Fire, Prometheus, and Liver

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was god named Prometheus. We’ve talked about him a little in the past here and here and here. And here. But I’ve never actually told you the full story. Time to rectify that.

Once upon a time—wait. That’s not exactly right.

Back in the beginning of time (or shortly thereafter), there weren’t any people. To keep themselves occupied, the gods fought among themselves (that’s what the Big Bang was before it became a TV show). Fast forward to the end middle of the family bickering, and Prometheus and Epimetheus were told to make man and animals.

Epimetheus got right to work on the animals, and with each creature he created, he reached into his Bag of Gifts and bestowed one upon the animal. He handed out swiftness, cunning, fur, shells, wings, and snailness. He handed out slime and scales and extra legs. He gave out super noses and pouches and prickles and quills.

Meanwhile Prometheus was sculpting man out of mud and clay, and Athena breathed life into man. Prometheus strolled over to the Big Bag o’ Gifts to find something nice for his people pets. But Epimetheus had given everything away.

Prometheus thought and thought (but faster than that) and decided he had to find something. So (being the kind of dude he was) he snuck up to Olympus and grabbed some fire which he gave to man. Probably he gave it to a woman because she was a better chef and was in charge of keeping the family warm.

Zeus decreed that man would be required to sacrifice a portion of the mealtime to the gods. And (being the kind of dude he was) his decree said that the bestest, most yummy portion of the meat (and never the lima beans). Prometheus didn’t want his pets to give away the best portions and decided to intervene.

Prometheus mad two piles: one had the bones of an animal wrapped in juicy fat; the other had the best portion. Prometheus covered each pile with animal hides and asked Zeus to choose which portion would go to the gods. Zeus picked the yummy smelling….bones. (As a reminder, Zeus was powerful, but not exactly a rocket scientist.)

Zeus had agreed, but he was annoyed irked angry royally pissed off. And a hangry Zeus was generally a problem for someone. In this case, Zeus took fire away from the people persons.

Prometheus saw all his people huddling around a non-warming pile of sticks and eating cold pop tarts and knew he had to Do Something. So he built a small torch, flew up to the sun to light it, and brought the present back to the people.

While this wasn’t exactly undoing what Zeus did, it was just a miss on a technicality and Zeus reached a whole new level of annoyed irked angry royally pissed off. Zeus decided to punish Prometheus and man.

Zeus was nothing if not diabolical and he sent Pandora (the woman not the radio station—that came later) to punish people. But you already know that story.

To punish Prometheus for tricking him about the sacrifices, stealing fire, and refusing to tell Zeus which ungrateful child would dethrone him, Zeus chained Prometheus to a huuuuuge rock in the Caucasus Mountains and sent a giant eagle to eat his liver every day.

Eventually Prometheus was freed, but that’s another story. Until then, he was pretty miserable which made some of the renaissance artists very happy since they loved painting Greek misery.

And now you know.

Love, Mom

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What the Hoosier?

Dear Kid,

If you’d been hanging around in the United States in the 1600s, you would not have heard anyone use the term “Hoosier.” Even if you went to the area now known as Indiana, you wouldn’t have found anyone talking about Hoosiers.

Today, you can’t miss ‘em.

Somewhere in the 1800s, the term “Hoosier” sprang up, full grown, into usage.

What the Hoosier? Find out the real reason behind the name. DearKidLoveMom.comThere are lots of “explanations” given for the derivation of the term, some of them more outlandish than others.

Outlandish: They wanted to be the cool kids on the block when the phrase “Who’s Your Daddy?” came into usage.

Realistic: They wanted to be able to give people the “Duh” look when asked what a Hoosier is.

Outlandish: It comes from the word hoosa which means American Indian maize (corn).

Realistic: Indiana University inherited a mascot uniform and they had to have a name to go along with it.

And still History Departments at major academic institutions don’t call me to guest lecture. Go figure.

We had lovely time at IU yesterday, even if our presence caused yet another home team to forget to win while we were there.

Love, Mom

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Stop In the Name of The Supremes and the Senate (and G. W.)

Dear Kid,

September 24th is an auspicious day. Make a note.

It is important partly because it is today (and Today should always be important in the moment if not in hindsight) and partly because of what happened in 1789.

If you’d been around in 1789, you would have had longer hair and you probably would have spent a lot of time saying things like “I live in the United States of America” because the country was new and it cool to talk about it. No one had invented the term ‘Murica at that point.

If you and your longer hair happened to be hanging out in the Congressional corridors, you’ve have learned that it was a Big Day because the Judiciary Act of 1789 was being passed and immediately signed by President George Washington.

So get this: policy decided, drafted, debated, passed, signed, and enacted. Just like that. Bam! Mind blowing.

Later that Very Same Day, George got to implementing. The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the Supreme Court of the United States (until then, disputes were settled with Rock, Paper, Scissors), and The Very Same Day the legislation was enacted George nominated John, John, William, John, Robert, and James to sit on the Supreme Court. (John was named Chief Justice.)

