Go Ask Daddy About Ridiculous Rays, Likable Lions and Genuine Grouches

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc
photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

There’s a lot of stuff in the sea.

I sat on a Mexican beach a couple of months ago on the sugar-soft sand under the moonlight. I thought about pirates landing at that same cove. I imagined barrels of rum. I could almost see chests of Spanish gold coins and bejeweled chalices.

(If I were a pirate, I’d fill a bejeweled chalice to the brim with Coke Zero).

I looked out into the ocean and thought about all the life out there. Jellyfish, angelfish and whales. Sea horses, orcas and smelts. Sea turtles, pelicans and sharks. I also thought about the stuff these creatures do in the water.

Like, everything. I tried not to think about that too much.

It helped to think of all the things out there that are delicious.

The animal in the first Go Ask Daddy question has never been on my plate, though.

And for good reason. They’re endangered. Endangered animals are less delicious. A guy with the blog Cooking Sebastian ate one, but didn’t give the recipe, because, as he said, “don’t think anybody will need it.”

Here’s what the kids asked:

photo credit: Kevin Eddy via photopin cc
photo credit: Kevin Eddy via photopin cc

1. How does a huge stingray live?

Any way it wants to.

Manta rays can grow to 23 feet long. They have a 15-inch poisonous steak knife of a barb as a weapon connected to their arses that can penetrate bone. If street cred exists under water, he’d be the dude the bloods and crips run from.

They lurk in the murk of rivers in Australia, Borneo, New Guinea and Thailand.

And not in Carolina, I’m glad to say.

2. How much is an engagement ring?

photo credit: Philip Taylor PT via photopin cc
photo credit: Philip Taylor PT via photopin cc

It can be expensive – even those bubble gum machines are 50 cents now.

Glamour magazine says if a dude likes it, he should put a ring on it – to the tune of $5,200. That’s enough to get two season tickets to the Colorado Rockies. In the midfield box. With enough left to buy Colorado Queso Nachos for all games against the Padres, and Brewers and Marlins. And probably Interleague games, too.

The old rules said a fellow should spend about three month’s salary on the rock. Unless you’re Justin Theroux, and the rock is for Jennifer Aniston. Then, you should get in for about $500,000.

That’s enough to buy a middle infielder from the Colorado Rockies.

3. How did Food Lion get its name?

photo credit: sonicimac via photopin cc
photo credit: sonicimac via photopin cc

For all y’all not in the south – Food Lion is the people’s grocery store.

Three good ol’ boys started Food Town in 1957 in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Belgian grocer Delhaize, whose logo featured a lion, stormed the south and bought Food Town. To use the lion logo and save money on new letters, the chain changed its name to Food Lion – which required just two letter changes.

Efficient, but not as cool as Food Loon. How cool would that be?

4. Were Johnson & Johnson brothers?

photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc
photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc

We’re not talking NASCAR’s Junior Johnson and former NFLer Keyshawn Johnson. Or Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and receiver Chad Johnson. Or even Miami Vice’s Don Johnson and the Rock, Dwayne Johnson (right). Right?

Johnson & Johnson makes consumer packaged goods, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Three brothers – Robert Wood, James Wood and Edward Mead Johnson, founded Johnson & Johnson more than 100 years ago.

Imagine the money they saved because they didn’t have to print Johnson & Johnson & Johnson on all those bottles of baby powder.  That’s more than Food Lion saved on signs.

5. What is a curmudgeon?

photo credit: Runs With Scissors via photopin cc
photo credit: Runs With Scissors via photopin cc

That guy who bought Colorado Rockies tickets instead of an engagement ring.

Right around July 10, it feels like an awful decision.

Merriam-Webster tells us it’s a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man. (So, women can’t be curmudgeons?)

They’re also referred to as crosspatch, grump, or complainer. Dictionary.com says they’re bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous. A grouch. A crank. A bear. A sourpuss.

I can’t tell you how to survive a manta ray attack. Or get that man to put a ring on it. Or even how to name a grocery store something appealing with only two Scrabble tiles to spare. But I can show you this Wiki How called How to Be A Curmudgeon.

But I bet if you watch this Johnson & Johnson ad first, you’ll find it tough to live the curmudgeon life for long.


  1. stephrufa says:

    Awww, love this! But are two of those boys middle names Wood? Really? And I’m not necessarily a huge Star Wars fan but those pictures with the figurines are pretty funny.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Steph! If they were going to go with Wood for the first kid, the others should have been Straw and Brick. I would have preferred Earth, Wind and Fire.

      Glad you like the Stormtroopers – I find the pictures on photopin.com (a great place for creative commons images), and they appeal to the boy in me.

