Woodpeckers and Concussions

Dear Kid,

The sound of a woodpecker hard at work is (imo) a delightful sound, confirming that little bugs are becoming lunch for a hungry bird. (Unless, the birds are pounding into the house siding rather than a tree in which case it’s a terrifying sound, right up there with the sound of dollars running out of my bank account.) Either way, it’s a lot of woodpecker headbanging.

Seriously, you’d think there would be tiny little avian pharmacies all over with the amount woodpeckers bang their heads. DearKidLoveMom.comHave you ever thought about why they don’t get headaches?

Seriously, you’d think there would be tiny little avian pharmacies all over with the amount they bang their heads. Up to 20 times per second to be precise.

And while they don’t have big brains (the term “bird brain” comes to mind), there are very few documented cases of woodpecker concussions.

It was that thinking that led to the creation of the Q collar, the concussion prevention collar that is being tested, vetted, and otherwise used to try to reduce concussions during sporting events.

The idea is not to reduce the size of the players’ brains, but rather to help secure the athletes’ brains in place. It turns out that woodpeckers’ brains are held in place with muscles and bones (and an extra eyelid). Basically a bird brain seat belt/helmet.

A couple of high schools in the Cincinnati area have been testing the Q collar. Researchers are specifically focusing on football and girls’ soccer (not that we know anyone who got a concussion while playing either of those). The collar somehow increases the amount of blood around the brain to help hold those brain cells in place. The researchers are seeing fantastic results which is wonderful news.

The moral of the story is seat belts are important in the car and inside your head.

One other important fact: a woodpecker will only make straight strikes to a tree. No side-to-side movements helps prevent head trauma.

The next step for the researchers (obviously) is to figure out how to get athletes to always get hit straight on.

Love, Mom

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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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Bulldogs (and Elephants)

Dear Kid,

ElephantI’ve talked about elephants before here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, but I haven’t talked very much about bulldogs except here, here, and here. It seems a fitting time to share with you

They were originally bred in England for bull baiting and were bred to be low to the ground and have lots of wrinkles. While we now think of all those wrinkles as adorable (or adorabull if you prefer) the folds were to help block flying blood from getting in the dog’s eyes during the fight. Yuck. Their wrinkles need to be wiped regularly to avoid infections and accumulation of Ick.

university-of-georgia-bulldogsBulldogs are very popular mascots meaning Uga, the mascot of the University of Georgia, is just one of many. But (imho) they’re an odd choice, because they’re not big on exercise and they have all sorts of respiratory issues. They also tend to suffer from hip dysplasia.

Bulldogs are (new word alert) brachycephalic which means short of snout and large of head. They are not water dogs. In fact, they’re in danger of drowning. Between their smooshed faces and under bite they are also generally gassy, snore and snort, drool and fart.

On the plus side, they are cute, friendly, independent, and self-confident. And they’re happy to cuddle up with their people.

Tufts-University-Jumbo-the-elephantRoll Tide.

Love, Mom

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The Olympics Are Coming! The Olympics Are Coming! 2018 Version

The Olympics Are Coming! The Olympics Are Coming! 2018 Version

Dear Kid,

Yes, the Winter Olympics are fast approaching. Actually, they are approaching at the same rate as always, but (as always) they’re getting closer. Here’s what you need to know (actually you don’t need to know, but it’s interesting).

This is the 23rd Winter Olympics.

The slogan for this year’s Olympics is “Passion. Connected.” Which I like a lot.

There are two official mascots for the games. Soohorang (a white tiger which is Korea’s guardian animal) and Bandabi (an Asian black bear which symbolizes strong will-power and valor). And they’re cute. Very cute. DearKidLoveMom.comThere are two official mascots for the games. Soohorang (a white tiger which is Korea’s guardian animal) and Bandabi (an Asian black bear which symbolizes strong will-power and valor). And they’re cute. Very cute.

In PyeongChang (please note the capital “C” which is a recent addition to help people distinguish between PyeongChang where the Olympics are and Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea) they’ve built a ginormous (35,000 seat) pentagonal stadium for the games. They will use it for the opening and closing ceremonies (and some other stuff). Then—get this!—they plan to tear it down. Gone. Goodbye. Nice to have had you here.

Meanwhile there are a bunch of other venues (“venues” is an important word for the Olympics).

At these venues we’ll see traditional games and four new sports: curling mixed doubles, speed-skating mass start, alpine team event, and snowboard big air. So more like “variations” than “new” sports.

There will be three Mexican athletes at the games (they all qualified for alpine skiing). This is three times the number of athletes Mexico generally sends. And it’s more than the NFL will send since they’re sitting this one out (I think that’s a good thing). It’s possible the Jamaican women’s bobsled team might qualify for the Olympics this year. I am not making that up.

Now you know.

Love, Mom

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Welcome 2018! Happy New Year!

Dear Kid,

Did you blink? 2017 was here and gone in an instant that felt like a decade. Each minute dragged on and on yet as a whole the year whooshed by.

Happy New Year! DearKidLoveMom.comI will leave it to others (like the great historian Dave Barry) to remember enough of what went on in 2017 to write year-end summaries and reviews.

I’m looking forward.

Forward to friends having healthy babies and sending me videos of babies laughing (not kidding—I expect a ton of happy baby videos, L).

Forward to weddings and anniversaries and birthday celebrations. And to spending time with the people celebrating them.

Forward to spending time with friends I haven’t seen for a while.

Forward to trips and forward to staying home.

Forward to reaching new levels in Word Cookie (it’s my new addiction—don’t judge).

Forward to an even bigger and better Cincinnati Coffee Festival. (Is that Possible? Yes—just wait).

Forward to the Olympics and Olympic achievements by all.

Forward to listening to the Puppy snore. (Cutest noise in the world.)

Forward to new adventures and comforting sameness.

Forward to spring, and summer, and fall (and not so much winter).

Forward to sharing others’ joys and finding some of my own.

Forward (with highly mixed feelings) to graduations and new starts.

Happy 2018.

Love, Mom

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