I’m just not sure how well this evolution was thought through

We have all been taught that evolution is the survival of the fittest. For example, there was this white moth whose population thrived. Through some mutations, some of these white moths gradually became darker, turning grey and black. Along came the Industrial Revolution. With the advent of factories, pollution increased. As the pollution increased, the darker grey and black moths became less visible to moth-eating predators. As a result, the darker moths eventually became the majority. (This is literally the only example of evolution I can remember from my schooling. For some reason, this has stuck with me for 20 some odd years.)

TRexNow, we all know about the Tyrannosaurus Rex. They have big heads and little arms. This makes them less than ideal at, say, capturing a time traveling kid who is about to foil your diabolical plan. But, for this shortcoming, they evolved to excel in other ways. They were ferocious. And they were rather fast for their size. This made escaping the savage T. Rex especially difficult, even in your Jeep.

But at one point, there had to be at least one Tyrannosaurus who had proportionate, regular-sized arms. They could easily catch their prey. Pick things up. Carry things. Read books. Drive cars. Basically, lead a normal dinosaur life.

Somewhere along the line, of course, evolution stepped in. Evolution, who obviously has a sense of humor, decided that the little arms are best for survival. As a cruel joke on the king of dinosaurs, over the course of a few generations, heads got bigger as arms got shorter. This caused a divide across the top of the food chain. The “new, improved” T. Rex gained superiority. While the now odd-looking T. Rexes, those with usable arms, ran away, formed their own clan, and eventually died off.

But, before they left, you know there was that one T Rex with normal arms who looked around and was all, “Seriously? Come on, man!”

The power of suggestion

Last week, my wife surprised me with a trip to Key West for my 40th birthday. What is most amazing is the number of people who knew about the trip, yet not one let it slip to me. Not even my 5-year-old, who is notorious for giving away secrets. Especially to me.

If you ever get the chance to go to Key West, I highly recommend it. And rent a scooter. Yes, it’s the cheesy tourist thing to do, but it is more fun than you would expect. And it makes parking much easier. However, don’t try to fly directly to Key West. It won’t happen. The flights from Miami to Key West are frequently severely delayed, if they are not cancelled. Instead, fly to Miami and rent a car to make the 3-4 hour drive. It will be less stressful. (Just ask the couple from Minnesota who were traveling for their anniversary, only to be sitting in the airport waiting for a flight for 4 hours.)

In addition to actually being able to get there, driving is a much better experience. Water stretches out as far as the eye can see in beautiful hues of blue and green. Islands are peppered throughout, all against the backdrop of the brilliant blue sky. It really is something to behold. Even if you drive there at night. The water is invisible hues of black, peppered with black islands, against the backdrop of a pitch black sky. But that didn’t stop anyone from slowing down to stare at the scenery as we made the 4 hour drive at night. Everyone making the drive is on what they call “Key time.” Nobody rushes in the Keys. For us normal folks, with limited Key time, it is frustrating as we try to drive anywhere near the speed limit. Most of the sole route through the Keys is a 2 lane highway, with nowhere to pass. When you do reach that elusive 4 lane section, you quickly switch lanes and stomp on the gas. You don’t stop until the passing lane ends, hoping to get around as many cars as possible.

At one point, Tammi said, “Why are they driving so slow? It’s not like there are deer that will jump out in front of them.” This is a common occurrence in the frozen tundra of Ohio that we are all too accustomed to. Not 2 minutes later, we passed a sign. “Entering protected animal area. Speed kills key deer.” Are you serious? She then said, “If someone hits one of the deer, we can bring down plenty more to replace them.” (At this point, we knew nothing about Key deer. It wasn’t until we met up with our friends who pointed out these aren’t regular deer. They are miniature deer. About 30 inches tall. The perfect size to carry around in your back pocket for when you get the craving for deer jerky.)

Looking for a less plausible reason for the slow drivers, Tammi said, “Ok, fine. It’s not like kangaroos are going to jump out in front of them. I just want to see what happens.” I think she was testing her control over the universe. When we finally got to our hotel and went to the lobby to check in, this fellow greeted us.

G'day, mate.

Apparently, she does control the universe.

On our way home, we got to enjoy the scenery that we could not see on the way down. At one point, we saw a Crocodile Crossing sign. There was a metal fence the entire length of the highway. And a concrete barrier down the middle. I don’t know how they’re going to get into the road to cross it, and where they’re going to go. Then I saw an opening in the concrete barrier.

“Here it is, boys. This is where we’re going to cross.”

I must break you

Recently, a friend turned me on to Trivia Crack. For those of you not familiar, it is like Trivial Pursuit on your phone. Being a trivia fiend, Trivial Pursuit is probably one of my favorite games. One problem. Nobody wants to play with me. Perhaps it is because of their imminent demise at the hands of my steel trap mind, full of useless knowledge.

DragoI am the Ivan Drago of Trivia Crack. A beast. Unbeatable. A force to be reckoned with. Relying solely on my confidence. My superior trivia expertise. My powers of deduction. My mental prowess. I was Apollo Creeding my way through opponents. Destroying all who dared challenged me. There has been more than one game where I bound through an entire game, winning all 6 “crowns” in one turn. None could beat me.

