post-foo The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I won! I won!

Howdy all you Seedlings of Curiosity, growing in the rich, fertile Soil of Knowledge, overcoming the Droughts and Duststorms of Obfuscation, creating the rich, green Canopy of Truth!

No new Revelations today. I'm sort of on vacation, but I had to drop by to announce some Big, Important News!

The votes have been tallied in the 2008 Blogger's Choice Awards, and I am very happy to announce that

I WON!!!!

Yes, the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius has won the Blogger's Choice Award in the category of Best Humor Blog, subcategory of "who did Poetikat nominate and vote for", with a humongous total of

Two votes!

(one of which was not cast by me).

So a huge thank-you-very-much to the Academy, all my fans, and most especially Poetikat. Poetikat is cool! Thanks for thinking of me!

Have a nice day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More good questions, more honest answers

Hello all you _______ of Curiosity, ________ing on the ________ of Knowledge, overcoming the _________ of Obfuscation, getting to the ____________ of Truth!

  • Creative exercise for the reader: Fill in the blanks in the above sentence. I can't wait to see what some of you come up with. Yes, this means you, Mooooog35. Wait - actually on second thought, please don't fill in the blanks. >Shudder<

Once again I welcome you to another fascinating edition of the

Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag

I have two open items left in the queue, so once again I shall endeavor to enlighten all you curious readers and dazzle you with my astonishing breadth of knowledge. When you have questions, the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius has answers! So let's get right to it, shall we?

    Question #1)

    This one comes from Alex the Cat, the owner of Sometimes Saintly Nick (who, for anyone who regularly reads his blog, appears to be saintly much more often than not).

    • As an aside, it's nice to know that I have a few readers that reside outside the human wing of the Animal Kingdom (and even some representation from the Plants - I'm looking at you, Topiary Cow!) No protozoans as of yet.
    Anyway, Alex asked me the following question several weeks ago, verbatim:

    "Why doded hoominz takez baffz in nassy water? Why dunt dey jist lick dem selfz cleanz like kitty catz doz?"

    Well, thank you for asking such a good question, Alex! Nice kitty! Now stop chewing on Nick's nose hose while you read the answer, please - Nick has to breathe occasionally.

    Why do humans bathe in water rather than lick themselves clean? The answer is in two parts:

    1) First of all, it is a well-known fact of human nature that these curious beings require an outlet for self-expression. If you want proof of this, simply check the number of blogs out there - I think there are now about 36 blogs for every human on the planet. They can't stop! They are just compelled to express themselves!

    And what better place to express yourself than when you are enjoying a nice, hot shower (or a bath, whichever you prefer)? What do humans do for self-expression in the shower? All you humans out there, say it with me: They sing! Mostly they sing poorly, but that's not the point! The point is that they make use of that valuable bath time to sing their bloody lungs out!

    I don't know if you've tried this, Alex, but it's darned difficult to sing while you're licking yourself. I mean really, your mouth parts are otherwise occupied, and it's rather difficult to remember any song lyrics when your tongue is traipsing through your nether regions. This, of course, brings us to the second reason why humans take baths instead of licking themselves clean, which is:

    2) Evolution. Early humans were split into two distinct groups, the "water-bathers" and the "lick-yourself-cleaners". The "water-bathers" not only got plenty clean, but also were able to satisfy their primal need for self-expression, and they became very productive creatures, eventually settling down to become the (mostly) civilized folks you know today.

    The "lick-yourself-cleaners", on the other hand, discovered that they could satisfy one of their primal needs, but self expression wasn't it. In fact, they were so engrossed in their ability to mouth their own groins that they just did it all the time and got nothing else done. (In the immortal words of the late, great George Carlin, "If I could reach I'd never leave the house!") Focusing so intently on that one activity made them easy prey for all manner of predators, and the whole lot of them became extinct.

    So all that's left now are the "water-bathers", Alex. Cats, by the way, obviously have a little more self control than did the "lick-yourself-clean" early humans.

    Question #2)

    New commenter Annie T (aka Agnes Mildew - although I can't think of a reason why someone would intentionally refer to herself as "Mildew" - unless that's her real name, in which case I wholeheartedly apologize for insulting your real name, Ms. Mildew) asks the following question (paraphrased):

    "Why does sour cream have a sell-by date?"

    That is an excellent question, Annie. What are the the sell-by date people concerned about? Do they think sour cream will get sourer? How much sourer can sour cream get?

    The answer is that they are not really concerned about the increasing coefficient of sourness of your sour cream at all. Their concern is for the safety of you, your family, and your entire community - possibly even the entire world!

    Allow me to recount to you the story of Sour Cream:

    Sour cream is not actually named for its flavor, but rather its attitude. You may have heard the term "sourpuss", referring to someone of nasty disposition. This word was coined based upon interaction with a particularly surly batch of sour cream. Let me tell you, it was quite abrasive indeed! It insulted everyone within hearing distance, hurling invective that would make a whole bar full of sailors and prostitutes blush bright crimson! As it was impossible to let such a nincompoop remain out in public, its makers stuck it in the refrigerator and promptly forgot about it. This act of persecution made the sour cream even nastier, and it began trashing the fridge and eating all the contents therein:

    I'll bet you didn't know that sour cream ate cheese and apples, huh?

