5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Battery Temperature, Scorching Pitches and Boating Safety

So, we have cable now.

I know. And fast Internet. Our fish are all dead, however.

Long story.

We recently watched the Major League Baseball All-Star game. A great American tradition, featuring three players from my Rockies in the National League’s starting lineup (which is why they didn’t score, points out Marie), a touching tribute to veterans, and even Neil Diamond.

I thank Jesus today that the girls asked 17 questions inspired by baseball, and not one – thank Allah and Vishnu, too – about Viagra.


Of course, the other commercials were the dirty Jack In The Box numbers.

I feel like we’re Quakers.

On with the show.

1. Do batteries get hot when you use them?

Sometimes. But you don’t have to call a doctor after three hours at least.

Batteries are inefficient, as they charge and as they discharge. As a current moves in or out of a battery, it meets resistance. That creates friction, which creates heat. When a batter shorts out, there is no resistance between the positive and negative ends, so the heat has nowhere to go – but in.

You can wind up with a hot battery if you try to charge ones not designed to recharge. But let’s not get into that.

2. How do actors not get hurt when they get thrown through a window in movies?

There’s a special place in Siberia for movie physics and the designated hitter.

None of us can tiptoe through the kitchen after Marie shatters another bowl without suffering lacerations and puncture wounds. And that’s just a Bonnie Brae bowl. In Hollywood, a motorcycle cop can punch a villain hard enough to send him sprawling through a window – without a scratch.

Weight and inertia say this is poppycock. The large splinters of glass would slice through clothing and skin with ease. This says nothing about the inertia that would keep these shards of glass in place until various body parts pushed against them.

It’d be like a great big cheese grater for people.

3. What’s the fastest pitch ever?

It’s the one that girl in the mall tossed me to try and sell me smokeless cigarettes.

Second to her was Cincinnati Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman, in 2010, in a game against the San Diego Padres. Chapman, a lanky Cuban lefty, seared a pitch past Tony Gwynn Jr. and into the record books. Chapman threw 25 pitches that night, the slowest of which crawled across the plate at 102 mph.

The record pitch missed the strike zone, by the way. Lots of speed, no control. Kinda like your dad at the pizza buffet.

4. Are zebras white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?

So, mankind can send humans to the moon and invent T-shirts and underwear without itchy tags, but it can’t quite solve the mystery that is zebra color.

Lisa Smith, curator of large mammals at Zoo Atlanta, says a zebra is black with white stripes. Not sure if she shaved one to be sure. A zebra’s stripes are from pigment activation and inhibition, meaning the fur is black, and white stripes are places that lack pigmentation. A zebra’s skin, usually, is black.

For an answer that isn’t really black or white, this one sort of is.

5. Has a boat ever been struck by lightning?

You have a smaller chance of your boat getting struck by lightning than getting thrown through a window and coming out unscathed, at least.

According to the Boat Owners Association of the U.S., your chances of catching a bolt on a boat are 1.2 in 1,000. No boat in Idaho or Nebraska has ever taken a lightning strike, which means there’s not a lot of boating during thunderstorms in those states, or lightning is allergic to corn and potatoes.

Now, if you ever find yourself on a boat, with a zebra, with no batteries or Aroldis Chapman to help you, just do what Piscine Patel did in this clip from “Life of Pi.”


  1. Your kids ask you a bunch of questions. My son, does too.. I’m usually driving when this happens. And he asks me all the questions he’s been storing up since our last car ride. Maybe it’s because he thinks he has me cornered, and I can’t RUN AWAY FROM HIM.

    Have I considered throwing myself from a moving vehicle… yes.
    Have I done it? Nope…

    But, trust me… if I wrote half of these questions down, and how long it took to ask them… I’m sure we’d have a Guinness record… or at least, I would drink a tall Guinness

    1. 80 percent come from the rising third grader. The younger they are, the more the ask – although the All-star questions came from the high school sophomore.

      You really can’t run away from him at that point. It’s kind of like you’re on one of those hearings you see on CSPAN. Answer the question, Ms. Von Steal.

      I have a notebook running over with questions. Hey, it’s keeping my Fridays busy around here.

  2. Yeah? But what about the chicken and the egg?!? Huh?! What about that Dad?

    1. That’s easy, Tracy.

      Omelet for breakfast … friend chicken sandwich for lunch.

      The egg came before the chicken.

      What’s for dinner?

  3. Favorite part of this post…thanking Allah and Vishnu that your girls didn’t ask questions about the non-stop ED commercials! We were watching a US Track & Field event a few weekends ago and had to mute the TV during breaks because every stinkin’ commercial was unsuitable for children. This wasn’t even during prime time; it was a Sunday afternoon for Pete’s sake!

