Ask Uncle Eusebio a question.
You'll make his day.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I invited my friend Sally to my party, and she said she'd be there with Belzon. I was all excited because she's been single for a long time and really wants to date, but when she came to the party she was alone. I wanted to ask her why Belzon didn't come too, but I didn't want to embarrass her so I didn't say anything. What can I do? Roderick Amontillado, Baltimore, Maryland

Dear Roderick: Don't worry. Sally meant she'd be there "with bells on," in a party mood and ready for fun.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I wish I had never seen pictures of eyelash mites. I have bad dreams about them. Sometimes I can feel them cavorting in my eyelashes. Are there tribes of mites in each of my left and right eyelashes and are they shooting at each other? When I'm gazing into the eyes of my tootsie, are the mites looking at each other? Do they have eyelashes? Bumphrey Hogart, Corn City, Albania

Dear Bumphrey: They're not cute, but they're very nice and they don't ask for much. Don't sell them short --last year in Omaha a man's house caught fire when he was asleep, and the mites poked his eyes to wake him up, so he was able to get out in time.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: You were right, I don't have to worry about Sally! A couple days after my party, she invited me for brunch and Belzon was there and he seems like a great guy. He missed the party because he had to wait for UPS to deliver his new pet seahorse. Roderick Amontillado, Baltimore, Maryland

Dear Roderick: All's well that ends well.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: A friend of mine just moved to the city from the hills, and is throwing a big party for his new urban crowd. He plans to feature party fare consisting strictly of crawdads and jug wine. How do I politely inform him that we do things a bit differently around here? Rudy Von Valootie, New York, New York

Dear Rudy: Tell him these New Yorkers just don't appreciate good food, and there's nothing he can do about it, so if he wants them to enjoy the party he'll have to stoop to caviar, foie gras, truffles, upland cress, and other such slop.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What do I get get for the man who has everything? Sincerely, Mrs. William Gates, Redmond, WA

Dear Mrs. William: Here are a few gift ideas for your man:

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I like caviar but it's too expensive, so I tried to make some in my workshop, but it didn't come out right. What am I doing wrong? Roscoe Toulouse, Duck Springs, North Dakota

Dear Roscoe: Hire a sturgeon as a consultant, but first make sure the sturgeon has her green card or you might get in trouble with the feds.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Some of the dust bunnies under my bed are nice and soft like cashmere. Can I make a shawl with those? Flossie Twinkledew, Havenstreet, Isle of Wight

Dear Flossie: Yes, but when you spin the yarn make sure to add about 20% spider webs for strength. Otherwise the shawl will be too soft and won't hold together for long.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Last night I was walking home alone on a deserted street and suddenly felt a hard metallic object pressing into the small of my back. I raised my hands and looked all around but there was nobody there. What could it have been? Archibald "Arch" Bishop, Canterbury, Tennessee

Dear Arch: Maybe you had your pants on backwards, and the hard metallic object was your belt buckle.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I like to eat but then I gain weight and I have to buy new clothes. Is there a pill I can take so all the gained weight grows on the top of my head instead of around my waist and other places? Then I can be taller and I'll only have to buy new hats. Or I can knit a hat and keep knitting it higher. Garson Monbouquette, Twizel, New Zealand

Dear Garson: Sorry, no such pill. But there is a pill that makes all the gained weight grow out your ears like spaghetti, about two inches a day per ear (depending on how much you eat). Then all you have to do is trim the spaghetti once or twice a day.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I recently purchased a bootleg copy of the film "The Mummy Returns." In it, the Mummy is seen returning various shoddy or otherwise unsatisfactory merchandise, often encountering unscrupulous Customer Service Representatives who try to convince him otherwise. While this would seem like enough excitement for three movies, a friend of mine is trying to convince me that this isn't even the plot of the actual film. He says I was sold a bill of goods, and that the actual film has nothing whatsoever to do with retail operations. I think he's just upset because he paid full price. Who's right? Delbert Snockner, Wilburton, West Virginia

Dear Delbert: Your film is the real one. The Mummy has good reason to return things -- look at his clothes, and his shoes too, all falling apart. And his barber should be ashamed of himself. I know it's hard to return a haircut, but he could strangle the barber or something.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: In movies sometimes actors yell in each other's face. In real life, if someone yells in my face I experience discomfort. Do the actors know that the person yelling in their face is just pretending? If someone yells in my face how can I believe that they are just pretending so that I don't experience discomfort? Kevin Kross, New York, NY

Dear Kevin: Ask the Director.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How much of what I do in a day ought to be fun? How can I tell what is fun? Ernest Frown, Serio City, Utah

Dear Ernest: The Beach Boys wrote a song to answer your first question: Fun, Fun, Fun. Every day you should do three things that are fun. And Dr. Seuss has answered your second question: "Fun is good." You can tell what's fun by the way it feels. If it feels good, it's fun.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why do they call the second hand on a watch by that name? Shouldn't it be the third hand? Holly Scrodfish, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Dear Holly: When they first started making watches it took them a while to get it right. The first watch had only one hand, a year hand, which went around once a year. No one liked that, so for the second try they made a watch with just one hand that measured seconds. They called that hand the second hand because it was the second hand they made (the year hand was the first). Then they finally made a watch with hands that measured seconds, minutes, and hours, but the second hand was still the second hand they had made, so they still called it the second hand.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Recently, in a restaurant, I overheard a person compliment her friend's olive skin. They were leaving so I wasn't able to get a look at her friend. Does having olive skin mean that their skin is either green, or black? Cammy Duff, Grapnel, Montana

Dear Cammy: She might have had an olive in her hand, and her friend liked the olive's skin. Or they were African, or Goths, so her friend liked her black skin, or they were eco-fans, so her friend liked her green skin. I have a friend with alabaster skin and someone punched her and broke his hand, and another friend with peaches-and-cream skin and Jeffrey Dahmer tried to eat it for dessert.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My girlfriend got carried out to sea by a riptide and started shouting for kelp. So I gathered a big armload of seaweed and started out with it only to discover she had been shouting for help - not kelp. But by then I was too exhausted to help her, and on the verge of drowning along with her. But we got lucky. A lobster boat came by and picked us up. Now she doesn't want to see me anymore. Isn't she being unreasonable? Crosley Chainbinder, Ellsworth, Maine

Dear Crosley: No.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I was going to be on The Price is Right, but my big brother lost my ticket. He was supposed to look after me. I could have been a contestant, instead of a bum, which is what I am. What now? Tulley Millay, Brooklyn, New York

Dear Tulley: Lead a bunch of people down to the docks and wrangle with a herd of jerks. Then you'll be a hero.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I chose this rat poison because it said the rats would go outside to die. But when I fed it to my husband he died without leaving the kitchen. He's there now. What should I do? Naomi Foodblender, Miami Beach

Dear Naomi: Confirm that your husband was in fact a rat. If he was a rat, you can sue the manufacturer of the poison. Otherwise, call the police and tell them there's been a murder in your kitchen and it was your husband's fault for impersonating a rat.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How much wood would a Wood-Chuck chuck if a Wood-Chuck could chuck wood? Andrew, England

Dear Andrew: The Wood-Chuck, like most wild animals, is efficient. So the Wood-Chuck would chuck only as much wood as it needs to chuck. But the original question was "How much wood would Chuck Woods chuck if Chuck Woods could chuck wood?" Chuck Woods was a boy with paralysed arms who lived in Glasgow during the nineteenth century. Chuck's dream was to chuck wood, and he always told everyone he met that he would keep trying and would someday chuck some wood. His determination became famous, and thousands of people all over Scotland started making bets about how much wood Chuck would chuck if Chuck could chuck wood. After years of hard work, Chuck was finally able to chuck some wood, and the amount of wood Chuck chucked was exactly the amount that Tommy Lipton bet Chuck would chuck. That's how Tommy Lipton got his money -- not through groceries and tea, like most people think.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My friends asked me if I got up in the middle of the night last night to see the meat eaters. I'm a vegetarian, and I don't like to watch meat eaters, and if I did like to watch meat eaters I'd watch them in the daytime, not in the middle of the night. Why would my friends bother me with a silly question like that? Emma Leela Teller, New York

Dear Emma Leela: Meteors, not meat eaters. There was a big meteor shower last night.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why does my mind go blank whenever I sit down to ask you a question? Odd Baldevin, Randesund, Norway

Dear Odd: Maybe because you're tuning into my mind, which is blank.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What happened to our royalty checks? The Munchkins, Lollipopland, Over-the-Rainbow

Dear Munchkins: Sorry -- your royalty money went into a fund to help build new pro basketball arenas.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Every time there's an accident they withhold the name, pending notification of Neckstoff Kinn. Who is this guy and why is it any of his business? Sounds like a Commie to me. Name withheld pending notification of Neckstoff Kinn.

