Go Ask Daddy About Judges’ Pay, Lunch Meat Shape and the 4th Rock from the Sun


So, a strange thing happened in the car not long ago.

No, it wasn’t that I shared my snacks with the kids. I’ve done that before. No, on this day, Elise turned down the volume on the song (it was probably Europe or AC/DC, but it could have been Cher Lloyd) on the radio, and asked me about the government shutdown.

It’s happened more often lately, too.

Talk about science, gigabit Internet, the Affordable Healthcare Act. Planets. Animals. Senators. It’s pretty cool. And on Halloween day at school, a little girl asked Grace what I do at work (by my costume, the kid guessed that I worked at Little Caesar’s). Grace’s answer?

“He writes things. Smart things.”

Love that kid.

Here’s what the kids have asked lately. In the car, and other places.

1. Who pays judges?

Judge Judy

The federal government does, so, indirectly, I do.

NPR got a load of story ideas during the government shutdown recently, to disclose who did and didn’t get locked out of work after a congressional impasse. Federal government employees, essential and non-essential both, still get paid during a shutdown – they just might have to wait for a paycheck.

So all judges were safe – even judges Judy and Milian.

2. What’s the longest note ever in a song?

A-ha Morten1

I’m pretty sure it was Judge Wapner doing his best Joe Cocker impersonation in “I Get High With a Little Help from my Friends.”

A-Ha lead singer Morten Harket (left) held a note in the song “Summer Moved On” for 20.2 seconds, or roughly the same time it takes you guys to kill a bag of tortilla chips. This all depends on who you ask, though (the note, not the chips). Yodeler Don Winters is said to have hit a high note for 23 seconds.

Might have to take this one to Judge Judy.

3. How do they get the lunch meat in one chunk?

Bologna lunch meat style sausage

If you’re talking about pork, you’d better ask Congress.

As for ham or turkey: Meat is removed from the bone and ground up. It’s ground and emulsified – an action not common
in nature that turns it into luncheon meat pancake batter. (Hungry yet?) Toss in a few flavors, additives and binders (yum!), send the chunk to the smokehouse, and it’s almost lunchtime.

Which brings us to that pile of corn on your plate you’ve ignored.

4. What do they do with all that corn?


Use it as a buffer between Colorado and Nebraska. And it comes in handy for tortillas.

We grow lots of corn here in America because we’re No. 1 in corn worldwide. Average Americans eat 25 pounds of corn a year, says the National Corn Growers Association (I’d love one of their T-shirts). Corn’s also used in fireworks, sandpaper, and tires. I think they eat sandpaper in Nebraska.

I’ll have the giant nugget-shaped Cajun roasted turkey breast instead.

5. Has anyone flown to Mars?

Celestia mars

I think they went there to find more space to store the corn.

They’ve been talking about a visit to the red planet for generations. We’re mesmerized every time we think we might have seen a photo that could have rock formations indicative of river water. All I see is that creepy face in the rocks. At its closest, Mars is 34.8 million miles away, which is even longer than dad’s commute to work.

The average temperature on Mars is 80 degrees below zero, worse than Buffalo, without a lousy football team.

Or judge Joe Brown.

So even though the kids might bust out into a fit of science talk or ask about the economy, it’s likely I’m the only one who’s geeked that today is Science Friday on NPR.

Except for Ariel Zych.

Maybe she likes reading smart things, too.


  1. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I didn’t eat sushi, soft cheeses or deli meat and limited my caffeine intake. In all of the excitement and aftermath that follows delivery, it was hours before I ate a meal. So I sent the troops out for provisions. You know what I wanted? A turkey sub and Coke. Best dang sandwich I’ve ever eaten! Inhaled was more like it. By the time Morten took a breath, only crumbs were left.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That’s the way to attack a sandwich – with gusto! I love seeing a vegetarian come to her senses, too, and eat meat again. It’s so encouraging, yet so personal, I can’t share the details here.

      Subs rock. I just had a Cubano sandwich from Publix, and it was as good as the ones in Tallahassee.

      1. I wish we had Publix here! They make a mean sub.

        I could never hack it as a vegetarian. Never. A girl needs a juicy cheeseburger every now and then! And bacon, pepperoni, and jalapeno pizza. Mmmm, bacon.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Publix subs are the real deal. I swear this Cubano tasted like it was made my a Cuban abuelita in cocina somewhere.

        We’re carnivores, that’s why. God and Jesus gave us incisors. “A girl needs a juicy cheeseburger now and then.” Didn’t Grace Kelly say that? Or was it you?

        I’m pretty sure I can attribute “Mmmm. Bacon,” to you.

