More Imponderables on the Way

Pirates_largeDave Feldman’s Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? arrives November 4, his tenth book of  Imponderables.

While I believe my best File 770 posts come from thinking up interesting questions then finding the answers, Dave has taken the concept much farther and gotten a whole line of books out of it.

Why Do Pirates Love Parrots? answers the title question and scores of others, such as:

  • Why can’t you buy grape ice cream?
  • Do ostriches swim?
  • Why can’t you buy bagel holes?
  • Why do motorcyclists rev their engines at stoplights?
  • Why does Diet-Coke float and Coca-Cola Classic sink? — “including Nobel-Prize quality original research.”

Dave and I were grad assistants in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University long ago. He was a gifted teacher and I enjoyed sitting in on his presentations. For example, I still remember how he compared the way readers process literary motifs with driving an automobile – drivers receive a constant flow of visual information but train themselves to ignore nonessentials and pay the most attention to things like stop signs. Motifs also arrest your attention and make you conscious of developments in a story. (I hope I’ve remembered that correctly because readers of this blog do something similar — wake up only when they catch my mistakes.)

Dave’s new book also tackles annoying “Unimponderables” like “Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?” and “Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille markings?”

3 thoughts on “More Imponderables on the Way

  1. Who says you can’t buy grape ice cream? I remember seeing it in the stores years ago … thank gawd it seems to have disappeared, though. It was squeezed out of the market by peach-praline, green tea, blueberry yogurt, chocolate banana and other more sophisticated flavours. That grape flavour never tasted like grapes to me at all — more like you’d imagine old ink pads for rubber stamps.

  2. Helmets: you could have banged your head before you finished the mission.

    I’m recalling off hand because my wife rides a cycle: that on very very cold days you rev up a cycle to keep the engine warm enough to continue moving. If you don’t, it has to be restarted. This is not good when traffic may start to move without your being in the flow.

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