Welcome back to "Ask Alex", where I answer all of your stupid questions with even dumber answers. Have a question you need answered? Tweet it, email it or submit it here and I will get to it (maybe) next week.
This week we’re talking about CPAC, Chris Pratt, Kellyanne Conway's shoes, men's fashion, stupid questions, Boomerangs, Yo-Yos, Nuclear Reactors and YouTube channels...Happy Reading!
Submitted by: Anonymous
Are you at CPAC? I can’t seem to find you.
No, I was not at CPAC. Also, if you were looking for me, that’s a little bit creepy. You wouldn’t be my first stalker, and it’s certainly a little bit flattering, but really, that’s weird. (Also, spoiler alert, a bunch of you know my real first name, I think maybe a handful know my maiden name, and none of you know my actual last name...you’ll never find me...MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!)
I’ve never seriously considered going to CPAC, at least not for the content. It is admittedly an impressive roster of speakers to assemble all in one place (a President, a Vice President, a handful of governors, a half-dozen Senators, a bunch of reps and some worthwhile other voices) but too much of it seems to be structured as a means of pandering to the audience in a Conservative Pissing Contest. I’m not sure if it was ever really a forum for the intellectual exchange of conservative ideas, but if it was, that ship seems to have most certainly sailed. (Says the girl who has never been there...so take that as your grain of salt.)
At this point, the speaker roster seems to include a barrage of self-promoting loons peddling conspiracy theories and phony narratives. The organizers may have been bailed out by his love of little boys, but let’s not forget that their first choice as keynote this year was Milo Yiannopoulos. I get that a certain segment of liberal-haters adore his wit and charming British refinement in mocking the left, but he’s never shown any real loyalty to the ideas that generally define conservatism. He’s an attention-seeking self-promoter with no currency other than the ability to shock. He is more or less the Andrew Dice Clay of Conservatism.
In some senses, he is the perfect companion to Trump. He has a base of support that has decided that their own ideas and self-interests are less important than simply hating the other side. Milo is just a younger, more polished Trump with less money and better hair.
I am sure it is tempting for conservatives to embrace Milo and his ilk. He has a way of generating attention and communicating with like-minded people that is enviable and would be of use to anyone trying to sell any message. And he really, really makes progressives lose their minds...like, “burning cars and looting bookstores” crazy. People who can make your political foes look their very worst are inherently attractive as partners to your cause, but I would remind the GOP that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. Lions hunt zebras, and lions also hunt hyenas...but that doesn’t mean that the zebra can try and be friends with the hyena. He’ll eat you the same way.
OK, so I got way off track, but no I am not going to CPAC. BUT...If I was going, it would be only to go to Hair’s party, which was cancelled this year anyway and therefore destroys any reason for anyone to attend!
Submitted by: Decent Guy
So I have this Twitter friend. To keep this anonymous, let's call her Smella. Anyways, she has this major crush on Chris Pratt and would die to have him respond to, or like, some tweet of hers - or acknowledge in any possible way that she exists. Do you have any advice on how I might advise her to accomplish this? Umm, I should probably mention that Smella is my imaginary Twitter friend (don't worry, the AMA does not categorize this as a pathology, yet). But for sake of argument, or advice, let's just assume she's real. Thank you
The most effective way to gain a celebrity's attention is to build a shrine in your home that includes lots of pictures that you have cut out from a magazine, taped to pictures of yourself and then outlined in red marker with heart shapes and adorable messages like “You love me, you just don’t know it!” and “I’ll stab her to keep her away from you”. I find that most celebrities, and really all people, would take that to be a really great demonstration of your true love. After that, invite him to a romantic dinner at his favorite restaurant, which is probably Applebee’s, order a couple of their world-renowned margaritas and start booking wedding venues!
Another great way is to just camp out on their front lawn and shout your love at them. Or, just let them know, very genuinely, that you will LITERALLY KILL YOURSELF, HIM, AND HIS FAMILY IF YOU CAN’T BE TOGETHER BECAUSE WHAT IS THE POINT OF LIVING IN A WORLD WITHOUT LOVE?!?!?
I mean, that sort of behavior worked so well with Sarah McLachlan that she wrote a love song about her admirer and, one would assume, now lives happily ever after with him and their 12,000 adopted rescue dogs.
Let’s talk about Chris Pratt, though, since he has reached a really unique level of celebrity last reached by Jennifer Lawrence, circa 2011. There are people that are popular, and people that are sex symbols and sometimes they even cross over. There are no women alive who don’t understand that their boyfriends and husbands think Rihanna is attractive. And there are no men who don’t understand that their wife or girlfriend is going to like looking at Justin Timberlake. But that doesn’t mean that they are happy about it or don’t get a little jealous of it.
