Stump the Band

The other day, I was talking with some 20-somethings (because they, unlike my pre-teen daughters, see me as something of an authority figure), and they asked me a question to which I didn’t know the answer. So, I said, “You’ve stumped the band.”

And, they were like crickets chirping in the night.

Me: Come on. Stump the Band. You know that, right?

Them: Chirp.

Me: You know Johnny Carson, yes?

Them: Chirp. Chirp… Also, Chirp.

Me: Heeere’s Johnny!


Me: Jimmy Fallon?

Them: Yes. Obviously.

Me: Before him, Jay Leno.

Them: Sorta, kinda…

Me: Before him, the King of Late Night: Johnny Carson. For, like 30 years. 11:30 every night. He had a bit where audience members would sing crazy songs and the band would try to play along…

Them: Wait. You said Late Night. Does that mean at night, night? Or, after the sun comes up night?

The Times are a-changing.

Science Channel Junk

The Science Channel is one of my go-to channels. HGTV, Food Network, MSNBC. But, if there’s something cool on, it’s the Science Channel. Mythbusters. Mike Rowe and the Stars.


I’ve gotta admit, I am disappointed in the Science Channel over the last year.

I know it was designed for as much wide-spread popular consumption as possible. And, they hired a new boss guy a year ago to increase traffic. I thought he would do away with the phony-science stuff. I hoped the Ancient Alien junk was gone.

Sorry. No. If I wanted to watch crap, I could find a Bigfoot or Kardashian on other channels.

But, I want Science. And, that sounds perfect for a Channel. (Guys, find a business model.)

Now we have NASA’s Unexplained Files. Maybe there was a UFO over Salt Lake. Rockets on the moon? Did an alien Text me? You’re looking a little greenish today, are you OK or a Martian?

Explain these “files” already. You’re the Damn “Science Channel.” Who else is better positioned to do this? You have the file. You have a whole research team, with college interns and all. And, you have TV friendly scientists, who may or may not be accredited. Explain these files without the ambivalence of…. “we just don’t know.” “Maybe.” “Perhaps.”

Please. Figure it out, or don’t put it on TV.

I am now watching “What on Earth.” You tell me. Is there a Nazi ice cave in Antarctica? Is there a US Stealth Bomber in China? Is there a secret Martian base in the Sahara Desert?

You’re the goddamn Science Channel. Answer the questions. Don’t leave it up to me to decide.

Because, you know… I will.. click….

PAC 12 Gymnastics

Oh, God, not another gymnastics post.

(But, it’s really not.)

Isabella (she’s 9) and I are watching the PAC-12 Gymnastics Championships through the WiFi connection to the laptop and also through TWC Cable on the big screen TV. Reception is dubious, and there’s a delay between them. But, the crummy technology is adjacent-to what the Rep said it would be (yeah, I didn’t believe him then, and now I have been proven right. First-World Problems.)

UCLA (our team) is competing against 5 other teams at the University of Utah.

Competing are:

University of Utah. Utah State. Southern Utah. Illinois. U of Washington. and UCLA.

Isabella: Utah has a lot of teams. Is Utah even in the United States?

This was a direct question by a 9-year-old, and I gave a direct adult answer:

Me: Yes, Utah is part of the United States. Maybe not always part of this century, but definitely part of the United States.

This was a direct quote of mine.

[Editor’s note: The Fun Time has always tried to remain politics-free. But, the DDFT staff approved this particular snark, because Utah. Beautiful country. Absolutely. But… Legislation.]

Iz: I don’t get it.

Me: Well, you see… How old are you?

Iz: 9.

Me: Oh…. Look at that girl do that handspring, full tuck, back-walkover, layout, double-double.

Iz: Ummm. Dad… That’s a cheese-burger.

Me: Ok.

Iz: And, she’s a “Woman” not a “Girl.”

DDFT staff: You are on your own.

UCLA came in Second Place to… Wait for it: Utah.

Speed vs. Speeding

True story, just today:

Iz: Daddy, what is a “bulge?”

Me: It’s like a bump in something. Usually, its bigger than just a bump. Like my belly. My belly is a big bump. A bulge.

Iz: But, You’re just fat.

But, what’s the difference between “Speed” and “Speeding?”

Me: Uhh. Why?

Iz: Because, we just passed a police motorcycle.

Me: Crap!

Iz: Daddy, what is crap? Speed?

Me: Shit!

Iz: Daddy, what’s that? Speeding?

Everyone’s a Winner!

I haven’t mentioned last week’s gymnastics competition in Las Vegas. Partially, because it took us 7 and a half hours to get there through the El Niño rain, and then 8 and a half hours(!) to get home. Normally, it’s about 4 hours, 5 tops. So, obviously, I’m not frustrated or scarred from fighting children in the back seat. And, the screaming adults from the front seat. Or, the “let me take a minute” while I walk off my anger on the shoulder of the I-15 outside of Barstow.

This was one of those Big Deal gymnastics meets for Isabella (she’s 9, by the way), where girls from several states get together.

Isabella, of course, took 3 golds and one silver in the individuals. Because she is awesome, and deserved them all. East German judge and all.

But, I have a problem.

The powers behind this meet have divided the contestants into many, many subgroups. So that everyone ends up with a medal. The 8-year-olds, 3-6 months: Gold. The 6-year-olds doing a somersault. Gold. The 10-year-olds wearing a blue leotard: Gold.

Everyone wins!

So, the awards ceremony takes almost as long as the competition itself. And, everyone gets a medal.

