Go Ask Daddy About The Olympiad, Stuffed Animals and How Many Horses One Dude Really Needs

photo credit: Reiterlied End of a Trip via photopin (license)

Mexico isn’t known particularly for its ultra-fast Wi-Fi.

GAD GRAPHICAt least, not in room 101 of the Fiestamericana Resort, and it’s 4 a.m., and you’ve just questioned the wisdom of having just called room service for a bacon cheeseburger. You root around your email and answer blog comments, but not much more.

Not at the end of a day that you’d kind of wish would never end.

Some moments in life can become transformative before you even realize there’s room to transform. During our company trip, leaders challenged us to #challengewhatspossible. Although that sounds an awful lot like business speak, there’s more to it than that.

Probably the lack of decent Wi-Fi helped me to walk out onto the market and into the sun and navigate a world outside this screen.

I’m glad to be back, though. Changed, for sure. Appreciative, aware. A friend cut off a bracelet I’d worn for more than a year. I knew the time would come when it would no longer remind me of where I’d been. When a new chapter would start. And it has.

1. Where will the Summer Olympics be next time?

photo credit: MattysFlicks Breakfast of champions! via photopin (license)

They’re headed for Tokyo, in 2020. This Japanese city beat out the likes of Istanbul and Madrid. No city on earth has more people, so I hope they’ll buy a crypt-ton of tickets. Nothing’s worse than empty seats in the Olympics. Not even crappy resort Wi-Fi.

We love the Summer games, about as much as the Winter games when they’re going on. If we had a vote we’d make a motion to include Spring and Fall games, too. Why not? The allure of every-four-years games is that the absence makes us fonder, though.

2. What are Donald Trump’s supporters called?

It depends on who’s doing the calling. Some words probably don’t belong on a (mostly) family-friendly blog such as this. It’s too bad it’s this way. In the end, left, right or like me, somewhere in the middle, we’re all Americans.

Yet, we treat party affiliation with the ragged disdain of a sports rivalry.

Half of them were deemed deplorable. They never really seemed to pick up a nickname, not like the Killer Bs or Purple People Eaters or even Dirty Birds. Or Swifties. Isn’t that what they call Taylor Swift fans? Imagine the right name, the right brand.

This is something we need to work on for the next election cycle, isn’t it? I pray for the day we can all be regarded as Americans again.

3. How do they do taxidermy?

photo credit: jurvetson Arrow to the Head via photopin (license)

First, take the animal out of the freezer and add salt …

No, really. Look, this whole concept? It’s going to sound gross to some. It kind of is. If I was a red fox or a quail or common prairie dog, I’d rather die under a tree and become the circle of life than being prepped for a permanent pose.

It’s an art, to create the plaster cast of the animal that will serve as skeleton and guts. But most of it sounds gruesome. You know it’s just someone’s job to be a mortician or the one who does autopsies? Taxidermists are their cousins. Close cousins.

When Elise was little, I took her to the York County Museum. They have exhibits from around the world, stuffed animals (not teddy bears) in replicated environments, doing things such as grazing or herding or attacking wildebeests (if they’re so inclined.)

It kind of freaked her out.

When I took Marie, she took a different approach. She asked how they did it. That’s how I learned about the wire cage taxidermists sometimes stuff in there as ribs, and how they can pick out the eyes that look most natural and everything.

Still, even with the best skills in the trade, they still looked … stuffed.

4. What words end in Z?

Now, that’s a question with pizzazz.

Pizzazz is an interesting case because it’s the word pizza and double Zs. There’s usually nothing ZZ about pizza. Unless, of course, it’s California style or has dumb toppings such as huge slices of tomato or spinach or anything not on the list of original pizza toppings.

Not that I believe you guys, especially libs, shouldn’t top a pizza with tofu or quinoa or other foods preposterous and profane. Or that I wish to deny those who top ‘za with barbecue or chicken or chicken barbecue as you republicans might. I’m just a purist.

I found a word finder on a site called Your Dictionary. You know how there are sites with cheats for Mario Cart? Well, this one’s old school. It contains cheats for Scrabble. As a struggling wordsmith (more like a wordsanchez), I’m appalled.

