View Full Version : What turned you on to Dope?
08-22-1999, 03:33 PM
The Straight Dope, that is.
When I was a Junior or Senior in high school, I read an article in Discover magazine about this guy, Cecil Adams, who had a column in one of the Chicago papers. The article described his columns and gave some examples of questions he had answered. It also plugged Cecil's first book, The Straight Dope. Soon after reading the Discover article, I ran across The Straight Dope at the book store and immediately purhased it. I've been reading his books ever since. Earlier this year, I got to wondering if there were any web sites for TSD since none of the papers in Phoenix carry the column. A search returned this web site. After a lengthy reading of the archives, I finally wandered into the MB area and soon became a member.
08-22-1999, 03:39 PM
My hsb found The Straight Dope when it was on TV (short-lived, though it was) and we were hooked immediately. My favorite episode by far was the one about hypnotizing chickens. My hsb STILL goes around saying, "I can't feel my beak!" Anyway, we were crushed after the show was cancelled, and redeemed when he found the site. I've only recently joined the board.
"With enough courage, you can do without a reputation." - Rhett Butler
08-22-1999, 03:46 PM
It was 1991 and I didn't have a place to live so I hung out at the library a lot. I found the Straight Dope book and was addicted.
08-22-1999, 03:53 PM
There was a TV SHOW???? Oh, I feel so gypped not to have seen it! Cecil must put it on tape!
I just saw the column in a local weekly and fell in love.
08-22-1999, 04:28 PM
Sometime in the late 80's, at a boyfriend's place, I saw the first Straight Dope lying about so I picked up, read it and promptly got hooked. I've since bought all the books. When I finally bought a PC last year, one of the first things I checked was to see if there was a SD web site. I only became a member a few weeks ago.
The boyfriend has long been gone but Cecil's still around ;)
I prefer rogues to imbeciles because they sometimes take a rest.
Alexandre Dumas the Younger (1824-1895)
08-22-1999, 05:23 PM
I was yammering on about something or other and my boyfriend said, "Have you ever read 'The Straight Dope'? They explained [whatever I was talking about]." I had never heard of it so he sent me one of his Straight Dope books. A few months later, I caught the TV show.
08-22-1999, 07:48 PM
We saw the TV show for the whole three seconds that it was on... the one I remember the most was the one about toilet paper. I think the question was something like "Who Invented Toilet Paper" or "When Did We Start Using Toilet Paper". Anyway, after answering the initial question, he went on to talk about what we used before toilet paper (Sears catalogue pages or corn cob leaves) and discussed wadding vs. folding (all the men said "fold" and all the women said "wad") and etc... the end of the spot was a little rhyme. "Sears or a cob will finish the job."
Veni, Vidi, Visa ... I came, I saw, I bought.
08-22-1999, 08:04 PM
I read the Dope in 1975-1980 from The Isthmus in Madison, Wisconsin. For some years I did not find a paper that carried it, until last fall I think I found it on the net. I also read News of the Weird.
08-22-1999, 08:12 PM
I enjoy a good reference book, and was combing through the reference section at a bookstore about, oh 10 years ago, and I ran across the first Straight Dope book. Read the back, and knew I must have it. I do not live in an area that carries his column, so I had to wait a very long time for his next book. I do have them all now. I've beena ble to answer some of the weirdest questions that people ask, thanks to Cecil and his genius. Even though my friends just think I'm really smart ;) I do give credit to Cecil whenever I give an answer that I've gotten from one of his books. Turned a lot of people on to him that way. And I loved his TV show!
08-22-1999, 08:18 PM
Ages ago, my son loaned me his copy of "More of the Straight Dope," and I just laughed my ass off. Informative and funny - can't beat that! My son also told me about this site. I didn't even know Cecil had a newspaper column til I saw mention of it here. I only wish the column appeared in my newspaper (The Washington Post). How does one go about campaigning for that? Contact the paper or Cecil?
08-22-1999, 08:24 PM
Strainger, I, too read the same article in DISCOVER magazine. In fact, I still have that issue! I love Cecil's first book and how he was always picking on/putting down those folks in "Balmer"/Maryland.
"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"
E A Poe
08-22-1999, 08:52 PM
I first encountered it as a kid when my mother would bring home a local weekly that carried it. I liked it but didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it until I got a job as a proofreader at the same paper and had to read every word of it (what a job, eh?). As a grownup, I laughed even harder than when I was a kid. And once I got onto the Internet, it was all over.
08-22-1999, 08:54 PM
Beginning about 1983, it was the first thing I turned to in the DC City Paper. And the lack of it is yet another reason to be sorry I moved to San Francisco.
Never regret what seemed like a good idea at the time.
08-22-1999, 08:55 PM
Ran across it in a magazine (Guess it was DISCOVER) and was interested. And forgot about it.
Turned on the TV one Sunday night on A&E and that was it. Production value was a disappointment, but the information content was great.
