Go Ask Daddy About Real Estate Value, Tasteless Plates and Animal Mascots

photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc
photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc

When I was a kid, a hundred dollars was a fortune.

Seriously. Do you know how many Star Wars figures that would buy? Like, all of them. And probably an X-wing fighter, a Land Speeder and even a Stormtrooper helmet. But, I digress.

Once my girls saw my lower-middle-class paycheck, and thought I was Daddy Warbucks. If they only knew! But Grace wants to know this week how much our house is worth.

I’m going to guess … more than $100. I hope.

1. How much is our house worth?

By James Sannvia Wikimedia Commons

Probably it wasn’t a good idea for me to enter our address online in the first entry under a Google search for “how much is my house worth”, was it?

I did it anyway.

Zillow.com gives you an estimated value based on property taxes, what other homes are going for, and something to do with the Gross Domestic Product of Ethiopia.

And for our three-bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1,295-square foot home, the estimated value is $90,400.

If I entered the four smelly cats who live there, I estimate it would dock us a good $18,639.

2. What if you never return a RedBox movie?

photo credit: sean_oliver via photopin cc
photo credit: sean_oliver via photopin cc

You have to share a room with four smelly cats.

Turns out RedBox is slightly more expensive than the library. If you keep a RedBox movie for 21 days, at the daily rental charge of $1.20, it’s yours, for $25.20.

That’s a lot of clams for a busted-up rented DVD of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, with an ugly industrial-strength plastic case.

Although leaving it in the house would up our home’s value to $90,425.20.

3. Do they let you have three-letter bad words on your license plate?

photo credit: conradh via photopin cc
photo credit: conradh via photopin cc

Every time I see a North Carolina plate with the prefix “PYS,” the 12-year-old in me snickers.

I’m conflicted. Should I mention that most bad words are of the four-letter variety? I can’t think of one that has three letters in real life (PYS excluded). California bans some three-letter combinations, such as FCK, SOB and KKK, but allowed a Silicon Valley dentist to drive off with “Hitler” plates.

For that, you should be forced to buy A Night at the Roxbury from Netflix.

At full price.

4. If NFL teams have two guys with the same last name, don’t they use their first initial, too?

photo credit: Hawk Eyes via photopin cc
photo credit: Hawk Eyes via photopin cc

Sometimes … even if their name forms a three-letter bad word, presumably.

Back in the day, linebackers Jim and Jack Youngblood (who weren’t even related) played 12 years together for the Los Angeles Rams. Their jerseys featured their first and last names. Today, players are more likely to forgo the first initial.

Just imagine if Seattle Seahawks defensive back Marcus Trufant’s fans all bought blue No. 23 jerseys that read “Trufant” on the back. Then, Seattle signs a kicker named Cornelius Trufant. If they changed Marcus’ jersey to “M. Trufant,” all those fans would have to buy new jerseys with “M. Trufant” on them.

The real fans would, anyway.

The NFL, hosts of $8 draft beer, doesn’t want you to have to fork over an extra $239 for a tackle-twill letter M to represent.

Incidentally, the Dallas Cowboys once had two Roy Williamses on the roster. Rather than include middle names, nicknames or astrological sign, both players simply went with “Williams” on his jersey.

One more thing: How about the longest last name ever on an NFL jersey?

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala (16 characters) edges out former Cincinnati Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh for most real estate taken on the back of a jersey.

5. Are all mascots animals?

photo credit: RiverRatt3 via photopin cc
photo credit: RiverRatt3 via photopin cc

No, although they often act like it.

The Philly Phanatic, the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot and a green blob of trouble, is an unidentified bipedal with an extendable tongue.

He’s hugely popular, but comes with a rap sheet: He once took out a 75-year-old woman’s knees and hugged a dude so tight he caused internal injuries and wound up facing legal action.

