By Gareth Edwards

Tuesday 28 December 2010

The smell of success and the socks of despair.

More from the blog that aims to answer every possible question in the universe as sent in by you, the readers. Although if you aren’t reading this then sorry to have been presumptuous.

Why did humans decide on business cards?
In these days of carpets and clothing it’s not practical for humans to introduce themselves by scent-marking or bottom-sniffing. Besides we just don’t have the right glands, and our sense of smell is too unsophisticated to make the nuanced distinctions in odour needed to arrange a pack or society. So people have had to fall back on the next most obvious solution, using small pieces of cardboard to make subtle judgements about each-other's status on the basis of things like choice of font.

Did history correctly answer the Schleswig-Holstein Question?
No. In the examination history ran out of time, panicked and answered A to all of the remaining seventeen questions, one of which was the Schleswig-Holstein question. So the fundamental problem is that history never actually read the Schleswig-Holstein question, the actual answer to which was C.

Blu-Tac or drawing pins?
Drawing pins for red meat, Blu-tac for fish and chicken. With game you can use either but I recommend Sellotape.

What about those bloody immigrants eh?
A frighteningly-phrased question from this reader, but immigration has always been a massive problem as far as the British are concerned. Take the Indians. Boat-loads of British people immigrated into India and killed lots of them. Then they took over loads of things and didn’t even open any decent restaurants.  On the other hand there have also been problems with immigration into Britain. The worst example that we know of was the Normans, who came over here taking our jobs and harrowing our North. Possibly the Angles and Saxons were worse but we don’t know because they killed all the Romano-Celtic scribes so nobody knew how to write down the subsequent outrages. Maybe this is a good argument for having a basic literacy element in the citizenship test. Fundamentally, some people have been coming over here/going over there and stealing our/their jobs/culture/mammoths for some time and I suspect it may now be too late to get everyone to go back to where they all came from (i.e. The Rift Valley).

Where do all the socks go once they enter the washing machine?
The washing machine doesn’t destroy socks, but it does literally turn their world up side down, and round about half way through the spin cycle many of them begin to yearn for a better life. Some of the socks go on to further education, or travel, others may pen a semi-autobiographical rite-of-passage novel. These last ones encounter a lot of rejection from publishers banging on about how it’s hard to sell anything these days that isn’t a “genre” and eventually become disillusioned. In the end they try a succession of low-paid tutoring jobs then go back to being socks, but kind of angry deep down, so they go at the heel.

If "nemo" is Latin for no one, who did the clown fish find?
The clown fish found only the endless sea of always-absent meaning that Jacques Derrida called Différance. Also a really funny but dumb blue fish called Dory.

So now hopefully the birthday-candle of knowledge flickers ever-so-slightly brighter in the malevolent catacombs of endless chaos.  Why not send in your own questions on any subject big or small, before the tiny flame gutters and all is infinite darkness?

Saturday 11 December 2010

Watching Telly with a Giant Lizard.

More answers to your questions on the things that really matter in the universe.

Who's gonna clean up this mess?
After many centuries of trial and error society has arranged this as follows - if the person that made the mess is under thirty years old it will be the job of their parents to clean it up (eg. all that Plasticine in the carpet or chronic unemployability), whereas if the person who made the mess is over thirty it will be the job of their children to clear it up (eg senility or Global Warming).

Why haven't I won the lottery?
I’m sorry to say that this is your own fault. Like everybody, you have already won several major cash prizes and probably a bucketful of I-pods too. Like everybody you will have had letters and pop-ups and phone calls from Spanish robots telling you about it. But you haven’t shown ANY interest. You haven’t even replied. Automated junk mail distributors are people too, and inevitably you’ve hurt their feelings, and word has got round in the wider cash-prize-distributing community that you simply can’t be bothered. You may say that buying a lottery ticket is proof of a genuine interest in winning the lottery, but people often buy things not because they hope to use them but because they feel they ought to, otherwise why would we have dental floss?

If someone is "out of your league" does that mean football or cricket?
Neither. It’s a reference to the Hanseatic trading league of Baltic city states from the 13th to 17th Century. This is good news for romantics because it means you can entice someone you find attractive into your league by offering them lucrative trade in furs, rye and resin. If that doesn’t work then a punitive military expedition to set fire to their navy could force them into some kind of treaty arrangement leading to nights out, country walks and maybe more.

When should you swap your camel?
This kind of insensitive question makes me very angry. Camels are not some commodity to be swapped and bartered at the nearest oasis like so many carpets, basket of dates, or daughters.

