Go Ask Daddy about Floridian Rides, Martian Colonization and science stuff that has to do with eardrums

stormtrooper nascar jeff gordon (2)It’s time this girl got a name.

GAD GRAPHICHere, finally, is a photo of my new Hyundai. It’s strange, but Gabi still inhabits our street, an empty vessel full of fond memories and great escapes. The item put Pontiac on Craigslist has burned a hole in my to-do list.

My preliminary pick for the new car’s name: Yuliana.

(I know no Yulianas. Gabi got her name from my friend, Stacey. Gabi’s touch-and-go status in the auto shop necessitated a few prayers and vexes. Stacey felt if a car had a name, maybe she’d be more apt to capture the well wishes.)

my hyundai (2)
She fits me like 12 cheese enchiladas fit a 9×12 glass dish.

She was right.

So, do you have something better than Yuliana in mind? I’ll consider it. No promises, though. Yuliana is quite ordinary and run-of-the-mill outwardly, but fits her like a glove. Hence, the exotic name feels right.

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

1. Are cars cheaper in Florida?

For the second straight week, we lead off with an auto question.

(Probably all that time at the auto fair with dad.) Florida has no state tax. We loved that. We actually had money to save when we lived there! The cost of living seemed low, too, at least in Tallahassee. I don’t know if I could have lived large in South Beach.

Maybe they are – but I can’t really find a source that goes state-by-state.

We’re back to speculating, then. Are prices low because people need to get rid of their cars? Are they low because they are (or might be) flood damaged from any of several hurricanes to hit the state in recent years?

I checked on CarGurus.com for a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am (randomly, of course.)

I found one with 99,000 miles for $2,200. I randomly picked four other ZIP codes to try on the site. I made this table, with the car in Florida:

State mileage price
Florida 99,924 $2,200
Michigan 117,040 $1,900
New York 98,000 $3,995
Texas 80,597 $7,995
Washington 123,585 $4,998

Michigan had Florida beat on this particular classic car, but the Sunshine State is definitely in the mix.

photo credit: Vox Efx via photopin cc

2. Can homeless people vote?

Yes, they can, and they often do.

A fixed address isn’t a prerequisite. Colorado considers a place you regularly return and have the intent to remain is viable. Parks, vacant lots and homeless shelters also will work. They seem to make it not a big deal, which is kind of cool.

Minnesota, though, leaves the door open for some potential awkwardness.

The state says to list where you sleep. At the polling place, you might get questioned about it. Tennessee, like Colorado, is pretty lax about where the person says they go to rest. Reminds me to vote yes on legislation to increase housing for those in need.

3. When are people supposed to go to Mars?

NASA says it’ll be in the 2030s – by that time, the Rockies will have probably three World Series wins.

NASA’s tossed up a ton of landers, orbiters and rovers to get a lay of the land. Especially with the Curiosity rover and the upcoming 2020 rover, we’ll learn more about Mars, including oxygen levels and whether there should be an NHL team there.

There’s tons to learn about Mars before we colonize, such as:

  1. Is it safe for humans?
  2. Is there – or was there – life on Mars?
  3. Could we send the Carolina Hurricanes there in hopes for better attendance numbers?

We’re in the first stage of three thresholds of space exploration. They are:

Earth reliant | present-2000

The International Space Station will operate until 2024. NASA has worked on deep-space systems, human health and life support.

Proving ground | 2018-2030

We’ll send crews deeper into space, with spacewalks and everything. Maybe even open a Wendy’s. It’s all to test our readiness for living away from home.

Earth independent | 2030s and beyond

Mars or bust. We’ll master the takeoff and the landing, haul back rocks from Mars, and more. We’ll orbit Mars and eventually move right in.

super bowl

4. What was the biggest Super Bowl blowout?

Sore. Subject.

The Denver Broncos appear on the list for three of the worst four. Unfortunately, it’s always for being on the wrong end of the butt-whoopin’. The worst: Super Bowl XXIV. San Francisco routed Denver 55-10, with a no-name quarterback named Joe Montana.

Denver had lost three previous Super Bowls, none of them close.

