Rudolph the Useless Reindeer… X-)

so i said all this to a friend, and he laughed and called me Sherlock… i took that as a very big compliment. 🙂  so i dunno, i just thought i’d post it here and see what happens. X-)

i worked at a cash register in a grocery store for 11 years, and during the Christmas season, they played Christmas music non-stop from the day after Thanksgiving until sometimes a few days after Christmas, so i was forced to hear every rendition imaginable of every traditional Christmas song… one year, one of those songs in particular caught my attention: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  after thinking about the lyrics while listening to it for the millionth time, i couldn’t help noticing how completely nonsensical they really are.  it’s gotta be THE most illogical Christmas song i think i’ve ever heard. X-)  if you stop and think about it, under the conditions of the song, Santa would’ve had absolutely no use for a reindeer with a red nose that gave off light… in fact, it would’ve only served to make the situation worse.

so… Rudolph had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows.  ok, hold on a minute, here.  was it shiny, or did it glow?  it can’t do both.  the scientific definition of the word “shine” is the amount of light that reflects off of an object’s surface.  the shine is about the reflection of an outside light source, so the adjective “shiny” would then mean that the nose has no light source of its own.  but if it has no light source, then it can’t glow because to glow, something has to give out the light itself… it has its own light source.  so either it’s shiny or it glows.  bioluminescence doesn’t occur in mammals unless they’ve been genetically altered by scientists… and even then, it’s usually green, not red… so either his nose was shiny, or he’s a scientific experiment that escaped from Baskerville.  which one is it? X-)

later in the song, it’s a foggy Christmas Eve when Santa comes to ask Rudolph to lead the sleigh with his bright nose.  wait a second now, there are multiple things wrong with this scenario.  firstly, what we normally think of as “fog” couldn’t happen in the North Pole.  that requires warmer air to be saturated by evaporating water, so it’s WAY too cold for conventional fog.  but there is such a thing as “ice fog,” which is a fog composed of teeny, tiny, dang-near microscopic crystallized ice particles suspended in the air, but that requires a temperature of around -40°F/C… WAY too cold for Santa to be going outside without some serious cold weather gear.

either way, if it was foggy, Rudolph wouldn’t have been any help, but rather a hindrance to Santa.  if his nose was shiny, then it required a light source to be of any use to him in the night, and if the idea was that Santa wanted to add a light source, Rudolph wouldn’t have one, therefore he would’ve been useless.  but if his nose glowed, he still would’ve been useless because anyone who’s ever been in a car in the fog at night knows that turning on the bright lights in the fog actually reduces visibility.  the light reflects off of all the particles of water… or in this case, ice… floating in the air, causing you to not be able to see anything but the fog itself.  that’s why fog lights are low to the ground and less bright than regular headlights.  if Santa wanted to be able to see better in a fog, he would need to reduce the light level in and around the sleigh to keep the light from blinding him and the reindeer.

so going by the situation and conditions mentioned in this song, Rudolph would’ve been useless with his bioluminescent snooter… poor Rudolph, he just can’t win. X-)

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