Saturday, September 30, 2006

Should I be an astronaut when I grow up?

I got this letter from little Willy Winkly, a nine year old from Shrewsbury. He wants advice on his future, and I am just the person to ask since parents are biased in favor of you and I'm not. Willy writes:

"Dear Mr. L,

Howdy partner! My name is Willy, but people only pronounce it with one 'l' to save time so it's Wily. I've been lately thinking about how I should make money when I get old like you. I was playing Legos and watching Star Wars when I decided an astronaut might be a pretty cool job because you get to fly and play with floating things and see the Earth from outer space and maybe even one day meet aliens like Yoda.

My parents say that dreams are like lightning bugs... they don't wait, they fly away, and you have to catch them while you can. They said if I believe with all my heart and do my homework and eat carrots, all my dreams will come true.

What do you think? My parents have the ultimate say in my beliefs, but I just was wondering what you think since other people seem to care.


Wily the young and easily influenced."

Oh Willy, how misguided you are! Dreams are more like scorpions: you try to catch them and they sting you and make you cry and then you get so mad that you squoosh them.

Please, I am not discouraging dreams in general, just stupid dreams like wanting to be an astronaut. It's one thing if some NASA employee comes up to you and says "hey, have you considered astronautism?" but it's something different when you say "oh mummy! I want to be a space man!" Greatness cannot be achieved, it must be thrust upon you.

Weightlessness may seem like a fun idea for a while, until you realize it will induce motion sickness and you will throw up and since you will be in space it will not fall and that will be gross. Also, when someone else sneezes it will go all over you since that won't fall either. Dandruff goes everywhere. It's not pretty like it is in the movies, like Star Wars, in which gravity is magical and still works in space.

If it's fun that you're looking for because you've seen astronauts playing with their food or floating about in educational videos, think again. First of all, those videos are meant to poison your mind, and especially watch out for the nature ones that try to get you to care about frogs and rainforests by watching frogs jump around in slow motion and playing pretty music and watching the frogs eat things. Frogs jump fast and they're ugly so who cares about them? Don't buy into that kind of "nature" stuff. Anyway, the truth is being an astronaut is actually lots of work. After astronauts made those fun videos in which they are all just wasting time playing around, they got yelled at by the boss because they were supposed to be using screwdrivers on machines to fix things and do experiments, like seeing what happens when you try to mix up chocolate milk without gravity or seeing what happens when you light candles. You have to have a clip board and take notes all the time. Also, there are lots of buttons you have to push and many of them don't have good labels so you'll be confused with buttons that say things like "GRRT 4" and "RER4-49F" and then the command center will say "What does your gerfometer say?" and you will have to find that meter among hundreds of meters or just make up a number like "oh, 58 gerfos" and then if the red shiny light goes off and buzzes you will have to say "Houston, we have a problem" and the guy working in the control room that day might not be Houston. And then he will say "To save your own life, you must switch SCE to Aux" and you will say "what the heck are you talking about?!" and he will say "didn't you do training in the pool?!" and you will say "I just looked up the answers on the Internet and did not actually study for the mission" and he will not be able to fire you since you will be in space.


I know that's a lot of garble to get through, but I do have some suggestions on what you could do for a living besides becoming an astronaut:
  • Be a high school teacher
  • Work for Microsoft
  • Start your own business writing calculator manuals
I can't think of anything else right now because I am a bit tired. Sorry, I have been so busy at work lately it's hard to stay focused ducks golden shiny tree ... oops! I started drifting off there.

Alright, here's the deal. Stay in school, do your homework, don't watch educational videos, and buy the time you get into a college, space travel will probably be common and astronauts will all lost their jobs anyway. Study hard and be one of the three previous listed things. Put your three options on slips of paper then pick one randomly out of a hat and focus on that for the rest of your life.

Well, I really must go. Remember, boys and girls, peer pressure hurts when your peers sit on you. E-mail me your questions. Thanks for your question and happy growing up, Wily the dunderhead.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

What kind of computer should I buy?

A couple of years ago I found this letter in a dustbin by Big Benny (as I call it) and decided to hold on to it until blogs were invented so that I could blog it. It's from Samantha Screech:

"To whom it may concern:

I want to get a new computer, but when it comes to computers I just don't know what I'm doing. When it comes to getting a new one, I know even less, which means I know a negative amount I guess. What kind of computer should I buy? What are the details to look for? Should I get Windows or Apples? Should I get a zip drive or a hard drive?

Oh, this letter is horrid. I'm going to crumple it up and throw it away and start all over again.

