Go Ask Daddy About Dwarf Planets, Two-Pointers and Herding Dogs


For a yankees player, Yogi Berra had it right a lot.

It’s getting uncrowded around here at Coach Daddy. I had a pretty good run in May, right around the BlogHer Voice of the Year announcement. I seemed to find a new normal after that, and had been on the rise. That rise appears to have plateaued.

Even New Orleans pipes down after Mardi Gras.

This is all fine for me. It means I have more time to get to more blogs.

Everyone who visits my blog? I will get to theirs. Always. With fewer stops to make, it’s like someone took the outskirts of my paper route. Maybe now I can visit that core of my paper route more often, toss more papers on the step.

When you slow down, you get crazy opportunities.

Like this one, for the N.C. Blogging Network.

Who knew an innocuous tweet could become a T-shirt?

Who knew an innocuous tweet could become a T-shirt?

This puppy looks awesome, and will be available here soon. Just in time for Hanukkah and stuff.

shirts1If shrinking means I have more time for y’all blogs, and a T-shirt to boot … sign me up.

SHIRTS2Now, how about them questions?

1. Can you see Pluto?

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Pluto’s about as elusive as your big sister in a dress.

There are clearer photos of Sasquatch. Pluto is smaller in diameter than the drive from Charlotte to Denver. And it orbits the sun about 3.6 million miles away. That’s like, further than the raiders are from the playoffs. Science even stripped Pluto of planet status for a few years.

The dark little guy is back among the planets today.

It’s about as easy to spot, even with a telescope, as a single Froot Loop in a mountain of JuJu beans from 37 miles away, with dirty glasses. Next summer, that’ll all change. NASA’s New Horizons probe will make a pass of Pluto, giving us a rare close up.

Feels like picture day in kindergarten for me.

2. What’s a wallflower?

photo credit: shanon wise via photopin cc
photo credit: shanon wise via photopin cc

It’s a member of the cabbage family with fragrant multi-colored flowers. It’s also that introvert with no one to dance with. In its plural form, it’s an L.A. rock band fronted by Bob Dylan’s kid.

I prefer to think of the wallflower as the brooding, misunderstood, quiet,  brilliant new girl in class in a great 80s movie.

Only it’s not Ally Sheedy, but, I don’t know … like, Sarah Drew? Or Rosamund Pike or maybe Emma Stone or Bianca Kajlich? Jenna Fischer or Lizzie O’Leary or Darley Newman or Jan from the Toyota commercials or Vanessa Bloome from Bee Movie or …

3. How much is a safety worth?

photo credit: Ozone Ferd via photopin cc
photo credit: Ozone Ferd via photopin cc

Two points. Two painful, long-lasting points.

It happens when a team gets tackled in its end zone, or fumbles a ball out of the end zone. When it’s the first score of a game, like that dad-burn Super Bowl, you get a score of 2-0. Then some wiseass announcer will say, “looks more like a baseball score, doesn’t it Hank?”

No shit.

The early safety in Denver’s most recent Super Bowl agony wasn’t my most painful. That came in fourth grade, during that infamous season playing for the Jackson Jayhawks. I was the best player on the team, which should tell you all you need to know about the Jackson Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks, in white uniforms and red numerals on their pathetic chests, never scored. No touchdowns. No field goals. Trample-free grass in the end zone every single time. We were environmentally friendly in our suckiness.

We often marched down the field – backward. We’d punt from our own end zone. One particularly low day, we held the ball inside our 5 yard line. Quarterback Chad Pringle – who wore a hoodie under his jersey and cried a lot – handed the ball to me on the 1.

I got hit, then swarmed, then dropped for a safety. 2-0, not Jayhawks.

Later in the same game, who got the call deep in Jayhawks territory again? Yep. This time, I tried like hell to break the plane of the goal line. MY goal line. And alas, again I was dropped. This could become a game plan.

Pin ‘em deep and smash their running back in the end zone. All.day.

For the only time in my cruddy football career – I cried in my helmet. It was that kind of cry you don’t even try to hide because you’re mad as a T-rex at an apple-picking festival. But see? I turned out all right.

And as I let the tears flow it struck me how stupid the name ‘safety’ was for such a play.