Now, I’m all for acknowledging all of the gymnasts who competed. And, I have sat through plenty of “tied for 18th place” celebrations. And, they are celebrated. With ribbons. Because, at this stage, the girls are trying their best, and should be acknowledged. Good Job, Honey!

But, in Vegas, Everyone’s a winner. Allegedly. Everyone. They all get medals. Top 6. Medals.

There was one girl who was the only one in her category (10-years-old, red-hair, Pisces, left-handed, favorite color: Magenta). They basically threw all of the Gold medals at her. And, she was like: What the hell? I thought this was an actual competition.

Everyone gets a medal.

Here’s why this is wrong. My daughter, who had one of the overall top scores, doesn’t know where she stands among her peers. (She crushes them, by the way).

I asked the coach:

Me: So, does everyone get a medal for showing up?

Coach: Yeah. This is one of the fun meets.

Bullshit. Because, after the entrance fee, the admission fee, the Vegas hotel room, the 15-hour round-trip drive/scream-fest, the gas, the meals, and all of the frivolity, I want to know how my daughter stacks up against the other girls. This meet alone was about a thousand dollars. Srsly?

Because, if she ties for 18th place, then maybe next year we won’t do this. But, there’s a lame Gold medal awaiting. So….

Oh, I see…. They have a business model.

Quarter Pushing

How do we make a semi-OCD, definitely anxiety-prone daughter go crazy? Welcome to Vegas.

Julianna (11 years old): Dad, I cant look! Stop! I can’t stop looking!

One of those arcade Quarter-pushing games.

Circus Circus Arcade.  Las Vegas.  One of the many ways Vegas takes your money. Daaaaad!  Stop!

Circus Circus Arcade. Las Vegas. One of the many ways Vegas takes your money.
Daaaaad! Stop!

Julianna: I don’t want them to fall, necessarily. I just don’t want them to “maybe” fall. But, I want them to fall. Aaahhhhh! Look, there’s Skee-Ball.

Fornever Young

On the way in to school, the girls insist on controlling the music.

Someone named Ke$ha (though, I think she now goes by “Kesha,” because she finally wants to assimilate into American society.)

The song is “Die Young,” typical disposable pop music with some of the worst rapping you are likely to hear. This side of me in the shower doing Young MC’s “Bust a Move.” (Try to wipe that visual out of your mind.)

Kesha (singing): Let’s make the most of the night
Like we’re gonna die young.
Like we’re gonna die young.

Julianna (she’s 11): Daddy, know what? You’ll never die young!

Isabella (9): Hahaha! Good one, Julianna! Because, Daddy. You see, you are already old. So you’ll never die young! Only old!

J: Yes! Hahaha!

Me: Yes, Sweetie. I understand joke structure. And, I appreciate a good diss when I hear one. Like in a couple years, when they ask you to spell “vengeance,” and you spell it T-O-U-C-H-É.

J: What?

Me: Time-relea$e… You’ll understand one day.

Iz: Hahaha! I don’t get it.


Julianna (she’s 11) is steadily improving on the violin. Her musician mother and father couldn’t be happier.

Me: Honey, what key is this piece in?

J: It is in D Major.

Me: And, how do you know?

J: Because, the key signature has an F hashtag and a C hashtag.

I sigh.

Me: Sorry, Honey. As a musician, I have failed you. And, sadly, it probably won’t be the last time in your life that I do that.

J: I know, Daddy. That’s Ok. This wasn’t the first time, either… Sigh…

Drive My Car

I’ve been giving Isabella (she’s 9) a hard time lately (if you’ve followed the blog). But, sometimes she is spot on right.

On the way to gymnastics:

Iz: Who are we listening to?

Me: The Beatles. Sgt. Pepper. One of the greatest songs ever.

Iz: Yes. I love this song!… Mommy is a musician. Right?

Me: Yes. Mommy is a fine Musician.

(Then, the words that cut…)

Iz: You used to be one of those, too. Right? A musician?

Me: Once upon….

As I arrive at her designated drop off. I swear, there’s something in my eye.

Prince of Tides

It’s not even 9am on a Saturday. A Saturday! And I have people yelling at me.

And, by people, I mean 9-year-old Isabella.

I flip on the TV, and it is still on last night’s Science channel. Right now, they are talking about the moon and gravity and tides. (I’m leaving out a lot of nuance here, but you’ll get the idea.)

Iz: Daddy, what are tides.

Me: Well, the earth and moon have gravity, right.

Iz (pissy, bossy): I knooow that.

Me: Well, you don’t know about tides.

Iz: Yes, I do. Because, the moon and the earth have gravity.

Me: I just told you that! You asked me about tides, and I’m trying to explain. Do you know the moon’s gravity affects the earth?

Iz: Of course. It makes the waves. Everybody knows that.

Me: Not exactly.

Iz (ultra-pissy): Yes it does. Tell me something I don’t know.

Me (and, I said this understanding the full ramifications at 8:46 in the morning): Ok, here’s something you don’t know. You won’t get breakfast on this beautiful Saturday morning.


Iz: Noooooooooooooooo!

Tears streaming. Arms flailing. Legs thrashing. The whole 9 yards. (And, then some)

Me: Do you want to hear about gravity?

Iz: No!

Me (pressing on with the lesson-of-the-day): Sometimes the moon’s gravity pulls on the ocean and makes the water come closer to the land. Sometimes, the moon is on the other side of the earth and it pulls the water away from the land. That’s a tide.

Iz: Yeah, I knew that.

Me: Of course you did. Because that’s why you asked me what a “tide” was.

Iz: No I didn’t! Why do you lie?!

Me: Honey, there’s a transcript.

Readers, a transcript.

Me: Do you want Honey Nut Cheerios or waffles?