Posts Tagged "polar bear"

The Iditarod is Coming! With or Without Polar Bears

Dear Kid,

In approximately 22 days, the Iditarod will start.

Because this is a dog event, I decided to consult our resident canine.

Puppy: What do you mean they are outside for 1,000 miles for a race? That’s crazy!

The Iditarod began in 1973. During the race, teams of 16 dogs and a musher race to the finish. The race frequently involves mushing through huge blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and crazy winds.

Puppy thinks polar bears should be in the Iditarod. DearKidLoveMom.comPuppy: Those aren’t dogs. They’re polar bears.

There are 26 or 27 checkpoints along the route (depending on which route is run). Mushers pick up planned supplies at the checkpoints and often rest there (although some prefer to sleep along the trail). There are three mandatory rests along the way. One is a 24 hour layover, one is an 8 hour layover, and then final one is an eight hour stop before the final sprint.

Puppy: See? Polar bears sleep outside. Dogs sleep on pillows.

According to the EPA, temperatures in Alaska have increased 6.3 degrees over the last 50 years (twice as fast as the national average).

This year the Iditarod route is being changed because of low snowfall.

Puppy: There’s no snow for the polar bears? Ridiculous. I’m going to take a nap.

Now you know.

Love, Mom

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Alaska! Happy Birthday to You!

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, the only people who knew about Alaska were Santa and Mrs. Claus. The elves all knew but they like secrets so they didn’t tend to tell people. There were also a bunch of polar bears in on the secret, but polar bears are not big on map making. Seals like cartography (extra points for knowing that means map making) but then they generally eat the maps, so Alaska remained largely unknown.

Alaska 49th State DearKidLoveMom.comThen the Eskimos arrived. They learned from the land and the polar bears and seals and decided Not Telling was an excellent way to remain Left Alone. So everyone was cold and happy.

In 1741, a Russian expedition (led by a Danish navigator—go figure) found the Alaskan mainland. No one much cared except for bunch of Russians who liked to hunt. The hunters spent a lot of time trekking back and forth and hunting. Being multi-taskers, they also brought a bunch of weird (and by “weird” I mean not native to the Alaskan area) with them. This was not good for the Aleut population. Especially since Puffs Plus hadn’t been invented yet.

In 1784, the first Russian colony was established on Kodiak Island.

In the early 1800s, a polar bear named Bear 987 ate a Russian. It gave Bear 987 a tummy ache but was good advertising for leaving polar bears alone.

By the 1860s, Russia was facing severe economic trouble (and by “severe economic trouble” I mean Russia was just about bankrupt). Russia checked the Asset Closet and discovered Alaska and three paper clips. Since the US had a sufficient supply of paper clips, Russia sold off Alaska to the US for $7.2 million which was a serious bargain even then but a most of Congress thought it was waste of money.

The media came up with several names for the scandal (none of which included the suffix –gate) including “polar bear garden.” Polar bears are far too cool to get annoyed; no telling what would have happened if they’d called it “iceberg garden” as icebergs have been known to be extremely vicious (just ask the Titanic).

Nothing interesting happened until the discovery of gold in 1898.

The territory of Alaska became the 49th and largest state in the Union on January 3, 1959. Happy birthday, Alaska!

Now you know.

Love, Mom

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Duh, Get With It Mom! | Donkey Basketball

Dear Kid,

Well, not too surprisingly, it turns out that I know even less about basketball than I thought I did. Also not surprisingly, Grandma has Provided Information.

Polar Bear eating basketball DearKidLoveMom.comThere is such a thing as donkey basketball. It is generally played as a halftime entertainment-slash-fundraiser at a school game. Participants (sometimes students, sometimes teachers, sometimes firefighters, etc.) ride (or attempt to ride) the donkeys and play basketball.  Our district (being as how we are in the greater Cincinnati area and Way Behind the Times) has not (to the best of my knowledge) partaken in this particular event.

Of course, donkey basketball has been around since the 1930s and Cincinnati isn’t really an entire century behind.

“When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always twenty years behind the times.” Mark Twain

I’m guessing that our athletic director never heard that donkey hooves are great basketball court floor conditioners.

