Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

Hair Today

Dear Kid,

It is Talking About Hair Day. It isn’t really, but (just like every other day) part of getting ready to face the world involves fluffing our folliculars.

As we go about fixing the fur, tending the tresses, managing the mane, I thought some tonsorial factoids might be in order.

Seriously, you know NOTHING about hair. I am an expert. DearKidLoveMom.comPut down your brush, and pay attention.

Hair grows approximately ¼ to ½ an inch a month. Unless it’s growing in an unwanted area in which case it grows approximately ½ foot per day.

A wet strand of healthy hair can stretch to 30% more than its original length.  When it gets to 31%, it will snap like a brittle twig and ruin your ‘do.

Hair can tell a lot of tales. It can tell a forensic scientist where you’ve been, what you’ve eaten, who you murdered, and how you feel about puppies. It can tell a suspicious spouse that someone has been in close contact with your jacket.

The scientific term for split ends is “trichoptilosis.” No one cares.

Hair is 50 percent carbon, 21 percent oxygen, 17 percent nitrogen, 6 percent hydrogen, 5 percent sulphur, and 70% tangles.

A single hair has a lifespan of about 5 years. Unless you’re LL Cool J or Michael Simon.

Hair grows fastest when you’ve gotten a cut you really like. It grows slowest when you’re trying to grow it out. 3 inches. Before your blind date Saturday night.

Love, Mom

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Thinking About French Fries…

Dear Kid,

I’m thinking about French fries.

Which are not French. Nor are they handy.

Just to be clear, apples are not really a good substitute for French fries (in case you weren’t sure).

apples are not really a good substitute for French fries. Damn Diet. DearKidLoveMom.comFrench fries were (possibly) invented by Belgium villagers (who didn’t call them French fries because that would be ridiculous). During WWI, American soldiers in Belgium had French fries and fell in luv. The official language of the Belgian army was French, and the Americans (who were not exactly well versed in geography and geopolitical history) call they called yummy fried-ness French fries. Americans still call them French fries because A) Americans and B) Belgium is for waffles.

You might think pretty much everyone eats FFs with ketchup. You’d be mistaken. When one is in Belgium, one eats FFs with mayonnaise. When one is in Britain or Canada, one eats FFs with vinegar. Malt vinegar, please. If one is me, one eats FFs with mustard, because it’s delicious. When one is in a fast food joint, one eats FFs with a burger.

Several years ago, fries got a bad rap when “Ya’ want fries wid dat?” became short-hand for the most advanced level of work at McDonald’s. In other words, career stoppage. Poor French fries.

Yeah, still want some.

Damn diet.

Love, Mom

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Death By Elephant and Why James Bond Is Important

Dear Kid,

Holy Moley, was I wrong.

Happy Elephant Appreciation Day! Take a moment to appreciate your favorite elephant. DearKidLoveMom.comI thought I had it all figured out.

Having put several seconds of thought together, I decided I knew how I want to die. (No, this is not morbid.)

I decided I want to be 92 and get stepped on by an elephant. Squish. Done. No lingering moments or tubes. And the idea that I’ll be spry enough to be somewhere where a rogue elephant could step on me appeals immensely.

So I got talking to some people about it (at first they thought it was morbid too, but they soon got the point). And someone innocently suggested that I should research death by elephant to see if an elephant has ever stepped on someone to kill them.

Hilarious, I thought. Great topic. Wonderful. Amusing. Adorable even.


It turns out that execution by elephant was a thing. Particularly in India where (and I quote) “Asian elephants were used to crush, dismember, or torture captives in public executions.” That. Is. Awful.

Elephants are highly trainable, and they were taught both to kill people instantly or to torture them slowly over a long period of time. These trained pachyderms signified (again, I quote) “the ruler’s absolute power and his ability to control wild animals.” Disgusting.

I can’t tell you more about this because this is a horrible, awful way to treat animals. And people.

What I had in mind was much more of the Disney version. Wait, some of their stuff with elephants is pretty ugly too.

What I had in mind was much more of the James Bond version (the old movies). No blood. Nothing horrible. Just me being spry and lively and accidentally stepping under a heffalumps hoof. Maybe while the elephant was tap dancing or something.

In any case, I hereby apologize to all elephants. I will go think about other things.

Love, Mom

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Going to Cleveland!

Dear Kid,

We’re off to see the wizard!

Well, we’re off to Cleveland, and the road is likely to be more white than yellow, but the song is in my heart anyway.

Dear Burglars: The Extremely Vicious Dog and Even More Vicious Dog Sitter are watching the house. Also there is nothing there to take except dirty laundry.

Since we’re off to an Exotic Locale, I decided to consult My Friend the Internet to see what interesting things I could learn about Cleveland.

You know the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there, but did you know that the phrase “rock and roll” was invented in the early 1950s by a DJ in Cleveland?

Superman was born in Cleveland and potato chips were first mass produced in Cleveland. There is no proven connection between the two. The modern golf ball was invented in Cleveland. So were Life Savers candies. And Chef Boyardee. And the padded bicycle seat. Hard to see which is most important.

Cleveland was named after General Moses Cleaveland, but “Cleaveland” was too long for the masthead of the “Cleveland Advertiser” newspaper so they shortened it to Cleveland. Cleveland was the first city in the world to be fully lit by electricity. The better to read the newspaper and to power the first electric traffic signal. And the first crosswalk button to let pedestrians cross.

There is a statue of a rubber stamp in Willard Park. I must go.

Cleveland has difficulty with major league sports teams. It has lots of talented athletes who come together, done the same uniform, and fail miserably. The Cleveland Spiders hold the record for the worst season in the history of Major League Baseball (but to be fair, who names a team the Spiders?).

There are some weird laws in Cleveland. Like you need a hunting license to catch a mouse. And women can’t wear patent leather shoes in public (someone might be able to see up their dress).

There is a Wyland whale mural (one of the whaling walls) in Cleveland.

This is going to be an exceptional trip.

Love, Mom

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Quit Monkeying Around!

What is the Best Way to Celebrate International Monkey Day? Quit Monkeying Around. International Monkey Day. DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

Who knew?

Today is International Monkey Day! So grab a banana and let’s celebrate!

Despite their adorableness, monkeys drew the short stick in the language department.

“I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!” is not a compliment to uncles. It came out of the Scopes Monkey trial about teaching evolution.

“More fun than a barrel of monkeys” is supposed to refer to something that’s actually fun. But I just can’t see monkeys having fun in a barrel. Especially the ones near the bottom. And who would think to gather that many monkeys just to stuff them in a barrel? Nope, makes no sense.

“A monkey on one’s back” refers to addiction and difficulty in dealing with that burden. Not really a cheerful phrase.

“Monkey see, monkey do” implies monkey does without bothering with the step of “monkey think.” Again, not a compliment.“The question is: who are you?” Monkey Rafiki Lion King. Quit Monkeying Around. International Monkey Day.

“Monkey business” refers neither to monkey potty habits nor to the zoo’s profit. It means fooling around, generally with an overtone of something being amiss.

“Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.” Yeah, nothing good happening there.

“Monkeys might fly out of my butt” indicates surprise for the speaker, but probably not nearly as much surprise as the monkeys might feel.

And if you look at the word “monkey” long enough, it definitely looks like you misspelled it.

Poor little dudes.

Hope you have a great International Monkey Day!

Love, Mom



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Chickens (You’re Not Going to Believe This)

Dear Kid,

A hawk in the neighborhood ate one of the chickens.

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. People who know me can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.

Even the hawk can’t believe I just wrote that sentence and he or she was in on the deed.

A hawk in the neighborhood ate one of the chickens. DearKidLoveMom.comThe dead chicken does believe it because A) she’s dead and B) chickens are very gullible creatures.

To be clear, it wasn’t our chicken because we don’t own live poultry. (And the only dead poultry we own come cleaned and packaged from the grocery store.)

But the very idea that I live in a neighborhood where hawks nest and hunt and chickens roam sufficiently free that they become raptor prey is very…what’s the word…um…

Basically, there are no words.

I am not a chicken farmer.

I’m not even a chicken farmer wannabe.

I like the idea of fresh eggs. I think.

Maybe I like the idea of liking the idea of fresh eggs.

I like the idea of meeting an occasional chicken. “Hello, how are you? Can I offer you a handful of grain? So nice to meet you but my very un-farmlike shoes and I have to be going now.”

I have no problem with the hawk chowing down on the chicken (although I’m sure the ex-chicken’s owners objected). Circle of life and all that.

And I rather like that we have a family of hawks living around the corner and screaming at everything. It gives me a sense of nature (even if I worry a bit about the Puppy becoming the lunch entrée one of these days).

I don’t object to the chickens in the neighborhood—I’ve never even met them. Dad tells me they are there. Dad is better at getting to know the people in the neighborhood than I am (apparently he’s better at meeting their livestock as well). I think I’d like to meet a chicken.


I wonder what shoes one wears to meet a chicken?

Love, Mom

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