Pun in bed
Q. Funny question, but do dreamers ever crack jokes in their sleep? —Jordan the joker
A. Happens all the time, because the nature of the unconscious mind is that it seeks shorthand connections, often in the form of catchy wordplay, says Bridgewater State College anthropologist Curtiss Hoffman.
Here's one so classic it's likely apocryphal, a joke about dream jokes: A woman tells her shrink she sometimes dreams she's a wigwam, sometimes a teepee. He says, "I know your problem, you're too tense (two tents)!"
Also in the "punny things in dreams" category, a guy keeps rearranging two urns in a museum, with great emotion. Awake, he thinks he's figured the dream out: He just switched "earns," having made a tough job change.
When local resident and dreams-tracker Robert Van de Castle, author of Our Dreaming Mind, taught a new psych class, students began asking searching questions about hypnosis and altered states. "How to deal with these imponderables?" he wondered. Then he dreamed they were all sitting on the floor, heads shaved, and one asked, "Oh, master, who possesses all wisdom, how do we attain perfect knowledge?" Glancing around at the expectant faces, the doc replied, "You must drink sage tea."
Van de Castle awoke feeling he had been laughing, and saw the dream was telling him to lighten up with the class.
Q. Can anybody explain in solid numbers why marriages today so often degenerate into "The Ex-Files"? —Single Scully
A. Suppose 80 percent of spouses are F's—"faithfuls" who try their best to keep a marriage going. The other 20 percent are N's— "nasties," impossible to get along with over the long haul. You can estimate your own percentages, but everybody knows the types.
Now out of every 200 people marrying for the first time— 100 couples— 64 of the marriages, on average, will involve two F's (.8 times .8 equals .64) and will endure.
An average of 32 of the 100 marriages will involve an F and an N— and eventually break up. Four of the 100 marriages will be between two N's— ill fated from the start.
It's apparent the overall divorce rate for this first round is 36 marriages out of the 100, or 36 percent.
OK, round 2: All of the F's who married F's are still together, and not in the re-marriage pool. From the 32 divorced F-and-N couples, there will now be 32 F's and 32 N's making the dating rounds. From the 4 divorced N-and-N couples, there will be 8 N's. Total: 32 F's, 40 N's!
These 72 former spouses will form 36 new marriages. But only about seven of these, on average, will be F-and-F. The remaining 29 will be N-and-F, or N-and-N, and soon end.
Divorce rate for round 2? A whopping 80 percent. Overall divorce rate for both rounds will be close to 50 percent.
For round 3, you can see the faithful F's are scarcer still, the nasty N's are in abundance, and marriage licenses might as well be printed in disappearing ink.
Q. Who performed the first known experimental measurement of blood pressure, what year, and on whom? —Under pressure
A. The whom wasn't a person but a horse, say John R. Cameron and his co-authors of Physics of the Body. In 1733 the Reverend Stephen Hales of Great Britain connected a 10- foot vertical glass tube to a horse artery using a goose trachea as flexible connector and a quill of the goose to puncture the artery! Spurt-spurt-spurt went the blood to an average height of about eight feet above the horseheart.
Grossly pushing back the frontiers of medical science.
(Send STRANGE questions to brothers Bill and Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org)