  2. bocafrau says:

    Kids ask the darnest things don’t they? But its amazing when they start taking an interest in the world around them… We often have these types of discussions around the dinner table! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I always have a notebook nearby to catch the questions, too. that’s why I’d like to have dinner at the table and not on the couch watching “A.N.T. Farm.” It’s nice to engage our brains together a little.

  3. tamaralikecamera says:

    Funny, because recently I asked Scarlet what she thinks I do for work. She said, “You sit at your computer and write smart things.” I kid you not! Then I prompted her about if I do anything else, and she said, “You take photos of my friends and their dads.”
    Slightly creepy, but oh so true.
    Another funny thing – I took a music theory class in high school and the teacher talked about A-Ha’s lead singer and how he has a very interesting vocal range!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kids are all about the truth. Well, to a certain age. Smart things and an affinity for dads … does that sum it up? Dads *are* pretty awesome. Moms kind of rock too.

      A-Ha songs are ones that we fellas like to think we can pull off, like “Take on Me” (I loved that video), but really, we can’t. Morten’s pretty amazing.

  4. Rabia Lieber says:

    Wait? A Ha sang a song besides “Take On Me?” Who knew!?!?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know, right? I heard “Take On Me” on my Pandora today. I can’t thumbs-up it enough.

  5. Kim says:

    Umm…I think I’m off lunch meat now!!! Maybe I should just slice my own – at least then I will know where it comes from!
    Jordan (my oldest – 15 on Sunday) is convinced that there is life on other planets.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think they do a good job of baking it all in there. It tastes good anyway, and it’s just the right shape for sandwiches.

      I definitely believe there’s life on other planets. I wish it didn’t take so long to get to them. Or, if they like eating humans, I’m glad it takes so long to get to them.

      p.s. I’ve seen a UFO. I should write about that.

  6. laurie27wsmith says:

    You could send your congress to mars, with LOTS of luncheon meat and corn to have on the way. I’m sure the hot air generated would solve the chilly weather on the red planet.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s sometimes hard to distinguish between Congress and luncheon meat. They both can be loafs, for sure, but only one is good with spicy mustard and a tall Coke Zero.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Oh that’s so funny Eli.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks mate! My laptop died today, and getting online on the old PC has been tough on me … I don’t have any of my bookmarks or passwords or work email on this thing.

        Maybe I’ll just have a sub sandwich instead.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Definite sad face time there mate, almost catastrophic. Yep, a sub sandwich sounds like the way to go here.

  7. Rorybore says:

    Oh you are a brave brave man having some hot thing like Morten Harket singing on your blog knowing a fangirl like me is sure to drop by. I predict you will have about 347.2 hits on this page by the end of the weekend! 😉
    Loved that group. definitely saved wall space for them when I was in grade school.
    My kids don’t think I do anything.
    Food just magically appears, dirt magically disappears, and all their clothes wash, dry and re-hang/fold themselves!!! It’s incredible.
    Oh – except I do give very good birthday parties. they give me an A on that one.
    And now I want a bacon club sub.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m pretty brave. If Morten were brave,he’d have a link to my blog on his site. I will take the 300+ hits, and won’t even need to have the .2 hit explained to me in the process.

      “Take On Me,” although difficult to perform in the shower, is classic for our generation.

      My favorite band back then was Hall & Oates.

      Your kids sound like they consider you a bit of a super hero. Or servant. I’m convinced our kids sometimes mistake us for servants.

      Even when we throw them kick-ass parties.

      It’s 8:36 a.m., and *I* want a bacon club sub.

  8. I’m always amazed at the really interesting things they want to know!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You should see some of the ones still in the playbook.

  9. Love me some NPR, makes me feel so smart! So, for long notes, what about that song by Sheriff, “When I’m with you”. It’s a pretty long note at the end and it goes up an octave I’m sure.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      NPR has that effect on me, too – and if you repeat what you hear on the air, and don’t mess it up, you can sound smart, too.

      Freddy Curci is actually the Guinness Book for the longest note. But because he’s Canadian …

  10. hilary says:

    Do you know all these things or do you google upon request?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s all in the vault, Hilary. All in the vault!

      (It’s sometimes put in the vault compliments of Google).

  11. They are so much smarter than we think, and their little minds come up with some great questions. Half the time my answer is, “Um, I’ll have to google that when we get home,” because I don’t know!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They’re ALWAYS thinking of questions. I could write Go Ask Daddy posts through 2014 with what they’ve filled my notebook about.

      Google saves my butt, too, but I usually give a half-baked answer on the spot, for entertainment purposes only.

  12. 25 pounds of corn a YEAR?!?!? Well. I learned something today. 😉 – http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you did Gingi – look forward to checking out your page soon.

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