What is Bad Science?
“Bad” Science describes science midway between “Evil” Science and “Perfectly Fine” Science under the Wissenshaftsmoralit√§t Klassifizierung, which was the old system for measuring mad scientists before that all went metric and we had to start talking about Boffins and Kilo-boffins (thank you Brussels). Under the old system, a mad scientist who created a giant lizard to destroy New York would be an Evil Scientist whereas a mad scientist who created a giant lizard to watch repeats of Have I Got News For You? on the Dave Channel would be a Perfectly Fine Scientist. A Bad Scientist would typically create a Giant Lizard that would tag park benches, play its music too loud on the bus and end up with an ASBO.

Is it time yet?
It is time yet, and has been since the beginning of time. The more worrying issue is that at some point it won’t be time anymore, but until that happens we’ve still got time.

So hopefully that’s cleared a few things up, but if anything is still bothering you within the great sphere of all creation, then ask away.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Vince Cable and the Kaiser's poorly zebra

More answers to your questions on the subject of everything in the universe.

Who owns the gang of horses currently roaming free in the otherwise quiet cul-de-sacs of Ashford, Kent?
The Kaiser does. In 1860 Queen Victoria conferred on her infant grandson Wilhelm the title of Procurator-Royal of the Kentish Horse, which gave him a theoretical right of requisition over all hoofed mammals of the four ancient towns of Sandwich, Margate, Rochester and Ashford. At the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 the Kaiser duly put his claim to the 413 horses, 8 donkeys and a poorly zebra in writing to George V, but George in a bid to avoid having to snub his cousin pretended to be out, and continued to do so for the next four years. The Treaty of Versailles expressly demanded that the Kaiser withdraw his claims on the animals, but in the treaty Ashford was mistakenly recorded as Ashtead. Thus the claim was never legally rescinded, and the horses of Ashford are still technically at the disposal of the Kaiser.

When is Jeremy Paxman?
By day mild-mannered Jeremy works as assistant manager for an artisanal cheese-makers’ co-operative near Stroud. But should democracy be in danger, or students need to be snorted at derisively while trying to answer questions about Keats and the formation of Triphosphorous Heptachloride, then the BBC puts out a special coded signal. Only then does Jeremy become Paxman. The rest of the time he keeps his special sneering suit in the cold-store, and he has a secret Paxphone shaped like a truckle of Double Gloucester.

Why did God invent moths?
God loves all forms of holiness, and this even extends to homonyms. It’s that kind of thoroughness that got God where he is today, ie everywhere.

If it is true that many surnames originated as a result of one’s occupation what is the history of Vince Cable’s family?
Certainly some surnames have their origins in the occupations of our ancestors, hence names like Tim Smith, Daisy Mugger and Saffron Loss-Adjuster. Other names find their origins in personal traits: Dennis Brown, Liam Ottersmell and Samantha Horrible. And a third category of names denote the places our ancestors came from: The Outlaw Josie Wales; Olwen Chatanooga; and Xarglfax  Horsehead-Nebula. Vince Cable does indeed fall into that first category, having had an ancestor who was three thousand miles tall who spent some time submerged under the Atlantic passing on messages, then went on to have a successful career designing and knitting jumpers.

And following on from that, what are the origins of the surname Battery?
Most likely this refers to an ancestor who was a clumsy apprentice in a pancake factory.

Do keep the questions rolling in or we’ll never get the universe comprehensively explained before time itself shall cease, and so we won’t know whether any of it mattered or not, which would be a shame.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Roman Catholic Bears.

This is Blog Number 8 in the series that aims to answer every possibly question in the universe. So we’re well on the way I think.

Why does no one ever read the manual?
Manuals have never been part of the evolutionary process. Our ingenious ancestors worked out from first principles how to bring low the mighty mammoth by terrifying it with screams and crude implements until they drove it over a cliff to its death. So now as we take up the genetic baton of the human race it’s clear to us that we need no manual for the new DVD player. Simply by following our ancestral instincts we know we can terrify it with screams and crude implements and drive it over a cliff to its death.

Why is the sky blue?
This has long puzzled scientists but they now believe it is because the sky woke up one morning and its woman had done left it on its own.

To be or not to be?
By modern standards this is an incredibly poorly-devised piece of market research. We’d learn a lot more about what Hamlet’s feelings were re the relative merits of “being” and “not being” if Shakespeare had used a more nuanced scale of one to five, where 1 is for those who strongly agree with “being” and “5” is for those who strongly disagree, and would rather prefer make their own quietus with a bare bodkin. Hamlet could then have ticked “3” – “no strong opinion either way” – which would have made for a much shorter and clearer play.

