Ask A Guru

July, August, and September, 2003

Q: Why are jeans usually blue? (MHamManiac - 2003/09/30)
A: Because Levi Strauss was a member of a cult known as the "Blue Daemons" who demanded that he dye them blue lest his mortal body be cast into the deadly azure fires of eternal anguish.

Of course, that's not why, but it's a lot more interesting than the real reason. Actually, the name jeans comes from Genoa, Italy and Levi Strauss was the tailor who switched from the stiff canvas material to the more comfortable denim which is still used today.

But why dye them at all? What's wrong with just dull white? Is the color blue purely for fashion? How does this relate to Stonehenge?

If you've ever worn white pants you know they don't stay white for long. Stains show quickly and the pants begin to look terrible. The deep blue of the indigo plant made the perfect dye that was both cheap to obtain and easy to extract. Also, blue goes well with most other colors. Imagine if all jeans were dyed avocado? We'd never have made it out of the 60's. So that is why blue jeans are traditionally blue.

Q: Where did the superstition come from that made people think that elephants are afraid of mice? (MHamManiac - 2003/09/25)
Elephant and Mouse A: This superstition, like many others, was actually brought on by a perversion of the facts (darn perverts).

Elephants, those crazy pachyderms, are no more afraid of mice than any other creature, in fact elephants and mice often co-exist in captivity because an elephant's stable is a great home for mice with it's small quantities of food on the ground, warm straw for nesting, and no real predators. Thus, captive elephants are often around mice all the time.

However, elephants, like most wild animals, have instincts. A very important instinct for a wild animal to have is knowing when they might be in danger. The small mice will make noise and the elephant won't always be able to see what is making the noise, thus causing them to possibly become startled or paniced.

So elephants aren't afraid of mice, but unknown sounds make them nervous. Next we'll cover why rhinos aren't afraid of hamsters.

Q: Is 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' considered a real word? (MHamManiac - 2003/09/24)
A: First, let us say that Mary Poppins (aka Julie Andrews) is a real hottie! She can be our nanny any day! Woo-hoo!

Uhh... we mean, the word in question 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' is thought to have originated from Mary Poppins (the word is in the movie, but -not- the book that the movie was based on). The movie's writers didn't create it however, which caused a few lawsuits for the publishing company.

While supercali... the word, does appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, it is not in the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary.

The rule for whether a word is considered a real word changes depending on the lexicographer (those wackos that write dictionaries). Some say it must be published a certain number of times. Others feel that it must be used in actual speech first. Because there is no set law as to whether a word is really a 'word', this question could legitimately be asked for every word in the English language!

However, due to it being published so much, as well as being fairly commonplace in actual speech, most people do indeed consider it a real word in the English language.

Q: If you choke a smurf long enough, what color will it turn? (Tiffany - 2003/09/23)
Cadaver Smurf A: That's a smurfing good question. Well, we asked our friend Cadaver Smurf if he would be so kind as to smurf us what color smurfs change when they are smurfed.

We took Cadaver Smurf and hung him on a smurf. He seemed very happy about it. (Smurfin' moron!)

We then took pictures at different intervals to see what color the smurf turns after being choked for prolonged periods of smurf.

5 Seconds 40 Seconds 90 Seconds 5 minutes 3 days

As you can smurf, after 5 seconds, no changes occurred. In 40 seconds his smurf began to turn darker blue. At 90 seconds his face was deep purple, and his smurfs became bloodshot. At five minutes his body was twitching and his face was looking very smurf. In three days, gangrene had set in, and his body began to smurf-compose.

So there's your answer. Smurfs choked for over three days will eventually smurf green. (With apologies to Peyo)

Q: Why does wet cloth appear darker? Is it because it pushes down the faded threads showing the full color ones? (MHamManiac - 2003/09/22)
A: Although that may seem like the answer, it's actually a bit more technical than that. Thankfully, technicalities are our specialty, they keep us out of prison.

Cloth that is wet appears darker because as light passes through the water in the cloth it gets broken up causing the cloth to absorb more light than normal. By absorbing more light, less light is reflected off the cloth so we see less, making it appear darker. This is the same reason why you can get sunburned easier through wet clothes.

However, if you get clothes wet with bleach they may soon appear lighter than normal. If you don't believe us, try it!

