Day 502: Why questions

I love asking questions — to myself and to others.  I think that’s a great way to learn.  Also, asking the big questions is considered good writing, especially in journalism.

What are “the big questions”?







I just googled “journalistic writing style answering the questions what where when how1.” Why did I do that? To check my facts and my memory … to see if I’m being a good-enough reporter, so far, in this blog post.

What did I find?

News writing attempts to answer all the basic questions about any particular event—who, what, when, where and why (the Five Ws) and also often how—at the opening of the article.

From Wikipedia entry “News style”

How is my credibility right now, regarding those questions?  Pretty darn good, I would say.

Why does my post title include only one of those journalistic questions?

I’ll answer that with another question: Do you really want to read a blog post that long, on a weekend, people?

Next question.

Why did I choose Why questions, in particular, today?

As usual, I have more than one reason, but here’s the main one:

When I was a little kid, I loved watching comedians on TV with my dad.  I always noted the people who made him laugh, because my father was so friggin’ funny, himself.

One of the people who made us both laugh was Professor Irwin Corey.

Who was Professor Irwin Corey?

Let’s see how Google answers that question.

Oh my goodness!  I was afraid to look, because … I figured the Professor was long gone. He’s not! Here’s what I found on Wikipedia:



Corey in a 1963 television appearance
Born July 29, 1914 (age 99)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Years active 1938–present
Genres Wit/Word play, improvisational and character comedy, satire
Influenced Lenny BruceTom Smothers[1]
Spouse Fran Corey (1941–2011);[2] 1 son
Website Official website

Here are more excerpts from that Wikipedia entry:

“Professor” Irwin Corey (born July 29, 1914) is an American comic, film actor and activist, often billed as “The World’s Foremost Authority”. He introduced his unscripted, improvisational style of stand-up comedy at the well-known San Francisco club, the hungry i.

Lenny Bruce once described Corey as “one of the most brilliant comedians of all time”.[3]

Why did I include excerpts from that Wikipedia article, here?  Because I know many of my readers won’t click on links. Why did I include those particular excerpts?  Because those are the ones that are making me happiest, right now.

When I was a little kid, I didn’t know most of those things about Professor Irwin Corey.  Heck, I didn’t know most of those things about him, until just now.

Here’s a question I haven’t answered yet:

Why did I want to include Professor Irwin Corey in today’s blog post?

Because I have this distinct memory of something he did, on a TV talk show, in the 1960’s, which (1) made me laugh and (2) amazed me.  The host (most likely Mike Douglas) asked “The World’s Foremost Authority” a question, like this:

Professor Corey, why do you wear clothes like those?

And Professor Corey answered (as best I can remember):

That is actually a two-part question.  The first part of that question is … Why?  Human beings have been trying to answer that question for millennia.  The most learned and famous philosophers, throughout history, have been struggling to answer the question of “Why?” Why indeed?

The second part of that question is “Do I wear clothes like those?”  The answer is “YES!”

I would now like to pay homage to Professor Irwin Corey, as I end this post with some recent photos.

Why did I take each of the pictures I’m about to show you?

That’s a two-part question, my dear readers.

Why? I’m not sure I could ever completely — or even adequately — explain why I took these photos. Who could ever completely explain any example of human behavior?   I could articulate my thoughts at the time I snapped the photos, I suppose, but probably some of my reasons were subconscious, and not available to me. And who’s to say whether my personal reasons and explanations would be that interesting, to somebody else?2

Did I take each of the pictures I’m about to show you?

















Thanks to my father, to Professor Irwin Corey, to Wikipedia, to foremost authorities everywhere, to those asking “Why?” whenever they can, to everything that contributed to the words and images in this post, and to you — of course! — for reading today.


1  Why did I include all those words in my Google search? Why not? It worked, didn’t it?

2 Feel free to answer, yourself, any question of Why did Ann take that photo?

Categories: Nostalgia, personal growth, photojournalism, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 31 Comments

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31 thoughts on “Day 502: Why questions

  1. Professor Irwin Corey also gave the acceptance speech for Thomas Pynchon when Gravity’s Rainbow was awarded the National Book Award in 1973. For that he has my eternal gratitude.

