Posts Tagged "penguins"

Pittsburgh and Sports (You’re Missing One)

Dear Kid,

We’ve been in Pittsburgh for several hours now and I’m happy to report that I haven’t been mauled by raving Steeler fans. I haven’t even seen a Steeler fan (although they might be traveling incognito).

Quick: What professional sports teams call Pittsburgh home? That should be an easy one, so you don’t get any extra points for adding the Pirates and the Penguins to the list with the Steelers. But can you name the professional soccer team? They’re called the Riverhounds and they are an affiliate partner with the Columbus Crew (don’t fuss—I said professional, not MLS).

There are several women’s full-contact football teams in Pittsburgh, as well as a whole slew of rugby teams. There have to be a lot of teams—they keep murdering each other, and need replacement players.

Today we are off to play the sport of Not Freezing To Death At The End of March. (It was snowing last night. Ridiculous.)

Love, Mom

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Did You Know This About Penguins!?!

Dear Kid,

It’s Hump Day which in some circles would mean it’s Camel Day but today it’s Penguin Day.

Not Batman-type penguins, but flying-through-the-sea, waddling-across-the-ice, bringing-a-pebble-to-your-mate type penguins.

These penguins in these photos live at the Newport Aquarium (I told you I was going to talk about them).

The fun facts are courtesy of My Friend the Internet.

Some penguins can hold their breath up to 7 minutes. Other penguins can hold their breath even longer. You shouldn’t try that. Gentoos can dive down 655 feet without SCUBA gear. You shouldn’t try that either. Mostly because you’re not a penguin.

Penguins at the Newport Aquarium.

Penguins have excellent hearing and can hear their mate call them from several miles away. However, when asked to take out the trash, they become instantly deaf. Kind of like human teenagers.

Most penguins can swim faster than you can.

Penguins at the Newport Aquarium.

To keep from overheating, penguins pant like dogs to cool off. Dogs consider this the highest form of flattery.

Penguins at the Newport Aquarium.

A group of young penguin chicks is called a “crèche.” A group of penguins in the water is called a “raft.” A group of penguins on land is called a “waddle.” (Guess which one is my favorite?)

Love, Mom

Don’t forget to share DearKidLoveMom!


This is a bonus picture of the rainbow chameleon that lives at the aquarium. I included the photo because how could I not?

Rainbow chameleon Newport Aquarium

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How Turpin High School Got Its Name (and Penguins)

Dear Kid,

High school soccer season has begun. And by “begun” I mean there was a scrimmage last night.

We played at Turpin, which is southeast of exactly nowhere.

I’m pretty sure the location moved while we were there because the drive home was significantly shorter than the arduous journey we took to get there in the first place.

Turpin (according to refers to an English highwayman named Richard Turpin.

The Turpin High School probably didn’t get its name from a thief who died a couple of hundred years ago, but their website didn’t give a more relevant explanation.

So, being the kind of mom I am, I will provide a little more information. (This explanation of course is coming from the unimpeachable source of I’m-making-it-up.)

There are quite a few conflicting theories as to where the name Turpin came from. Scholars have debated the origin for years, but evidence has finally come to light to Explain All.

How adorable is this little penguin? DearKidLoveMom.comThe first theory is that Turpin stands for Township Urchins Revere Penguins In Nests. This is of course pure nonsense as one doesn’t need to be an urchin to adore penguins and who uses the word “urchin” these days anyway (unless they are referring to sea urchins and we’re more than a few miles from the sea).

The second theory is that someone named Turpin died where the school is built. Which is probable but gory and one can see why they don’t brag about it on the website.

Another theory is that someone named Turpin gave a lot of money and/or land to the district, which sounds better but is highly unlikely since nothing else in the area is named Turpin and because they would have been screaming it in BIG LETTERS on the website if that were the case. (Mr. Donald P. Turpin, though he didn’t have children of his own, left his fortune of $14.17 to build this school on the family farm…).

The most logical explanation is that one day a terrapin fell out of the sky, landed on that very spot, and in the confusion of trying to explain what it was doing up in the sky in the first place lost a few of the more important letters in its name. Those letters T, R, P, and N mixed with letters already in the soil in that area and a school sprouted up.