There are many non-animal sports teams mascots, such as the Chiefs, Warriors and Braves, who some find offensive; the Brewers, Packers and Islanders, which should incite some degree of civic pride; natural disasters such as Avalanche, Storm and Hurricanes; and even a mascot to celebrate breeding season among dogs and cats – Heat.

This doesn’t even touch on such cool mascots as the Fightin’ Christians, Ragin’ Cajuns and the Macon (Ga.) Whoopee, a minor-league hockey team that didn’t exactly score at the gate.

They moved to Lexington (Ky.) to become the Men of War. (No Whoopee to be found.)

The best animal mascot acting like an animal in recent memory was Rocky the Mountain Lion, from the Denver Nuggets, who dissed the Los Angeles Lakers during introductions by sitting in a lawn chair and reading the Denver Post in front of their bench.

If they didn’t like it? They can PYS off.


  1. Virginia is famous for issuing license plates that have to be recalled later when another driver reports them as offensive. I wonder why they even issue in the first place, but that’s government LOL.

    I noticed a NC plate the other day that had an exclamation point on it. I don’t think we have that as an option (yes, I am weirdly jealous of that too…the plate possibilities!)

    1. Virginia is for offensive plate lovers, apparently – I found them a lot in my research! I’d rather see a bad word on a plate than, say, ‘go lakers.’ Now *that’s* offensive.

      I wonder if just a question mark is taken in North Carolina. I could live in that one.

      1. Ugh, I agree. Of course, we have a lot of Redskins plates here, so double the offensiveness (real and perceived).

      2. The oddest thing: I covered a boxing match in Cherokee years ago, and the native American playing the drums before the event was wearing a Washington Redskins cap.

  2. Great post & most definitely true!! We know we’re getting old when we use terms like…in my day… When I was a kid…..Back in the days…… Don’t worry I’m doing it as well, Coach!! The other day I was at the grocery store & spent one hundred dollars and didn’t even manage to cover the bottom of my cart. I looked at my son & said. When your dad & I first married in the 80’s. We could eat for two weeks on one hundred bucks!! Now it won’t cover the bottom of the cart & last us longer than two meals. “For real?!” he said. Lord help us. And imagine how bad things are going to be for their kids. lol. As for property & house value. We don’t even want to go there. I’ve got three homes my father left me when he passed. They we’re appraised at 200,000 each, when he was alive in 2001. Now, I can’t get more than 30, 000 for them. According to Florida real estate the market is dead! Unbelievable!! Once again, great post as always Coach & here’s a little good news for ya. We have something special for you at our blog. Swing by & see for yourself!! We’ll be waiting. 🙂

    1. I’ll own up to my ancient status. I’ve earned every gray whisker on my chin. I don’t remember the last time I spent $100 on groceries – I’m more $20 at a time, when we run out of staples such as milk, eggs, and syrup.

      The real estate market is a mess. But I do love my house. It’s mine. It’s comfy. It has that lived-in feel (thanks, kids and cats). I’ll take that.

      I just checked out your blog – this will give me something fun to work on over the weekend. Now, if I could remember the last time I read a book … but hey, these are all-time favorites, right?

  3. Well, SHT. You’ve dashed my vanity plate dreams! I wonder if TN is as restrictive as CA? Do you think anyone would find ‘DMN GRL!’ offensive? Yes? Well, I’m sure there are countless creative options using MILF. FCK, that’s four letters! Maybe I should just stick with the government-issued variety & embarrass my children in other ways. Like plastering my eternal memories of a deceased pet on my back windshield. RIP Princess.

    On to more important things. Surely the fiercest turkey in the land tops the animal kingdom mascot list. Where’s the Hokie Bird, Eli?

    1. Your comment reminds me that there was a time I felt like if I took the I out of SHT I could say it in front of the kids. Not so, it turns out.

      DMN GRL wouldn’t offend – it stands for Do More Nice GRL, right? One fellow tried to use GOTMILF, claiming the last four letters stood for “Married Into Lisa’s Family.”