  2. Well, my photo answer is that you are not afraid of your shadow, Ann, so we will not get six more weeks of winter.

    And one more: That is the biggest mouse on a computer mouse pad ever?

    I like your lesson on the journalistic W’s and H. In 101, they also taught us that after asking those questions, we should write the news story in something called the inverted pyramid style. Fit as many of the answers to the Ws and H up top and broaden as you go along. In this day and age, journalists are not allowed to broaden anymore, ever. Did you see the new Associated Press rule? All stories except the most important of the day must be kept to 200 words? My comments to you are all longer than 200 words.

    Finally. Where I grew up, for some reason, there were two H’s on the list. The question Why? was often asked as How Come? Odd. Have a good Saturday, Ann.

    • If my father were still alive, Mark, I would share this comment of yours with him. How come? I’m sure he would have enjoyed it. Thanks for all you wrote.

  3. Happy Saturday Ann!

  4. Love the mouse! And all yoru photos and the fact you are so curious — it is a sign of leadership. 🙂

    Also — i didn’t know that about the AP rule — seriously? 200 words?

    oh dear. we are evolving into a world of short attention spans! Not good! I can’t keep my blog posts under 700!

    • I think I’ve written a couple of blog posts under 200 words, Louise, but very rarely. I’m glad we are under no such restrictions, here!

      And thank you for this short — but very sweet — comment.

  5. In reporting,, the 5 w’s are indeed important, when venturing forward with a plan, WHY is most important to me. If you can’t answer WHY, then What, Where, When, Who and How aren’t relevant because why would you move forward?
    Diana xo

  6. Questions are meaningful, and not just for their answers.

    Just yesterday,my friend told me that her mother, who had Alzheimer’s, would often ask her, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” I reflected that although the mother had forgotten her own name and the names of her children, she had not forgotten how important it is to ask questions like these. Of course, her daughter always answered, “I’m Judy, your third child, and also your favourite.” (There’s no rule against weighting answers in your own favour….)

    I love that you ask questions in your blog. I love that you indulge us in weighting the answers in our own favour…

    • And I love how you give answers, in your comments.

      I thought of asking you this question: How do I weight the answers in your favor? But then I realized I actually don’t need an answer to that. That is, you’ve already given me so much, already. And, maybe I can come up with my own answers!

  7. How do you indulge us by weighting the answers in our own favour?

    I’ve noticed that you are always encouraging in your responses to our comments. You give the impression that we have connected with your post in just the way you hoped we would, and that we have delighted or moved you. That’s true whether we tell you a story about ourselves that’s only barely relevant (as I did) or we answer a question that you asked. I’ve never seen you write, “You totally missed my point.”

    You indulge us by helping us to feel good about ourselves and by affirming our stories about ourselves. You indulge us by letting us find our own meaning in your posts, even by letting us make your posts about us sometimes.

    I think I’m trying to say that you always grade us at 100%, with no red ink. Which makes this a pretty amazing place to visit.

    • And my values guarantee that each response I give is authentic, so I guess that means I have amazing readers, 100%!

      Your comments are weighted in my favor, for sure. They feel like an A+, each time.

      By the way, that story you told? (1) Loved it and (2) completely relevant.

  8. That’s your main blog ingredient: authenticity. You could call it The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally and Authentically.

    But for readers, your authenticity makes it a place of safety.

  9. “Because I know many of my readers won’t click on links.”

    Too right.
    And I love the photos, attitude, and the questions.
    Oh, and the blog.

  10. why
    why not
    inquiring minds
    want to know 🙂

  11. I’d forgotten about Professor Irwin Corey. Thanks for the memories (Bob Hope’s line).

  12. I LOVE the separation of WHY? from the rest of the question.
    Sometimes the WHY because irrelevant and it is simply that it (whatever it is) must be.

  13. Pingback: Day 667: Norms | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  14. Pingback: Day 717: Interrupting | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  15. Pingback: Day 1064: Audiences | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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