By Gareth Edwards

Saturday 17 March 2012

Telepathy, Salt and an Unlucky Owl

More from the blog that aims to provide answers to all possible questions in the universe, except maybe questions about learning to set realistic goals.

Nance writes "I finally finished a box of salt that I'm pretty sure I bought in the 90s. I want to fill my salt shaker. But now there's a whole shelf of options at the grocery: rock salt, pink mountain salt, sea salt, Kosher salt, etc. What do I get? I just want to salt my potatoes".
In 1998 the world ran out of normal salt, or to give it its scientific name “Just, you know, salt”. Since then the food industry has worked tirelessly to find alternatives but in spite of their best efforts these are all inevitably more expensive, gimmicky and pointless. The choice is yours. The most prized of these exotic versions of salt is of course Nunavut Walrus Salt, which is Native Canadian rock salt that has passed through the gut of a walrus. Aficionados say this gives it a gentler, less salty, more walrus-pooey taste. At the other end of the scale there’s “I Couldn’t In All Conscience Guarantee That This Is Salt”, which they add to the “I Really Don’t Think This Is Cream” when they make “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”.

Stuart asked "Are there any sentences where it’d be correct to have double exclamation marks at the end?"
It would be acceptable in at least one of the two following examples -
a)                  “This sentence ends incorrectly!!”
b)                  “No it doesn’t!!”

Rob asked when is it useful to have a hearing aid NOT in the 'T' position?
People with hearing problems can find it hard to distinguish speech from background noise. The “T” system hearing-aid was devised to overcome this problem by bypassing the spoken word and instead relaying the thoughts of those trying to communicate with the wearer via an intuition loop. However, this rudimentary Telepathy function can in some situations be a hindrance. Consider for example if you had just had an avant-garde haircut that you were now having colossal doubts about, but it was too late to change it before the photo-shoot to publicise your first day as CEO of a hair product manufacturer with a reputation for traditional values. In such a situation you might prefer to have your partner’s confidence-bolstering fictions about how your new coiffure all looks perfectly fine spoken loudly and clearly into your ear, rather than have their anguished internal monologue lamenting your ill-conceived new barnet relayed directly into your brain.

Mark asked Why don't I like rocket? I like all the other salad leaves.
One of the nice things about lettuce is that it contains taraxasterol, while watercress is brilliant because it is rich in phytochemicals. I’m afraid there isn’t any comparable data to account for your aversion. That's the problem with the bio-chemical analysis of salad. It’s not rocket science.

 asked Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that tile?
To answer your last question first, the tile is of the heavy terracotta type popular in barn construction in Edwardian times. I found it next to a ruined farm building I came across on a rambling holiday in Shropshire. On a whim I picked it up and hurled it into the midst of a gloomy thicket.  As for the hat, I made it myself by simply hollowing-out a squashed owl that I found underneath a heavy terracotta tile in the midst of a gloomy thicket.

Robert Hudson asked Why are people so horrible to each-other online?
Oh yeah? Well, up yours!

That's all for this week, but if you have enjoyed this blog you might also enjoy brownies, the poetry of Edward Thomas, breeding mice for fun and profit, or water-skiing. I simply have no way of telling.