Friday, May 27, 2011

Today, I learned that I don't know WHAT the hell a barbecue is.

In my latest blog for EatingWell, I wrote about the "best" and "worst" food choices you can make at a BBQ if you're watching your weight. You know, with Memorial Day coming up and all. I know as well as the next seasoned blogger that if your entry lands on Yahoo's home page, as mine did, you're bound to have some haters who disagree with absolutely everything you have to say.

Is this what happens to your BBQ when everyone figures out it's not really a BBQ?

I expected the comments saying I was dumb and needed to go back to nutrition school because .... didn't I know that hotdogs will kill you? The ones that called me a big loser who ruins all the fun.  What I did not see coming were the loads of responses telling me that you do not serve hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salads and the like at a barbecue. You serve things like briskets and ribs.

Ohhh.... then, I guess I'm having a "cookout" this weekend?

What do you call a get-together that involves hanging outside and eating?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The other day, I learned some really cool things about slugs.

After work/school, Jules likes to look for "wormies," "sfiders" and whatever other critters are making their homes under the rocks that frame the flowers, and weeds, around our gazebo. The other day, we found a slug.

Me: How cute! It's a snail without a shell.
Jon: It's a slug.
Oh. What's the difference? I was suddenly obsessed with slugs.

Jules (above) and I thought this guy was cute. Turns out, we're in the minority.

During my late-night "reporting" on this gastropod mollusc (thank you, Wikipedia), I learned that Jon is not the only person who dislikes slugs. Seems almost everyone does, mostly for two reasons (in no particular order): 1) they're slimy and 2) they destroy gardens. 

My search also turned up this fascinating article in The Daily Mail that gives slugs due recognition. In it, science journalist Michael Hanlon describes the slug as a "garden snail with bad PR" and paints slugs as the fascinating creatures they are. Here are the highlights of what I learned:

  1. Slugs really are snails without shells. And because they don't need the calcium to build a shell, they're found far more widely.
  2. Their feelers (what makes them cute to me) regrow if cut off.
  3. Slugs use slime to move (and stop!), to protect them from drying out and to "communicate" things like the whereabouts of food. They also use it as a sex-aid. No, not as lubricant. It keeps them stuck together while they're getting it on.
  4. Slugs are hermaphrodites (i.e., have both male and female sex organs). Straight from Hanlon's article: "Like snails, slugs are hermaphrodites, possessing both male and female sex organs. Mating slugs exchange sperm through their corkscrewshaped penis-like genitalia, and sometimes this process goes awry, the two animals locked in an amorous embrace. The only solution to the problem is a technique called apophallation  -  the chewing off of the other slug's penis using the same razor- sharp teeth with which the slug can decimate your cabbages. Having lost its penis, the castrated slug is then only able to copulate using its female organs." Wow.
  5. Slugs basically eat anything, including dead flesh.
  6. Gardeners battle slugs with salt (it dries them up), coffee grounds and beer. Some torch them. Sad.
He's cute, right? 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Today, I learned that bribing your kid (or my kid, at least) to eat broccoli with spaghetti letters works.

Nutrition experts don't endorse bribing kids to eat veggies... and I'm not sure that making shapes out of spaghetti is setting a good example. But eating broccoli and learning the alphabet are, no doubt, good things. Am I right? 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Today, I learned that it takes but a minute to post. Yesterday, I learned that my kid wants to be a dad.

Yesterday, I learned that my three-year-old would like to father many children. Here's how it all went down as I was driving him and his little bro to daycare.

Me (gesturing out the window): "That's a cool bike, isn't it?"
J: "Yes, I want to buy a bike like that. When I'm a daddy."
Me: "Cool. Do you want to have kids?"
J: "Yes. A lot of kids. This many." Then held up his right hand. He wants five kids.

When I shared this with his teacher, she told me that, the day before, his little friend had lifted her shirt and announced, "I'm pregnant. Two weeks." WTF?  Is it time for the sex talk already?