Dear Name Withheld: Neckstoff Kinn runs a fund to help build new NBA arenas. Whenever there's an accident he diverts part of the insurance money into the fund.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Things keep jumping off my mantel and flying around the room. The UPS man says it's poultry geese. What's that? How can I stop it? Lou C. Borden, Salem, Ma.

Dear Lou: Poltergeists, not poultry geese. You can stop them by moving your home into a parallel universe.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We want to file a class action lawsuit, but we can't think of a reason. Have all entities have been sued for everything possible? Heaven forbid! How about some help here? Charles Troutbox Merryweather, Valparaiso, Indiana

Dear Charles: A few hours after you eat food, do you get hungry again? That's not fair. Sue the food industry.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I took this thing here to the repair guy to get it repaired, but he said he couldn't repair it. Why not? Sally Beesmonger, Palm Bluff, Missouri

Dear Sally: I know you have the thing there, so you know what it is, but I don't know what it is. What is it?

Dear Uncle Eusebio: It looks a lot like that thing over there. I attached it to the email with krazy glue when I sent you the email. Didn't you get it? Sally Beesmonger, Palm Bluff, Missouri

Dear Sally: Sorry, I didn't get it. If you can pry it off your screen, send it to me by snail mail -- I mean, through the Post Office. Maybe I can fix it.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: As a dabbler in all manner of pop culture I have become superficially familiar with the notion of multiple dimensions. Some scientists suggest that the number of dimensions is limitless. Some say that there are only five or six, even though we can only verify three. Do you have an opinion on this subject? T. Warley, Sydney, Australia

Dear T: I'd guess the following...

  • the three standard spatial dimensions
  • time
  • reverse time beyond the speed of light
  • the other sides of black holes
  • the entity beyond the limits of our universe
  • Sally Jessy Raphael
  • the space under the shuffleboard table at Goody's Bar in Beloit, Wisconsin

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My therapist told me that if I really wanted to get rid of my neuroses I'd have to deal with things as they are. In his words, I'd have to "step up to the plate and bite the bullet." Yesterday at the Little League game, I did exactly that and ended up shooting myself in the foot. I also ruptured both eardrums, blew out most of my front teeth, and scared the heck out of the kids and parents. Can I sue my therapist? Karrison Geillor, Canton, Ohio

Dear Karrison: I know how you feel. Last week I went to my doctor with a sore throat and he was so busy he almost didn't have time to see me. He said, "stick out your tongue, and step on it." I never did manage to step on it, but I sprained my neck and put my left hip out of joint.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'm a writer of harmless inane humor and think I'm pretty good at it. My ambition is to go on National Public Radio as one of their mildly humorous essayist/commentators. I've got plenty of top notch material, and I'm working with a musician friend to come up with the cute background music for emphasis and punctuation, but I'm having trouble developing the chicken-with-a-sore-throat voice they require. My voice coach has given up. Any suggestions? Fustian Casterbridge, New York

Dear Fustian: Try a six-week diet of Cap'n Crunch, Pimms Cup, and avocado rinds.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: At my last physical exam, my doctor said I had Cranial Rectalitus. I forgot to ask him what it is. Could you please help me? Luchow Karamazov, Geneva, Illinois

Dear Luchow: You share a characteristic with Sniar Brofparc and Sniar Brofgnud (please see their questions below, two or three screens down). Maybe the three of you could team up and make the most of your special gift. Good luck!

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Several weeks ago, I finished a meal at a local restaurant, and asked the waitress for a check. Shortly thereafter, she brought to my table a tall, gaunt middle aged man who spoke no English other than to tell me he was from Prague. Realizing that the waitress misunderstood my request as being one for a "Czech", I tried to flag her down. But she had gone off duty and I was told that now the Czech gentleman was my responsibility. It's been 3 weeks now, and although he's quiet and doesn't eat much, I'm not happy with the situation. What are my options here? Earl Throckmorton, Frisbane Falls, Iowa

Dear Earl: You have been chosen to join the elite Czech Bouncers, an underground humanitarian organization whose purpose is to find foster homes for retired Prague butlers. Your responsibility now is to take care of the Czech until you really can't stand it anymore, then open a restaurant and carefully assess all of your customers until you see a customer who is undoubtedly kind-hearted and of good character. When they ask for the check, give them the Czech, thereby "bouncing" the Czech to another good home. How long you take care of the Czech before bouncing him along to his next benefactor is not important; your sole duty is to find the right person.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Now that I'm retired, I plan to travel. I'm concerned about proper table manners in other countries. If I'm in a country where a burp after a meal is considered polite, what if I can't burp? Is breaking wind acceptable? Bob Aruba, Pez, Peru

Dear Bob: After dinner in some parts of Wales, breaking wind (called "Rolling a Royce") is de rigueur. For those lacking a ready command of natural expulsions, the old hand-in-the-armpit trick will do. Likewise in New Guinea, if you're unable to whistle through your nose after dinner, playing the bagpipes will get you by. Wherever you are, simply do the best you can -- your hosts will appreciate any effort.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Do squirrels have names? If not, how do they tell each other apart? Iben Tinken, Princeton, NJ

Dear Iben: Thousands of years ago squirrels developed a retinal scanning ability, so they just look into each other's eyes to tell each other apart. But they have names too because names are fun. Some currently popular squirrel names are Winston, Jean-Claude, and Oberleutnant.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My wife was listening to the radio. A song was playing with the lyrics, "Sometimes when we touch, the honesty's too much." Too much what? Bart Heavyfeather, Yuma, Arizona

Dear Bart: The actual lyrics are "Sometimes when we touch the Honesties -- too much!!! The Honesties were a Toledo musical group who wore electric suits, so anyone who touched them got a bad shock.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I don't like gravel. Sal Foop, Croton-on-Cuyahoga, Ohio

Dear Sal: OK.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I just got back from a walk. I saw a red car go by. Where were they going? Angus MacZipper, Rutland, Massachusetts

Dear Angus: They were looking for you, to find out where you were going.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Yesterday I was up a ladder putting screens on our windows. I dropped a screw into some leaves. When I tried to find the screw, a bee stung my wrist. I abandoned my search but I really want that screw back. I found a web site that has satellite photos of our neighborhood and am trying to contact them to see if they can identify the exact location of the screw. My question is this: Can I sue the manufacturers of the screw for the pain and suffering of the bee sting or should I settle for the cost of the satellite search? Jasper Schneerson, Oxnard, Connecticut

Dear Jasper: Yes, you can sue the screw manufacturer because the State Department's latest list of human rights includes the right to anti-gravity screws. The screw should not have fallen when you dropped it. You can also sue Isaac Newton, who invented gravity, and Albert Einstein, who improved it.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'm learning English and I just noticed that my name spelled backwards comes out "crap for brains". Is there any commercial value to this? Sniar Brofparc, Gjinokaster, Albania

Dear Sniar: There is potential commercial value in anything. Go after it!