    1. It’s just a matter of time on those commercials, and it almost makes me want to encourage them to watch the Disney channel. Almost. Between Viagra and Jack in the Box ads, I find myself working “distraction mode!” when I watch TV with khe kids.

  4. Hmm. The odds of getting struck by lightning in a boat are better than playing the lottery. If I were a betting man, I might just take some of that action.

    1. I know. And the payoff comes all at once. Real sudden-like.

  5. laurie27wsmith says:

    Been struck by lightning 3 times + once on a tractor I was driving and had a lightning ball bounce around above my head. So Eli get Grace to ask this one, when do I win the lottery? If I had batteries on me they would have sure heated up.

    1. This explains so much, Laurie. I’d be afraid that if you bought the winning ticket, a zebra would eat it. And I think your battery has been hot for quite some time, friend.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Mate if I won the lottery the world economy would collapse the following day. Seriously I tell people that I’m like this because of the lightning, they tend to roll their eyes and not believe me. I like that, a Zebra would eat it.

  6. Those are some great questions. My kids haven’t quite moved past the “why do we have to go to bed?” stage of questioning.

    1. I have notebook pages full of more, too. What’s your answer when they ask about bedtime?

  7. Tamara says:

    My prom date was not thrown through a window, but he got drunk and fresh with some larger men at our hotel and he was thrown into a window. He was unscathed but I used to exaggerate that story and tell them he was thrown THROUGH a window. I’m lucky they didn’t fact-check that he would have been severely hurt by that one!

    1. In the movies, he’d have gone through the window, and the two thugs who did the throwing would have dusted off their hands as they stood looking at him through the whole where the window was.

      Your version of the story definitely has a better appeal than reality, and because not everyone knows the movie physics you know do, they wouldn’t have to know that your tough date probably had to visit a chiropractor for six weeks after that.

      (Big tough guys in hotels usually don’t do a lot of fact-checking, I’ve found).

  8. Fastest pitch – I love it. You have way more patience with the questions from your kids than I do mine. Anything they ask I have Siri Google and I read it to them.

    1. Figures that it went for a ball, and I’m shocked it didn’t somehow hurt my Colorado Rockies. My kids sometimes have to wait for the blog to come out to get their answers, though.

      You reading from Siri Google is a much better alternative than telling them, “shut the hell up!” I think that happens sometimes, too.

  9. Teri says:

    When Thome was traded from the Phils to Baltimore, I was so happy. My girls couldn’t understand WHY I was so happy until I explained to them about the DH. Then they were happy too. Happy baseball fans are we.

    1. The DH is the great farewell tell tour, but I say, let a pitcher hit. AL starting pitchers can throw inside and not worry about when they’ll have to come to the plate.

      At least as I gripe like an old-timer, you and your family can love you some Jim Thome for an other season or three.

  10. Vohn says:

    Thank you for following my blog. You are most welcome, Vohn

  11. Coming East says:

    My kids were always smarter than me so I was the one that was asking the questions. Still am.

  12. Hi Eli! I hopped over from your guest post on Tamara’s! I read the post about Disney being a 4 letter word, HA! I am of the opinion that you shared….we can watch TV and not be totally influenced by it and desirous of what is occurring there. I watch a ton of ratchet TV & listen crap music and it doesn’t shape my thoughts, at least I don’t think so. I would continue to let the kids watch Disney too.

    I decided to come on over to your more recent post! I never think so deeply as to Zebra color, I like to keep everything simple. Good to know about the lightening risk. I am always kinda fearful of that.

    1. Joi – it’s great to have you here! It’s just easy to blame Disney, you know? Like, the kids’ bad behavior couldn’t possibly have anything to do with my child-rearing – so it must be placed on Zach and Cody’s shoulders.

  13. You. Are. Funny. I love your answers-too adorable! Found you from Tamara Camera : )

    1. Thank.you! You’re in my “blogs to read” folder, too. Looking forward to it!

  14. anotherjennifer says:

    Well, I’m glad you solved the whole zebra color question. That was bugging me.

    1. I’m amazed it came down to me to have to do this … couldn’t Joe Biden or Elizabeth Hasselbeck have taken care of this already?

  15. Rorybore says:

    I have no idea, except I want a burger and to watch RoboCop again. or maybe Jean Claude VanDamme. probably RoboCop. and fairly certain I can eat some movie glass as dessert. I bet sugar glass is very tasty…..and less filing than regular glass. 🙂

    1. I struggle to remember the last time I didn’t crave a burger. And maybe a little sugar movie glass that someone through Jennifer Lawrence through for dessert.

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