This one though … I remember watching it solemnly with my family. It was 35-3 at halftime. Highlights (lowlights?) from this one still give me the bends. We ate dinner silently at halftime, then sat staring at our picked-over vittles.

Guess the second half is starting soon, I said.

We dragged ass back to the couch to take our lumps. I don’t remember who scored Denver’s touchdown. We didn’t harbor much hope, but if we did, John Elway’s interceptions on Denver’s first two second-half series would have cut of their air supply.

That Montana dude, meanwhile, threw five touchdown passes. They decided to make him MVP for some reason.

The rest of the bottom five:

Super Bowl XX: Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10

The Pats were still patsies at this point, not the hated machine you know today. The Bears recorded a song about winning – before the game. And still ran away with a 36-point win.

Super Bowl XLVII: Seattle Seahawks 43, Broncos 8

Seattle shouldn’t score 43 in a month. Denver got hit for a safety on the game’s first play, and I hurled my Broncos cap into a gaggle of Christmas matryoshka dolls.

Super Bowl XXVII: Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

Denver lost five Super Bowls, but at least four weren’t consecutive. This was the third  in a game Buffalo actually led first. Pigs weren’t flying, but they were on the runway.

Super Bowl XXII: Washington Redskins 42, Denver Broncos 10

These scores are branded into my brain. A 10-0 lead and bullshit fumble call didn’t help. My sister and I wore black with orange arm bands to school the next day. True story.


5. Will your ears pop when you go deep in the ocean?

Heck, they pop when you go in the deep end of the swimming pool.

These sciency questions really kick my ass sometimes. This requires me to describe the construction of the ear, in simple terms. (For me, not for you.) You have a tunnel that goes into your head that you’re not supposed to push a Q-tip into too far.

That’s because you don’t want to puncture your eardrum.

That’s what cartoons from my youth would depict as an actual drum, and who am I to doubt that? I had a drum when I was little. I banged it so much it broke. So I told my mom I just wanted to use it as a trashcan.

I don’t think I got walloped for that.

The middle ear sits behind the ear drum. It’s like the great void. It’s hollow. It’s so that the pressure in the ear canal and inner ear remain equal, so your eardrum doesn’t become an impromptu trashcan.

When you dive into the community pool or into the depths of the Red Sea, the pressure in your ear canal changes, so it has to also switch in your inner ear.

bass drum
photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

We have this tube called the Eustachian tube (which I was certain was part of female reproduction, but was wrong), and it runs from that inner ear sanctum to your throat. It’s a pressure valve for your noggin.

It keeps the eardrum surface from busting out one way or the other.

Just laying here on the floor writing this blog and watching the World Series, the pressure in my ear is about 14.7 pounds per square inch. Every foot you go underwater adds .43 pounds of pressure to your eardrums.

If your Eustachian tube can’t keep up with the increasing pressure, your eardrum stretches and bows – and that hurts, because it’s full of nerve endings.

You can pop your own ears, by plugging your nose. You might have to do this when you’re in an elevator or an airplane or even in one of those huge dips of a slide, the kind you have to ride down in a guinea sack.

Chewing gum also helps.

So, that’s that. That’s my contribution to science for this week. This post was supposed to go live Friday. This is what happens when I’m forced into science to wrap up the Go Ask Daddy for the week. My head hurts, now.

Not Super Bowl blowout hurts … but watching the cowboys and seahawks win on the same day kind of hurt.

quote science


  1. stomperdad says:

    Once upon a time the joke was on the Bills. My parents said Bills stood for Bet I Lose Lots of Superbowls. Thanks for the science lesson. I get parts of the ear confused with female reproduction, too. Anatomy isn’t my stongest subject.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      for a long once upon a time the joke WAS the Bills! Love that acronym – I think they’re more comfortable in that role, so why keep winning and make the playoffs? Me giving a science lesson is like Gandhi giving grilling tips. As long as we don’t mix up ears and reproductive organs when the time’s right, Eric, we’re okay.

      So many things are like other things … and some names sound like stuff you put in your car.

      1. stomperdad says:

        Its easy to get all those fluids mixed up.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Probably combustible, too.