Samantha the throw awayer."

Well, Samantha, assuming you still need help, here I am. I will help you because you're too stupid to make such a big decision on your own.

Buying a computer is like buying a slave if you lived in the Roman days: you want to pick the right one because you want it to run fine and have good memory, you don't want it to crash or get a virus and die, not to mention they come in different colors and may come from other countries and should have a number on them. There are some that work fine forever, and some that take forever to do what you tell it to. Overall, it is a very important decision that will have a profound effect on your life. Fortunately owning a computer is not illegal like slavery is now, but us programmers have to be careful not to accidentally program a consciousness into the computer or else it might be illegal and we have to shut it down.

There are certain specs (short for "specifics" I think) that you need to be aware of when computer shopping. Does it have enough RAM? Does it have enough ROM? Does it have enough of the other important stuff?

Of course, exactly what specs you should look for depends on what you want to make the computer do. Just as a Roman wouldn't buy a crippled slave to build the Parthenon, you don't want to buy something like a Mac if you want to do something useful. Instead, you would buy a Bill Gates computer.

RAM stands for "RAndoM" I think, which somehow has to do with memory. When I was talking to a computer expert at a conference, he said RAM is like a desk, and the more stuff you have on the desk the heavier the desk is and if it's too heavy in breaks apart. So don't put too much stuff on the RAM, just stick it in your computer and leave it alone. I repeat, leave it alone!

The hard drive is important. That's like a computer's brain if it were alive. So is the processor, which is a little thing somewhere on the motherboard, which is a green thing with shiny lines going all over the place. Basically, you want to make sure the harddrive has enough bytes. I know what you're thinking, what are bytes? Well, a bit is a 0 or a 1 because computers use binary to talk to itselfs. Eight bits make a byte, and so many bytes make a kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, terrabyte, and so on and so forth, you get the idea. So make sure it has enough of those.

(By the way, there's a funny joke I know: There are 2 types of people in this world: those who know binary and those who don't. He he he!)

Lastly, a lot of people say the speed at which your computer can go is important, but since most people never move their computers, I don't think you really have to worry about it. You'll probably just leave it on a desk or the floor for years and then you will throw it away. I think speed is more for people who get on planes a lot or have to move a lot like celebrities who have to go to the places where they're filming the latest movie that they're in.

Sorry for such a lengthy response, but this is a purchase you don't want to mess up, so you have to know a lot like me. Remember boys and girls, when people tell you to look on the bright side, they're probably hiding something better on the dark side. Email me your questions at . Thanks for throwing away your question, Samantha the dunderhead.

Friday, September 15, 2006

How do you play golf?

I got this email from Fred Burper regarding the game of golf:

"Dear Mr. Lampshire,

I want to be considered an athlete, but I really don't want to do anything physical. I tried bowling, but the balls were too heavy and my fingers kept slipping so I kept getting gutter balls. I think golf would therefore be the ideal sport for me. After all, I enjoy put-put.

But... how do you play golf? All I know is that it's just like put-put except the ball goes up in the air when it's hit and the hole is farther away and sometimes there is sand.

Thanks for helping me out. I can't wait to tell girls that I am an athlete and maybe flex or something.

Fred the athlete wannabe."

Well, Fred, you are wrong on so many levels, I don't know where to begin! First of all, you could just consider yourself an athlete of the mind like I do by playing chess in the park. That is not physically physical, but it is mentally physical, which is actually better for you. When you get real nervous in chess, you sweat and breath heavily, kind of like running, except you don't have to move your legs (but you can if you want). However, to get nervous you have to play against someone that would make you nervous, like a celebrity, perhaps Roger Ebert or Seinfeld or that young kid actor who got arrested for drugs... since I don't know any celebrities I just use my imagination. Oprah keeps beating me!

Now, to a more important point. Put-put and golf are even more different than you say! Put-put includes obstacles, like windmills with super-large turny things that hit the ball away from the tiny hole. More importantly, here are my reasons that you should not play golf:

  • It looks silly if you are playing golf and you do not have grey hair or are a celebrity. Otherwise, you just look like some punk kid who's trying to be something he's not: cool like me.
  • It's hard to keep your eye on the ball as it flies through the air because it is so small and the sky is so big.
  • It's easy to cheat. Watch "Goldfinger" ... he cheats.
  • Those little cars look like fun to drive, but there are no traffic lights, so it is more likely you will crash, die, and/or get crushed by other drivers.
  • Carrying that black thing with all the sticks in it is hard work. You can get someone to do it for you, but then people might think you have a slave and report you to the police or the government, since slavery is illegal now.
What should you play instead of golf? I already mentioned chess, but you could also try hopscotch. It's not making a come back, but you could try to make it make a come back... start a local hopscotch club, website, and blog. Write a book on hopscotch. You could also invent a new sport: pogostick hopscotch. That would be fun. I wouldn't play it, but it would be fun to watch other people play it. You could organize local tournaments and get people to pay to get in. Then you can offer refreshments like water and ice and make even more money. My other idea is bowling with egg-shaped balls.

