Ask the Fish - 04/8/2002
In an attempt to increase the frequency of updates to the site, we are adding yet another freaking blog. I don't know why we think this will increase the frequency of updates to site - we have at least three of the things anyway, and they are updated just about as often as Boston wins the World Series. But we try. Ask The Fish will now be done blog style, with new entries getting posted as soon as they are answered. Expect the same quality of advice that you have come to expect (from what is either a 800 lb halibut with a highly defined sense of irony, or one of four uber-geeks with nothing better to do on a Saturday night).

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    Dear Ask the Fish,
    what's that song that goes "Vie LAR, Vie LAR, Vie LAR, Vie LAR?"

    Dear ipod,
    El Humahuaqueno by King Africa.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Why isn't there a page on alltooflat describing the bet that Ben and Ken are making, the outcome of which won't be known for another 200 years? For that matter, what's the question again?
    -The ghosts of your ancestors not yet born

    Dear The,
    Ben and Ken are betting $500 million on the population of the world in 2150. The money will be awarded to the winner's oldest living relative at the time. The actual terms of the bet was "guess the population of the world in 2150. The closest without going over wins." Ken guessed 8 billlion people, and Ben guessed 8 billion and 1. Our initial investment of $100 (compounded annually with an average return of 10%) will more than easily reach 500,000 boxes of ziti. As Albert Einstein said, "Compound interest is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time."


    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    What does the phrase "A to the K" mean?
    -Trying to be Hip

    Dear Trying,
    Woof. The phrase is best well known from the Cypress Hill song of the same name. You can find the lyrics here but they definitely need a parental warning label on them.
    More interesting than what it means, was the work needed to research this answer. First, a Google search for "a to the k" eliminated the common words "a," "to," and "the." So basically it was a search for "k." Not all that interesting.
    Next a tried "+a +to +the k," which yielded good results, specifically, the lyrics to the cypress hill song.
    But I knew you were interested in what it meant- not just the lyrics to the song. So I did a search with the Boolean NOT operator (- in google) for "+a +to +the k" -cypress.
    This time, I got something useful:
    Extra Problem: Show that for "a" in the integers mod n (Z_n) then the order of "a" (o(a)) is defined if and only if (a,n)=1. Hint for homework for March 7: Given the hypotheses, show that if "a to the k" = " a to the m" (a^k = a^m) for some distinct k, m then o(a) is defined (i.e. "a" is a root of unity mod n.)
    So I guess we can conclude from this that when Cypress Hill sings "A to the mother fucking K homeboy" they are making an obscure reference to the N roots of unity. Who says smoking dope makes you stupid!

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    I just saw a great documentary about the explorer, Ernest Shackleton, and his attempt to cross the antarctic. Check out
    But I digress. My question is simply, "why do they call it iceberg lettice?"
    -BoBo's Dad

    Dear BoBo's,
    Iceberg lettuce was given that particular epithet because in the early 1920's, when California growers would ship the leafy treat they would cover it in heaps of crushed ice. Previous to this, it was called Crisphead lettuce.
    And I would like to take this opportunity to make a statement or two about iceberg lettuce. It is (and has long been) maligned as the least redeeming of the leafy green vegetables, due to its supposed "lack of nutritional content." However, say what you will about the number of vitamins in a head of the old Crisphead, it is and will long be a staple of our cuisine: Unlike other frailer field lettuces, iceberg will not soon wilt or swoon; it is the greatest friend of any sandwich, and is at home at any table (from the meanest to the most aristocratic).
    Bless us this lettuce!
    For more information about revolutionary process used to preserve lettuce for shipment from california to the east coast, check out "East of Eden" (1955), a movie starring James Dean and Richard Davalos as two twin brothers fighting for their father's love as they help their father's revolutionary cross-continent lettuce shipping company in 1917.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Why do people use Macs? I've heard it's because Macs have "personality," but I don't want my computer to have personality. HAL had plenty of personality, and we all saw what happened with that.
    -Apple Antagonist in Austin

    Dear Apple,
    Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:

    See the entire Foxtrot ifruit series.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    When an irresistable force meets an immovable object, what happens? And can you answer this question using Juggernaut and The Incredible Hulk as examples?
    -Pondering in Palm Springs

