Some parts of life keep us grounded.
Our faith. Our family. Our mortgage. Or, little holes in our heels that keep us secured to various Star Wars action figure playsets. The figures I grew up playing with had them, and any official playset had pegs.
It helped the stiff-legged rebels and bounty hunters stand up straight.
Some parts of life give us freedom.
Our faith. Our family. Our vacation days. Or, free-standing plastic dinosaurs that don’t need pegs to stand.
Question: Where does a plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex roam?
Answer: Wherever he wants.
The dinosaurs I played with traversed the most rugged terrain.
It’s essential to have a little of both. To be grounded, and free.
Be grounded by things that keep you in place. Set free by things that give you the chance to spread your wings a little. I’d like a little of both in 2015, please. For now … there are kids’ questions to ponder.
1. Do all Star Wars figures have holes on their feet?
Every single one I had – R5-D4, Hammerhead, IG-88 …
The Kenner and Hasbro versions of Star Wars figures have foot pegs. I have trays from a long-gone figure case with pegs on the back. I’ve used them in my amateur stormtrooper photo shoots for this blog.
Amazon sells much smaller, transparent plastic trays that accommodate as many as four figures. But they’re $10.99 each! (Plus shipping, unless you have Amazon Prime.)
I saved enough proofs-of-purchase to order a free Boba Fett figure when I was a kid. This was a huge deal. It was such a huge deal that I bragged about it all over the neighborhood.
It was also such a huge deal that kids in the neighborhood checked our mailbox to try and steal it.
Foot pegs keep us grounded, for goodness sake.
2. When you buy a bike, can you ride it in the store?
Seems like a reasonable perk, from a dad’s perspective. As a boy, I wore my new shoes right out of the store. I felt bad-ass. It was almost as awesome as getting a Boba Fett in the mail.
But, according to Jessica M. of our friendly neighborhood Target store, I – and many dads, it turns out – were all wrong about this.
“We do not allow anyone to ride bikes in the store,” Jessica said.
“We mostly have issues with adults. Or dads, more specifically, ‘test driving’ the bikes, roller blades, and scooters. They are pretty understanding when we ask them to stop.”
A bike shop will let you take a test drive. But that’s different. It’s on the streets. Not down the paper towel aisle on a Magna rip curl model.
While we’re on store safety …
“There is also no running!” Jessica said. “Pass on the word!”
The more you know.
3. How much does it cost to be on Guy Fieri’s show?
You don’t pay a penny to be on Guy’s Grocery Games, one of our favorite shows.
To appear on Food Network shows, you apply by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org. They just need your city and state, and vitals (name, phone number, email address, occupation) in the body of the email.
Send a picture of you and some of your most impressive baked goods. Oh, and a mini essay on why you’d make an awesome contestant for a show.
Now, if you want Guy Fieri at your local fair, for instance, it’ll cost you $100,000. And maybe $1,500 to bring his blond spikes to your fairgrounds. If you’re on a budget, go with Cake Boss Buddy Valastro. You can book him for a mere $65,000.
The more you know.
4. Do they have to do certain jumps in figure skating competition?
The International Skating Union runs the jump compliance department.
Since 1982, skaters can perform each form of triple jump only once, or twice, if one is part of a combination or sequence. For the jump to qualify as a combination, every jump must start from the landing edge of the previous jump. Got that?
This goes for toe loops, loops, salchows, half loops, axels …
It’s a whole world apart from soccer, huh? This graphic might help.
5. When did it become a tradition to bring a Christmas tree in your house for Christmas?
Long before axels and salchows were so regulated. Even before Christianity, evergreen trees were special during winter.
People hung evergreen branches over doors and windows. Some believed branches warded off evil spirits, illness, ghosts, and witches. And maybe even Taylor Swift songs.
Egyptians put up palms to symbolize the god Ra’s triumph over death.
(Ra was quite bad-ass. Like, Boba Fett bad-ass. He had a hawk’s head and wore the sun in his crown.)
Folks everywhere went green. Early Romans, Druids, and Vikings decorated for winter solstice. This was a time of celebrating life defeating death.
The Germans put up the first Christmas tree in the 16th century. They were pyramids of wood decorated with evergreen. Protestant reformer Martin Luther drew inspiration on a walk one night as he pondered a sermon.
Martin Luther stuck lighted candles in his Christmas tree to replicate stars shining through evergreen branches. Centuries and multiple house fires later, the Christmas tree endures.
Today, it’s adorned with ally types of ornaments. They depict everything from Jesus, Joseph and Mary to Janis Joplin. Team mascots, My Little Pony and the Avengers can hang from trees now.
I can’t find a single Guy Fieri Christmas ornament online, though.
I don’t think we’re trying hard enough.