      Wonder if Lisa was a … never mind.

      Shrines to dead pets on your back window are just a gateway to a back tattoo of their likeness. It’s in the bible.

      The Hokie remains my favorite sandwich mascot in all the land. Even more so than the Concordia College Cobbers. And I don’t think I could ever be a Whittier College Poet, either. I’d get expelled for writing limericks.

  4. Wow. Southern real estate. I’m used to NJ, NYC and San Francisco and that house would be worth a few million? Give or take.
    Funny! I was JUST thinking about “A Night at the Roxbury” yesterday. The scenes with the guy saying, “Did you just grab my butt?” Even though he was saying it to someone 3,000 miles away..
    Ah. Sometimes I call my sister and say just that. And then hang up.
    And is the Green Monster of Boston an animal?

    1. Disclaimer: That’s not my actual house. But still.

      Wally is a monster. Ergo, an animal. He has a great rivalry with Tampa Bay Rays mascot Raymond, who is known for holding up insensitive signs regarding Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s death, and also running over Wally with a four-wheeler.


      1. Actually, my customer-service experience with Red Box has been awesome. They’re really cool, and are happy to issue a new code to you if you have any trouble.

        But people treat rented CDs like rented goalies. Or is it the other way around?

  5. Philly Phanatic & I stuck our tongues out at your for making fun of Night at the Roxbury! This juvenile 80s romp has been viewed many times in our home (partly because there was nothing else on TV and we were too brain dead to turn it off and pick up a book…and it’s been on a lot). And cue song…”What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more….” and cue sideways head nod into car side window…

  6. We have never done Red Box – probably the only people in the country who haven’t. And, I never even thought about the fact that people would try to get offensive license plates – I will just go crawl back in my hole!!!

    1. We used to love RedBox, but the CDs are so knocked around, it’s hard to get a good one. People get kinda pissy around the Box at 9 p.m., when it’s return time, too.

      I swear I saw FK RD BX once in Virginia, probably, on a license plate.

  7. i am always fascinated/horrified mascots and we had a gynecologist mom at my school drive up with ‘vagdoc’ plates on her convertible. very nice and wonderful for when he daughter, grows up, is in high school and borrows the car. another great post as usual, eli. you really answer some of life’s tough questions.

    1. I thought you were going to say your mom’s college was the Fightin’ Gynos. VAGDOC is even better than Kramer’s ASSMAN on Seinfeld.

      Maybe that mom is trying to discourage her daughter from every wanting to borrow the car – mission accomplished.

      Thanks Beth. If I can’t contribute to mankind with philosophy and philanthropy, at least I can take a goodly stab at some of life’s most perplexing questions.

  8. Keep forgetting to return DVD’s Eli and the house will be worth a fortune before you know it. I actually saw a car with the number plate, NOSOUL last night. The bloke driving didn’t look friendly at all, and the heavy metal music added to the feel. I suggested to the bride that maybe it should be RSOUL, just thinking.

    1. And we all know CDs are the wave of the future! Some vanity plates are redundant, or maybe worse, inaccurate – I wonder if FXYLDY1 really is.

      You should have written that nice bloke a note and left it on the windshield with your suggestion.

      1. Betamax videos are just around the corner too. No, that bloke seriously lived up to his number plate. I’m not fit enough to run fast anymore.

  9. Back before “sexting” (can I say that here?) I had a license plate that started with SXT. At least I could remember it.
    My college mascot was the Indian, as in Native American, before the PC police got a hold of it and changed it to the Red Wolves. But you probably already KNEW THAT since you know every piece of obscure (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) sports trivia ever recorded! I’m impressed, Eli. Seriously!
    Regarding Red Box…the last time I rented a movie, they were $1. Now they’re $1.20? Talk about some serious inflation!

    1. Your S word make it through the filter (Kathy from Kissing the Frog once dropped the other S word – in a 6 Words submission, and I loved it so much I couldn’t sensor it. You’re good).

