Let's talk American!
Do you have a problem that needs solving? A mystery that has been nagging at you? A point of information about America that is simply not available on Wiki? Then "Ask America!" Get a read-out from the foremost expert on just about everything American, that esteemed authority on all things red white and blue, Mr. Joseph August America. Gather up those questions and fire away!
Dear Joe. Thank you for offering to explain to us Filipinos what Americans think about things. I've wanted to know for a long time how it came about that Americans use paper in the bathroom for "number 2" rather than water. Thanks, Ralph.
- Wow, Ralph. You have the distinction of being the first "Ask America!" guest and you have asked a doozy. I'm happy to explain. The central part of America is known as "the great American desert". Oddly, it is not desert, but is a vast expanse of plains stretching across the interior region between Canada and Mexico from Denver to Peoria. When this region was explored and populated only a couple of hundred years ago, it was often a long hike or horseback ride to get from the farm to the nearest river. There were no water pipes of course. Wells were not very deep and not reliable. Crops relied upon rainwater. So water was precious. The bathrooms in those days were little wooden sheds called "outhouses", a tiny shack with furniture consisting of a bench with a hole over a dark, deep pit in the ground that gave odoriferous its finer meaning. Boy howdy, it was also cold in the outhouse on a snowy winter day and the settlers didn't care much for applying ice to their sensitive nether parts. The farmers would hang corn husks, or the outer leaves of a cob of corn, on the interior wall of the outhouse for clean-up duty. As the nation modernized, the corn husks were replaced by old newspapers, then the rolled tissue that is popularly used in America to this day. The Philippines is blessed with lots of water, warm and friendly to the anteriors.
Hi, Joe. Can you tell me what happened to Hudson automobiles? Thanks. Sammy
- My, you must be an old fart, Sammy. I remember those Hudsons. Man they were goliaths, rather like giant bugs or upside down bathtubs. I've never seen such an ugly car. I don't know what happened to Hudson but it reminds me of my old Nash Rambler. That was a classic, too. It had this innovation called fold-down seats that went all the way flat and made a bed in the car. My old '57 rattled and ran about 25 downhill, down wind, but helped put me through college. I'd rent it to my college classmates for use after basketball games or dates. They didn't need the keys. They just liked the seats.
Dear Joe. Is it true that American companies are greedy? I hear a lot about "greedy American capitalists". I'm thinking about going for a business degree in college, but not if my friends are going to call me greedy. Irene
- No worries, Irene. A business degree is very valuable and you should hold no shame for choosing that profession. "Greedy" is the name failures attach to successful companies that make a lot of money. It derives from envy that other people are doing what they cannot themselves do, create wealth from nothing more than guts, innovation and effort. Americans are great competitors, as you know. Running a business is not much different than playing baseball. Scoring a lot of runs is not greed. It is winning. Good luck.
Dear Joe, I was shocked to read the other day about the murderous rampage of a former American naval officer, killing several policemen in California. What's with these mass murderers in America? Is it because of an overload of movie, television and video-game violence, or what?
- Yes, lunatics abound in America it sometimes seems. Another word for lunatic is "deviant". That is a statistical term derived from drawing the normal curve of any human tendencies. The reach from centerpoint normal (the "mean) is calculated in terms of "standard deviations". If you get beyond one standard deviation from the mean, you are into extremes, and the extreme extremes are lunatic. Or deviant. I did a calculation, using "Wikistats". In America, there are precisely 1.06 deviants per one hundred thousand people. In France, there are precisely 1.06 deviants per one hundred thousand people. In Russia, 1.06. In China, 1.06. In the Philippines, 1.06. In Iran, 14.98. Go figure.
Hey Hotshot JoeAm, you think you're hot stuff, don't you, coming to the Philippines and telling us how to live? I have a question for you. Why don't you go back to America? We wouldn't miss you. Juan
- Juan, I appreciate the candid question. You suck, too.
Dear JoeAm, what is the difference between a Canadian, an American, and a Mexican? I read in my history lesson that they are all from North America. I'd think everyone would be the same. Thank you, Julie.
- Hi, Julie. Think of America as a club sandwich between white and wheat bread. Canada, to the north of the U.S., is a former British colony, and is a member of the British Commonwealth, which is rather like the carcass of a dead empire. It has strong British origins except for the province of Quebec, which is French and talks funny. It has a lot of snow and is colder than a witch's bum. That's the white bread. Mexico, to the south, is a former part of the Spanish empire, like the Philippines, and it has its Catholic Churches and murderous, corrupt ways, like the Philippines. Not that there is any connection between Catholics and murderous, corrupt ways. Mexico has lots of sunshine, cacti and rattlesnakes and is hotter than a harlot in Hades. That's the wheat bread, and it's toasted. America has three main components, ham, chicken and tuna. The ham derives mainly from Europe and lives in the Northeast and across the plains. The chicken is from Mexico and Africa and lives cheaply, mostly in the south or in big cities. The tuna is slathered across the western states along the coastal cities, and derives mainly from Asia. Filipinos are a part of the tuna. But they breed faster.
Hi, Joe. I can't tell half the time if you are serious or not. What advice can you give me as to how to get the most from your articles. Joe, too.
- Ah, Joe, too, thanks for that challenging question to end today's advice column. Statistically speaking, I am serious only 11.3% of the time, not half, so you can be reasonably assured of being correct if you figure I am doing little more than blowing smoke or peddling wayward wild ideas detached from fact or maybe even reason. Now, the critical question is, does reading keep your brain from falling asleep, or inspire it to think new thoughts which you CAN attach to facts that you run into? If you get one new idea every five articles, I figure my job is well done. But maybe it is best not to risk your life on what Joe says.