Do bears live in the Vatican?
No. Bears have not lived in the Vatican since 1873. Until that date emissaries of all the Catholic animals lived within the Papal See, and attendance there was seen as a great honour for the creatures involved, although also an inconvenience for the Catholic fish. However, it had long been a tradition that the delegation of holy bears would leave the Vatican each day and make their way to the woods to perform certain key rituals specific to their order. As Rome grew and the surrounding area became deforested this became more and more impractical and the inhabitants of nearby orchards grew distressed at the site of the full Papal delegation of twelve large bears in the full regalia of the Catholic church squatting behind one small pear tree. At the same time relations with another species on the Vatican Vertebrate Council became strained following the unexplained disappearance of a senior Catholic salmon, and the Pope himself was forced to intervene. The following day as the bears left for their daily ritual His Holiness asked “Defaecantne ursi in silva?” and on receiving an answer in the affirmative he decreed the locks of the Vatican be changed and the doors be closed against the bears forever.

Thanks for all your questions and sorry if I haven't answered you this week. Do remember that the universe is continually expanding so do keep the questions coming or we'll fall behind.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Cress and Methodism

Thank you for your excellent questions. Here are the answers to some of them.

What is the point of it all?
The point of it all is the sharp bit at the end of it all. This of course begs the question “which end?” Some experts on it all have suggested that if you could get to the bottom of it all you would be able to see the point of it all. Clearly if the point is at the bottom then it follows that it all is balancing on its pointy end. That means that the current orientation of it all is inherently unstable and it all could fall over at any moment, which is certainly how it all feels.

How do carrots behave in a vacuum?
The short answer is “appallingly”. In a vacuum carrots are sullen, uncooperative, and thoughtless. They also never say “thank you” and have absolutely zero drag. However it’s worth remembering that culturally carrots have very different standards of behaviour from humans (except teenagers) so we shouldn’t be tempted to judge the sulky orange idiots.

Do these trousers make me look fat?
I’m afraid the answer is yes. Those trousers are awful.

Is yogurt alive?
Yoghurt is alive, but it’s not been well. Hence the smell.

Why is cress?
In 1911 Petrel Tressurgeon, Bodmin’s most famous aeronautical pioneer was desperate to be the first man to fly the English Channel. A fiercely loyal Cornish man, he vowed to take off from his native county, though this added one hundred and fifty three miles to the twenty-one-mile journey. Being a Methodist, Tressurgeon had no wind-sock and so like most non-conformists he checked the direction of the prevailing wind with a small handful of cress, which in those days was inedible, just as it is today. This inadvertently blew onto his lunch, a ham and cheese toasted sandwich, at which point Tressurgeon brushed the cress off with a dismissive tut and ate the sandwich. Then he turned his aircraft into the wind and with a smart crack of the whip he took off. His horse-drawn tri-plane remained airborne for one hundred and three feet, the precise height of the cliff from which he began his flight. Neither he nor his three shire-horses survived. The next morning a newspaper from London arrived announcing that Bleriot had flown the channel just two years earlier. Ever since then sandwich chefs have commemorated Tressurgeon with a sprinkle of cress. In copying his gesture of dismissively removing the cress from our toasted sandwich we honour this true British hero.

It’s possible that this last question was intended as a more philosophical inquiry into the place of garnishes in the universe. Rest assured that as this blog’s mission is to answer all possible questions at some point before the end of time, this enormously complex and painful subject along with all other possible subjects will be covered in due course.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Earl Grey Trousers

Here are this week’s pebbles of “because” dropped into the ocean of “why?”

Why are people scared of clowns when there is so little clown-related crime?
We’re not frightened of clowns because of what they might do.  We fear their negligence, and rightly so.  Clown Health and Safety Training is non-existent. A clown is an accident waiting to happen. I once did some management consultancy for a Clown Custard Pie Factory and there were countless incidents of irresponsibility, poor teamwork and just plain stupidity every day. In the twenty-seven months I observed them at work not a single pie made it into their distributor’s vans.  The business survived for a time as the clowns were content to work for the smiles and laughter of children, but it was eventually bankrupted by massive consultancy fees.

How many is four?
There’s no correct answer to this as four isn’t really a number, but a letter of the alphabet that has by convention come to denote the un-named number between three and five. It is used in words like “Petit Fours”, “Lord Balfour”, and “Four”. Its proper place is actually in the alphabet, between the letters “” and “Bethany”.

