Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bob's Your Uncle

By Rose A. Valenta

This is a modified excerpt from Sitting on Cold Porcelain (available at

"Fluid Mechanics ‘Tally Ho!’ and a Dry Martini"

One cannot study fluid mechanics without giving credit to Cheerios, a popular breakfast cereal. Prize-winning scientists have standardized the terms “cheerio effect” and “cheerio magnetization,” when discussing fluid mechanics. An example of the magnetic phenomenon is the way loose Cheerios seem to attract one another like magnets to form clumps as they cling to the sides of a bowl when immersed in liquid - any liquid; not as exciting as Mr. Robert Benchley studying the sex lives of polyps, but visible without magnification.

While Cheerios are good for intake, I have come up with an ingenious idea for a useful expulsion adjunct – “Tally Ho!,” whereby you remove some loose Cheerios from the box and use them as target practice for potty training a young bed wetter. The Cheerios will obligingly clump around the commode.

Now, one could argue that the entertaining sound effect of yellow water hitting the bottom of an empty coffee can also works, but that solves only half the equation. To obtain optimum results for both ways, the principles of fluid mechanics make Cheerios ideal targets.

In order to succeed without the use of complex kinematic equations and projectile motion principles, you use the “Tally Ho!” reward principle. It is based on accuracy and the total number of Cheerios that the subject sinks during the experiment:

1. Zero sunken Cheerios – rip out the last page of Baby Einstein “Peek-a-Boo Bard”
2. One or two sunken Cheerios – read “Peek-a-Boo Bard” aloud in its entirety
3. Three to five sunken Cheerios – read aloud Baby Einstein “Things That Go!”
4. More than five sunken Cheerios – report the pipe buster

Your reward for conducting this experiment is a very large dry martini.

Theoretically, it should take less than one week for “Tally Ho!”! to serve its useful purpose. Then, you should put the remaining loose Cheerios back in the box, enjoy your martini, and fall asleep in a bed that is also - dry.
As a martini aficionado, perhaps I can shed some light on the fluid dilemma of gin vs. vodka and shaken vs. stirred. Rather than take a poll, I have conducted my own research into the matter and have been satisfactorily inebriated for quite some time.

Shaken vs. stirred is rather moot after you have had five, so we shall focus, if that is possible, on the ingredients:

1. Many ounces of gin, and
2. A dash of white dry vermouth.

Notice that I have ruled out the use of vodka, as it does not modify well with gin; and ice and garnish, as they add nothing useful to the drying process.

There you have it, or as they say in the UK, "Bob's Your Uncle!" – fluid mechanics, “Tally Ho! and a dry martini!"