obviously referred to the fact that Radick had four legs, and Ratic was a misspelling of the dog's name. The equation was originally named Quadradik's Equation.---Bob asks: Why don't pigs fly?

Matthew: I don't know what God-forsaken land you are writing from, but I'd never want to visit there! Here the pigs have no trouble flying off the skillet and right onto my plate right next to a pippin’ hot stack of griddle cakes all drizzled down with hot maple syrup. For a real taste treat, try wrapping them in the cakes! We call ’em Pigs in Blankets. And to wash it all down, a cup of steamin’ hot joe! Here's mud in your eye! --- Bob

Dear Bob: According to the third law of thermodynamics “everything will break down unless acted upon by an outside force,” doesn't that disprove evolution? But the same idots who believe in thermodynamics believe in evolution as well, what’s up with that?? --- Erik Bennett

Based on Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics: “things get worse under pressure,” one might surmise that evolution is, in fact, still occuring on a daily basis. This is especially evident in my wife‘s cooking: it has evolved from bad to worse. To more directly answer your question: What is NOT acted upon by some outside force? My stomach, for example, has evolved into a hideous, bulbous mass thanks to her wretched menu planning.---Bob

Hey Bob, can you make an atom bomb from a radio, a blender, an unopened box of pencils, and the frozen brain of Forest Gump? I need to know this because I have Forest Gumps's brain, and someone told me I could do it. ---Cloud Strife

No, I have Forest Gump's brain. He couldn't have had two brains, and the guy that sold it to me swore on his mother's grave that this was the original Forest Gump brain. So, NO. You can not make an atom bomb. ---Bob
P.S. Cloud Strife? What kind of stupid name is that?

You know when your flying through space and your going the speed of light and your like "AAAAHHHHHHHH" wi-will your head explode? ---Frank Roth

Yes. If you weren't going AAAHHHHHHHHH at the time, your head would explode---that is, if your eyes were open and you were looking at stuff. You see, by looking at stuff when you are going at the speed of light, your eyeballs actually can get sucked through the back of your head in a "visual vortex vacuum." By going "AAAHHHHH" (actual spelling varies) you are slightly closing your eyelids and raising your cheekbones thus protecting your eyes from exiting the back of your head. So, either don't look at stuff, or keep on screaming Frank! (And do something about that nasty stammer.) ---Bob

Dear Bob: Is it true that when you sneeze with your nose plugged, your head explodes? ---Max Booth

Max: What is it with you people and your obsession with exploding heads? Of course your head will explode if you sneeze with your nose plugged! Now leave me alone, I’m napping. ---Bob

Dear Bob: Can you please tell me if ants and other small insects can see very very small objects?
Like submicron-sized particles. ---Thanks, Deborah Reid

Deborah: Submicron-sized particles are just a figment of some bored scientist's imagination. We can't see them, because they don't exist. Unless ants and other small insects have a very large imagination, I severely doubt whether they can see them either. ---Bob

Bob: Why do hot-dogs come in packages of 10 and hot-dog buns in packages of 8? --- Kassie Welch

Good question, Kassie! I've determined that it is either because a couple of the buns always ripped up and sliced crooked---thus rendered unusable. Or, it could be that they want you to have some extra bread for the dog and the forest critters. Or, it is a ploy from both the hot dog and bun companies to get you to purchase more of each until the counts even out. ---Bob

Bob: Why is it that as soon as you quit resisting the man's attempt to get in your pants he decides you should "both see other people"? ---Angela Pritzl

Angela: What you are referring to is a phenomenon known as zipper fixation. Men are fascinated with zippers. As soon as you undo the zipper for the male, the challenge is gone and he must look elsewhere for fulfillment. Button, on the other hand are of no interest to men (who are generally "all thumbs"). This is evidenced by Levi's horrible failure in their attempt to market the "button-fly" jeans. ---Bob

Dear Bob: How can birds sit on electrical lines without getting electrocuted? ---Travis H., Point Douglas, WI

I'm surprised that in your schooling no one ever taught you about the naturally insulating rubber coating on bird's feet! Unless of course, if you are younger than sixth grade, which is when I recall learning of this phenomenon in Mr. Haugen's science class right after the chicken unit. Poor Mr. Haugen, it's sad that his family had him committed like that... he was an excellent teacher! This just goes to point out the terrible weaknesses in our educational system today. We're so gall dang concerned with getting everyone passed through into the next grade that we are missing the rudimentary learning stuff that was common knowledge to our parent's generation. I'm sorry, Travis, but your ignorance sickens me. --- Bob

Dear Mr. Schuck: I'm wondering how I can put a spaghetti-stained spatula in the drawer and then when I next open the drawer to use the spatula, the stains have complete disappeared! Where did they go? ---Jennifer Willey, AK

Jennifer: I’d be willing to bet that you live in a 1950's vintage home. What you are experiencing is one of the bi-products of the cold war that was built into many of the 1950's vintage mass-produced "suburban" housing. I'm of course speaking of the microscopic ultraviolet lighting units, imperceptible to the human eye, that are encased into the underside of your formica countertops. When the drawer is closed, these little lights turn on and bleach out the stains on your spatula. This is just the opposite of the refrigerator principle in which the incandescent light goes on when the door is opened. Yet similar in that when the refrigerator door is closed, the mold-growing lights go on and encourages accelerated mold growth. This is part of the food industry's scheme to make us purchase more of their products. ---Bob

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