Ask A Guru

July - August 2004


Q: ¿por qué los gringos son tan tontos? (nwm - 2004/08/30)

A: Nothing warms our little black hearts like people who care enough to ask the important social-political questions. This question translates to "Why are gringos such idiots?" Gringo, of course, is a derogatory racist term for non-Latin people, usually targeted towards Americans. Isn't that just precious?

First of all, gringos aren't idiots, they're morons. This is a common misconception propagated by the media. You see an idiot is a person who has a mental age below 3 who usually cannot speak, while a moron is person who has a mental age around from 7 to 12 and can communicate at an adequate level. And as we all know from television, us gringos like to talk a lot!

Now, the reason gringos are morons is because we have MTV. MTV isn't as intellectually stimulating as Channel Ocho and the man dressed up as a bumblebee. (Or is that just in the world of The Simpsons?). Anyway, MTV is very important for us to maintain our 7 to 12 year-old intelligence level because the broadcast contains a special brain altering message that numbs our minds preventing us from using our higher brain functions and thus allowing us to like trash called Britney Spears.

It should be noted that although TheAlmightyGuru is a native to the USA, his amazing might and genetic superiority makes him immune to the deadly brain numbing rays of MTV.

Q: When and who invented orthodontics? (Kimberly - 2004/08/27)

A: TheAlmightyGuru had braces at one time allowing him to come to the conclusion that the DEVIL created orthodontics in order to torture those who must wear the blood rending braces!

Actually, a number of people are noted for helping in the creation of braces, the devil probably wasn't one of them. Pierre Fauchard, inventor of the expansion arch, wrote a book, "The Surgeon Dentist" in 1728 which first mentioned teeth straightening. Later, in 1757, a French dentist named Bourdet wrote "The Dentist's Art" which mentioned using special appliances to straighten teeth.

In 1819 Delabarre created the wire crib which marked the dawn of contemporary orthodontics, but the big leap came with Norman W. Kingsley and his book "Treatise on Oral Deformities" in 1880 which was the most comprehensive book on treating crooked teeth of the day. Also, J. N. Farrar's book "A Treatise on the Irregularities of the Teeth and Their Corrections" was the first to mention using mild force to slowly move teeth into place. These two dentists are often titled "The Fathers of Orthodontics."

The first school of orthodontics was created in 1901 by Edward H. Angle. He also devised the classification system for malocclusions that are still used today. Many other inventions were added to the braces later like the use of elastic bands and x-rays, but the bulk of orthodontics were developed in the late 1800's.

It should be noted that all of the people mentioned above are EVIL and have caused a great deal of pain to anyone who wears their demonic twisted metal devices.

Q: Please tell me what's happening in my love life? (Zona Nish - 2004/08/25)

A: You're kidding right? You really want us to answer this question? Heh heh... you got it. We're assuming you made a mistake in thinking that we are merely pathetic fortune tellers here for your amusement, but we are much more powerful than that. We can give you precise details of your current and future love life. We can tell you exactly what's going on.

Okay, let's see... first of all, you know that one guy who kind-of may or may-not like you sometimes? Well, he's really an axe murderer who has killed fifty people and has put you on his list. We suggest taking a nice solid ball peen hammer and crushing his skull before he makes his move.

Also, your best friend what's-her-face secretly hates you because of that thing you did with that person. She plans on taking a dull hacksaw and cutting your legs off at the kneecaps. It would be wise if you tie her up and then run razor blades up and down her face until she admits it.

Finally, your future husband will have darkish-light hair and blue, green, brown, or hazel eyes. He will be from 3 to 8 feet in height and wear shirts sometimes. Although he may seem like a nice guy, he's actually an alien from the planet Zepulon. He'll probably have a fascination with anal probing. Anyway, kill him by accidentally pushing him into a vat of boiling acid before the next full moon.

Have a nice love life.

Q: Where did the word criminitly come from? (Rum Runner - 2004/08/10)

A: Try as you might, you will not find this word in the dictionary. The two most common spellings of this word are criminently and criminitly, but neither are real words. They are in fact a Midwest cultural perversion of the word "criminy".

Criminy (also sometimes spelled crimini or crimine) is a special type of interjection known as a minced oath. Minced oaths come from the old days when a person would want to say a blasphemous word, but didn't want to get in trouble for it. For example jeez for Jesus, tarnation for damnation, or gadzooks for God's hooks. Criminy is a euphemism for Christ.

One of the reasons why criminy was perverted to criminently may be that the word "crimine" is Italian for "crime". Thus, the pronunciation "crime in Italy" tends to fit the word.

Q: Which movie made the highest profit to cost ratio both including and excluding DVDs? (Paul - 2004/07/29)

A: Movie values are constantly changing so we have to create a cut-off line to get accurate figures. Seeing how 2004 isn't over yet, we'll use 2003 and prior for all these results. Movie sales are a big thing for film companies and the top three grossing films world wide are:

Movie

Budget

World Gross

Earning-to-Cost Ratio

Titanic (1997)

$200 million

$1,845 million

x 9.2

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)

$94 million

$1,118 million

x 10.7

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

$130 million

$976 million

x 7.4

However, these three movies had enormous budgets, and although they made tons of money, their earning-to-cost ratios are rather low. However, every once in awhile a really cheap film becomes super popular and makes much more than is expected. The top three movies who grossed the highest earning-to-cost ratio are:

Movie

Budget

World Gross

Earning-to-Cost Ratio

Blair Witch Project (1999)

$35,000

$240 million

x 6857

Mad Max (1979)

$350,000

$100 million

x 285

Rocky (1976)

$1.1 million

$225 million

x 205

And even with DVD sales included (also TV rights, etc.) nothing even comes close to the Blair Witch Project for earnings ratio.