Dear Uncle Eusebio: If Sniar Brofparc asks you for advice, don't help him. He's a crook, trying to steal my idea. Sniar Brofgnud, Gjinokaster, Albania

Dear Sniar: Work hard to develop your own idea. There's room for two Sniars, and competition can create fertile markets.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I ordered a scotch in a restaurant, and the waitress asked if I wanted it "straight up." My wiseacre brother-in-law said, "no, he'll drink it sitting down," thereby depriving me of my chance to enjoy my drink while standing up straight, which is my preference. Isn't this grounds for divorce? Podmore Allistoun, Capetown, South Africa

Dear Podmore: This is too serious to be grounds for mere divorce. This is grounds for marriage.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My grandfather insists that the worst thing ever heard is Nelson Eddy singing "Shortnin' Bread." I say it's Peter, Paul and Mary singing 'Puff the Magic Dragon". What is the worst thing you've ever heard? Nell Cennetti, Hollywoodland, California

Dear Nell: The worst thing I've ever heard is Charlie Rose. A close second is an easy-listening version of "Sympathy for the Devil" I once heard in an elevator.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We bought some face powder from our Mary Kay lady, but it didn't look right. We had it analyzed and it turned out to be DNA from the Harlem Globe Trotters and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Should we call the cops or give it to our son for his science project? Ponce de Leon, St. Cloud, Florida

Dear Ponce: You could develop a great team of trash-singing ball players, but it might be easier to just sell the stuff on the black market in Copenhagen.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Dear Uncle Eusebio: Thank God Halloween is over for another year. I had kids dressed like goblins, ghosts, Osama bin Laden, Barbra Streisand, Orrin Hatch etc., and I handled it OK. But toward the end some kids showed up dressed like Peter, Paul and Mary and I panicked and called the cops. Am I getting old or what? Nell Cennetti, Hollywoodland, California

Dear Nell: Your fear of Peter, Paul and Mary might deserve closer attention. It's not hard to guess what Freud would say about your fear of Peter. Are you allergic to pollen, and are you afraid to get married? Perhaps you've been laid low by the triple whammy of peter/pollen/marry.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I am a photo retoucher, but I've yet to meet a photo toucher. What's going on? Steve Monosson, New York

Dear Steve: Photo touchers are hard to find because a photo toucher who touches a photo more than once, or who touches more than one photo, immediately becomes a photo retoucher. Your only hope is to find an infant who has never touched a photo, and then give the peewee a photo to touch, and make sure the peewee touches the photo only once. There's your photo toucher.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: If sound can't travel in a vacuum, how come vacuum cleaners make so much noise? Millicent Morganstern , Flail Creek, Kentucky

Dear Millicent: You're hearing the noise from outside the vacuum, not in the vacuum. Try getting in the vacuum.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: One of my favorite words is "poltroon". Why don't you hear it used much nowadays and what does it mean? Lauren Sovarabia, Peck, Nevada

Dear Lauren: A poltroon is a coward. The word evolved from "poultry o' the dune," the ancient name for the Scottish links chicken. You don't hear it used these days because Joop Noortlop of Amsterdam filed a successful lawsuit claiming that he was distressed by his name being spelled backwards.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Last weekend I set out to row across the Atlantic Ocean but I didn't do so hot. I never got more than two or three boatlengths from shore and I kept running up on the beach after just a few strokes. What was I doing wrong? Should I try again? Chickey Stravropoulis, Boston

Dear Chickey: Two things. First, when you row you have to face away from the intended direction of travel. So when you start rowing you should be facing the beach. Second, you have to sit in the boat when you row, rather than sitting in the water next to the boat and using the boat as a ruler to measure your progress. Good luck on your next try!

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I just went to the doctor because I'm having trouble fishing. He asked me how old I am and I told him 88. He said "you've fished enough" and threw me down the elevator shaft. Should I report him? Mike Wembley, Cornwall, Alaska

Dear Mike: Call the Guinness Book of World Records and see if they'll list you as the oldest person thrown down an elevator shaft by a doctor.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: During the social hour after choir rehearsal someone asked me if I liked raw cavages. Not knowing what they were talking about, but not wishing to appear stupid, I told them I preferred my cavages cooked and they all laughed. What was so funny? Harry Tabapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dear Harry: Rock of Ages, the song. Not raw cavages.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: On our honeymoon, my wife lost her wedding ring while cleaning fish on the dock. The same day, my pet hamster died. Exactly one year later my hamster was still dead and the wedding ring was still lost. Is there a scientific explanation for this? Clyde Rumpsteak, San Francisco

Dear Clyde: I saw this story on the news -- you've got it mixed up. While listening to Sitting on the Dock of the Bay, you put your wife down the disposal, wedding ring and all, because she squashed the hamster while cleaning the floor. Your pet fish witnessed the crime and turned you in, and exactly one year later you're still in the slammer where you belong. You've confused the details because you can't handle the guilt.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I read somewhere that the Muppets character "Miss Piggy" was modeled after Barbra Streisand. Is there any truth to this? Lum Remy, Least, Vermont

Dear Lum: No -- in fact Miss Piggy was modeled after the chauffeur of a Fiji Island salad chef, the only person ever struck by a meteorite while being challenged to a duel by Miss America.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Every time I drink coffee I get a sharp pain in my right eye. Is it because I forgot to remove the coathanger from my sportcoat or what? Gropius Farmalong, North Weston, South Carolina

Dear Gropius: There's a secret network of stealthy anti-caffeinists who try to discourage coffee drinkers by poking them in the eye. One of these must live in your town. Or else you're forgetting to take the spoon out of the cup.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My doctor made me stand by the window and stick out my tongue. What was that all about? Cary Mebacktue, Olde, Va.

Dear Cary: Either he was mad at his neighbor or he doesn't like tongues and he was hoping yours would fall out the window.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Can a bearded man tell a bald-faced lie? Gadfish Crubble, Kiev, Ukraine

Dear Gadfish: Only if he shaves first. If he tells a lie when he's halfway through a shave, that's a piebald-faced lie. If he lies after someone throws a pie in his face, that a pie-faced lie.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I ordered a Faberge egg from an antique dealer, and paid 2 million dollars for it, and when the egg came it was just an egg, like from a chicken. When I complained, the dealer said his chicken who laid the egg is named Faberge. What can I do? Richard Swirleybird, Coconut Bay, North Dakota

Dear Richard: Fry the egg for breakfast, then call the dealer and tell him he's not a nice person. If he laughs, find out where he lives and give him a good drubbing. A drubbing works best if you say "Drub, drub, drub" as you drub the rascal.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How can I determine how much water will fit inside a 2001 GMC Yukon? Nedley Distelfinck, East Berlin, Pennsylvania

Dear Nedley: Weigh a large container. Fill the Yukon with water, then empty the water into the container (you might have to use both hands for this). Weigh the container full of water and subtract the weight of the container. Water weighs 0.99707 grams per milliliter.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'm upset about that fourteen-year-old Little League pitcher. Everyone's blaming it on Lee Gorganizers. Who is this guy Lee Gorganizers? He should be in jail for sure. Bob Clap, Whoop, Oregon

Dear Bob: League organizers, not Lee Gorganizers.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'd like to have a teleology truck, like an ice cream truck, but I don't know what teleology is. What should I do? Squidburn Washington, Whipsniff, Arkansas

Dear Squidburn: Maybe if you get the truck you'll find out what teleology is.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I tried to throw away some gold bullion, but my trash pickup service said it was too heavy so they have to charge extra. I can't afford the extra charge. What can I do? Marty Graw, Shreveport, Lousiana

Dear Marty: Apply for a Genius Grant. When you get the grant, use the grant money to pay the extra charge.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Every time I'm near a post, I get nasal drip. Is that post nasal drip? Flomulina LoPresto, Seal Harbor, Nebraska

Dear Flomulina: Your problem is called post nasal post drip. When there's no post involved, that's post nasal drip. When your mailman gets post nasal drip, that's post post nasal drip. When your mailman, like you, gets post nasal drip from being near a post, that's post post nasal post drip. When he doesn't have it anymore, that's post post post nasal post drip. Then the post is a post post post nasal post drip post. If the post drips, that's post post post nasal post drip post drip. If someone posts a message on a message board about the post, that's a post post post nasal post drip post drip post. If the person who posts the message is a drip, that's a drip post post post nasal post drip post drip post.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why does pulling my finger relieve pressure in my bowel? Donkey Hootsberger, Numbnut, Massachusetts

