Deborah Ross: Our woman in Crouch End

Answer me this: Why are quick-ticket machines slow and fluff always grey?
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The Independent Online

Due to the huge success of my last crappy book of puzzling queries published just in time for Christmas, I have brought out a sequel: Why Is The Fluff In The Tumble Drier Always Grey, No Matter The Colour of The Wash?*

Please, please respond with more answers, because then I can get another book out of it at your expense, which is always a good idea, but do get your skates on, as there are now only 17 full book-bringing-out days to go. Here are some typical queries:

Why is the fluff in the tumble drier always grey (no matter the colour of the wash)?

Does that Kerry person - the one with the gigantic knockers who used to be married to that Brian MatFatOne, rather than the Kerry who works at The Independent, who is nice - ever look at her spread from Iceland and think: "Bloody hell, look at all the crap in that. I wish I'd spent the extra and gone to Marks."

If a cat always lands on its feet and buttered toast always lands buttered side down, what would happen if you tied a piece of toast - butter side up - to a cat and then dropped it?

In the TV show Quincy, when the DA said "suicide!" and Quincy said "murder!" and they then had a bit of a head-to that went as follows, without variation:

Quincy: "Murder."

DA: "Suicide."

Quincy: "Murder."

DA: "Suicide."

... was Quincy always right or was he ever, ever wrong?

Why are the "Quick Ticket" machines at train stations called as such when they are much slower than any other means of purchasing a ticket and will reject your note time after time no matter how cleverly you angle the Queen's head?

The physical similarity between Bobby Ball and Lord Robert Winston being what it is, are they actually one and the same? Has anyone ever seen them together in a room? (If so, please respond, because I figure that if I ever need fertility treatment I kind of need to know.)

If man evolved from apes, where do blue eyes come into it?

Why does my car radio fizzle out in the briefest of tunnels, while my radio at home not only works in the house - which has a bloody great roof on it - but also down in the cellar? If I drove my car into my living room, would its radio work? If I drove your car into your living room, because I don't really want to drive my own car into my own living room, would its radio work?

Why is it that the people in the Ferrero Rocher television commercials never speak for us all by saying: "I hate to rain on your parade, ambassador, but you're actually not spoiling us at all with these chocolates, so wholly non-exclusive you can get them down the garage, and it doesn't even have to be a nice garage, as even those ones where you have to pay the man through a grille appear to stock them in obscene amounts. Share the magic this Christmas, my arse."

Why is it that the more effort you put into a child's packed lunch - look, darling, carrot sticks hand-carved into the shape of your favourite Power Ranger! - the more likely it is to come back wholly untouched, the ungrateful little sods?

Why does a teenager who finally wears his parents down begging and re-begging for a mobile phone then never answer it?

If the earth spins on its axis and completes one rotation every 24 hours, then it follows that people at the Equator will travel a far greater distance than those at the Poles, in which case: do people at the Equator travel much faster than those nearer the Poles?

What enables men who fall asleep nightly in front of the telly (ie, all of them) wake the instant you reach for the remote, crying: "Turn back, turn back, I was watching that." Is this ability, which is entirely gender-specific, written into their DNA?

If you stand exactly at either Pole, are you moving at all?

Does that Kerry person - the chavvy one with the stupendous knockers - ever look at her spread from Iceland and think: "Quick, quick, take it all away, someone, before I set the kids - Wayne, Blane, Ashleigh and Thane - on the road to full-blown, adult obesity?"

Why do washing machines come with so many programmes when no one uses more than one - maybe "D", which seems as good as any - and to hell with the consequences?

Why is it that the more clothes worn by a toddler - coat; dungarees; jumper over dungarees; tights; pants; pants under tights; pants on top of tights - the more likely they are to not only need to be taken to a public toilet but, after several hours disrobing them, will do one whispery fart, exclaim "finished!," and then wonder why you re-dress them so brusquely? (Don't get me started on snowsuits.)

Would cows thrive on human breast milk?

Does that Kerry person ever look at that spread from Iceland and think: "Disgusting! The calories in that one sausage roll alone could keep an African family going for several hundred months. I'll pass on the battered sausage, if it's all the same with you, and just have a Burberry yoghurt, thanks?'

What sort of person is sad enough to read to the end of complete and utter nonsense such as this? (Sure beats me.)

*Is this the perfect gift for someone you don't like very much? You bet.

d.ross@independent.co.uk

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