The Darwin Exception

because it's not always survival of the fittest – sometimes the idiots get through

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Random Questions That Need Answers

Posted by thedarwinexception on November 11, 2006

Sometimes I ask questions that no one seems to have the answers to. Or they have the answers and the answers don’t satisfy me. Like the number 1 question below – “What the hell was wrong with the little girl doll on the Island of Misfit toys in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?” This is a question I have asked for years – it’s almost a tradition now in alt.fan.cecil-adams that I ask the question every year towards Christmas time. And every year I get a lot of responses, mostly along the lines of “she was a hermaphrodite” or “she had *issues*” or “she was psychologically damaged.” I don’t think any of those answers are the *definitive* answer, though. And I want an answer.

And it’s surprising that no one in AFCA seems to know the answer, because AFCA is the smartest group of people in Usenet. No, really, they are. I have been hanging out there for years, not because I am one of the smartest people around, and that’s where the smart people go, but mostly because I admire their smartness. And if you have a question, that’s the place to ask it. They’ll answer it – eventually. First, of course, you’ll have to put up with the smartass comments, the pun cascades, the replies of “Band Name!” (that’s when two words strung together sound like they’d be a good name for a band), the “Leroy’s”, which just means “Me too”, because some dude named Leroy was the first person to post a reply using only the words “me too”, and the inevitable thread drift, which, in AFCA, in the case of the above question would probably be demonstrated by the thread becoming a conversation about the density of reindeer hair. They’re like that.

But I have asked a few questions in there that no one ever got around to answering. So, if you know the answer to any of the below – please leave a reply and let me know what it is, because I’m losing sleep over this shit.

1. In “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, the one that’s on TV every year, what is wrong with the little girl doll? She seems to talk, to cry, to walk, what the hell is wrong with her that she ended up on the island of misfit toys?

2. In the “Wizard of Oz” movie – when Dorothy gets to Munchkinland and her house has fallen on the wicked witch, Glinda appears. She asks Dorothy “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” Dorothy responds that she’s not a witch at all, that witches are old and ugly. The munchkins giggle. Dorothy asks who is laughing. Glinda says “The munchkins are laughing because *I* am a  witch”. Glinda then explains that only *bad* witches are old and ugly; If  that’s true – why did she have to ask Dorothy if Dorothy was a good witch or a bad witch – couldn’t she see that Dorothy wasn’t ugly?

3. Can I do this? I have a DVR – it’s the one that Time Warner cable offers,  and isn’t as good as my old Tivo. Anyway, when I record something to the  hard drive, it gives me the option after recording to “Save to VCR”. Now, I  don’t want to save it to “VCR”. But can I save it to DVD? Is there some way  to transfer the recording either to my free standing DVD player or to my computer for recording? Now, I can always hook the computer back up to the cable through the splitter, and record TV shows directly to the hard drive on my PC, then download it to DVD, but is there a way to make the DVR an intermediary and do it that way?

4. Why is it called a “flea market”? Was it once used to sell fleas for flea circus’s?
 

5. If I dropped a thousand messages in bottles randomly around the world in all the oceans and seas, on which shore is a bottle most likely to wash up on?
 

6. Was jelly ever sold – and is it still being sold – in glass jars with the wax on top? I want some old fashioned jelly like my grandmother used to make – but my granny always topped the jar with wax. Was it ever sold in stores this way? Is it still sold this way anywhere?

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14 Responses to “Random Questions That Need Answers”

  1. Dana said

    Re the jelly: I’m pretty sure that jelly was never sold with wax (paraffin) on top; that’s a home preservation technique. Before paraffin became widely available, clean, melted fat was used. Jelly was a homemade thing for most of human history, you know.

  2. John said

    “Flea markets” were so-called because they mainly sold old furniture, which often carried fleas in upholstery. That’s my understanding, anyway.

    Great blog, Kim.

  3. Greg said

    Re messages in bottles: There doesn’t seem to be one definite answer, because changes in weather influence current speed and direction in a very variable way. I found this article on the subject fascinating reading.
    http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/shoes.htm

  4. The link mentioned by the first Greg goes to “Islandnet” ISP. That’s because the first wave of shoes arrived on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. Nike set up swap meets in local community halls where beachcombers could swap driftshoes to get an approximate pair.

  5. Hatpin said

    A quirky, but fact-based, 30-minute BBC radio programme about the distribution of yellow plastic duck-shaped bath-toys dropped in the sea is here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/pip/qqy2g/

    Click on “Listen Again” to hear it – it’s pretty funny, but also authoritative. The programme starts about a minute or so into the broadcast, and you’ll need a RealAudio player (such as Windows Media Player Classic, RealAlternative, or *gasp* RealPlayer if you’re desperate) to hear it.

  6. groo said

    Maybe bad witches aren’t born full-sized, old and ugly. Maybe they start out as wee babies, just like good witches, but only the bad ones _get_ old and ugly. So in looking at Dorothy, it wasn’t possible to say yet just from appearances which she might be.

  7. Dana said

    Haven’t you read Wicked? Elphaba (AKA the WWotW) started out green and sort of hatchet-faced (with serious teeth, too.) But OTOH, she didn’t start out wicked, either. It’s the Wizard who was evil, the WWotW was a political activist fighting him.

  8. Hieronymous Agricola said

    http://ididnotknowthatyesterday.blogspot.com/2006/03/where-did-term-flea-market-come-from.html

    Has three explanations for “Flea Market”.

  9. Olive, the Other Reindeer said

    From http://www.tvparty.com/xmasrudolph2.html

    “This brings us back to the MISFIT GIRL doll questions…..Uggh! The later versions of the script did not attribute any specific problems with the doll. I believe that Romeo Muller never really gave the character much thought, since her screen time in the original broadcast was mere seconds.

    She was granted more screen time in the 1965-1997 Broadcasts and ultimately led many a fan to wonder what was wrong with her? Since Arthur Rankin says it was psychological, I still stand behind that.”

  10. garfunkle said

    really, where does your lap go when you stand up??

  11. Pete said

    Glinda doesn’t say that all bad witches are old and ugly, but rather that “only bad witches are old and ugly”. Thus good witches can only be pretty, but bad witches can be either. In fact, in my personal experience, the most evil witches are frequently the pretty ones…

  12. Ahhhhhh…an answer I can live with. Thank you for your insight.

  13. stoneloco said

    I have nerver seen the jelly in stores. My wife uses it on blackberry jelly to keep it from molding.

  14. Lisa R. said

    I have a replica of the Misfit Doll and I believe it’s safe to say that the poor thing HAS NO NOSE. And there’s Rudolph feeling so sorry for his red, glowing proboscis — meanwhile poor Dolly lacks one completely. Intentionally drawn or not, the doll’s lack of nostrils qualifies her for residency on the Island of Misfit Toys, no?

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