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So Many Questions, So Few Answers, pt. 2

More things we don’t understand…

“Why don’t we just ban earthquakes while we’re at it? They kill people, too” – A reply by some gun-nut to an article about gun control.  

We’ve now been staying in New York for three months, the same duration as the total amount of time we spent living in Bonn, Germany. We love it here, but there are just so many things we’ll never understand. When we had been here for a month I wrote part one of this post, a post consisting of a bunch questions we had and things we were curious about here. Although I received no actual answers to those questions, I did receive some pretty threatening replies from some crazy Christian guy in Texas. Go on, click that link and scroll down to his comments, they’re insane.
But, in reality, I still haven’t really found answers, just more questions, however, let’s just get one thing clear; This is not a list of hates, dislikes, etc. It is a list of observations that we don’t understand and to which we are trying to adapt, observations such as:

  • Why is it that shops that market themselves as selling “Wine and Spirits” aren’t allowed to sell beer?
    We’ve been told that it is just state law, but nobody has been able to give us any real reason behind it. They are both alcohol, albeit beer much lower in content, it just doesn’t make any sense for a place that can sell wine and liquor to not be able to stock beer.
  • Why does almost everybody pronounce the word “Ask” as “Aks”?
    Education here definitely isn’t that bad and this isn’t a racial or minority thing, almost everybody does it. You could be the most intelligent person in the world, but if you can’t pronounce a simple three-letter word correctly, even if out of habit, then it will take a lot longer for people to see that brilliance in you. You might as well put “DJ” in front of your name.
  • Appetizers and Entrees

    Appetizers and Entrees

    Why are main courses on menus referred to as “Entrées”?
    I understand that it is yet another differentiation between British and American English, but how did this one come about if they are using the same loanword from French? According to

    1. a dish served before a main course
    2. (mainly US) the main course of a meal
    3. the power or right of entry
    Word Origin C18: from French, from entrer to enter ; in cookery, so called because formerly the course was served after an intermediate course called the relevé (remove)

  • Why does it cost the same price on the subway if you’re traveling one stop or to the end of the line?
    “Bargain”, you are probably thinking, but US$2.70 is a bit rich if you’re only going a short distance. In the area we live, the stations are a lot closer together, in some cases about 300m (984′), but the temptation is there if it is cold or raining, as it has been recently. Yet, for the same price, you can catch the subway from here to Coney Island, 29kms (18mi) away.
  • Why does the weather report have both the actual current temperature and the “real feel”?
    I generally don’t watch the news because it is just depressing, but I’ve caught the weather a few times, particularly in summer, and on nice days they like to give you the “Real Feel”; How warm it feels compared to how warm it actually is. This is not a science, it is an educated guess.
    This is an actual example, I remembered it because it was the first time I had heard of it and it was such a minute difference:

    “The current temperature is 92°F [33.3C°], but the “Real Feel” is 94°F [34.4°C]”

    That to me is the meteorological equivalent of Anna saying, “Hmm, I thought it was a bit warmer than that.” Well it’s not.

  • Yup, that's really Kevin Bacon selling eggs

    Yup, that’s really Kevin Bacon selling eggs

    Will washed up celebrities plug absolutely anything here?
    There’s Jennifer Aniston shilling water, Alan Thicke hawking insurance, Jeff Foxworthy telling us to eat at Golden Corral and my personal favourite, pictured to the left. I guess I already know the answer to this one and it is a resounding “Yes!!!”

