Mah Jong

Dear Kid,

Mah Jong (Mandarin for Jewish women chatting and playing with tiles) DearKidLoveMom.comI learned (sort of) how to play Mah Jong (Mandarin for Jewish women chatting and playing with tiles). Turns out Mah Jong has nothing to do with the solitaire matching game one finds on computers and everything to do with complicated rules.

I did not master the hands. (Apparently, you’re not supposed to say things like “Oooh, I really like the dragons!”)

I did figure out the names of the tiles. None are named George.

My lesson did not include scoring (although I was told that people generally play for money).

Love, Mom

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Jaguar, Not Jagwire

Jaguar, Not Jagwire

Dear Kid,

As you may know, yesterday was Football Day.

And (despite my feelings on the matter), New England barely managed not to lose to Jacksonville. (I’ll pause for a moment while you relive the disappointment.)

I am generally amazed by the amount of research the commentators due for each game. I know they have people feeding them information, but they really do a great job of knowing the facts and figures and history and whatnot.

So you’d think they’d learn to pronounce the team name correctly, wouldn’t you?

Not this time.

When you were a wee thing, you used to say “jag-wire”. It was cute. We corrected you, but it was cute. When you’re in single digits, you can get away with stuff like that.

When you’re on national television, not so much.

They used Jag-wire so often and so confidently, they made me begin to doubt myself.

I looked it up.

Jaguar, not Jagwire DearKidLoveMom.comMom: 1; commentators: 0.

The word is pronounced jag-wahr. Unless you’re promoting the car with a British accent in which case you say Jag-yoo-are. But not jag-wire. Not now, not ever.

Unless you’re 5 years old.

Love, Mom

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National Popcorn Day | January 19th

National Popcorn Day | January 19th

Dear Kid,

The laziest man I ever met put popcorn in his pancakes so they would turn over by themselves. W. C. Fields DearKidLoveMom.comIt may be corny, but today we celebrate National Popcorn Day. No one knows who invented the day, but here we are. (And yes, in case you were wondering, I checked and there is a Popcorn Board but they have no idea where the idea of National Popcorn Day came from. They aren’t about to argue the point, but they didn’t invent it.)

We, the People, are fans of popcorn (on National Popcorn Day and every other day). In fact, we eat more than 17 billion quarts of popcorn in the US. Not all at once.

A popcorn kernel can pop up to three feet in the air if it’s not covered during the popping. This would be dumb because popcorn would end up everywhere except in the bowl meaning you’d have no snack and lots of cleaning. Which sounds like a bad trade to me.

Warning! Do not store popcorn in the refrigerator. The frig will dry out the moisture in unpopped kernels and without the moisture, the popcorn won’t pop. And if it’s already popped, all I can say is cold popcorn. Ick.

In ancient times, people would make popcorn by heating sand in a fire and then stirring popcorn kernels in the sand. This is not a recipe I recommend. Unless you like sand in your popcorn.

Not all popcorn is the same. While the kernels look the same, popcorn pops into two shapes: “snowflake” (which pops bigger and therefore is used at most movie theaters) and “mushroom.” The shape has no impact on the taste or lack thereof.

Popcorn is a whole grain, containing the germ, the endosperm, and the outer hull (pericarp). It also has protein, vitamins, and minerals although the amount depends on how much popcorn you eat. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s a good excuse for snacking.

Happy National Popcorn Day! Excuse me while I make some popcorn to celebrate.

Love, Mom

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Snow Crazies

Snow Crazies

Dear Kid,

The other night I went to the grocery store after the gym. My intent was to pick up a couple of things and head home for dinner. In and out.

The parking lot was a little on the crowded side, but I got lucky, found a space without trouble, and didn’t think anything of it.

I noticed that a few of the shelves were less than overstocked, but I didn’t have any problem finding what I wanted and I chalked up the disorder to Saturday evening low staffing.

Then I went to check out.

I’m telling you, Kiddo, I have never seen lines like that at the grocery store. Never.

Every single register was open. Self-checkout was available at both ends of the store. And the lines were stacked at least 8 carts deep.

I chose to wait in the self-checkout lane. And wait. And wait. Literally, 6 minutes. More than 360 seconds. In other words, forever.

Snow Crazy DearKidLoveMom.comAfter I’d bagged and paid, I asked the woman in charge of the self-checkout area why it was so crowded. (You have to read her answer with a twang.) “Someone hollered ‘snow.’”

Someone hollered “snow.”