    As it ate, it grew, and grew, and grew, until it could no longer be contained by its imprisoning appliance. Upon gaining its freedom, it sought to find its jailers and take its revenge upon them. Several people were wounded by the sour beast before it was destroyed by local police.

    The SWAT Team moves in on the Sour Cream Beast

    Luckily nobody was killed, but scientists determined that if the sour cream had been allowed to continue eating it would have reached gigantic proportions and posed a threat to world peace, just like The Blob!

    So you see, Annie, you can't just leave sour cream hanging around for extended periods of time. Obey the sell-by date! Old sour cream must be destroyed! For the sake of the planet, IT MUST BE DESTROYED!

    This concludes another episode of the Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag. Everybody have a nice day!

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    I got answers comin' out my eyeballs!

    Hello all you Hamsters of Curiosity, perpetually running in the Plastic Wheel of Knowledge, overcoming the Muscle Fatigue of Obfuscation, trying to obtain the elusive Sunflower Seed of Truth!

    I have a few more questions from you, my dedicated readers, and rather than let you all get into a huff about waiting months before I answer your very important inquiries, I'll put up a few more answers in yet another edition of the

    Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag

    There are a couple that have been sitting there in the "unanswered" queue for quite a while, but I also have an easy one offered up in a comment to the last post, and as I've said before I'm a lazy bastard, so when somebody lobs me a softball I'll very eagerly whack it out of the park. So anyway, here we go with today's questions and answers!

    Question #1)
    Once again, Azzy's little sister Lil'Sis gets the first question, since she comes up with so many of them. This one's been sitting there getting stale, so sorry about the delay. To paraphrase her question:

    "Zero = nothing, right? Why is it, then, that when you add a zero to the end of a number the value goes way up? And so, if I had six bank accounts with a zero balance and one account with 1 pound, and I transferred those six zeros to the account with the one pound, would that make the total in that account 1,000,000? That's a 1 with six zeros added to it, isn't it?"

    She's pretty good at this Mystery stuff, ain't she?

    In asking this question, Lil'Sis has made an observation of one aspect of a very important Law of Nature. This law has long been known, but was first articulated by Warren Buffett back in 1982. In brief, this is Buffett's Law of Monetary Relativity:

    "Under normal observable everyday conditions, people usually have small balances in their bank accounts, like, say, $25.50 USD. Adding zero balances to this initial microscopic balance will result in no change in value whatsoever. However, this result turns out to be relative to the starting balance: When the account starts with a large value, such as $1,000,000 USD, adding a bunch of zero balances will increase the end total by many orders of magnitude, thus effectively turning millionaires into billionaires. As a side effect, changing said millionaire in to a billionaire will simultaneously remove some fraction of the net amount from a great many of those accounts with the aforementioned $25.50 USD."

    In other words, it is a scientific fact that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

    (An unfortunate corrollary to this law is that when the rich get poorer, the poor, you guessed it, get poorer anyway.)

    Question #2)
    Cathy, quite a while ago (so I hope she's still interested in the answer), asked the folowing:

    "Why is it easier to apply mascara with your mouth open?"

    One of the reasons that I have not been quicker with an answer to this one is that I have never personally been one to use mascara. In fact, I had to look it up to make sure I was thinking about the right product:

    • Mascara: a cosmetic used to darken, thicken and define eyelashes

    OK, yeah, that's what I thought. (Well, I knew it had something to do with eyes.) Anyway, like I said, I never use the stuff, so I didn't know the answer off the top of my head.

    So I tried some on.

    Whaddaya think? Is this a good look for me? It's a good thing the question didn't involve lipstick, because I lack lips and nobody sells beakstick.

    All artistic, philosophical, and religious significance of this picture aside, my brief dip into the world of cosmetics really didn't help solve this Mystery. So I did what I should have done from the beginning: Consult the Highest Authority!

    That, naturally, would be Mrs. Doodlius.

    Here's what she told me:

    "You open your mouth when you apply mascara for the same reason singers close their eyes when they sing, except in reverse."

    Ah, that's pure genius! I hereby name this "Mrs. Doodlius' Law of Eye-Mouth Artistic Inverse Dependency":

    The eyes and the mouth are inversely dependent upon each other when dealing with matters of artistic expression. When applying mascara, which is essentially "painting" one's eyes, the mouth must open; conversely, while singing, which is artistic expression by voice, the eyes must close.

    Wow! That Mrs. Doodlius is just great! Thanks to her, we now have a whole new Law of the Universe based on a reader question! And don't you fellows get any ideas now, she's already spoken for!

    Cathy, thanks for waiting so patiently!

    Question #3)
    Mr. Moooog of the varying number of "o's" wants to know:

    "What does 'transcendental' mean? I'm assuming it has something to do with cross-dressing dentists."

    Well Moooog, I'm known more for my encyclopedic knowledge than my dictionariosity, but I'll give this a shot.

