Ask A Guru

November 2005 - January 2006

Number nine, number nine, number nine. (2006/01/17)

Q: Is Billie Joe Armstrong's real name William Jospeh Armstrong? Me and my cousin have been trying to work it out for ages. - Mel
A: Green Day's two other members both use an alias (Mike Dirnt's real name is Michael Ryan Pritchard and Tré Cool's real name is Frank Edwin Wright III), so you would think that the name Billie Joe Armstrong would also be an alias, but it is in fact his real name. Also, that should be My cousin and I.

Q: Are Xena and Gaybreal gay? - Laurie Flanzbaum Ovadia
A: Gaybreal? Well, we guess you've already made up your mind. The sexual orientation of the two characters is never spelled out in the series. Both women have male love interests throughout the series, but there is an undeniable amount of "close bonding" done between them. The ambiguity was created on purpose by the producers, which led to plenty of debate by the fans. Our official response is: Who cares? It's over, it's been over for a long time now. Get a life.

Q: Why are humans so retarded? - Kelly Foreman
A: It might have something to do with how much we use mental disabilities as an insult for each other. Just a guess.

Q: Why do you see yourself as such a high person in the circle of life? I mean I'm sure you must not even have a life. - Sherry Richard
A: Well of course we don't have lives! We sit in rooms and answer questions all day. TheAlmightyGuru has a hobby of ripping music from old videogames. We have so little of a life we're practically dead! But anyway, the reason TheAlmightyGuru sees himself as such a high person is because people keep asking him for his unsurpassed knowledge. People like you.

Q: Did you have a sexy cow that you made pregnant on the full moon? P.S. Penis - Zach Griffin
A: We have given your name to the authorities you sick and twisted weirdo! The answer to your question though, is no. According to our parole officer we're no longer allowed to impregnate livestock.

You have probably got this a lot of times but which came first the chicken or the egg? - Ryan Hall (2006/01/13)

Actually, you're the first, and hopefully the last, to ask us this question. And by hopefully, we mean that we'll personally murder anyone who asks again.

This is a very old dilemma of causality first seen in the collected works of Mestrius Plutarchus who lived circa 46-127 CE. He probably wasn't the first to pose the dilemma, but he was the first known person to document it.

Because the dilemma is a catch-22 it can't logically be solved by itself. A chicken egg cannot exist with having a chicken lay it, but a chicken cannot exist without being born from a chicken egg. Logical bypasses must be made in order to solve it.

Many doped up hippies like to think this is a profound question. We like to think it as a waste of time. Even if you know the correct answer it's not like you win a prize or anything. Seriously, when you go looking for a job do you think they'll give you better pay if you know the answer? No! Nobody cares.

Well, one thing it is good for is creating a nice big argument between the fundamentalists and the scientists. You see, if you believe that a the universe and all its inhabitants were brought into existence by some entity all at once then you can state that the chicken came first. Alternately, if you believe that chickens slowly evolved from their ancestors through tiny mutations in their genetic structure then the first chicken would be a mutated egg from the proto-chicken, thus the egg would come first.

One of those answers actually makes sense, but we'll leave it up to you to decide which one it is.

You can also skate around the issue, and answer it in different ways. Open a dictionary, chicken comes first. Read the sentence, chicken comes first. Go to a grocery store, depending on the route either could come first. A rooster gets his freak on with a hen, the chicken came first! HA!

Simple questions, numeral ocho. (2006/01/06)

Q: I used to watch a cartoon when I was little about a little girl and her two pet koala bears. I believe one went by the name of pinky. I have long since forgot what the name of the show was, do you think you can figure it out on that little bit of info? I would like to buy the cartoon if I can find it. - Orbitalmotion86
A: The television show with the demon possessed stuffed Koala bears is a Japanese creation called Noozles. It aired on Nickelodeon from 1988 to 1993, which pretty much gives away your age. Although the show is no longer in print you can still find the VHS release on or eBay.

Q: Are ligers real? - Daniel Price
A: Watched a bit too much Napoleon Dynamite didn't you? Well, actually they -do- exist, although they are not bred for their magical powers. A liger is a cross between a male lion and a female tiger. The opposite, male tiger and female lion, is called a tigon. They do not occur in the wild naturally and are bred artificially by humans.

Q: What exactly do you get out of answering questions? - EARLY'S 51ST
A: Keep this a secret just between us, but when someone asks us a question they are unknowingly entering a binding legal contract to give us their soul which we own upon answering said question. Thanks for the soul, by the way. Or you could just check the FAQ.

