5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Parental Punishment, Automobile Bits and Van Halen Hits

I’ve never been to a cock fight. Or a dog fight.

But, I’ve seen plenty of youth soccer.

For all the shouting for blood there, though, there usually isn’t a cash payout. Well, there usually isn’t a threat of a police sting to break up the fun, either. But maybe there should be.

I told my team to warm up with my oldest daughter, Elise, while I had a quick parents meeting.

One girl stepped up with a request: “Can you please ask them to stop yelling at us on the field?”

Today’s batch of questions has a bite to it, from growling parents to sharks and piranhas (they’re an obsession in my house) to David Lee Roth.

1. Can parents get carded?

Technically, no – but I’m in favor of placing them in time-out.

The FIFA laws of the game dictate that only players can draw yellow or red cards for misconduct. Not even a coach can get one, although we can be sent off. Not that one ever should, in youth soccer. It’s as if we’ve forgotten why we’re there in the first place: To foster a child’s love for the beautiful game, while teaching them skills and setting an example of how to handle the highs and lows life tosses at us.

Parents who berates an official, their own child, their children’s teammates or the opposition (including players, parents and coaches) clearly are in need of a hobby.

The American Youth Soccer Organization holds Silent Saturdays every year. It’s a game day devoid of cheering from the parents’ sideline, and coaching the other. It’s not easy. I don’t yell much, but I do like to encourage and remind players of their positions. Not on Silent Saturday, though. I’m all for it.

2. Will a piranha jump out of the water to eat something?

If he did, would he get a red card?

According to a story on komonews.com, a fisherman in Arlington, Wash., late this summer caught a pacu, a relative of the piranha, at Lake Ki. The pacu, a herbivore with dagger teeth, jumps out of the water to – get this – break.nuts. Are you kidding me? A vicious, sharp-toothed fish, who eats nuts?

That’s … nuts.

That’s like LeBron James settling for layups. Or, the Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez, bunting every at bat. Or, Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a moomoo.

It just ain’t nat’rul.

3. Brakes have shoes?

Yep. And that’s not all.

  • Cars have hoods
  • Tables have legs
  • Potatoes have eyes
  • Planes have noses
  • Combs have teeth
  • Bottles have necks
  • Downtowns have hearts
  • Cyprus trees have knees
  • Christmas trees have skirts
  • And some sidelines have rear ends

Brake shoes are a component of the brake lining in cars that use drum brakes. So, brakes also have drums, in fact. The brake lining is glued or riveted to the shoe, which presses it against the inside of the drum when you, as they say in the south, mash the brakes in your car.

Or, you can do like this guy.

4. How many teeth does a shark have?

Bet you didn’t think this one would come down to math, but according to sharkwatchsa.com, it’s elementary, my dear Grace:

Rate of tooth loss X average life span of the shark = how many teeth in a lifetime

At last (and very fast) count, a great white sports about 24 visible teeth. Behind those are about five rows of developing teeth, ready to spring forth should Sharky McSharkbreath lose one or two on his next seal attack.

Either way, you’re going to take a considerable chomp.

Like, worse than a pacu on a cashew.

5. What songs does Van Halen sing?

I’m a right-leaning, heterosexual carnivore, so this applies to the David Lee Roth era only. Sammy Hagar, who took over as Van Halen’s lead man in 1985, was cool, but Van Halen without David Lee Roth is like LeBron James taking layups. Or Jennifer Lawrence in a dodgers jersey.

Just ain’t nat’rul.

Van Halen’s songs, including Jump, You Really Got Me and Runnin With the Devil (which, fittingly, played on the radio just before Marie’s cross-country debut) are among the hits of their heyday, roughly the mid 70s to mid 80s, most often played today.

I’ll leave you with a video of the most memorable song from my youth, mainly because I was 13 years old. This song (and video) left me with more questions than answers about the world.

And if that ain’t a bite in the nuts from a pacu, I don’t know what is.