Love, Mom

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Canada: Hockey, Polar Bears, the Flag, and Snow

Dear Kid,

Olympic hockey is upon us. Which means Dad is getting up extra early (and extra awake) to watch early round competitions. I like hockey. Been a fan a long time. But overly excitable commentators and Dad coaching/commenting/refereeing before breakfast is a bit much.

Speaking of Canada, February 15, 1965, was the day Canada adopted what we now know to be the Canadian flag. Queen Elizabeth issued a Formal Proclamation and the flag went up. (Note: This is a good example of a time to use the phrase “run it up the flagpole.” Most other times are not.)

“So,” I hear you asking, “tell me about the Canadian flag.” Well, if you insist.

Union Jack DearKidLoveMom.comWay back in 1610 (that’s before you were born), Lower Canada was a new British Colony and therefore flew Britain’s Union Jack. The polar bears in Upper Canada weren’t impressed and continued to frolic on the icebergs. This was before global warming and the Titanic, so polar bear moms didn’t warn their cubs to stay off the bergs.

By 1763, the French had lost a sizable portion of Canada so the polar bears had to stop speaking with a French accent and all of Canada lived under the Union Jack. (Extra points if you know who lived “under the name of Saunders.”)

Fast forward to 1867, when Canada started getting uppity (as much as Canadians ever get uppity) and the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing federation within the British Empire. Which meant, among other things, a new flag had to be created. This was a swell time to be a flag maker. It took three years, but the Canadian Red Ensign was adopted (it was red with the Union Jack in the upper-left corner and a crest on the right).Canadian Red Ensign Flag

That worked for a while, but eventually (and by eventually I mean it took a loooong time) Canadians began to point out that their flag didn’t have a maple leaf which is what they’d wanted all along, they’d just been too polite to say so.

King George V had nothing much to do in 1921 so he used the time to officially declare red and white the official colors of Canada. Officially. Which is why the maple leaf is white and not maple-leaf-color and why the background is red and not purple.

Canadian Flag DearKidLoveMom.comCanadians are very proud of their flag and of being Canadian–as they should be. While we have a lot of good stuff going for us as Americans, one doesn’t usually hear the term “ugly Canadian” batted around. Granted we don’t have crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford and we know how to pronounce the word donut. Then again, we eat too many donuts and have plenty of our own idiots.

Hope you had a good Valentine’s Day. Happy Saturday, and stay safe in all this crazy weather.

Love, Mom

P.S. Winnie-the-Pooh lived under the name of Saunders

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Polar Bears, Polar Vortex, and Feeling Frozen | Cincinnati Bungles Lose

Stay warm. But please don't build a fire in your room. DearKidLoveMom.comDear Kid,

The weekend has come and gone. As have the Bengals who were kind enough to provide sportscasters and the entire population of Cincinnati with something to talk about by making it look easy to lose a playoff game. This will undoubtedly be the number 2 Most Discussed Item in the TriState Area. Number 1 being the weather which is cold.

The High School (to which your sister was supposed to return today) has a new definition of “inclement”. As in: Schools will be closed today due to inclement weather. Apparently I am not the only one who is a complete wimp about temperatures in negative numbers as the entire district is shutting its educational doors for the day. This did not displease Pi.

Why is it so flippin’ cold? Turns out we are suffering from a Polar Vortex. (Which, as Dave Barry might say, would be an excellent name for a rock band.)

What is a polar vortex? you ask. And is there an antidote?

A polar vortex is a whopping big arctic cyclone, spinning seriously cold air at seriously fast speeds (100mph or more). The speed tends to keep the vortexes (vortices?)  at the poles where they belong, keeping polar bears, penguins, and Santa happy.

However, every now and then a vortex throws a tantrum and breaks off from the rest of the cyclone. This is what is happening now. And a vortex tantrum is not something you can deal with by issuing a 5 minute time out.

Thematically, it would be a great day to see the Disney movie Frozen. (I can now add Frozen to my to-do list, since I finally saw Despicable Me 2. Loved it! Thank you.) Practically, it is a good day to stay inside, stay warm, and stay safe.

I, on the other hand, have to walk the puppy. If I’m not back in a reasonable amount of time, send a search party. With handwarmers.

Think warm thoughts.

Love, Mom

Need a good way to stay warm today? Sign up to have DearKidLoveMom delivered straight to your email. It’s easy and won’t make you any colder than you already are.

Seriously everyone. Stay warm and stay safe.

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