Right answers to the wrong questions
Tuesday 12 November 1996
I am intrigued by the way in which people now write to the newspapers for answers to questions. The great example of this is the feature in "The Guardian" called Odds and Sods, or Notes and Queries, or something like that, where one reader writes in to ask "Why are motorways marked in blue on maps and not some other colour?" and another reader writes in with the solution or, as is typically the case with "Guardian" readers, lots of people write in with lots of different solutions, none of which is the right one. Why do readers do this? What makes them think that the newspapers will know the answer, especially as newspapers never get anything else quite right?
New Age philosopher Jeremy Hurstpierpoint Jones writes: There is nothing new about this. People have always written into newspapers with queries. In the old days "The Daily Mirror" had a page run by the Old Codgers which answered extremely factual questions such as "Is it true that Vera Lynn was so precious to the war effort that she was never sent to the front but had several doubles who went abroad and sang instead of her to the troops?" It is only the nature of the questions which has changed. All nature is composed of questions and answers, which ebb and flow in a mystical way through our consciousness. All unhappiness comes from asking the wrong questions. You see, when Hitler asked the question, "Wouldn't it be fun to invade France, so that we can all get into the Louvre without paying?", it was not a good question to ask. However...
Next question, please - Ed
Why do some insects such as bees and wasps often hover so close to people when they must know they are courting danger? Do they actually feel drawn to human company?
Jeremy Hurstpierpoint Jones writes: Yes. If you remember the principles of reincarnation, it stands to reason that many such insects are in fact people reborn as wasps or gnats, and by hovering close to you are saying an atavistic "Hello there!" It may also be that they do not enjoy their new existence as wasps or bees and are hoping to be swatted dead by you, thus giving them the entree to a new existence.
Why are so many places in Britain situated on the edges of maps?
Jeremy H Jones writes: Some people do believe that there is a series of mystical lines radiating throughout the ancient British world, passing through a series of places which never appear in the middle of any map, only on the edge. Bradford-on-Avon is a good example, depending on which map you use. The thing about these places is that as they are on the edge of one map, they are also on the edge of the next map. And if the place is in the corner of a map, it is also on the corner of three other maps. And this raises the question, if a place is on the edge of three other maps. might it not be also on the edge of ANOTHER map that we don't know about? In another geographical world?
What does that mean?
J H Jones writes: How do you mean, "mean"?
What are your feelings about wind farms?
J Jones writes: I think they are a capitalist plot to steal the soul from our winds. To help combat this, I am currently building a wind chime farm on my fields which will do nothing but tinkle unprofitably and thus restore the missing energy to the air.
Well, why ARE motorways marked in blue on maps and not some other colour?
Jones writes: You are, like Hitler, asking the wrong questions. If you open your eyes and look at road maps from mainland Europe, you will see that motorways are generally marked with a double red and yellow line. It is only in Britain we colour motorways blue. And that is because we do not have any big rivers.
J writes: If motorways were coloured blue on continental maps, they would be hard to distinguish from such big rivers as the Seine, Rhone and Rhine. We have much smaller - and more wriggly - rivers, hard to confuse on a map with a motorway, which is why nobody ever tries to drive down the Severn.
Would YOU like some alternative answers to your straight questions ? Drop a line to Jeremy Hurstpierpoint Jones, or just beam it along by Thinkmail.
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