Pula Arena, Gladiators, Concerts, and Quotes

Dear Kid,

If you happen to be wandering around Croatia, be sure to go to Pula. And if you happen to be wandering around Pula, be sure you go to the amphitheater.

Pula Arena, the history, the present. DearKidLoveMom.comGenerally called the Pula Arena, the amphitheater was built a long time ago. And by “a long time ago” I mean somewhere between 27 BCE and 68 AD. Or possibly all those years. It’s a big coliseum. That’s about the same time The Coliseum was built in Rome (just so you have a reference point).

The Pula Arena is the best preserved of the coliseums (colisei?) being the only remaining Roman amphitheater to have four side towers and all its side and parts (except the women’s restrooms which are mysteriously missing).

The amphitheater is made out of limestone and it’s big. But if you want the dimensions you’ll have to look them up yourself since I’m perfectly content with “big” as a descriptor. It had bunches (again, a fine number in my opinion) of shops probably with signs that said “restrooms for patrons only.” There were 15 gates to let in up to 23,000 spectators who came to gawk at gladiators.

Which raises the question: Were gladiators generally glad? I doubt it, but I’m not aware of any time travel experiments to study gladiator personality.

Maximus: What we do in life echoes in eternity.

After the Romans were finished with the arena, they left it lying right where they’d thrown it. During the middle ages, people used the arena for grazing their livestock. This made things complicated (logistically speaking) when the knights (not of the round table) wanted to hold tournaments there. Guess who got use of the land?

Maximus: Strength and honor.

These days the Arena seats about 5,000 people. This is only partly due to the enlargement of bodies. Concerts, film festivals, equestrian events, and the opera regularly call the Arena home. More importantly (depending on how you look at these things), two professional ice hockey games were played there in 2012.

Quotes because I love you not because they have anything to do with the arena.

Love, Mom

Tigris: We who are about to die, salute you!


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Happy Birthday Professional Football | 5 Things You Don’t Know About Football

Dear Kid,

Happy Birthday Professional Football DearKidLoveMom.comWhere were you August 20, 1920? If you had been in Canton, Ohio, and if you had wandered into the Jordan and Hupmobile Auto Showroom, you might have stumbled into a meeting to organize a professional football league. Eventually, the group of seven formed the American Professional Football Conference (which became the American Professional Football Association which became the NFL). Three weeks after the APFC was formed, salary disputes and rule changes began proving that it was a) professional and b) organized. Mission accomplished.

All of which means that today is the birthday of organized professional football. You can feel free to celebrate at any time during the day.

Professional football began in the 1890s in Pennsylvania. Today it is a game played professionally in cities around the country and on many Division I college campuses. The first teams in the league were the Akron Pros, the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Indians, and the Dayton Triangles. Yes, they were all Ohio teams even though the first professional team was in in Pennsylvania (the Allegheny Athletic Association). Guess how many of those teams remain?

So what have we learned?

  1. Professional football began August 20, 1920, except it really didn’t.
  2. Issues around player salaries, game attendance, and college eligibility have been around longer than football.
  3. Joe Neanderthal was big football fan (it was of course all amateur back then).
  4. It is important that the cost of 3 hot dogs at a professional football game is roughly equivalent to the annual budget for some small cities. This allows the team to pay for roughly one week of the lowest paid athlete.
  5. Watching football is fun.

Love, Mom

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Peanut Butter, Jelly, and the History of PB&J

Peanut butter and jelly DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was no such thing as pb&j. It was a sad state for the world, but was especially sad for a plankton named Bobo. Bobo thought he would really like to try peanut butter but he was eaten by a fish named Frederika before he could share his idea with anyone. Frederika cared not at all about sandwiches, peanut butter or otherwise, and the notion was lost for many a year.

Fast forward through the primordial sludge.

One day, Joe Neanderthal neglected to bring home dinner. Mrs. Neanderthal (a female not to be taken lightly) was Displeased seeing as how she’d spent the entire day cleaning the cave (and if you’ve ever tried to clean a dirt cave you know how tiring that can be).

Once she finished expressing her displeasure (which was fairly painful for Joe), Mrs. Neanderthal set about figuring out how to feed her brood. The cupboard was bare-ish (since Joe hadn’t brought home any bear), so Mrs. N reached through time, grabbed George Washington Carver for a quick consult, and proceeded to make lunch (I told you she wasn’t a female to trifle with).