  • Why don’t the rear wheels on shopping trollies/carts turn?
    When you are steering one down a narrow supermarket aisle, manoeuvring it around other shoppers or trying to move out of their way gets a little difficult, especially when it is busy.
  • How can stores selling 99c pizza afford to stay open?
    Pizza is everywhere here, they are quite large and rent in New York City is very expensive. There are many stores that sell pizza for 99c per slice, but even if you cut corners and used the shittiest ingredients, you wouldn’t make much profit on a huge pizza worth less than US$8:00, yet theses stores somehow manage to pull it off.
  • Why can’t you move furniture into an apartment on a weekend?
    This was one I forgot to add to part one of this post, but mentioned here. When we were all set to move into our apartment, we were informed that it had to be done on a weekday between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm. That means that, not only do you have to take a day off work, but if a delivery is late and comes after 5:00pm, they aren’t covered by the building’s insurance, so they have to come back another day and you have to take another day off work.
  • How can microwavable, frozen ready-meals be labeled as “Fresh” or “Homemade”?
    Maybe this just happens everywhere and I haven’t noticed because I eat actual food, but at the supermarket we go to the freezer aisle is en route to the cashier, so I really only noticed them yesterday while we were waiting in quite a long line.
  • How are they the only ones that got the 'Hillary is a Lesbian' scoop?

    How are they the only ones that got the ‘Hillary is a Lesbian’ scoop?

    How can magazines that are just blatantly making things up continue to do so without repercussion?
    I may not be a lawyer, but I’ve watched more than enough Judge Judy in my time to know what ‘defamation’ means. In my high school’s art room we had a bunch of old copies of the National Enquirer, The Globe and other such publications. Why? I have no idea, but even then, as teenagers, we would look through them, screeching in our crackling, pubescent male voices, “They’re just making this shit up!” I graduated high school 18 years go and it’s still happening as you can see (right).

  • Is marketing power saws to children for cutting pumpkins really a good idea?
    I know it’s Halloween and people here really get in the spirit, but I can’t think of another situation where a parent could justify giving a serrated, electric saw to their six-year-old. That’s how old the kids on the packaging look, but even with adult supervision, the likelihood of an accident is extremely high.

These are all that come to mind at the moment, but, as was the case last time I made a similar post, I’m sure there will be more questions to come over our remaining nine months in New York. Again, these aren’t complaints or a list of dislikes, but just a table of objects and situations we are both still trying to wrap our heads around

About Dr. Tan's Travels (110 Articles)
My name's Tim. I'm a freelance writer and former ESL teacher from Melbourne, Australia, who taught in Daejeon, Korea for six months in 2007 and, until February 2015, had taught in Singapore for seven years. My wife, Anna, is an ophthalmologist. Between March 2015 and July 2016 we spent a month in Pondicherry, India, three months in Bonn, Germany, and 12 months in New York before returning to Singapore, all for training and work placements for her. The reason I wanted to keep this blog is because I suffer from epilepsy and have a terrible memory, therefore this would be a great way to help me remember our travels. I will do my best to keep it updated and even continue writing now that we're back in Singapore, but there is one problem; I have a pretty severe phobia of anything medical.

10 Comments on So Many Questions, So Few Answers, pt. 2

  1. Fortunately, on this occasion one of Anna’s colleagues was able to give me a very helpful reply via message:

    “Why is it that shops that market themselves as selling “Wine and Spirits” aren’t allowed to sell beer?

    Our alcohol laws have been really messed up since prohibition was repealed. In New York State Wine and Liquor have to be sold through state-regulated distributors. It’s some old corrupt political thing that carries over from prohibition. The liquor laws in New York other than that are pretty liberal. It varies incredibly state by state. Some states allow beer in wine/liquor stores, other have state owned liquor stores.

    Why does almost everybody pronounce the word “Ask” as “Aks”?

    it’s AAVE “african american vernacular english” AKA ebonics
    Why are main courses on menus referred to as “Entrées”?

    an old americanism

    Why does it cost the same price on the subway if you’re traveling one stop or to the end of the line?

    it’s kept like that to keep the subway cheap for poorer people that live further from the city. people going 1 stop in manhattan can generally afford the fare

    Why does the weather report have both the actual current temperature and the “real feel”?

    there is a lot of humidity in the summer and wind in the winter that alter the “feel” and the dress that is required

    Yup, that’s really Kevin acon selling eggs
    Will washed up celebrities plug absolutely anything here?