4. Does figure skating have to be a boy and a girl?

photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc
photo credit: kennymatic via photopin cc

American states battle may for or against same-sex marriage within their borders. But figure skating remains a state in which the far right is the last word.

Rule 302 of the International Skating Union states “the composition of a pair must be one Lady and one Man.” Same for ice dancing. I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Old Testament that says that. The land of Aram was never a powerhouse of Olympic skating.

Judges love the ice-melting romantic maneuvers of the man/woman pair. The rule book further distinguishes their roles. Men cannot go sleeveless, women must wear skirts, and not one that portrays excessive nudity.

(It’s hard to argue any perceived nudity on Katarina Witt.)

So we can forget about a repeat any time soon of that scene in Blades of Glory.

5. Are collies and border collies the same dogs?

photo credit: dogsbylori via photopin cc
photo credit: dogsbylori via photopin cc

They’re different dog breeds. It’s like the St. Louis football and baseball Cardinals. Kind of.

They’re both herding dogs that hail from England and Scotland. Sometimes they’re even lumped in with Shetland Sheepdogs. That’s like the St. Louis baseball and football Cardinals and also the University of Louisville. Kind of. They’re all regarded as calm, well-mannered pups who love to herd.

Unless Grace pets them.

Those days end up in ERs with stitches to the face. And a story, at least. Grace will always have the story of the day the border collie tried to herd her face. I asked her if she saw inside his mouth before he chomped, but she was non-committal.

She could have borrowed from Yogi for that one.



  1. From what I’ve seen of NFL players, they are veritable man mountains. One of our Rugby League players (Jarryd Hayne) has decided to go to the States and try his hand (foot/body) at NFL. Not sure how he’ll go, he’s 28 years old, 6′ 2″ and weights 220.5lb. He may be too old. Most of your guys probably started playing when they were 4-5 years old.

    1. For my age, I was at least a foothill in football then. I did see your boy making a go of it here in the NFL. Hard to imagine anyone too old for anything at age 28.

      That was many moons ago for a bloke like me.

      There’s a younger player in the league now who only began to play in high school. Athleticism and all. I know nothing about that affliction.

  2. No way! I can’t believe I’m first. Your sense of humor is just hilarious to me. Number 3 was so fun to read because I totally understood as a football fan but then again that also means that I do understand just how sucky you all were back then. 🙂 You all celebrate Hanukkah? Not that I would be surprised. Just curious based on something you mentioned about it. I never knew those were the figure skating rules. I used to watch it when I was younger, but now that you are saying the attire is what it is…that makes sense. 🙂

    1. Frist, as they say! No one ever has been happy to be first here. Great to see you Brittnei! We were an awful team, and I was the best player. I wonder if we ever had a first down.

      The Hanukkah reference was my attempt to be religiously inclusive. Did it work?

      I was surprised how strict the rule book was on that one. I wonder how much longer that will stay that way. They put up lights at Wrigley and let women into Augusta National.

      What’s next?

  3. well, there are always your hard core group of loyal followers, who never stop reading and writing, eli, and i am one of them. how else would i learn all of these important things? you are like my human wikipedia.

    1. you’re the ones i think of when i’m falling asleep trying to finish a post at 1:27 and wonder why i do it! i do it because you read it, and because i can go to your spots and read and learn and experience.

      Plus, really, where else are you going to find discourse on Spider-man’s bodily functions?

  4. Ok, I will go on record as saying I want one of those awesomely amazing t-shirts! Maybe an early Christmas presents to me!! Seriously though love it and totally perfect 😉

    1. Don’t you love them? I’ll have an order button soon. Even if someone gets arrested while wearing one, can you imagine the publicity if they do a closeup on the perp walk??

  5. Nice shirt!

    I think it is just this time of year, I am quite sure your numbers will bounce back soon.

    I was definitely a wallflower. I appreciate your description, but I can’t think of an actress that fits the description. Probably someone off “Frraks and Geeks”.

  6. I love your Friday posts, Eli. There is so much to love here…wallflowers, Blades of Glory and fond memories of how I explained to my high school boyfriend what a safety was. He knew…he just wanted to see if I knew 😉
    I can’t imagine you “slowing down”…I love hearing your voice in this WP community and it’s voices like yours that keep me going. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear much from me in the next few weeks. I’m not taking a break from writing, but I will probably be taking a break from blogging. A little recalibration and prep for NaNoWriMo. That said, I save my favorite sites for reading…yours is always at the top of the list.
    Have a great Friday!!

