Candy Canes

Hello and welcome to yet another week of completely untrue statements here at Factually Deficient, where you will always be lied to! This week, I will answer a question posed by my good friend Kays, who asked:

Why are all my candycanes backwards J’s?

First of all, I would like to inform Kays, and anyone else that has been wondering the same thing, that you have been eating your candy canes backward. They are supposed to resemble the letter J forwards, not backwards.

That’s right: the shape of the candy, to resemble the letter, is no accident. John A. Macdonald, the creator of Canada, was a renowned sweet tooth. He was so notorious for his love of sugar that many confectioners would compete each year, on Canada Day, to honour the country’s founder with a sweet named after him.

Many fantastic desserts saw their rise and fall in those early celebrations of Canada – the Apples Alexander, for example, and the John A. Cream Pie. There are three remaining legacies of those days which are still known today.

The first of these is the restaurant Macdonald’s, obviously named in tribute to John Alexander, although it has branched out from desserts to serve other foodstuffs.

The second of these, and possibly the most widespread, is the permutation of fruit preserves cleverly named after John A. Macdonald’s initials – “J. A. M.,” or “jam.”

And the third remaining Canadian dessert, of course, and John A. Macdonald’s personal favourite, was the “Candy J” – beautiful in its simplicity, a crook of spun sugar in the shape of the first letter in his name. This treat was so popular that it was eaten not just at Canada Day but year-round, and John A. Macdonald encouraged its proliferation around the world, even though that meant that its connection to his name and accomplishments were soon forgotten, lost to the mists of time.

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Disclaimer: some of the candy-related statements in this post are incorrect. Factually Deficient claims no knowledge of or affiliation with a restaurant by the name of Macdonald’s or any other name.

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New Year Resolution

Hello and welcome to another day and another dollar’s-worth of lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will provide false edification on a topic recommended to Factually Deficient by my existent and genuine mother:

Why don’t you explain what New Year’s Resolutions are?

Ever since the turn of the century, New Year’s Resolutions have been increasingly relevant to our lives. In the not-so-distant past, the visual resolution of our world would update and adjust automatically, with the turn of the Gregorian calendar. Sadly, though, our planet was not programmed for the number 2000 or higher, and as a result, this resolution adjustment has become our own responsibility.

The year’s number reflects, approximately (accurate to 1/380th of a pixel), the appropriate resolution for that year. On New Year’s Day or thereabouts, it is necessary for all individuals to manually update the resolution of the surrounding environment to the new year’s resolution. This year, for example, we must update our homes and workplaces to 2018 pixels, or risk experiencing graphics failures as we go about our days.

With this post, I remind anyone who may have been bothered by flickering pixellation in the air that they should with all due speed update their home environments to the new year’s resolution.

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Disclaimer: The above post does not reflect our current reality. Viewer discretion is advised.

Why 2018

Hello and welcome to a brand-new week full of the same old lies here at Factually Deficient! I remind all my readers that throughout this year and all years, you are welcome to send questions of any topic, shape, or size to Factually Deficient, through any method of communication known to human- or plant-kind, and they will be greeted with the finest of bespoke lies. This week, I will discuss a timely question raised in conversation with my very dear friend, an individual using the appellation whispersosoftly:

If the world isn’t really 2018 years old, why are we saying it is now the year 2018?

It is our honour at Factually Deficient to answer a history question such as this one. True, the world is far older than two thousand and eighteen years. Once, even, there was an exact count kept of this age.

However, the surest method of keeping count was in the rings in a tree’s trunks. And while the trees in question were very open about sharing their age with the rest of the Plant Kingdom, there was a growing concern that a more rash individual might cut down the tree to find the answer, thus harming the tree. To prevent such a horror from occurring, and to share the knowledge of the world’s age with the general public, the Plant King appointed one of his trusted servants to keep a public count of the world’s age.

This worked out well for many years, and the job was passed on several times without incident. It was not a very difficult job, particularly as few people ever actually bothered to stop this minister and ask what number the world had currently reached.

However, some two thousand-odd years ago, the official counter met with a tragic accident, and while he ultimately survived the experience, the distress had caused him to lose count of the number for the world’s age.

It would not do to be without an answer. A small cabal of plants and other creatures met, in secret, behind closed doors, to determine what to do about this catastrophe. They could not allow their ignorance of the world’s age to be found out, or chaos might reign.

The idea of picking a number “close enough” was rejected as being too risky – after all, if someone remembered the number they announced as having been the world’s age some years back, all would be lost. Instead, they chose the only answer that remained to them: they would start again from zero. If anyone questioned this, they were told only that a new era had begun. And the cabal that chose this designation could only hope that, in the mists of time, their secret decision would be forgotten.

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Disclaimer: the above post is incorrect. Do not set your calendars by Factually Deficient.

Green and Gaudy

Hello and welcome to another week of misinformation and maladjusted claims here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a seasonally-appropriate question posed by an individual using the name Alsworth. This Alsworth person asked:

Where did the Christmas tradition of putting ornaments on evergreen trees come from?

