Friday, April 25, 2008

33 - Answer(s)

Q: Brett Gobe - Why are barns red?
A: In the 1800's the paint used to coat the outside of a barn was made of a mixture of milk, lime, linseed oil, and either iron oxide or lead oxide. It was this last ingredient that gave the barn its classic red color. As commercially produced paints became available, red was apparently the color that was the cheapest to produce, and thus was popular with farmers. As time went on, eventually whitewash became even cheaper, leading many farmers to paint their barns white. Today the color is maintained largely as tradition, though you can find barns of all colors and designs if you go looking hard enough.

Q: Bill Jeffers - Why DO we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
A: I can actually answer this classic question. No, really, I can. Just give me a minute and I think you'll be satisfied.

The answer to the first part of the question can be found by tracing back the meaning of the word "parkway". A parkway was originally a road that lead to and passed through a park or other scenic area. Thus the "park" part of the word "parkway" is literal, which I find interesting. As automobiles became popular new parkways were built. These were usually wide roads with landscaped medians, and while they still often lead to parks they also began to include longer scenic drives. Today a parkway generally means that it serves passenger vehicles only, and there are usually lower speed limits on them than on other highways.

And that's why you drive on a parkway.

The second part of the question is harder. A "driveway" is defined as a private road leading up to one or more buildings. Technically this includes the short little strips of asphalt that are in front of most houses, though I would really classify those as parking spots rather than a real driveway. In fact, that's my answer to the question. You don't really park in your driveway. You drive on your driveway until you reach the parking spots in front of your house.

Satisfied? No? Well I like the answer, and more to the point it's all you're going to get out of me on this one.

A: Done and done. You know, while you're waiting for my witty answers you should head on over to my newly-established poetry site and sample some of my other writings.