    The first thing to do when trying to figure out the meaning of a difficult word, according to my old grammar school teachers (and I do mean old - that was a looooong time ago), is to break the word up into its component parts. In this case we have:

    tran - scend - ent - al

    The next thing we do to find our word's meaning is, naturally, to look up all these component pieces on the internet. I used and (which are wholly owned subsidiaries of The meanings of these word components are:

    tran: a brand of Norwegian cod liver oil
    scend: to heave in a swell
    ent: medical acronym for "Ear, Nose, and Throat"
    al: other things (from the Latin alia)

    So the meaning of the word "transcendental", therefore, must be: "The heaving of the ear, nose, throat, and other things in a swell of Norwegian cod liver oil"

    See there Mooooog? Learning the meaning of new, big words can be easy and fun!

    Well, that will have to do it for today's answers. Apologies to Alex the Cat - the research on your question about the bathing habits of humans is incomplete, so I cannot yet offer the answer. Don't worry, I'll get to it!

    Until next time, have a nice day!

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    More answers for you

    Hello all you hungry Vultures of Curiosity out there on the Highway of Inquisitiveness, dodging the speeding Automobiles of obfuscation, so that you may gorge upon the succulent innards of the Roadkill of Truth!

    Welcome to another episode of the

    Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag

    in which I Reveal to you all of the Secrets behind your personal Mysteries of the Universe!

    I have been remiss in answering your most excellent questions of late. In fact, I have been remiss about doing much of anything. Basically I am a lazy bastard bird who would generally prefer to sit around doing absolutely nothing most of the time. And the cool thing is, I can do nothing whenever I want, because I'm a bird and we have few responsibilities. Life is good!

    But anyway, I'm here to answer a couple of your outstanding questions. And lemme tell you, these questions are truly outstanding! So let's get right down to business!

    Question #1)
    Azzy's little sister "Lil'Sis", the prolific question-asker, asks:

    "How come, when you put on weight it knows exactly where to go? In other words, why do both your arms or legs get fat and not just one? Why doesn't gravity make it all go to your ankles?"

    Once again, another excellent question from Lil'Sis! The answer, which of course I know since I know all, may surprise you: While you may think of body fat as just dumb ol' body fat, it is actually by far the most intelligent inhabitant of planet Earth, and is in fact one of the most intelligent entities in the Universe!

    Body fat is not really a component of human anatomy, but rather a symbiotic being. It has no inherent mode of locomotion, and thus requires a host organism to get around. It distributes its mass fairly evenly around its host on purpose, so as not to draw undue attention to itself. A single host can support a great many body-fat organisms, but since they are mildly parasitic it's a good idea not to try to carry too many around - that can cause some unhealthy side effects. Having a couple of them is not generally a problem, and due to the body-fat's symbiotic ability to "mind share" with its host, having a couple of them can actually boost the host's intelligence somewhat. That's why geniuses are frequently a little pudgy and folks like Paris Hilton and Keanu Reeves are not often considered to be overly brainy.

    Question #2)
    Lone Grey Squirrel asks:

    "If Freud and Darwin wrestled in Jell-o, who would win?"

    This, my dear Mr. Squirrel, is one of the most argued about questions in Philosophy. Since this bout unfortunately never took place, scholars have argued about its possible outcome for decades. The main problem here is that Darwin specialized in Greco-Roman Jell-o wrestling while Freud was more of a Freestyle Jell-o combatant. It is my speculation that Darwin would have the upper hand, though, mainly due to his size and reach advantage and the fact that Freud was blind as a bat.

    It is unquestionable, however, that Marie Curie could have kicked both of their butts at the same time. It is a little known historical fact that Mdme. Curie could bench press in excess of 200 kg and was known to employ the devastating "folding-chair-to-the-head" technique. She retired from Jell-o wrestling at the age of 36, with a perfect record of 73-0.

    Question #3)
    Mrs. Doodlius asks:

    "Why, when you sneeze, do you always sneeze more than once? Isn't one sneeze enough?"

    Ah, my dearest Mrs. Doodlius, such a lovely question is always expected from one so lovely as yourself! I would link to your blog, but alas you have not yet been bitten by the blogging bug. Were you to start a blog, I'm certain that it would be a marvelous, beautiful blog!

    Anyway, I happen to know the answer to your question (lucky for me, otherwise I'd be sleeping in the guest nest tonight). Sneezes happen in bunches because, unlike some other rather disgusting biological processes which shall remain unnamed here, sneezes are social bodily functions. They get lonely! They need company! Usually they occur in even numbers because sneezes generally like to pair up, and in fact are most often monogamous lifetime mates (like many birds, coincidentally). Occasionally, however, you may encounter some adventuresome odd-numbered groups like the risque "menage-a-sneeze". Only rarely will you encounter a solitary sneeze, and this one will invariably be some sort of rebel, vagabond sneeze with a bad attitude that you wouldn't want hanging around other sneezes anyway, because these dudes are a bad influence!

    Well, that about wraps up this installment of the Reader Mailbag. There are a couple of other questions I have been asked and have yet to answer, and I promise to get to these shortly. So tune in next time when the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius Reveals more Secrets of the Universe!

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Awww, yer so nice!

