Death By Fireworks, Getting Hit By Lightning, and Lottery Tickets

Dear Kid,

I had a great day yesterday.I had a great day yesterday-Hope you have a great day today! DearKidLoveMom.com

I renewed my driver’s license, and against all expectations it took only 12 minutes from the time I walked in the door until I had a new license (terrible photo—duh).

I went to the post office and in less than 2 minutes I was done. Very different than earlier in the week when half the population of Cincinnati was partying with the USPS.

And that’s how the entire day went.

So I thought about buying a lottery ticket.

I dug up some (not very surprising) facts about the lottery.

  • You are more likely to be struck by lightning 5,000 times than win the lottery
  • You are 146 times more likely to die in a fireworks accident
  • You are 8,000 times more likely to be murdered

Here’s what I find particularly interesting. I’m more likely to be struck by lightning 5,000 (count ‘em, 5K with a comma) times than to win the lottery but only 146 times more likely to die in a fireworks accident.

Is there a fireworks-injury epidemic I don’t know about? How is it even possible that that many people get killed by fireworks? Are people eating fireworks or something?

(Does quick research.) According to MFTI (My Friend The Internet), there are four deaths per year from fireworks, and the most times anyone has ever been hit by lightning is 7 or 8.

Which, as far as I can tell, means I don’t have to worry about death from fireworks, overly fried hair from multiple lightning strikes, or winning the lottery.

Guess it was a good thing I didn’t buy a ticket. But I digress.

Back to yesterday.

Later in the day, I went to the gym. There was virtually no one at the gym, so I was able to use the machinery I wanted without waiting. And my FitRadio was playing great music with no load-time issues.

By working out I burned 225 calories. I celebrated by eating 7 servings of salmon and an entire cheesecake.

See what I mean about a great day?

Love, Mom

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Rape Culture on College Campuses | How One Student Stood Up

Dear Kid,

There was a rape at Vanderbilt University. That in itself is horrible. What’s even worse is the conversation that followed the rape.

Andre Rouillard, editor-in-chief of The Vanderbilt Hustler, did an outstandingly honorable thing by discussing the vilification of the rape victim and condemning those who hold Greek life so sacred they believe its members should be allowed to act without censor or morals. Here is his article, ROUILLARD: The girl that ratted—How one online thread brought out the worst in Vanderbilt.

The problem is that while Andre picked up a rock so we could see the slimy things crawling underneath, there are far more rocks at far more universities where no one is brave enough, interested enough, honorable enough to expose the ugliness to the light

The only way to stop this sort of behavior is to refuse to tolerate it. That is what Andre did in his column. That is what everyone on a college campus must do. Refuse to tolerate the culture of rape. Refuse to tolerate the vilification of victims. Refuse to turn a blind eye to things you know are wrong.

There are only a few weeks left of this semester. But for people who are being mistreated there is no time to waste.

Love, Mom

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Pondering the Palindrome | It’s Palindrome Week!

Dear Kid,

You know about palindromes, right? Phrases or sentences that read the same forward and backward. As in “DAD”. Or “Madam in Eden I’m Adam.” Or “Was it a car or a cat I saw?” Or “Never odd or even.” And of course “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.”

If you were to ask my good friend the internet about palindromes you would find out that there are also lots of really, really stupid ones that people created presumably before they’d had enough coffee. Like “A Santa dog lived as a devil God at NASA.” Huh? Or “Amen icy cinema.” I mean yes, it’s a palindrome, but it doesn’t mean anything (at least I hope it doesn’t). Or the ones that use a lot of names just to get to a palindromic state. There really should be palindrome police.

I have no idea why the word palindrome is not itself a palindrome. Dammit, I’m mad!* If there were palindrome police they would probably fix it.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

This week, this very week, this week is a palindrome week (more than a week—kind of like a baker’s week). Look at the date of each day of the week, then read it backwards: Palindrome!

Mom. Possibly the World's Best Palindrome. DearKidLoveMom.com4/10/14

4/11/14

4/12/14

4/13/14

4/15/14

4/16/14

4/17/14

4/18/14

4/19/14

Palindrome dates are not all that uncommon. But an entire parade of them? Doesn’t happen every week, my friend.

Hope you enjoy the magic of the palindrome dates.

Love, Mom (possibly the world’s best palindrome)

*Palindrome

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April 15: The Good, The Truth, And How to Survive It

taxes-that-sort-of-dayDear Kid,

April 15th has gotten a bad rap. Yes, it’s Income Tax Day, and Lincoln died, and the Titanic sank, and Anna Boleyn and George Boleyn Lord Rochford were accused of adultery and incest, and there was the horror of the Boston marathon, and yes it’s snowing this morning which is a mistake on a whole new level, but is that any reason to condemn 1/365 of the year?

