Weekends: The August Myth Call!

Hey all! Sorry there was no weekend open mike last week. Nor yesterday, as I was working a 13 hour day on my day off.

I know. You all feel just terrible for me, right?

Well, I’m still working my way through the last open call for myth suggestions, but I enjoyed getting them so much — and there’s been enough attention since then — that at least for now I think I’ll make that a monthly feature!

So! Though I’m not discounting the myths in the other open thread by any stretch, if you’ve thought of a new one or just want to chime in, go for it! Talk about what myths you’d like to see — myths in the form of something relatively concrete are best: “why is the sky over Los Angeles yellow/grey” works better than “why is there pollution,” for example, because we can be lots more definite about a specific, and people seem to like the definite stories.

That also fits the classic myth structure better. Things like “why is their lightning” is answered very simply. “Thor is throwing his hammer while Zeus tries to outdo him with a lightning bolt.” On the other hand, “why did Crete get hit by an Earthquake” gives us tons of stuff about Daedulus and Icarus flying near the sun while queens have sex with bulls and Theseus forgets to change the sails on his boat and women get abandoned and so on and so forth. Lots of crunchy detail there!

Let me know! And let me know what you think of the myths in general so far! And, you know, sound off!

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27 thoughts on “Weekends: The August Myth Call!”

  1. A classic question: Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns come in packages of eight or twelve?

  2. Why does Pennsylvania have so many more potholes than every other state?

    Why does every small (15lb or less) dog I meet seem to think she’s 150lbs?

    Why don’t the thunderstorms start until 4:00 in the summer?

    Why does baseball smell so good?

  3. Actually, I know my answer, I’m just curious to see what *your* answer is. It’s probably more entertaining than mine.

  4. Okay, not to be partisan, but why do great liberals get gunned down right before their triumph (Huey Long, the two Kennedys, Martin Luther King), while iconic conservatives linger forever after they’re done doing whatever they do(Nixon, Reagan, Bush)?

  5. And by the way, this place is AWESOME! Thank you, Eric.

    I printed off “The Songs of Books,” sent the link to it to all my friends (properly credited, of course), and am looking forward to more mythology!

  6. Why does the US care so little about soccer, one of the most popular and passion-inducing sports on the planet?

    (Not that we’re complaining, mind you; it’s nice to have some global activity that you don’t dominate).

  7. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard it, but if you hold a cell phone with a strong enough signal up to a set of speakers that isn’t well insulated, it will eventually create little blips, either when it sends out a signal to the company providing the service, or when it receives a call.

    The question? Why do most/all cell phones create the exact same set of blips when just being idle for long enough? And why do they have a rythm to them?

    And for a question involving a longer explanation, which ironically enough, needs far less explanation, what’s the ‘spirit’ of cell phones like? Or phones in general? I’d think it would be a rather odd thing, considering how frequently the phone companies split apart and re-merge.

    I’d also find it interesting if there were more talk of the kakodaemons.

  8. Since you’ve set one in Boston just now, I have to ask:

    Why is it so hard to navigate in Boston? Even someone who’s lived there for years will forget the path from A to B, if they’ve been away too long. Signs for turns come up moments before you need to make them — and often too late. Some roads aren’t even marked; directions are almost meaningless.

    Why did the roads of Boston end up this way? (And possibly, Who is responsible?)

  9. Why IS there lightning? And what effect does lightning rods, static dischargers (on planes), and iodide seeding, have on this?

  10. I found Boston to be easier to navigate than Pittsburgh on the whole though. However, Boston is definitely more dangerous to navigate in that the cars are much more likely to kill you.

    It Pittsburgh, you can often see where you want to go, but there is no *legal* car route to get there. I want to know why that is, but am unable to easily phrase it into a question.

  11. Well heck, if we’re going to research those two, I’d also like to know why in Philly they label all the roads with state road numbers but use the local names when announcing where the traffic is.

    And why do they build roads in Virginia so straight that you can see four traffic lights ahead — but they don’t synchronize them?

  12. Dear gods, what have I done?

    And Re: Matt, I’m the other way around. I can generally figure out how to get somewhere in Pittsburgh; it’s mostly a grid pattern. Although I’ll admit, all the one-way streets are annoying.

  13. MasonK: Thanks.

    I should probably clarify though, given Mr. Weaver’s comment that downtown isn’t so bad on the whole. It really is mostly a grid, though there are a few streets that run at odd angles here and there. But once you go a bit further out from downtown, some places just get weird. And the major highway routes can do unexpected things, and none of those are on a grid, which is the main source of, “I can see it, but I can’t get there” in my experience.

  14. Why are grammar nitpickers so common on big-name blog comment areas as opposed to forums and chat rooms? Blog comments being, on the whole, the place that could use them the least?

    Also, in quantum particle experiments where an electron’s possible paths are reduced to two, what’s the proper etiquette when it inevitably bumps into itself? Clearly it’s an embarrassing faux pas, but how does it keep from degenerating into an endless series of simultaneous “I’m sorry”s and “No, after you”s and “Jinx!”s?

  15. Why do people who do not have jobs constantly complain about their lack of a job, and then when they finally get a job, complain about the job? I’ll be the first to admit, I am one of those people…

  16. What *really* causes hangovers? It can’t be just drinking, because plenty of people drink them and don’t get them, or throw up the alcohol and do. It can’t just be dehydration because even folk who drink lots of water get them.

    Follow up questions include Why don’t some people get them? Why do some people get them without drinking? and Why do all academics, ever, in any field or discipline drink like fish?

  17. I’m still loving the Mythology section, Eric. Kudos!

    That said, why do we set speed limits that no one obeys? (Honestly, even the cars in the slow lane are going above the speed limit 99.9% of the time.)

  18. Why is it that whenever we find ourselves trying to use an empty biro from that little cup full of pens beside the telephone, we never throw it out, but jam it back in the cup until the next time we try to use it?

  19. Where do memes go when they die?
    Why have people stopped wearing watches and started dragging mobiles out of their pocket to check the time?
    How loud do some people listen to music on public transport?!
    Why do you get worse hangover’s if you mix the grape and the barley? More so if you mix foreign and domestic.
    Why Paris Hilton?

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