🤠 Go Ask Daddy About Adventurous Couples, Early Mornings, and Pleasant Pachyderms

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Checking out the floral action outside the Smithsonian in Washington. – EP photo

Ever just … shut down your brain?

GAD GRAPHICIt can be done in many ways. Meditation’s my favorite. I’m stellar at switching off my brain, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a man, a father, or a Colorado Rockies fan. Once, I came to after a mediation session to find my friends staring at me.

“I want a brownie,” I muttered. [Watch Reese on Malcolm in the Middle zone out below]

Yeah, I get all enlightened, go Zen AF to my eyebrows, and what do I ask for? Not world peace, not eternal life or immortal knowledge – I want baked goods. I’m also prolific at powering down the gray matter at bedtime. Today’s worries can wait until tomorrow.

The last form of exit strategy I partake of with my kids.

It’s sinking into the mindless, and by mindless, I don’t mean an endless loop of Meghan Trainor tunes. It’s queueing Hot Rod or any of the Sharknado movies.

Sometimes, you just have to set aside your better sense and reason and take in a movie so dumb it goes in your eyes and falls out your ears.

1. Are April Wexler and Fin Shepard from Sharknado not married?

Can you believe there’s a Sharknado 4 in the works?

They’re ‘estranged’ the whole time, turns out. Fin’s a perfect name for a shark fighter as Bob Walk is for a baseball pitcher. I’d hate to ruin the suspense for the 1% who hasn’t seen this epic trilogy.

We find April (Tara Reid) and Fin (Ian Ziering) as inhospitable exes, her new boyfriend gets chomped by a shark, yadda yadda yadda … A severed arm and a remarry proposal later, and they’re back together again.

With cult followings, such as the Sharknado franchise and being a Detroit Lions fan, there come interesting tidbits, such as:

  • The dude who wrote songs for the first two soundtracks, Robbie Rist, might look familiar. He played bespectacled and moppy-haired cousin Oliver at the end of the final season of The Brady Bunch.
  • Grace, Marie and I tried to count the casualties in the second movie. It wasn’t the first time we’d seen it. They fell asleep when the ticker reached about 18, so I put on Legends Football and had a snack.
  • This isn’t a cool fact … but what of the rest of the sea creatures? If sharks get drummed up in the storm, what about sea urchins, narwhals and fiddler crabs?

2. How do spiders make spider webs?

Check out this video. Warning: If you’re creeped out by spiders … well, this guy’s furry, and it’s close up. There’s soft music, but still.

It’s majestic and artistic. It must be worth it for a spider to see one of us walk through one and do that web-on-the-face dance that comes next. Spiders come equipped with spinneret glands on their bellies.

She’ll tap into the one she needs – a trailed safety line, sticky silk for catching dinner, or fine silk for bundling it up like a spiderific takeout box. I haven’t seen them this summer, but we started several years ago with a beautiful writing spider on the side of the house.

She laid many eggs, and there was more the next year. They’re huge and scare some, but having such an artistic neighbor was pretty cool. Where did they go?

3. What time do you get up? (Madison: In spring, at 4 a.m., you can hear an orchestra of birds. It’s really, really cool).

I love this one, and it’s sat in the line for years.

During school, I get up at 6, regardless of how late I stayed up to write posts or eat quesadillas. In summer, it’s a little later, unless I’m training Lucas at the turf fields that morning. I’ve noticed I can’t get away with six hours sleep a night anymore.

And those birds, especially in the springtime, are incredible. One cool part about traveling: The new orchestra of birds you can hear. It’s ironic that what sounds like art really boils down to boy birds trying to impress the ladies (and mark his territory.)

So if you hear me bust into some Matchbox 20 in the predawn hours …

4. Is vitamin water good for you?

It sounds it, doesn’t it? I mean, vitamins, right? When we were kids, anything with vitamins and iron qualified as nutritional gold.

Actual Vitamin Water, though, as a brand, looks healthy. It’s got tons of sugar – like, 32 grams of it. That’s still half as much as a regular Coke. One isn’t bad; but as I secretly repeat to myself as I eat slices of pizza, moderation, my good man.

I’d rather get my sugar from a post-meditation brownie.

One of your uncles, in his cycling phase, crushed Vitamin Waters with vigor. Probably it was all right for him, before, after and during those dozens of Lance Armstrong miles. Vitamin Water and a binge session of Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking.

5. Why does everyone like elephants?

photo credit: Elephants never forget via photopin (license)

Some entities on this earth radiate goodness and likable favorability factor that not even stampeding elephants can stop. Pizza has it. Michelle Obama has it. Oreo cookies, I’m fairly certain, have it.