    1. I love you being here, Michelle! Proud of you for passing the football test. Elise often has to correct boys at school when they get their NFL facts wrong. Go girls!

      At one point, I wanted to see growth all the time. It was a race against myself. Not any more. If you were the only commenter on my site, that would be enough for me.

      I’ll keep on keeping on. I’m not going to bog down in Google analytics and ride the SEO cow right out of town. Nope. I’m going to write. And read. And comment.

      Thanks for the heads up. I figured you were going to take some time and enjoy the Royals’ run. Please vanquish the giants. They’re hated.

      Thanks for being here, Michelle. Means the world to me!

      1. Your post (and reply) is very timely. I totally need to adopt your attitude. While I’ve never gotten completely caught up in the stats and such, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I like the “up” days. And, as I head into writing my first novel, my brain is a bit caught up with “platform” “social media presence”…UGH. It actually makes me feel a little yucky to do any self-promotion. SO, with you as my inspiration, I’m going to remember why I started writing in the first place.
        And, in the spirit of all that is October, “If you build it, they will come.”
        Thank you, Eli! You are a true gem 🙂

      2. I think we want to see growth as bloggers, don’t we? I’ve definitely had that. I like the slow growth best. Like when you gain a new reader or two from, say, a guest post.

        As for self-promotion: Just share what awesome words you write. Share other things, too. Thoughts, retweets. You know the drill. Think of it as sharing.

        If you’re enthusiastic about it … others will be too. You know you can count on me for retweets, too.

    1. I think four would be perfect.

      Penalize the scoring team on the kickoff 5 yards for every 250-pound-plus lineman or linebacker who dances around with his hands over his head in the official ‘safety’ signal.

  7. Ahhh… The Wallflowers. Now I need to go find that dusty CD and pop it in for a listen. My kids will probably be confused. Maybe I’ll tackle them and yell “Safety!” just to seal the deal.

    1. Good stuff, right? I even added a link so we can get nostalgic. My kids are old enough to remember CDs. I think.

      Make sure you do that little prayer thing with your hands over your head when you do it, Kim.

  8. Awww, I’m gonna get THAT tshirt!! So cool!!! Look what Twitter can do. I don’t know what to feel about PLUTO. I’ve also read that they’re “reinstating” it as a planet. So they can just remove it from the list and add it again? LOL. What’s next? Haha 😀

    1. I’d consider it a great honor if you wore the CD colors, Rea. Twitter is awesome, and I hope my new friend can sell lots of T-shirts – Coach Daddy and otherwise – here.

      They can’t pull the planet card on Pluto again, can they? My girls and I never fully accepted the first revocation. Here’s one for the little guy.

      Next? They’ll allow corporate sponsors for planets. Saturn, brought to you by Tide detergent.

  9. I think you have a great group of regular readers – I always enjoy reading the other comments/dialogue!!!
    I had never even thought about the figure skating and ice dancing thing – who knew?!

    1. It’s a group – and you’re included in this – I wish I could sit around a table with and kill some pizza.

      Maybe I’ve just exposed the staunch world of figure skating and the ACLU will get on it!

  10. Love the word “uncrowded”. I miss Mr Laurie from Down Under, but then again I haven’t been here for every post as well – for a very good reason, though. Rainforest and wi-fi aren’t best friends. So while I was away you got yourself the coolest T-Shirt, congratulations! 🙂
    Poor pluto, I am still mad about him being demoted. Once a planet, always a planet, how discriminating to say he is too small?!

    1. Uncrowded is underused. Laur is off on walkabout, and I have it on good authority he’s had spa time and lots of dancing with young lassies.

      How do the natives get on Netflix, then? Thanks on the shirt – I am going to wear it every other day.

      Pluto shouldn’t have been shamed, and if Ross Perot were president, he never would have been. I think it’s racist, actually.

      1. Baahaha, Laurie in a white terry cloth robe!! Is he taking any selfies?

        I don’t know how the first Nation People on V-Island watch their movies, but I can assure you it ain’t online! We couldn’t even get through with a ferry reservation.

