Welcome to the blog that sets out to explain everything once and for all for the rest of time. Here are the answers to some of your recent questions.
Nance asked According to historical records, who was the first person to sign a secret diary, rant or poison pen letter with "Anonymous"?
Until the 15th century social convention decreed that people sign their names to every single document no matter how offensive or contentious. This lead to embarrassment, acts of revenge and quite boring Valentine’s Days. Then in 1487 a particularly unpleasant poem entitled “Three-and-twenty Reasons forwhy Alisoun Truggmakyr is an Rottyn Bytche” was nailed to the side of a well in Devizes, Wilthsire. It was signed simply “Anonymous”. The towns-people gathered round puzzling over the meaning of the new word until Sir Godfrey deBodfrey stepped forward and announced that it meant that the name of the author was secret. When asked how he knew this, Sir Edward went red and began talking about the weather. The new word immediately became a part of the language, and Godfrey deBodfrey was pushed into the well by Alisoun Truggmakyr.
Scott asked How do they get the non-stick surface of a non-stick frying pan to stick to the pan itself?
By not using a stick.
@ComedyPunkz asked Why is bed more warm & comfy on weekday mornings than on weekend mornings?
Etienne Duvet’s pioneering methodology for lying in bed thinking about stuff, Bedpoststructuralism, posits that the reality of the external world recedes as the self snuggles further under the covers. This means that to the snoozer the outside world only has meaning in so far as it is not as nice as the bed. It therefore follows that the colder and more horrid the outside world the cosier the bed must therefore always already be. Thus on a cold weekday in February in Croydon the whole idea of getting out of bed collapses in on itself, and shortly thereafter so does the person trying to get up, a concept known as Indifférance.
Julian: Who actually put the bomp in the bop-she-bop-she-bop? While we're at it, who put the ram in the ram-a-lang-a-ding-dong? And most importantly, what on earth are either of them, and why?
If you look carefully you’ll see that there isn’t a “bomp” in the “bop-shoo-bop-shoo-bop” (you’ll see I’m using use the Folio spelling “shoo” which I think is more widely accepted than “she”). It’s just “bops” and “shoos”. In fact a hoax internet “bomp” alert such as yours is likely to attract the attention of the law, with the police spending thousands of pounds of taxpayers money on a disproportionate and ill-considered prosecution of your threatening behaviour, and rightly so. Meanwhile “Ram” is the Biblical figure Ram, son of Hezron and forbear of King David, and it was added to the a-lang-a-ding-dong by Oliver Cromwell in1653 replacing the earlier “Hey-nonny-a-lang-a-ding-dong” which Cromwell regarded as “most foul and meaningless revelry”.
Chelsea: Why is Iceland green and Greenland ice?
The sagas of Gunnbjörn Ulfsson, Erik the Red and the Viking settlement of Iceland and Greenland are well known, but posterity has been less kind to the exploits of 10th century practical joker Sigurd the Sign-Swapper who sailed throughout the known world making things confusing for everyone else for his own selfish amusement, eventually returning home to spend his declining years in the remote Danish village of Beirut.
That’s all for this month, but why not subtract from the sum of human bewilderment by posting a question in the comments section below? Just a small effort on your part will make an immeasurable difference to future generations.