Have you ever heard the word “imponderables” before? I’ll bet you have a few imponderables of your own. The definition of “imponderable(s)” as stated in my huge tome of the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary (which has over 315,000 entries) is this: “Imponderable” – 1) not ponderable (that clears is up for you doesn’t it?); something that cannot be precisely determined, measured, or evaluated. 2) an imponderable thing, force, agency, etc. (Now the mystery has really been unraveled, right?) Maybe we’ll get closer to the answer by thinking about the word “ponder,” which means to consider something deeply and thoroughly or weigh carefully in the mind.
So basically, imponderables are things that make you wonder, but that no matter how much thinking you put into it, you can’t come up with the answer. As I said, many people have a few imponderables of their own. One of mine has been how does a fax machine work? How do you get a solid copy of something sent over a telephone wire? Maybe someone has been wondering if fish pass gas. My brother-in-law is into fishing big time. So every now and then for Christmas I find something related to fishing. One year I got him a small book of imponderables and right there on the cover was a listing of some of the questions to be answered by reading the book. One of the questions actually was do fish f—t? Being that I am a lady I will say again as I did above, do fish pass gas? I am sad to report that my brother-in-law has not gotten back to me on that most important question, because he hasn’t had time to read it.
So in an effort to relieve your mind of some of those hard to answer things, I am going to present a few imponderables with the answers to you for your own knowledge and to decrease the stress in your life from not knowing something. So here we go:
- Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Psychologists haven’t been able to answer this one since Freud’s time. Some psychologists believe that the element of surprise, aggressiveness and sexuality have to be present to induce a laugh. We may love ourselves, but it is rather hard to surprise ourselves with a tickle.
- Why is a hamburger called a hamburger when it doesn’t contain ham? Because the name of it has nothing to do with the meat, but is named after the city where hamburgers were made popular in Hamburg, Germany.
- Why do ants tend to congregate on sidewalks? Some species prefer to nest on sidewalks, under rocks, and other hard surfaces. There is actually a species called pavement ants. Why sidewalks? One bug expert said that you and I leave tidbits like crumbs, fast food, food wrappers, ice cream drips, and soft drink containers. Because of us, ants congregate on the sidewalk. Ants are said to be smart so if they find food they don’t have to work for, they will show up there. Ants also give off pheromones that attract other ants. Pheromones are easier to detect on sidewalks.
- This one is a little on the “not for dinner conversation” level, but I know people have wondered this. My own children when they were little asked this. . So here’s the imponderable? Why is there a black dot in the middle of otherwise white bird droppings? If I were honest, after I cussed the bird out that ruined by car’s wash job, I wondered too. Ornithologists, bird experts, have the answer. That black dot is fecal matter. The white stuff is urine. The urine and fecal matter of birds collect together and are passed at the same time out of the same orifice. Feces tend to sit in the middle of the droppings because the urine, which is slightly sticky in consistency, clings to them.
- Why do new fathers pass out cigars? (I guess it is better than them passing gas. Don’t you think so?) Cigars have become cheap in the 20th and 21st But back in the day (That expression drives me nuts. It has become the catch phrase and is over used. What happened to long ago or back in ancient times or even yesteryear? But I digress.) of the last 17th and early 18th centuries cigars were very expensive. Cigars were so rare and treasured that they were used as currency. Two hundred years ago baby boys were considered to be a valuable commodity. (Sexist or what? You’ve come a long way baby.) They could work in the fields while baby girls were considered to be a financial drain. (What the heck?) Proud fathers of boys would pass out cigars as a symbol of celebration.
- Last but not least, have you ever wondered how they put the holes in macaroni and other pastas? And why is elbow macaroni curved? When the wheat is mixed with water and kneaded it is fed through metal discs with holes. The size and shape of those holes determine what the end product will look like. Now if a steel pin is placed in the center of each hole in the die (the metal disc with holes) you get hollowed out rods that are called macaroni. For elbow macaroni, a pin with a notch on one side is used. The notch allows the dough to pass through faster on one side causing it to curve slightly, thus elbow. There must be a lot of pins to make the wagon wheel and Spiderman macaroni. But this brings me to another imponderable – how did macaroni get made before the metal dies were invented? Can anyone answer that for me?
I guess that’s all for now folks. My brain is overwhelmed with all of this fantastic knowledge. Maybe next I’ll come across that answer for why our dog, Mr. Pete, has a wet nose. Oh, and let me call my brother-in-law ASAP and get him on the stick. I really won’t be able to sleep until I know if fish f—t, oops! I mean pass gas.
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