Why doesn’t my son hear anything I say?
It’s possible your son may be French. Don’t be frightened by all the scare-stories on the internet about this – many French children grow up to lead wonderful and fulfilling lives. Don’t try talking to him in French though as he will pretend not to understand your accent, even if it’s actually perfectly fine.

What are the origins of the colour green?
There were originally only six colours in the spectrum, red, orange, yellow, blue, violet and carbonara. In Roman times Caesar Verdurus decreed that an additional colour, green, should be added to the spectrum to celebrate the addition of Greenland to the Roman Empire. Verdurus’s successor, Indigus, perhaps the most competitive of the Caesars and certainly the most apoplectic decreed that he too should have a colour to honour his achievements  and the range of visible light was extended to include indigo. As a footnote, it was only recently that advances in electro-spectrometry revealed carbonara not to be a true colour at all, so it is no longer included in the rainbow.

Which is best, Earl Grey or Normal?
It depends. Earl Grey was a British prime minister famous for liking the strong citrus aroma of Bergamot oil, which he added liberally to everything. This worked very well in tea, but history has been less kind to Earl Grey Mashed Potato; Earl Grey Trousers; and the infamous Earl Grey Elephant, which rampaged furiously through both Houses of Parliament dripping with strong-smelling unguent until it was finally put to sleep with a reading from one of Benjamin Disraeli’s early novels. The story of Thomas Normal who amassed a great fortune by not adding Bergamot to a range of every-day products is too well-known to need repeating here.

Are tomatoes really a fruit or are they lying to us?
Tomatoes are actually a verb. Generally though they are not to be trusted.

An infinite number of further questions are necessary to guarantee this blog can fulfil its aim of explaining everything in the universe, so do keep up the vital work…

Sunday 31 October 2010

Smoothies of Good and Evil, and Unconsidered Tigers.

Thank you for your many excellent questions, each in some way a facet of the larger question "What does it all mean"? Here are answers to a few of them, each in some way a facet of the larger answer that will one day become apparent, although to be honest, probably not soon.

Why are people different heights?
Human bodies are designed to be, when standing, exactly the right length to fill in the gap between the human head and the floor. You’ve probably noticed that different people keep their heads at all sorts of different distances from the floor, and so bodies have to be all kinds of different sizes.

Is my daughter correct when she tells me she is “a sheepy”?

As adults we confidently navigate our way through the three dimensions of up, sideways and along and forget that this is a learned convention. Children, unaware of this arrangement, often find themselves in seven or eight other dimensions that we can’t even imagine. That’s how the teapot got broken that time even though none of my children ever even touched it or anything. Children have also not yet acquired the adult trait of travelling at a constant speed through time, so it can take them five adult seconds to do something quite difficult such as spreading jam all the way up the stairs but three quarters of an hour to put on their shoes. Thus it’s quite possible that when your daughter says she is a sheepy she is describing her state in some dimensional space you can’t perceive. As we grow older this tendency to move in and out of different dimensions at variable speeds through time deserts us except just after we have rung our partner to say we are “just about to leave” the pub.

Is it true that Innocent Smoothies can never be convicted of a crime?
Not really. The makers of Innocent Smoothies are not using the word "innocent" in its legal sense. Their point is more a theological one. Innocence can be described as a lack of experience of sin, but the word must also imply the possibility of experiencing sin at some point. In other words innocence can’t really exist without free will. Thus for example you can’t have an innocent brick because a brick has no free will to choose between good and evil, and you can’t have an innocent seagull because seagulls are horrid. Just as Adam and Eve fell from Eden, in time Innocent Smoothies will inevitably be tempted and become Smoothies Made of the Fruit of the Tree whereof they were Commanded not to be Made. This will be much harder to fit on the label, but on the plus side, their marketing will be less cutesy and sanctimonious.

How can I not think about tigers?
Begin by not thinking about a jungle at dusk, then don’t think about a bush rustling behind you though there is no wind. Then don’t imagine turning too late, your helpless shriek cut short by the rushing onslaught of a powerful stripy carnivore hurtling at you, its jaws agape.  There are about 3,000 tigers in the wild, so if you follow this procedure once every day in a little over 8 years you’ll have not thought about all of them.

That’s all that our arbitrary adult conventions say there is "time" and "space" for. Do keep the questions coming and watch out for unconsidered tigers.

Sunday 24 October 2010

Monkey black holes, and what badgers think about rainbows.

