Mama Vicky Says … Let’s Ponder Imponderables

A goldfish
A goldfish

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.

Come and visit soon! Blog You Later!

79 comments on “Mama Vicky Says … Let’s Ponder Imponderables

  1. I have to say this post definitely had some interesting information I had never even thought about. I guess I kind of just accept things for what they are…maybe I need to do a little more pondering. As for the hamburger getting it’s name from a city…that definitely was my fav fact…sharing that with with hubby right now.


  2. Deb, thanks for visiting our blog. It was a pleasure to hear from you. Now that we know hamburgers originated in Germany, I want to know if they use 100% Angus beef and if a $6 burger really costs $6 dollars?! 🙂 Also it makes me wonder if they put sauerkraut on their burgers. I guess these wouldn’t really qualify as imponderables. I suppose I have my research cut out for me. Again thanks for visiting. Looking forward to visiting your blog!

  3. These are so fun! Love this post! Ha ha, I have always wondered about bird poop, why it looks like that 😉 And the cigar thing is so funny – seriously?!? I’m glad they’ve updated that to include girls!

  4. My favorite fact you shared was the “not for dinner conversation” (love that term…I use it myself!) fact. Thanks for the information and vocabulary lesson!

  5. That was fun! I love words and the dictionary, so you caught my attention right from the get go! I love trivia! But I have to say the bird waste was need know…and I didn’t. 🙂 Just kidding! I learned something new today. Thank you for the fun post.

  6. That was some very interesting information. The one that I had thought about before was how macaroni gets its holes and shapes. Thank you for clearing that up for me. The others I had never pondered, but gave me some answers to give my kids. Thanks.

  7. I hate to be tickled and try to control my reaction, but it never works. Maybe if I think it is me tickling me, I can get better control. I learned many things from this article. Thank you.

  8. I know the feeling of being tickled until you can’t breathe. I had a couple of awful brothers who thought it was funny to tickle me mercilessly. I have learned to control my response to tickling somewhat but not all the time but at least I can breathe now! Thank you for visiting us. I appreciate your kind comment.

  9. There are a lot of quirky things out there that are hard to explain and macaroni was one of them. I like to learn something new everyday, even if it’s not earth shattering. Thank you for visiting. Enjoy some macaroni salad on me! 🙂

  10. I try to learn and have a good time simultaneously. I think the thing that triggered my mind about bird droppings was finding some of that stuff on my car right after it had been washed the other day. Thank you for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  11. I am an English grammar and vocabulary freak so thank you for reading my post. Thank you for visiting and I appreciate your comment! 🙂

  12. I am glad they have updated to include girls as well and that cigars are now made of chocolate and bubble gum for those who don’t smoke. I’ll take some chocolate anytime. Thanks for the comment.

  13. I have to say this post made me chuckle. And it also reminded me of a book my daughter has by National Geographic called “Little Kids First Big Book of Why”. And I have to say it’s not JUST for little kids, because I have learned a lot of things just by reading it to my daughter! Check it out and you might find out a lot of other things you didn’t know. Maybe it’ll have the fish answer for you. lol

  14. The bird dropping one is interesting. I never knew that their pee and poop were together. Now I can say that a bird peed on me! Lol

  15. You have some very interesting information here. My husband has a brain like a sponge…it soaks everything up and it stays there. He is always spewing some odd fact or another. It kinda makes me ill. My brain on the other hand is like swiss cheese, everything passes right through! I know there are some interesting tidbits in this post that he probably doesn’t know! Thanks for giving me a one up.

  16. Mama Vicky, I’m pretty sure you have supplied me with some valuable information today. I’m positive that next time I see my friend’s teens, they will love learning all I can no teach them about bird poop. This post has been so entertaining that I’ve decided to sign up for email updates.

    BTW, your blog design is very pretty, too.

  17. That was such a cool post. I have thought to myself the hamburger one SO many times that it’s almost become a bad joke in my mind! haha

    Also here is one that I’ve always grew up with, we have roads around my city called “Parkway” that you go at least 65MPH on… why a parkway? Doesn’t that make it sound like it should be somewhere… you park? Just saying!

    Oh and one more! Why do you park on a driveway… but then… now… drive on a parkway!

    Makes you think!

  18. What a fun post! These are certainly things people wouldn’t know without someone looking into them and this is a fun concept for a blog post!