Q: Will terrrorists attack america again? - Meganbama
A: Terrrrrrrrorists are always attacking aMERICA in many different forms. In fact, most of the people who cause terror in American are Americans. Take the Oklahoma City bombing for example. However, you probably mean will they attack at the magnitude of which they have been. Well, if history is a good guide for the future then you can pretty much bet that American soil will indeed see another catastrophic terrorist attack. Kind of a drag, but that's the world that we live in.

Q: If god is everywhere in the universe, then is he in hell? - TheAlphaWolf001
A: Woah man, that's deep. This question can logically be answered, but because it is philosophical and theological in nature it can't be proven in the scientific sense. But, here's a quick question for you: Is Hell in the universe? If God is everywhere in the universe and Hell is in the universe then God must be in Hell. If Hell is not in the universe (and since the first part of the statement doesn't mention God being outside of the universe), you could answer no.

Does "@" have a name besides "at"? - Andr˙ffffe9s ˙ffffc1lvarez (2006/01/05)

An @ (at) means exactly what it sounds like. Officially, it's not called merely and at, but a commercial at because it is used so much in buying an selling. It is often seen on invoices where a person purchased a 2 widgets @ $20 each.

The @ was used as the cursive way to write an a, which I was used to abbreviate unknown words that began with an a. This comes from a time in the Medieval era when abbreviations were made by putting a line over or through the letters. If you wanted to write an abbreviation that started with an a, and you wanted to write it in cursive, you would draw the first letter as an @. Abbreviations weren't very widely used back then and it is still unknown which word the @ was first used to abbreviate.

The actual symbol is thought to have originally evolved from the Greek preposition ana, which means "at the rate of" when referring to numbers. It is also thought to be from Latin, meaning pretty much the same thing. There are a few other possibilities, but most of them come to the same conclusion.

It wasn't until 1972 that the @ became used to its most popular designation of email thanks to Ray Tomlinson.

Of course, the symbol has a different name in different languages, but we assume that you are interested in the possible English terms. These names are not official, but you will sometimes hear it referred to as a vortex, whorl, or cinnabun by a UNIX geek. Some English speaking people use it to mean things other than at and call it each, about, or these. Some people have a clever imagination about what it looks like and call it a snail, cabbage, strudel, or rose.

There are a million other silly names, but officially, it is properly called a commercial at.

Is it possible to make a complete vacuum in a container (like a glass bottle), if so, what stays there after all the air has been sucked out...nothing? What does nothing look like? - Eva Stokmane (2006/01/04)

To test this we took a large glass bottle and put a Dirt Devil vacuum in it. It looked red and black, sort of plasticy with wheels and stuff.

Smartass response aside, it all depends on how technical you want to get. For a laymen's example on making a vacuum take an empty glass pop bottle, suck the air out, and block the neck with your tongue. Because the pressure in the bottle is less than the outside pressure, your tongue will get sucked into the bottle (no dirty jokes please) meaning that the inside of the bottle is now a vacuum. If you look through the side of the bottle you can claim that there is "nothing" in it. Now you know what "nothing" looks like. Vacuums similar to this type is used for everyday practical purposes like sealing foods, transporting small objects, and keeping dangerous chemicals quarantined.

However, this isn't a perfect vacuum. There is still a small amount of air in the bottle because you don't suck enough to get it all out (to a point, the more you suck the better the vacuum). Even outer space, often referred to as a vacuum, isn't a perfect vacuum because it has trace amounts of hydrogen scattered throughout.

Even worse, a perfect vacuum has to be not only devoid of matter, but also completely free of radiation. That's the tricky bit because even if you got all of the matter out of an area, the walls of the vacuum themselves (in this case the bottle) will emit black-body radiation preventing it from being a true vacuum. It currently seems impossible to create a perfect vacuum where everything inside has been removed because, from the scientific view, there is no such thing as "nothing". Everything has to be either matter or energy, you cannot eliminate both.

As for the second part of your question, what does nothing look like, well that's not really possible to answer because the concept of nothing can't scientifically exist. Asking what nothing looks like would be similar to asking "what does happiness look like?" or "what does your soul look like?".

That's kind of a lame answer, we know, but you can always speculate with philosophy. Sure you won't prove anything in the scientific sense, but it may keep you entertained for awhile.

See Below - (2006/01/03)

We were especially impressed by this one. Somebody took the time to create a nice little rhyming riddle for us.

Well when I click on your link,
I have to blink,
In surprise that it will not let me go through.