Dear Donkey: The finger bone's connected to the arm bone, and the arm bone's connected to the chest bone, and the chest bone's connected to the stomach bone, and the stomach bone's connected to the bowel bone.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How far is "far enough"? Preble Krebs, Tuba City, Arizona

Dear Preble: If you're there, that's far enough. If you're not there but you don't mind, that's far enough too. If you were there but you're not there any more, that's too far, unless you don't mind. If you do mind, you can't go back -- you have to keep going ahead until you get back to where you were, which is far enough.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What is the numeric value of red versus blue? Clay Madjuster, Yank Harbor, Michigan

Dear Clay: 6.626 x 10-34 plus the number of liters of fuel in your dragster.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: When were wooden nickels invented, and why were they spit? Dina Talley, Mustard, Ohio

Dear Dina: Wooden nickels were invented during the Potato Famine to save weight, when folks were too weak to carry metal nickels. When all the potatos were gone, some folks ate the wooden nickels, which their stomachs rejected. Thus the spitting.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: When one seeks to obviate the nuance, should applause ensue? Garvox Polem, Aston Villa, North Dakota

Dear Garvox: Yes, if the nuance isn't worth its weight. Obviating all nuance gets a standing ovation and triggers Armageddon.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: The only good thing about winter is the snow. The only good thing about snow is that I get to use my flame thrower to melt the stuff. The scorched patina looks pretty good on our gravel driveway. The only problem is that my wife objects to the smell. Got any suggestions? Lars Vegas, Franklin, New Hampshire

Dear Lars: Put away the flame thrower. Every time you're expecting snow, put a lot of lawyers in your driveway all standing packed closely together so they cover every square inch of the driveway. Make sure they don't move at all until the snow storm is over, then ask them to all walk carefully in unison to your local ski area where they can shake off the snow.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What humanity needs is a foolproof method of getting the truth out of people. Do you have any ideas? Ernest Price, Consequence, Pennsylvania

Dear Ernest: Nothing but truth comes out of people. The problem is that most people don't like truth.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How do I rid my yard of Armadillos?? Help!! Hope Wade, Teagarden, Texas

Dear Hope: Most armadillos don't like high altitude, so try moving your yard to about 25,000 feet for a few days. If that doesn't work, try tilting your yard up 90 degrees so all the armadillos fall off. If they still come back, tell them you don't like them -- that makes them sad, and they'll go away.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I've noticed that most people say, "a whole nother..." rather than "an whole other..." or "another whole..." Do you think that editors should include the word "nother" in their dictionaries or make people stop saying "a whole nother...?" I foresee enforcement difficulties with the latter. What is your opinion? Hamilton Sandwich, Dinerville, New Jersey

Dear Hamilton: This "whole nother" confusion has emerged only during the past 200 years. The expression started many centuries ago in England's Lake District with an animal called the hole nuther. The hole nuther, which lived in a hole, was sort of a cross between an anteater and a pack rat and enjoyed bumbling around at night collecting things. Whenever the hole nuther took something, he always replaced it with some other thing from his collection. So whenever people went to get something and found that it was gone and replaced with some other thing, they'd point at the thing and say "That's a hole nuther thing." In 1789, after a hole nuther replaced the Duke of Tintern's Ming vase with an old sock, the Duke flew into a rage and ordered the extermination of all hole nuthers. For today, I figure it's OK to simply keep using the expression as long as everyone knows what it means.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How come my pants never fit? Eugene Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

Dear Eugene: They're the wrong size.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I got a rowing machine for Christmas, but when I tried to use it, it sank. What good is that? Monty Zoomer, New York, Oklahoma

Dear Monty: With a little help from your neighborhood engineer, you can mount the rowing machine on a raft and link it to a propeller or another pair of oars in the water. Then you'll be able to tool around the lake very nicely with no fear of sinking.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My record company has been approached by a priest and a rabbi who have co-written a new Christmas carol called "Oy Vey Maria." My question is this: do you think Charlotte Church, Christina Aguilera, or Courtney Love would be the best vocal stylist to interpret this inspirational new song? Marlin Strombex, Trailmix, Utah

Dear Marlin: All good choices, but my first pick would be Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: People sometimes say, "That's like comparing apples to oranges." Who compares apples to oranges and what's wrong with comparing apples to oranges anyway? Johnny Orangeseed, Funcoland, Florida

Dear Johnny: In Washington there's a federal employee named Richard Kelp, who directs the Agency for the Comparison of Apples and Oranges. He compares apples to oranges, and also determines, when someone says "That's like comparing apples to oranges," whether in fact that is like comparing apples to oranges. His agency has a staff of 4,273 and a $9 billion annual budget. Mr. Kelp hopes to expand the agency's scope into comparison of grapes to bananas, peaches to buttocks, and brains to raspberries.

Finally, there's nothing wrong with comparing apples to oranges.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I met a really nice guy last month, and a friend of mine told me the guy is a corn artist, so I asked the guy to build me a replica of the LeaningTower of Pisa from corn, in my yard. I gave the guy $5000 deposit but I haven't heard from him. Do you think it's taking him longer than he expected to pick the corn? Or maybe he's eating the corn? Scylla Boop, Tar Lake, New Jersey

Dear Scylla: Perhaps he's in Paris or Rome looking for a new kind of corn.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Some guy broke into my house and he's telling me if I don't help him learn to speak better English he'll burn down my dog and rape my dishwasher. He's here now. What should I do? Poe Twombly, Oatmeal, Oregon

Dear Poe: Give him some Jujyfruits, then while he's busy trying to get his teeth unjammed, hit him on the head with a frying pan. But put a helmet on him first so you don't hurt him too badly. Then call Alan Dershowitz and tell him you found him a new client.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I tried to buy a sweater on the Web, but when I tried to download the sweater it didn't work and I had to wait for delivery instead. What good is that? William Nilly, Bagnols-en-Foret, Nebraska

Dear William: I guess that merchant isn't up to speed on transport service. Try taking a really long nap and maybe when you wake up they'll have their act together.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My landscaping service charges the same for leaf-blowing my yard as they charge for my neighbor's yard, even though my yard is three square feet smaller than my neighbor's yard. I counted and proved that there were 3,672,978 leaves in my neighbor's yard last week but only 3, 672, 941 leaves in mine, and they still refused to give me a lower price. Do you deem this fair? Might I call the Justice Department? Pritchard Gumwrother, Ivybower, Connecticut

Dear Pritchard: I try not to deem anything if I can help it. But the number of leaves is not the only factor. Size and weight make a difference, so before calling the Justice Department, measure and weigh each leaf.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is it true that when I watch a 90 minute movie in a theater I'm actually (due to the shutter on the projector) sitting in the dark for 45 minutes? Bobby Hotisblatt, Nyack, NY

Dear Bobby: Yes, it's true. Because of the way our retinas work, the image of each film frame lingers in your brain until the next frame appears, so you don't notice the darkness between frames. Ralph Nader has filed a lawsuit against all movie theaters demanding that they cut their prices in half, because it's not fair to charge full price for a 90 minute movie when you really get only 45 minutes of images.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'm going bald and I've heard that nose hairs can be trained to grow up through the inside of your head and out through your scalp. Do you think this will fix my problem? Lars Gank, Plumtown, Vermont

Dear Lars: That works well if there's no brain in the way. Otherwise, you can grow your eyebrows long and comb them back, or grow long ear hairs and swoop them over the top. Or use Chia Pet paste for short-term results.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What is the proper name for the shirts that have a little alligator logo on them? David Rocking, Duke, Utah

