Go Ask Daddy About Fire, Concrete and How to Name Your Rock Band

photo credit: Fire Storm via photopin (license)
photo credit: Fire Storm via photopin (license)

Grace kicks Cub Scouts’ asses.

GAD GRAPHICNot literally. There’s no badge for that. This kid, though, has mastered the art of fire-pit building. Not just a tidy little campfire, either. The kid builds a fire pyre. Only we don’t toss bodies on it. No sacrifices, no executions, no Dark Lord of the Sith just after he switched back from the dark side getting lit up.

She knows just the right proportion of kindling and bigger branches and bigger branches still and just where to stuff the fire-starting newspaper.

Mastery slinks to the realm of the grotesque in the flash of a flame, though.

Keep a close eye on this one when the flames shoot up. She’s a bit … enthusiastic when it comes to watching things burn. Sure, it’s just marshmallows and leaves and the ends of sticks now, but what if this goes unchecked? Reminds me of this guy a little.

1. Why does wood turn white when it burns?

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

It’s God’s way of showing Cro Magnon man that the fire’s ready for the rack of mammoth ribs.

Not all parts of wood fuel the fire. The white leftovers – those elements in wood and charcoal – don’t burn. That’s when we put meat on the charcoal grill. The layer of white ash means flames won’t shoot up anymore and scorch dinner. What happens to all those elements that make up wood?

It undergoes a chemical transformation. Fire busts up the molecules of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon become carbon dioxide, trace gases, water and particulate matter – the ashes.

2. If the ball is still moving when the clock runs out in soccer, is the game still over?

photo credit: DSC_0228 via photopin (license)
photo credit: DSC_0228 via photopin (license)

As with the bulk of the laws of soccer – everything’s at the referee’s discretion.

Soccer, unlike any other sport with a clock, ends when the ref says it ends.* It varies by age group, but a regulation soccer match includes two 45-minute halves – plus time the official arbitrarily adds for delays such as injury, ball-hunting and pauses to raise the flag on and sing God Bless America on Sept. 11 (this happened to us once.)

Refs are supposed to stop the game on a breakaway, but we’ve seen that too. Once those three staccato whistles blow, it’s all over.

*Unless you play at a rural Stanly county high school at which football is king. In that case, they run the clock – and buzzer – like it was Friday Night Lights. Bastards. Especially when the score is tied.

3. What are those made of?


Wouldn’t it be cool if it was made out of chocolate?

I’m pretty sure it’s concrete.

It’s part of new overpasses going on bunches of cross streets on Independence Boulevard here in Charlotte.

(It’s not a very good picture, Marie said as she emailed it to me. I know, kid, but when your sis asks a question when the light turns green, that’s the best I got!)

I’m fairly certain this will go down as the worst answer ever in Coach Daddy history.

4. Where did they film the first Star Wars?

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

I can always count on Star Wars, dinosaurs or football to get me out of trouble here.

George Lucas shot the original Star Wars (I won’t ever call it A New Hope) in Tunisia and Guatemala.

They filmed scenes in Luke Skywalker’s house in Matmata, in pit homes the natives abandoned shortly after filming for new homes a few miles away.

Remember when R2-D2 and C-3PO trekked across the Dune Sea? That was La Grande Dune, dangerously near the Algerian border. There’s a place still called Star Wars Canyon, in Sidi Bouhel (Tunisian cities have cool names), where the Jawas snagged R2 and 3PO. It also appears in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

A fishing town called Ajim served as Mos Eisley, where Obi-Wan and Han Solo meet, and Greedo went to be with Jesus. Obi-Wan’s remote bachelor pad was set on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Gabes. The rebel base shown near the end of the movie is a Mayan temple complex in Tikal, Guatemala.

One more cool thing: That’s an elephant in that Bantha costume!

5. Do you think Hide My Pigeons would be a cool rock-band name?

Drawing by Elise!
Drawing by Elise!

Cooler than Empty of Bamboo, Consensual Researcher or Earl Necessity. Also it’s cooler than Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, 50 Ways to Kill Me or Jalopy Taco Stand. Can you figure out which set of three are real bands, and which set comes from the Band Name Generator?

Hide My Pigeons would make gnarly tour shirts.

And album covers. Are there still such a thing?

One request … don’t do your cover of “Light My Fire” around your sister, okay?

band quote


      1. In my opinion, it was okay. When MJ did it, he sounded like be was trying a bit too hard. Just all depends on what you like, I suppose.

  1. It is amazing how much power a soccer ref has in ending a game. Unlike other sports, the players have no clue if the shot they are (or are not) taking is the last one.
    Thank you for the info on the Star Wars movie sets.

    1. It’s too much power if you ask me Christine. But I might be biased. I won’t even go to Sports Clips for a haircut, because the stylists wear refs shirts!

      I’m glad the girls ask about Star Wars. The Olympics and sharks are also popular topics with them.