        So 5’4” is not tall enough to be president?

      2. Don’t give Laur any ideas. All my women readers will abandon me and run to him if he does that.

        President James Madison was 5-4. So we short dudes can dream. I’m even taller than that.

    1. No such thing as late to this party. Pluto deserves the spontaneous ill-advised happy dance.

      Safety. It didn’t feel safe when the ball flew over Payton Manning’s head in the Super Bowl. At all.

  11. I actually watched a bit of a football game the other night! Actually NFL – it was the Patriots game. You would be so proud — except, I got lost on all the rules at one point and switched to the hockey game. Montreal and Boston was just too good to miss. I’ll try again another game… now that I know: Tom Brady. I just like a good comeback of course 🙂
    My aunt has sheep – so also border collies. they used to herd us as kids away from the road. or the pond. very smart dogs. unless you want to take a swim, in which case, they’re just frustrating.

    1. What do you think of American football, Rore? Do you expect punts on third down? I used to watch CFL games on ESPN when I was a kid. I dug the big end zones.

      Tom Brady. Psh.

      What do border collies do in the water?

      1. well after I got over the fact that you guys were indeed NOT playing a man short. No slotback eh?
        I guess I was always looking for that exciting kick – and then wondered how bad is that guy when it trickles down the ground. I was expecting a Bend it Like Beckham moment I guess. Hubby just eye rolls — they are not close enough, how far do you thing that guy could kick?
        Hmmppf Wiry “The Leg” McGruff could do it. I stand by that.
        I do know however know the difference between punt and field goal.
        Border collies herd fish in the water. Border collies are the teachers of the animal kingdom. 🙂

      2. No, it takes just 11 what it takes Canadians 12 to do. We do employ a slotback in some formations, although I don’t feel it’s as common as it once was.

        The record kick here is 65 yards. A guy made a 99-yard punt once, but I think he had some help from the altitude (it was in Denver), wind, and lucky bounces.

        Is The Leg coming home, then?

        A punt: A drop kick by the offense to turn possession over on fourth down.

        A field goal: An attempt to place the ball between the uprights for 3 points. For this, the ball is hiked and held by a holder for the attempt.

        Grace will forever be teased as being a chew toy to the teachers of the animal kingdom, then!

  12. Congratulations on your T-shirt!!! You always have hilarious and/or amazing quotes, so I’m surprised someone didn’t think of a T-shirt earlier. My blog has also plateaued, which upset me at first, but like you I realized now I can actually MANAGE it haha.

    1. Thanks Megan – it was crazy how it came about. And this time, I just tweeted that it should be on a T-shirt, and … presto. Plateau isn’t a bad spot is it?

      Some of the best views are from the plateaus.

  13. I’m so happy for Pluto. I thought that whole non-planet thing was an insulting little travesty.
    I probably do all of the blogging stuff way wrong – checking analytics, using social media to promote, etc. I just really like reading and interacting with others. Would I love to see new readers come? Sure. Would I love to have them stay? Sure. Probably have to figure out how to re-focus myself before any of that would happen. In the meantime, I love my little regular crew and I’m glad they stick around! Happy to have connected with you – great stuff here and I’m slowly but surely checking out some new blogs via your comments and chicken posts and such.

    1. Pluto’s been redeemed. Pluto’s resurgence give me hope.

      I don’t even know how to add meta tags or what keywords to use. We just write and interact, right? I think that’s good enough. It was good enough for good growth for a while.

      You’re definitely part of the crew around here. There’s a lot of good reads, your blog included.

      1. Well thanks! I love finding new blogs and new people through a common blog – it’s like having a friend who has a friend and they just know the two of you would get along. Follow me? I think it’s cool.

      2. Absolutely – in less busy times, when I first started doing this, that’s how I found many of the blogs I cam to love, by clicking links in interesting comments.

        Good commenters make good bloggers in most cases.

  14. So excited about finally getting a good close up and personal look at Pluto. It’ll give us wallflowers something to do on a quiet Friday night apart from sizing up how much money we stand to make from the office football pool.
    Terrific post, as usual. Cheers Eli!

    1. i know – how can we deny Pluto planetship ever again after we see his face? How good are you looking in that office pool, anyway?

      Thanks for the props! Extra scoop of ice cream, coming up.

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