  2. Beth says:

    I didn’t know that about my own state when it comes to voting and homelessness. Interesting. I hope you are enjoying the new car!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I would never think about 90% of the things my girls ask. I take that back: Usually, what they’re thinking, I’ve at least thought about thinking. Yuliana and are in definitely in the honeymoon stage!

  3. Thanks for the anatomy lesson. Also, how cool will it be to see people go to Mars? I want to be around for that.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can speak on anatomy convincingly enough to convince myself, Aj. I’d love to be around for a Mars launch. Would you go? I wonder if they’d have nachos.

  4. My head would have hurt, too, from all the science research. Yesterday I was actually looking up how dominant and recessive genes / traits work, thanks to a worldbuilding idea that I had for a story idea I’d like to work on down the road. It didn’t seem too difficult to understand… I think. Then again, science of any branch was my weakest subject in school. *lol*

    I love Yuliana as your new car’s name. 🙂

    And funny you talked about new cars here. I recently decided that after this winter, I’m going to get a new (used) car. I’ve had my Ford Fusion for over 9 years now, and while it’s still reliable in getting me from place to place, the repair bills have jumped over the past 2 years. The only anxiety I have about getting a new car, though, is having to tighten my monthly budget. I paid off my current car’s loan 6 months before I bought my condo, so I haven’t had a car payment in 6 years. Having one again will make some changes, for sure.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The science research makes me a little sore, Sara. But we have to do it sometimes … I would think you, especially. I always worried when science or math seemed easy for me, that I must be doing it wrong!

      Science was the subject in which I once got an 8 on a test – not out of 10, out of 100!

      We kind of live parallel lives, I think. When I tell people I got a new car, I feel like I should qualify it as “new to me.” I would never have been able to handle a car payment. Maybe someday.

      Have you picked something out yet? Named her?

      1. Not yet. I’m going to wait until the spring. My car still gets me from Point A to Point B with little trouble, so I don’t see the point of rushing to get something during the holidays. But I do know I’d like to get the same kind of car again (Ford Fusion).

  5. I’m a fan of naming cars. And all inanimate objects. I name our Christmas tree each year. Hahhaha. (Makes it harder to get rid of in January!)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If a Cabbage Patch doll can have a name, a car deserves one, too. I know some people who could pass for inanimate objects – they’re not lazy, just so chill. What’s your tree going to be named this year? And I wonder where you’re stashing last year’s tree!

  6. I like your car name. Honestly, I have never named a car. Now, I’m thinking I should. We’ve been talking a lot about space here. I just got my oldest a book about it, so I’ll be sharing this Mars info with him.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Shann. I don’t think I’ll ever have a non-named car. It’s not too late for you. Space, along with dinosaurs, football and Star Wars, were the best talking points when I was a kid – and not a lot has changed. Maybe you and your boy can plot out what part of Mars you’d want to live on.

  7. That move when you pinch your nose and blow to pop your ears and relieve the pressure is called the Valsalva maneuver. And so I propose the new whip be dubbed “Valsalvia” because there’s never been a name more exotic than that!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And I thought the Valsalva maneuver was when you stuffed pimentos into olives, Joey. Sounds so exotic!

  8. My first car was named Bonnie, which was fitting since she was a Pontiac Bonneville. My middle car was a Dodge Durango, and he was called Dodge. As you can tell, although I liked to name my cars, their names weren’t that creative, which is kind of ironic given that I claim to be such a creative person.

    But then my daughter came around and named our current car Cinderella, because my Chevy Cruze is a lovely sparkly blue. I think she wins for creative car naming. Much more than me. But Stacey’s is pretty awesome, too.

    Welcome to Eli’s world, Yuliana. It’s a good one to be in. You’re a lucky girl!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Bonnie lived up to her name, like a Irishman with the surname Ireland. I would have thought Durango would be the Dodge’s name. “Rango” for short. Creative name selection leads to kids named Craphonso and Duntae.

      Z should be outsourced for car naming. Maybe even kids. I’ve seen kids with some jacked-up names.

      Yuliana thanks you and so do I, Corey. I’ll take good care of her.

  9. ksbeth says:

    congrats on your new lady, may you spend many, many happy years together. (and repair free). p.s. i have no desire to live in space, i can barely find my way around my city )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      She’s a peach, isn’t she Beth? Google maps barely works in my neighborhood, how am I supposed to get around on Mars?