However, Mrs. N was not one to share her culinary secrets and the world had to wait until peanut butter was invented by the Kellogg brothers in 1895.

Peanut butter and jelly was invented around the turn of the century and was the “it” sandwich until Elvis added bananas and subtracted jelly (thereby establishing his reputation as a singing mathematician).

Love, Mom

Dr. GWC didn’t invent peanut butter. He just invented a gazillion other uses for peanuts. Including taking them out the ballgame and the circus.

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Summer Puppy Conversations | Speaking of Hope

Once you choose hope, anything's possible. ~Christopher Reeve DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Me: Puppy?
Puppy: Sleeping
Me: Cleanup on Aisle 3
Puppy: What did you drop? I’m on it! I can handle it. I’m the dog for the job! I got this…it’s a crumb! I love crumbs. That is a delicious crumb.
Me: Thank you sweetie
Puppy: Are there more?
Me: Not right now
Puppy: I’ll wait, just in case


Me: Heel
Puppy: OK
Me: Stop pulling. Heel
Puppy: I said Ok…SQUIRREL!!! I’ll get it. Must. Go. Chase! This is important. Comeonecomeoncomeon!!
Me: Heel!
Puppy: Stop yanking. That’s not nice
Me: Heel.
Puppy: You have a lot to learn about squirrels


Me: Puppy, where are you?
Puppy: Sleeping
Me: You’re in the sun
Puppy: Sleeping
Me: It’s 93 degrees out here
Puppy: That’s why I’m sleeping
Me: Why not sleep in the shade?
Puppy: You just don’t get it


Puppy: Mom!
Me: Working
Puppy: I need attention
Me: In a bit—I’m working
Puppy: Now is good
Me: How about in a little while
Puppy: Is “now” so difficult to understand?
Me: Fine. I’ll sit on the floor next to you while I work. Is that better?
Puppy: Suit yourself. I’m going to go chew on a toy


Puppy: What do you have?
Me: A grilled cheese sandwich
Puppy: That. Smells. FanTAStic.
Me: Thank you, but it’s my grilled cheese sandwich
Puppy: You might share
Me: No, that’s not going to happen
Puppy: You might change your mind
Me: Seems highly unlikely
Puppy: I’ll wait. Just in case

Love, Mom

For more puppy conversations see Puppy Conversations and Food Observations, Spring Puppy Conversations, New Puppy Conversations, Winter WonderPuppy | Baby It’s Cold Outside, Puppy Conversations Translated for the College Kid, Puppy Conversations and FIFA World Cup Soccer, Puppy Conversations and the Joy of Quirkiness, Puppy Conversations| In the Beginning, Puppy Conversations | What’s In a Name?, Puppy Conversations | Puppy Plans a Party, and Puppy Speaks Foreign Languages…Sort Of

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August is Admit You’re Happy Month

Happy is a Choice. Be HappyDear Kid,

August is Admit You’re Happy Month.

Isn’t that a great thing? An entire month to think about being Happy. Well, at least half a month left to think about being happy.

We need a holiday to be happy? A specific month to be happy? And we have to “admit” it?

I’m a little confused.

I wonder if we have a month devoted to being confused.

I know that we can’t all be happy all the time. Despite the hit song. Despite the availability of chocolate and puppy kisses. Despite the current season of America’s Got Talent.

But maybe the idea of Admit You’re Happy Month is to remind us to revel in being happy. To remind us to practice being publicly, outwardly happy. To remind us not to hide our happy from the rest of the world.

Maybe if we spend the rest of August admitting we’re happy, we can carry that through the rest of the year.

And maybe, just maybe, when we have those times that are a little tougher, a little sadder, a little more difficult than we’d like, we can remember the happy and bring a little more balance to our lives.

Love, Mom

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Football Season is Here and the American Boat Dream

Dear Kid,

And then, with the snap of a ball, football season began.

Last night was the start of high school football season (at least for our team). We began with a scrimmage (“scrimmage” means it’s mostly unofficial, the rules are slightly different, coaches get to be on the field and yell at players close up, and the only people who care about which team won are on the winning team).

Fortunately, it was a lovely evening and a good time was had by all.

And my friend Stacey is selling a boat, so if you know anyone who’s interested…

Tonight we are heading downtown for the Bengals’ pre-season game. This will be my first live-and-in-person major league football game. I’m telling you, this is quite a sports week for me. First baseball, then football, then football. I am very excited.

