Go Ask Daddy About Whales, Insurance and Hoops

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

I always hope for a book deal or to finally get that appreciation check from Ingrid Michaelson for inspiring her love songs. If not, I won’t have much of a nest egg to bequeath my girls.

I can leave them something. Thanks to Julia Tomiak, author of Diary of a Word Nerd, I can leave my girls a little of me. Things that inspired me in life and helped to shape the dad I became. Three books. Three CDs. Three quotes. Read about what I picked.

Next time you struggle to find a writing prompt? This. Try this.

Let’s not pussyfoot around anymore this week. What’d the kids ask?

1. Do people eat whales?

By Turover at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
By Turover at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
A whale burger is more controversial than a day at Seaworld.

Whale filet was once deemed Lent-friendly, being from the sea and all. The rich and affluent eat the tongue, which is soft and delicious; poorer folk are left to do their best with the blubber. The tail meat is prized, though. And yes – there is such a thing as whale bacon. How about a cartilage salad?

Whaling is a controversy in itself. Someday, ask me about that. For now, just know dad has never eaten whale. But he’d wear a Hartford Whalers jersey if you bought him one.

2. Does your car have a name?


Yes, she does.

Her given name is Gabrielle. I call her Gabi. Yes, G-A-B-I. Gabis seem a little more carefree and ready for the open road than are Gabbys. Don’t you agree? During a particularly trying time in which my 1993 Pontiac Grand-Am couldn’t seem to stay out of the shop, my friend and former colleague Stacey suggested Gabi might have a better prognosis if she had a name.

We agreed it couldn’t be a famous name, so no Kesha. It couldn’t be someone we worked with, so no Sara, Beth or Summer. It had to be a name that stood on its own. And it fits.

(Although, I once had a favorite Harris-Teeter cashier who wore checkered Vans. Her name was Gabi. Yes, G-A-B-I. Gabis seem a little more carefree and ready for the open road than are Gabbys.

Don’t you agree?

3. What is e-surance?

By Modrak at en.wikipedia (Original text : Ondra "modrak" Soukup) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
By Modrak at en.wikipedia (Original text : Ondra “modrak” Soukup) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
It’s “Insurance for the modern world.” And they’re not even paying for this advertising space.

The E makes it sound high-tech though, doesn’t it? E-mail. E-VIC card at Harris-Teeter. (Hi Gabi). It’s kind of space-age. E-surance sells auto insurance. The space-age E part comes in its shopping/comparison site for car insurance. E-surance is also more green than most of its competitors. They give away reusable grocery bags and everything. (I could use one in Harris-Teeter).

I miss Erin Esurance, the retired, punky mascot. She got a little too sexy for insurance.

4. Did you play lacrosse when you were a kid?

By Daniel Steger (openphoto) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Daniel Steger (openphoto) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Oh, no. I was dangerous enough as a kid with a toy land speeder in my hands, no less a lacrosse stick.

It feels like lacrosse wasn’t even invented when I was a boy, but the Iroquois played it way before even my dad was born. We’re talking 1100 AD. And our Canadian friends had to change the rules to suit them, as usual. Their game had from 100 to 1,000 players on a field 500 meters to 3 kilometers long.

Games went sunup to sundown, for two or three days. It was meant to symbolize warfare. I lasted 2 minutes into my first karate lesson. I’d have ridden the pine in lacrosse, for sure.

5. Is there offside in basketball?

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Damon J. Moritz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Damon J. Moritz [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
There is not. Which is odd, because being offside is illegal in soccer, football (American and Canadian), rugby, ice hockey, field hockey (since 1998), and bandy (wait, what?).

(Bandy is like hockey with a rubber ball. Amazingly, it is NOT Canadian).

In basketball, you have only five players per team. If someone has less gumption to run back up court and play defense, they could lollygag around the bucket and wait. We used to call the kid they planted by our team’s goal a ‘cherry picker,’ although that kind of sounds beneficial to mankind.