  2. laurie27wsmith says:

    Yep, those sting rays are deadly, ask Steve Irwin. Well you can’t ask him, he’s dead. So don’t poke sting rays kids. Did you know there are three rings of marriage Eli, engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering. I looked at the curmudgeon test, thankfully I didn’t pass it, I am still a grumpy old fart though. Love the Johnson add, even the stoniest heart can soften looking at babies.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It makes me want to stay on the shore, you know mate? Suffering! You kill me. I believe grumpy old fart is two degrees south of curmudgeon, so you’re safe.

      You should test again in 90 days, though.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Stood on one on the beach at Botany Bay when I was a lad, he was slow, he’d probably get me now though. I sit the curmudgeon test every morning when I wake up Eli, if I can stand up almost immediately then I’m okay.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Keep momentum on your side, amigo.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Too right!

  3. I can see why you’re called “Go Ask Daddy”. You give such good, thorough answers!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh, I’m called a lot of things, but when the kids ask questions, at least most things are mild. Thanks – it’s a lot of fun to research them, and you should see the waiting list!

  4. I would shop at a place called Food Loon. Just sayin’.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Me too – and not just because my brother-in-law works for the company. Check out this cool ad:

  5. tamaralikecamera says:

    Bubble gum machines aren’t a quarter anymore?? That seems wildly unfair. I always have a quarter on me. I never have two.
    Johnson & Johnson headquarters is by my alma mater. And the local hospital is the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. I never had to go there but my sister did when she broke BOTH ankles while drunk one night.
    That’s talent.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know. Grace has to ask for change for a dollar to get a football helmet or gigantic gum ball. I wonder how long until they accept bitcoin and debit cards.

      I wonder which Johnson brother is the odd one out on the name. They all probably think it’s someone else.

      Both ankles? Don’t you mean foot wrists?

  6. Every week, I wait with bated breath for the next edition of Go Ask Daddy. You never disappoint, but you really knocked it out of Coors Field with this one!

    I’m pretty sure it’s entirely inappropriate, but Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) was one of the first songs my daughter belted out in the car. Cracks us up. Every.single.time.

    One of my swim coaches nicknamed me Johnson & Johnson the first year I swam competitively. I was super sensitive, and the nickname was to remind me, No More Tears.

    If that pirate ship has regular (no diet or Zero for this mama!) fountain Coke, can I fill up my bejeweled chalice and pull up a lounge chair on the beach for a while?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think Grace now asks questions with GAD in mind. She needs to be on the payroll. Oh wait, school clothes and nuggets … she is!

      Glad your’e a fan. For me, they give new meaning to TGIF.

      You should let your kids listen to some Ke$ha.

      In the pool, how can you tell if you’re crying?

      you can definitely have a deck chair. Hokies can be pirates too, right? We 49ers are definitely scalywag material.

      1. Hokies can be anything they want to be. We’re just that awesome.

        Fogged up goggles and heaving sobs are a dead giveaway.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That really is the waterworks.

  7. Dana says:

    I actually had to look up curmudgeon when you used it in the title of your guest post on my blog. I thought I knew what it meant, but I wanted to be sure. I was right. Even the word sounds grouchy.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Expanding horizons – sweet! It’s a common term in newsrooms for that reporter/editor who pines for a typewriter over a computer.

      Curmudgeon brings to mind ill-mobile shelled creatures from the Paleozoic era. So, spot-on.

  8. Stacie says:

    Kids ask the best questions! Mine are old enough that I don’t get the real gems anymore. Thanks for visiting my blog!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If it weren’t for the kids’ questions, what would I do on Fridays, Stacie? My 16-year-old still turns out a few good ones, but most come from the 9-year-old.

      You have a good blog Stacie – glad I found it!

  9. Kim says:

    I think sting rays are fascinating to watch swim around!
    Now I need to do some math and make sure Chris spent enough on my ring (just kidding – I love my ring!).
    In grad school (I was in Alabama), I worked at a Food Lion!!
    And, why isn’t it Johnson & Johnson & Johnson if there were 3 brothers – someone got cheated!!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll keep a safe distance from rays, unless it’s the baseball team. They have less sting.

      What if you found out Chris won your ring in a bet?

      I think Food Lions, especially in the country, have the cutest cashiers. I mean, I used to think that, when I was young.

      They could have called them Johnson cubed. Wait, that’s what three is, right? Or J3.

      1. Kim says:

        I like the J3!
        Ummm….if Chris won my ring in a bet then with the money he saved I think I need to go shopping:)

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        They should rebrand, shouldn’t they, Kim? It would give them a hip new image.

        just imagine if he’d *lost* the bet.

  10. Letizia says:

    Only you would be sitting on a beach and imagine pirates. I love how your mind works.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Haha … under the moonlight, what else was I going to think about? I’d already had dinner.

      I might or might not have pretended I was a pirate, too.