I chanced across a copy of Return of the Straight Dope a bookstore and was compelled to buy it. Two or three years later, I located The Straight Dope and More of the Straight Dope while Christmas shopping and snapped them up without hesitation.
When The Straight Dope Tells All appeared in my bookstore, and snapped it up also and found out about the AOL SD site, the website and afca. Seeing as how I was using the 10 free hours of AOL deal, I looked into the AOL boards. When AOL dropped SD, I moved here and to mfsd (I check out afca occasionally also).
08-22-1999, 09:45 PM
As a kid I read a LOT (still do). I ran across the first Straight Dope book when I was about ten or eleven and I loved it. Then came More of the Straight Dope and I loved that too. Then (gasp) there were no more Straight Dope books for a long time and our newspaper (The Denver Post) didn't carry it. I was crushed. But somehow I managed to survive (I admit I used David Feldman's Imponderable books, but I didn't inhale). Then I came across Return of the Straight Dope and learned about Cecil's website. My life had meaning again.
"The problem with reality is the lack of background music." -- Anon
08-22-1999, 10:24 PM
I've always had a fascination for reading about obscure and interesting facts. The Guiness Book of World Records, The Book of Lists, (I've since learned better), and any trivia book I could get my hands on.
When I was in college, I found the first SD book in the book store. I've been hooked ever since.
08-22-1999, 10:36 PM
I love reading the trivia/non-fiction stuff, too. I was in a bookstore and went to the reference section and saw the first book. I loved it and bought all of them since.
One day I signed on AOL and on the first screen they had a reference to the Straight Dope MBs and I checked it out. And here I am!
Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!
08-22-1999, 10:42 PM
Hmmm. Good question. I honestly don't remember. I know I bought the first book a while ago (a loooong while ago -- like when it first came out, I think), but I don't know why. Might have read about it in Discover, since I've been getting that forever, but if so, I don't remember it. I might've just chanced upon it in a bookstore, I guess. I just don't know...
08-22-1999, 10:46 PM
> I only wish the column appeared in my
> newspaper (The Washington Post).
If you live in the Washington area, you can read the column in _The Washington City Paper_. It's a free weekly paper. You do know about it, don't you?
08-22-1999, 11:24 PM
I don't remember. It was just this past April... I think I saw a link to it on another site (maybe the Skeptic's Dictionary, or CSICOP or REALL?). I still haven't bought a book since these days I spend more time plopped down in front of the computer than reading. I inhaled the archives and then, needing a fix, turned to the mb. I'll buy a book when my computer is repo'd.
"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy
08-22-1999, 11:33 PM
I live for reference and trvial knowledge. Funny thing is that I bypassed the Straight Dope book (the first) for a while because I thought it was about pot. I found the book in hubby's bathroom when we were dating and, well with nothing better to do at the moment, picked it up and was hooked. It has changed my life. :) I don't know of any Michigan Papers that carry Cecil, but thank goodness for the internet.
08-22-1999, 11:34 PM
My grandma gave me the first [/i]Straight Dope[/i] book when I was ten or so. I read it to tatters.
There's no good bookstores around here, so I was checking out Amazon.com, and out of curiosity looked for Cecil's name, hoping he might have had a sequal. After I got the books in the mail, I saw that there was a web site for Straight Dope, and the rest is history.
08-23-1999, 12:10 AM
A friend of mine always turned up with interesting sites on the Net, such as the Darwin Awards and The Onion. In the beginning of this year, The Straight Dope entered my vocabulary, and I've been hooked on it ever since.
08-23-1999, 12:18 AM
Alien lifeforms have planted me amongst the Dopers in order to begin the long and tiresome process of reprograming skeptics.
08-23-1999, 12:33 AM
I, too, was one of those folks who was browsing the reference section at the book store (sometime in the early 90's) and happened upon "The Straight Dope". It was like HEAVEN! Questions you always wondered but didn't know who to ask (or didn't have the nerve to ask). Shortly after that, I found Cecil in the Boston Phoenix and life has been a breeze ever since.
I think you're smarter than a dumb slug. - Christopher A. Evans
08-23-1999, 12:38 AM
When I started school in DC, I picked up a City Paper and there he was writing interesting articles about interesting things. I went through four years of reading him every week.
Then I moved to California. The dark ages began.
Not only does Santa Barbara not have Cecil in their measly free weekly paper, but the paper you buy here isn't as good as the Washington City Paper. Even the LA Weekly isn't as good as the Washington City Paper. I would venture to say that the Washington City Paper is the best free newspaper on the face of the earth.
I should have ordered a year subscription and had it sent here.
Wow, thats a great newspaper.
Oh, and the dark ages ended when I found out about his website, and dedicated about 4 weeks of my life constantly reading the Straight Dope archives.