Go Ask Daddy About Shark Dentition, Piranha Fangs and the Hulk’s History

Tonight, I’m the one with questions.

  • Who was the better Darrin in “Bewitched” – Dick Sargent or Dick York?
  • Which is truly better – Chicago or New York style pizza?
  • What in the name of Levi Strauss are the Hulk’s pants made of?

No one’s around to answer my questions, though. At least not tonight.

So, on the eve of opening day of our fall soccer seasons, let’s see what’s on the kids’ minds.

1. Why do sharks’ teeth turn black?

Every oceanic dentist I know – every single one – has a thing against seeing sharks as patients. That’s so racist, isn’t it?

A shark’s pearly whites are made of calcium phosphate. Bacteria and oxygen break that down pretty easily, so if you find a white shark’s tooth, it’s rare, and probably fresh. (Look out for an angry shark with a gap nearby). When a shark’s tooth gets buried, it absorbs the minerals of the sand around it, turning it black, grey or tan, as it is fossilized.

This takes only about 10,000 years, or, roughly the amount of time it will take the Oakland Raiders to make the playoffs again.

2. What is prosciutto?

I think it’s shark jerky.

Prosciutto, also called Parma ham, is the stuff you see in those real cool Italian restaurants. It’s dried and cured and sliced paper thin. It kinda looks like bacon, but the word prosciutto means “ham” in Italian. I don’t know what the Italian word is for bacon, though.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand … now I’m hungry.

3. How do you get pet piranhas?


That little net we use to scoop up dead goldfish? It would actually work OK. Real piranhas don’t buzz everything down in sight, like on cartoons. I still wouldn’t put my hand under a net with a piranha in it. Those teeth are no joke – they’re sharp as razors, and a captured piranha can be quite nasty.

They’re also supposedly delicious, probably even with prosciutto.

4. Is there a version of Derek and the Dominos’ “Layla” that isn’t live?

Yes, it’s on the 1970 album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” and it was initially a bit of a flop – but the real story is in the woman behind the song, Pattie Boyd.

Eric Clapton fell in love with Pattie, and wrote the song about her. Problem is, she was married to another legendary guitarist: George Harrison, who played a few gigs with Clapton. Pattie divorced George in 1974, Eric wrote “Wonderful Tonight” about Pattie in 1977, and Eric and Pattie married in 1979. It’s largely believed George wrote a song, “Something,” about Pattie.

But wait, there’s more.

Pattie said in her autobiography “Wonderful Today,” that Eric challenged George to a guitar duel, which lasted two hours. No words were spoken, but Pattie wrote that she felt Eric had come out on top. And then Eric and Pattie divorced in 1989.

5. How did the Hulk come to be?

Is there any doubt? Eric Clapton hit on Bruce Banner’s wife, and he went all green and monstrous.

The Hulk, a Marvel Comics Fantastic Four favorite, is the alter ego of physicist Bruce Banner. Banner took in tons of gamma rays during an experimental mishap. This exposure, whenever Banner becomes angry, triggers a transformation from mild-mannered scientist to raging green humanoid whose pants seem to magically grow with him, while everything else rips to shreds.

Why is that? Why do the Hulk’s pants go from size 32 waist to 92 when he transforms, then go back to 32s? Is The Hulk the posterboy for jeggings for big angry green dudes?

I might have to wait until shark’s teeth fossilize to find out. Or when the raiders make the playoffs. Whichever comes first.

5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Storm Plans, Government Spending and Outer Space

photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc
photo credit: leg0fenris via photopin cc

There’s a lot of stuff I wouldn’t think much about if it weren’t for these three kiddos who like to mill around and ask stuff. Quicksand. Piranhas. The world’s strongest dude. Stuff about Jennifer Lawrence movies. (I might think about that one).

I swear, though, if I had to come up with these questions every Friday, they’d excite you like a certified public accountant annual regional convention gala dinner might. They’d make plain vanilla taste like Neopolitan with cookie dough, cake icing and sprinkles.

And chocolate syrup.

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