      On the Indian thing – if a college team used the nickname Chicanos, I’d be an instant fan. Even if the logo was a caricature. OK, back to your comment.

      I am a wealth (or waste basket) of trivial sports knowledge, so much so that I sometimes struggle to recall passwords, driving directions or my children’s names.

      God gave me this gift. Heaven gets its laughs out of it.

      I think that extra $.20 goes to the developers of the healthcare.gov Web site.

  10. I’m glad I’m not the only one who giggles at silly license plates. Being French, I have the benefit of seeing French curse words on American plates from time to time. Life’s little thrills, right?

    1. Here’s what I don’t get – when people get such convoluted plates you can’t easily figure them out … why waste the money? I hope my plate has a French bad word – AJD (my kids say it means A Jerky Donkey – love, huh?)

      Please tell me some three-letter bad words in French. Or blog about it?

  11. Toronto Blue Jays, so predictable: Mascot? A Blue Jay.
    but the Ottawa Senators, they have SpartaCat or “Sparty” and I have to say, awesome ambassador for the game and many charities. He’s very visible around the area — has come to my kids’ school several times and they LOVE it.
    The jersey thing was pretty easy to decide when I was young – there was only one name to go on it: Gretzky.
    I saw a vanity plate once that read PMS GRL.
    bet no one cut her off. 😉

    1. Sometimes, when teams venture too far from the roots, it’s not a good thing. Like, if the Blue Jays had, say, a jug of maple syrup, that’s just weird.

      SpartaCat is probably in response to the recent idea that mascots too aggressive and too anglo are taboo.

      I nearly got run over by Sir Purr, the Carolina Panthers’ mascot, as he rode a scooter around the bellows of Bank of America stadium (thankfully, he beeped).

      I’ve heard of this Gretzky kid you speak of … wasn’t he great or something? Almost as great as Joe Sakic.

      I wonder if Laurie’s NOSOUL driver and your PMS GRL had a fender bender, if the universe would end.

  12. I grew up outside of Philly in a family of huge phillies fans (and yes I’ve been gone long enough to not call them ‘phans’) but I’ve always wondered what the fantastic is supposed to be.

  13. I feel a bit like an idiot when I ask what PYS means….???? Am I missing something? Gah.
    I can’t believe how horrible real estate is these days… we are going to try to sell our old house that we have rented for three years- but first renovations and guess what? We will TRY to sell it for the SAME frkng (five letters, so I’m safe) price as we bought it 13 FRKNG years ago!!! (Still safe, even with all caps) But that word isn’t really THAT bad is it? My kids would say “why yes it is mom!” Ugh.

    1. PYS = piss.

      I’m content with the fact that our house means more to us than anyone who doesn’t live here. It’s our place. It’s small, but that keeps us close.

      I think that word is bad when kids use it, but not grown-ups. How’s that for a double-standard?

  14. Great questions!! I live in VA and have seen a lot of personalized plates. I think we have really low personalization rates or something. My plates say PS 118:24 for my favorite bible verse; though once someone thought I’d gone to public school in New York where they number the schools with PS ###.

    1. You should see some of the other questions in the hopper … these girls keep me in business. I can’t imagine spending money on personalized plates – imagine all the pizza or soccer balls I could buy with that money.

      I guess “The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” doesn’t fit easily on a plate, does it?

  15. You have 4 smelly cats?! We have 4 kitties too! No personalized plates here…they don’t do anything for me. But I don’t think it’s appropriate to put things that are offensive on there. I guess everyone has a different idea of what is offensive though. Horrible people in history though…that’s offensive to me.

    1. They smell enough for eight cats, truthfully. Do yours smell? And I’d find an oakland raiders license plate more offensive than, say, a bad word in French.

      And yeah, dictators or red wings players names ought not to be immortalized on license plates. It’s likely that a former oakland raiders player probably made the plate, actually.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.