You know we have a friend who has a friend who was involved in discovering the footage for the BWP, and he told our friend who told us that it was all real! Can you believe that? The new footage which was later discovered is also real. Those three kids are still missing and the Blair Witch is still out there! Spooky huh?

Q: Why do humans have toes? (Rum Runner - 2004/07/23)

A: Back before Homo sapiens existed, early land creatures were discovering that it was very important to have digits. These animals had different numbers of digits, not just five. As the early animals evolved they found that the ones with five digits were the most effective, so they continued to live and reproduce (the sixty-eight toed animals died out a long time ago).

So to this day we still have digits. The reason our toes became so useful is that they help with many things. They allow us to balance easier (the big toe especially), they aid in running faster, and our toenails can be used as weapons.

Actually, human feet are not very efficient for how much we use them. They are quite fragile and have many tiny bones that are easily damaged. However, our ancestors weren't built for upright walking and probably spent most of their time in the trees where nimble flexible feet would be more useful. It's all the fault of those damn dirty apes!

In the future expect to see toes that shoot lasers and can be programmed to dance the fox trot at the click of your heels.

Q: Is it true that if women do more stuff sexually in the beginning of a relationship they start to want to do less and less over time? (Holli Madden - 2004/07/19)

A: We certainly hope not! However, I don't think this question applies strictly to women, so I'm going to do a quick revision. The new question is, "Is it possible to get bored of sex?" The answer, of course, is yes, but also no.

Sex, just like any other activity, can eventually become boring. This means that couples who are sexually active may eventually become less interested with it. This usually occurs when couples lack creativity and continue to do it the same way in the same place.

However, sex can be done in a large assortment of positions, in any number of locations, during all hours of the day, with all sorts of props. Remember when you were looking through your parent's closet when you were younger? Did you ever wonder why your father had that fireman uniform? Did you find it odd that your mother had all the tools necessary to become a school teacher?

There is no reason for a couple to ever get bored with sex provided that they have a healthy imagination, or even better, an unhealthy imagination. Read a copy of the Kama Sutra, get a spiked dog collar, visit Frederick's of Hollywood. It's important to be willing to try new things, but you shouldn't have to do something you don't want to do.

If you need help with anything, TheAlmightyGuru is -more- than willing to help you out.

Q: Greetings, wisest of the wisests! Please tell me how astronomers (especially in the ancient times) can discover the size and distance of the stars? (Leandro Correia - 2004/07/07)

A: It's always good when people call us for what we are. Wisest of the wisests... it has such a nice ring.

Anyway, on with the question. Looking from Earth, we lose all depth perception to celestial objects. The naked-eye cannot discern which stars are closer or far away and they all seem to be the same distance. Ancient astronomers had this same problem which is why they thought that the stars were on a fixed sphere around the Earth (the fools). Thanks to modern technology and observation by astronomers, we are now able to measure the size and distance of a star. It is rather complicated, so kids, feel free to try this at home, but expect disappointment.

The size of a star can be measured by its luminosity and temperature using Stefan-Boltzmann's law, or it can be measured by examining the lightcurve of an eclipsing binary. Distance is measured by calculating the parallax or triangulating the star from the Earth as it rotates around the sun. Simple, right? Well, if you want a complicated answer go here.

Here's a nice site with Java animations showing how we measure the size and distance of stars. If you're interested in the actual mathematics behind this go here.

This information is all rather new to the scientific community. In fact, we only knew the parallax of only a couple hundred near-by stars until the Hipparcos satellite was launched in August 1989, which measured many other stars for us.

Q: How long does the U.S. flag stay half-mast when a president croaks? (Kimberly - 2004/07/01)

A: When a president croaks? Please stop, your sympathy is bringing us to tears!

It's actually quite surprising how much protocol the US puts on the flag. Most people barely know the basics of flag use. Suffice to say that the American flag has better rights than most animals, and even some people!

A quick bit if history. The term half-mast is actually a navel term referring to the mast of a ship (you'll notice nobody calls it half-pole). It comes from a time when mourning was observed by looking unkempt.

Also note that you are not allowed to fly a flag half-mast for your own reasons. Only the President and state Governors can decide when and how long the flag should be flown at half-mast. Half-mast flags are reserved for major governmental tragedies and regular problems like the death of a loved one (even if they are a soldier) don't fall under this category.

They're are certain days of remembrance that we fly the flag half-mast including Memorial Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day, Korean War Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and a few others.

And back to your original question, when a president or former president dies (or as you so eloquently put it, croaks) the flag must be flown half-mast for thirty days. Ten days for a vice president, chief of justice or a retired chief of justice, or speaker of the house of representatives. There are several other reasons as well, but we're not writing a book here, now are we?

For more information of the proper care and handling of our nation's symbol visit ushistory.org.

Home