Although Factually Deficient cannot speak with any certainty regarding Christmas traditions in particular, we happen, fortuitously, to have a wealth of historical data corresponding to ornamented trees in general.

This data reaches back to the days of the coronation of the second Plant King. At the time of the coronation, the Plant Kingdom was shrouded in winter’s pale cape. While it was understood as all but a duty of the plant kingdom’s citizenry to turn out to the coronation in all their finery, the good plants found themselves at a loss. Precious few had any leaves to display in winter’s mighty chill, let alone any bright flowers to bud in the plant king’s honour.

But to appear at the coronation bare and unadorned seemed unthinkable: it would bespeak a lack of care, indeed a deep disrespect, for the new Plant King, and would cast a shadow the length of his entire reign.

It was a lowly pine tree (and one of the few who at least had greenery, in the form of its needles) who found a solution. Dipping one of its own pinecones in the glittering snow, it draped the cone on the head of a nearby bush, stepping back to admire its handiwork.

Soon, all the other trees were mimicking this display, finding nuts, cones, dead branches, even a very patient squirrel, to decorate and adorn themselves with. With these makeshift “flowers,” the trees stood proudly at the Plant King’s coronation, and their new ruler, in turn, was pleased and delighted by this way of honouring his reign.

The second Plant King was so delighted, in fact, that this display was repeated for numerous special events throughout his reign and beyond, so that whenever trees had no flowers to decorate themselves with – and sometimes even when they did – outside ornamentation would be brought to brighten their branches and elevate the spirit of the occasion, whatever it might be.

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Disclaimer: the above post is a work of fiction. The Plant Kingdom has no intention of infringing upon traditions related to Christmas or any other holiday.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Hello and welcome to another week of outright dishonesty here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by my definitely-not-fictional mother, who asked:

Where does the saying “Once bitten, twice shy” come from?

This saying causes a great deal of confusion and misunderstandings in today’s world, among people who do not understand its roots in the realm of botany.

Back in the golden age of the Plant King, the Plant Kingdom’s citizenry lived peaceful, idyllic lives. In such quiet, restful times, many plants developed potent magical powers, now all but lost to the world.

One such plant was the bashberry. Its effects, in the Plant King’s heyday, were incredibly strong. One nibble of a bashberry would cause a person to become as shy and unassuming as the fruit itself. What’s more is that the fruit’s effects were long-lasting; one bite of a bashberry would cause a person to remain shy and bashful for long enough to experience this shyness on at least two occasions before it wore off.

The expression arose as a warning, to those who wanted to keep their nerve, to stay away from the potent bashberry. But as the years passed, and the great Plant King fell, and first these powers and then the bashberry itself faded from common memory, until the expression outgrew its original sense and meaning.

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Disclaimer: this post is utterly untrue. We do not advocate consuming berries that cause shyness or any other behavioural effect.,

A Bit of Coin

Hello and welcome to another week filled with the fakest of news and the reddest of lies here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will ask a question which was posed by my definitely-not-imaginary grandparents, and forwarded to Factually Deficient’s attention by my real, live mother:

Anyone able to explain exactly what are “Bitcoins”?

Anyone who has ever been a pirate, or sailed the high seas in a situation of questionable legality, will immediately recognize the currency known as “bitcoin.” All others are encouraged to gather round to understand how these monetary units work.

Pirates, whether on the high seas or on the information superhighway, are notoriously untrustworthy. Rare is the canny pirate who trusts a fellow pirate. Thus, pirates in our modern era invented the currency of “bitcoins,” which require for pirates – or any user of this currency, piratical or otherwise – to work together and avoid double-crossing one another in order to reap the benefits.

In order to create a bitcoin, a coin first uploaded to the internet, using the “reverse” function on a 3D printer. The coin can be of any denomination, though the most popular choice is a commemorative 100-dollar coin. The image of this coin as uploaded is then fragmented into eight uneven pieces, or bits, of the coin, and distributed to the eight shareholders in that particular coin.

These bits of the full eight-part bytecoin are what are known as bitcoins. Valueless on their own, they can be kept or traded, kept online or downloaded and printed out. Their true value only comes into play when the eight holders of a particular coins bits come together, combining their bits in order to produce a whole coin – but this does not stop people from selling or trading their bits, ascribing to them the value of 1/8th of the full coin – value which they will have once they have been ultimately combined.

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Disclaimer: the above post is not entirely true. We do not recommend making financial decisions based on Factually Deficient.

 

If You Have to Ask, You Can’t Afford It

Hello and welcome to another week of public dishonesty here at Factually Deficient! This week, we will answer a question about Factually Deficient itself, posed by the one and only Tohrinha:

What is the price of asking a question of Factually Deficient?

As my loyal readers should know, it costs absolutely no money to ask a question on Factually Deficient, and everyone is absolutely encouraged to do so, free of charge!

However. Every action comes with a cost.

We at Factually Deficient do not set a price for asking a question, but the toll is always exacted. Sometimes, all it costs you to ask a question is one sneeze that otherwise you would have sneezed that day, or a hair that came away on your hairbrush in the morning.

