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Ask the Dogfish - 12/8/2002
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).

Announcement: In honor* of Mayor Bloomberg's new smoking ban in bars and restaurants in New York City, the dogfish is no longer going to be seen smoking a pipe. Until further notice, the dogfish will be wearing a NicoDerm patch (look close- it's one of those new NicoDerm CQ transparent patches).

*or disgust, depending on whether or not you (a) believe in an interventionist government or (b) enjoy cancer

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    Dear Ask the Fish,
    What do you get if you put a natterjack toad in a proton accelerator?

    Dear Eric,
    Is this one of those jokes? Like "What's green and red and spins at 900 rpm?" I hate those fucking jokes.

    I'll answer, working on the presumption that it's not a lead to an annoying punch line. This was actually done in Nevada during the mid 1980's by a guerrilla science lab using hijacked equiptment. They intended to create a new race of Super-Toads who would overrun the nation (a la the cult classic Cane Toads) but instead ended up with a very surprised toad, and then a rather messy particle accelerator. In that order.

    09 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    So, blenders. Do the different settings mean anything or are they just fancy terms for different speeds?
    -Big Spender

    Dear Big,
    Many people think they are actually fancy terms for the same speed. But they are not. You were correct. They are fancy names for different speeds. Typical blenders run the full gamet from stir (slowest) to liquify (fastest). Some intermediate stages include mix, puree, blend, and whip. I happen to have a limited edition Cuisinart that I bought last year on ebay that goes to eleven.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    How come psychics never win the lotto?
    -I can tell your future

    Dear I,
    Are you kidding me? Miss Cleo (the Jamaican psychic once ubiquitous on late night television commercials in the US) was recently fined $5 million by the Federal Trade Commission and required to forgive $500 million in accounts recievable. This $500 million which will go unpaid to Miss Cleo accounts for about one half of the money that she took in since the inception of the service.

    But to answer your question, psychics never win the lotto because it's too much effort for them to go out and buy a ticket. They'd rather just sit at home and have people call them up and give money, which seems to work fairly well.

    09 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    When does designer clothing become "vintage" instead of "old"?

    Dear clotheswhore,
    When you pay money for it instead of throwing it out.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    do you believe in 'if you love something, set it free, if it comes back to you, it is yours? if it does not, it never was?'

    Dear eliza,
    No I don't. And I'll tell you why. When I was just a wee fish, I knew this girl named Rose. A beautiful halibut she was: widely spaced eyes, and a body so flat you could calibrate a ruler on it. And the slimiest scales you've ever seen. She was a cutie, was Rose.

    We were planning on heading out to deep water together to spawn. The day before we were about to go, Rose decided to go for her constitutional, and never returned. I heard later that she was taken in by a fishing trawler looking for tuna. It wasn't long after that I headed for solid land and started writing for various local papers.

    I suppose the moral here could be seen as any of a dozen things, but the way I see it we should take two things from this:

  • Exercising leads directly to pain and loss
  • It is a far worse thing to set something free, 'cuz there is a distinct probability (in my experience, 100% chance) that which you set free is going to be swept up by a fishing net and sold as a second-class foodstuff.
    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    I have read your answers to devious questions long now, and have decided to pose my own question:
    What the hell is the thing about cheese? Everywhere I go, I see cheese being discussed for no reason at all. It seems a more popular subject than all other foods and wearables put together.
    -Fanatical in Hamster Kingdom

    Dear Fanatical,
    I think that it has to do with the fact that no one understands humor. Things (the entire range of things, from physical objects to abstract ideas) break down into three categories: inherently funny, humor neutral, inherently not funny.

    Any thing you can think of is going to fall into one of these three categories. Although no one yet understands the classification criteria, most people are capable of instinctive clasification of things with a very low incidence of misclassification. For instance, take a look at the following list:

  • Cat
  • Lemur
  • Spider

    Just about everyone who is asked to classify those animals is going to say: Cat - humor neutral, Lemur - inherently funny, Spider - inherently unfunny (assuming no individual predispositions, such as being assaulted by a horde of lemurs as a child [which would, incidentally, be really funny to anyone that isn't that individual]). But what is it about those things that make them so easy to classify? It's tough to say.

    My point is that cheese is one of those things that falls fairly squarely into the "inherently funny" category. It's tough to say exactly why, but it's also tough not to find something involving cheese funny. Even something tragic like a man falling into a vat of nacho cheese and drowning to death is going to be snickered at by a large population.

    And since I'm on the subject, I'd like to make mention of how another theory of mine regarding humor relates to the classification scheme. I've found that generally speaking, large quantities of things are funny. Why is having a whole bunch of cheese funnier than just a little cheese? I'm not sure. Interesting to note is that a large quantity of something in either the "inherently funny" or "humor neutral" categories is going to be funnier than a single instance of that thing. But generally, a large quantity of things from the "inherently unfunny" category is usually just really unfunny. To illustrate:

  • 100 cats - Pretty stinking funny
  • 100 lemurs - Kind of hilarious
  • 100 spiders - Deeply disturbing
    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Where is the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

    Dear Looloo,
    Perhaps the pickled peppers are precisely in the place he put them: hoist's mouth.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Which movies have featured the music of Tori Amos?