But it gets even more astonishing. Just two (2) days later, in a stunning act of bipartisan sanity, ALL SIX APPOINTMENTS WERE CONFIRMED BY THE SENATE.

Political observers have wisely pointed out that there are two very good reasons the nominations went through so quickly and easily. The first is that it’s History and we Americans like our history somewhat romanticized—and apparently the founding fathers were obliging. The second reason is that Twitter hadn’t been invented yet. Neither had ‘Murica.

If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. -- G. W., President DearKidLoveMom.comAs you know, I’m generally pretty a-political in these letters. Partly because I think you should make up your own mind, partly because there are plenty of people talking politics out there, partly because people who talk about politics rarely listen to me, and mostly because I find politics (generally) dull as dried mud. (But boring or not, you should be sure to vote. It’s important.)

On the other hand, it seems to me that our current political leaders could learn a thing or two about Getting Things Done (and Done Quickly with Quality) from those who were in their roles in 1789.

Hope your day is Supremely Awesome.

Love, Mom

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Why Reality TV Is Reality (Really)

Dear Kid,

I can sleep all the time because I don't have a cell phone or reality TV. DearKidLoveMom.comWe have a new season of Project Runway (I know this is meaningful in your life). I can’t say I’m completely addicted (I won’t bodily harm someone for interrupting the show) but I am enjoying.

The secret recipe for reality TV is simple. Take a bunch of (high strung) outspoken individuals from diverse backgrounds, throw them in close quarters, add a hefty dose of stress, season with a time-based challenge (preferably one that deprives them of sufficient sleep), and wait to see how people react. Roll camera.

Real life works similarly (but without the cameras). We’re often under stress. We’re often handed challenges and not given sufficient time or resources to figure things out. We’re judged partly on our results and partly on our poise, grace, and professionalism throughout.

While we (generally) can’t control time frame (you want it when?) or resources (you want me to build it with three toothpicks and a roll of Scotch tape? Really?), we can control our attitude (can do!) and our behavior.

Whether the cameras are recording every snarky comment or not, how you act makes a difference.

Love, Mom

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Elephants, Hobbits, and Breakfast

Dear Kid,

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! Take a moment to appreciate your favorite elephant. DearKidLoveMom.comIt’s Elephant Appreciation Day (but you knew that).

African elephants have the best sense of smell in the animal kingdom. They can smell water 12 miles away and detect rain 150 miles away. Elephants would make excellent TV weather people, except they are smarter than the average meteorologist.

And it’s the Autumnal Equinox which means that if you were standing exactly on the equator (which you’re not) and you’d brought a stop watch with you (which you probably wouldn’t have done) and if you happened to time both the day and night (which you’d only do if you cared about such things and you probably don’t), you’d discover that the Autumnal Equinox is when (on the equator) there are exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night.

And it’s Hobbit Day, what with being Frodo and Bilbo Baggins’ birthday. Hobbits love to eat and eat 7 meals a day including breakfast and second breakfast.

“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

That seems like enough of a reason to be a Hobbit. Breakfast and Second Breakfast? I’m in love.

Elephants don’t divide their food into meals; they eat all day long. Maybe I’ll be a Hobbit-Elephant. Hobephant? Elebbit?

“May the hair on your toes never fall out!”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

And Happy Fall.

Love, Mom

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Goldy Teaches the Bears Some New Words

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time there was a little girl. She was actually quite a spoiled child. She had blonde hair which she loved. Her real name was Trudy but she insisted everyone call her Goldilocks and if they didn’t she would throw a tantrum.

This is the story of Goldilocks and the three bears like you've never heard it before. DearKidLoveMom.comAs I said, she was quite spoiled so everyone called her Goldilocks except her Great Aunt who called her Goldy and didn’t care a bit a bit about tantrums because she lived on the other side of the county and would just go home if the chaos got to be too much.

Goldilocks spent her time running around with the cool girls and bullying anyone and everyone. As I said, not a terribly nice young lady.

One day after Goldilocks was particularly nasty at school, the principal had Had Enough and he called her parents. After explaining the situation to a very confused set of parents who greatly preferred to keep their heads in the sand, the principal left them to talk to Goldilocks.

The conversation did not go well (Goldy’s parents hadn’t had much practice after all). Goldilocks threw a colossal tantrum and stormed out of the school. Never having been faced with not getting her way, Goldilocks didn’t really know what to do or where to go and after a few minutes she found herself wandering through the woods.

Facts about The Woods:

There are no street signs. There are no “You Are Here” maps. There are large animals. There is poison oak (but Goldilocks had never bothered to learn what it looked like).

After several hours (it was really only about 45 minutes, but to Goldilocks it felt like for-ev-er), Goldilocks wandered into a house. She actually wandered into it because her hair was blowing around and she didn’t see the house until she’d bumped into it.

Goldilocks taught the trees some new words.

Hot, tired, and frustrated, Goldilocks didn’t even bother knocking on the front door, she just stormed into the house. “Water,” muttered Goldilocks, “I need water.” And then a little louder, “Hello? Hello? Looking for some water here.”