    Marja over at Dutch Corner has seen fit to bestow upon me an award! I love it when people do that! It means somebody is thinking of this old bird and appreciating some of the bizarre stuff I write in this forum. Just makes the ol' feathers fluff up a bit whenever I think about it!

    Anyway, here it is, the "I Heart Your Blog" award!

    Thank you very much!

    Tune in next time (tomorrow, maybe, or the next day) when I Reveal some of your Mysteries of the Universe in another episode of the Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag!


    Follow-up edit:

    It has been pointed out to me that I have in the past been somewhat of an asshole bird - a couple of folks have been so generous as to present to me some awards, and I have not even bothered to give them appropriate words of thanks. Bad Baba! >Slap!< (Ow.)

    Well, I apologize for that, folks. I really do appreciate that anybody takes the time to read any of the strange stuff I put up here, and even though I still wonder why you do it you keep coming back for more. The comments you leave on my posts always make me smile, and when anyone sees fit to pass along an award it just gives me that much more incentive to head out and do more research on all those Mysteries of the Universe. The one drawback is that now my head is too big to fit through the door of my house, but I can live with that.

    So, to Sandy and Lone Grey Squirrel and Azzy and Poetikat (who also nominated me for "Best Humor Blog"! Hygge!) and Mel and Marja and [un]Censored (whose blog URL has changed and I don't remember what it is now, sorry!) and Moooooog35 (with a constantly varying number of "o's") and Odd Facts and all the folks who read this:

    THANKS for the recognition! You are all cool! If anyone ever questions your cooliosity, tell 'em Baba Doodlius said it was so, and Baba Doodlius knows all so it must be true!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Drawing You In

    Howdy all you Steeplechasers of Inquisitiveness running around the Track of Knowledge, leaping the Hurdles and Water Hazards of Obfuscation, to win the Gold Medal of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe!

    • Seriously, humans, what's up with that "steeplechase" thing? It sure seems like a strange athletic event, running around jumping over walls and pools of water. Throw in some crocodiles, vine swinging, and gold bars and you could call it "Pitfall".

    Left: Steeplechase now. Right: Steeplechase made more interesting by adding vines and crocodiles.

    As you may have noticed, I have athletics on my mind lately, ever since a friend told me that I should watch these "Olympic Games" that you humans love so much. I started watching, and I had not been able to tear my eyes away until the closing ceremonies were over. The things you humans do are just fascinating! And it's not just the performances - even coming up with some of the events took some serious human ingenuity. I mean really, only humans could have come up with "Rhythmic Gymnastics" - what the heck are they doing, jumping around with a big ball or a ribbon on a stick? I never would have even thought to do anything like that, and humans make a world-wide contest out of it! And I'm not even going to get into the global geopolitical ramifications of "Synchronized Diving".

    Left: She's doing something called "Rythmic Gymnastics". Right: I'm not really certain what these guys are trying to do.

    Everyone has their favorite events, and I don't mean to belittle anyone's preferences, but like most humans I have mostly been paying attention to the "marquee events", like swimming, track & field, gymnastics, and basketball. For those of you who have not been paying attention, I shall hereby summarize each of these event categories:
    • Swimming. From the press coverage, I'm pretty sure there was only one serious competitor in the pool at this Olympics, and his name is Michael Phlippers. He won every event, including the Women's 4x8000 Meter Blorkstroke.

    • Track & Field. Jamaicans run faster than any other humans. In fact, one of them called Usain "Lightning" Bolt (I swear I did not make that name up) actually runs faster than most horses and a more than a few gazelles.

    • Gymnastics. The citizenry of China is stronger and more agile than everybody else on the planet, making the other countries' gymnastics contestants look like a bunch of seasick porcupines.

    • Basketball. The United States men's team is made up of freaks of nature who can jump over adult male African elephants and won all of their games by a combined score of 3,176 to 25.

    So these Olympics are not so much about human versus human contests - its more like a series of utterly dominating performances. So the Olympic Spirit is not really about beating your fellow humans, it's more about competing against the very Laws of Nature. Frequently the worst law for competing against would be the Law of Gravity, which tends to make the primary Olympic activities like running, jumping, and throwing hugely difficult. And with Gravity we have a Serious Mystery of the Universe!

    Right now you might be thinking "There's no Mystery about Gravity. Sir Isaac Newton figured most of it out over 300 years ago and Einstein pinned it down about 100 years ago, so there's no room left for any Mystery at all!" Well lah-tee-dah, just who's the Mystery expert around here anyway? It just so happens that Gravity is one of the most enduring Mysteries in all of science! It's such a tough Mystery that most physicists won't even ask the big question

    Just What the Heck Is Gravity, Anyway?

    Think about it: two objects are mysteriously drawn towards each other, even if they are separated by billions of kilometers! Under extreme circumstances, like near a Black Hole, even light cannot escape the inexorable pull of this spooky force. Sure, thanks to Newton we can describe how Gravity works, and Einstein said Gravity is caused by massive objects denting space-time like a big dude on a trampoline, but nobody in the world really knows WHY it works like it does. What kind of force is so incredible that it could bend the very fabric of the Universe?

    An illustration of Gravity: Imagine the big guy in the middle is the sun, and space is the trampoline. Not hard to see that things are gonna get sucked right down into the middle, eh?