Until that fateful day. I lost a game. Then I lost a second game a few days later. My brow had been cut. I was bleeding. They saw a weakness. Sure, my win percent was astoundingly high. But the damage had been done. As those who had never won against me before finally got their victory, they would text each other screenshots of the win. They all rallied around each of my defeats.

My time as The Siberian Express had ended. I changed my approach. I started answering questions outside in the bitter cold. Doing mental push-ups. I have become trivia Rocky. Sure, I take a few beatings now and again. But I know, in the end, even those who once hoped for my crushing defeat will be chanting my name.


Not the answer I was expecting

After dinner, the 13-year-old threw his juice box in the trash can. We don’t do that in our house. If it can be recycled, it goes in the recycle bin. We’re a responsible family. I have to pay $2.90 for each trash sticker that goes on our trash can. Recycling is free. Plus, something about protecting the Earth. I called him upstairs. I was hoping to subject him to the same speech I was given by our tree council (yes, we have a tree council whose sole responsibility is counting the number of trees in the city) about how we’ll all die if we cut down even mostly dead trees, we will all die.

Me: “What is your juice box made of?”
Him: “Cardboard.”
Me: “What is cardboard made of?”
Him: “Paper.”
Me: “What is paper made of?”
Him: “Trees.”
Me: “And what happens if we cut down all the trees?”
Him: “We’ll have lots of paper.”
Whitney: “We’ve solved the paper shortage crisis!”

I was outwitted by a 13-year-old and a Whitney.

That Awkward Moment

This morning, I was in the shower. The bottle of shower gel was almost empty, so we’ve had it upside down for a while. To be able to get some in a timely manner. Last night, one of the girls showered in our shower and put it right side up. Not feeling like waiting, I decided to use the new bottle that has been sitting there for a few days. Only, the top wouldn’t pop up.

It was then that I realized that it had a plastic seal over the top. With wet hands, I tried in vain to rip it off. Finally, I found the perforated section and began pulling. A small piece came off. I tried again, and again, pulling off several chunks, before eventually getting the whole seal, which, for some reason, extended almost halfway down the bottle. With the wad of plastic in my hand, I reached around the curtain and tossed it, so I could get back to showering. I was planning to clean it up when I got out.

When I got out of the shower, I started gathering the pieces of plastic to throw away. Having the luck I do, the largest piece landed in the toilet, of all places. It was a big enough piece that it could potentially cause problems down the road. I reached in and pulled it out to throw it away. Gross. On to my second shower of the morning.

After getting ready, I was taking the trash out. The neighbor across the street was taking out his trash at the same time. I yelled out, “Good morning!” I’m told this is the polite thing to do when you see your neighbor. Apparently, he has never been told this, as he said nothing. We made our second trips to the curb at the same time. “Morning,” he said. He obviously just hadn’t had his coffee yet. I mumbled back something unintelligibly. Quiet enough that I’m sure he thinks I didn’t respond to him. Now I’m the rude one.

Driving the girls to school, I asked the oldest, in the front seat, if she had her Vaseline with her, for my chapped lips. As she handed it to me, I jokingly said, “Thanks. I need a snack.” The next thing I know, *SMACK*. “SNack! I said sNack!”

And…my coffee tastes like anise for some reason. So I’m sitting here drinking a cup of black licorice.

So my morning is starting off great. How is your day going?

Turn around, bright eyes

lunar eclipse

A little song I wrote standing in my driveway at 6:25 this morning.

Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely when I’m standing outside by myself
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit tired when I get out of bed so early
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit nervous when the Earth blocks the light from the sun
Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit terrified when I can’t find the moon in the sky
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart
Turn around bright eyes, every now and then I fall apart

lunar eclipseAnd I see no moon tonight
I hope the moon’s not gone forever
And if you help me find the moon
We can have the moon forever

And it’s not like there were clouds
‘Cause we can see the stars together
This kind of thing doesn’t happen every night
Your love is like a shadow on the moon all of the time
I don’t know what to do and I’m always in the dark
I hoped to see the blood red moon and only see stars
I really need you tonight
No blood moon in the sky tonight

Once upon a time I looked up at the sky
But now I’m only left with the stars
There’s nothing I can see
No total eclipse of the moon

Once upon a time there was light in my night
But now I’m standing in the dark
Nothing I can see
No total eclipse of the moon

I learned nothing

I was doing some online training at work today. There were photos to go along with every slide. Instead of paying attention to the material presented, I was distracted by the images. I was making up dialogue or back stories for each image.

Below is what I learned from my “training.”


“I’m pretty sure one of these guys is going to kill me.” “I’m going to kill that guy.” “Not if I do it first.”


“This is where I’m going to bury that guy. Also, I write everything backwards.”


“Seriously, Paul? Were you checking out my butt? Again?!”


Regulators are responsible for mounting up.


“Why, yes. I am a Wayans. How did you know?”


“Circle. Circle. Square. Circle. Triangle. Square. And this will get me unlimited lives on Contra?”


