Go Ask Your Father: Diamonds, Baseballs, Girls, and Skin Colors


1. How are diamonds formed?

Not by Superman super squeezing coal in his superman super fist. In fact, no coal is harmed in the making of diamonds. Coal is the compressed remains of dinosaur era plants. Diamonds are much, much older. They date back to when my parents met in college. Both are made of coal, just like that graphite in your pencil. It’s the way they formed that sets them apart. Diamonds form deep in the earth’s mantle about 90 miles down. Down there temperatures hover around a balmy 2,000F and the pressure is about 725,000 psi. The only other place to find these conditions are in my bed when I cocoon myself in the blankets. The reason diamonds are clear while graphite (both made of carbon) is black is the way their molecules bond. Diamond molecules bond tightly (called a sigma bond) in a three dimensional point (pyramid) – think toddler strapped in a 5 point harness car seat. This tight bonding doesn’t allow for the absorption of light, hence its clarity.  Meanwhile, graphite carbon molecules bond more loosely (called a pi bond) on flat planes – think toddler on a leash. This loose bonding allows light to be absorbed, hence, it’s black.

2. What are baseballs made of?

Summertime sunshine, peanuts, and the sounds of a crowd going wild when the Yankees and/or Red Sox lose. I, too, wondered as a kid what was inside those wonderful spheres. I found an old one and cut it open. What I found was a whole lotta string. It felt like I could have wrapped the whole stadium with the amount of string I unwound. In the middle of all that string was small rubber ball. What I didn’t discover at that time is that inside the rubber ball is cork. I knew players had tried to cork their bats. They’d hollow them out and fill it with cork then cap it to make it look solid again. This made the bat lighter and was highly illegal so I never thought there’d be cork in the ball. “How It’s Made” did a great episode on nearly exactly how they’re made. I may have watched it a dozen times, it’s that neat. A cork is surrounded by a rubber ball. Around the rubber ball is wound three different kinds of string (helps the ball keep its shape after being smashed by a bat). On the string are two figure eight shaped pieces of leather that get hand stitched with 108 red stitches. The factory had 350 workers making 8-10,000 balls a day! That’s a good thing because a single game uses an average of 65 baseballs. That’s 177,450 balls per season! And that’s just the MLB!

3. Can girls be on the Orioles?

I’ll just start with a quote from Jack Moore of Vice Sports

The question, then, isn’t when women will earn a spot on the diamond next to men. They have been earning those spots for over 100 years. The question is when the men barring the gates will finally stand aside and let them in.

Women have played in the majors before. If you’re familiar with A League of Their Own you’ll know they WERE the majors during WWII. Prior to that, women often made appearances on the diamond with men. Lefty, Jackie Mitchell, playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts took the mound against the Yankees in an exhibition game. She struck out the first two batters. Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Toni Stone played in the Negro League against the likes of Willie Mays and Ernie Banks. In 1953 she was the 4th best hitter. Back in those days a woman’s place was still in the home. Women who attempted to do what men did were shamed by both homemakers and men. After WWII and the merging of of the Majors and the Negro League the men claimed full possession of the majors. In 1952 women were officially banned from Major League Baseball. In 1992 it was repealed. For almost 20 years there has been no rule against women playing in the MLB. However, just like in many other places, there are just men standing in the way.

4. Why do some people have dark skin?

It just depends on which crayon you choose to color them. We all know (or are about to find out) that our skin color is due to a pigment in our skin called melanin. There are two types of melanin, pheomelanin which appears as reds and yellows and eumelanin which is browns to blacks. While darker skinned people produce more eumelanin and lighter skinned people produce more pheomelanin this isn’t the main factor for your color. People’s melanin particles differ in size and number. More and larger melanin particles equals darker skin. There is an evolutionary advantage to skin color, though. Melanin protects our skin from harmful radiation. Those with darker skin reflect more UV/UVA light to better prevent sunburn and skin cancer. However, lighter skin tones absorb more UV/UVA, which aids in making vitamin D. None of us are exactly the same color, no matter what race we are and all the colors are so beautiful. However, we are so much more than the color of our skin.



Go Ask Your Father: Knowing, Playing, Making, Cutting…


A blurry photo of their first time playing Skee Ball. They earned enough tickets for a piece of gum and Tootsie Roll.

Here were are at another Friday. Arguably, it’s the best day of the week. Personally, I prefer good old Tuesdays. Now that’s a great day.

Just kidding. Everyone loves Saturdays!

Hope y’all have a good great weekend!

Do you know everything?

Lets just say I know enough to make you think I know it all. It’s easy when they’re five. I even tried to admit I don’t know everything.

He didn’t believe me!

He then asked, “Do you know how paper mills work?” (We have a paper factory here). I know a little bit about how they work simply because I know how paper is made. I explained to him how to make paper. “So you must know everything.” Crash has learned that I sometime fudge the truth so it appears I know what I’m talking about. After an explanation he’ll ask, “really?” Kind of like when my parents tried to tell me eggs came from chickens! I knew better. They come from grocery stores. My parents didn’t know everything. Then I’ll throw the question, “What do you think?” back at him just to make him think about what I said and compare it to reality.

Who’s going to play with me?

We all holler “not it!” and touch our noses. The last one to touch their nose has to play whatever made up game with no rules Bang has devised.

Just kidding.

We play with him. Our poor, attention deprived, little mongrel. We play Bug Trails. We play plasma cars. We play kickity kickball. We usually hear this question after someone stops playing and he’s not ready to be done playing so he comes looking for someone else to play with him. Which leads me to believe we should have had 4 kids, not 2. This way there are plenty of kids around to play with. (DW’s uterus just thunder punched me)

Why is called “made from scratch”?

Our cookies are made from scratch. Perhaps I’ll share our recipe with you one day. They’re to die for. Well, not die, really, but they’re good enough to devour. But why do we say they’re from scratch when nothing is scratched. It dates back to when starting lines were “scratched” into the dirt. If you weren’t all that fast (say Crash vs. Usain) you’d get a head start. However, if you were on equal terms you would start from the scratch. Eventually, starting from the scratch came to mean the very beginning. So it wouldn’t matter if you talking about a race or golf or cycling or baking, from scratch meant the start line.

Did they cut me open when I had heart surgery?

I wrote about this a while ago in a post titled “With An Open Heart“. Yes, Crash, they cut you open to operate on your heart. Your ribs were separated and sewn back together with titanium. Your little heart was only the size of a strawberry. Your pulmonary artery and your aorta were switched. They were the size of a barrel of a pen. Your coronaries to were switched, too. They were as small as the tip of a pen. It was done by a surgeon who was probably 6’2” and had massive hands. But they were sure and steady hands. We were told they are the best hands on the east coast. I believe it because every heart checkup Crash has had in the last 9 years has been nothing but good news.

Truth or Dare

Dare… wrap toilet paper around your head.
Dare… kiss the person on your right.
Truth… Have you ever used someone else’s toothbrush?
Truth… Have you ever pooped in the woods?

This was the game Crash and his friend were playing via a tablet this evening. They were having great fun with it. The best part was that were answering the truth questions and they were performing the dares. Crash bit the big toe of someone in the room. He tasted lemon juice. His friend put toilet paper on her head. She revealed her celebrity crush.They certainly kept DW and I in fits of giggles.

Then Crash got a charade dare – act out the movie The Lion King. Unfortunately, he’s never seen it so he couldn’t act it out. However, his friend knew it well. She even sang a piece of it for him asking him if he’d ever heard it. I hope you smile as big as we did when we heard Little Miss Broadway sing…

I dare you… sing The Lion King song.

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