  19. I love logic and learning new things. I hate imponderables! In fact, the ‘do fish pass gas?’ question bothered me because there was no answer and I felt compelled to search and find an answer. What I found was that they don’t pass gas in the general sense. When we say that referring to humans we are talking about gasses that are expelled due to digestion. Fish don’t do this. They say that some fish can swallow air then discharge it from the other end…but no, this isn’t the same as passing gas as we know it. Anyway, thanks for the fun facts you shared! 🙂

  20. My sons love learning little known facts so I often hear, “Did you know….” and then some statement about something I’d never heard of before. 🙂 Life is full of interesting things.

  21. A lot of these imponderables I already knew or at least had an inkling. I guess that’s what happens when you’re raising a naturally curious child. Our youngest, age 10 now, has always wanted to know the how and why for everything. He loves shows like ‘How It’s Made’ and ‘Unwrapped’ because they take you behind the scenes to see how things are made. He also loves ‘MythBusters’ because explain the why behind it.

  22. Haha! This post got a giggle out of me. I will have to ask my husband if fish pass gas. By his own merit, he is a fishing expert.

  23. I NEVER knew that about bird poop. But I have to say that although I adore the birds which visit our backyard (mostly sparrows, magpies, house finches, and hummingbirds in the simmer) I do not love the “presents” they leave behind. In fact my young son was offended at the hummingbird who pooped in our garden! (They love to sit on our tomato cages.) I explained that birds just kind of let fly with their poop.

    What a conversation!

  24. I have never heard the word imponderables before. It’s a good word! Your imponderables are funny! I could probably come up with a few more funny ones too. But the first imponderable that comes to my mind if why would Jesus save a wretch like me.

    PS. If you are an English Freak I want to warn you that my blog is not always grammatically correct 🙂

  25. You do pose a great imponderable but I think I can answer that question – He loves you very much, no matter what. And don’t worry about grammar or spelling, it’s getting to know each other and reading the general content that counts most. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you will visit us again!

  26. Birds are beautiful but they don’t have very good aim. But even if the conversation was wild, it’s fun to try to explain things like that to your children LOL Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks for visiting my blog. The next time I post some imponderables, I will make sure they are good for table talk.

  27. Will you let me know if fish really do pass gas? My brother in law hasn’t gotten back to me about it LOL Glad I could give you a giggle. I chuckled too writing it. Thanks for visiting us! Please come around again soon if you can.

  28. Not surprised that hamburgers derive their name from Hamburg, DE as Frankfurters get there name from Frankfurt, DE if I recall correctly. The information you gave was fun. Now to see if I can catch my son with an imponderable.

  29. This is excellent – my kids will be intrigued by the bird poop part of the post. Teen and tween boys want to discuss nothing but video games and bodily functions. This made for a great lunch time reading break from work. Thanks for the great post!

  30. This is so interesting and I think I will come back and read it again in a day or two, with the toddler tucked safely into naptime or something. She’s been so so busy lately!

  31. It sounds like you might enjoy Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers – full of random interesting facts from history to science to humorous things.

  32. I think I need to explore the world of imponderables, there are a few I’d love to get answers for. Thank you for highlighting such uncommon word, it made me want to look up some other ones and include them in everyday life. 🙂

  33. Wow so many awesome nuggets of info here! I was thoroughly entertained by all of this and you have supplied me with at least a week’s worth of great office trivia!

  34. What a fun post to read! I have never pondered the hamburger question, but as I was reading it I started to think “hmm, why is that?”. Thanks for doing the research to answer some of these imponderables.

  35. I love fun facts…great conversation starters! If you come up with the answer to which came first, the chicken or the egg, let me know 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  36. As soon as I read ‘imponderables’ in the beginning of your post, I immediately thought of that book, which there is more than one in that series. I got one for my Dad, and I have one too. I LOVE reading about stuff like that. One of mine is ‘the Internet’ – I cannot for the life of me understand how it’s possible – sending emails and uploading things and chatting with people from all over the world. How Is That Made Possible? And, how does someone’s brain even conceive that such a thing can happen?

  37. Ha! Definitely some things to think about. Funny that something such as pasta can have so many designs. Leave it to humans. We just couldn’t be happy with a noodle:).

  38. What a fun post! Lots of information. I cannot stand to be tickled and have learned over the years to control it, though not as well as my mother. I learned a few things and a couple I knew (like why hamburgers are called hamburgers). ~Adrienne

  39. Thank you for coming to my site. I think so far there is a general consensus that people do not like being tickled. Thanks for visiting and have a great evening.

  40. I may have to come to you for information since I don’t have cable tv or the Discovery channel LOL Thanks for visiting.