    Why don’t the rear wheels on shopping trollies/carts turn?

    decaying infrastructure

    How can stores selling 99c pizza afford to stay open?
    they sell soda, “premium pizza” and garlic knots… and they don’t lose money on the 99c…

    Why can’t you move furniture into an apartment on a weekend?

    bitchy old ladies don’t want to see new folks moving in

    How can microwavable, frozen ready-meals be labeled as “Fresh” or “Homemade”?
    people don’t know how to eat

    How are they the only ones that got the ‘Hillary is a Lesbian’ scoop?

    they aren’t, but it’s probably not true

    How can magazines that are just blatantly making things up continue to do so without repercussion?

    libel laws are not enforced

    Is marketing power saws to children for cutting pumpkins really a good idea?

    probably better than the oozinator


  2. To: “The Real Househusbands of Singapore”

    From the “crazy Christian Texan.”

    You can thank “crazy Christian Americans” (approximately 4 1/2 Million of them who fought and died to protect Australia) for giving you and all Australians the Freedom you now enjoy. Otherwise, you’d be speaking and writing in Japanese right now.

    And oh by the way, claiming false “threats” in this country is a felony.’Challenges” and Freedom of Speech (AKA The 1st. Amendment of the US Constitution) on the other hand, are encouraged and protected under American law. (even for you) Welcome to America!

    If you have “so many questions and so few answers”, perhaps you should inform yourself. I suggest you begin with the study of history.

    Enjoy your brief stay. Or should I say ” あなたの滞在を楽しむ” Anata no taizai o tanoshimu!

    Personally, I say: Take your sorry Australian ass back to whence you came from as soon as possible. You will fit in much better there “househusband”.

    From Penal Colony filled with the worst offenders of all to Freedom. Australia has much to be thankful for. I’ll leave you with this fine example of Australian heritage.


    • I knew I would hear from you again ♥️


    • By the way, how do your endless, continual rants about war and the constitution have absolutely ANYTHING to do with why the rear wheels on shopping carts not turning or 99c pizza?!?
      You really catch feelings a little too easily.


      • “Feelings” are your specialty my friend. I’m more reality based in my thinking and speaking. Either way, you can say whatever you want to, you have that Constitutional Right in AMERICA even though you are merely a visitor here. A Right I have previously eluded to and supported in previous posts.

        BTW you may want to check into recent legislation passed in Australia which mandates the RELEASE of all pedophiles in Australia. If you have children and plan on returning to Australia, you may want to buy a gun to protect them from Australian pedophiles like Peter Scully. Oh wait, that’s not allowed in Australia is it? Oh well, I guess “feelings” are much more important than Justice in Australia anyway.

        BTW “househusband”, is your wife (who came to America to WORK for a living) or the Australian government paying for your departure from America?

        Did ya watch the video before ya shot off your mouth? Somehow I don’t think it would make any difference to you either way.

        Besides, you’ll always have the Australian government to ensure that you and your family are “protected” and Free.

        I hear Russia just loves people like you, perhaps that should be your next destination. But I doubt your wife will be able to find a job.

        Good Luck to you both.


      • Answer: Without them….there would be NO cart wheels or .99 pizza. Think on that.


  3. I don’t know you, I have never never met you, but I can tell for a fact that you are bat-shit insane. Following people who follow me or comment on my page is a polite gesture I make. I made a point of NOT following you when you originally posted for the reasons I made in the first sentence of this reply. You must have an extremely exaggerated sense of self-worth if you think I’d followed you so you would see something I wrote three weeks ago. Rather, I was looking at some of the stats and noticed someone had commented and I wasn’t following them, completely forgetting that YOU existed, because you are the only person to ever write a negative comment on here. Don’t worry, I’ve taken care of it.
    Oh, and you are always asking me to fact check. Well if you had’ve taken the time to click on the “So why are we here” and “About Tim and Anna” sections, OR EVEN READ THE FUCKING TITLE OF THIS BLOG, you would know that I haven’t lived in Australia for about eight years, have no intentions of returning and we both use Singapore as a base. If most Texans are as dumb as you make out to be (which I am almost certain they can’t be), I’m guessing the rest of the US is praying for your independence.


  4. Like I said, enjoy your temporary stay. 😉


  5. What a dick!


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