Chris Pratt, though, has gone beyond that. Guys know that he is super hot and that their lady friends want to bang him. And they don’t care because he just seems like he would be so much fun that they totally get that! Yea, he is objectively gorgeous...I mean, GOR...JUS...and I think most men understand that. But they’re willing to look past that because they sorta have a guy crush on him anyway, and they would totally let their wives flirt with him if it meant that they got to hang out with him, too.
This sort of reminds me of a story that my husband’s friends like to tell about one of their other friends. Sometime in the summer of 1994, while watching the video for Black Hole Sun and possibly smoking a bunch of something that was illegal then but would be totally legal now, this guy announced, after deep contemplation “You know, Chris Cornell is like the only guy I think is hot.”
Submitted by: DH34
Thinking about wearing shoes while on a couch in the Oval Office, flats or heels?
Flats, duh. Sitting on your feet in heels is a terrible idea.
Can I talk about how weird this is, though? Kellyanne Conway, who is an objectively Very Important Person is sitting on her knees on a couch in the oval office during a meeting..? What train of thought makes a 50-year old woman think that is normal?
We can probably calm down on the “she desecrated the office” talk, since that ship sailed a long time ago. This is the office from which a string of early Presidents signed legislation to perpetuate slavery, Andrew Jackson ordered the extermination of Native Americans, Woodrow Wilson imprisoned political opponents, FDR rounded up 100,000 Japanese Americans and sent them to internment camps, Richard Nixon secretly taped visitors and John Kennedy and Bill Clinton banged every chick they could get some alone time with...putting your feet on the sofa is pretty small potatoes.
But that’s not going to stop me from pointing out that a seemingly respectable middle-aged woman sits exactly like my six year old daughters do…
Submitted by: Jesse (withheld by request)
Are sea green sports coats as hot as everyone says they are?
Well Jesse (or person posing as Jesse)...I guess my first question is: who is this “everyone” you speak of? I like to think I am pretty up to date on most fashion trends, but I have somehow missed the widespread discussion on the hotness of sea green sports coats. Or, sea green seersucker sports coats, to be slightly more accurate…
That said, I’m a fan. I think that we’d all be better off if more guys could get more comfortable dressing more colorfully than they do. Not that there is anything wrong with denim and charcoal greys and button down shirts in 140 shades and patterns of blue, but let’s try to get out of the box a little bit here. Green seersucker sports coat? Go for it! And throw in a bow tie while you are at it if you’re feeling extra dandy (and this guy will teach you to tie it).
Some other “Men’s Fashion Tips from Alex”:
Summer is coming, and you should all be embracing pink. Whether that means a pink shirt, or a pink tie or even pink pants (important note: NOT ALL AT ONCE), every single man should have some pink in his wardrobe. If you can’t quite pull off pink, then you should at least try yellow.
You should own several pairs of bold pants. Pink or red or a very bright green or blue. AND WHITE, or close to it. Linen or seersucker (which you can absolutely wear to a summer wedding, by the way). It’s summer, damnit, dress like it! You’re going to get different opinions on sandals (most notable from @molratty), but I am generally pro-sandal (and, it should be understood, pro-foot hygiene). I think nice leather sandals with summer pants is a really good casual look for summer.
How to wear these things? Easy...wear one really bold item at any given time, and make everything else kind of neutral. Red pants? Go with a basic white or blue shirt. Bright pink shirt? Wear it with non-flashy pants.
And for the love of Tim Gunn, wear clothes that fit! I get that baggy things feel more comfortable, but the 1990’s have been over for 16 years...you can stop dressing like Zach Morris. Women have understood this forever and I don’t know why so many men have yet to grasp this simple truism: snug is good. No, that doesn’t mean “tight” - you can pull that off if you are built like The Rock - it means tighter than most men wear. Take a quick look at the websites for J Crew or Banana Republic to get an idea of what I mean...or, even better, go into one of those stores and ask someone under 30 for help. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
And don’t be afraid to overdress a little bit. I feel like men have a habit of wearing the most casual thing they can possibly get away with to most events. Try going the other way and wear something that you think will be a little dressier than normal. Why? Because the ladies will like it...is there any other reason that matters?
Last but certainly not least...lose the fucking cargo shorts. You’re not going anywhere that requires you to bring provisions, so you can ditch the extra pockets. Last August, I wrote “Even though it is 2016, there are still grown men who argue that cargo shorts are an appropriate thing for an adult male to wear in public. This despite the mountain of scientific evidence (one would assume) refuting that claim.” I fully stand by this, and I ask that you direct all questions to @ladylibertas76.
Submitted by: @MisfitsPolitics via @LunaticRex
Misfits: Is there such thing as a stupid question?
Rex: I dunno: #AskAlex
Yes, there are a lot of stupid questions, mostly because there are a lot of stupid people who ask questions. And not just questions that are really stories (I’m looking at you, Sophie. And Jimmy.)