One must be careful of having too little education. One must also be careful of having too much education.

I must be careful to go get some more coffee.

Love, Mom

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What You Absolutely, Positively MUST Know About Penguins (& Really Cute Pictures)

Dear Kid,

Yesterday was Penguin Awareness Day. Every January 20th, Penguins turn to each other and say, “I feel very aware.” World Penguin Day is April 25th, when penguins (patron saint Bond, James Bond) turn to each other and say “It may be April, but my toes are still cold.”

Penguins (patron saint Fred Astaire) are 12 kinds of adorable. Special thanks to the Newport Aquarium for sharing the photos of all their adorableness.

Here are a whole bunch of things you absolutely positively need to know about penguins (patron saint groom cake toppers).

Gentoo Penguins. They swim faster than you. DearKidLoveMom.comEven though they can’t breathe underwater and most don’t carry an air tank, penguins are speedy little dudes in the sea. All but the laziest of penguins can swim 5-6 miles an hour with bursts up to 15 mph (when there is a particularly delicious looking fish to get or when teenage penguins are trying to show off). Gentoo Penguins zip along at up to 22 mph. This is faster than you can swim.

Part of the reason they swim so quickly is that they bought the same type of swim suit the Olympians wear. Which is to say when they fluff their feathers, bubbles are released that “reduce the density of the water around them… and act as lubrication that decreases water viscosity.” Who knew you could decrease the density of water?

For a special treat, click here–>It’s a Penguin Party! (A La Fiesta de Pingüinos)

Small penguins don’t dive as deep as larger penguins. The big dudes (like Emperor Penguins) can dive 1,870 feet deep for up to 22 minutes. They do not do this in  the aquarium since the floor gets in the way.

Did you know that penguins swallow pebbles and stones as well as their food? It’s probably to help grind up their food (like an internal garbage disposal) although some scientists think the stones are more of a weight belt to help the penguins dive deeper.

On land, penguins waddle between 1.7 and 2.4 mph. Now you know why they live places where land predators do not. And (I kid you not) a group of penguins on land is called a “waddle.”

Happy penguins at the Newport Aquarium. DearKidLoveMom.comPenguins do not have teeth. Rather they hold on to prey with their beak and spines on the roof of their beaks and on their tongues. French kissing is not popular among penguins.

Many penguins mate with the same penguin year after year. Many penguins also cheat on their mate (I am not making this up).

In most penguin species, the male incubates the eggs while the female trots off to hunt and have a lovely GNO. Because the males stay behind for up to weeks at a time, pudgy males are most desirable. Some penguins lose up to 20 or more pounds while they eggsit. This is known as the penguin diet and will soon be the rage in California.

Speaking of penguin diets, you might be wondering about the amount of sea water penguins drink. Not to worry, my friend. Penguins have a special gland (behind their eyes which seems to be as good a place as any to store a gland) which filters saltwater out of their blood stream. Penguins then excrete it by sneezing. I am dying to see a penguin sneeze.

Penguins go through a catastrophic molt, which is when they lose all their feathers at once and spend 2 to 3 week land-bound while they grow new ones. This is sort of the penguin equivalent of What Not To Wear.

How adorable is this little penguin? DearKidLoveMom.comCoolest Penguin Fact:

A penguin’s normal body temperature is approximately 100° F (38° C). To keep from overheating, penguins pant like dogs to cool off. They also ruffle their feathers and hold their wings away from their bodies. Better yet, penguins can control the blood flow to their extremities enough to reduce the amount of blood that gets cold, but not enough so that their extremities freeze. How cool is that?

Best Penguin Fact of the Day:

Some of the prehistoric penguins were enormous—about full-grown person sized. IMHO, this might have diminished their adorableness factor.

Isn’t it amazing what you can learn by celebrating a holiday about penguins (patron saint Prom King)?

Love, Mom

Peguins in their Matisse phase. DearKidLoveMom.comWho knew penguins (patron saint all award show hosts) had a thing for imitating Henri Matisse?

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