Elephants carry the majesty of an orchestra of songbirds, a dew-covered masterpiece web at dawn, or a pack of Oreos with double stuff. Elephants are smart as the most interesting person at a dinner party and as loyal as a friend who always has your back.

They’re smart as Malcolm in the Middle and compassionate as Buddha. They’re regal, mourn the loss of loved ones, and have withstood persecution by the ivory trade. It’s no wonder one political party adopted it as their symbol.

That isn’t a political endorsement, or invitation to tell me I’ve turned my brain off again.

But should an elephant decide to make a third-party run at the Oval Office …

We should follow. We’ll take turns with the big shovel.

elephant quote



  1. John Holton says:

    We had a black and yellow spider (that was what it was called; you’d think it was a banana spider but no, the books set me straight) who built the most beautiful web on the half of the double front door that we generally don’t open. When she was finished with it she laid her eggs and spun a web around them, and left. When we felt it was safe to remove it, we left the little bag that held her eggs in the natural area behind our house. Hopefully they hatched and wandered off.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Maybe those spiders, the sharp ones, know where to build, right John? I think they spin, catch, lay eggs, and die in a season, if I remember right.

      Hopefully you’ll see the next generation come spring.

      1. John Holton says:

        I doubt I will. This was about twenty years ago. Maybe great times twenty grandchildren?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s entirely possible … I just discovered that the lineage of spiders here has moved around to the back of the house. #LongLiveTheWritingSpider

  2. Laura says:

    Oh, the elephant. Yes. Their eyes always look so very wise.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Elephants rock. There’s a soccer team from Africa whose mascot is the elephant, and that’s about as cool as it gets.

  3. Tamara says:

    I think it’s unethical to market seemingly healthy stuff that is clearly not that healthy upon closer look.
    On the other hand we should be honest and keep in mind that if it tastes great it’s probably not that healthy.
    Yeah well. As you’re saying, moderation *cough*

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I remember they told us Froot Loops was “part of a nutritious breakfast” when we were kids. Turns out you didn’t need the Froot Loops at all.

      I wish Jesus had made cauliflower taste like vanilla wafers. It’s sometimes tough to moderate my moderation, I’ve found.

  4. Why DOES everyone love elephants?? Well.. probably because they are wonderful, incredible, intelligent, sensitive creatures! I wrote about an awesome story once. You should check it out! They are wise…
    As for shutting down your gray matter? Totally jealous! I can’t and never could do that. It just won’t shut off some times. *sigh* but meditation and relaxation exercises do help.
    Have an awesome Saturday Eli!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      How can one even hate an elephant, Courtney? Impossible. I rode one once. It was like a big smart smelly leather couch. I was honored.

      What an incredible elephant post. Thanks for sharing! It inspired an idea for another post …

      I wonder if an ability to shut down the brain falls along gender lines. The perception is there, anyway. Meditation is my favorite, right up there with cheese.

  5. stomperdad says:

    Your Rockies did well against my Orioles. Spiders have their anchor lines, too- stonger lines to hold the whole web in place. We love spiders, hairy or not. And I like brownies no matter my state of mind! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Biggest series we’ve had in ages, brother. Spiders can architect with the best of them. Glad the hairy one didn’t freak you out.

      Brownies and Zen probably have some cosmic connection we’re not even aware of.

  6. ksbeth says:

    thank you for clearing up the sharknado couple mystery for me.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      it’s impossible to fittingly enjoy Sharknado fully when one spins ones mental wheels on the marital and romantical status of the antagonist and antagonist 2.

  7. Spiders AND elephants – you’ve hit my personal jackpot of favorites. Of course brownies have their place of prominence in that category as well. I’ve been known to get up early for them. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Regal beasts both, DW. Brownies for breakfast feels like an important national movement waiting to happen. I’m on board.

  8. mocadeaux says:

    That spider video was amazing. I can’t even knit that quickly and certainly not that precisely. So, would you say that pizza is the Michelle Obama of the food world or that Michelle Obama is the pizza of first ladies? I’m ok either way. I adore them both.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked the video, Mo. I predict someday Nike will train a spider to fashion a swoosh in a web. Just do it.

      I’d put Laura Bush right up there in the stratosphere with Shelly Obama. Barb Bush, too. We’ve been lucky in this generation, haven’t we?

  9. amommasview says:

    Did you know that the elephant is the only mammal that can’t jump?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Have you seen the Denver Nuggets play?

      1. amommasview says:

        Oh, that made me laugh 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        They’re going to make the playoffs this year, though. Just watch.

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