Mom Thoughts

5 Fun Facts for a Fun Saturday

Dear Kid,

Happy Saturday!

Happy is a Choice. Be HappyIt’s weird fact day.

A word that can be its own antonym is called a contronym.  Cleave can mean to sever or to cling. Buckle can mean to fasten (buckle your seat belt) or to bend (the shelf buckled under the weight of all the books)

Ben & Jerry took Penn State’s correspondence class (which is what one did before online classes) to learn how to make ice cream.

You can burn calories in lots of ways. For example, banging your head against a wall burns 150 calories an hour. Sitting still afterward contemplating the pain probably burns about as many.

Cherophobia is the fear of fun or aversion to happiness. That’s sad. Which I guess would make someone suffering from cherophobia happy.

Movie trailers were originally shown after the movie, which is why they were called “trailers”.

Love, Mom

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Seven Things You Never Knew About Dogs

Dear Kid,

We all (and by “all” I mean “all people who like dogs”) know that dogs are wonderful, adorable, and pretty much the best listeners on the planet. But do you know that.

Puppy running with the ball. Puppy Conversations #PuppyConversations DearKidLoveMom.comDogs have three (count ‘em, 3) eyelids. The third lid (the nictitating membrane) keeps puppy’s eyes moist and lubricated.

Speaking of eyes, in ancient Egypt when a pet dog died, its owners would shave their eyebrows off and smear mud in their hair as part of their mourning. Today, most people skip the eyebrow shave.

The sign of the dog in Chinese astrology symbolizes loyalty and discretion with a touch of the temperamental. The Mayans symbolized every 10th day with the dog which symbolized outstanding leadership skills.

Queen Elizabeth (the 1st) had a thing for pocket beagles. (Pocket beagles are typically 7-11 inches tall, a height also achieved when one is a beagle/dachshund rescue mix).

Dogs have 18 muscles in each ear. While they have excellent hearing, food often improves their ability to hear and interpret commands.

If they decide to run to you to get the food you’re bribing them with, you might notice that the average dog runs about 19 mph (plus or minus depending on their age, weight, distance involved, and how well you chose the bribe in question).

A group of pugs is called a “grumble.” I have no idea why.

Love, Mom

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It’s All Her Fault

Dear Kid,

It’s Pi’s fault. It’s all Pi’s fault.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The plan was to go to the gym with her last evening. It was a simple plan. I would drive home, she’d hop into the car, and we’d go to the Rec Center where she’d kick my butt from one end of the gym to the other.

Simple. Painful, but simple.

But it didn’t work out that way, because Pi fell asleep. So instead of hopping into the car, she was sprawled, with the TV still playing Say Yes to the Dress, sound asleep on the couch.

No, I didn’t turn around and go to the gym on my own. That would have been unthinkable. I walked and fed the Puppy, and then did a few things around the house.

Pi woke up. She stretched. I sat down next to her and she curled right up and went back to sleep with me as the pillow. (See, there was a good reason I didn’t go to the gym.)

Forty-five minutes she woke up.

Whit's Frozen Custard.I suggested we do something about dinner. Pi suggested going to Shapiro’s. It was a moment of snuggly warm weakness, and the three of us went out.

Shapiro’s sandwiches are about the size of Montana. Each half of the sandwich is enough to feed a small country. We snarfed happily.

Then the supremely unexpected happened. Dad suggested dessert. There was a negotiation, there was discussion. And then there was a walk over to Whit’s where we mega snarfed.

Then we rolled home.

I won’t fit into any of my clothes tomorrow.

And it’s all Pi’s fault.

Love, Mom

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Driving Gloves | The Why of Automotive Fashions

Dear Kid,

Why do people wear driving gloves?

Because socks would be dumb? That’s a lame answer.

But there is no question that driving gloves look much cooler than big honkin’ winter mittens. DearKidLoveMom.comBecause you need something relevant to put in the glove box? (Yes, back in the day [and by “in the day” I mean when cars were first invented and no one had thought to put a roof on them] people wore goggles and gloves and then stowed the gloves in—wait for it—the glove box. No word on why no one has invented the iPod box or the sunglasses box.)

These days, not that many people wear driving gloves.

Most of us don’t have to worry about exceptional grip on our steering wheel. We don’t have to worry about the tiny vibrations of the car throw us off the road.

We don’t worry about letting our oily hands touch our high grade leather and possibly ruin it. For most of us, finger prints are the least of our car maintenance worries. Fingerprints don’t even begin to compare to dealing with the odor of dead sweatshirt and well-aged coffee cups.

Presumably good driving gloves help keep your hands cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather. As far as I’m concerned, air conditioning keeps my hands cool in warm weather and big honkin’ winter mittens keep my hands warm (or at least less frozen) in cold weather.