    One of the big projects in science right now is to detect "gravity waves", which, if Einstein was right, would be produced by such common things as two black holes orbiting each other. Currently there is a herd of science-type folks out there hard at work looking for these waves - and by "hard at work" I mean "they're spending a veritable assload of money designing instruments sensitive enough to detect them". Finding gravity waves would yield great insight into the true nature of gravity, but so far scientists have had no luck in this cosmic endeavor.

    Being of such curious nature, I decided to take my super-duper Bird Cam out, take some close-up pictures of orbiting black holes, and see if I could use my unique analysis skillz to get to the bottom of this whole gravity wave Mystery.

    So here's a pic I took of some orbiting black holes, about 7 billion light years from Earth. (I have one hell of a zoom lens!)

    Two orbiting black holes, magnified about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times.

    Not much to look at, really. There are no obvious signs whatsoever of any gravity waves. But the Universe is no match for my photo enhancement ability! If there's a gravity wave in there, I'll find it!

    Let's see... change the brightness a little... tweak the saturation... add some color for contrast and visual effect... aaaaaand voila!

    A Gravity Wave is clearly visible! What's more, the shape of that wave reveals the True Nature of Gravity, a force capable of altering the curvature of the Universe itself!

    Gravity Waves are heart-shaped, leading one to the inescapable conclusion that

    Gravity = Love!

    That's right, the reason that every object in the Universe tries to get closer to every other object is because they all love each other! The entire Universe is nothing but one big-honkin' group hug of epic proportions!

    Those who say that "Love makes the world go 'round" are exactly, scientifically correct. So c'mon all you humans - let's stop with the hate and war and violence against each other and just let Gravity take its course!

    And in the spirit of the day, I hereby refuse to fight Gravity/Love by not going to the gym to lift weights tonight. The Way of Love is a whole lot less tiring, but also much less likely to lead to me getting any Olympic medals. Guess I'll just leave that to Mr. Phlippers.

    Monday, August 11, 2008

    Water on the Brain

    Howdy folks. I am posting today not to reveal a Mystery of the Universe, but rather because I have a Mystery I cannot definitively solve. This Mystery is so confounding that without concrete evidence I honestly can say that I have exactly zero idea what the solution to it is.

    This Mystery concerns that little event which you humans periodically hold which you call the Olympic Games. Not being a human and also not being of a particularly competitive nature, I would normally not have a huge amount of interest in such activities, but a human friend of mine told me today that there was something I should see. He pointed me the following web page containing an interesting story and accompanying video clip:

    Men's 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay

    If you haven't seen this race, I have to suggest that you do so. Not being an aquatic bird, I don't swim at all, and I have no particular desire to watch humans swimming most of the time, but I took my friend's advice and watched the video of this race and I have to say that my appreciation of human accomplishments grew dramatically in the 3 minutes or so the race took to complete.

    In case you didn't watch the race or read about it, here's the Reader's Digest version:

    This relay race, with each 4-member team swimming a total of 400 meters, was completed by the winning team from the United States in 3 minutes, 8.24 seconds. The second place team from France finished in 3 minutes 8.32 seconds. That's a scant 0.08 seconds separating first and second place. The previous world record was 3 minutes, 12.23 seconds. So both of the first two finishers beat the previous world record by nearly 4 seconds.

    World records are generally very, very hard to eclipse. This is the way it ought to be, really - nobody in the history of history has ever done activity X as fast as that, so going even faster should be very difficult. Breaking one by four seconds in a fairly short race is an accomplishment of Herculean proportions! The thing with this particular swimming race was, not only did the first two teams break the old world record (by a huge margin), but a total of five teams broke it! That's' right, even the team that finished in fifth place was faster than anybody who ever swam it before. At four swimmers per team, that's a grand total of 20 humans who were faster than anybody had been in history! Even the team that finished in eighth place was fast enough to have won the Gold Medal in the Olympics of four years ago!

    So what's the Mystery of the Universe in all this, the one that even the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius cannot solve? Here it is:

    How the heck can all those guys get so damn fast all of a sudden, and all at the same time?

    C'mon people, it's almost embarrassing how seemingly easy it was to break that world record! From the perspective of someone unfamiliar with that whole 'swimming' thing, I'd have to say that if I had tossed a bunch of deformed chimpanzees into the pool next to those guys they would have had at least an outside shot at breaking the old record.

    I have a couple of theories about the cause of this huge performance improvement, neither of which I can prove without proper laboratory analysis:

    1) Swimmers are taking fish oil dietary supplements, and they are beginning to turn into fish themselves. This would explain why they're all wearing those full-body swim suits nowadays - they're hiding the scales growing on their legs.

    Is Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones hiding a nice crop of scales under that suit?

    What with security the way it is at the Olympics right now, I can't get close enough to any of the athletes to check for scales and gills.

    2) The entire pool is doped with EPO. I tried to get a sample of the water to test this theory, but about 500 Chinese guards chased me out of the arena. (My Bird Fu may be the best, but 500 to 1 odds is just a little too much to overcome.)