I’m not easily appalled. I wrote about politics in this post and I’m a Colorado Rockies fan. And I just read the fine details of taxidermy. And a site that helps you cheat at words offends me? Yep.

Let’s get real. I like to kibbitz as much as the next guy. Usually not about the Utah Jazz or showbiz. I don’t stick my schnoz into conversations I can’t contribute to. I’m a whizz at important things, such as Kesha lyrics and the proper usage of cheez. I mean, cheese.

5. What’s good horsepower?

Just like politics, taxidermy or the unethical use of the Internet to win at Scrabble, the answer lies in the conscious of the beholder. (I think Gandhi might have said that first.)

We men tend to adhere to the concept of more is better. (This goes for fried food, college football and updates from our favorite TV meteorologist.) The low end is about 50 hp for tiny cars that skitter about and save gas but look like they fell out of a LEGO box.

We say horsepower, rather than wildebeestpower, because of steam engines. When steam engines took jobs from horses early in the 1800s, foremen needed to know how many horses the steam engine would replace.

(To see how many fewer carrots and sugar cubes they needed to order.)

James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, formulated a formula to determine how many horses a steam engine could replace. You can imagine 50 horses pulling a little smart car that you have to step out of to scratch your backside.

Gabi, my battered-yet-beautiful Pontiac Grand-Am, carries the power of 170 horses, which would leave a considerable mess on Interstate 485 on my commute. Some cars can get 600-700 horses, which works beautifully on car commercials with wide, open roads.

In Charlotte traffic? Not so much. Gabi – who, like her owner, has lost a dozen or two horses through wear and tear – sits next to slick monsters with way more horsepower at stoplights all over time. Your best bet at the open road is at 4 a.m., probably.

But that’s also prime time for Wi-Fi at your Mexican resort. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?

horsepower quote.jpg


  1. Yes, I knew it involved salt. My youngest has tried to tan the hide of a small animal and I did have to buy a lot of salt. It was an unsuccessful attempt, but the Internet is very useful for future attempts.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s almost like making jerky, Manee. Imagine tanning a wildebeest’s hide.

  2. What year is your trans am? Always liked that car. Thank you for number 2-

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s a grand-am, the less sexy cousin of the trans-am. It’s a 2004.

      You’re welcome for No. 2. It’s less repulsive than I thought it would be considered after all!

  3. Pahaha! I enjoyed these very much, Eli! As for you being a wordsanchez, I couldn’t help but laugh at that one. No, I don’t cheat at Scrabble on account of I’m a wordstein. However, I have been known to check the answers in a game of advanced sodoku… Hey, nobody’s perfect. 🙂 Mother Hen

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Dorreen! Glad you’re here. Thanks for pointing out my wordsanchez-ness. I would have bet a thousand Scrabble tiles that you played it by the book – and not the dictionary, I mean.

      I guess checking the answers is how you get from basic sodoku to advanced!

      1. Well, I’m still at intermediate in Sodoku, so maybe I need to check the answers more frequently! LOL! I LOVE Scrabble… but the only people who will play with me are strangers, isn’t that horrible? Gradually even the strangers stop playing. Spoilsports….

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I’d venture to guess the double-digit arse-whippins you’re tossing on opponents probably wears them to a nub, dear.

  4. Lyn says:

    Speaking of stuffing things, why did they invent stuffed-crust pizza? Spoils the taste and the truth of pizza. I’ll have to admit, my favourite pizza is supreme with ham, chicken, ground beef, prawns, onion, spinach and lots of veggies (apologies to you my pizza purist).
    Internet speed? I just checked mine and it’s 2.25mps.
    Harry (my 2000 Hyundai Accent) has the power 92 horses under the hood 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Some folk can’t leave well enough alone, Lyn. Pity, really. No need to apologize for your pizza orientation. We are the World, and all that.

      2.25Mbps is just slightly less powerful than the 92 horses that pull your Hyundai!

