5 for Friday: Go ask daddy about firefly cuisine, spacewalk limitations and touchscreen technology

stormtrooper darth vader minion

This is a post that might not see the light of day.

GAD GRAPHICImagine this: Me, in a cabin no more than three large pizzas long, two large pizzas wide, in a white-sand outpost down east in North Carolina. My hint of web access hinges on the tortoise-quick and ‘possum-smart network called tengointernet13.

Tengo”means I have in Spanish. Una mentira (a lie), if I’ve ever heard one.

This Internet connection is doing a great job of keeping me outternet. I’m in Jacksonville, N.C., home of the military base and large alligators with a taste for domesticated dogs, in town for a coaching certification course.

It’s rustic. I’m Ralph Waldo Emerson. Or Diane Fossey. Or at least Jed Clampett (before he struck Texas Tea). The hum of Marine helicopters rumbles in the distance beyond the aromas of the grills of seasoned grillers in campsites around me.

Picture me, with a light bulb that hangs lazily from a crooked wire. I scribble furiously on a field notebook the contents of this blog. My thoughts – my last thoughts? – scrawled on yellowing parchment.

Imagine me wearing a weather-beaten bucket hat.

My hair’s grown wayward and my beard like a salt-and-pepper thicket on my face. Mosquito netting surrounds my humble bunk. I must sharpen my only pencil with a pocket knife. If I don’t survive, this blog post, at least, will endure.

(Try to forget that I’ll probably hit publish while I nosh on sweet donuts and Diet Mountain Dew in the Great Wall Chinese food while riding their free WiFi.)

1. What do fireflies eat?

Anything with Frank’s Red hot. They put that sh*t on everything.

Fireflies are beetles. This is why we catch them in jars and not fly paper. We sometimes call them lightning bugs. They eat more when they’re glow-in-the-dark larvae known as glowworms – other bugs, slugs, and snails. Sometimes grown-up fireflies don’t eat at all.

Which makes them kind of like supermodels or rock stars, and not just because someone’s always looking at their tail.

baseball batting helmet
photo credit: PMillera4 I am #30 via photopin (license)

2. Do they have batting helmets with the flap on the other side, too?

They go on the right for Republicans, the left for Democrats. Libertarians have them on both sides.

Right-handers have the flap on the left side of the helmet. Left-handed batters, on the right. Switch hitters use helmets with flaps on both sides. They weren’t made mandatory until the 1960s.

They made a special helmet to protect the Phillies’ Tony Gonzalez’s melon. His was prone to getting plunked by baseballs.

The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez prefers a helmet without one ear flap so that he can hear the mating call of the single New York female in the stadium crowd. Call me, maybe?

space end
photo credit: c@rljones via photopin cc

3. Can you go anywhere in space on a spacewalk?

Yes. During the Obama administration, you don’t even have to show ID.

Astronauts on a spacewalk can move anywhere in space. The modern term is extra-vehicular activity, which I’m sure is illegal in 17 states. Astronauts have roamed untethered since 1984.

Usually astronauts leave the space craft for space station repairs not joy rides.

Untethered astronauts carry life support in a backpack. They should go no further than their mothers can see them. Just like you, Camdyn.

tropical fish
photo credit: suzukichick via photopin cc

4. Is ich just bubbles?

It’s not just acne for aquarium fish.

The full word for the disease that produces white spots on fish is ichthyophthiriasis. Civilians also call it the white spot, not to be confused with Cape Cod. It’s an infectious parasite that makes aquarium fish look salted.

We’ve been able to chase the ich with stress coat squired on our sick fish. Wearing a batting helmet apparently doesn’t protect a fish for ich either.

5. Have they invented the touch computer yet?

Just think, Camdyn: Your grand kids might stumble upon a keyboard and say, What’s this old thing, grandma?

Microsoft’s Windows XP tablet was the first of its kind for touch technology. The technology emerged in 1971. Doctor Sam Hurst developed the touch sensor. That was the same year someone you know just might have been born.

