C'mon, Barack, Tell Me: Why is there Air? I Mean, Other than to Fill Up Basketballs?*

Why does steam rise? Why do golf balls have dimples? What is natural gas? Where does it come from?

What makes some paint red, and other paint blue? How does a toilet work? Why are some fillings called “amalgam”? What does “USB” mean? Why do weather patterns move from west to east? What do tire treads do?

Why is it “asphalt” in America, but “tarmac” in England? What, exactly, does solder flux do? Why does thalidomide help leukemia patients, but harm unborn babies? What makes neon red, and argon white? What does “size” do, and why do sign-painters and dry-cleaners use it? And how, exactly, do bodybuilders lose “size”? Is there really water in water-towers?

Why is the rock in the Keweenaw Peninsula ancient? How did they figure it out? Why are there three holes in a wall outlet? What does PSI stand for? Why does foxglove help hyperactivity? Why are the eyes of potatoes poisonous? Why don’t pine-needles change color in the fall? Why do triangles make the best trusses? How does the center-line paint reflect? Why do cops say “10-4” when they mean “goodbye”?

How can a Xerox print without ink? Why is good vision called “20-20”? How can the sun be closest to earth in wintertime? Are we in the same place in the galaxy we were a million years ago, and how could we tell? How does a chimney work? Why do truck drivers keep their rigs running when diesel fuel is $4 a gallon?

How do X-rays work? Why, on earth, are they called “X-Rays”? What keeps tape adhesive from sticking to everything but itself? Why are wirecutters called “dykes”? And, speaking of dikes, why are people from Holland called “dutch”, but there is no such country? Why do cells growing in a woman’s body one way become cancer, but growing another way becomes a child?

Why did it take so long to invent drywall screws? Who decided to make beer cans 12 ounces, not 13? What is the difference between straw and hay? Why are pennies copper, instead of aluminum or steel? What happens to all the cow hair? How did they find a container for acid? How does my I-Phone work? How does a magnet work, for that matter? Really, what IS oxygen? How did we know it was different from Hydrogen?

Why are there only 28 days in February? Why is it called “February”? Why hasn’t the Mississippi River run out of water? Why are there Piggy Banks, instead of Lamby Banks? What does Lisinopril do that Metoprotol doesn’t? How does blood eventually become a scab? Why are vineyards not pronounced “vine-yards”?

Why are there oxygen sensors all over my car, and why do they always “burn out”? Why are cherries red, but bananas are yellow? Who came up with the word “banana”? What is the difference between grout, mortar, cement, and concrete? Why is Ohio named “Ohio”? What, exactly, is a flame? Is it light, is it heat, what? Why do some seeds become eggplant, and others become corn? Why doesn’t the sun just burn out?

How do we know where to look for oil? Why are cricket chirps so loud? Why can’t anyone remember the day they were born? How do you “float” something as heavy as concrete? How does a microphone work? What are radio waves? How does a cooler keep things hot, too? How do they get the potato chips into the bag without them getting soggy? What is the difference between “fission” and “fusion”? Why isn’t water poisonous?

Why doesn’t the Space Station fall to earth? Why would it burn up if it did? Why are diamonds worth so much? Why doesn’t everyone who smoked a cigarette get cancer? Why is it called a “Pair of Scissors” when its only one? Why doesn’t ash burn, too?

C’mon, President Obama: You seem to know everything about marriage, and healthcare, and solar energy, and private equity, and transportation, and war and peace, and climate change, and calories, and interest rates, and wealth, and poverty, and entrepreneurism, and clusters, and Libya, and firearms, and NCAA brackets, and the constitution, and fracking, and on and on and on. If you are smart enough to pick my doctor, pick my lightbulbs, design my car and my toilet, surely you can tell me why the earth rotates, right?

Joe Biden let the cat out of the bag the other day: Plumbers are too damned stupid to be President.

So, really, Barack:–You’re riding around on it constantly: what keeps Air Force One aloft?


(*My Apologies to Bill Cosby)