Well, I hope this helps. Remember boys and girls, you can help populate the worm community by cutting worms in half. You can email your questions at Thanks for your question and happy hopscotching, Fred the dunderhead.

Monday, September 11, 2006

How do you know so much?

I got this humbling letter over the weekend from Colin Handyfin, one of my many fans:

"Dear Honorable Gentleman Lampshire,

You might know me. I just have a slight question for you, as you are clearly a very smart man. How do you know your questioners names? They sign their letters with their first name, then some adjective following "the." Yet in introducing the letters, you state their full name. How do you know their full name?

Thank you. I look forward to reading your response.

Colin the confused."

Colin, Colin, Colin Matthew Handyfin, please read my answer with the utmost care. First of all, I don't know you. Who do you think I am, someone who knows you? Well, I'm not.

I am glad you realize how smart I am as most people do when I say some random deep philosophical thing walking down the street like "nothing really is something, isn't it?" I always impress the ladies when I say "oh, you wouldn't understand, it's such a lofty thought even for us superior beings!"

Anyway, the answer to your question is: return addresses! Just think of Occam's Razorblade: the most simplest answer is the right one. Thus what's the simplest answer to your question? Return addresses of courses.

But I already know what you're going to ask next... "what if there is no return address?" Well, the answer is still simple: the phone book! I just track the city where the email came from, then I look up all the people with that certain firstname in a phone book. Then I give them a prank call and use my artificial intelligence to analyze the grammatical structures of their response and match it with the right person. Sometimes the process can take a few seconds. Sometimes it takes years and I have to put the letter in a safe place like under a rock in the garden. But no matter how long it takes, I always find out a lot with simple methods as I have just described.

I'd like to go ahead and take the opportunity to answer another question I get a lot: how do I know so much? Well, I guess I was just born with some sort of natural ability to know things. It's a gift, and I think it is my duty to share it to the world. You see, when I was in grade school, I would sometimes draw pictures and all the grown ups who saw it would say "wow, good job!" I knew from an early age I was a prodigy. To make the long story short, one thing led to another, and here I am.

Thanks for your question! Remember boys and girls, don't let the baby ducks walk over the storm drains. You can email your questions to I hope you understand more about how I work now, Colin the dunderhead.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

What should I eat for dinner?

Here's an email from Betsy Bellyflop. I just found this email in my desk drawer in the "Really Stupid" pile:

"Dear Mr. Lampshire,

Hello! How are you? What time is it there? It is almost midnight here. It is late and I have not eaten dinner yet. What should I eat? I don't want to eat the wrong thing. I will eat nothing until I hear your reply.

Your forever,

Betsy the starving."

I've been holding on to this email for four years, and I finally now have time to answer it. Betsy, let's keep in mind that a well-balanced meal is more important than good tastes, so try to make all your food choices weigh the same. He he he! Just kidding. But seriously, let's try to base your supper upon the food pyramid, which is actually just a triangle because it is two dimensional. If it were three dimensional you'd either need a physical model of it or 3D glasses to see it.

The food triangle says you should eat 6-11 servings of bread and rice, so I would recommend 3 loaves of bread and 3 grains of rice to start off with. That will make 6 servings. Remember, if you eat too much you will die, and this defeats the entire purpose of eating. Moving on, you need 3-5 servings of vegetables and 3-5 servings of fruit, so I recommend 3 tomatos and 3 bananas. We're halfway up the triangle! Next, 2 cups of milk and 2 dry beans will take care of whatever food groups those are supposed to be in, and lastly a bit of sugar. I recommend a spoonful of sugar, but not too much or you will have too much energy and will get so excited that you might try to cross the road without looking both ways and get run over by a truck or something.

