Sunday, November 11, 2018

Questions No One Is Asking

     Well, except your humble Curmudgeon...

     What percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product arises from the production and sale of products to improve, change, or eliminate odors? A few examples:

  • Perfumes and Colognes
  • Aftershaves
  • Scented soaps
  • Scented shampoos
  • Deodorants and Antiperspirants
  • Mouthwashes
  • Room deodorizers
  • Car fragrances
  • Scented candles
  • Pot Pourri

     What others come to mind?

     Certain foods are known as things that give you gas. Prominently featured among them are the members of the bean family. Yet beans are an important dietary item, being high in fiber and therefore good for the lower digestive tract. Which raises a question: Do the additives that negate the gas in beans affect their fiber content? If so, is the effect positive or negative?

     We’ve all seen videos of volunteers passing out plastic cups of water to the runners in a marathon. The image must have a lot of charm, given how often we see it. But has anyone ever passed out solid foods? Granola bars? Doughnuts? Big Macs? Do the rules for a certified marathon allow it? (And who certifies marathons, anyway?)

     Did that rancher ever get the head of Alfredo Garcia?

     Somewhere in the world – I once knew where, but, well, age, you know – there are a number of “official standard” items. One of them, the official standard kilogram, was recently in the news because it was losing mass. But there have been others: the official standard meter, the official standard liter, and so forth. I understand that as those measures have been “restandardized” as some fixed multiple of an atomic or quantum value, the official standard items have been “retired.” But what became of them? Is there a museum for such things? Perhaps an old folks’ home of sorts? Are they sold to collectors? Or are they unceremoniously discarded, with no respect for their historical importance?

     Now that the U.S. dollar is no longer redeemable in specie – i.e., you can’t demand to exchange it for a statutorily defined weight of gold or silver – does it have a value as such? Or is the “value” of a dollar whatever someone will give you for it at any moment in time?

     (And shouldn’t we be a bit more concerned about that than we currently are?)

     It was once an item of common discussion that no matter which brand of canned tuna you might purchase, all of it came through Continental Can Co. It must have been quite an intricate operation in its time, as keeping the tunas of the various brands separate from one another would have been both difficult and critically important. How was it done? Were there any documented cases of “tuna fraud,” such that what was supposed to be labeled Bumble Bee was mistakenly – or deliberately – labeled Chicken of the Sea?

     Inventory control is hard enough for end vendors. When you’re a middleman, the ramifications are compounded with legal consequences for failure. Not to mention the potential disillusionment of canned tuna aficionadi everywhere.

     Have you ever had a day of fishing that was so bad that you wished you’d gone to the office instead? Is such a thing even possible?

     What becomes of political caricaturists after the politicians they’ve specialized in mimicking have passed (or been shoved) out of the spotlight? Does anyone else here remember Vaughn Meader, who mimicked John F. Kennedy, or David Frye, who mimicked both LBJ and Nixon?

     What is the statutory penalty, if any, for using the wrong fork at a formal banquet? Does it vary from state to state, like the ages of sexual and marital consent?

     There you go: ten questions no one has answered satisfactorily, as far as I know, and that no one much cares about, also as far as I know. Try them out on the guests at your next cocktail party. Guaranteed to result in an early cleanup and bedtime!


daniel_day said...

Your question about political caricaturists spurred deep thought. Are they buried in ...unusually shaped... coffins?

Reg T said...

Please add to your first list: Summer's Eve.

I don't know beans about beans, but how about the burning question concerning asparagus: Why does it make the urine of only _some_ who eat it take on a distinctive odor? The answer is, it doesn't. There is a gene only possessed by some individuals that enables them to detect that odor. Everyone produces it as a byproduct of eating asparagus, but only some can smell it.

I've never watched a marathon, but would a small packet of meth be considered "solid food"?

No, but he did get the recipe for Head Cheese Garcia.

Soon it will be impossible to wonder about the standards such as liters, meters, and peters. All of those measurements are being scrubbed from every book ever written. If you have a copy of a book containing that information, your life is in danger. Just ask Benjamin.

Dollars can be used to buy a Fiat.

My cat informed me that Bumble Bee and the Walmart brand (Great Value?) are
one and the same - and neither of them are actually tuna. When I tried to serve him Bumble Bee, he turned his back to the dish and made scratching motions as if covering up his "business".

When I was stationed at Boca Chica NAS back in the sixties, our squadron had a large boat that could be hired to go deep sea fishing. The first time I went out on it with some other guys in our squadron, I got sicker than a dog. I would gladly have spent the day cleaning our barracks instead.

I use to have one of Vaugh Meader's albums. The only thing I remember is Vaughn speaking as Bobby during a game of touch-football. He said, "It's MY ball, and we'll play by MY rules!" Vaughn later went on to work for corporate Walmart, where he was hired to train Walmart greeters.

I understand that if you are caught using the wrong fork at a formal dinner, you are forced to sit in a booster chair, wear a bib, and drink from a sippy cup for the balance of the dinner. (I've never actually been to a formal dinner.)

Anonymous said...

Re tuna canning, I would assume Continental probably used separate lines. If the company was big enough (and a tuna canning monopoly would seem to be pretty big) they may even have had multiple buildings to house these separate lines.