5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy about microwave politics, spider webs and how that chicken got to the dinner table without the luxury of a head.


photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc
photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc

I get all kinds of questions from my awesome kids about this wonderful world we live in.

GAD GRAPHICI love it. I suspect the girls are getting a little gun-shy. Grace, the kid who used to turn to me and say “put *that* in your blog, daddy,” now groans a little as she watches me thumb her questions into my mobile phone (so I don’t forget to blog about them.)

I’ve worked on waiting until the girls are on to their next adventure before typing their questions into note mode on my phone.

So far, so good.

Here’s what they asked this time:

1. Why is it when I microwave two stuffed shells for the same amount of time as three, they get hotter?

Ah, let’s get started right away with food.

I’ve vowed to avoid political references in any of my blogs this week and next.

I think there’s a Republican parable out there about two stuffed shells vs. three stuff shells, and how the microwave represents the government, and the actual waves represent welfare, and the stuffed shells represent welfare-eligible recipients.

I’ve vowed to avoid political references in any of my blogs this week and next.

But if I weren’t avoiding them, let’s just say if it were Romney noodles, it’d be best to heat two at a time, and get that third one out of the microwave all together, with help from loop holes in the microwave’s wattage.

And let’s just say if you were heating Obama rolls, it’d be best to actually put two more in the microwave and add more time to the timer, and if you can, add two more after that.

And that’s not political at all. It’s just that if you have fewer items in the microwave, you have less stuff for the actual microwaves to heat, so it goes faster and is more efficient, because the shells aren’t as dependent.

Even if the shells are stuffed with government cheese.

My name is Eli Pacheco and I approved this message.

2. Why don’t ants make their piles in the middle of the sidewalk?

Can you imagine getting an ant bite from a creature with jaws strong enough to rip up concrete?

Grace, you’re allergic to ant bites. Can you imagine getting one from a creature with jaws strong enough to rip up concrete? Let’s be happy they can’t chew through the sidewalk.

Ants have this great reputation of being able to carry several times their weight. It’d be like having 600 linebackers living among you, only the ant would make a linebacker look like a kicker.

Carpenter ants, though, have been known to chew through brick. Yeah, brick! All that dirt you see piled up on an ant hill is what they’ve moved out to create a complex network of tunnels, chambers, storage units, and burial chambers.

Ants out west probably make tornado shelters, and I heard of an ant pile in Cabarrus County that had a man cave, an RV park and a dirt track in it, too.

Ants are capable of a great many things, and live in a complex society. Why build your fortress on the sidewalk where some dumb human on an i-Phone is going to trample you?

3. Do all writing spiders make zigzags in the middle of their webs?

Not all of them. I’m pretty sure writing spiders in Asia and the Arabic world have very different patterns. I think they write right to left, too. Don’t quote me on that.

The English call writing spiders wasp spiders.

Makes me wonder if Kentucky writing spiders do their writing in blue.

(Actually, the English call them wasp spiders. I presume because they look kind of like a wasp, and not because they’re white anglo-saxon protestants. Maybe for my next blog you’ll ask why white anglo-saxon protestants make zigzag lines in their webs.)

Many people are freaked out over writing spiders, because they’re so big, and sport Pittsburgh Steelers colors. They’re pretty docile, though. Ever seen one upset? They get the bum rap with superstitions, too.

Some people think if a writing spider writes your name, you’ll die. Or, if one sees your teeth, they’ll fall out. Writing spiders are bad luck to no one, though, unless you count the Pittsburgh Pirates, who also share their colors.

Know how you have to scribble with a pen to get the ink to start flowing?

I suspect this is the case with writing spiders. They have to get their butts warmed up to write with web. Probably, though, they’ve learned to put the zigzags in so that people on their i-Phone will hopefully look up in time to see the web before they walk through it.

4. Why does it rain?

Rainy days are God’s way of telling Rockies pitchers, “you’re still my children. We’ll save the shelling you’re expecting until tomorrow. Now go play cards in the clubhouse.”

To preserve Rockies pitching, of course. Rainy days are God’s way of telling Rockies pitchers, “you’re still my children. We’ll save the shelling you’re expecting until tomorrow. Now go play cards in the clubhouse.”

Rain is just the most impressive part of a process that includes words like “evaporation” and “condensation.”

I think you all have made the “chart” in school – you know, the one with the cotton balls glued to the page, and the note cards explaining the way water evaporates, rises, becomes clouds until it’s too heavy, then comes pouring down onto the earth again, in the form of sprinkles, thunderstorms or catastrophic news makers named Katrina and Sandy.

It’s also what kicks up the red mud in Carolina to make your soccer socks fun to wash.

It’s a good thing we have Amy Aaronson to give us good weather reports.

5. When do they kill the chickens? When they’re asleep?

Oh, Grace. It was a mistake to let you sit on the counter while I fixed dinner.

Where’s the chicken’s head, dad? Where are the chicken’s guts, dad? When will dinner be ready, dad?

I could see the questions bounding about in that 8-year-old mind. Where’s the chicken’s head, dad? Where are the chicken’s guts, dad? When will dinner be ready, dad?

One of my cousins was told at a young age that the fish he ate was actually “sea chicken,” so he wouldn’t freak out (he had pet fish.) I thought about telling you a softened version of this process.

I felt I somehow guarded you against the barbaric practices of a society still bent on carnivorous living (of which I’m a proud member) but who does so without the element of the struggle of the hunt.

I contemplated feeding you tales of chickens dying of old age, or some sort of volunteer program, or somehow relating it to a Hunger Games type of system, then I realized you watched “Chipwrecked” while the rest of us saw “Hunger Games” at the dollar theater.

I’m not sure Alvin and the Chipmunks have an adequate story line for this lesson.

For us, this was an important moment. What 8-year-old conscientiously objects to chicken nuggets? What would you eat when the rest of us ate “grown-up” stuff?

The truth I chose to tell you about chickens involved arguable humane treatment, and what I sensed would be a loss of innocence, a nightmare or two, and maybe a budding existence as a vegetarian.

Despite your sisters’ likely cheers upon hearing you’d given up chicken, therefore rendering more wings for them at the next sitting, I chose to tell you a version of the truth that involved quick death.

It involved arguable humane treatment, and what I sensed would be a loss of innocence, a nightmare or two, and maybe a budding existence as a vegetarian.

“Dad,” you said, and I listened intently.

“Can I have a leg and a wing? No, two wings!”

Atta girl, Grace. And I promise not to microwave them, even.

chickens quote

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6 Replies to “5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy about microwave politics, spider webs and how that chicken got to the dinner table without the luxury of a head.”

    1. I know! But this one was smart enough to stick nearby while I was cooking. You have to reward that kind of ingenuity. Plus, the other two absolutely destroyed the rest of the bird. No one went hungry.

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