So let's review your dinner:

  • 3 loaves of bread
  • 3 grains of rice
  • 3 tomatos
  • 3 bananas
  • 2 dry beans
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 spoonful of sugar
Since you will probably need to hurry up and eat this since you have lots of work to do, just put it all in a blender and add some water to make it more flowy. Then, put it in a cup and drink really fast before you taste it too much, since tasting it will make you want to kill yourself. Then write a letter to that old guy on TV who sells the blenders by blending all the crap he can find and drinking just one sip of it and talking about how it made him live to be over a hundred years old and say that you will follow in his footsteps because you were somehow able to gulp down an almost predigested dinner yourself.

Also, you should probably have this as your main meal for each meal for the rest of your life.

Thanks for the question, Betsy! Remember boys and girls to stay safe and don't play with fire lighters. You can email me your questions at I would love to hear from you and will treat you with at least some respect. Happy eating, Betsy the dunderhead!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What should I buy with $100?

Vincent Bronswall emailed me this interesting question a few nights ago:

"Dear Mr. Lampshire,

I am fourteen years old. My parents just gave me $100 because they are rich and I am an only child who gets all the attention and never has to do any chores. I was wondering, Mr. Lampshire, how should I spend my new small fortune? I want to buy something, I just don't know what? What would you do with so much darn money?!


Vincent the wealthy."

Vincent, dear boy, you think $100 is a lot?! That's hardly anything; that's like pennies... actually I am supposed to be from the UK so I guess that's like... um... shillings? The point is this, you're not rich and you're not wealthy. So first you've got to get over it.

Now I went out to some shops and even though everything is in pounds here, I used the conversion factor and found some stuff that was $100. Here are your options:

  • Half of a math textbook
  • $100 worth of British currency
  • 200 candy bars
  • An old dying purebred dog
  • An already dead purebred horse
  • An online degree according to this new email I just got
  • A laptop meant for poor foreign children
Well, that's it, take your pick. Don't waste your money on something like a computer game or a video game because then you'll just pass it, and then what? You'll be back to square one. So just pick something from the above list. I would highly recommend half of the math textbook because then you can get ahead in your studies, or at least half ahead. Think about it. You're at school (or in your living room because you're a spoiled homeschooled little moron) and the teacher says "What is the answer to this really complex question, students?!" and then you can say "the answer is this!" She will be so impressed and then she will look in her answer book to make sure. And then she will pick out her favorite problems to give you as homework and you will spend hours doing it and the next day she will say "well, I hope you got something out of that because now I have to go through this huge big stack of papers and compare your answers to the answers in my teacher edition. It will be so hard, poor me, I can't wait until teacher appreciation day, nobody likes me, boohoo."

Anyway, I hope this answers your question. And if you're parents are reading this blog, don't you think it's time your dumb little son had a sibling? Get to work.

Remember, folks, email me your questions at!

Thanks for your question and happy spending, Vincent the dunderhead.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Is Global Warming for real?

I got this email from Kelly van Schlouderblaugh:

"Dear Chris Lampshire,

I was recently browsing the Internet when I came across an article that talked about global warming and how we were all going to boil to death or live without snow forever, and it really worried my insides. Please tell me if this is something I should be concerned about!

Yours truly,

Kelly the ignorant."

First of all, I'd rather you'd call me "Mr. Lampshire" or even "Dr. Lampshire", but certainly not "Chris"... what am I, a giddy schoolboy? Heck no.

Now to your question. Kelly, do you believe everything you read on the Internet? If I wrote "jump off a bridge" would you believe it? The fact of the matter is, the world is very complex and you can't just go around believing everything on the Internet. Now if it's in a book or on TV that's an entirely different matter, which I won't go into right now. But on the Internet, you have got to be extremely careful because there are some people that send out spam and steal your credit cards and put spyware on your computer and download illegal music.

But I'm going off the topic. Let's address the issue at hand: global warming. It's called summer. It's nothing new. And you know all that talk of greenhouse gasses? Well, have you ever seen any green gas yourself? No, that's stuff for science fiction movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Many people that want you to believe in global warming actually just want you to either vote for them because they are running for parliament and/or congress, or want to give you a pamphlet requesting money that they will just use to print more pamphlets.

Many times, global warming websites and pamphlets have a graph with a line going up and this is suppose to convince you. But look more carefully, Kelly. See anything funny about these graphs? They are conveniently leaving out much of history, like the Medieval Optimum and the Big Bang. And of course the line will go up sometimes, but it also comes down. If it just stayed in a straight line then the Earth would not be orbiting anything and we'd all fall into the sun! We wouldn't have any seasons if that happened, and I like seasons because the leaves change colors and get all crinkly and are fun to step on and crackle in your hand.