    So I am at an impasse. Without evidence I cannot solve this Mystery, and I just know the solution would probably blow my mind and the minds of all you readers. Whatever the truth may be, I would just like to say congratulations to the entire human race for putting on such a captivating display of athletic prowess. Who knows - someday you may sprout wings, and when that happens I know a few Peregrine falcons who'd love to challenge you to a fly-off!

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Heads on the Rock

    Greetings all you Freckle-faced Tots of Inquisitiveness peering longingly through the window of the Candy Shop of Knowledge at the mouth-watering, sugary Treats of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe

    My regular readers (all six of you) may have noticed that I have not been around of late. For this I wholeheartedly apologize, and as way of excuse I'd just like to point out that it's hard out here for a bird. And there are, oddly enough, some places on this planet that are completely without any internet access, like, for example, Baba Sr.'s house.

    Baba Sr.: "Consarnit, I can't even get the dag-gum clock on the VCR to quit flashing '12:00', and they gots to go invent that there new-fangled 'Internet' thing!"

    All that aside, I'm not here to bitch and moan that life is tough, I'm here to Reveal Mysteries of the Universe! So without further ado, I present the Revelation of today's Mystery (by special request of that poetry-slingin' human Poetikat), the Secret of

    Rapa Nui!

    Rapa Nui is an extremely isolated island in the South Pacific, located about 2,000 miles from anything. (Have you heard the expression "it's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there"? Well, Rapa Nui really is the end of the world). The name "Rapa Nui" is Polynesian for "Big Head" (I made up half of that; it is left as an exercize for the reader to figure out which half), which is appropriate because this island, similar to Hollywood stars and corporate CEOs, is famous for big heads. The Rapa Nui heads, however, are made of rock rather than ego.

    A bunch of famous Big Heads on Rapa Nui, Donald Trump, and Alec Baldwin

    Let me jump back a step and start at the beginning of this Mystery.

    The first European to reach Rapa Nui was a Dutch sailor named Jacob Roggeveen. Rumor has it he was searching for a good supplier of marijuana, or possibly some employees for a new business in which he was a partner. Whatever the case, he sighted the island on April 5, 1722, which happened to be Easter Sunday, and therefore he named the place "Island of Why The Heck Do I Have To Be At Work On Easter Sunday". Ha Ha, actually he named it "Easter Island", because he found there herds of happy bunnies that brought colored eggs to the natives.

    This scene was fairly common on Rapa Nui in the early 1700's

    The most intriguing aspect of this island as noted by Captain Roggeveen was the presence of huge stone heads that dotted the coastline. These monoliths, some standing over 7 meters in height and weighing over 30 tons, had apparently been erected by the local islanders, a group whose technological achievements did not include any metal working or the use of the wheel.

    I'll put up another pic of a Rapa Nui head because they're just so darned cool

    So how did such a supposedly primitive culture manage to carve huge slabs of rock into the shape of people's heads and stand them up on platforms all over the island? For centuries foreigners have asked the locals this question, and the conversations tended to go like this:

    European Guy: "So, how did you islanders manage to carve these huge stone heads and prop them up next to the ocean?"

    Rapa Nui Guy: "Ia orana, ua ite oe i te parau Rapanui, tane?" *

    EG: "I have no idea what you're trying to say. I think I'll enslave you and spread European diseases throughout your population."

    RNG: "Raho popa'a!" **

    * - "Hello, do you speak Rapanui, sir?"
    ** - "Damn foreigner!" (or something like that)

    As one can imagine, the whole slavery and disease thing didn't exactly endear the Europeans to the Rapa Nui locals. The lack of trust and the inability to understand each others' languages caused the visitors to remain completely in the dark about the origins of the big heads. So naturally, this means I had to do my own darned investigation. As usual.

    What with energy prices going through the roof, I decided it would be better to forego the typical use of the Reverse K.E.G. Process to get to the bottom of this Mystery. (Hey, even us birds have to scrimp a bit in these trying economic times.) I had to resort to good ol' fashioned detective work and insight! Join me, if you would, in this fascinating journey into the world of forensic analysis!

    Turns out this Mystery was way easier to solve than I excpected. I simply took some close-up photos of the big heads and took a couple samples of them back to the Bird Cave for analysis. Here's an extreme close-up pic of one of the heads:

    Look how porous that rock is. Interesting! I began to formulate my theory, which was backed up by the laboratory analysis of the samples:

    To those few of you not well-versed in organic chemistry, the chemical found in trace quantities in the Rapa Nui heads is... Sugar!

    So let's see... a porous material... containing lots of sugar...

    The Rapa Nui heads are not natural rock! They're petrified marshmallow!

    The original inhabitants of Rapa Nui are the inventors of marshmallow! Their invention, being not only yummy but also easy to work with, was the perfect material to use in fashioning huge head sculptures. These sculptures were so easy to make and transport that they put up dozens of them all over the island! Unfortunately, the islanders had to coat their sculptures with protectants to keep them from dissolving during rainstorms, and this led to a rapid fossilization process of the building material. Very little of the original marshmallow remains, having been replaced by the minerals used to protect their creations.