But there is no question that driving gloves look much cooler than big honkin’ winter mittens.

Love, Mom

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You Won’t Believe What’s In the Ohio River

You Won’t Believe What’s In the Ohio River

Dear Kid,

Me: There’s what?
Dad: Bubbles.
Me: In the Ohio River?
Dad: Yes.
Me: Why?
Everybody knows fish blow bubbles. Just ask any kid to draw a fish. There will be bubbles. DearKidLoveMom.comDad: It’s methane.
Me: There’s methane in the river?
Dad: Yes.
Me: Are the fish gassy?
Dad: What?
Me: Fish eating rice and beans?
Dad: Um, no.
Me: Cows are in the Ohio River?
Dad: Definitely no.
Me: It’s the fish.
Dad: It’s not the fish.
Me: Everybody knows fish blow bubbles. Just ask any kid to draw a fish. There will be bubbles.
Dad: That’s carbon dioxide. It’s not the fish.
Me: So, what’s your theory?
Dad: According to the internet, there are fault lines along the river and they are leaking methane.
Me: That sounds like the basis for a superhero movie.
Dad: Huh?
Me: Fault lines, leaking methane, Superman has to swoop in and plug the leaks!
Dad: You’re weird.
Me: Whatever.
Dad: Also, there are bacteria in the silt at the bottom of the river that release methane.
Me: Why don’t they release carbon dioxide?
Dad: Because that’s not the way it works.
Me: Now you’re just being ridiculous.
Dad: Seriously? You just called me ridiculous?
Me: Weird, huh?

Love, Mom

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What You Don’t Know About Al Capone

What You Don’t Know About Al Capone

Dear Kid,

The other night Dad and I watched a gangster movie. Don’t ask me which one because I have no idea, other than to say it was the one with the gangsters.

I didn’t watch it all that carefully. At one point, Dad even said, “Are you sure you want to watch this? It’s not exactly your kind of movie…” Let’s take one moment to guess who suggested it, shall we?

Al Capone Quote. DearKidLoveMom.comThe point is, I started thinking about Al Capone.

Alphonse Gabriel Capone to be more precise. Scarface to be more colorful. (No, I never saw that movie either.)

Things you don’t know about Al Capone.

He was born in Brooklyn.

He did not like to behave conventionally which caused problems in school until he was about 14. It didn’t cause any problems after that because he was kicked out at that point.

In his early 20s he moved to Chicago where he was an enforcer and a bouncer at a brothel. Capone took his job a little too seriously and contracted syphilis (eventually the syphilis killed him, but that’s later in the story).

Skip the boring parts and…

Lots of people (and by “people” I mean gangsters and people who didn’t want to pay the gangsters) died in Chicago in the early 1920s. This wasn’t a problem for Capone, partly because he organized many of the killings and partly because he forgot to pack his moral compass when he moved to Chicago. (That’s probably an exaggeration, because he likely never had one to begin with.)

When Johnny Torrio (the head honcho and Capone’s boss) decided retirement was the best path to not being dead, he (Torrio) dubbed Capone HBIC (Head Boss in Charge). Capone was 26 at the time he took over.

Al Capone Quote. DearKidLoveMom.comFor Capone, being Head Numero Uno was a most excellent place to be. He went around happily having people killed, managing mafia business (is that the same thing?), buying police and government officials, ordering massacres, selling illegal things, whacking people, running gambling businesses, bootlegging, and generally causing mayhem when he wasn’t giving money to various charities. (Seriously, he had a Robin Hood complex.)

Capone’s organizations sold over $60 million annually in illegal liquor. That’s a lot now. It was even more then.

While the Chicago officials were bought and paid for, national law enforcement was less than thrilled and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to deal with Capone. But Capone was sneaky (and by “sneaky” I mean he was rich, had good lawyers, and people were terrified to testify against him) and while he bounced in and out of the courts and some detainment cells, he mostly stayed out jails.

Then someone had the great idea to go after Capone for tax fraud. The Supreme Court had ruled that ill-gotten gains were still subject to income tax. And Mr. Capone liked to brag about his income. Which he didn’t pay tax on.

Al Capone Quote. DearKidLoveMom.comCapone ended up in jail. He started in Atlanta, but he was caught bribing guards (old habits die hard) and he was sent to Alcatraz. After 6 and a half years, he was released to a mental hospital. The syphilis (I told you we’d get back to it) caused neurosyphilis (dementia). Eventually he was released. Then he died.

And while I’ve been writing about Capone, the soundtrack from Chicago has been playing in my mind. Which is a misfit because Capone couldn’t dance. Certainly not Fosse-style.

Love, Mom

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