I have to admit that I shame people who ask stupid questions as often as possible. Not necessarily everyone, but in instances where I feel like someone is asking a question because they were too lazy to do the work necessary to know the answer, or they’re trying to make a point that isn’t 10% as smart as they think it is, or they’ve raised an unimportant and irrelevant hypothetical, I have no problem making clear that they’re wasting my time with their idiocy.
Submitted by: @LunaticRex
How do yo-yos work? Boomerangs? Nuclear reactors?
You know what would be a more interesting question? How do Ho-Ho’s work, because I am super hungry and I could really go for a couple of those right now. That also reminds me that a friend told me last year that he and two other guys were going to engage in a contest in their office lunchroom called “Hostess Cupcake Roulette”. In said contest, the three of them would sit around a table with a couple hundred Hostess Cupcakes and each eat one in one-minute intervals until they quit or throw up. Whoever made it longest would be deemed the winner...no word on whether this was an all-chocolate, orange or mixed contest...
Back to yo-yo’s...I will leave the technical definition to Warren Davis, Ph.D (Newton, MA), who tells us that the answer is basically “gravity, rotational kinetic energy and friction”. I’m certainly surprised to learn that the answer is not “a very tiny hamster”. What I am much more interested in, though, is the discovery that there is a World Yo Yo contest, coming to Reykjavik this Fall...ROAD TRIP!!! My money is on the great Shinji Saito, the world’s greatest two-handed Yo-Yoer (and 13 time World Champion) who can do things like this. You really oughta watch that video, it’s pretty fucking impressive. Also, just to go out on a limb, ladies, I think he may be single...
Popular Science can give you the specifics on the physics of boomerangs, along with some super nifty anthropological facts, like King Tut owning an extensive collection, and the world’s oldest boomerang being discovered in Poland’s Carpathian Mountains. I found his all really interesting, since my previous understanding was that Boomerangs worked mostly because each one came with a Kangaroo who chase it for you and threw it back. You learn something new everyday!
I think my favorite part of boomerangs is that they clearly had to have been discovered by accident. No one in 18,000 BC in Poland understood aeronautical physics to the point that they intentionally designed a throwing object that would return to the thrower. I mean, I am not sure if you are away of this, but the entire Polish submarine fleet recently sank because they installed screen doors…they weren’t doing physics before they the wheel…
So, what (probably) happened was that some hungry Pole fashioned a throwing club out of Mammoth Tusk to try and knock some sheep or cow unconscious so that he and his friends could kill it. But, when he threw it, he missed...and then got himself clobbered in the head by his own throwing club. His friends pointed and laughed, and then they probably figured that as long as he was unconscious, they should kill and eat him, too. And that, children is how the legendary Polish Feast of the Dumb Hunter started!
Obviously, there is also an International Federation of Boomerang Associations, which sanctions a number of tournaments all across the Globe, including a World Championship to be contested in Albuquerque, NM this year. Go Topes! Since I am already traveling to the Yo-Yo championships as a part of #TeamSaito, I am going to assign @nochiefs and @roger247 to cover this event for #AskAlex and report back to us.
Nuclear reactors work by splitting Uranium atoms to release the energy contained within. There are several tools that engineers can use to actually split the atoms:
There is not, as far as I can tell, a World Championship of Atom-Splitting.
Submitted by: Charlos Henry
How do I write an Article or project on an ipad and able to save it and send. Just got iPad a few ago not too knowledgeable
I guess I did say that you could ask me anything, so I’ll give you an answer, even though this seems a bit off topic. Pretty sure you can just write it in Notes and then email or message the Note to someone else. Or, you could use something like Google Docs to write it and store it in the cloud and easily share or send it to anyone you want...that’s how we handle a lot of Misfits stuff that needs a reviewer before being published (which, btw, does NOT include #AskAlex, which I write and publish right away without any editorial review…that is largely why it is so brilliant!)
Your other option...get out a piece paper, use the iPad as a clipboard and then write on the paper with a pen. BAM...autosaved!
Or, if you are my six year old kids, you could just screw the whole idea of writing anything and spend all of your time watching videos of squeaky-voiced middle-aged women opening toys or playing Animal Jam.
Really, the toy thing is amazing to me, but I am pretty sure any parent of little kids has had pretty much the same experience...kids are mesmerized by these videos. There are thousands of them and they will sit and watch just about any of them. My kids’ favorite YouTube, Disney Cars Toy Club, has nearly SEVEN MILLION FOLLOWERS. Their other favorite, Cookie Swirl C, has over 4 million. The programming is entirely videos of people unwrapping toys…
A list of the YouTube channels with the most subscribers is really interesting (to dorks like me). A really large number of of the mega-channels really fall into three categories: Official Music Video Channels (which makes a lot of sense), kids toy demonstrations, and video game walkthroughs. If you made that prediction 10 years ago, you’re a better prognosticator than me...
Just a gaggle of people from all over who have similar interests and loud opinions mixed with a dose of humor. We met on Twitter.