Thursday, May 29, 2008

20 Questions: 2008

Time for another round of those niggling, nagging questions I have about life and the universe. Any help here would be appreciated.

1. Why do people encase their license plates in those frames that are just advertisements for the dealership? Who would do this voluntarily? Are they employees of the dealership? Seems like there's a lot of them.

2. Why does every supermarket have 3 times more aisles than they ever use?

3. Why the hell, when we were conquering huge swaths of territory from the Mexicans in the 19th century, did we stop short right at the Baja? Who made the decision that we didn't want Baja California? Were they insane? Wouldn't Baja have been an awesome 51st state? I'd be there right now.

4. Do you think sometimes the ambulances don't really have an emergency and they just feel like they're too good to sit in traffic? I have a strong feeling that this happens.

5. If I use illegal file-sharing to download a Ken Burns documentary, is that really unethical? I mean, it's PBS. It was free to begin with. I think I'm on firm ground here.

6. When I press stop on the microwave and quickly open the door to take my coffee cup out, how fast do the deadly microwaves dissipate? What I'm worried about is that for a split second, my hand is getting roasted in the microwave. Yes, the light bulb in the microwave turns off when the door opens, but that really doesn't tell you diddly. Wouldn't the microwaves still be bouncing around in there for another few seconds?

7. Why do PC monitors have USB ports placed so close together that you can't actually have two flash drives inserted side by side?

8. Let's talk zombies. Unlike the original Night of the Living Dead (which in my opinion basically got it right, with slow moving, stupid, fall-over-dead-at-dawn zombies) these modern zombie movies (Dawn of the Dead remake, Land of the Dead, and I am Legend which I just saw) feature, essentially, energizer bunny zombies. Meaning, years after their original zombification, they're still walking around, just as powerful as ever. I'm sorry, but this just defies all common sense. After the initial feeding frenzy where they wipe out most of humanity, what are they eating on a day to day basis? Okay, in some zombie movies there's a supernatural element, so you can argue that the normal rules don't apply. But most zombie movies go out of their way to remind us that there is a highly scientific explanation for the zombism. Every zombie movie has the obligatory newscaster on scratchy television footage explaining about a mutated Hanta virus or something. So, how can zombies walk around for years at full power with no food?

9. Do you think the deaf know how to quiet their farts? Is it something that can be taught?

10. What is it about being homeless that makes you want 10 sugars in your coffee? Don't believe me? Just keep your eyes open. I've seen this going back decades. From my teenage stints at the local soup kitchen where homeless guys would empty entire sugar bowls into coffee mugs, to modern Starbucks fixins bars where the homeless go crazy with the chocolate powder and the cinnamon shaker, it's just a fact. I have a private little bet with myself that I will give all the cash I have on me to the homeless person who says "No no no, just black, please."

11. Sort of a legal question here, but why do we sometimes see the headline: "He will be tried as an adult."? I don't get this. Isn't there a cutoff age for juvenile crime? Maybe it's different from state to state, that's fine, but what's with the prosecutor saying 'We're going to seek to try him as an adult."? How does that make sense? If he was under 18 at the time of the crime, he's a juvenile. If he was older than 18, he's an adult. Who gets this discretionary power to decide who's really an adult? What's the criteria for seeking an adult trial? That the kid looked at the prosecutor funny? That the crime was heinous? And where is the fairness if one kid gets the adult treatment and the other doesn't? Someone needs to explain this in detail.

12. You know the tired old argument that men are supposed to leave the toilet seat down to be considerate. Well, without hashing it all out here, I do have one question that's always stumped me. The women in these arguments always point out that one time at 4 in the morning, they actually fell IN the toilet, because their idiot man left the seat up. This is what I want to discuss. Who the hell sits down on a toilet without looking at it? In my entire life I have never done that. I don't care what hour of the morning it is, I don't care how bleary eyed, tired or drunk you are, who the hell just parks their ass on a toilet sight unseen? What if the toilet had been closed entirely? Would you have peed on the lid? I mean, how dumb do you have to be? It takes less than a second to look at what you're about to sit on. You get no sympathy from me.