  41. Until I came upon that information, I didn’t know about it either so we both learned something new. Thank you for visiting. I appreciated your comment.

  42. Feel free to share your imponderables sometimes and I’ll see if I can find an answer. Thank you for visiting.

  43. I think that’s true with anything. I guess that’s why variety is the spice of life because something that appeals to one person may not apply to another. Thank you for stopping by.

  44. I’m with you on that! Seriously how does a little microchip contain all that data? I think it’s nothing short of a miracle. I am curious as to the title and author of the books you are mentioning. Thank you for visiting my blog. Have a great weekend.

  45. I think I have read a theory on the chicken or the egg, or at least one person’s opinion. I’ll get back to you LOL It’s been an imponderable for centuries. Thank you for stopping by and have a good weekend

  46. I am glad you found this enjoyable and I am sure when you give your children this info, they will think you’re the smartest person in the world if they don’t already LOL Have a great weekend. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  47. I like to have fun when I am blogging and try to pass on some unique information at the same time. I am glad you found this interesting. Thank you for visiting!

  48. Anytime I can put someone at ease, it just makes me feel great LOL It was nice of you to visit. There will be more imponderables around the corner.

  49. I didn’t know about the birds either until I happened upon the answer. There are a lot of curious things out there and I like investigating and figuring them out. My next question is why does it look like the moon follows us when we’re driving in a car? Thank you for stopping by.

  50. It was my pleasure to answer some of people’s imponderables. I like to learn and have fun at the same time. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate it!

  51. Imponderables IS a fun word and I am glad I could pique your interest. Thank you so much for visiting and I think the next imponderable is to figure out why the moon follows us why we’re driving!

  52. Someone did give me The Bathroom Book. I thought it was pretty interesting. I’ll have to check out your suggestion though. Isn’t it interesting that the only place I get peace and quiet and a chance to read is in the bathroom? LOL Thank you again for the book suggestion. I plan to check it out!

  53. Feel free to visit anytime. Having toddlers can make a person very busy. Before you know it the day is gone. Thanks for stopping by!

  54. You’re right – children come up with some of the toughest imponderables. I have to be on my toes at all times where my grandchildren are concerned. I’ll try to keep the imponderables coming so I will be ready when my grandchildren ask something. Thanks for visiting!

  55. Thank you for visiting. Many people seem fascinated by the bird poop imponderable. Thanks for visiting. Have a wonderful day!

  56. I will have to get a hold of my brother in law soon and get the answer to the fish imponderable. It’s been driving me nuts. Thanks for visiting!

  57. You’re definitely right about Frankfurters. Thank you for sharing that knowledge. But if Frankfurters get their name from Frankfurt, do Bratwurst get their name from a city called Brat? I will have to look it up! Thanks for visiting.

  58. Thank you for the reading suggestion. I’ll have to check it out. Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks for coming by!

  59. I hope they never drop on you! Just avoid walking under any telephone wires. I am glad you stopped by for a visit. Come back anytime. Thanks.

  60. Wow, you just made my whole week! Thank you very much. I can’t credit myself for the blog design. My daughter is responsible for it but she’s thrilled to hear people like the look. I’ll be updating the blog in a day or so, I have just been under the weather with a case of bronchitis. This too shall pass. Thanks again, you are so nice!

  61. Those do make one think! Kind of makes you wonder where people get these expressions that are backwards but become so commonly used. Thank you for visiting. I apologize for the delay in answering but I’ve been a bit under the weather. I’ll be back!

  62. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate it! I have fun looking up these weird kind of topics. Thank you for visiting. Have a good weekend.

  63. Thank you for enlightening me! I appreciate that so much. Now I don’t have to hammer my brother in law for the answer. Speaking of fish, did you know that only the nurse shark sleeps while the remainder of the species are in motion constantly? I would love to be like a shark and not have to sleep. Think of all the good stuff I could get done. Again, thank you so much. You’ve saved the day!

  64. Life is sure is full of interesting things! The best part is we are never too old to learn. That’s a great thing. Thank you for visiting. I appreciate it!

  65. I hope you are able to pass along a few of these imponderables that she might not have already known. Thank you for visiting. I am glad you dropped by!

  66. I had fun finding these little facts. I love knowing how things work. I appreciate you dropping by. Drop by again if you’d like!

  67. Your child sounds inquisitive and intelligent. How neat to hear. Thank you for dropping by. I appreciated your comment so much!

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