First of all, I checked the weather forecast when I got home and there was a possibility of snow. In three days. Mixed with rain. Not accumulating.

Secondly, when we get snow, we generally get an inch or two at most. Then the streets get plowed and we go about our business. We don’t get snowed in for weeks at a time.

And even if it takes a day to get the streets clear, don’t most people have a bit of food in the house already? I don’t understand this panic to stock up on supplies the very minute someone thinks one snowflake might flutter down.

(To clarify: I was shopping because I do a terrible job of planning and Dad couldn’t find the yogurt I asked for when he went to the store a few days before. I was not there because I was suffering from Frozen Vortex Anxiety.)

Love, Mom

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Stupid Stunt of the Day | Stupid Hits a New Level

Dear Kid,

Did you think things had gotten better? Wrong.

Stupidity is running rampant.

Remember when eating cinnamon was the Stupid Stunt of the Day? Bad idea. Really bad.

And then we had Krokodil which was a version of heroine that pretty much guaranteed death. Bad idea. Really bad. Really, really bad. The only good news (if you can call it that) is that most people didn’t (don’t?) have access or interest in trying it.

Now we’ve got some new (and frankly terrifying) trends. These are bad, bad, bad ideas.

Vodka eyeballing is a new—and incredibly stupid—way of getting drunk. You ready for this? People are pouring vodka directly from the bottle even into their eyes. You heard me. Directly. Into. Their. Eyes. The idea is that there a ton of blood vessels in your eye so alcohol is quickly absorbed. Ta-da—super quick buzz. Who cares about things like cornea scars and burns or blindness?

While athletes might not go for vodka eyeballing (after all, if you’re of legal age, who cares if you have alcohol on your breath), some of them are overdosing on supplements. The challenge is that some of the supplements available on the market don’t really help any more than the old fashioned supplements (and by “old fashioned supplements” I mean food), and can cause cramping, weight gain, increased blood pressure, and heart problems. But don’t worry. You’ll look like a stud drinking them.

It’s actually even worse. Because creatine which is found in many of the most popular protein powders and supplements, can cause problems in higher doses. And by problems I mean blood acidity (which draws calcium from bones) and kidney stones formed by the excess calcium. Fabulous.

And now we have a whole new level of Stupid Stunts, and it’s called the Tide Pod Challenge. Note: In this case “Challenge” is neither aspirational nor benign. Teens are challenging each other to eat Tide Pods. This is stupid, incredibly dangerous, and doesn’t even taste good. Note #2: Detergent can kill you if ingested. Your innards are not a washing machine.

If you know anyone trying any of these idiot moves (or even thinking about trying any of these idiot moves), please, please, please intervene.

Love, Mom


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Manners and Colds

Dear Kid,

Sneeze Achoo! Facts you probably don't know about sneezesSpeaking of manners, what is with people?

It’s winter. People have colds.

Cover your mouths people.


Last night I went to the gym (stunner, I know).

After my workout, I went to the sauna. I watched a woman wash her hands with the vigor and concentration generally reserved for surgical residents before she too came to sit in the heat.

Where she sat for a few minutes and then proceeded to cough. Without covering her mouth.

No! I do not want your germies. I am illness-free and I plan to stay that way, and you, you coughing queen, are not helping.

I’m assuming the heat of the sauna killed anything she coughed around, but if I get sick I know who I’m blaming.

Dad, of course.

Love, Mom

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Manners and Martin Luther King Jr Day

Dear Kid,


Those things that Barney the Big Purple Dinosaur taught us about and that Lancelot reinforced ever so convincingly.

They go beyond Please and Thank You (those are still the magic words), beyond holding a door for someone, beyond using the proper fork and glass. Here is a wonderful article (one I didn’t even write) about manners (or lack thereof) in today’s world.

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality. Alfred Painter. DearKidLoveMom.comManners are about respect. They are about acknowledging that other people have their own priorities and concerns. Manners allow us to ask people for favors and then thank them for the favor and/or appreciate that they are not able to deliver on the request.

Manners are about respect and generosity of spirit. They are about finding small ways to put others before ourselves. They are about having conversations on a respectful level rather than from an emotional, biased perspective.

While using an umbrella handle to fling a mug of beer is an excellent method for teaching manners in movie-land and comic books, most of us teach manners by modeling appropriate behavior and gently correcting those around us who forget to behave appropriately.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr DearKidLoveMom.comManners, kindness, open hearts, and generosity of spirit are excellent things to be reminded about on Martin Luther King Jr Day.

Love, Mom

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