Your many challenging questions this week reminded me that the quest for truth can sometimes be frightening. It's as if we are benighted travellers, and the universe is one vast black forest. Together let us find the gateau.

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?
As well as the three human songs about rainbows, pretty much every other species of mammal also has at least one song about a rainbow. Surprisingly this even includes the Ganges River Dolphin, which despite being functionally blind has a song which roughly translates as “What if there were another sense besides the four obvious ones, and what if there were a phenomenon whereby the thing that that sense could distinguish were to be broken down into its component parts by passing through thousands of tiny water drops? Wouldn’t that be lovely, and by the way does this river taste of dead people to you?” Although they only see in black and white, badgers sing a lot of songs about rainbows, including “The stripes of my beloved’s face are both the colours of the rainbow.”

Why is there beetroot?
People often have terrible misconceptions about beetroot, but actually you can cook it in seven or eight different ways before disposing of it. It can be boiled and then thrown away. Roast and then thrown away. Baked au gratin and thrown away. It can even be grated raw straight into the bin. Probably the main reason for beetroot is for dividing up the world into people who like beetroot and people who don’t.  No other vegetable serves this exact purpose.

Why is God so bad with money?
Ever since the world’s major currencies moved away from the gold standard money has relied on a shared belief in its value. God’s problem with money is that He doesn’t share this belief. He is massively into Book Tokens though.

What is the best use for an infinite number of monkeys?
If you have an infinite number of monkeys you don’t need to worry about what you should use them for as they can do an infinite number of tasks in an infinitely short time, or maybe even quicker if they are using predictive text. To put it another way, there’d be no problem you couldn’t solve by throwing monkeys at it.  You’d probably want to start though by addressing the problems of catering, accommodation and infrastructure that go along with owning an infinite number of monkeys. Chief among these is that if you didn’t spread them very carefully throughout the universe then their infinite mass would cause a monkey black hole and all that randomly-generated truth and beauty would be lost in an implosion of anguished simian whoops.

If I haven’t answered your question then please be reassured that it is the aim of this blog at some point between now and the last syllable of recorded time to provide an answer to every possible question in the universe, and I see no reason to assume that goal will not be achieved, monkey black holes permitting.

Sunday 17 October 2010

Gemma Arterton and the problem of Rat Copyright

In your questions this week several major philosophical issues have come up, and if I can resolve them below then I see no reason why we shouldn’t achieve a coherent explanation for everything in the universe in a slightly shorter infinite amount of time than the infinite amount of time I was expecting. Which can only be good. Here are this week’s answers.

Why is Gemma Arterton?
There is no straight-forward answer to this seemingly simple question. That’s because Gemma exists simultaneously as an actress and as a particle. For example, Gemma is readily observable on a cathode ray tube under certain conditions such as that you have an old telly and are watching Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and in this respect she is an actress. But if Gemma is fired at very high speed at a strip of metal then electrons and small angry squeaks will be given off, and Gemma will tend not to behave as an actress at all. This is known as actress-particle duality. One theory suggests that Gemma’s state is determined by her observers and that if nobody observes her she will cease to be an actress altogether.

Did Dickens own a cat, or was he a dog person?
This seems to me a false juxtapostion. One of the more surprising things about Dickens was that as well as being the third best writer in history he was very much a dog-person in that from the chest down Dickens was actually a large poodle. This canine lower part of the great novelist had his fur trimmed into the shape of a Victorian gentleman’s lower torso and legs and the deception went undetected except that he often fell over when urinating. But Dickens did also own a variety of cats on which he based many of his books, although anyone who has just tried to think of a list of amusing cat-related versions of Dickens titles will know it’s a far-from-open goal. Ooh, Tail of Two Kitties. That’ll have to do.

Do photos steal your soul?
The answer is of course yes. For example, if you were to take a photograph of a loved one right now, there would be no risk whatsoever to the loved one’s soul. However, if you were to repeat the process many times, photographing loved ones, neighbours from when you lived in Yeovil, some slightly historic buildings you saw in Holland, and especially some babies, and you were to keep those photos in a box, and then much later if your teenage grand-children were to come round and you were to take out the box and show them all of these photos one after the other for nearly three hours they would very likely lose the use of their soul, and if you didn’t even offer them a biscuit or anything, their souls might very easily be destroyed.

Can fish fist bump?
Yes, but they choose not to. Fish are not team players. Except whitebait.

Why do people lie?
I answered this very convincingly but then rats stole it and published it on the Rat Internet and asserted Rat Copyright, which is watertight.