    An obscure note from Captain Roggeveen's log book provided final proof of this theory:

    "Captain's Log, April 6, 1722: I cannot understand a single word these island folk say to me, but they have given myself and the crew a delicious gift which is apparently a local delicacy: tiny birdlike sculptures made of some sort of air-puffed sugar! Such a novel idea! In commemoration of the discovery of Easter Island, I shall distribute to all my friends facsimiles of the islanders' gift on the anniversay of sighting this land!"

    And thus was the tradition of giving the gift of Marshmallow Peeps on Easter established!

    Aren't the little details of history just fascinating?

    Friday, June 20, 2008

    Rocks in my Head

    Greetings all you Mosquitoes of Inquisitiveness alighting on the juicy Buttock of Knowledge to feast upon the succulent Blood of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe!

    Today's Revelation is about a subject ripped right from recent headlines, but it's a Mystery that goes back almost as far as the Pyramids, and is at least as interesting. By now you've figured out that I am speaking of none other than


    The Secret of Stonehenge is one of the grandest Mysteries in all of human endeavor. Imagine this: Enormous slabs of solid rock weighing tens of tons, dragged many miles and assembled into a monument of cylindrical design, with the precision of modern engineering implements, and all of this labor performed by a Mysterious stone- and bronze-age people! Standing like sentries on Salisbury Plain in southern England, the towering monoliths of Stonehenge have enchanted visitors dating back to the ancient Romans, who are known to have hacked off pieces of the stones to take home as souvenirs. Seriously! Asshole Romans.

    For literally thousands of years (yeah, it's pretty darned old), humans have studied the ruins of Stonehenge. Some interesting points about this enigmatic structure that have been discovered so far include:

    1) "Stonehenge" is from the Old English words "stan", meaning "rocks", and "henge", meaning, well, uh, modern science has really yet to determine just what the heck a "henge" is. Research is ongoing.

    2) Stonehenge was constructed between 3000 and 1600 BC, but nobody is certain who the builders were. Except me. I have discovered that Stonehenge was built by: ancient Brits. (That's a bonus Secret of the Universe, no extra charge!) I know, my knowledge is astonishing! I just can't imagine why nobody has figured this out before.

    3) A monument as monumental as Stonehenge cannot help but be inspirational to artists, as evidenced by the megastar heavy metal band "Spinal Tap".

    More recent investigations have theorized that Stonehenge was used as a royal burial ground. But you have to keep in mind that this "discovery" was made by archaeologists, and these folks say that just about everything they dig up was a burial ground, or a battlefield, or something related to violence and death. You can't really blame them, though, because violence sells - just go to any modern movie theater if you want this point proved - and archaeologists need to keep getting funding to go dig up more and more stuff. Hey, you always do what's right for the wallet, eh?

    The thing is, I happen to know several modern Brits and they most definitely are not all about violence and death (well, maybe some of the football fans). On the contrary, these folk are quite the fun-loving bunch - they're always singing, dancing, drinking (oh yeah, lots of drinking), telling jokes I don't understand, and laughing hysterically at them. They seem so jolly that I can't believe their ancestors would have built a huge, enduring monument to death.

    So what was Stonehenge really? I cranked up my patented reverse K.E.G. process and took my camera back in time to see what Stonehenge looked like a few millenia ago. I took this enlightening picture on my trip:

    There you have it: "Stonehenge" on opening day. Click picture to enlarge.

    Monument to Death, huh? Hardly! It was the world's first Amusement Park!

    I was lucky enough to get the picture before the crowds arrived, because once people started showing up it was one huge party! The "Celt-O-Whirl", as the Stonehenge swing ride was called, was a major attraction of the ancient world. It wasn't exactly an extreme G-force astronaut training centrifuge, more like a carousel really, but c'mon, it was 4,000 years ago so give them a break.

    The Celt-O-Whirl wasn't quite like this air force extreme-G training session. Click the pic for video, it's pretty cool.

    So where do researchers get off saying that this thrill ride was a burial ground? Well, they note that there is evidence of burned human remains at Stonehenge, and they are absolutely right. However, they're wrong about the site being a burial ground. What they have found is the evidence of a terrible side effect of amusement parks: sometimes people fall off the rides! Nowadays when that happens, the accident makes headlines and the victim's family sues the bajeebers out of the amusement park. But 4,000 years ago, if you fell off the ride and your family want around to see it, then tough noogies! They just "got rid of the evidence" right where they found it:

    "Why no, Mrs. Pickleford, we haven't seen your little Ian around the Celt-O-Whirl today. He must have gone fishing or something instead. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go dig a big hole and, uh, rapidly rub these two sticks together..."

    So they didn't worry about lawsuits back then - they hadn't invented lawyers yet, nor ambulances for them to chase. We're much more enlightened nowadays.

    Anyway, now you know the great Secret of Stonehenge. By the way, don't go visiting the site and try to play on the swings - they really, really don't appreciate it.

    Sunday, June 1, 2008

    You have Questions? I have answers!

    Howdy all you speedy skaters slapping the Puck of Knowledge into the Goal of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe!

    • Today's intro brought to you by the National Hockey League and their championship trophy the Stanley Cup, which is about to be won by the Detroit Red Wings, who I am pretty sure win it every year so this should not be a surprise to anybody.

