Go Ask Daddy About Utility, Emergency, and Conservation Opportunity

stormtrooper tie fighter pilot rattlesnake

This might be a good time for a history lesson.

GAD GRAPHICGo Ask Daddy has been a Friday feature around here for years. My girls ask lots of questions. I know your kids do too. It felt derelict of daddy duty to answer with look it up or I dunno. I don’t feel right, not at least putting down my grilled cheese and giving fatherhood a good try.

I wrote the girls’ questions in a notebook, and then feared I would leave the notebook in the cafeteria and not have a thing to write on a Friday.

So I started a Word doc, on my work computer, and I try really hard and follow the rules at my job so I’m not fired and would lose the entire list. This motivates me at work to avoid criminal activity and also to try good like I would with being a dad.

I use random.org to choose five questions from the batch of around 300 I’ve cataloged.

It’s easy sometimes to answer the questions and string them together, and at other times, it’s downright impossible. There’s stuff on the list that includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Pro athlete bling
  • Amphibian lifecycles
  • Dinosaur dentition
  • Higher education
  • Cranial muscle capabilities
  • Reality/illusion pertaining to common American fowl/identification of such
  • Pain relief timelines
  • Economics of spaghetti
  • Physics of Mexican desserts
  • Philosophy of Christ’s abilities
  • Geographic particularities of thrift stores
  • Construction of fast food bundles
  • Voting rights of transients

This list is in no way exhaustive. But man, I can’t wait to get to some of these!

1. What is this on my Swiss Army Knife?

swiss army knife camdynMaybe it’s got a hole on it in reverence for Swiss cheese.

More likely, it’s a punch/reamer. Sounds like something you’d want to have with you in prison, but it’s more of a functional character than a shanking device. You could thread something through with this tool, and push the thread through the hole, as in a pair of leather boots.

Or, stitch a bear hide into a camisole.

It’s like a super-sized needle and comes out of the knife only halfway. If you’re not sure how to use it or have no bear hide to fashion, you could always use it to clean your fingernails. Or slice a piece of cheese.

2. Do Canadians speak English?


There’s something there called a francophone. It’s not a horn shaped like a hot dog. It’s someone who speaks French. There’s load of them in Quebec. But the official language(s) of Canada are English and French.

(The only town they say Séries éliminatoires – the playoffs – in Canada during hockey season? Ottawa, where the only remaining Canadian NHL – the Senators – plays.)

Some Canadians don’t even think they have accents. (But most people don’t think they do.) Most commonly, Canadian English gets represented with frequent exclamations of “eh?” to end sentences. Or, pronouncing about to sound like a-boot.

I asked some of my whacky Facebook friends north of the border if they speak English. Here’s how they put it:

Yes, we speak English. Just as ‘eh’ to the end of sentence every now and then and be REALLY REALLY polite.

Some ‘funny’ words she can look up:

  • Toonie
  • Loonie
  • Double Double
  • Tuque


Editor’s note: I think a Toonie is a two-dollar coin, and a Loonie is whatever coin has that loon on it. Where we have eagles, Canadians have loons. That’s all you need to know, girls.

Oui, je parle l’anglais (Yes, I speak English).


Only English here. But, I can say ‘Can I have a beer please?’ in 6 languages.


Yes, but we very multi-cultural in Vancouver (French being our second official language) we also have a high population that speaks Chinese or Japanese, Mandarin, Hindi etc.


What’s that aboot?


3. What would you do if you needed the pharmacy for an emergency, but they were closed?

Get in line for free healthcare with the Canadians.

I kid, I kid. You know, things like this happen on a Sunday afternoon. That’s when I:

  • Run out of meds
  • My car breaks down
  • I need a haircut
  • I finish my audiobook
  • I run out of cheese

Some pharmacies are open 24/7. Even on Arbor Day. If we’re not near the one there at the University, you know, right by Picasso’s Pizza and the 24-hour FedEx? We’d just go to the emergency room.

They won’t do a thing for my shaggy hair or cheese deficiency, unfortunately.

4. Will we be able to watch the World Cup this time?

world cup referee
photo credit: Live And Basic via photopin cc

That really sucked the time no games were on regular TV last time.

Now we get that rad soccer channel that makes us late getting ready in the morning (because any match is worth tuning in.) The women will play in France in 2019. The men, in Russia next year. Sports often get it wrong when it comes to TV. The national championship game in college basketball tipped off at 9 p.m. on a school night.

The World Series notoriously starts late, and the Super Bowl starts not-so-late – but with a four-hour halftime show (during which Lady Gaga and Tom Brady commiserate), some don’t get to see the end. If kids don’t fall in love with these events, these events will cease to be events.

We’re watching all the World Cup games from now until forever, dammit.

5. Where have the butterflies been all summer?

Eugenio Cruz Vargas [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I’m so glad you recognized this last year.

Butterflies are iconic. Not only because all boys are supposed to categorically reject them, lest they appear less manly, but because of their life cycle. Who among us hasn’t wanted at some point to spin a cocoon and come out transformed and ready to fly?