  2. “Hide Your Pigeons,” huh? I could see that. I could see them rockin’ some autotuned newscasts in the background of their tunes.

    1. That’s Marie’s band name! Elise did the album art. I hope Marie doesn’t ever get a tattoo of it, but I think she wants a nose ring. So there’s that.

      If her music taste is an indication, Hide Your Pigeons would be techno/rap.

  3. Curious questions and great answers. Soccer games are controlled by a monarchy. The king says the game is over when he wants it to be over. Even if the score is 6-0 after 90 minutes. Like something different might happen in that 3 extra minutes that didn’t happen in that first 90. Amen for Star Wars questions! I can’t blame sister… I was a little pyro growing up, too. It’s mesmerizing!

    1. They get curiouser and curioser, Eric. Soccer matches are about as fascist as it gets in sports, outside of The Masters.

      I’m proud of soccer fouls, though. My girls were disgusted at their first NBA game to see their first NBA foul. “What did he do?” they’d ask when someone got whistled.

      “I think he hit that guy’s arm a little with his arm,” I’d suggest.

      They’re used to soccer fouls.

      I also had a bit of a pyro period. I used to melt little toys I’d get in the 5-cent machines. (Remember those?)

      My mom thought I was smoking pot. No mom, just destroying toys with fire.

      1. There’s a spectacular amount of drama in soccer. Compared to the NBA it’s quite exciting. Melting toys sounds fun… we built miniature bonfires in the backyard.

    1. Isn’t that cool? I’d buy the tour shirt. I remember a band when I was a kid called Twisted Wes and the Butt Nuggets, but I couldn’t find them online. (Work – sorry for searching that on my laptop!)

      Glad you liked it, Brit.

      1. Yeah, I’d for sure buy a T-Shirt. Twisted Wes and the Butt Nuggets…now there’s one I haven’t heard before. How…creative. 🙂

  4. How nice it is to know that there are others out there that recognize the original Star Wars as THE FIRST and not the fourth and still call it The Original Star Wars. Seriously….how can you change something after it’s already etched in history!? Always enjoy your answers, Eli. Bet your daughters spend time just thinking of things that might stump you along the way…but they’re going to have to work hard to get ahead of you, I think!

    1. It’s like adding another book in the bible and calling the New Testament the Middle Testament. Kind of. That Disney runs Star Wars makes me spasms in spots that should never spasm.

      The questions come all the time and any time, and I try to jot them into my note app on my phone or in the word doc on my laptop. There’s almost 400 waiting!

  5. Is your daughter’s name Grace? Ever since I was a teenager, I had that name picked out for my daughter, and I got…..a boy, and then…..another boy and then……another boy, and then….another boy. Oh well, I give up. What a great idea to blog about answering your kid’s questions. They DO have so many!! These are tough questions. I could not have adequately answered any of them.

    1. That’s her blog name, April. She can be Grace for us both, how about. I love when she’s in those growth-spurt periods and the name becomes ironic.

      It started out small, Go Ask Daddy – but one week, I ran a guest post on a Friday, and some readers were like, what the?

      The toughest question of them all? Would you die for me, daddy? I turned that one into a post of its own.

      1. Aw, sad! Yes, I will pretend that’s her real name. “Would you die for me?” Oh. my. goodness. I may have to read that post to see how in the world you handled that one!!

  6. The Original Star Wars … you pretty much could have just written that on an otherwise blank post, and I would give you Full Marks.
    My father in law has this amazing way to build a fire. It burns forever — like really really really long. Like we woke up the next morning and it was still burning even though I poured a bucket of water on it. It’s called an Upside Down Fire…. challenge over to you Grace. 🙂

    1. We shouldn’t even have to say Original Star Wars … what a world we live in.

      Water-resistant fire? I’m going to keep this concept away from Grace as long as possible.

  7. Remind me to tell you about the time the cops were looking for three preteen girls who set fire to a newspaper machine in my town. Just to watch it burn. (FYI – it wasn’t me but I was still on their list for daring to walk at night)
    I was actually there at the filming for Episode IV. What’s that you say? I wasn’t born yet?
    Ok, but I WAS illegally given a tour of the lava used for Episode III. That story is true.

      1. Three years before my birth! And that’s the release of a new hope. So it might have been filmed 17,000 years before that.

  8. Interesting facts about wood and fire. I could learn a lot from Grace. The one time I tried to make a fire on my own I used an old Christmas tree to burn and tossed large wood branches over it. It got very smoky and smelly, but I never got that white stuff indicating that it’s time for BBQ 😦

    Hide My Pigeons sounds like an OK name for a rock band. They look ike Angry Birds’ cousins.

    1. It has something to do with the wood and if it’s green or not, Tamara. And Crepe myrtle branches are bad for burning, although I don’t know why.

      That’s a future Go Ask Daddy question, though.

      HMP are Marie’s real initials, and that’s why she wanted a band with them too. Elise did three move versions of the logo!

      Now all we need is a band. And some songs. And instruments.

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