13. Sharks. Every time there's a shark program on TV, the narrator reminds me that if you bleed even a single drop of blood into the water, a shark can smell it up to three miles away. I'm sorry, but I just can't believe this. I realize I'm probably wrong, but how is that possible? For animals on land, they can smell you when the wind cooperates and sends your smell along. But the wind has to be just so, and there's a time lapse. Now, for sharks, how can they have instant awareness of blood from three miles away? Doesn't at least one molecule of blood have to make the physical journey from my location to the shark's nose? Wouldn't that take time, considering that it's water, not air? And wouldn't the shark have to get lucky, being on the receiving end of that specific current? Right? I just can't believe that I put one drop of blood in the water, and suddenly, three miles away, a shark says "Hey! Blood!" Just doesn't make sense.

14. Here's a pretty naive one: Why are ancient ruins buried underground? Why is it that the deeper you dig, the further into the historical record you go? I don't get it. So, if I abandon my house and come back 2,000 years later, it's going to be underground? How is that? Is it weather patterns? Continental drift? Erosion? I thought erosion exposes things? So, eventually everything on earth is going to be buried, and the whole world will someday be three times as large, covered by unlimited, magical new layers of topsoil?

15. Daylight savings. Why do we spring forward on saturday nights and lose precious, precious weekend sleep? Wouldn't it be much better to spring forward on say, Tuesdays, at 2 in the afternoon? This is a no brainer.

16. Do you think the Wii shortage has actually fueled its popularity?

17. Those videos you see during karaoke songs. The couples walking through gardens and the sailboats and all that. That's like thousands of hours of footage. Where does it come from?

18. How come, when A&E or the History Channel or Discovery airs a documentary on the history of video games, it's always showcases games that you have not once in your life ever seen or heard of? Oh, they do the obligatory 30 seconds on Tetris and Super Mario Bros., but then the balance of the show is some moron, some absolute moron, waxing philosophical about technology while on the screen we see endless footage of some blocky, polygonal Everquest type of game that you have never seen before in your life. Some circa-1998 questing game where a valkyrie or a barbarian is endlessly running across a featureless plain. The guy in the background is talking about how computer modeling can now accurately capture emotions on faces, and meanwhile we're watching the most dated, ugly 3D tech-demo shit on the screen. What the fuck? This is the history of video games? When is somebody going to make an actual video game history documentary that doesn't feature the opinions of a teacher at some technology institute and that doesn't canvas the screen with bullshit?

19. Why do ATMs that can only dispense twenties ask you to specify how much cash you want down to the penny?

20. I just saw American Gangster on DVD recently, and it's not a bad movie, but at one point I started counting all the cop movie cliches. You've got the main character taking a bullet... in the fleshy part of his outer-upper arm (the all-purpose body part for gunshot wounds that don't have to be there in the next scene). You've got a lieutenant type screaming about how "Internal Affairs is breathing down my neck." You've got the detective who puts the tiniest amount of white powder on his pinky, then pats it against his tongue and can instantly say "Yep, that's pure heroin." But then there is this one cliche that really has me intrigued. You've seen it before. The bad guys have a drug lab, and in the lab are beautiful women, all naked and wearing face masks, seated at long benches, quietly doing something-or-other to the drugs. They're naked, explains a character, so that they can't steal.

Okay, did this ever, in real life, ever happen? The beautiful naked women in the crack lab? I'm open to being told yes, by the way. By all means, dazzle me with a documented example. I've seen this in movies going back as far as those 1980s Steven Seagal bone-crunchers, and probably earlier. Is this phenomenon really based in fact, or was it invented to provide a flimsy excuse for nudity in a movie too busy to include a strip club scene? I would like to know.

2 comments:

Sabina said...

1. Why do people encase their license plates in those frames that are just advertisements for the dealership? Who would do this voluntarily? Are they employees of the dealership? Seems like there's a lot of them.

Sometimes they put it on and it's just too much work to take it off...i bought a used Nissan Sentra from a dealership that already had a license plate, the lazy man path says to just eff it and leave it on (It's not like it was on my top priority list to run inside, get a screwdriver, run back out to take that thing off. Just thinking about it makes me tired).

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