Tuesday, August 29, 2006

4 - Answer(s)

Q: Lisa Jeffers - What will my time be in the 5K on Saturday?
A: I answered this question on Friday night in an instant message to Bill, but saved my answer for this space until I got around to writing my full response to the questions posed to me. I said that Lisa would run the 5K in 23 minutes. I was not correct. I’ll leave it to Lisa to announce her time in the 5K, but I will say that she did it faster than I could have. Good job!

Q: Brett Gobe - Why does the cheese stand alone?
A: This question comes from a nursery rhyme called “The Farmer in the Dell”. If you need a reminder as to the lyrics (which I did before I could tackle this question), here they are (and feel free to sing along):

The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer in the dell.
The farmer takes a wife, the farmer takes a wife,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the farmer takes a wife.
The wife takes a child, the wife takes a child,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the wife takes a child.
The child takes a nurse, the child takes a nurse,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the child takes a nurse.
The nurse takes a cow, the nurse takes a cow,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the nurse takes a cow.
The cow takes a dog, the cow takes a dog,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cow takes a dog.
The dog takes a cat, the dog takes a cat,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the dog takes a cat.
The cat takes a rat, the cat takes a rat,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cat takes a rat.
The rat takes the cheese, the rat takes the cheese,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the rat takes the cheese.
The cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone,
Hi-ho, the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.

First, I have a problem with the cheese standing in general. All of the other things contained in the rhyme are creatures with legs, which means that they are capable of standing. The cheese has no legs (unless they’ve been carved), and so I don’t think it can be said to “stand”. I know, I’m probably being a little bit too literal in my reading. In proper English, “standing” can also be taken to mean that an object is not in motion. Fair enough. But given the rest of the items in the list, I find the choice of the word “standing” to be a little vague.

Next, the words of the rhyme seem to contradict the last line. The second to last verse reads “The rat takes the cheese”. If the rat has taken the cheese, how can the cheese stand alone? Isn’t it standing with the rat? And what does the rat do with the cheese? If it’s a normal rat, it will probably eat the cheese, not stand with it. So that’s another problem I have.

Now, putting aside my objections to the lyrics, I consulted the Internets for guidance, and I was surprised to come across this very question at Yahoo! Answers. Many of the answers were too simple, but one of them got me thinking a bit. The person said, "The cheese can't chase anything." I got to thinking about that, and I realized that the reason the cheese stands alone is that it is the only inanimate object in the list. It can’t “take” anything, because it is incapable of taking. Because of this, the cheese must stand alone. I find this a fascinating bit of reasoning, so I submit it here as the answer to the question.

Q: Bill Jeffers - Will mullets ever come back in style?
A: I consulted some people I work with on this question, and got the following answers:

Mike W: “Were they ever in fashion?”
Aaron D: “Only if you grow one. Grow it, and they will follow.”
Bill N: “Probably.”

Now for my thoughts. I must start by stating that in my opinion, the mullet is a crime against hair. However, my ability to tell people what to do in general is pretty limited. As long as people have hair, they will continue to style it however they see fit. If enough popular people start sporting a particular hairstyle, then that style will take off. I was reminded of this phenomenon while watching “I Love the 90’s” on VH1. They highlighted the emergence of the “Caesar” hairstyle during the mid 90’s, showing all sorts of famous people sporting it. That's another hairstyle that I think is pretty bad, but people went along with it.

I guess my point is that if enough popular and/or public people begin to do something, then much of the public will follow them. This is the nature of popular culture, not just now but throughout history. We will imitate what we see and hear. Thus, if enough people grow mullets, then they will come back into “style” as it were. Therefore, my final judgement is that yes, mullets will come back. It is inevitable. You might as well give in and start growing it out now. And send me pictures, too.

Q: Eric Carney - What is the purpose of a garter besides an excuse to feel your wife under her wedding dress and make men stand as far back in a room as possible?
A: I once again consulted the Internets on this one. In my brief search, I could only find one site that dealt with the history of the garter toss: WedAlert. The main answer they give is this:
"The garter tradition originated back to the 14th century. In parts of Europe the guests of the bride and groom believed having a piece of the bride’s clothing was thought to bring good luck. They would actually destroy the brides dress by ripping off pieces of fabric. Obviously, this tradition did not sit well with the bride, so she began throwing various items to the guests – the garter being one of them. It became customary for the bride to toss the garter to the men. But this also caused a great problem for the bride….sometimes the men would get drunk, become impatient and try to remove the garter ahead of time. Therefore, the custom derived at having the groom remove and toss the garter to the men. With this change, the bride began to toss the bridal boutique to the unwed girls who were eligible for marriage."

I did find a site where you can find a garter, so ladies, if you're in the market, you can find them here.

Q: Sarah LaBombard - What was the first job you ever had?
A: Starting at about age 11 I began babysitting for my little sister. I eventually began babysitting for kids in my neighborhood. I really enjoyed doing it. Kids liked me and parents trusted me, which meant that I had a lot of repeat customers. I did this all the way through high school, and even a couple of summers following during college.

My first "real" job, which I classify as involving a paycheck, was as a paperboy. When I first moved to New Hampshire at age 10, the local paper (the Concord Monitor) was an afternoon paper. When I was 12 the kid who delivered the paper in our neighborhood decided he didn’t want to do it anymore, so I took the job over from him. I would get home from school to find a bundle of papers on our front porch. I’d sling the official Concord Monitor bag over my shoulder (I still have the bag), get on my bike, and ride around the neighborhood stuffing the paper into the slot. Then when I was 13 the paper switched from afternoon to morning. I remember that the switch happened on my birthday, as a weird coincidence. I started to have to get up at about 5:30am or so to deliver the paper. I tired of this after a month or so, and so I quit, and the guy who delivered to the neighborhoods outside of ours took over for me.