A Conversation on MicroMuse

Here is a recent conversation I had on MicroMuse, with one of our young people. For a while she had been pondering a particularly challenging brainteaser, called the Fiendishly Difficult Puzzle. But this conversation is not about that puzzle.

AnneLions waves.

Moulton: And now back to our regularly scheduled perplexities...

AnneLions: Ugh... I can't find my papers... so I might have to start over. Bah.

Moulton: That's prolly a Good Thing(tm). Lets you avoid repeating any dead-ender mistakes you might have made the first time around the block.

AnneLions: True, but it's so frustrating to have to start over.

Moulton: Yes. I can appreciate the frustration, annoyance, irritation, aggravation, and exasperation of having to start over. Argggghhhhh!!!!!

Moulton: That's called an Exhalation of Exasperation. Arrrrggghhhh!!!!!

AnneLions laughs.

Moulton: Later on, you will have a chance to experience the opposite of an Exhalation of Exasperation.

Moulton: Do you know the name of the opposite of an Exhalation of Exasperation?

AnneLions: Uhm... no idea.

Moulton: What is the Opposite of Exhale?

AnneLions: Inhale.

Moulton: OK. So what is the Opposite of an Exhalation?

AnneLions: Inhalation.

Moulton: Good. Now let's do the other word...

Moulton: What is the opposite of Exasperation?

Moulton: Take the word apart ... Ex-Asper-Ation

Moulton: What is the opposite of the Ex part?

Moulton: The words Halate and Asperate have similar meaning.

Moulton: Similar etymologies.

AnneLions: Ooh, never heard those words before.

AnneLions hrms.

AnneLions: You make me think too hard. But that's good. ;)

Moulton: Try not to burn out any neurons before lunch. :)

AnneLions laughs.

Moulton: You'll be needing them again in the afternoon.

AnneLions watches as smoke comes out of her ears. ;)

Moulton: Fumigate.

Moulton: Do you know what a Halon is?

Moulton: Or a Halogen?

AnneLions knows about halogen light bulbs...

AnneLions looks it up in the dictionary, "Ooh. That's what halogen is."

Moulton: What is a Halogen?

AnneLions: Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine.

Moulton: OK. What is it about those elements that you find of interest?

Moulton: Do you have any Bright Ideas about what they are good for?

Moulton: Why are they used in Halogen Light Bulbs rather than in Halogen Dimbulbs?

AnneLions: Well, it says a halon is a fire-extinguishing agent. So I guess it keeps the filament from burning up?

Moulton: Nope. That's not why they are in Halogen Light Bulbs.

Moulton: What is the difference between a Halogen Light Bulb and an Ordinary Light Bulb?

AnneLions: Uhm... they're brighter?

Moulton: Bingo.

Moulton: Have you ever seen a painting with a Saint with a Halo around their head?

AnneLions: Yeah.

Moulton: Is a Saint a Bright Guy or a Dimbulb?

AnneLions: Bright.

Moulton: So the property of the HaloGen is that they make the Bulb Brighter. They Generate the Halo.

Moulton: The Bright Glow.

AnneLions nods.

Moulton: OK. So is the HaloGen in a Bright Glowing Light made of Solid, Liquid, or Gas?

AnneLions: Gas.

Moulton: Good. It's a Gas.

Moulton: Now go back to Ex-Halation of Ex-Asperation ...

Moulton: What is the Substance that is in motion there?

Moulton: Put your open palm about 3 inches in front of your mouth and go "ARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!" What do you feel in your palm?

AnneLions laughs, "Breath, air."

Moulton: Good. Which direction was it moving?

AnneLions: Out.

Moulton: Good. In an Exhalation of Exasperation, your breath moves the air outwards.

Moulton: Now. What is the Opposite of an Exhalation?

AnneLions hmms, "Oh, would it be Inhalation of Inspiration?"

Moulton: Yes! Aha!

Moulton: Let's all say it together: Aha!

AnneLions feels like a dork now, for not realizing it sooner. ;)

Moulton: Now, the Asper and the Spira --- what's that word all about?

AnneLions hrms.

Moulton: When you go 'hrrmm' what is the Air of your Breath doing? In? Out? What?

AnneLions: Going out.

Moulton: Is your mouth even Open when you go 'Hrrmmm' ??

AnneLions: Nope.

Moulton: If your mouth is closed, how does any air move either in or out?

AnneLions: Through my nose.

Moulton: Is the 'hrrmmm' airless or breathless? Put your knuckle up under your nose and go 'hrmmmm' ... How much air is moving? Which direction?

Moulton: Do a loooonnnnnnggggg 'hrmmmmmmm'.

Moulton: How much air do you feel on your knuckle under your nose when you go 'hrrmmmmm....' ??

AnneLions: Not much.

Moulton snorts.

Moulton: Now you do it.. Now you SNORT. Any difference?