If you can’t get back up court on a 94-foot-long playing surface … I’d advise against giving Canadian aboriginal lacrosse a try.

basketball quote


  1. serins says:

    What no off-side in basketball? 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Blasphemy, right? You could just plant the laziest player near the opposing basket and wait. Of course, then you have only five on defense …

  2. As holy as whale meat may be, you not find me eating it during Lent or any other time of the year! There I said it and it is on record here! Pizza Fridays suit me just fine 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Not even just a bite to see what you’re missing? I would never mess with pizza Friday, but maybe Saturday lunch …

      1. I am so not curious in the least, but if you do this woul pay big bucks to see 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’d cost at least 7 bucks, Janine.

      3. Not three fifty!! 😉

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Inner Circle Discount.

      5. Ok makes sense 😉

  3. ksbeth says:

    not into the whale quarter pounders either, and i’m so glad your car has a name. my old one was ‘el diablo rojo’, new one is ‘sylvia’. names are important –

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      i remember el diablo rojo! sylvia sounds … reliable. is she?

  4. Ginny Marie says:

    I’m with Janine on the whale meat! Eating blubber doesn’t sound appealing, because we are not the whale tongue kind of people…meaning we’re poorer folk.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Ginny, I learned far more about whale meat preparation than I should know in North Carolina. I won’t go into whale fritters.

      I’m with you … if I were Alaskan, I’d have to wait for the tongue to go on markdown.

  5. As I read these questions, I imagine what it must look like around your dinner table as the gauntlets are being thrown. Pretty girls, curls and a daddy in over his head!
    Between you and Ned Hickson, Fridays are my favorite days to get caught up on the blogosphere.
    And now, I need to name my car. My daughter has a name for hers (Pandora), but since mine is a company car…we are less attached. I DO have a name for my Garmin–well, because she talks to me and directs and recalculates. Yep. Trusty Mulva has led me down Colfax Avenue in Denver more times than I care to admit 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      They come up at dinner, in the car, watching a game, making a mess … i have them jotted on notes and in my phone … and a list of more than 200 in the waiting!

      I am honored to be part of your Friday routine, Michelle. How did Pandora get her name? Sounds ominous.

      I would hope my loving Shelley would never lead me down a street like Colfax. I remember Colfax Avenue! I mean, the reputation. I was just a teenager in Colorado.

  6. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says:

    I prefer to refer to my car simply as the Batmobile. It’s not like the Batmobile at all except it’s black. And it has a moonroof. But that’s pretty much it and it’s as close to driving the real Batmobile as I am likely to get. Maybe when I pick up Kidzilla from school, I’ll start saying, “To the Batmobile!” while she’s still young enough to think it’s entertaining…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hope that lasts until she’s at least 37, Lisa. At least.

      And I’ve gotten into the habit somehow of when the girls and I get to the car, I always say, “get in the damn car,” and sometimes they laugh, sometimes they don’t.

      I never stopped to consider how Gabi might feel about it.

      1. Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says:

        Well, I’m past 37 and I still think it’s entertaining, so maybe.
        Do you think the girls think you’re upset??

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        No, they think it’s funny … it’s a strifey thing to say when we’re having any strife.

  7. Julia Tomiak says:

    Hilarious – I think that lone “i” at the end of Gabi gives her thecarefree feel, don’t you agree? Thanks for guest posting for me. I’m amused that I’m squeezed in between Ingrid Michaelson and Kesha in your tag list for this post – what does that say about me? 😉 Happy Friday

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It makes all the difference, Julia. It was an honor to be on Diary of a Word Nerd today. Maybe you’re the middle ground between Ingrid and Kesha. Best of both worlds, maybe?

  8. ProteanMom says:

    I usually name my vehicles, but I’ve been negligent with my minivan…. *sigh*

    Ahh… it’s been a while since I’ve played any basketball. Some days I ended up being the one waiting under the other team’s basket. Ah, the joys of asthma. 😛

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s not too late to name your minivan, Kim. Never too late.

      I get like that too, playing soccer with the girls. But I don’t have asthma. I’m all, “I’ll be down this end … pass to me!” It’s strategic.

  9. NotAPunkRocker says:

    My car is the Toaster. Seeing as it is named after a kitchen appliance and I don’t give those nicknames, it doesn’t go any further than that.

    Cartilage salad? That may be the best appetite suppressant yet.

