Mom Thoughts

Book Lover’s Day and the Library of Congress

Book Lover’s Day and the Library of Congress

Dear Kid,

It’s Book Lover’s Day again!

Once upon a time, members of congress pretended to read (these days, they don’t bother reading anything with more than 140 characters). And since their assistants needed somewhere to hide while pretending to research problems, they built a library. (Some experts argue that the real reason for the Library of Congress is that it was the one place in the capital where Congressional members couldn’t talk loudly.)

Founded in 1800, the library behaved itself nicely for 14 years or so until the British torched the Capitol building (which was where the Library was at the time). You already know about the Capitol being burned down because you’ve seen the movie Olympus Has Fallen. The fire destroyed over 3,000 books and caused the Librarian to revoke all British library cards.

Thomas Jefferson offered (and by “offered” I mean “sold”) his personal collection of 6,487 books as the foundation for the new library. This gave congress the opportunity to fuss about what kind of books should be in the national library and where said books should be housed. It was a lovely fight at the time, but compared to today’s squabbles was really only a blip of a disagreement. (“Blip of a disagreement” is the technical term for a squabble that happened in the past and resulted in something actually being accomplished.)

Some of my favorite books. DearKidLoveMom.com

Some of my favorite books. DearKidLoveMom.com

Blah, blah, architects, blah, blah, funding, blah, blah, construction, and on November 1, 1897, the Library of Congress opened its new doors to the public and was called “the largest, the costliest, and the safest” library building in the world. Because what public project doesn’t want to be called that?

The LoC currently has more than 164 million items on more than 838 miles of bookshelves. This means you are unlikely to be able to read all the books there. That’s probably ok, because you are unlikely to want to read all of them—especially the ones that have “extra boring” stickers on their spines.

The Library also has other collections including maps, recording, photographs, sheet music, manuscripts, books in braille, comic books (seriously), and telephone messages (not seriously).

FACT: The smallest book in the Library of Congress is “Old King Cole.” It is 1/25” x 1/25”, which (in case you weren’t sure) is crazy small.

The Gutenberg Bible, one of the treasures of the Library of Congress, was purchased in 1930. The 15th-century work is one of three perfect copies on vellum in the world. It will not surprise you to learn that you are not allowed to check it out.

Happy Book Lover’s Day. Go read something.

Love, Mom

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Today I Learned About Kola Nuts (Are They the Perfect Food?)

Dear Kid,

I’ve been reading about kola nuts. Turns out that kola nuts are The Next Great Thing. Unless they are the Retro New Thing.

Today I Learned About Kola Nuts (Are They the Perfect Food?) DearKidLoveMom.comYou know about the kola nut from Coca-Cola which originally used the kola nut for flavor and caffeine. The kola tree is native to tropical rain forests in Africa. The nut contains a lot of caffeine and is considered a symbol of hospitality and kindness.

Kola nuts have been used medicinally for a zillion years, by which I mean pretty much forever. They’re a digestive aid. They’re great for chest colds and can help prevent and fight infection. They can help kill prostate cancer cells. And (most importantly) they may aid in weight loss. Say what? Yep, the kola nut can increase metabolism by 118%. Which means that my metabolism might go from non-existent to barely there. Excellent.

Since it contains caffeine and theobromine, kola increases cerebral circulation. Alertness! Metabolism! Optimized digestion! Strengthened immune system! Increased energy! Lots of exclamation points! Let’s go brew a cup!

Love, Mom

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Weird Conversation

Weird Conversation

Dear Kid,

Ok, quick. Name three things you can’t do while weeding.

Eat.h

True. Unless you count the occasional rogue mosquito.

That’s one. Name a second.

Get eaten by a hippopotamus.

What?

Do you know anyone who’s been eaten by a hippo while weeding?

Seriously? They’re herbivores. They won’t eat you.

They might if they mistake you for the weeds.

Big hippo problem in your yard, is there?

And a third?

Hunt antelope.

What is this obsession with African wildlife?

You’re concerned about reality?

Fair point.

What else can’t you do while weeding?

We already named three.

See the above point about reality.

Ah, alternate math. I get it.

Get pregnant.

That probably depends on how much attention you’re paying to the weeding.

And the prevalence of poison ivy.

Don’t even think that!

Are we including things we can’t do anyway?

Like what?

Play the violin.

And get dirt all over it?

The point is I can’t play the violin anyway.

And it takes two hands.

And a chin.

I have one.

One what?

A chin.

You can’t weed and have this conversation.

That’s a hint to change the topic, isn’t it.

Pretty much.

How ‘bout worms?

In tequila bottles?