08-23-1999, 01:07 AM
I had been reading "Straight From the Hip", by Mathew Alice, in the San Diego Reader for some time. I'd heard there was a guy who wrote the same kind of column, and was syndicated nationally. I was skeptical, but when I saw Cecil's first book in a bookstore, I gave it a try, and immediately knew Cecil was the master and Matt just an entertaining imitator. I've been a fan ever since.
08-23-1999, 03:50 AM
Reference section of the bookstore (at Notre Dame, no less! Take that, Cece). Bought the first one, waited years for the second and the third. Gave away numerous copies to family and friends.
I never lived in Chicago but spent many years traveling through and visiting, and always trying to find a copy of the Reader. Took me six years to find anyone in Chicago who had ever heard of it.
Going online is the best thing ever for TSD. The fight against ignorance goes on !
08-23-1999, 04:41 AM
I started reading it in 1980 from the Isthmus in Madison. Have always picked up that paper when in town since. Tried to type in this url the first day I had a working internet connection. The Isthmus is online sunbear.
08-23-1999, 07:20 AM
When I went to live with my dad in my high-school years, once in a great while he would take me with him when he had to work late, bonding time or whatever. Anyway he was a state worker so he had free internet at work, and he would get me started reading the SD archives then go do his paperwork.
One day a few years later, I couldn't think of anything interesting to look up on hubbie's computer, so I stopped here.
Now, I am trying to halt the process of brain atrophy. I can't think of a better place to do that.
possibly the world's only naive cynic
08-23-1999, 08:58 AM
Gr8kat said:I don't remember. It was just this past April... I think I saw a link to it on another site (maybe the Skeptic's Dictionary, or CSICOP or REALL?).Hmmm. I don't think it was the REALL site. Maybe Skeptic News? I submitted a news item when Cecil revisited vampires. Not sure if that's the right time frame or not, though.
08-23-1999, 09:52 AM
I saw the (first) book at Barnes and Noble around 1991 or so. Opened it up and found:
What does the H stand for in Jesus H. Christ?
The H. stands for Harold, as in "Our lord, Harold be thy name."
And from that moment on, I was hooked.
Chaim Mattis Keller
"Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks."
-- Douglas Adams's Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective
08-23-1999, 04:04 PM
I bought the first book at a garage sale in the mid 80's and have been a huge fan ever since. Why anybody would want to get rid of Cecil at a garage sale, I don't understand. But their loss was definitely my gain.
In the 80's, I bought the Straight Dope Book. It appealed to me because of it's humor and intelligence. Cecil told a reader--"If ignorance were cornflakes, you'd be General Mills." That really cracked me up.
The Straight Dope web site came up once when I did a web search on "Ask Jeeves"
I love message boards and I really enjoy this one. Partly because most of the posters spell things correctly and follow grammar rules. I can't stand misspelling--it's the school teacher in me.
"Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you, my friend--
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again...."
08-23-1999, 06:54 PM
My brother in law gave me Return of the Straight Dope when i was in the hospital following back surgery. I laughed so hard I had to keep putting the book down (it really hurt!). I sincerely think that book helped speed my recovery tremendously....really took my mind off things and made me laugh my ass off...
An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.
08-23-1999, 07:31 PM
pricciar: you probably already know about this:
if not, you can thank me later :)
Gail: Uh, I guess you meant to say:
"It appealed to me because of itshumor and intelligence" :D
I discovered Cecil at our municipal library several years ago and, to use what has become a cliché, I was hooked. I'm also cheap: I borrowed all of his books from said library.
Can't wait for SD to come to the Internet.
(Now to double check this so as to not fall prey to Gail's revenge)
08-24-1999, 03:23 AM
Read it in the New York Press when I first moved back to New York City in 1989.
Loved it then, love it now, even if Cecil has yet to return an e-mail or answer a question...
CMC International Records
Yahoo Messenger Brian_ONeill
08-24-1999, 08:43 AM
Omniscientnot said:Can't wait for SD to come to the Internet.Er, what are we doing now?
08-24-1999, 08:55 AM
David: Does this help: :D?
I saw the show on A&E several times, then ran across a link to SD on AOL. That is about the ONLY thing I have to thank AOL for.
"Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity."~~G.K.Chesterton 1908
08-24-1999, 05:10 PM
Thank you so much, omniscientnot!!!!! I didn't even think that they would have a site, kinda dumb, since every other free paper in the world has one. I went there, and its set up well, as to be expected from such a great paper.
Maybe I can find out, if I can sign up to get it mailed to me each week. I know, I can read it on the web and it will save paper. But, the reason I loved the city paper, is because I could bring it to Vesuvio's (Which, no longer exists, best pizza in DC) and kill a day, eating pizza and reading stuff. Thank you again.
08-24-1999, 09:04 PM
I work at a discount remainders/closeouts bookstore (email me if you want the url of the company, I don't like advertising in a message) and we got ALL the books, including the newest one, in. So I read them all on my coffee breaks and lunch hours, buying 1 or 2. Then in the newest book I read of the url for this page, and started reading the message board.....
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