Go Ask Daddy About Genetics, Likenesses and the Bottom Rung of Fast Food Quality

GAD 3 10 lede stormtrooper blood
photo credit: Leoraul Prop Shot Lighting, Finn Stormtrooper Helmet via photopin (license)

Back in my day, there wasn’t such a thing as a spoiler.

GAD GRAPHICWell, unless you went to see The Cannonball Run before everyone else and could tell your friends how Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. place in the race. So that was me, age 9, in the middle of a Greeley, Colo., movie theater, with mind blown.

Before mind blown was even a thing.

I was watching The Empire Strikes Back – Episode V, for you dinkledorphs who insist upon that – when one of life my life-altering utterances occurred right there on the big screen. [It was hokier than I remember. See it here]. When Leia tells Han that Luke is her brother.

My reaction? “Say what??” and not in an inside voice.

Han’s expression matched mine when the Rockies made it to the World Series that one time. Or when I looked in the pizza box after the girls had eaten and there was still a slice. A corner one. Of the deep dish pepperoni pizza. Wild fortune, I tell you.

Go Ask Daddy is a weekly feature in which I answer five random questions my kids have asked me. Currently, the list numbers more than 300, and I use random.org to select questions for the week.

1. Why can’t you marry your brother or sister?

You just can’t, even in a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

There’s tremendous social pressure against it, first off. (Animals do it all the time, well, not marry, but you know … but we don’t, and perhaps that’s a reason we’re at the top of the food chain.)

Social pressure is influential. It keeps people from picking their nose in public or wearing Ray Rice jerseys.

A cursory examination of the Old Testament gives evidence that Cain perhaps married his sister. Consanguineous kids, meaning, those for whom mom and pop are related more closely than second cousins, still occur.

Some cultures see such close marrying as a societal safety measure.

A sibling will have nearly identical DNA as you. What does that mean? If there’s a disease chromosome in your DNA, it’s likely the same in your sibling. On your own, you’d have a 50% chance of passing that on to your kids.

Marrying a random person outside your family brings a lower chance at nearly identical DNA. If they don’t carry it too, chances you’ll pass the disease on are .5%. Siblings with a common genetic defect have a 25% chance.

Each consanguineous pairing after that increases the odds exponentially. That’s a lot of science and stuff.

2. Who was the oldest football player?

If I played in the NFL today, let’s just say I’d be taking aim at the record. Geez. The late George Blanda played long enough for his sideburns to come in style, go out, and come back again.

George Blanda lasted 26 seasons, taking the field on Jan. 4, 1976, at age 48. Tony Hawk, Marilyn Manson, and Celine Dion are 48. I don’t think any of them could nail a field goal right now. [See highlights of Blanda’s Houston Oilers days here.]

Blanda played quarterback for Bear Bryant at Kentucky. He was a clutch quarterback and kicker for the Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers, and Oakland Raiders. Kicker Morten Andersen played until age 47, still automatic as he approached geriatric.

Also, the rumor that both were groomsmen for Cain is probably false.

3. Is Queen Amidala in The Phantom Menace played by the same girl who played Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean?

amidala gad 3 10 lego star wars
photo credit: Reiterlied The Queen is not amused via photopin (license)

Wow. So, I thought I’d launch into tributes to Kiera Knightley and Natalie Portman.

Instead, I discovered that Kiera actually was in both films. She played the role of Sabé, Queen Amidala’s handmaiden in The Phantom Menace (Episode I, for you dinkledorphs). Grace, she was 12, your age, at the time.

Even Kiera’s mom had trouble telling the difference between Kiera and Natalie Portman.

Natalie played the role of Padmé Amidala, who became a princess, queen then senator. Anti-war and pro-rebellion, she’s my favorite liberal of all time. And speaking of family ties, she married Anakin Skywalker (secretly) and is Luke’s and Leia’s mama.

That makes her Han Solo’s mother-in-law (“Han, do you have to fly the Millennium Falcon so fast? There are meteors out here!” and Kylo Ren’s grandma.

4. When was another time you used the F word?

Besides when I figured out Kiera Knightley actually was in Star Wars?

I’m not a perfect dad. Far from it. I do try and keep my cursing slip ups to the acceptable PG-13 range, which is almost acceptable, given my youngest is 12. That assortment of blue language begins in the mild (damn) and falls short of the profane (you know, the F word.)


I first heard my dad use it when he hit his thumb with a hammer. It brought the word legitimacy because the only place I’d heard it was at school and on HBO. This was a grown up putting it in the dialog of life. Woah.

(And yes, I’m stalling.)

You’re asking for just one other instance I used it, other than the slip up in front of you that day? (I wasn’t even angry, just careless.)

During our game Thursday (under my breath), in traffic Thursday, in a Slack conversation at work, when I stubbed my toe going for a midnight snack Wednesday, when I couldn’t find my wallet/keys/Ninja Turtles watch, or when I got a particularly kickass apple fritter.

You get the picture.

5. Why are tomatoes sometimes white?

photo credit: dirty tomato via photopin (license)

Let’s first envision the types of tomatoes we’re proud to place on our plates.

They’re red and they’re juicy. Meaty, I say, although it’s the opposite of meat. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of tomato you can put on your burger (or turkey burger, for me, this month), and you get tomato taste through and through, not just on the fringes.

Some tomatoes, like heirloom varieties, have a thick white core, which isn’t so delicious. Fast food restaurants like to find the ugliest, whitest tomatoes off the tomato truck to place in their premade, overpriced salads, which led to this question in the first place.

This is why dad avoids fast-food salads, children. It’s almost enough to make me say more bad words.

tomato quote



  1. Always educational, entertaining and real, Eli. I look forward to these! 😊

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Carrie! I’m the one who learns the most when these kids ask away.