So in order to transpire,
I have to perspire,
In sending this e-mail to you.

How do you know,
What you know,
When you don't know,
What you know.

Track is Round, Riddler of Riddles

How about that! We were most certainly impressed.

As for the question, we know everything, thus we even know what we know, whether we know it or not. Although, if you're referring you people in general, than if you want to know what you don't know -- even if you don't know you know it -- Ask A Guru!

What is "colete dust" from the famed Hotel California song by The Eagles - Damion in Dallas (2005/12/16)

Colet dust? We think you have misheard the lyric, but don't feel bad, most people do. A few other misheard words include "fajitas", "colitis", "wheat dust", even as odd as "police gas". A quick check in the proper lyrics will show that what is actually said is colitas. So that answers everything, right? Problem solved.

Well, what do you mean you don't know what colitas is? Isn't it obvious? No? Well shiver me timbers, how did you get this far into life without knowing what colitas is!

Most people think perhaps a flower that grows near California or something of that nature, but the real answer is quite shocking. You probably wouldn't expect this from a country rock band, especially one that writes down-to-Earth lyrics like those found in Hotel California, but colitas is a bud from the cannabis plant, also know as marijuana.

Now that you understand what one single word means in the song, go to the grand scale and try to figure out what the bizarre song is all about. Obviously, the band enjoyed a bit too much colitas before writing it.

Simple questions, SEVEN! (2005/12/14)

Your sissy questions, our rockin' answers!

Q: There is something I must know. Is a fruton a thing? I know it's not a baked bread product you eat with salad, or a couch you can sleep on. I swear it's a thing. PLEASE ANSWER ME ALMIGHTY GURU, I'M GOING MAD! - Alexander Macey
A: Croutons are real, futons are real, your insanity is real, but frutons are not. Well, at least not in the English language. We checked encyclopedias, dictionaries, and various other sources, but we can't find any mention of a real-life thing called a fruton. We did notice that Fruton is a last name in used in France and some uses of the word in fiction stories, but as of now, it is not a real thing.

Q: Everyone hates me. Why? - Zach Griffin
A: We hate you too much to even answer this question.

Q: Does Kerry Edwards love me? - Kevin
A: You know there's something wrong with our global political health when someone thinks that Kerry Edwards is a single person. We suppose they don't have to be referring to the Democrats that just couldn't get it up, but honestly, if this person is talking about someone else, we really don't care.

Q: Does Roberta Patterson think I look handsome? - Denise Coleman
A: Why does a woman want another woman to think they look handsome anyway? Oh wait... Do you listen to the Indigo Girls?

Q: What is my mothers name? - Zuzanna Ronowicz
A: This is a trick question. You don't even have a mother. The person who pretends to be your mother is actually a space alien from the planet Yeranus.

Q: Why do yanks think there so much better than every body else? - Michael Morrell
A: I asked them and they said, "because we know when to use they're instead of there." A bunch of smart alecks if you ask us.

Why does cheese make people constipated? - Kimberly (2005/11/16)

Nothing's better than a night on the toilet trying to shoot out that block of extra sharp cheddar you ate for dinner, right?

Constipation is caused when your body isn't able to digest your food properly. It's a quite common problem when caused by certain foods and usually goes away on its own after a day or so. There are other forms that are more chronic, but you seem to be more interested in getting your poo chute clogged by Colby-Jack, so we'll talk about that.

Ask any Midwesterner and they will tell you that cheese is the most important food of all. It's yummy, it's fattening, and it's chocked full of cheesy goodness. Now if only our bodies could properly digest it. Normally about 50% of what you eat is broken up and assimilated into your body before being excreted. Cheese, on the other hand, is only broken up at about 25%. This is because dairy products contain a difficult to digest sugar called lactose. The human gut isn't very good at breaking down lactose because it's only been a large part of our diet in the last thousand years since we've domesticated milk producing animals.

Because the cheese isn't broken down very well large viscid chunks of it are sent through the intestines obstructing the normal steady flow and making it harder to defecate in a timely fashion. This can be quite dangerous because as the cheese oozes its way to the colon it begins to decay and create toxins. These toxins will penetrate the intestines and colon and can cause plenty of diseases.

There are several ways to speed up the digestion of cheese and other dairy products so you can still enjoy the awesome taste that is cheese. Some of the ways to prevent cheese clogging include low lactose cheeses, lactase pills (that contain an enzyme to break up lactose faster), laxatives, and eating cheese with alcohol which can slow the rate of cheese's decay. So get drunk, and prevent constipation!