    Dear Siren,
    Sorry. I don't answer questions about women named Myra.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Yeah, I want caroline to go out with me, but she's going out with a marine. She likes me and I like her, but this marine is a problem. SO my question is, how do you report a Spy in the US marines?
    -Counter-Intelligence in Columbus

    Dear Counter-Intelligence,
    It's actually way easier than you might think. To report suspected Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army (SAEDA) activity, just call the Spy Hotline at
    (800) CALL SPY or (800) 225-5779

    You can also write to
    Aberdeen Military
    Intelligence Detachment
    902d MI Gp, APG, MD 21005
    (410) 278-3600

    We've actually been thinking about exposing some military myths but we were told the Marine Spy Hotline doesn't have a sense of humor. Maybe that should be the myth we try to expose.
    Oh, and good luck with Caroline!

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    A while ago someone asked you "what manner of fish are you, that can summon up fire without tinder and flint?" or some such nonsense, and you told them to quit being a smartass. I found that exchange rather amusing, but I can't for the life of me remember what that quote was from. It's bugging me something shocking. Help?
    -Trout is Tasty

    Dear Trout,
    It's from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the perennial classic from those masters in their mistresses clothes, Monty Python. For those of you who haven't seen it, you really should (even before you see Catch-22, the movie that was made into the book that made Joseph Heller so popular).

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Why do electronics sometimes respond well to violence? I have a stereo that sometimes fades the volume down, but a good smack up'side the amp always sorts it out.
    -Enjoys hitting things that don't hit back

    Dear Enjoys,
    It's simple. You just have to show 'em who's boss. Just like with puppies.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    hey fish, i am working my level best, but i am not satisfied with my result,plz give mw suggestion regarding it , is it due to my fate ????

    Dear inbarajan,
    It's a sad fact, but sometimes your best just isn't good enough. But don't try to pass it off on fate - the fault lies completely with you. I recommend giving up whatever it is you are doing and trying for something a little easier.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    according to Forbes, ".org" is the fifth most popular domain name. I'm sure .com, .net, and .edu rank above it. But what is number 4?
    -nerd in norway

    Dear nerd,
    Acutally, .edu isn't as popular as you might think. The top 4 are .com, .net, .de (Germany), and .co.uk (The UK). Who would have thought? For more on funny top-level domain names, check out the countries that have linked to All Too Flat: .pl, .cz, .it, .co.nz, .hr, .be. Pretty neat, huh?

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Why does everything Maureen Dowd write suck like the vaccum of space?
    -Dazzled by Dowd

    Dear Dazzled,
    It doesn't. Everything Maureen Dowd writes blows like a nor'easter.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Looking at lasers can make you blind, but what happens if you dream that you looked straight into a laser? Do you wake up blind?
    -frustrated scientist

    Dear frustrated,
    The things we dream while we are sleeping very seldomly have any somatic effects on our waking bodies. Admittedly, sometimes we have dreams that are triggered by actual events during sleep (like when you dream you are peeing in the local watering hole and wake up with damp sheets). But generally this is not the case.

    This is pretty much a good thing all around, since it means that you haven't woken up blinded by Morpheus' laser beams. Also what's convenient is that our dreams have no affect on others waking life; otherwise Elizabeth Shue would have long been carrying my love child.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    Suppose that somebody send a "question" in the form of Ask the fisk but that it's not a question.

    Now, suppose that it's me.

    Dear narF,
    OK. Done.

    08 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    I have a betta and all of its color is gone. Is he sick or do I need to change his food? I have him a kinda large vase is that not a good idea?
    Thanks for your info

    Dear tammy,
    Before I answer your question, I want you to know the lengths to which I went to get the proper answer. First, the ATF triumverate got together and discussed a strategy. We brainstormed, make charts and diagrams, and looked at all of our notes from all the experiments and studies we have done with fish.

    We then took all the information we could get from inside our little circle, and went to a veterinarian (who specializes in the care of tropical fish) and she looked at our results and confirmed our original hypothesis:

    We are definitely the wrong people to ask about fish care.

    09 Dec 2002

    Dear Ask the Fish,
    when you replied to alans question you adapted a line from hitch hikers guide to the galaxy (the whole black white run over thing) in future can you make sure you tell people that you've taken a joke from something else instead of just ripping it off?

    Dear poo,
    It's true. And thanks for calling me on it. Seriously, I have no idea why I thought I would get away with biting a Douglas Adams bit on a site named after a Monty Python line.

    On a similar note, we'd like to confess that All Too Factual is a direct descendant of SNL's Weekend Update circa 1978, photo switching is originally a Cockeyed bit, and the whole concept of telling stories of adventures was stolen from Scheherazade.

    08 Dec 2002

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