    Today I'm doing something a little different. I was actually asked a bunch of questions by Azzitizz over at "The Totally Transparent Party" (also known as "Azzy's Blog-a-Roonie" because Azzy can call her blog whatever she darned well wants to call it, thank you very much). Since I get from you readers very few Mysteries of the Universe to Reveal, I figured I'd take this opportunity to add this as a feature to this blog to encourage you shy folks to ask any questions you may have. I now present to you the

    Baba Doodlius Reader Mailbag!

    All of the questions today are, as I said, from Azzitizz, or more accurately from Azzy's little sister "Lil'Sis" (which is a highly appropriate name for one's little sister in the opinion of the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius).

    Question Number One:

    This is actually a bunch of questions linked together, so I'll just quote Lil'Sis directly and get to the answers and commentary afterwards:

    "How come almost every animal on the planet can swim by just nature and instinct, yet we humans have to be taught?
    New born babies seem to manage just fine without lessons!
    Is it because we are told we can't swim as we get a little older and therefore believe we can't until we have lessons?
    Does that mean we shouldn't believe what we are told about anything? In which case, take for example, The Law of Gravity. The Law of Gravity must be so, as nobody can tell an apple or a leaf whether or not to fall to the ground. But, if we decide not to believe it, will we be able to float or fly?"

    Well that's some serious questioning, Lil'Sis. I'd first like to say that you have a brilliant future in Philosophy, assuming you don't decide to test your "Belief in Gravity" theory and jump off a building first.

    This is a cartoon by John Callahan. You should immediately go buy all of his books.

    But now on to your questions. As you pointed out, humans can actually swim just fine as infants without being told how to do it. The problem with humans is that they have this innate drive, as powerful as the need for food, shelter, and sex, to be right about everything and to be better than everybody else at everything. Lil'Sis has hit on the basic Truth of Human Existence, which controls every aspect of human society, from religion to politics to the aforementioned Stanley Cup: Humans Have to Fight About Stuff.

    It starts early, and with the simple things, like swimming:

    "Look here, that swimming you're doing, it's all wrong! You can't just paddle around until you get to shore, you have to move your hands like THIS, and kick your feet THIS WAY, and then you'll go FASTER and you'll be DOING IT RIGHT!"

    And things get worse from there:

    "Watch this, I can kick this spherical air-filled bladder into that net over there BETTER THAN YOU! In fact, me and my ten friends are the BEST IN THE WHOLE WORLD at this activity!"

    "Your economic system is NOT OPTIMIZED at all! You should be running your economy THIS WAY or I shall SCOFF AT YOU and ADVOCATE YOUR TOTAL DESTRUCTION!"

    "Those rituals you are performing to please your god(s), they're all wrong! You've got to do things THIS WAY, which is the only CORRECT way to do it, and if you don't do things the CORRECT WAY I'll just have to SUBJUGATE YOU and FORCE YOU TO DO IT RIGHT."

    So you see, swimming instruction is just the symptom of this excessive human competitive behavior. It has nothing to do with belief, so please don't go stepping off any high cliffs to test your Gravity theory, please.

    Question Number Two:

    "When the sunlight is so bright it hurts your eyes, how come it doesn't hurt anymore if you shut just one eye?"

    Uh, hmmm, well, to that I'd just have to reply that I have not had this experience. I generally don't make a habit of staring directly at the sun, Lil'Sis, because that sort of activity can be harmful to your health. To answer the question, I will have to defer to the expertise of Sigmund Freud, who postulated the Theory of Eyeball Denial. The theory goes like this:

    "Pain coming from both eyes cannot be ignored because it has no source of counter-sensation. However, if input from one of the eyes is eliminated, the Ego has the capability of denying the pain because it is not reinforced by an alternate pathway, and thus can pretend that the pain does not exist. All of this, naturally, is proof of the desire to have sex with one's mother."

    So there you go, Lil'Sis. You can't argue with the Father of Modern Psychoanalysis. Well, except maybe about the "sex with your mother" part, which is just creepy and disturbing.

    Question Number Three:

    "How come men have nipples? Why hasn't evolution eliminated them by now as they are of no use whatsoever?"

    This one is also somewhat foreign to me, Lil'Sis, seening as how I am a bird, and birds of both genders lack nipples. But I happen to know the answer to this one offhand, because I have done extensive research on human nipples (don't even ask why, there are some Secrets of the Universe that I won't reveal).

    The reason for human male nipplage is based in the very evolutionary theory that you have already referenced. Rather than eliminating man nipples because they are unecessary, evolution has preserved them because it simplifies the manufacturing process. Think about it: Human babies all look pretty much the same. When you're making two things that are nearly identical, you don't waste effort retooling the assembly line just for a cosmetic difference, you save your effort for the pieces that make a difference.

    Charles Darwin himself alluded to this evolutionary fact when he said:

    "Oh yeah, baby, that feels soooo good! YES! Oh yeah, put the clamps right there and... OOOHHHH!!!"

    What a freakazoid.

    That about wraps up this edition of Baba Doodlius' Reader Mailbag. I hope you come away from this experience enriched, edfied, and entertained. And have a nice day!