That’s all I’m pretending there’s time for this week, but the universe is still largely baffling so do keep your questions coming in, or we’ll never get through it.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Largely on Cats and Thumbs

I've had several important-sounding questions asked since the last blog and as there's only a potentially infinite quantity of words and time for these questions to be answered I feel I should crack on.

Many of your questions related to cats, and there was one question asking where would we be without thumbs. I think these two areas of inquiry illuminate each-other. After all, it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that cats have not bothered to evolve opposable thumbs, and look at where that’s left them. They have to get another species to open all their tins. Also if a cat has owners who move house to Bristol and take it along and then the cat for reasons of its own wants to get back to the house it used to live in Chippenham it has to try and walk there as it is too thumb-less to hitch-hike. That is what happens when you skimp on thumbs.

I was also asked -

Why do cats have faces?
Cats have three faces, a surface, to keep cats' insides in, a fur-face for showing where the front is, and a north face for defying mountaineers.  A geometrician will tell you that with three faces and no corners cats must be cylindrical.  Geometricians are like that. They can’t be trusted. 

But can we prove cats even exist?
Having said all of the above, I'm afraid there is bad news for cat lovers and cats, because there is no evidence whatsoever for the existence of cats (other than physical evidence). A lot of people claim to derive a kind of reassurance from a belief in cats, but of course a desire for something to be true rarely makes it true. The “Cat Delusion” seems harmless enough until you consider the feelings of small birds, people with allergies, and the feelings of small birds with allergies. I know some people will point to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats as proof of the existence of cats, and there are people who feel moved to believe in cats by the beauty of the music, the sense of spectacle and the furry leg-warmers. But it is not so, for these ‘cats’ are simply costumes worn by ordinary people and actresses.

Do fish bump into each-other?
Fish never bump into each other because they are on rails which are in a dimension that we cannot see.  The visible part of the fish comprises only the nine tenths that are under the water. The mechanical aspects such as the pulleys and clockwork arms are elsewhere.

Why do people feel guilty?
Because they know what they’ve done, and the sooner they own up the sooner we can all enjoy our break time.

Why don't eggs taste of chicken?
Eggs do taste of chicken, but chickens don’t.

I hope that's cleared up some things once and for all, and if it hasn't then I think that in its own way is a valuable lesson on human fallibility, which is always handy. I may deal with the other questions, which were about luck, rain, hypothetical dogs, slow tortoises and questions in another post. But meanwhile let me know if there are other things you believe need some kind of explanation.

Monday 4 October 2010

Why the world deserves this blog.

I’m often told by colleagues and loved ones that they feel they deserve “some kind of explanation”.

This blog sets out to provide just that - an explanation. Not just for the soup in the photocopier that one time, or the failure to see the label that said “Dry Clean Only” which is apparently unforgiveable even if someone was only trying to help. Rather, I aim to take a look at all the bigger picture – existence in general -  and see if I can’t provide you all with the explanation you deserve.

It can’t be explained all in one go, obviously. I think that’s where philosophers and physicists have gone wrong – trying to sort it all out at once. It clearly makes more sense to divide existence up into really a lot of quite small manageable bits such as “Which is the best cheese?” “Shouldn’t you be wearing a cardigan?” and “Which is heavier, a ton of feathers or our guilt at failing future generations?” Sooner or later that way we’ll end up with an answer to every possible question, and we’ll have some kind of explanation.

I’ll start with the question that I’m imagining I would have been most commonly asked, if I hadn’t tackled it in this first post. Here goes.

Why do people fall in love?
I think the most important point to make here is that love ought to be covered at all times. If the cover is left off and the love is poorly signposted then it becomes what lawyers call “an attractive nuisance” and unfortunately people can and do fall in.

What happens next depends very much on the relative density of the faller-in and the love. If the person is less dense than love they will float along on the surface. In extreme cases, such as a person of low gravitas falling into unusually heavy love they may even be able bounce around on the surface tension in blissful ignorance of the risks, like a wet dog on a paper trampoline. Conversely, a dense person falling into a frothy kind of love will sink like a granite otter unless they use some kind of a flirtation device, or the love turns out to be shallow enough to stand up in.

If you do manage to climb back out of love then it can usually be rinsed off with a mixture of alcohol and tears over a period of nineteen months.

For next week, why not pose your own question that you feel deserves some kind of explanation? Obviously you could have perfectly legitimate reasons for not doing that, in which case I shall be asking myself… “How we can ever truly prove the existence of cats.”