Go Ask Daddy About Gas Pedals, Pet Toxins and When to Keep Runnin’

photo credit: #177/366 via photopin (license)
photo credit: #177/366 via photopin (license)

Remember that A to Z Challenge that went on in April?

GAD GRAPHICIt’s time to reflect, apparently. And thank you for sticking with me. I must have felt like that friend who starts selling insurance or scented candles. Or the friend who talks and talks but won’t take a breath to stop and listen. I hate being either of those creatures.

The A to Z Challenge was less a blogging challenge and more a writing challenge.

I cranked out posts of around 400 words daily. Good practice for any writer. I skipped the Hemingway and Paper Rater apps I run my drivel through. I winged the recipe, just like buelita does. I planned out the entire month and stuck to it 94% of the time.

It also made me a horrible blogger.

A blog is about engagement, visits, comments, conversation. Learning and sharing. I shared, all right. I learned, sure. But I didn’t make it out to the handful of blogs I read every day, and failed more miserably at keeping up with new friends here who also write.

I’ll make up for it, though. One comment and read at a time.

1. Why do you drive with one foot?

photo credit: i should probably watch the road via photopin (license)
photo credit: i should probably watch the road via photopin (license)

The wrong answer: So I can scratch my left foot on long trips.

The advent and infiltration of automatic  transmissions freed up the left foot for such endeavors. Drivers use their left feet to engage the clutch to shift gears. Using your right foot only for accelerating and braking gives your brakes a break. Holding your brakes (or binders, as they call them in NASCAR) while you mash the gas (as they say in the south) heats up your brake pads and wears ‘em out.

Plus, the Car Talk Guys say to use one foot.

2. Can a club soccer team be co-ed?


It could, but wouldn’t likely be.

In club soccer, girls and boys are usually split. Our club’s U7s didn’t have enough registered to split by gender, so we mix it up. Boys and girls play soccer differently. I’m biased, but I see girls every bit as good as boys at any age. I said it. I also concede that you three girls are better off for playing against the boys all your careers.

Boys play with speed and abandon; girls seem to grasp the mental side of soccer faster.

Here’s something else I’ve learned coaching co-ed teams: A halftime speech to boys about what they’re doing wrong is heard differently than the same words to girls. A boy will believe, “coach is right. These other guys better step it up. I’m doing my job.”

A girl will believe, “coach is right. I need to step it up. My teammates are doing their jobs.”

3. Are cats and dogs the only animals allergic to chocolate?

photo credit: Complimentary chocolate treats via photopin (license)
photo credit: Complimentary chocolate treats via photopin (license)

The main threat to a pet from chocolate comes from a caffeine-like substance called theobromine, which humans can process like champs. Not so for cats and dogs. They could suffer cardiac arrest if they ingest enough. The smaller the dog or cat, the bigger the problem.

Chocolate is a toxic substance to many animals, not so much an allergen. And here’s a cool fact (that might explain why cats’ moods swing like Ray right fielder Steven Souza at a high fastball (he’s the MLB leader in strikeouts): Cats can’t taste sweetness. Licking their privates is as good as it gets.

4. Do wolves have whiskers?

photo credit: IMG_0340 via photopin (license)
photo credit: IMG_0340 via photopin (license)

Big ones. The better to get you close enough to chomp you, dear.

The wolf, granddaddy to all domestic dogs, was the original whisker-wearer. They’re handsome and useful, as sensitive as human fingertips and functional as an Apple watch. Whisker nerves are ultra-sensitive and can detect everything from predators to lunch options.

Another cool fact: Animals automatically shut their eyes when something touches their whiskers, as a protective measure. (Which of you will test this out first? Try it with a cat, not an unfriendly border collie, or worse, with an actual wolf, like this lady did.

5. Could a runner keep going if he doesn’t touch the ground?

photo credit: Decker Running via photopin (license)
photo credit: Decker Running via photopin (license)

Remember when we tell you to play to the whistle? In football, you’re not really down until the refs say you’re down. Let’s say Rams rookie Todd Gurley breaks a run to the outside against Tampa Bay. And let’s say Bucs cornerback Mike Jenkins lays a hit on him – but Gurley spins out of it.

Gurley regains balance by just putting his left hand down on the turf, and keeps going, 11 yards into the end zone. Touchdown? Dang right. A runner is down only when a body part other than his hands or feet touch the ground. Where hand becomes forearm and foot becomes ankle is up for debate.

And exhaustive replay.

Which gives me a chance to scratch my feet.

instant replay

32 thoughts on “Go Ask Daddy About Gas Pedals, Pet Toxins and When to Keep Runnin’

  1. Eli, pleased to find your post in my reader today. I committed to reading 10 blog posts from the A-Z Challenge from A-Z and I’ve finished 7 and have 3 more to go…including a few posts on yours. I was exhausted yet exhilarated at the end of the challenge. I actually did a word count and I’d written 33, 770 words. That’s great in terms of preparing to write my book but a huge F in terms of keeping it brief. I’m aiming to write next year’s posts ahead of time so I can focus on reading others and connecting. I’m still to wqrite up my review. I want to get through these last posts first.
    Well done for finishing, by the way and thanks for reading my blog and our chats along the way xx Rowena

    PS I’ve tried telling our little dog that chocolate is bad for her and she refuses to comply. We’ve only had her for 6 months and her previous owner must have given it to her. She LOVES it!!

