Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

Pampering the Fishes (Yes, I Did)

Pampering the Fishes (Yes, I Did)

Dear Kid,

Part of being on the cruise (as an anniversary present to ourselves) involved pampering ourselves.

Not only did we eat and drink to our happy hearts content, we indulged in pampering activities.

We had a couple’s massage which basically meant we got a massage at the same time and they had us hold hands at the very end. It was Dad’s first massage ever. He seems unscathed. Maybe even content.

I went to the Fish Spa in Costa Maya. Do you remember the episode from Victorious where they all go to the place where you put your feet in water and tiny little fish nibble away all your calluses? This was like that except not.

Fish Spa Feet Washing Tickles.

First they scrubbed my feet and shins (clearly this was all about taking off enough skin ahead of time so that the fish would be safe and healthy). Once they’d scrubbed down to sinew, I got to put my feet into the fish-quarium. It felt like tiny vibrations. (I was assured that they fish were not piranhas and wouldn’t bite, just kiss.) It tickled.

Fish kissing my feet at the fish spa.

The fishies did not get rid of all my callouses. (But it’s not clear that a buzz saw could get rid of my calluses, so I consider it a win.)

Fish Spa Awesomeness.

Love, Mom

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Gold, Silver, Bronze

Dear Kid,

In the late 1800s the world decided that it would be a good idea to bring back the Olympics. The idea was that international friendly competition would bring peace, unity, and unlimited marketing opportunities to a world badly in need of all three.

As with most festivals, things got bigger and “better” over the years. Peace and unity got lip service; unlimited marketing opportunity took home all the gold medals and then some.

The first of the modern day Olympics was held in 1896 and the organizers hadn’t had their medal epiphany yet. So the winners got silver medals and an olive branch, and the runners-up got a copper medal and a laurel branch. Very historic.

241 athletes from 14 nations participated in 43 events (9 sports) at the 1896 games in Athens.

At the games in 1900, prizes (like an Apple iphone) were given instead of twigs, branches, and medals.

Somewhere between the turn of the century games and the 1904 games, the IOC agreed that it was too soon to give out Nike contracts to the winners and instituted the medal system.

The current medals represent the first three Ages of Man according to Greek mythology: the Golden Age (when men lived among the gods), the Silver Age (when youth lasted a hundred years), and the Bronze Age (the age of the great heroes). The Age of Consumerism and the Age of iAppleEverything were intentionally overlooked.

Love, Mom

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What You Don’t Know About Bronze

Dear Kid,

Just in case you didn’t get enough info about bronze yesterday (don’t see how that could be possible, but one never knows), I consulted My Friend the Internet and found out a bit more.

The best way to get bronze is to buy it, but if you find yourself in The Wilderness with nothing but some copper and tin, you can make it yourself. If you have the skill, time, heat, and various implements. The recipe is generally 12% tin to 88% copper, but other alloys are often added to make the bronze harder, machinable (yes, that’s a word), and bronzier (that isn’t but should be).

Bronze is used for all sorts of things like statues, third place medals, Age (as in the Bronze Age if you’re too sleepy to figure that one out), and 8th anniversary gifts (no clue why, but the Etiquette Police say so therefore it must be true).

Bronze has also been used for armor (probably not the finest, but one makes due with what one has), coinage (probably not the most valuable, but one pays dues with what one has), mirrors (whether it’s the finest often depends on who’s reflecting), and bells (because one really can’t sing “Ding, dong the witch is dead” when all one has is a plastic bucket).

Bronze is often used for guitar and piano strings (not at the same time).

Bronze is non-magnetic, but many people are attracted to it anyway.

Love, Mom

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Rock Around the Boulder

Dear Kid,

Today is Old Rock Day.

Happy Old Rock Day! Be boulder! Rock on! DearKidLoveMom.comI don’t know why, but it is.

I’m fascinated by the idea that there might be rocks that aren’t old. Who’s ever heard of a new rock?

For that matter, who determines what “old” is when it comes to rocks?

Q: What happens when you look up geology jokes? A: You know you’ve hit rock bottom! (I didn’t make that up.)

The oldest rock on earth is 4.4 billion years old. They know this because of birth certificate records. Can you imagine the bonfire when that rock has birthday cake?

According to My Friend the Internet, the youngest rocks are on earth are whatever is being spewed out of an active volcano.

The biggest rock on the planet is the one that was in my shoe last night. It’s amazing how our perception of size correlates directly to the length of time a pebble stone boulder is in one’s shoe.

There are probably other interesting facts about rocks, but I couldn’t dig my way through the various sites to find any that I found entertaining. You can consider this a do-it-yourself letter if you’re interested in learning more about rocks.

Love, Mom

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You May Not Give a Fig, But I Do

Dear Kid,

We don’t have any figs in the house. I know this because I spent 5 minutes staring into the pantry willing them to appear. It didn’t work. We are fig-less.

We don’t have any figs in the house. I know this because I spent 5 minutes staring into the pantry willing them to appear. It didn’t work. We are fig-less. DearKidLoveMom.comFig trees don’t have blossoms. Technically speaking, there are a zillion tiny flowers inside each fruit (you and I call them “seeds”). Regardless, they are yummy.

Or they would be if we had any.

Figs are loaded with calcium, B vitamins, and fiber, which means they are not only yummy, they are quite healthy.

The health benefits are more effective if you eat them. Which I can’t do because we don’t have any.

The early Olympic athletes ate figs as part of their training regimen. Which meant when they looked in the pantry, they found figs.

According to Pliny (he lived a long time ago), figs are not only healthful, they prevent wrinkles.

We still don’t have any figs. Not even a Newton.

I am doomed to an evening of calcium-deficient wrinkles.

Love, Mom

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The Stuff You Don’t Know About Woodpeckers

Dear Kid,

The subject is woodpeckers because, well, no reason really except that we were talking about woodpeckers yesterday.

Most woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet which is a fancy way of saying that shopping for shoes is beyond difficult because they have two toes facing front and two toes facing back. DearKidLoveMom.comThere are a lot of woodpeckers in the world. About 200 species, to be specific. And you can find them pretty much everywhere as long as everywhere doesn’t include Australia, New Zealand, or Madagascar.

Woodpeckers smash their beaks into trees and logs about a zillion times a minute in order to find lunch and/or carve out a place to live. You might think all this would cause headaches, but it doesn’t (as you know). You might also think it would cause tons of sawdust and flying woodchips which might be dangerous to the aforementioned avian driller. You’d be right about the sawdust but not so much about the danger, because woodpeckers have special bristles around their nostrils designed to keep out flying pieces of wood. They also have an extra eyelid (which they can see through—how cool is that!) that helps protect and clean their little eyeballs.

Most woodpeckers have zygodactyl feet which is a fancy way of saying that shopping for shoes is beyond difficult because they have two toes facing front and two toes facing back.

Woodpecker tongues are generally about 3 times the length of their bills. Some woodpeckers have barbed tongues to help yank bugs out of tricky hiding spots. When they aren’t using their tongues, woodpeckers store them between the back of their skull and the skin at the back of their heads. Because where else would you store your overlong tongue?

Woodpeckers are generally monogamous, because how easy is it to find a girlfriend when you have zygodactyl feet and a tongue you have to store behind your brain?

In the wild, woodpeckers live between 4 and 15 years, and up to 20-30 years under ideal conditions (and by “ideal conditions” I mean treat their wives like the queens they are.

Love, Mom

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