  5. Kisma says:

    I decided before I dive into my taxes to swing by here and see what words of wisdom you provided everyone and you never disappoint. I love #2’s answer. Thank you and as word cheats, I can always tell when someone I know that I play scrabble or words with friends has done so because come on, who uses words like “ocular” daily unless they are an optometrist? .

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks so much, Tiff. It’s hard to admit, but I miss how united we were after 9/11. Ocular is a dead giveaway, isn’t it?

  6. stomperdad says:

    The things we learn from our questioning kids is amazing. Just last night I was looking up how steam trains work and why clouds are white.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Kids’ questions can keep a dad’s brain from turning to liver mush, Eric. It’s like homework, only we can’t fail miserably or have nightmares we’re giving the answers in our underwear.

      1. stomperdad says:

        I can’t have nightmares about answering questions in my underwear because sometimes I AM in my underwear. They definitely keep us thinking.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        2:1 odds that profile pic of you in the woods and the longsleeve Tshirt is actually an underwear shot.

      3. stomperdad says:

        It’s actually outer space. Hard to tell though.

  7. ksbeth says:

    i love the olympics and always look forward to the eccentric mascots as part of the fun. couldn’t read the taxidermy part, i had a fear of being grossed out. glad you cut the ties (bracelet and internet) while on a break and this post was full of jazz, with a double z.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Media traditionally trash Olympic mascots, but I feel it’s out of jealousy, Beth. I tried to leave the gore out of the taxidermy bit – I posted a huge picture of a spider once, and my readership revolted!

      The bracelet was so symbolic, and I’m glad I bore that cross almost as much as I’m glad I tossed it away.

      Long as the post didn’t make you want to make some ZZZZZZZzzzs, I’m good.

  8. 1jaded1 says:

    Pizza…I did have a slice with tomato AND spinach. It is still pizza. Fizz…Fuzz…Buzz…

  9. Lulu says:

    Taxidermy does seem pretty creepy, I agree. It’s creepy in that perplexing, “I’m so weirded out, but I can’t turn away,” sort of fashion. I agree that I would much rather return to the soil than sit in a museum case. How did we end up with a two party system in this country? That’s what I would like to know. It doesn’t seem like any of our political candidates actually represent the majority of Americans. Perhaps most Americans could agree with a candidate on one or two issues, but I wish that I didn’t have to vote for someone that I disagreed with on the majority of issues. All I know is that when we start pointing fingers at each other and give into fear-mongering, that is when we all lose. Thanks for having the courage to write about a potentially controversial topic.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Whose idea was taxidermy, anyway, Lu? Yet, kind of art. I’m quite specific in saying that i want to fertilize a tree or be dumped as ashes in a beautiful place than to be in a box in the ground for eternity.

      We’ve keyed in so closely on that which divides us, that we discount anything that we agree on.

      So glad you appreciated my words on this one.

      1. Lulu says:

        I have no idea who came up with taxidermy! I imagine a bunch of stuffy British scientists a la Darwin surrounded by creepy collections of their specimens, but perhaps that is my own, personal bias and misconception. If only we could all be willing to accept that we have personal biases and misconceptions! It’s really very natural – part of the human condition! Maybe that’s a place where we can all agree. It could be a start, at least. If there is one thing that all this business is alerting me to, it is that I could use some more work on mine.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        You could be right, Lu – or maybe it was a bunch of American frat brothers who trapped a ground hog in the crawl space. I’m afraid to research it.

        There’s a lot of noise out there, Lulu, and it feels like anarchy. I’d rather stay in place, be nice to people, and eat cheese.

  10. mocadeaux says:

    One year on vacation we rented a condo in Florida. Proudly displayed on the nick-nack shelves in the living room was a formerly-alive-now-dead-and-stuffed squirrel. Perhaps a vanquished foe? “Ha! Squirrel, you will not get in my trash ever again!”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Florida condo-community squirrels have a nasty rep, Mo. That trophy was well-earned. Wonder how they’d fare against an opossum.

  11. amommasview says:

    Okay… and now I can’t stop trying to figure out (in my head) which words end with z….

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      See? It’s like a forced brain quiz, coming to this blog.

      1. amommasview says:

        It totally is… lit AF!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Word! Oh wait …

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