Dear David: These are called LaCoste shirts after Rene LaCoste, a great French tennis player of the 1920s. His nickname was Alligator. Some people suggest that he got that nickname because he lurked in ponds and ate pets. Others say that Rene was in fact an allligator but dressed so nicely that no one noticed.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I've heard of foot-in-mouth disease and I'm worried about it. I don't think I'm limber enough for my foot to go in my mouth, so does that mean that I can't get the disease? Beezer Lanier, Coral Mountain, Kansas

Dear Beezer: I'm afraid your lack of limberness won't help. You get foot-in-mouth disease by gnawing on the socks of people who have athlete's foot.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My sofa wasn't looking too good so I took it to Maaco for a paint job. They didn't want to paint it, but in the end they painted it anyway and now it looks awful! What can I do now? Ajax Tarbox, Great Falls, Montana

Dear Ajax: Try taking your sofa to the dentist for cleaning.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What is your secret? Archie Underwood, Topeka, Kansas

Dear Archie: My secret is that I was once struck by a meteorite but all it did was light my shoelaces on fire.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My hamster, Bucephalus, tried to ride my bicycle. At least I think that's what happened, because I found Bucephalus crushed dead under my bicycle on the sidewalk. How can I prevent Bucephalus from trying to ride my bicycle from now on? Dr. Strother V. Peebottle, M.D., Ph.D., B.V.D., B.Y.O.B, D.O.A.

Dear Strother: Hamsters don't really like to ride bikes; they just like to ring the bell. So to be safe, remove the bell from your bike -- though it seems unlikely that Bucephalus will try again.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is this website some sort of a joke? If so, what sort? Butch Manly, Queens, NY

Dear Butch: This website is the sort of joke that is not a joke. If we were trying to make money with this website, it would be a real joke.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Could you give me a rough estimate on the number of separate things there are in the world? A sheet of paper is a thing, but when it's a page in a book, the book is the thing. A glass is a thing, but when it breaks, the pieces are separate things. Maybe this question is too hard. How about if you figure out how many separate atoms there are in the matter that make up the separate things (that way when the glass breaks or the page leaves the book the number of atoms won't be affected). I'll bet it's going to be a very large number.Thanks, Charles Darwon, Candlestick, CT

Dear Charles: There's only one thing, and everything is part of it. But you asked for the number of separate things. If there is such a thing as a separate thing, there is only one separate thing, and that thing is Bill Gates.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: From what country/culture/ethnicity is the proper name "Eusebio" derived? Mark Pfeiffer, Cogs Bay, Oregon

Dear Mark: Eusebio is a Spanish name. I am named for my forefather of nine generations ago, Eusebio Francisco Kino, who wandered freely and wrought various forms of friendly havoc. He was proud of the fact that no name sported a higher letters/syllables ratio than his.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: A good friend of mine has a birthday rapidly approaching. I'm sure that if there's one person who knows how to party on their birthday, it's you. What sorts of fun activities would you recommend he do to make his birthday extra special? Andre Thompson, Charlestown, Masachusetts

Dear Andre: Here are a few games that seem very popular lately, though I can't say I enjoy them much myself:

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Last night in a restaurant I ordered the pan-fried fillet of Capetown mini-bison sputter-coated with caramelized bee-barf pomade, on a bed of Alsatian swamp cress. Now I don't feel too good. Where did I go wrong? Carl Zapp, New York, New York

Dear Carl: I know that restaurant. Go back, ask for Emilio, tell him I sent you, and ask for the Gastro Blast special. That should fix you.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have a very good friend at work who smokes like a chimney. I'm trying to get him to stop, but nothing is helping. Do you have any ideas? p.s. Why are the tall ships called tall ships? Throckmorton Q. Lounsbury, Charlestown, Massachusetts

1) It's not easy to stop smoking, and it's even harder to get someone else to do it. But here are a couple of approaches:

2) John Masefield's poem "Sea Fever" (1902) includes the following line: "And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by." It wouldn't surprise me if there were earlier uses of the phrase "tall ships," but I haven't seen any. Anyway, I've seen the phrase enough lately to satisfy me.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I've been practicing my fast draw and I'm looking for a gunfight, but every time I go into a salon it's full of ladies instead of cowpokes, and there's no whiskey or piano or anything. Please help! Billy LeJeune, Reno, Nevada

Dear Billy: Try a saloon instead of a salon, or better still, try a place that says "Police" on the front. You'll find what you need.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why are fish funny? Sara Bellum, Mentality, Pennsylvania

Dear Sara: There are three theories: 1) Because they have faces but are otherwise nothing like us; 2) Because they're so good at deadpan expressions; and 3) Because they're easy to laugh at -- they have no hands and therefore can't give you the finger when you laugh at them.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What is it about socks? John Clawhammer, Regional District 9, Wyoming

Dear John: They go well with feet, double as muzzles for small dogs or hats for pinheads, and the nylon ones make good bank-robbing masks. They also develop smells which are interesting to some people (Napoleon, for one).

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why is the abbreviation for pound "lb"? There is neither an "L" nor a "B" in the word pound. Does it have something to do with a "Lead Balloon"? Warren Hutch, Bunnyville, Maryland

Dear Warren: McCorkle's Dictionary says it represents "lummox bun" because in the Middle Ages in England, the typical weight of one bun of one lummox was what we now call a pound. But really the pound is based on the ancient Roman libra. The abbreviation "lb" is an abbreviation for libra.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: When did Cyrus McCormick invent the Grim Reaper? Wes Krinkle, Quartzite, Arizona

Dear Wes: Cyrus McCormick's father Robert invented the Grim Reaper in 1818, but Cyrus figured he could do better. In 1831 Cyrus successfully demonstrated his new mechanized reaping machine. The Grim Reaper knew he was beaten, and got so mad he started reaping people instead of grain. Some historians even claim that the Grim Reaper wasn't grim at all until after Cyrus's success.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I heard a couple at Dunkin Donuts talking about their son, Serapist. I never heard that name before. Do you know the origin of the name Serapist? Asa Metrecal, Honker, Wisconsin

Dear Asa: Perhaps they were talking about their son's therapist, and you mis-heard it.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is it true that Rip Van Wankel dreamed about a new engine, and when he woke up he invented the Wankel rotary engine? Sam Porlock, Antwerpen, Belgium

Dear Sam: Many people believe that story, and others believe that the rotary engine was invented by Felix the Cat. But the Wankel rotary engine was really invented by Felix Wankel of Germany. Now thousands of folks are happily wankeling around in their Wankel-engined Mazdas.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Ben Franklin said, "A stitch in time saves nine." Nine what? Kreb Struby, Hawaii, Ohio.

Dear Kreb: Nine lives, for the cats. When two black holes are close together, their interacting gravity waves create eddies, some of which become a so-called "tear in the fabric of time." If you throw a dead cat through the tear and then immediately stitch the tear closed, the cat goes back in time to when it was still alive, and somehow remembers how it died, so it can avoid the danger the next time around. But it only works for nine lives. Why only nine? We might know soon -- research is underway.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My little sister Weesie pushed a bean up her nose, and we can't get it out. What do we do now? Zillah Kornhauser, San Francisco, California

Dear Zillah: Wait a week or so until the bean starts to sprout. When the sprout grows out of Weesie's nostril, grasp the sprout and pull slowly but firmly. The bean will come out with the sprout. If you then plant the sprout, in a couple of months you can harvest some new beans to have fun with.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My grandmother never sends me money for my birthday. Is it because she's genetically engineered? That's what my friend Ray says. Ruby Boboli, Kamchatka, Nebraska

Dear Ruby: She's probably not genetically engineered, but she might be forgetful. Try sending her a bill as a reminder.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We'd love to take one of those vacations like Swimming with the Dolphins or Stampeding with the Gnus, but they're too expensive for us. Do you have any suggestions? Hank and Lobelia Funston, Hudson, New York

Dear Hank and Lobelia: Here are some low-cost alternatives:


Dear Uncle Eusebio: For twelve years our dog Oscar brought in the newspaper every morning from the end of our driveway. Now we read the news online instead of getting the paper delivered, and Oscar is heartbroken - no paper to bring in. What can we do? Molly and Lance Van Houten, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Dear Molly and Lance: Get up every morning before Oscar is awake, fire up your laptop computer, then open your online news site and put the computer at the end of the driveway with the screen facing the house. When Oscar runs down there looking for the paper, he'll see the onscreen news and bring the whole thing up to the house.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'd love to try water skiing, but I can't find a lake with a hill on it. Help! Danny Pookwelder, Spence Grove, Illinois

Dear Danny: Go to a lake during the winter when the lake is frozen and covered with snow -- take a shovel with you. Shovel lots of snow into a big hill in the middle of the lake. In springtime the snow hill will turn into water.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I almost got a really good job, but then they turned me down. Do you think they turned me down because of dandruff, Swamp-Foot, BO, Ring Around the Collar, or The Heartbreak of Psoriasis? Also, my dog has bad breath. Cy Coe, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Dear Cy: Perhaps a combination of those factors did the damage. I don't think your dog had much to do with it, unless you brought him to the interviews.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Now and then I hear folks refer to a piece of art or furniture as a "period piece." What is a period piece? Lomax Bezema, Tossa de Mar, Spain

Dear Lomax: A period piece is a piece that was made during the period during which it was made. Such pieces are worth a lot more money than ordinary pieces.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My friend Dunkirk wants to pursue a career as a hench. I told him he'd be better off as a clam digger. What would you tell him? Larz Makem, Kissimmee, Florida

Dear Larz: Henching isn't what it used to be. Very few people want a henchman anymore; everyone wants a posse. Clam diggers get to see those little water plumes that the clams squirt up through the sand. I'd say you're right. He'd be better off as a clam digger.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is blue cheese sad? Gar Pulsifer, Topeka, Kansas

Dear Gar: Yes, blue cheese is sad. In the old days, blue cheese used to sing the blues because it knew that singing the blues is the best antidote for the blues. But people thought it wasn't right for cheese to sing. So it doesn't sing anymore. You can help remedy this injustice by contacting The Coalition for Cheese Rights, in Santa Fe.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why is it that the pea-soup green color of our TV room makes me want to retch? Elmo Trowbridge, West Easton, North Dakota

Dear Elmo: Because you're disgusted with yourself for putting up with it instead of repainting it.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Our son Lispenard took his first step yesterday. My wife and I are concerned because he led with his left foot and we are right foot people. How can we train little Lispenard to start walking with his right foot? Myrtle and Reginald Pfister, Narwhal, Connecticut

Dear Myrtle and Reginald: Two ways...

Dear Uncle Eusebio: In my favorite diner I ordered flapjacks with grits on the side, and I asked them to put the grits on the left side, but they put the grits on the right side. This happened two different times. What can I do? Elvis Bullwinkle, Gas Rock, New Mexico

Dear Elvis: Rotate the plate 180 degrees.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I bought two tickets to see Bob the Yodeling Clam, and I took my girlfriend to the show, but when we got there they said Bob was sick, so there was no show. Now my girlfriend says that's the last straw and she doesn't want to see me any more. What now? Bep Laphroaig, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Dear Bep: Buy some magic beans and plant them right away. In three minutes they'll grow up through the clouds to a beautiful castle. When your girlfriend sees the castle, she'll be impressed enough to give you another chance.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have two questions. Scientists estimate that the age of the universe is 15 billion years (that is, the big bang happened 15 billion years ago). What was there (here) 16 billion years ago and what color t-shirts go with blue jeans? Strom Burkholtz, Mahwah, New Jersey

Dear Strom: Some people think that 16 billion years ago there was a single point, called a singularity, which took up no space at all but which contained all the matter and energy in our present universe. There was also a guy there selling t-shirts that said "My mother saw the singularity and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." Those t-shirts look good with blue jeans.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Our prairie dog, Tanster, keeps burrowing under our wall to wall carpeting, so we brought in a yard of loam. Now the loam gets caught in the treads of our sneakers. Should we start wearing penny loafers or plant grass in the playroom? Fred and Wilma Flumox, Boxtopster, MA

Dear Fred and Wilma: Get rid of the loam and reinstall the carpeting ten inches above the floor. Then Tanster won't be able to burrow under the carpeting -- he'll be able to walk around under it, but that's no fun. When he wants to burrow he'll have to go outside.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We want to protest human rights violations by shutting down our town, but we're the only two people in the town. What can we do? Bob & Pearlabelle Pumphrey, Moose Look, Alaska

Dear Bob & Pearlabelle: Here are three things you can do: 1) Strew lawn furniture around your property to impede moose traffic. 2) Tell the birds your yard is a no-fly zone. 3) Burn down your house.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: If big fat airplanes can fly, voices can be recognized over the phone and light can transform little grooves into beautiful music, why can't people be invisible? Bart Linkletter, Marvin Hole, Wyoming

Dear Bart: People are invisible. But because we can see them, we find that hard to believe.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I've noticed that the all automobile tail lights are the identical color of red. How can I obtain stock in the patent holder of that hue? Curtis Causeway, Happenstance, Pennsylvania

Dear Curtis: Try the following address: If that doesn't work, buy biotech.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I know that I have to take off my shoes before I take off my pants. Do I have to take off my shoes before I take off my hat? Chesley Chuckleburger, Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey

Dear Chesley: In Ho-ho-kus, yes. Everywhere else, no, unless your brains are in your big toe.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have a terrific recipe for inch worm chutney. However, the phlegmish color is a little off-putting. Do you have any suggestions as to how I might change it to a more appetizing hue? Jeramaine Smithfish, Smoothslope, Vermont

Dear Jeramaine: Try adding some orange cheese powder from Kraft macaroni and cheese, one packet per cup. If that doesn't work, add three ounces of melted grape popsicle per cup.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is the hypotenuse of the hippocampus greater than or equal to the rectangle of a seagull in a mangle? Benson Magoon, Canarsie, New Jersey

Dear Benson: If the seagull is right-brain dominant, greater than. If the seagull is left-brain dominant, equal to. If you replace the seagull with a pelican, the hippo leaves campus and hitchhikes to Mill Valley.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: If six turned out to be nine, would you mind? Jimi Hendrix, Afterlife, the Universe

Dear Jimi: No, I wouldn't mind. But I minded when you died.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: An hour ago I was 50 miles away from here. Now I am here and not where I was. On the way here I saw many people in the process of becoming somewhere else. What sort of sorcery is this? Kevin Phase, Crankburgh, Montana

Dear Kevin: It's all a dream we lived one afternoon long ago.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is there still room on the giant space ark? My friends told me the asteroids will hit in four days, and that the government isn't telling the stupid people because there's not enough room for them on the space ark. Cayman Wendt, Blue Rock, North Dakota

Dear Cayman: There's room on the ark if you have money. Stupidity is not a factor.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is it true that too many cooks spoil the broth, or are they using too many fish? Alan Ahab, Nantucket, MA

Dear Alan: The original saying was "Too many CORKS spoil the broth." This saying originated in the Dark Ages when some folks didn't have much to put in their soup-pots, so they sometimes put in their used corks. These stewed corks were fun to chew and provided good roughage, but too many corks caused the stew to jell into one big cork which worked well as a milking stool but was not good to eat.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Three out of four of the cutting boards we have in our kitchen are missing one of their "feet". What the heck is going on around here? Samantha Shuttlecock, Stratford on Saco, NH

Dear Samantha: I suspect that you have mice and mouse traps in your home. When a mouse loses a foot in a trap, he'll grab the first replacement foot he can find. With four cutting boards in your kitchen, the mice have a reliable source of feet. You can simplify everyone's lives by removing all the cutting board feet and leaving the feet next to the mouse traps.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: The Incan calendar says that the world will end on December 28, 2012. Should I spend all my money by then? Wesley Bullwinkle, Moot Point, Maine

Dear Wesley: Hang onto your money.The Incans failed to predict the human population explosion and weight-gain trend. This additional load is slowing the earth's rotation and orbit, so we won't reach 2012 until 2193.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Sometimes a clown commands my might and makes me kill some fish. The bodies that are left behind are not my favorite dish. What should I do with the fish? Alan Ahab, Nantucket, MA

Dear Alan: Dip them in liquid nitrogen and smack them against the sidewalk. They make a whole bunch of cool shards that skitter all over the place.

p.s. You might want to try the same trick with the clown.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Two of my sea monkeys got married last week, but now they want a divorce. How do I find them a lawyer? Jenny Marino, Washington, D.C.