  10. messymimi says:

    And somehow, some way, the Aints turned into Saints and actually won one of those coveted trophies. It’s not very likely to happen again.

    Yes, name every car you get. It makes them feel like part of the family and they don’t want to let family down. That’s my theory, anyway.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I guess God’s not a football fan, or the Saints would win all the time. They’re looking like contenders right now, Mimi.

      A car with a name will treat you better. I’m aligned with your theory on that.

  11. Charlotte says:

    Congrats on the new car (and I love the name!!). Interesting re voting in different states and also that cars are cheaper in some parts of the country. I always heard that classic cars are better to buy from west coast ( or at least, never from northeast because of rust and snow and roads), but who knows. Not me 🙂

    Research and science are fun!!! I love filling my brain with useless knowledge because you never know when you’ll drop some serious truths, right??

    Hope you have a great week and always fun to be here!!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Charlotte – the name seems to fit. I would never have thought about homeless voting state to state or car prices across state lines had the girls not brought the topics up.

      I’m always ready to drop serious truths. Some not-so-serious ones, too.

      So glad to see you here. See you at your place soon.

  12. cricketmuse says:

    And there are those of us who live with Eustachian tubes that remain in unpopped mode. Gum and nose clenching does not work. Any other suggestions Dr Research?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      that seems problematic, Cricket. Have you tried turning your head to touch your chin to your shoulder, and swallowing until the opposite ear pops?

      1. cricketmuse says:

        Yup. Momentary. But it is a great neck stretch. Thanks for the suggestion.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        It’s on the house. Let me know if you still have trouble.

      3. cricketmuse says:

        Ear clogging is a part of my life. Some cope with allergies, I deal in stuffy ears. Thanks for the concern.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I would host a taco-eating contest to raise funds to combat stuffy ears for you, Cricket, in a heartbeat.

      5. cricketmuse says:

        Haha-I love it. Crowd funding for stuffy ears. There is no fix, I’ve been told by the doc, unless I want to try a risky operation. I’m content to yawn loud and try to pop instead.

      6. Eli Pacheco says:

        Hell, Cricket. The least I could do is wear a silicon bracelet in your honor. I don’t blame you for bypassing the surgery.

      7. cricketmuse says:

        You are wonderfully compassionate person, Eli. I’m inconvenienced but not truly incapacitated.

  13. akaleistar says:

    I’ll sign up for Mars exploration!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Only if you can blog from there – otherwise, I’m keeping you right here on Earth, Ashley.

  14. My first car didn’t have a name, but my second one did because she was named when my dad gave her to me. She was a 1974 baby blue Dodge Dart and her name was Annie. Great car! Sold it to a girl who promptly wrecked it in 2 weeks 😢
    I don’t think about homeless people voting.. although I should. They would probably be able to swing an election if there were enough who knew they could. 🙂
    I am not sure I understand the whole concept of going to Mars. Can we colonize Mars? Should we colonize Mars? Who would WANT to colonize Mars? I do hope the Rockies have won at LEAST 3 World Series by then though! 😉
    Another football question?? I think I have sat through a total of 3 Super Bowls in my entire life! But I have been to Super Bowl parties. I just don’t care enough about any team to care about the Super Bowl. I used to like college basketball but that has waned a bit with all of the scandals and crap in Kentucky. I had no respect for Pitino BEFORE he got fired 2 weeks ago. He’s a $%^& and I don’t care how many championships he has under his belt. Give me baseball any day!
    Me and the ocean are not friends. I think it is beautiful to look at but I don’t want to be on it or in it in any fashion….. I get sea sick while on it and I don’t like salt or sand on my body so there you go! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      All good cars need a name, CW. Annie the Dart sounds absolutely perfect. I love the old Darts. *moment of silence for Annie.*

      We can colonize Mars. But, I get that cooped-up feeling just being at work for eight hours. How am I supposed to stay still in a colony where I can’t even go outside to toss a football with my kids?

      Super Bowls are often busts. They’re about so much more than football. We like to make food from the cities of both participants for the big game. It’s always back to food. And I can’t wait for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.