      1. One of the great gifts of parenting. 😉

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That, and an utter disregard for order, it seems. Just me?

  2. tamaralikecamera says:

    Eagle eyes! I, too, have noticed the Keira Knightly/Natalie Portman thing. Blink and you’ll miss it.
    Scarlet asked me last week why she couldn’t marry Des, so I’m just going to have her read this. Thank god.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I thought that catch quite significant, Tamara. Good on you for seeing it. It’s hard to believe I would have blinked much during a Star Wars movie.

      I think all kids have that thought – hey, I love this person. Isn’t this what we’re supposed to do? Only when we get older do we consider our siblings gross in 97 different ways.

  3. Court says:

    Love these.
    For awhile I was convinced that Keira Knightly/Natalie Portman were the same person doing some social experiment until I saw them at some event at the same time.

    Also I remember reading some study in college that indicated humans who interbred for more than a certain number of generations (I think it was 4 but could be wrong) were no longer able to carry babies to term. Where I grew up? This might have been a good thing.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Court. I never even considered the resemblance between Natalie and Keira, only that they both seemed to live in swoontown.

      I think there’s all kinds of roadblocks in the inbreeding process. Look at pure bred dogs and European royalty. They’re facing all kinds of challenges.

      Plus, mother nature seems to intervene in places like that … even where you grew up. Now I want to know where that is.

  4. stomperdad says:

    Keira was in Phantom Menace? And here I thought I was to old to be mind blown. Guess what I’m watching today? You can marry your sister if you’re a Targaryn, too. Anything is possible when you’re a playa in Game of Thrones.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes, she was! And if Grace hadn’t asked about it, I’d have never known. See if you can find her.

      The only show i watch is Hawaii 5-0, and I don’t think you can marry siblings on that one.

  5. ksbeth says:

    but have you ever sworn at a tomato?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      No. Broccoli, yes. And a cheeseburger, once, but that was actually in adoration. Have you??

  6. mocadeaux says:

    The brilliant and accurate analysis put forth in your closing quote could be extended to include “or pizza from anywhere other than Chicago compared to Chicago pizza.”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes! It’s been YEARS since I’ve enjoyed a Chicago pizza. Like, Ryne Sandburg playing YEARS ago.

  7. Lulu says:

    Wow! I had no idea that Keira Knightly was in Star Wars! I also had no idea that George Blanda was the oldest football player to ever play pro, although I did know about the genetics stuff and the marrying of siblings. Thank you Gregor Mendel and your beautiful, beautiful peas. When I was in fifth grade, I read a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, and for about the first five chapters, I couldn’t figure out what her name was before it was Roosevelt. It turns out, it was Roosevelt. So there’s another good reason why you shouldn’t marry a sibling – it’s just confusing! (Although FDR was something like her 2nd cousin).

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Minds are blown everywhere on this one, Lu. If Grace hadn’t asked … well, it makes me wonder which others of the universe’s secrets are flying undetected below the radar.

      It would stand to reason George Blanda’s lineage didn’t have a lot of inbreeding, to produce the NFL’s iron man. Mendel’s peas! I haven’t thought of such school things in decades. Decades.

      I want to see if there’s a chap named Roosevelt Roosevelt, and if there isn’t, and even if there is, I believe he should become a character in my future fiction.

  8. amommasview says:

    This made me giggle and I learned something once more. Thanks for that. Just what I needed today 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If those two top metrics are met, how I can I ever consider myself and my blog endeavor the horrific failure I fear it can be? Thank you. Join me again this Friday, will you?

  9. Miriam says:

    I always learn something new when I pop over here Eli. Thanks for the smiles again this morning.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Then my job is done, Miriam. Glad you liked this one – it was fun to write.

      1. Miriam says:

        And fun to read. 🙂

  10. Incestuous relationships are something of an enigma in Kentucky.. especially in the Appalachian Mtns🌄. I am currently reading an interesting best seller 📖called “Hillbilly Elegy” By J.D. Vance. It is about a small town in Eastern KY called Jackson and how he grew up. I had seen this book on various lists but didn’t think I would want to read it until my History teacher suggested it. It has turned out to be pretty awesome although it is frighteningly accurate and actually encompasses some similarities to my own relatives from the other end of the state. I highly recommend the book…..
    Football is not a sport 🏈I care much about as a whole. I don’t follow any specific team but I can sit through a game📺 now and somewhat understand the logistics enough to watch it with my hubby. He likes it so I can spend time with him. Blanda played at UK which is another Kentucky reference… hmmm.
    Kiera and Natalie are both beautiful and favor each other in an amazing way👀. I had not realized Kiera was in Star Wars. I have seen all of the Star Wars movies but I am not a huge fan especially the last 2 movies. I thought they were predictable and lame. 😣
    I have to admit I use the F bomb 💣more than I should but I try to be cognizant of where I am and who is present. I do not use it lightly but sometimes it is the best and most appropriate word at the time!
    Tomatoes 🍅are my absolute favorite food! I love 💖them so much that I will eat them 3 times a day in the summer if I can get my hands on good home grown ones. I would grow them in my yard but they need a substantial amount of sunlight ⛅each day and there are so many trees 🌴in my yard I don’t have a patch anywhere that would sustain them. One of favorite salads can be made with a wonderful hot house or heirloom tomato. It is called a Caprese’. You take slices of tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese and drizzle a balsamic vinaigrette reduction over them with some sprigs of fresh basil! OMG! heaven!!😎 💋

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Sometimes, themes emerge in these posts, Courtney. Another Kentucky mention would have been something.

      I’d imagine a great enough Caprese could cause the compulsive f-bomb even out of the likes of George Blanda – or Kiera, even.

      1. Now THAT was funny!! 😀

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