    1. Thanks Rowee. I admire your dedication to the challenge eight days after – I still check out a blog every now and then from the list.

      Great idea to track word count. I planned out the month and dreamed of working a few ahead – instead, I found myself writing well after midnight most days.

      It’s been great to read your posts, and I look forward to checking out a few more.

      Dogs who eat chocolate must be the badass crowd of the canine world.

      1. Badass definitely describes Lady. My mother said she’s more of a “ruff ruff” than a Lady. We were over at Palm Beach, which is known for being very posh and Lady found a dead rabbit beside the road and ate it down on the beach. Fortunately, it was on the Pittwater side and she only freaked out a few backpackers…and me of course!! She also used to stand on top of our kitchen table and pinch food. That was put a stop to immediately. Then there’s stealing chocolate, which in my mind, warrants capital punishment except she’s too cute.

  2. Yep, I’ll eat chocolate and leave the privates licking to cats and dogs. I don’t miss manual cars at all, my left knee is knackered so it gets plenty of rest when I drive. I don’t think there would have been many complaints because of your challenge Mate. Some people I follow are on all sorts of quests so it’s no biggie. Is it Friday already, man time flies.

  3. The pup always looks at me with her sad puppy dog eyes when I eat chocolate – or anything for that matter – but I know. And I keep all the chocolate for myself, it’s the least I can do to keep her healthy. As for the feet, I learned to drive a stick and used both feet, now I just let the left leg hang loose while I motor about. Have a wonderful day and I hope the soccer games are fun to watch this weekend.

    1. My cousin used to pick his nose and offer it up to my grandma’s dog, which proves a pup can be less than discriminating about his food choices.

      Ever notice how young women drive with their left knee up and their foot on the car chair? Me either.

  4. Great post Eli! I love the tidbits of information mixed with a sense of humor! I won’t be touching wolf whiskers anytime soon! I may have to test out my German Shepherd though! Have a great weekend my friend! Hugz Lisa and Bear

    1. Thanks Lisa! Can’t do a thing without a little humor. Wolf whiskers are best read about than touched.

      My girls don’t care for my whiskers much.

  5. I touched my whiskers and guess what? I closed my eyes. I must be part dog or wolf or something 🙂 On the other hand, I can’t lick my privates, so maybe I’m not. Great questions. And speaking of instant replays… I can’t believe the MLB is even using it now!

    1. I knew someone would try it – I’m grateful it was a dude! I close my eyes when my girls try to get me to buy stuff for them in the grocery store.

      Armando Galarraga probably wishes there was instant replay in MLB – remember his missed perfect game?

  6. The A-Z challenge was fun to read, but it sure is nice to have ya back, Eli.

    Love the bit about how boys and girls react to coach’s half time speech. Although I had a few teammates who thought like boys… It drive our coach bonkers!

    1. It’s nice to get you back too, mama. I know that was a generalization about boys and girls, but it rang true so often for me.

      My girls think like boys – that’s why lots of stuff is broken in our house.

  7. I had a cute rabbit once (she was all white!) and my younger brother thought it would be fun to feed her a couple brownies. She didn’t die but it was a MESS!!!!

  8. Well, you may not have been doing your reading or engaging, but your posts are definitely engaging and always a bright spot.

  9. good thing I knew about that chocolate – cats – toxic thing BEFORE Easter this year. that was some late night scrambling for … um .. the bunny to find plastic containers to hide the chocolate eggs in!! and our cat has huge whiskers — like they are more wings really. so I am sure he would have easily found all that toxic goodness in the dark no problem. It’s toxic to me too…. makes my ass swell up. har har.

  10. The wolf is my spiritual animal, so one day I might do the whiskers experiment!

    ⚽ What you observe during half-time feedback must have to do with tendencies to over-/underestimate one’s skills. I saw it in recruiting too, the overly confident candidates and the humble ones.

    My A-Z recap was included in the Z post 😉 Z was also for (Coke) Zero. Of course. Cheers & happy weekend!

    1. If anyone should know, it’d be you, Tamara.

      We males are a bit brash and overconfident at times, aren’t we? Smart to get the wrapup in your Z post. I didn’t even know a wrapup was part of it!

  11. Agree and disagree. I think A to Z is more about the challenge. I try to pre-write most of my posts, so I have time to do the community side of blogging during the challenge. That worked for the first half, then I ran out of pre-written posts, so my time, like yours was spend writing. It looks like your engagement is back up, and if I remember that was one of your goals. BTW – I didn’t know about eyes and whiskers, or the chocolate and cats (I knew dogs were not supposed to eat it.)

    1. It’s a challenge to write more than to blog. You don’t want to risk falling behind in posts, lest you get nixed from the list – but this comes at the expense of the engagement with other bloggers and readers that fuels the whole thing.

      It might have been different had I been able to write ahead like I wanted to! I feel like if I did it now, I could.

      My engagement has returned, now that I don’t have a post to write daily! I’m still behind, but love catching up.

  12. Cats can’t taste sweetness? That explains so very much.
    I posted four times last week and engagement was down. It’s as if I were adding my friends to Jamberry or Younique Mascara groups on FB?? What’s that you say? That never happens to you?

    1. Can you imagine such an existence? No thank you.

      It’s hard to know about engagement, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s early or late, or trickles. I’ll be grateful for it whenever it arrives, though.

      Wait, you want me to join a Jamberry group? It’s about time for a snack.

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