Years and years ago, a certain little boy (not naming names or anything) liked to watch football on TV. His little sister (still not naming names) would ask lots and lots of questions during the game which frustrated the little boy. The frustrated little boy (who chose to solve this particular annoyance by ignoring it) and the Dad-of-selective-hearing expressed Utmost Surprise when the hilarious and lovely mother barked at them for not answering the little girl’s questions. “Don’t you want her to enjoy watching football with you?” said that very same brilliant Madre. “You won’t like it at all if she wants to watch something different and you want to watch football.” Sage-like. [But not from an actual sage because that role’s taken.]

In an act of selflessness, deep insight, and a bit of self-preservation, the little boy (after heaving a might sigh to show just how unjust the world was being) took it upon himself to teach the little girl about football. At least until the next commercial.

And see where we are now? Watching the GirlChild play varsity football and going to a major league football game.

Did I mention that my friend Stacey is selling a boat? She didn’t tell me the boat’s name, but I understand that boats are fairly indifferent to being renamed.

I was going to look up all sorts of interesting statistics about the Jets vs Bengals game but my laptop is still sick and seems to be running some sort of fever at the moment. Not to worry—I can still provide lots of pregame analysis.

One of the teams playing is expected to win. This will not delight the other team. Commentators (professional and amateur) will have a great deal to say about who won, who lost, and whether the quarterback was given too many lollipops as a 3rd grader.

Many people will attend the game and most of them will indulge in stadium food. A very large man by the name of Jimmy Bones will be on hand to make loans for anyone wanting to purchase a vegetable cup. Enjoy every bite of that crudité.

Someone at the game will think the weather is too warm. Someone at the game will think it is too chilly. No one will be dressed for snow. This is ok, since no one is anticipating any snow. (Except perhaps the kind without the “w” that comes in a paper cone.)

At least once you father will explain to the entire western hemisphere why the referees are right. And at least once he will explain to the entire solar system why they are wrong. Someone will disagree. With luck, there will not be a discussion about it and Mr. J. Bones does not like to be taken away from high finance to resolve academic disputes.

Oh, hey, guess what? My friend Stacey is selling her boat. As far as I can tell, it’s a very nice boat and has never peed on the living room carpet.

Love, Mom


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The Bank of Mom and Dad | Policies and Procedures

Dear Kid,

It’s official. The phrase “the bank of mom and dad” is now in the dictionary. I know this because I heard it on the radio so it must be true.

The Bank of Mom and Dad -- even this bank is limited. DearKidLoveMom.comWith this officiality, I thought we should discuss the policies and procedures of The Bank of Mom and Dad—at least your branch of said bank.

The Bank of Mom and Dad funds major academic initiatives. The Bank of Mom and Dad funds the standard (required) lab breakage fee and up to $5 annually of normal lab wear-and-tear breakage. After that, you fund your own catastrophes (please try not to blow up anything).

The Bank of Mom and Dad funds the occasional dinner at Hillel. We do not fund your sushi craving (you’re on a food plan!) but we will send brownies every now and then.

The Bank of Mom and Dad will fund transportation home for Events like Thanksgiving and my birthday, but we will not pay for you to flit home every weekend to see The Girlfriend. In fact, I think we object to funding most flitting.

The Bank of Mom and Dad will not pay for you to purchase (yet another) soccer ref jersey (four is more than enough), (yet another) pair of cleats, or (yet another) Ohio University t-shirt (4 billion is more than enough).

The Bank of Mom and Dad is here for qualified emergencies. Pizza at 2am is most assuredly not a qualified emergency.

The Bank of Mom and Dad will pay for your cell phone and your internet connection. We will not pay for movies, apps, or online gaming.

The Bank of Mom and Dad does not fund penalties, fines, or tickets.

The Bank of Mom and Dad provides unlimited hugs, texts, and phone conversation support. We do not accept calls when you’re supposed to be studying.

Getting a loan at The Bank of Mom and Dad is not the easiest thing in the world. Getting a hug is (providing you are geographically accessible).

We do not offer a free toaster with a new account or provide laundry services but you are welcome to use both the toaster and the washing machine when you’re here (preferably not at the same time). How many banks do you know that do that?

Advice (and blogs) are gratis-free-of-charge. You are free to do with them as you please.

Love, Mom


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