Q: On average what's the number of times the word "the" is used per hundred words in a newspaper or magazine article? (LITTLESAMZ - 2003/09/05)
A: Although the question seems basic, it's actually quite complex. In order to get the proper calculations we need to have access to every newspaper and magazine (we'll assume English only). Also, what classifies whether a publication is considered a 'newspaper'? Surely the 'New York Times' is a newspaper, but what about local tabloids or newsletters? It's rather impossible to get all the data for the calculations, so it is, in turn, impossible to answer this question. (Not that it matters to us, we'll an answer anyway. How does 12 sound to you?)

Well that's a rather boring answer isn't. How about we give some filler information that sort of pertains to the question? Sure, sounds good.

According to the 'Frequency Analysis of English Usage: Lexicon and Grammar, 1982' The top ten most common words in the English language in order are:

the, be, of, and, a, in, he, to (as an infinitive mark), have, to (as a preposition)

Yes, worthless data at its best.

Q: Why are most barns painted red? (Nikia and Katie - 2003/08/18)
A: This is an old question that doesn't have a simple answer (which, of course, is why they asked the gurus).

Before chemically treated wood was common, painting was used to protect the wood from the elements. Barns were very important to farmers, thus barns get painted. But why red? Was there a strange plot involving aliens who love probing? Probably.

One answer that makes sense is that red paint was easy to make and farmers usually made their own paint. (2+2 = 4) The process used milk mixed with lead and iron oxide from clay (rusty clay), that and a few other solvents were boiled in linseed oil to create a cheap but very durable paint that would protect the wood.

There is another explanation that some farmers used blood in their paint to give it a red color, which is debatable, because blood tends to turn dark brown or black when it dries (shroud of Turin hoax ring any bells?).

However, red is primarily used for north-eastern area barns, different locations used different colors. Southern barns were often painted gray, or not at all. Canada often has green or orange barns. New England, of course, has started many of our country's traditions, so red became the most common color.

Most modern day barns are made from aluminum. If painted, they are usually white because it keeps them cool. If we had a barn it would be chartreuse. Why chartreuse? Because chartreuse is a cool color, and it's fun to say. Chartreuse chartreuse chartreuse.

Q: Where can I find the RENT script? (PyroBOY7158 - 2003/08/14)
A: Well with a name like PyroBOY we think we'll answer this one rather promptly. We like our houses, and prefer that that don't get burned to the ground.

As luck would have it, TheAlmightyGuru loves RENT, in fact, it's his favorite musical so of course he would have a RENT page. You're in luck again, because he also laboriously transferred the RENT script into a nice HTML page. Just click your little cursor over this here link:

If you want a printer friendly version of the script go here.

Yes, we're awesome and we know it.

Q: What are the lyrics for the song "Let it Go" by Luba, from 9 1/2 Weeks movie soundtrack? (Beckalyn - 2003/08/12)
A: We've never seen the movie, listened to the song, or even heard of the band.

We'd like to make some funny remark about it... but, alas we cannot.

You've made us cry. I hope you're happy.

Fine! Here's your precious lyrics! I hope you enjoy them! We'll just sit here alone in the dark, weeping...

Q: How does one go about subscribing to the FFML? (Paula Wright - 2003/07/15)
A: Someone's tricking me into helping them with anime, ick. Oh well, we're non-biased gurus so we must oblige.

FFML stands for Fan-Fiction Mailing List, more specifically it covers anime fanfics. Basically, it's a mailing list for geeks who like to read unauthorized stories about pre-pubescent girls with legs up to their chests and evil ninjas with eyes larger than basketballs. Good stuff right?

Anyway, according to the FFML FAQ located at, you can subscribe by sending an email to them with the words "SUBSCRIBE FFML" in the subject to this address

Once that's done you'll have all the amateur fiction about your favorite tentacled Dragonball Z characters having sex with transvestites from Ranma 1/2. Pop culture at its best.

Q: When cloning people becomes legal, how much will a Liv Tyler cost? Or an "Almighty Guru"? (ZSUZEE9 - 2003/07/01)
A: I'm sure we can all agree that this is probably the most important question we've ever been asked, as Liv Tyler is such a mega babe.

Cloning humans will never be legal in the USA, but there's always Amsterdam where everything is legal even murder. In Amsterdam a clone of Miss Tyler is going to run you a cool million, plus you'll have to obtain viable cells in which to clone her. So get your stalking gear ready.

Amazingly an Almighty Guru clone is actually impossible, as our god-like intelligence makes us impervious to cloning. We are for sale though, at a price of a six-pack of A&W and a bag of pretzel rods a day.