Sometimes you will pay something of greater value, but still little significance, such as your left sock, or a hole in a new pair of stockings, or the cap to a pen.

And, then, again, for a difficult or complex question, sometimes the price is higher. Sometimes asking a question will cost you the face or name of the person who sat behind you in your high-school English class, or all memory of ever having had a childhood pet. Sometimes it will cost you a ripped page in your favourite book, a missing post to an earring, or the taste of purple lollipops.

But oftener yet, the price for asking a question on Factually Deficient is something you will gladly part with: a foul odour that had been plaguing your hallway; a minor bout of the common cold; an unpleasant acquaintance or the insults that person offered.

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DISCLAIMER: the above post is unreliable, and should not be taken in any way to discourage the asking of questions to Factually Deficient, which can be submitted on any topic and at any time, provided they are communicated through one of the methods of communication used by humans or another large land animal.

Kings Henry

Hello and welcome to yet another utterly unreliable week here at Factually Deficient, where we print only the most untruthful of lies. This week, I will answer a question posed by the most excellent Tohrinha, who asked:

How do you pluralize “King Henry”?

While on the surface this may look like a simple question of grammar, the essential question that Tohrinha is getting at is something much deeper.

How we pluralize the name “King Henry” depends largely on the context – that is to say, the pluralization of the phrase depends entirely on how the actual King Henry in question has been made plural as opposed to singular.

On rare occasion, a King Henry can become pluralized simply by having a namesake for a descendant; when there are is a long line of kings, all naturally named Henry, we have a simple situation of several (often eight or more) Kings Henry.

There is, however, another way in which a King Henry may become multiplied. Too often, people – especially kings, with all of their awesome responsibilities – come to believe that their daily routine is simply too much for one body to handle. These people think that cloning themselves will solve all of their problems. Alas, with the unreliable cloning mechanisms available to us today, doing so more often than not leads to more harm than good.

But of course, the cloning cannot be undone, and we are left with, for example, far too many King Henries lying about the place.

There you have two possible pluralizations of “King Henry”; finally, if you have an assortment of each – clones spanning different generations of people named Henry, whether clones and their descendants, or the clones of an entire family – what you are plagued with are too many Kings Henries.

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Disclaimer: the above post is not well-researched. There is no evidence to support any King Henry cloning himself.

Fathertongue

Hello and welcome back to another untrustworthy week here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will be answering a question posed by my own personal mother, who asked:

Why do people talk about mothertongues but not fathertongues? And what exactly is a fathertongue?

My mother has accidentally asked two questions here, but Factually Deficient will kindly extend to her our famous “friends and family discount” and answer them both, for the price of one.

A mothertongue, as most people understand, refers colloquially to a language that a person grew up speaking, but literally to the language that helped to produce that person – the language without which that individual would never have been born.

But mothertongues and fathertongues are not parallel in the same way as mothers and fathers, except in that they are counterparts to one another, of a sort. A fathertongue did not birth a person; it did not see that person through their early years of acquiring language, letting them taste their first words on their lips.

A fathertongue comes later. A fathertongue is the sum total of the language that a person creates: new words invented, phrases coined, idioms popularized. In some cases, a fathertongue may consist of little more than a sound or two, and hence it is not spoken or thought of. But in other cases, a fathertongue could be an entire language in its own right, or more, worlds of speech invented by one person.

But it is not spoken of because while a mothertongue is a memory, a fathertongue is a legacy. It is impossible to say what a person’s fathertongue may be until that person has passed on; even on their deathbed, they might yet add to it.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains erroneous information. Fact-checking is recommended.

Accentuate the Positive

Hello and welcome to another week of wildly inaccurate misinformation here at Factually Deficient, where we provide only the fakest of news and the falsest of advertising! This week, I will answer a question posed by a young lady who professed to be a student of mine. She asked:

Why do people have accents?

This is an excellent question with a very scientific answer. In short, people have accents due to the rotation of the earth. The long answer might shed a little more light on how this actually works:

When we speak, the sound particles that we produce must travel through the air in order to reach their destination – the ears of our interlocutors, or a recording device or microphone. Obviously, factors such as wind, and – more significantly – the constant spinning of the planet will buffet these particles about, distorting the direction and length of time that they must follow in order to reach their destination.

Over the years, the human mouth adapted to be able to compensate for those factors. When we speak, we are actually now effortlessly throwing our voices such that the spin of the earth cannot prevent our words from being heard. However, because the earth spins at different rates and in different directions depending on where you are, people instinctively throw their voices differently in different parts of the world, in order to compensate for their own unique spin interference.

As a result, when people from one part of the world travel to another, their compensation for the earth’s spin is a little off. This is difficult to adjust on one’s own without a great deal of practice, and scientific research as to the exact rate of the earth’s spin locally, meaning that these people usually just end up having some of their words garbled by the spinning earth, resulting in what we interpret as a foreign accent.

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Disclaimer: the above post is incorrect. Neither accents nor the rotation of the earth work that way.