Friday Four

Friday, March 06, 2015

1. My daughter, closing in on four, always impresses me with her independent-mindedness and creativity. On an issue that Momma Van Horn got right and I got wrong, Pumpkin later admonished me: "You should listen to Mudder." And yes, her current pronunciation of some words reminds me a little of a German accent.

Regarding Pumpkin's creativity, I must record this one for posterity: On the second of a couple of cooped-up winter sick days last week, her creativity came to the rescue in the form of us (1) playing detective and (2) hunting the two-headed "Monster of Harmony" (her name). Nothing we did seemed to kill it, and it eventually started growing new heads, topping out at ten. Fortunately, I "discovered" that if we left books behind us as we fled, the monster would stop to read them. Whew!

Little Man, not to be outdone, showed great enterprise (at the tender age of twenty-one months) before time to do his business a few days ago. At first, I thought he was following me to the kitchen, but he abruptly stopped in the play area. Wondering if he needed something, I also stopped. To my surprise, he then tried to shove me. When he saw that this only confused me, he grabbed my hand as he often does when he wants to lead me somewhere, and led me a few steps back towards the den before quickly turning away. When I saw the ... contemplative ... look on his face, I knew what was up: He was trying to evade a diaper change! That was one for the books!

Little Man also makes a sort of joke. He's been picking up new words left and right lately, but his version of "beard" is amusing. He starts off with a "bee" sound, then starts flapping his lips with his finger.

Oh, and one more. My variant of giving them a high five includes acting like I'm putting lots of force into it, and making a noise. The kids love it, and Little Man makes the noise back.

2. And speaking of kids, I am actually looking forward to Daylight Savings Time this Sunday, thanks to a pattern they have fallen into lately. He has been waking at 5:00 a.m., almost the worst possible time, and she has been waking earlier, too. Five is horrible for me. I wake between three and three-thirty, but it's usually around five before I've gotten into my writing groove. And what if I didn't write early? I'd just about have to wake up around the same time anyway to have a chance to shower and get ready for the day. I hope that by the time the sun rises about another hour earlier that that little pattern changes. I am optimistic, but I'll leave it at that.

3. It's one of my favorite appliances, but I realized the other day that I didn't know who invented the dishwasher. So I looked it up and learned about Josephine Cochrane, a Chicago socialite whose servants kept chipping her china. "If nobody else is going to invent a dish-washing machine, I'll do it myself!" she once exclaimed. There's more on Cochrane at the Engines of Our Ingenuity website.

4. Quick: What is the hardest shot in bowling? Probably not the one you think:

To answer this question, I turned to the hard numbers. I gathered more than 447,000 bowling frames from, the website of the Professional Bowlers Association. This data set includes all the PBA tournaments for which complete, frame-by-frame results were reported, dating back to 2003—447,000 frames in all. Just under 60 percent of these were strikes. But in the remaining 180,000 frames, a bowler knocked down fewer than 10 pins in the first roll. I studied those 180,000 frames to see which shots gave bowlers the hardest time. [link in original]
In addition to more detail, the Slate web site hosts an interactive "spare success machine" that makes it easy to see how well the pros convert various pin configurations into spares.

-- CAV


Today: Corrected a typo. 

No comments: