Interesting Stuff: Who Knew?

Best News Ever (You Are Really Not Going To Believe This)

Dear Kid,

I have gotten some of the Best News Ever.

No, I didn’t win the Lottery. That would be amazing considering I didn’t buy a ticket.

I got a letter. From Grandpa. And in the letter was an article from Scientific American which discussed all sorts of things some people think are true but aren’t even close to accurate. Like the Loch Ness monster doesn’t exist (except in ceramic), aliens have never visited earth (except as costumes on Halloween), and the earth is not flat (wait, seriously? People still believe that? What?).

Drink more water. Seriously. More. DearKidLoveMom.comMore about people going for fiction over fact another day.

But the Best News Ever (by which I mean “the best news in the last 10 minutes”) is that the idea of having to drink 8 glasses of water every day is hokum (extra points if you get the reference).

Of course you need to get liquid, but liquid comes from all sorts of places, like food and coffee. Food and coffee—two of my favorites! This is awesome.

I think I’ll celebrate by drinking an unnecessary glass of water.

That’s 1.

Love, Mom

P. S. Thanks for the article, Grandpa!

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Mama Bears and Empty Nest Syndrome

Dear Kid,

I’m feeling very mother bear-ish this morning. Not the “my porridge is too cold” (sounds disgusting to me) kind of mama bear. More the “mess with my kid and I will rip your head off your shoulders” kind. DearKidLoveMom.comI’m feeling very mother bear-ish this morning.

Not the “my porridge is too cold” (sounds disgusting to me) kind of mama bear.

More the “mess with my kid and I will rip your head off your shoulders” kind.

Not that there is (as far as I know) anything you or Pi (or the Puppy) need protecting from.

I did the only reasonable thing I could think of: I sent my friend Sue a text.

She (being a good friend) replied immediately: You have Empty Nest Syndrome.

She and I have the same medical degree—we’re equipped to dispense chicken soup, apply Band-Aids, and kiss boo-boos.

I checked with My Friend the Internet (MFtI).

Me: Tell me about Empty Nest Syndrome.
MFtI: You have it.
Me: Sue told you to say that.
MFtI: Well, yeah. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
Me: I don’t have empty nest syndrome.
MFtI: You miss your kids.
Me: Of course. Proves nothing.
MFtI: You want more small furry animals.
Me: Still proves nothing.
MFtI: You’re eating a lot of chocolate.
Me: Am not.
MFtI: Yeah, I made that part up.
Me: You’re the internet. You’re not supposed to make stuff up.
MFtI: You’re kidding, right?

I texted Sue.

Actual text: The Internet agrees with you. I don’t.
Actual text reply: I don’t make the rules.

We need to fix that. I’m pretty sure a world run with her rules would be far more entertaining…

It’s a good thing you are coming home for turkey. I need a hug.

Love, Mom

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The Alpha Betta Fish

Dear Kid,

Ethan has moved into our offices. He lives there full time which might seem weird, but Ethan is a Betta Fish.

Note: Betta, not beta. Eh, not ay.

Ethan the betta fish. Do you know this about bettas?Bettas are often called Siamese fighting fish because they fight. Regardless of where they are. Ethan should probably be called an Ohio fighting fish. Because they are soooo territorial, you can only keep one male betta in a tank (unless you prefer betta pieces).

Bettas are also athletic and can jump out of their tanks if there isn’t a lid to act as a safety belt.

Note: While bettas can breathe air for a while, fish-on-a-desk isn’t good for most aquatic creatures.

Ethan eats little teeny tiny pellets. It’s really fun to drop one or two in his tank and watch him chow down. Or at least it was until I discovered that Bettas are carnivorous and his teeny tiny pellets are bloodmealwormthingies. Ethan seems perfectly happy with it, but ewww.

Bettas can taste with their fins as well as their mouths. This doesn’t make me feel better about what we’re feeding Ethan.

Male bettas create bubble nests at the top of the tank (or at the top of the non-tank water if they’re in the wild). These little bubble nests are where the females lay eggs. The bubbles protect the eggs and the babies, and the daddy bettas take care of them (female betta fish are not the caretaker types—they prefer shoe shopping).

Female bettas aren’t nearly as aggressive as the males (unless they go shoes shopping together in which case all bets are off). Several female bettas can be kept in the same tank, but like all girls they tend to get a little bitchy and develop a dominance hierarchy.

Now you know.

Love, Mom

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Some of the Weirder Facts About Voting in ‘Murica

Dear Kid,

Americans are not good about voting. Not that it’s a difficult task (because it’s quite easy) but because we’re lazy. Which means we excel at creating reasons not to vote (stay tune—I’ve compiled the only reliable list of reasons not to vote—we’ll get to it tomorrow or Monday).

In honor of those of us who are choosing to vote (picking candidates wisely or incorrectly depending on your point of view), here are some of the Weirder Facts About Voting in ‘Murica.

Even traveling astronauts can vote from space. If they can manage it, there’s no excuse for those of us less than 5 miles from our polling place.

Before 1804, the presidential candidate receiving the second highest number of electoral votes became vice president. Think about how that would work in this day and age. Go ahead, really visualize. I’ll give you a minute. Now take another few seconds to recover. We’ll proceed when you’re ready.

It is illegal to drink alcohol in Kentucky and South Carolina on Election Day. I’m not sure why. Maybe no one wants to admit that they need liquid courage in order to face the candidate options?

There is no federal agency with regulatory authority over voting machines. This explains a lot. A LOT.

Montana has three times as many cows as people. Cows are not allowed to vote. Weird facts about voting in AmericaMontana has three times as many cows as people. Cows are not allowed to vote.

Love, Mom

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The Sound of Silence? NYC Subways

Dear Kid,

IF you happened to be hanging around New York City in 1904, and IF you happened to wish to go from Here to There, and IF “here” was City Hall and “there” was 145th Street, and IF you had an extra nickel (which was real money at the time), and IF you happened to be insistent enough to push your way to the front of the line, you might have been on the first ride of the New York City subway.

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence. Paul Simon. DearKidLoveMom.comActually, probably not. The then Mayor (George McClellan) was the “engineer” of the first run at 2:35pm (no idea how they chose that time), and one can only imagine that the first ride was full of dignitaries, wannabees, journalists, other hangers-on, and 70% of The City’s homeless.

The general public (that’s who you would have been) had to wait until 7pm to turn their nickel into underground transportation. That same ride costs $2.75 today.

A slice of New York City pizza (yum) tends to cost about as much as a ride on the subway. Seriously.

FACT: The world’s oldest underground train network was opened in London in 1863.

ANOTHER FACT: The first subway in the US was built in Boston.

YET ANOTHER FACT: NYC’s subway is bigger than either London’s or Boston’s because New York.

Until 1948, subway cost a nickel. That year the fare was raised to a dime (not two nickels because those wouldn’t fit in the new turnstiles).

Five years later, the fare was raised to 15 cents. But engineers couldn’t figure out how to create a turnstile that could accept two different coins. Enter the subway token.

For 50 years, tokens were the only way to pay to ride the subway and as fares rose, tokens changed—albeit less frequently than I would have expected. There were only 5 tokens over the years (not including the commemorative ones because I don’t want to include them).

Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder. Ick.

ONE MORE FACT: Rather than pay for a token, thieves would sometimes jam the turnstiles and suck the tokens out of the slots. Kind of like slurping soup, but much more disgusting. To combat this, the MTA often sprayed the slots with chili powder.

These days, one uses a MetroCard to ride the subway. Which is much more efficient and much less fun.

AND STILL ONE MORE FACT: In 2008, 44 old NYC subway cars were dumped into the ocean off of the coast Maryland to serve as an artificial reef. To date, there have been no reports of fishy graffiti.

Happy New York City subway birthday day.

Love, Mom

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Fee, Fly, Fo, Fum

Dear Kid,

There’s a fly in the house.

And it seems to have adopted me.

No matter which room I’m in, there it is, following me around like a happy little puppy, buzzing and smacking into windows.

Have you ever noticed that flies have an amazing ability to land exactly 13½ inches higher than you can reach? They do this on purpose so that even with a magazine you have no chance whatsoever of swatting them.

God in His wisdom made the fly And then forgot to tell us why. Ogden Nash. DearKidLoveMom.comFACT: Flies only have two wings (most flying insects have four).

This causes an inferiority complex that makes them feel the need to buzz. Loudly. Some bugs are sneaky, subtle little things (for the record, I don’t like them either). Flies Make Their Presence Known.

Buzz, yourself, fly.

Flies are disgusting. Not only do they violate the Any More Than Four Legs is Utterly Unnecessary Rule, they are truly some of the yuckiest animals on the planet.

FACT: They can only eat liquids but they can turn many solid foods into a liquid by spitting or vomiting on it.


FACT: House flies tend to stay within 1-2 miles of where they were born but will travel up to 20 miles to find food.

Why this particular one has chosen our house is a mystery, since I firmly believe there are better cooks and worse housekeepers (although probably not many) within 2 miles.

FACT: Flies are the helicopters of the insect world. They can fly up, down, side to side, and backwards.

This makes them very good at evasive maneuvers. See “magazine” above.

FACT: This one does not have an invitation to be inside and had best buzz its noisy little self outside where it can be eaten by a bird.

Too late. Now I have fly-smoosh on my magazine. But at least it’s quiet in here.

Love, Mom

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