    I am sorry to hear the eSurance girl got Rule 34’ed. She was supposed to make pink hair more mainstream and acceptable. Oh, and sell some insurance.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Wait, why the Toaster? Please say there’s a post.

      Cartilage salad is on the menu. Not sure if you get bacon bits with that.

      Erin Esurance was awesome. Strong, sassy, and loved the pink hair. She could have supplanted Judy Jetson in my top 5 cartoon women (yes, there’s a list).

  10. firebailey says:

    Can you imagine if there was an off-sides in Basketball? And yes! To the Hartford Whaler’s jersey. I miss them.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The Denver Nuggets would never win another game. #GoodbyeFastBreak. Oh, the Whalers had the coolest logo and colors, didn’t they?

      They’re here now, in Raleigh. But now they’re the Hurricanes. Cool jersey, and still destructive as far as mascots go, but I do miss the Whale.

  11. Scott says:

    Wow. The Esurance things is messed up. It’s quite mindblowing to know people out there have nothing better to do than create pornographic images of a cartoon character representing a janky insurance company.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Isn’t it crazy, Scott? They couldn’t leave Erin alone (kind of like Erin Andrews, sadly). Just part of the destructive power of the Google search.

  12. Lady Lilith says:

    No whale burgers for me. Pass the hamburgers please.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wonder if we’d be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test. I once accidentally ate alligator.

  13. Kim says:

    I’m going to pass on trying whale meat – I didn’t even realize that was an option.

  14. Rorybore says:

    There’s a lot of maple leaf up in your space today, eh? 🙂
    Lacrosse is awesome! I mean seriously – entire clans of families have been known to play an entire weekend – barely speaking to one another at the midway point, only to end up happily reunited and drunk in the cattle trough after the victory corn and pig roast by sundown on the 3rd day.
    Or….er, something like that. If given a chance, you have to try it. It is our OTHER official National Sport. I played for a bit on our high school team. Pretty sure the scar on my pinkie finger is from a lacrosse stick. Ah…. the memories.
    Better not comment on the whale meat… people are still angry at us about the baby seals. 😦

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yeah, eh?

      Lacrosse looks like a bad idea for those with a temper. Is lacrosse more intense than, say, curling? I need to know.

      Baby seals and Olympic hockey, you know. We’re still pissed off about that, too.

      1. Rorybore says:

        Oh man, curling is actually really hard. Or, maybe it’s just because I have a bad knee and that makes it difficult to slide so low. Also, there’s beer there. 🙂
        Ha – 2018 – double or nothing?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’re on! I’d make it a parlay (is that what they call it?) with the U.S. curling squad, but I haven’t scouted either side. Yet.

  15. Lyn says:

    I’ve never eaten whale, nor will I. When I was a kid some sixty years ago, when we’d buy fish and chips (or fish and fries if you like) the fish mainly served was gummy shark, but it was called Flake. I’ll have to admit, it was an amazing tasting fish. Currently, the gummy shark is, while not endangered, listed as “red” and people are encouraged not to buy it. These days, I much prefer ocean perch with my fries. My car’s name is Charlie.
    I can’t imagine why there is no off side in basketball–sounds pretty logical to me 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Not on the bucket list, eh? I know it’s been too long since my last fish fry, I can tell you that. Even just flounder or pollack, I’m game.

      Salmon has even become a problem in some parts of the world in terms of sustainability. Ocean perch will also work. Salt and pepper batter, please. And tartar sauce.

      I think in basketball, you need all five players defensively, so who can afford to leave one offside?

      Here’s hoping Charlie is good for you for many, many more miles. Or, kilometers.

  16. Rea says:

    Ahh, I don’t think I can handle a whale. I mean I’m also a very visual type of person so I can imagine several things in my head. LOL. So eating a whale seems scary to me especially if I’m imagining the biggest of whales. It’s like eating a chocolate cake with a cockroach design/drawing.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You don’t have to eat the whole whale, Rea. But if you do, just take it one bite at a time. I can’t imagine it’s much worse than eating an old, lake-raised catfish.

      Interesting point about the cake. I don’t think it would bother me to each a chocolate cake shaped as a cockroach. But if it was a bite-sized chocolate bug …

      it would be my luck that I’d pick up a bug that wandered onto the plate.

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