“Hi. I’m Anna Farris. I’m here today to talk to you about requirements.”


“Don’t look at her breasts. Don’t look at her breasts. Dammit!”


“You remember that first guy? He’s in my trunk right now.”


“So, Paula gets the house, the car, and the motorcycle. Jim, you get the lawn mower and the wagon.”

Lesson learned

I saw it start to fall. My instincts sprung into action. I couldn’t stop myself. With my ninja-like reflexes, my hand sped into its path. Things were now moving in slow motion. I could easily follow its spinning trajectory. There was no way I wasn’t going to catch it. My hand closed as the falling object neared.

It was probably best that I barely missed it. As the knife clinked on the hard wood floor, a single drop of blood splashed on the ground half a second later.

And that is why, when you knock a serrated steak knife off the kitchen counter, you should never try to catch it. Let it fall. Grab a clean knife.

The aftermath

The aftermath

What seems to be the problem here?

Today at work we had a problem solving meeting. To demonstrate the approach we should take, the following example was used:

It was noticed that the marble at the Jefferson Memorial was deteriorating much faster than expected. When they looked into it, it was determined that it was because it was being cleaned so often.

Why was it being cleaned so often? Because pigeons apparently think very little of Jefferson. To show their “appreciation” for our forefather, they were literally pooping on his memorial.

Why were the pigeons gathering on the memorial? Aside from their disdain for our democracy, it was because there were large populations of spiders on the monument.

Why were there large populations of spiders at the monument? It is a little known fact that Jefferson was the “Pied Piper” of spiders. Also, there was a large population of moths near the monument.

Why were there a lot of moths at the monument? When I said Jefferson was the Pied Piper of spiders, I meant moths.

This got me thinking. What do spiders do all day? Aside from making webs for me to walk into as penance for posting a picture of a guy with a hipster Jason Voorhees tattoo, that is. I mean, what do they do to pass the time? Go to work? Read Twitter? Watch The Bachelor? Are they just sitting around for a bug (or human) to walk into their web?

And when do spiders sleep? If they sleep at night, when bugs seem to be the most active, do they get annoyed when a moth gets tangled in the middle of the night? “Ugh. Don’t those idiots realize it’s 2:00 am? I guess I’ll put some pants on and head out to get it. It’s not like I have a lot to do tomorrow…” The spider begrudgingly puts on his pants…one leg at a time, like the rest of us. Only it takes him 4 times as long.

If they sleep during the day, every a person walks into the web, well, I can see why they would make themselves as terrifying as possible. I’m sure it’s as annoying for them as it is for me to walk into a web.

It has to suck being a spider.

*i know you’re all wondering the cause. The lights at the memorial were turned on at dusk. Moths typically swarm right at dusk. attracting insects like moths to a…light at a monument. They solved the problem by turning the lights on an hour later.

Next problem solving case: More people are walking into the pillars at the Jefferson Memorial.

Some light dinner conversation

The kids were sitting at the dinner table talking about who knows what. By the time I got my food and made it downstairs, they were talking about Hitler. For some reason. I really have no idea. Joining in the conversation, I added, “You have to think, though. As bad as Hitler was, he did kill Hitler.” (Thanks, Twitter for being so timely with this earlier today.)

The conversation continued about Hitler and the holocaust. Which turned to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. The book. Not the movie. Maggi mentioned that she read the book in seventh grade. I have only seen part of the movie and wanted to ask Maggi about the end. I didn’t, however, want to spoil the end of the book for the two seventh graders sitting at the table. Knowing that Maggi had taken Spanish, but knowing at the same time that there was no chance she would understand what I was saying, I asked, “¿Se mató?” [He was killed?] To which she replied, “My toe.” Laughing, I said, “No. ¿Se…mató?” Again, she said, “My toe?” The more I repeated my question, the more confused she got. [Thinking I was saying, “Say ‘my toe.'”] I gave up.

I mentioned that Hitler went to art school. Maggi said she was going to follow in his footsteps. After some probing, she said she just meant she wanted to go to art school. Not all the genocide stuff. (Whew!)

Eventually, the conversation moved on to other, non-Hitler topics. As I was cleaning up my dishes, ready to head upstairs, Maggi mentioned that she was tired. She also said she had too much coffee the day before. I told her she shouldn’t be drinking coffee at her age.

Me: “You know what would do an even better job of making you not tired than coff…”

Her (interrupting me in that parent-mocking voice): “I know. Sleep.”

We discussed that she should go to bed at a reasonable hour, which I said was earlier than her proclaimed “reasonable” 11:00.

Her: “You should take a poll of all the kids at my school and see what time they all go to bed.”

Then I turned into everyone’s dad.

Me: “I don’t care about all the other kids at your school. If I took a poll of all the kids at your school and they all said they were going to jump off a bridge, would you do it?”

Her answer: “Are all the kids going to do it? Then, yes. If that’s what everyone is going to do.”

Me: “And that is how the Nazis came to power!”

Boom! That, my friends, is how you bring a conversation full circle, win an argument, and dad.

* Footnote: I just found out they are learning about Hitler and World War II in History.