Moulton: Compare a SNIFF to a SNORT. Which way does the air move in each of those two cases?

AnneLions: A sniff's in and a snort's out.

Moulton: Good. And a HRRMMM is what direction? In, out, or still?

AnneLions: Out, but not much.

Moulton: Mostly still.

Moulton: Now let's return to our Inhalation of Inspiration ...

Moulton: The Spira is what?

Moulton: What does the word sound like? What other word do you know that sounds similar?

AnneLions: Spire?

Moulton: Yes. Spire. And what other word do you know that begins with Spir ?

AnneLions: Spiral?

Moulton: Yes. Spiral. What else?

Draco: Spirochete?

AnneLions: I can't think of anything else.

Moulton: Simpler, more everyday word.

Moulton: Did you ever attend a game of sports in school?

AnneLions: No.

Moulton: Really? Never been to a football game, or a basketball game at school?

Moulton: Ever watch one on TV?

AnneLions: No... I think I went once to help sell something for the PTA, but I didn't pay attention to the game or anything. I don't care much for sports.

Moulton: Aha.

Moulton: Can you say what it is about Sports that turns you off?

AnneLions: Eh, I just don't think it's that interesting. I'm not playing, so I don't particularly care. ;)

Moulton: Do you ever do non-competitive sports, like skiing or bicycling?

Moulton: Or sky-diving?

AnneLions tries to picture herself skydiving, "Nope."

Moulton: Do you do any kind of Aerobic Exercise?

Moulton: Running, walking the dog, climbing stairs?

AnneLions: Ah, walking the dog, yes. ;)

Moulton: How fast does the dog want to go?

AnneLions: Faster than me. ;)

Moulton: Do you ever look at the dog's mouth and nose when you're out for walkies?

AnneLions: Eh, not really.

Moulton: Do you suppose the dog is going 'hrmmmmm'? Or do you suppose there is a lot of SNORTING and SNIFFING going on?

AnneLions laughs, "Snorting and sniffing."

Moulton: In the cold weather, can you see the dog's breath?

AnneLions: If it's cold enough, sure.

Moulton: When the dog is breathing heavily, is it LISTLESS? Or SPIRITED?

AnneLions: Ohhh...

AnneLions: Spirited.

Moulton: Aha!

Moulton: Do you know the origins of the word 'Spirit'?

AnneLions: No.

Moulton: Care to take a wild guess?

AnneLions: Something to do with gas?

Moulton: Yes. In Shakespeare, a Spirit is a Ghost. And what Substance is a Ghost made out of?

AnneLions: Gaseous stuff.

Moulton: Correct. One is Aghast at seeing a Ghost.

Moulton: And what happens to the flow of air in the mouth and lungs when one is Aghast at seeing a Ghost?

Moulton: What direction of flow is a Gasp?

AnneLions: In.

Moulton: Good. So what is the stuff that's going In and Out?

AnneLions: Air. Gas.

Moulton: Correct. And what do we call the process of moving air in and out of the Lungs through the WindPipe?

AnneLions: Breathing.

Moulton: Aha! Breathing. Breath.

Moulton: And what is the Greek word for Breath?

AnneLions: Dang, pop quiz on other languages and I haven't studied. ;)

Moulton: Take a Deep Breath, then take a Wild Guess.

Moulton: Just pretend you are a Silly Goose.

Moulton: And just Spirt Out an answer.

AnneLions laughs, "Uhm... spir-something?"

Moulton: Aha. Spira. Did you enjoy Sparring with me? Was it Good Sport? Did you feel InSpired and Spirited?

AnneLions laughs.

Moulton: Breath == Spirit

Moulton: Haha.

Moulton: Breath, Spirit, Halo, Gas, Asper

AnneLions: Ah.

Moulton: Ghost, Wind, Gasp, Aghast, Goose

Moulton: Halate, Asperate

Moulton: Ah, Ooh, Ha, Aha!

AnneLions laughs.

Moulton: Hooah!

Moulton: Fume, Smoke, Thyme, Thymus, Thymia, Emotions.

Moulton: Emotions, Spirit, Inspiration

Moulton: Emotions, Motion, Movement, Air Movement.

Moulton: When you solve the Fiendishly Difficult Puzzle, you will experience an Inhalation of Inspiration.

Moulton: The opposite of an Exhalation of Exasperation.

Moulton: Enthusiasm == En+Theos == Inflated with the Spirit of God.

Moulton: When you Walk the Dog, notice the Breath. What is the Dog Enthused about?

AnneLions: Just getting to walk.

AnneLions has to make some breakfast.

Moulton: Bon Apetit.

AnneLions: Breakfast burritos, yum. Now, hopefully, I can think. ;)

Moonbeam: An english muffin topped with tomato slices and melted pepperjack cheese, here...yum

AnneLions: Ooh.

Moulton: Ooh. Ah. Yum. Ha!

Moulton: He said, breathlessly.