  11. ksbeth says:

    what about ‘fool byin?’ food byin? please advise.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Fool Byin could have word. I mean, they have Bi-Lo and Safway. What is it with companies that purposely spell stuff wrong?

  12. I had no clue food lion started in good ol N of C! Cooliyo.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      N.C.: It’s not all about Andy Griffith, barbecue and Kellie Pickler, y’all.

  13. Lead Our Lives says:

    I always laugh when I read these. Facts with a lovely sense of humor…what a gift to your family and, of course to all of us! I’m with you…buy the tickets, not the ring. Love deserves more than to be reduced to “putting a ring on it”, don’t you think? And…three months salary? More hype designed to have us give up our sensibilities about everything…even something as important as love. Yep…buy the tickets! Thanks for the background on Food Lion. Oh the money I spent there in SC in the 80s when my sons were babies…lunch break shopping for groceries. Wow. Such memories! Thank you, Eli! Awesome as always!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I always laugh when I write them. Thank you! It seems the same people behind the valentine’s day craze are getting rich on the engagement ring racket.

      Food Lion is the store of choice for those of us in the lower middle class. Harris Teeter is far too fancy, and Bi-Lo is just, well, anything but.

  14. Rosey says:

    I know a curmudgeon or two. 🙂
    I even know a stingray or two. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      But do you know a curmudgeonly stingray? That’s the trick.

  15. Tamara says:

    I started reading your post yesterday at the office. I liked the sugar-soft sandy beach so much that I didn’t want to keep reading. Then I got distracted by work. What a bitch.

    Wait a minute – you’d fill the bejeweled chalice with Coke zero? Did you want to make sure your readers were paying attention? And were you a real pirate? With a hat, a parrot and a hook?

    Moving on… Johnson & Johnson. When I read that name, I can actually smell their baby lotion. I allowed myself to purchase a mini bottle as soon as I was in my 14th week of pregnancy. It’s probably the mother of all (expecting) mother’s items to buy. At least to me. Thank you for bringing back sweet smelling memories!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sugar soft sand is something else. You almost want to lay down in it.

      I might or might not have been a pirate. My girls dare me to walk around in Target like Captain Jack Sparrow. I do it reasonably well.

      That’s back when our kidlets smelled nice mostly, huh?

  16. I’ve been shopping in Food Lion! 🙂 And I believe in equality so yes – women can be curmudgeons! I plan on being one in just a few short years!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Maybe Food Lion should look north of the border for its expansion, then. Ranker.com places Sophia Petrillo of “The Golden Girls” eighth on its top-10 TV curmudgeons list, so, there you go.

      I hope you’ll document your ascent to curmudgeonry on your blog, Jenn.

  17. Tricia says:

    Great questions this week! We have Food Lions here but I don’t think I’ve ever been in one. But the next time we drive by I’m gonna wow my family with my new smarts 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They keep me hopping, this girls. If you go to Food Lion, be sure to look for the My Essentials store brand – they’re just as good as the name brands, and so much cheaper.

      When you drop the knowledge on folks, I insist you do not cite Coach Daddy, so that you may bask in the glory deservedly on your own.

  18. Your kids ask a lot of good questions. My youngest is constantly coming out with stuff I don’t know and would never have thought to learn. When he was younger, he would sit and watch educational channels for hours (and do the same with reading) like a sponge. Now he can tell you so many obscure things you never knew you needed to know. I think it’s awesome you research the stuff for them. They must love that.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They keep me busy on Thursdays, for sure. Those elastic/spongy brains keep my old grey matter from getting too set like concrete.

      I miss the days educational shows could evoke such wonder in the kids. Now, it’s “Kickin’ It” and “Dr. Who.” I know it could be much worse.

      The research is the fun part, but there are a few questions in there that require an answer from the heart. You’ll soon see what I’m talking about.

      Well, it’s like when Grace asked, “would you die for me, daddy?” That one not even Google can help with.

  19. Rorybore says:

    Oh noes!! I think I may be a Curmudgeon! drat. I was going more for the Ouiser Boudreaux image.
    It will cost you a loonie up here to get one of those gumballs. Which is of course, crazy. Har har
    I can hop on over to the bakery and get a whole cupcake with one on top a la cherry for only 99 cents more!
    And I really need a cupcake right now because that commercial made me do the ugly cry.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I need a Canadian-to-American dictionary right now.

      Oh wait – Steele Magnolias was ours, wasn’t it? Not that I’ve ever seen that movie. Or any movie like it. Where’s my worn-out CD of “Gladiator”?

      And a loonie – that’s a quarter? Or, is it a quartre up there?

      Cupcakes are good down here, too. Maybe even better than up there. But I’ve been jonesing for a big-a$$ donut for days. No cherry necessary.

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