(It took a while for him to become mainstream, too.)

Your question explains why there’s so many tiny fingerprints on my laptop screen, Camdyn. And I’m hungrier than a firefly after answering all these!

philips quote computer


  1. Letizia says:

    I love that you measure space in pizzas 🙂

    I will never look at fireflies in the same way…..

    1. I could use meters or feet, but aren’t pizzas universal?

      I was kinda hoping I’d find that fireflies got their brilliance from copious amounts of Mountain Dew …

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    Great post again, I can imagine you sitting and writing in both places. You should have had an alligator thumping its tail against the cabin door, giving a greater sense of urgency to your pencil sharpening.

    1. It was an adventure, for sure. The alligator thumped just once – he then became gator fritters.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Bet he tasted just like chicken.

  3. Tamara says:

    It goes away?? I thought ich was a death sentence. Now you tell me.

    1. Yes, it can be cured, although I don’t recommend the method I discovered online that involved scooping the fish into a net and letting him scrape the spots off himself. Turns out the mass killings in our tank had little to do with ich, and more to do with toxic water. Turns out something went awry between the tap and the tank as far as ammonia, which turned our aquarium into “agua de muerto” – Water of Death, as it’s known in fish circles now.

  4. Rorybore says:

    so funny, because I just bought a new journal and have sharpened a pencil so that I can write posts on the go. which is what I thought was the purpose of my laptop. but it’s heavy and cumbersome (no light weight Mac Book here) and of course…..requires electricity. since hubby opted to get me the super 17 inch HD screen…my battery life is only about 2 hours. And if you have ever taken 3 children to a splash pad park on a hot summer day…..well, there just ain’t enough juice to keep that sucker going. It’s done long before the kids run out of battery power. I wonder how much energy a firefly bum emits??

    1. The Diaries of Rorybore will be auctioned at quite a hefty price one day on eBay, I predict. Why such a large screen? Those are better left for viewing food blogs and watching Summer Sanders highlights. Or so I’ve heard.

      I believe a firefly bum emits exactly 543 HGz of power, or roughly 1/1,000th of what it takes to light up your monster HD screen for 1.7 seconds.

  5. Joyce says:

    Interesting tidbits. Thanks for sharing.


    1. No word on how long a firefly could go on a spacewalk, though. Thanks, Joyce.

  6. Outternet… I spit my water out.. and had to wipe down my keyboard before typing this message.

    Maybe it should have been NoTengoInternet!

    1. Ha! I’m glad you weren’t eating chicken noodle soup at the time, then.

      No tengo nada, nunca estupido!net, is what it should have been called.

      Of course, I left my power cord home, so …

  7. Love the comment about ARod and that you explained the size of your hut by pizza boxes. I suck at math but I certainly know how big a large pizza box is!!

    1. I’d have used Arod’s paycheck as reference, but my cabin couldn’t cover it. I might or might not have known how big the cabin was in terms of pizza boxes because I might or might not have had to reach over them to get my pencil.

  8. Coming East says:

    Love learning new info in such a fun way. That’s what makes good teachers, which you clearly are! By the way, my idea of roughing it is staying in a two-star hotel. Glad you survived. You did, didn’t you?

    1. Dads are supposed to know this stuff, but the girls and I have had fun looking stuff up together, too. I’m learning too, so they’re also my teachers.

      I *did* survive! It was rough the first night, but by the time we left, it felt like home.

  9. Krystal says:

    I didn’t know they had batting helmets with 2 flaps!! Cool!! And I never dealt with ich – only fish lice – which I picked off with tweezers. That was nasty!! And I have a touch-screen computer by Toshiba – I don’t use the touchscreen feature…too messy, especially if you’re eating cheetos.

    1. I have an allergy to things asymmetrical, so those one-flap helmets would bug the snot out of me.

      Duly noted on the touchscreen. Because really, if you have to not use a computer while eating Cheetos, what’s the point?

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