Dear Jenny: If either of your sea monkeys has substantial assets, just walk out your front door and ask the first person you see wearing a tie.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: You helped Jenny's sea monkeys. I hope you can help mine. He wants to put a card in his bicycle spokes to make a motor noise, but he can't find a card small enough. Elston Gunnn, Hibbing, Minnesota

Dear Elston: NanoMed, Inc. developed excellent synthetic heart valves for protozoans, but then discovered too late that protozoans don't have hearts. One of these valves (which are now marked down from $40,000 to 49 cents) will do the trick nicely for your little chum.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Last night I had a dream that my pet alligator turned into a history textbook, so I flushed it down the toilet. Will it grow? Simon Fargunkel, Gumption Bay, Alaska

Dear Simon: Yes, it will grow into something quite unusual. In fact this is the way most elementary school history texts are created.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I was eating spaghetti last night when my brother told me a joke about Wendy and I laughed so hard it came out of my tear ducts. Do you want to hear the joke? Fuzzy Brumbalino, Helena, Montana

Dear Fuzzy: I'd love to hear the joke, but I'd rather see a video of the spaghetti coming out of your tear ducts.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Wendy was videotaping when the spaghetti came out my tear ducts, but she dropped the camera and broke the cassette. How should we repair the duct tape? Fuzzy Brumbalino, Helena , Montana

Dear Fuzzy: I think you forgot to mention a step or two, but you can repair your duct tape with a poultice of cheesecloth soaked in a 40/60 mixture of Hamburger Helper and Dax hair pomade.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What's the correct spelling of Coelecanth? My friends say this is the biggest one they've seen, and it will probably keep growing if it keeps eating my Tetras. Strad Wardlater, Kissimmee, Florida

Dear Strad: The correct spelling is coelacanth, regardless of size. Sorry about your Tetras. Keep an eye on your emus -- coelacanthids like those too.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I was practicing my tuba this morning, when I thought, Hey, I could make a million bucks if I could turn ordinary lead into gold. So, I went down to my basement and did it. I just bought my second Ferrari, and my children now have shoes. Millions of shoes. My question is, what issue of Popular Mechanics had the blueprints for making a shoe rack out of used coat hangers? Ward Ladderstraddler, Putney, Vermont

Dear Ward: The same issue that showed how to make a moon rocket from a can of aerosol cheese.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My grandpa has lots of hair in his ears. Is it flammable? Pard Scrodwater, Pong,Utah

Dear Pard: Yes, it's flammable. Please keep Grandpa away from candles, crack pipes, and live volcanos.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What does it mean when, in your dream, the part of your father is played by Robert Mitchum? Maurice Chavlier, Moosehead, Maine

Dear Maurice: Maybe you recently saw Farewell My Lovely and subconsciously crave such a masterful yet soulful dad. Otherwise, I don't know -- except that you're better off than someone who dreams about having Marilyn Manson for a father.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Was James Bond out of his tree for wanting his martinis stirred, not shaken? Ripley Snell, Twizel, South Island, New Zealand

Dear Ripley: When James was a wee lad, his father suffered a separated shoulder while shaking a martini, and the pain caused him to lose his balance and become fatally impaled upon a passing hedgehog. Thus James' preference for stirring.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why is it that, if asked, I would not be able to accurately estimate how often I cut my toenails (or change the blade in my razor)? I could only hazard a bad guess. Do all men experience these sorts of black outs? (Name withheld at submitter's request)

Dear Name Withheld: You're not alone. Toenail-cutting and blade-changing can induce a semi-hypnotic state which often causes blackouts. Some blackout victims try to cut their blades and change their toenails.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Guess what kind of sandwich Charlie's wife handed him "through the open window, as the train came rumbling through," in our song about the Boston MTA? The Kingston Trio

Dear K3: The song lyrics don't say what kind of sandwich, but since the song was written in 1949 you can bet it wasn't avocado and sprouts. My guess is corned beef.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What's the difference between a voyeur and a peeping tom? The Kingston Trio

Dear Kingston Trio: A voyeur is a French peeping tom, and a peeping tom is an English voyeur (named after Tom, supposedly the only person who stared at Lady Godiva during her famous ride).

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Who was the original dude with 'tude? Bob Foo, NY, NY

Dear Bob: That would be the Guy in the Sky, the Big G.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What are your qualifications for being an answer man? I mean, do you have a licence, or anything? If your answer to the first question tends toward the affirmative, please answer the following question. What is the meaning of life? Moikman, Tarbox, Pennsylvania

Dear Moikman: I have no licence, or anything. I live every day with the risk of unlicenced question-answering. For me, the meaning of life is in this risk.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What can you tell me about the Legend of the Gilded Dictionary? Samantha Sobriquet, Alantown, PA

Dear Samantha: I'm afraid it was a hoax. The real story is that the four-year-old daughter of a Sung dynasty ruler ate too much banana-flavored Bonomo Turkish Taffy and barfed on her dad's lexicon. So the famous "gilding" was actually something less valuable than gold.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: What's a lexicon? Lucky Doveburd, Steakknife, Texas

Dear Lucky: A lexicon is a little guy in Ireland who wears a green hat and jumps around in the woods.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How did the lexicon get from Ireland to China, and if he's so good at jumping around, why didn't he jump out of the way when that little girl ralphed? Fischlin Carrothers, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Dear Fischlin: He stowed away on an opium boat, and the fumes slowed him down so he was too sluggish to dodge the spew.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We're from "Little LA." Why do we constantly feel the need to add to our license plate collections? Tentario Tentabulous

Dear T.T.: License plates represent the right to roam. They suggest travel and adventure in the wide-open American landscape, new lands ahead, a better place down the road, more innocent times left behind. They're colorful and lovable amulets against inertia. Who can resist them? Not me.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Can a spoonbill be runcible? Jasper "The Duck" Hatch, Peterborough, NH

Dear Jasper "The Duck": "Runcible" has several meanings, one of which is "large and boisterous." I've never seen a boisterous spoonbill, but I suppose if you found a large one, then fed him some crack and set him down in the mosh pit at a Ramones concert, he might get boisterous.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: The following question came to me last night as I tossed and turned abed: Should I vacillate more? Murchison Ballard, Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Murchison: Think hard about that for a while, and carefully weigh all factors.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have been saving my money and I want your opinion on which I should buy, a pencil sharpener or a shovel. Scarlet Green, Graymatter, NH

Dear Scarlet: You can shovel poop with a pencil, but you can't write with a shovel. Buy the pencil sharpener, sharpen your pencil, shovel poop with the pencil, then sell the poop to the newspapers and use the money to buy a shovel.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have three questions:

1) Do you think the provisions of the Edict of Nantes for religious toleration in a pluralistic society gave rise to similar language in the U.S. Constitution?

2) My verbal SAT was more than two hundred points higher than George Bush's? What do you make of that?

3) Saab or Volvo?

BoBo Baudelaire, Shreveport, Lousiana

Dear BoBo: 1) About as much as Rabelais influenced Jefferson's confessions to Sally Hemings. 2) It means you're smart enough to stay out of politics, and he's not. 3) They're both overengineered and overpriced. Get a Honda.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have a question about the rules of English grammar. I was taught that the vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y. This sometimes y loophole worries me. What can we do about spellers who use y as a vowel whenever the heck they feel like it? Martin Lynx, Bobcat, Montana

Dear Martin: In the Middle Ages in England, these people were called "y's guys" and were routinely dunked, stoned, pilloried and put out with the cat. We now call them wise guys and must live with them in peace, for the good of all.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: It seems that my face is too big for the front of my head. How can I rectify this situation? Manny Lakawana, Ridgemountain Valley, NJ

Dear Manny: Read James Redfield for an hour to soften your skull, then stick a tire pump in your ear and pump until your head is big enough for your face.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have a lobster in my tool box. What's it for? Chucky McChesney, Cantelope, Colorado

Dear Chucky: The lobster holds pipe joints while you solder them. Or you can train it to crimp wire terminals. By the way, if you can't elope, why not get married in Cantelope?