    Dear Pondering,
    Let's say the Juggernaut was Superboy and TIH was Superman. And Superman flew into Superboy. They would go back in time. Trivial.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Where's the Weekly Ask the Fish for April 21? What, do you guys have something better to do?
    -Fish Fancier in Farmingville

    Dear Fish,
    I didn't update last week's Ask the Fish for the same reason I didn't become an Eagle Scout. Let's see if you can figure out what that reason could possibly be...(Here'a a hint)

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    You know what I'd like to see on ATF: A movie review section. You know, a paragraph or two about movies I might want to see. Like I could request a review about a movie and you could review it for me. For example, the missus and I just watched As Good As It Gets, and with some advance critique, we could have known better and skipped it. (I guess this is less of an Ask The Fish than a Comment To The Fish.)
    -Suckered by As Good As It Gets

    Dear Suckered,
    We're looking for some new content. What would you like to see on All Too Flat?

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Which of the three announced versions of the "Fellowship of the Ring" DVD should I get? The 2-disc regular version, 4-disc the director's cut, or the 4 (or 5)-disc "collector's edition," whatever that is?
    -Gandalf Geek in Gainsville

    Dear Gandalf,
    Get the directors cut. I mean, your name is "Gandalf Geek!" What are you going to do, get the regular version? And we at ATF do not believe in Collector's Editions. Paying $25 more dollars for a gold tin to keep your DVDs in isn't the best use of fund. You should put that money towards a new gadget. You'd be 5% on your way to getting a Samsung i300.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    What in Patricks name does the phrase "Top of the morning" mean? I realize that it's a first thing in the morning greeting, but why?
    -Irate Irishman

    Dear Irate,
    I personally believe it has something to do with cows. That is to say, when you wish someone "top of the morning," you are wishing them the best or choicest part of the morning*. The concept of the best being at the top derives from the fact that cream rises to the top of milk vats (whence it is then skimmed off and used for butter. Which itself is where the phrases "butter-skin" and "butter is better" come from).
    An interesting side note is that there is a proper response to a call of "Top of the morning," which is "and the rest of the day to yourself."

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    What does one do with swollen lymph nodes?
    -strappy streppy

    Dear strappy,
    Again, we're faced with another question to the fish that I dont think we are really prepared to answer. First off, I suggest rest and lots of fluids. Since the NBA finals are coming up, this gives you an excellent opportunity to drop on a couch and drink beer. The alcoholic properties of the beer will also act to a certain extent as an antibiotic, so if it's strep throat, you're covered.
    I thought I'd doublecheck my advice, so I went to to do a little research. But I kept getting Server Too Busy errors. So instead, I to contact my good friend Dr. Funk. Turns out the number I had was for the wrong Dr. Funk, and I instead ended up talking to Dr. Fanchon Funk, who is neither a doctor of medicine or of groove, and is easiestly the most boring individual I've talked to in hours. However, she did mention that swollen lymph nodes, especially when combined with sore throat, are definite warning signs that a student is going to be out for a few days, and to make sure that he or she gets their homework.

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Which job was first on the list of least stressful jobs?
    c)software programer
    d) music instrument repair person
    -Question Man

    Dear Question,

    06 Oct 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Do you remember the band "The Jets"? Were they affiliated with Menudo at all?

    Dear Tiffany,
    Well, I don't believe there was any direct connection between the Jets and Menudo. They were both the same genre, from what I recall - That kind of mid-eighties dance pop that for some reason required a dozen members in each band.
    There are currently some pretty hot debates surrounding various comparisons between the Jets and Menudo, one of which is the inevitable question of which group had the greater success. I personally believe that the quesion has to be posed correctly to allow an answer. The Jets achieved greater monetary success and recognition in their own time, which a number of top forty hits (including Crush on You and Cross My Broken Heart). However, I believe that Menudo has proven to be the more memorable band over time. This is proven by the fact that I have made a number of disparaging comments about Menudo in my lifetime, and not a single one about the Jets (not because I respect the Jets and their music, but rather that they don't enter my head even when I'm thinking of things that suck).

    Some interesting Menudo Trivia:
    Ricky Martin (of La Vida Loca fame) was an integral member of Menudo. Jose Menendez, the father of the Menendez brothers who were convicted of killing Jose and wife Kitty, was the man largely responsible for Menudo's success in the eighties; he was also accused (posthumously, of course) during his childrens trial to have sexual abused Ricky. Martin denies this allegation.

    06 Oct 2002

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