By Gareth Edwards

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mainly Robots and Belly-Fat

As Professor Brian Cox may have mentioned, the universe is full of things to wonder at. Some of these are pulsars, black holes and the volcanoes of the ice moons of Saturn, and he’s happy to go on about these at some length. But Cox is curiously silent on some of the other incredible sources of wonder, like why cats don’t have thumbs; custard; and where they keep the plum sauce in the supermarket. This blog is an attempt to redress that imbalance by answering every possible question in the universe, and not just the ones about quasars and nebulas.

What is the one weird old tip that will help me lose belly fat?
My Great Uncle Emlyn, a keen Methodist, had a job in Smithfield meat market collecting unwanted offcuts to deliver to the tallow chandler. One day while taking some pork trimmings to Walthamstow a strange old man with home-made shoes told him to wager a shilling on Velvet Kipper to place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Although he had never gambled before Uncle Emlyn felt strangely drawn to enter the bookies to place a bet. He won seventeen shillings and sixpence! However, in his excitement my uncle completely forgot the bag containing twenty-two pounds of belly fat. Exactly the same thing could work for you. Except I suppose we’ve gone decimal, so it won’t.

What happens if you disobey the OPEN THIS SIDE instruction on the carton of cream?
That depends on the extent of your disobedience. If you open the cream on the other side your enjoyment of the cream may even be enhanced by a feeling of breaking a taboo. However if you were to open the cream on the bottom the net result would be cream on the floor and you could become an object of self-loathing, spousal loathing or feline adoration depending on your living arrangements. Should you defy the carton’s edict by not opening the cream at all, the sense of victory over authority would be cancelled out by dry apple crumble, which is a well-documented isotope of misery.

When shouldn't you not use a double negative?
You can’t use them too often, nor should you.

Why do I need to know my waiter's name?
A lot of waiters are students on their gap year or young men from Bulgaria pretending to be Italian, and these are generally harmless. But you can never rule out the possibility that your server for the evening might be a sinister goblin intent on taking your first born if you cannot guess his name, so it’s sensible to head this problem off at the pass by learning your waiter’s name at the outset. Also it’s safest never to order the skeins of gold.

Why haven't we developed robots to bring us stuff from the fridge?
The problem here is that while going to the fridge to get stuff is a wearisome chore it is nothing compared to the wearisome chore of developing a robot. Frankly until we have a robot-developing robot I can’t see us developing a robot.
Meanwhile my children have successfully developed an alternative solution by using two previously intelligent creative adult human beings they found in their own home and destroying their capacity for independent thought with a relentless onslaught of high-pitched demands. Now the pitiful creatures stumble from fridge to cooker to table trapped in a never-ending cycle of toil and gin.

That’s all for now, but do keep on wondering about the universe. 


  1. haha - a robot that develop robots should be our 1st priority, it all seems so clear now... :).

    If the ultimate answer is 42, what is the ultimate question?

  2. When (if ever) will ladybirds stop appearing in my study and dying on the carpet? Red is not really my colour.


  3. When will people realise that there are enough pictures, telly programs, plays and books already and just try to get through them all before they make any new ones?

  4. What is the opposite of a potato?

  5. Why is it one can mong only cheese, iron, wars, whores, hate and fish?

  6. If you disobey the OPEN THIS SIDE instruction on a box of cream, you'll get maerc or ercma or mcrea...

  7. Why do jazz fans need to know so trivial information about the Jazz musicians?

  8. I was wondering, are you thinking what I'm thinking?

  9. Why do I have to wear a jumper just because my mother is cold?

  10. Julio Iglesias. Is that an easy name to remember, really? How did he overcome such adversity with a name like that?

  11. Will we look back one day and find thrash metal songs strangely tuneful?

  12. why does the tv tell you to presls the Rd button but when you do, you realise that all it does is corrupt your television's screen, forbid you to close stand you realise the shame and humiliation of being outsmarted by an electectronic leisure product? Or is it just part of Panasonic's plan for world domination? Sorry it is so long...

  13. What is the point of lace?

  14. Oh my gosh - you have been answering so many of my questions and I have failed to acknowledge your generosity or give thanks for your infinite wisdom. Please forgive me. I will punish myself.