This is the story of Goldilocks and the three bears like you've never heard it before. DearKidLoveMom.comWhen there was no answer, Goldilocks taught the kitchen counter some new words.

After she got a glass of water, Goldilocks turned, looking for a place to sit. There on the kitchen table, she saw three bowls of porridge. She thought they were oatmeal, because they didn’t have nametags.

Did I mention that she was quite the brat? Grabbing a spoon, Goldy took a bite. “Hot! Hot! Hot!” she said. Now, I’m not sure why she thought that another bowl would be a different temperature, but she took a bite of bowl number 2. “Blech! Blech! Cold!” said Goldilocks trying to spit out the porridge. The girl was nothing if not persistent, so she took a bite of number three. Contrary to popular belief, she didn’t say anything because her mouth was full and there was no one to talk to. And she ate the entire bowl (which wasn’t very big).

After snack, Goldilocks found herself in a carb coma, so she wandered into the living room. (No, she didn’t clean up the dishes. She didn’t even put them up to soak. Did you have to ask?)

“Who decorated this place?” snobbed Goldilocks. “Huge chair, medium chair which is still too big, and reasonably sized chair. Nothing matches, nothing looks comfy.” She decided to try the little chair, and when she sat in it, it broke into a zillion pieces. Goldilocks taught the rug some new words.

Despite having just landed on her keister, Goldilocks couldn’t resist exploring the entire house. Boundaries were not something her parents enforced. Duh.

Upstairs she went. She flopped into the first bed she found, but it was made of concrete. Goldilocks taught the bed spread some new words. She tried the second bed, but the pillows swallowed her and she spent ten minutes trying to claw her way to freedom. Finally, she crashed in the last bed and fell instantly asleep.

Meanwhile, the home’s occupants had been out for a family walk while they waited for their hot/cold/just right porridge to reach room temperature. When they got back, they immediately noticed the break in. Since Papa Bear fancied himself a bear of a sheriff, the family waited while Papa sniffed the door, took finger prints paw prints, and generally posed for selfies. Eventually, Papa reached a Conclusion. “Someone has been here,” he announced. Mama Bear smiled and said, “Yes, Dear.” Baby Bear rolled his eyes and went inside to find breakfast.

While Mama Bear started the coffee, Baby Bear (who was a little on the spoiled side himself) realized his porridge was pre-eaten for him and set up a bit of a fuss. And when we’re talking bears, “a bit of” is more than a little bit.

Mama Bear offered Baby Bear some of her porridge, but it was too cold for him. After a glare from Mama Bear, Papa Bear offered Baby Bear some of his porridge, but by that time BB had stomped off to the living room where he discovered the broken furniture and set up a howl.

“Stop howling,” said Pap Bear. “Now, Dear,” said Mama Bear. “Someone is sleeping in MY BED!” said Baby Bear. “Smarf, snurf, what? BEAR! AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!” said Goldilocks.

“A HUMAN!” yelled Baby Bear and proceeded to throw a tantrum. Papa Bear began to lumber up the stairs. “Get out of my house,” yelled Papa Bear. “Now, Dear,” said Mama Bear in the most soothing tones she could manage.

“More bears!!” yelled Goldilocks and—because she’d learned a thing or two about tantrums even if she never learned manners—began to throw a tantrum that was even more impressive than Baby Bear’s.

Papa Bear looked from BB to Goldy in confusion. “Coffee’s ready,” Mama Bear called, who knew a thing or two about ignoring tantrums. Papa Bear continued to look at the tantrums while he tried to figure out exactly where he’d lost control of the day.

Eventually, Goldilocks up off the bed, tripped over her shoes, screamed, and taught the bears some new words.

Then she ran home. Well, she tried to run home but she had no idea where she was so she actually wandered around the forest until some Boy Scouts found her. By that time, her hair was a hot mess. The always-prepared scouts had forgotten to bring hair detangler, but they had a jackknife and happily hacked off her hair.

From then on Trudy was still a badly behaved child—but one who used her real name. And a wig.

Love, Mom

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You’ve Never Seen a Boot Like This

Dear Kid,

There’s a boot!

Not just a boot, a BootMobile. An enormous, drivable, boot. (And I so love weird stuff like this.)

LL Bean (of Maine fame) is coming to Cincinnati, and ahead of its arrival they sent the boot. How could we not go check it out?

LL Bean bootmobile! Get ready for social media.

Especially because I have a pair of LL Bean Duck Boots that are older (a lot older) than you are.

LL Bean bootmobile! Get ready for social media.

Bean Boots were first made in 1911 which makes them older (a lot older) than you. Leon Leonwood Bean (you always wondered what the L.L. stood for didn’t you) got cold toes while hunting. Which isn’t surprising since he lived in Freeport, Maine, and it’s always cold there. He convinced a local cobbler to make him a pair of boots using rubber soles from rainboots and leather from leather boots, and voila! the boot (the boot mobile came later).

Love, Mom

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