Honeybees aren’t the only insect aloft facing troubling decline.

The monarch butterfly makes seasonal travel look easy – and pretty. As a kid, I remember how big a deal they were, in their trek to Mexico every fall. I saw a tree loaded with the orange beauties, resting along the route, in elementary school.

The gravity of their presence wasn’t lost, even on a kid who thought he could become a stormtrooper one day.

Deforestation is to blame, although Mexican conservation policies have slowed that habitat loss. A huge threat remains in the American Midwest, where herbicides on crops have wiped out millions of acres of milkweeds.

Monarch caterpillars are finicky eaters – they’ll eat only milkweed.

The migration route includes much of the American southeast, north to Pennsylvania, west to southeastern Colorado, south to Texas, and back east to Florida. Live here? Plant some milkweed!

[Here’s a guide to more ways to create a butterfly garden – and help out their cousins too.]

new butterfly quote



    1. It was all over the place, Barbara! They do ask about everything – keeps me sharp, I hope.

      I read that post just now! What an awesome experience to have had. Witness to something miraculous.

  1. Interesting questions…and answers! And I’ve read about the butterflies in Mexico…would be very cool to see one day (as long as they survive!) Happy weekend!

  2. Oh my gosh. I love this idea! My boys are constantly asking questions, but I’ve never thought about writing them down and really finding the answers. Usually my answer is, “Go ask Dad.” Hee hee. So, I’m going to show him your post, and make him get to work.

  3. This is such a fun post and I was curious to know how you’d answer many of these questions. Particularly about the Swiss Army knife — no idea what most of those blades are used for truthfully. I made a terrible Girl Scout. Next I want to hear more about transients and voting and also pasta economy, please 🙂

    1. it was a tough batch, Char. There are sites upon sites that map out the protrusions of the Swiss Army knife – and there’s an army of knives, too.

      I was a horrible girl scout too. The transients voting question will be an interesting one to research. Pasta anything passes the eye test, too, you know.

  4. An idea: put your list in a Word doc on Dropbox, the flash drive for the 21st Century. You can get at it from just about any connected computer then. If your employer allows it, you can have Dropbox load a directory on your computers and it’ll keep all copies up-to-date. Even better: put your list in Evernote. You can get at that anywhere, even at the office via the web interface.

    I thibk the official name for that blade is tent repair tool, but I’m not sure. I think I’ll see if victorinox’s website has a description.

    1. Yes! Great advice. I have Evernote right up there in my … what’s that called, a menu bar? I’m going with menu bar.

      Someone online said it was just a fingernail cleaner, but isn’t that what your fork is for?

  5. Pawsome answers, Eli! Funny how emergency often happens on Sundays. Two weeks ago, my dog attacked my 10-year old daughter and there was a cut on her earlobe (thank God it was not on her face!). And this happened on Sunday night and I was out of gauze and tape. But thankfully it was not a deep cut that needed stitches. I used cotton instead and it got stuck to the wound and it took me 48 hours to get it off…..ฅ(≚ᄌ≚)

    1. So glad it wasn’t worse than that, Pat. Next time, wrap a tortilla (cold, not warm) over such a wound until proper help is near.*

      *I’m not a doctor. Tortilla might stick just as much as cotton, but it’s an idea. Dads have lots of ideas.

  6. Hi Eli – just glad to know from John … that blade is an awl! Then the English … I met someone coming back on the train whose husband is a lusophone professor … nope – me neither … hadn’t heard about it … funny old world isn’t it. English and Francophone fine … and of course Anglophone … I just went to check it was ‘phone’ and not ‘fone’ … and it is … it’s an interesting language -just so glad I speak it and don’t need to learn it. Great idea re the kids and their queries … cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks, John, in my absence of responding on Friday. I was en route to our second-round playoff game! (a 9-0 loss, but a spirited effort.)

      Hold the phone! (not the fone.) Isn’t it funny? It’s like noticing everyone driving the make and model of car after you get one. They’ve been there (as have various ‘phones’) but we don’t notice until they invade our universe and periphery.

      The middle kid just asked a dandy yesterday. It’s on the list.

  7. Great answers. Canadians do speak English (sometimes called American). The loonie is a one dollar coin worth aboot 75 cents on US dollars. Classes here raise caterpillars to butterflies every spring the release them. Still not sure how they find Mexico.

    1. Thanks, Bro. I’ve heard Toronto Blue Jays players speaking American and even some Mexican. You guys have cool coins up there.

      Monarchs have the original GPS systems. Them, and geese.

      1. The toonie is pretty cool with its gold center and silver outer. Monarchs, geese, hummingbirds and whales are pretty spectacular to travel (successfully) thousands of miles every year.

      2. We have a moose/elk/carribou on ours. I’m not exactly sure which it is because I’m not Canadian. A whale quarter would be cool.

  8. If they are old enough to ask the questions, they are old enough to get reasonable, well thought out answers. You provide those answers very well!

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