So, being the kind of mom that I, I decided it was time to set the record straight and share some of the fabulous things that happened throughout history on April 15th.

Unfortunately for me, that would involve some fabulous things actually happening on April 15th.

At first, I thought finding fab things for the 15th would be easy. Then I realized I was looking at events for May 15th and I had to start all over.

Some pretty good things happened on April 15th. The first US school for the deaf opened (1817), the first telephone was installed (1877), insulin became generally available (1923), the NFL changed the penalty flag from white to bright gold (1965), and billionaire Leona Helmsley was sent to jail for tax evasion (1992).

But none of that really qualifies as “fabulous.”

Sigh.

And it’s snowing. In April.

Plan B: Advice For April 15

  • Avoid the post office (everyone who isn’t e-filing is mailing their taxes).
  • Avoid “unsinkable” ships. Even in the bathtub.
  • Call your mother (which you already did, but you can certainly do again).

Hope you manage to have a day that qualifies as fab.

Love, Mom

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Canine Worm Rescue (You’ll Want to Read This)

Dear Kid,

As I mentioned yesterday, the coyote incident was not the only interesting animal encounter of the weekend.

Saturday morning Booker was helping me weed the garden. His job was to lie in the sun, moving slightly every now and then to be sure he was being evenly toasted. He hasn’t shown much interest in worms lately (the ones I’ve been finding have been tiny and apparently not great conversationalists), but yesterday I was unearthing worms the size of Godzilla and these he found worth his time to get up and investigate.

Puppy's (temporary) new best friend. DearKidLoveMom.comJust prior the Great Coyote Sniff, Booker was making friends with one these giant worms, but he abandoned it to follow his nose.

Later in the day, I uncovered another one of humongous worms. “Would you like to see?” I asked the puppy.

He happily trotted over to see what I’d found. I moved the worm to a patch of dirt I’d already de-weeded so that Booker wouldn’t be in my way. Booker sniffed the new worm. He pawed at it once and sniffed it again.

And then—I kid you not—he began to use his nose to shovel loose soil onto the worm.

Never in all my days have I seen anything like that. He was trying to cover up the worm. (For the record, the worm didn’t exactly cooperate and Booker had to keep shoveling.) It was the most adorable, amazing thing ever.

When Booker had the worm sufficiently covered (or had gotten bored—I’m not sure which) he went off to continue his nap in the sun.

I sat contemplating the canine-worm relationship for a while. I reached no conclusions, interesting or otherwise.

Happy 41414.

Love, Mom

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Coyote Encounter of the Front Yard Kind

Coyote. The kind that run across your front lawn are scarier. DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

“Grab the dog!”

I am sitting on the ground having a particularly unpleasant argument with a weed about its eviction notice. Booker is near me introducing himself to a worm I uncovered for him. The worm is silent. Booker licks it.

When Dad yells, I dive for the puppy, grabbing his collar and holding on. Think tackling a receiver just before a spectacular diving touch down. Booker ignores me and paws the worm.

A coyote runs across our property, takes a hard left at the water meter, and dashes down the front lawn and across the street, disappearing into the neighbor’s backyard.

I let go of Booker who carefully picks up the worm and trots a few feet away to play with his new friend.

It takes about 3 seconds for him to register Scent of Coyote.

Then all smell breaks loose. The worm is completely ignored (you’re definitely going to want to tune in tomorrow for the second worm story).

Booker dashes around in circles, then backtracks the scent. Dad thinks this is hilarious since the puppy is going the wrong way.

Then, carefully covering the ground in a slight zigzag pattern, Booker begins to follow his nose. Which leads him across our lawn, takes a hard left at the water meter, and pulls him across the street and into the neighbor’s backyard. His nose picks up speed as it goes, so by the time he disappears those little legs are moving at the Speed of the Chase.

Coyotes are not known for playing nicely with small doggies.

Dad heads across the street and to retrieve the pup. After a few minutes, Booker trots back looking prouder of himself than the time he rolled in a dead bird. He did not catch the coyote, but he caught the scent which apparently is good enough for him.

The coyote is presumably doing coyote things that hopefully do not involve small dogs in the neighborhood. The worm is presumably happily enjoying his new location on our lawn (you really are going to want to hear tomorrow’s worm story). Booker’s nose is taking a well-deserved nap. So is the rest of him. The garden still has plenty of weeds, but fewer than it did yesterday.

Love, Mom

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