Ask A Guru

September - October 2004

Simple questions, simple answers (2004/10/27)

Every so often the gurus here get simple questions that can be answered quickly and without too much torture to average citizens. However, in order to give you a full-sized answer we've grouped several of them together. See how good we are to you?

Q: Somebody told me that drinking tea turns your teeth blue. Is that true? - Michelle Lim
A: If there is a lot of blue dye in the tea, then yes.

Q: How big is your penis? - Keem01
A: The African bull elephant's got nothing on me.

Q: ¿Por qué no puedo ser como quiero? ¿Qué es lo que le jode tanto a la sociedad? - Griselda Aprile
A: En Inglés, por favor.

Q: How many people are in the world? - Fullfro
A: According to the United States Census Bureau, as of 11/10/2004 15:20:02 GMT, the world population is: 6,399,446,773.

Q: hello guru dude, i would like to know how to speak japanese? - Jazz P
A: We suggest learning English first.

Q: What is the meaning behind placing a coin in the hands of the dearly departed. What about the eyes? (Your Humble Fans - 2004/10/27)

A: Coinage and death has been related for centuries, which has made the interest rate of dead bodies soar.

The oldest information on coins and the dead comes from Greek mythology. According to their legends when a person dies Hermes ushers their soul to Hades. However, to get into Hades, the soul must cross the river Acheron. The ferryman, named Charon, will allow you to ride his ferry provided that your body was buried or burned with the proper rites, and that you pay him an obolus (a silver coin). Because of this legend the Greeks would bury their dead with an obolus under their tongues.

What can we say, the Greeks were whack. Later on, many other cultures used similar practices of placing money on the body of the dead. This is most likely where placing a coin in the hand of the dead comes from. People just don't like shoving stuff in the mouths of dead people as much as they used to.

Placing a coin over the eyes is a much more practical ritual, at least it used to be. When people die rigor mortis sets in and then dissipates. Once the body relaxes, the eyes have a tendency to open due to gravity. Coins were placed over the eyelids to keep them shut. Why not use something else like rocks or staples? Possibly due to the history of the coin and the dead. Modern preparers don't have to worry about this what with all their cool embalming liquids and such (super glue), but the practice has become sort of a tradition, creepy as it is.

Q: What is the sound of one hand clapping? (Sir Malthadas Dark - 2004/10/15)

A: If there is one thing to be said about the Buddhist koans, it's that they're annoying. This particular koan was thought up by Hakuin Ekaku Zenji (1686-1768), as teaching device for his students. The properly translated question is worded as such: "In clapping both hands a sound is heard: what is the sound of the one hand?"

If you're unfamiliar with the term koan, it's a story or verse that people use to help find the truth, a veritable Zen puzzle. Westerners have a special word for them, bullshit.

Like many Buddhist koans this particular one seems completely unanswerable, but it does indeed have an answer. The answer, much like the question, is illogical and pointless unless you study Buddhism. When a Buddhist's master asks him what the sound of one hand clapping is, the student is supposed to simply thrust one hand forward as if he was clapping with one hand. His master will then ask him a series of equally inane questions to see if he fully understands the question and how it pertains to everything and nothing. That is the correct answer. Lame, right?

Let us not forget that Bart Simpson, everyone's favorite scholar, was able to simply bend his hand and clap it against itself, thus making a clapping noise with one hand.

If you want a physical representation of this koan, there is a British company that has plans for a "one hand clapping" device.

Q: Greetings, Bearer of the Light of Infinite Knowledge. How can mankind finally achieve world peace? (Leandro Damasceno Fernandes Correia - 2004/09/30)

A: Why can't all the people who ask us questions call us by our proper title? Bearer of the Light of Infinite Knowledge has a certain ring to it doesn't it?

As for the question, one of our female gurus remarked that we can stop using gender specific terms like "mankind" and replace them with ones that are more PC like "humankind". One of our male gurus told her it was a good idea, but that she still didn't bring him a sandwich. His groin surgery is scheduled for this weekend.

Anyway, achieving world peace is actually much easier than people thought. Money is the root of all evil right? Of course. In order to remove this evil from the world you should send it all to us in plain envelopes. Don't worry about us, we'll take on the heavy burden of evil alone.

Once we have all the money, we will buy all the weapons. Then, we will have supreme control over the world. With us running this joint everything will be peaceful because you pathetic wretches will be to scared to step out of line lest we smite thee! Bwa ha ha! World domination will be ours at last!

Q: Urgent, does jacking off stunt your penis growth? (Kasey Cohen - 2004/09/28)

A: We're wondering why a question like this would be urgent, actually, scratch that, we don't want to know.

There are hundreds of myths around masturbation, many of which are propagated by religious groups, and most of them aren't true. First of all, just so you know, masturbation is perfectly normal, unless you're at the dinner table. Also, most humans masturbate (except for us, of course). We'll go ahead and clear up a few myths right now.

  • Masturbation does not stunt the growth of your penis, unless you masturbate with hedge clippers.
  • Masturbation won't cause chronic fatigue, in fact, it's good exercise!
  • Masturbation doesn't give you poor eyesight, unless you have bad aim.
  • Masturbation won't give you hairy palms, unless you use Rogaine as a lubricant.

For the ultimate site in male masturbation, check out It's a large repository for common questions, various methods, and plenty of other interesting articles about America's favorite past time.

Q: Why is George W. Bush a bastard? (Rhadamanthis - 2004/09/08)

A: This question is often brought up in conversations all around the world. The answer might shock you. Despite popular belief, George W. Bush is certainly not a bastard.

Most people toss the word "bastard" around as though it is similar in meaning to any other obscenity. However, the word bastard is actually an exact term. A bastard is the child of unwed parents. However, George W. Bush was born in 1947, son of George and Barbara Bush who had been married since 1945.

So you see, I hate to disillusion you, but George W. Bush is not a bastard. However, there are plenty of other expletives that easily fit his character. I won't name them because I don't have enough hard drive space to fit them all.