Love, Mom

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It’s International Beer Day

It’s International Beer Day

Dear Kid,

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.-- Czech Proverb, DearKidLoveMom.comHappy Friday! And Happy International Beer Day!

Didn’t know it was International Beer Day? Then it’s a good thing you have me.

There are three major classifications of beer: ales, lagers, and (if you’re a college student) beer-in-the-hand (which beats the kind that is more drinkable but more expensive).

Pay attention. There will be a quiz at the end.

Ales have been around forever (and by “forever” I mean back before women knew it was acceptable to punch a man who yelled, “Bring us some ale, wench!”). Lagers have only been around for a few hundred years.

Ales are fermented at relatively warm temperatures for short periods of time, while lagers are cold fermented for longer periods of time.

The primary types of ale are pale ale and brown ale, but within those categories are bitters, milds, IPAs, nut browns.

Lagers are the world’s most popular beer and the primary types are pilsners and dark lagers.

Then there are stouts (with a dark, coffee-like taste), porters (happy to carry your luggage for a tip), and malts (light to full-bodied with hints of caramel, toffee, and nuts).

Prost!

Love, Mom

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Dog Fight, Snoopy, and Parenting

Dog Fight, Snoopy, and Parenting

Dear Kid,

A friend of mine was in a dog fight. Not the cool, imaginary Snoopy and the Red Baron kind. A real, go to the hospital and have a boatload of stitches kind.

Not the cool, imaginary Snoopy and the Red Baron kind of dog fight. DearKidLoveMom.com

The bad part is that the dogs in question are her dogs. And she kept yelling to the ER docs, “I have to go, my dog is hurt!”

My friend (you don’t know her and she lives in a different part of the country) will be fine. Her dogs (generally very sweet loving creatures) will be fine. I’m not at all sure that I will be fine.

The dogs are big and high energy but well behaved. They live happily in a fenced-in yard where they have plenty of room to run and play. They also have neighbors.

Ill-behaved neighborhood boys.

Badly-behaved local hooligans.

Hoodlums.

Ruffians.

Who—not for the first time—came by the back fence and goaded the dogs into fighting.

Who does that?!!!

My friend has spoken to the boys’ parents. More than once. Apparently, the parents are complete and utter twits because they don’t seem to care (at all) that their boys are mistreating animals.

How clueless are these parents???

My friend is going to talk to them again. She thinks maybe now that she’s been so significantly injured the parents might take notice.

YO! Parents: Lawsuit on the horizon!

But it shouldn’t take the threat of legal action to get parents to raise reasonably behaved children.

Argh!

Sending happy healing thoughts to my friend and her dogs. And hopes that the boys’ parents get their act together before too long.

Love, Mom

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Brakes, Moose, and Seuss

Brakes, Moose, and Seuss

Dear Kid,

I went out to car the other day, and there—in the grocery store parking lot—was a car with this bumper sticker:

Brake for Moose (Like someone wouldn't?) DearKidLoveMom.com

My first thought was, “How cool is it that someone is thinking about moose in the middle of Ohio!?!”

My second thought was, “Wait. Someone might NOT brake for a moose? How stupid is that?”

My third thought was, “Lunch!

Because it was time for lunch, not because I was thinking that moose was on the menu.

Moose are big. There not some tiny little thing you can easily overlook. They weigh about 1,800 pounds (yep, there’s a comma in there) and a moose’s shoulder is taller than the top of your head.

They are equally comfortable on land and in the water. They can run faster than you by the time they are 5 days old. They swim better than you too and they can hold their breath under water for 30 seconds.

In September and October, bulls bellow to attract mates. Apparently this works for moose. It does not work well for people. I don’t know why moose females bother answering; they can take the bulls. They give birth to one or two calves each weighing about 30 pounds. Female moose are not frail, fragile creatures.

So if you see a moose…BRAKE!

None of this has anything to do with Dr. Seuss, but you didn’t imagine I’d pass up an opportunity to quote Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book, did you?

A moose is asleep. He is dreaming of moose drinks.
A goose is asleep. He is dreaming of goose drinks.
That’s well and good when a moose dreams of moose juice.
And nothing goes wrong when a goose dreams of goose juice.
But it isn’t too good when a moose and a goose
Start dreaming they’re drinking the other one’s juice.
Moose juice, not goose juice, is juice for a moose.
And goose juice, not moose juice, is juice for a goose.
So, when goose gets a mouthful of juices of mooses
And moose gets a mouthful of juices of gooses
They always fall out of their beds screaming screams
So, I’m warning you, now! Never drink in your dreams.

–Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book

Love, Mom

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