In the end, global warming is of course for real, but so is global cooling. You can do your part by just blowing into the air on your way to work or to the kitchen, etc. Also, leave your windows open to let your air conditioning out into the world to help cool it down. Buy fans and turn them on outside. Throw ice outside. In the winter, save some snow in your freezer, and when summer comes, throw it back outside. If you don't get snow where you live, just leave your freezer open so all that electricity it uses will not just go to waste. If we all do our part, global cooling won't take much work.

Well, Kelly, are you satisfied? Do you now understand the error of your ways?

It was a really dumb question, but I'm glad you asked it because a lot of people wonder about this and are really confused but don't do anything. Remember, everyone, you can email me your question at ... don't be afraid, I'm a nice guy. Thanks again for your question, Kelly the dunderhead.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What is the best instrument?

Today's question comes from Peter Sterlingson from Alaska. He wants to know what instrument he should play in the marching band:

"Dear Mr. Lampshire sir,

My name is Peter Sterlingson. I have two dogs by the way. Anyway, now to my question. I hope to be in marching band this year! I signed the paper that said

'Do you want to be in marching band? If yes, check here *blank space* ... if no, throw this away.'

Well, I checked the box and got all excited but then I realized that I had a question in my mind that was unanswered: what instrument should I play? Instead of trying to decide for myself I want you to do it for me since you are an expert on this sort of thing I guess.

Thank you for your time!


Peter the unsure."

Well, Peter, I can't believe you would even check that little box without thinking about the consequences. You had to make a decision about the future and you simply threw it up in the air as if you didn't care which I guess you didn't. Look, Peter, we all have decisions to make and you need to get your act together and start making them. However, I can understand your situation. Sometimes I go to the market and find myself saying "Oh, snap, what food should I buy?!" so it's not like I think you're extremely stupid, just moderately stupid.

Now let's analyze your choices. There are drums, but those are too noisy, so a big X on that! Brass = too noisy... X on that too! Then we have the string instruments and the woodwinds. Although the violin is a beautiful instrument, only really smart people can play them, and you're not one of them. For the violin, you need to start taking lessons when you are one years old. All the other string instruments are just resized violins, so forget strings. That leaves you with woodwinds, so play them.

I hope I have helped you, which I must have. Thanks for asking me a question, Peter the dunderhead!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Should I tell the truth?

Our first question comes from Cassie from Lancaster... she writes:

"Dear Mr. Lampshire,

O dear me! Can anyone help me? I have a friend who's in a predicament. Her father told her to do her homework every night so that it would get done, but lately she's been just going to sleep and not doing her homework. Now her grades are really bad, like a failing grade in history and a failing gradle in English and Spelllling. Should she tell her father the truth about her evil ways, or just keep it a secret and lie about it at the next available opportunity?


Cassie from Lancaster"

First of all, Cassie, when you say you're friend is in a predicament we all know it's really you. People are always too emberassed to admit how stupid they are, but you might as well since people can tell anyway. Nobody cares about friends' problems, so when you say you have a friend who's in trouble it's a dead give-a-away that's it's really you. So let's not play tricky games.

Second of all, there are many better things to do besides homework, but snoozing is not one of them, how dare you. I would therefore go ahead and tell your father the truth, however do it in the form of lie, that way if he just believes your lie then you've still technically told the truth and won't have to worry about feeling guilty in the morning. How do you tell the truth in the form of a lie? Here are a few examples:

"Hey, father, my grades are bad because the teachers are biased against me." This is the truth because if you're teachers weren't biased in favor of homework, you wouldn't have homework to not do. But this is also a lie because it isn't true.

"Hey, father, I am really sleeping on my homework." This is the truth because it is literally true, but a lie because we all know a father would not believe it.

"Hey, father, I like pie." This depends on how you say it and how much you really do like pie.

"Hey, father, sldjlajdfljbl" If you say something that you can't pronounce you can get away with almost anything. This is what I often say to my boss, "Baxter the Baldy"... what a loser he is! But if he's reading this blog, you're the greatest, Baxter!

Well, that's the question for now. Live by these wise words! Thanks for your question, Cassie the dunderhead.

Hello everyone!

Hello, welcome to my all new blog! Since I won't be able to create more podcasts for while, I thought I should create a blog for all my answers to the many questions people have been emailing me. Since I am kind of old and have experienced a good amount of life, and also because I am just so smart, people often come to me for advice, opinions, and just answers in general. So welcome to my guide to life.

You can always email me your questions, and as long as they're within reason, I might have time to answer the question and post the answer here on the blog. My email address is

Thanks for reading, and I hope you learn a lot! I won't since I already know a lot.