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Was that you in the bushes at Juan-Les-Pins in '64 serenading me with a bassoon, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a pineapple for a hat? Elizabeth Taylor

Dear Elizabeth: No.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Have you ever died and come back to life again? If so, what was it like? Feniston Loonigan, Town of Hoops, Ontario

Dear Feniston: For me it was the other way around: I was born and went back to death, which was OK with me, considering the tomfoolery life seems to involve. Death is great - I get to eat burgers with Tabasco all day and watch the politicians ski barefoot on a lake of fire.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I met some guys from Iowa the other day, and they were talking about some gray thing called a nellivator. What is that? Bo Broomall, Paterson, New Jersey

Dear Bo: I think they were talking about a grain elevator.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: When people walked across the Bering Strait into the United States, did they have to check in at Ellis Island? Obley Kangle, Monte Rio, California

Dear Obley: They didn't have to, but they did it anyway, because they felt it wasn't fair that others should have all the fun. And they were such good walkers, they figured what the heck - we can handle another five thousand miles.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My Dad said if I don't clean my room he'll shoot me with his Quetzalizer gun,which will make me look like a quetzal. What's a quetzal? Gwumleth Penrose, Prince Edward Island

Dear Gwumleth: A quetzal is one of two things: a quartz pretzel, which breaks your teeth, or a Central American bird believed by some to be capable of playing the guitar. I reckon your Dad is talking about the bird.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Did you write "The Cow that Ate the Blanket"? Clara Dice, East Berlin, Pennsylvania

Dear Clara: No, that was my mother (the writer, not the cow). She (my mother, not the cow) crocheted the blanket - I raised the cow, and it was my blanket the cow ate.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I was wondering whether you are from Russia. Your name is of Russian heritage, but I also know that Russians are always in bad moods. Is this why you want us to make your day, or are you an aspiring movie actor? Confused in Los Angeles

Dear Confused: Thank you for your interest in my name. I am not from Russia, but my great great great great great great great great great grandfather Pyotr was official astrologer to both Vasily III and Ivan the Terrible, and was also the champion caviar eater of Novgorod. I am named after his dog Boris, who was once the champion caviar eater of Pskov. You say that "Russians are always in bad moods," but the truth is that Russians are only in bad moods for three and a half days after suffering defeat in caviar-eating competitions,which take place every three and a half days. Because Pyotr and his dog Boris were caviar-eating champions, they always enjoyed sunny moods, as do I.

p.s. I want you to make my day because I believe that by making my day you make your own day, so we're both happy. Also: I do not aspire to be a movie actor, though I was offered the part of Mr. Green Jeans in "Terminator III: The Attack of Captain Kangaroo."

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Is it true that sneezing on the surface of Venus will trigger an atomic explosion? Asterionella Mandrake, Shreveport, Louisiana

Dear Asterionella (what a euphonious appellation): Only if you've been drinking Green Chartreuse.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Did you used to be the Shell Answer Man? Bill Zulius, Healdsburg, California

Dear Bill: No, that was my mother.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: You said "Ask Uncle Eusebio a question. You'll make his day." If no one asks a question, do you still have a day? Why can't you make your own day? Gloria Munoz, Taos, New Mexico

Dear Gloria: I don't mind making my own days -- I've never complained about it, and this column is not a ploy to avoid the responsibility -- but it's nice now and then if someone else makes one for me. So, one way or the other, I always have a day. Also, I keep track, so if I ever see that more days have been made for me than I've made for myself, I'll make some days for other people to offset the deficit. It doesn't matter who you make them for, as long as you make them. In the beginning, God made a day and didn't worry about who it was for.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I have heard that Tumbolia is the place the characters of books go when you aren't reading them. Where do the characters in movies go when the film ends? Clark Lamb, Camden, South Carolina

Dear Clark: They go into the Cheez Whiz jar in your kitchen cabinet.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Last week I threw out an old Cheez Whiz jar that had been turning green in my kitchen cabinet. After reading yesterday's comment, I am now beside myself. The problem is, there is someone else that is also beside myself. How do I tell which of us is me? Clark Lamb, Camden, South Carolina

Dear Clark: No worries. When mold develops in the Cheez Whiz, the characters automatically transfer to the land where the Jumblies live. With that good news, you should no longer be beside yourself, so your identity problem is solved. But if there is still "someone else" beside you, don't be surprised : when movie characters move from your Cheez Whiz jar to the land where the Jumblies live, the Jumblies -- who like meeting new friends -- show their appreciation by sending one of their cousins to you as a golfing partner for two weeks. That "someone else" beside you is your Jumbly golfing partner.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My Grandfather used to say, "He'd squeeze a dollar until the eagle grins." Do eagles have elastic beaks like Donald Duck's, that permit more advanced facial expressions than ordinary fowl? Is there any historical record of a chicken grinning? "Live Bait" Jorgensen, Madison, New Hampshire

Dear "Live Bait": Eagles do not have elastic beaks, unless they drink from the Cuyahoga River. And it is a well-known fact in Indiana that during Bill Monroe's performances at his Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, most chickens within earshot had smiles on their faces.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: If a circle is always 360 degrees, why doesn't it melt? Dolph Lindgren, Denver, Colorado

Dear Dolph: In fact, circles on the equator do melt. Elsewhere, the heat spins so fast around the circle, the breeze cools it off. In the Northern hemisphere it spins clockwise, and in the Southern hemisphere it spins counterclockwise. But don't try to stop it from spinning -- you'll burn your hand.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a skunk roosting on top of my ant farm. How can I make him stop? Packy Runcible, Weekapaug, Rhode Island

Dear Packy: Put a sign on your ant farm that says "No Skunks Please." If this doesn't work, try asking your ants to use hair spray. This should deter the skunk.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: How many times a day am I supposed to iron my pet snake? My mom says three, but I had a dream that Martha Stewart said five. Who is right? Sally Peaslee, Dogtown, California

Dear Sally: Look at the label on your snake for directions. If your snake has no label, get your money back and call the police.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I saw a black hole in my back yard, but my parents don't believe me. What now? Chuck Silver, Seattle, Washington.

Dear Chuck: I expect that what you saw was a hole which is black.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We made a bike jump from an old space shuttle hangar. We can't do any jumps because it's too hard to ride up the jump. What should we do now? Skip Toomaloo, Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

Dear Skip: Put a space shuttle engine on the back of your bike. This should provide the boost you need.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: Why won't Dad let my pony eat dinner with us at the table? Betsy Fotheringhampton, Corkfosters, Pennsylvania

Dear Betsy: Your Dad is afraid your pony will eat too much and throw up on the rug.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: We put an Opinion Pole in town and now we ring all the doorbells and ask how they like the pole. Is this the right way to do it? Ricky Pellington, Washington, D.C.

Dear Ricky: Yes, you're doing well. I believe you'll have very little trouble attracting grant money and probably a Nobel Prize also.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I made a painting. How can I tell if it's real art? Eunice Pillsbury, Cazenovia, New York

Dear Eunice: Pick up the painting and hit it against your shin. If it hurts, it's real.

Dear Uncle Eusebio: I'm 107 years old. Can I still ask a question? Joe Balfour, Yellow Springs, Ohio

Dear Joe: Is that your question?

Dear Uncle Eusebio: My car is in the lake and it won't start. What's wrong? Andy Gluck, Gonic, New Hampshire

Dear Andy: It's flooded.

Send your questions, and Uncle Eusebio will answer them.

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