Category Archives: cj

I go in bars

We walked by a softball game with a keg at Vilas Park today.  Tanya asked me if I thought CJ knew what a keg was.  I said, of course CJ knows what a keg is, he lives in Wisconsin.  Tanya said, but how would he know?  So we asked him, hey, CJ, what’s that big silver thing by the softball game?  And he said, “That’s a big beer thing.”  And I said, how do you know?  And he said, “I know what a tap looks like!  I go in bars!”


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Reader survey: do you cut, butt, or budge in line?

Waiting for the bus this morning, CJ told another kid not to budge in line.  “You mean butt in line,” I said.  “DADDY,” CJ said, giggling, “you are being silly.”  “No, seriously,” I said, “it’s butt, not budge.”  So we asked the other kids in line, and all agreed — when you force your way into a line, you are “budging.”

I researched this, and indeed — “budge in line” is Wisconsin / Minnesota dialect.  (It’s also apparently common in Western Canada, for some reason.)  This was news to me.  Tanya reports hearing “ditch in line” as a kid, which is apparently some kind of Ohio thing.

So:  do you cut, butt, or budge?  And where are you from?

(Subsidiary question:  is there a poll site, a la surveymonkey, that will allow me to set this up as an online poll, ask respondents for the zip code of their home town, and then plot the answers on the map?)

Oh, drubbles

Two CJ neologisms:

  • “Oh, drubbles” — this means roughly the same as “Oh, drat.”
  • “Bluz, bluz, bluz” — this means something like “bla bla bla” or “yadda yadda” and is to be uttered in a world-weary tone of voice.

I actually think both of these are superior to the more standard expressions of those emotions.

Also, CJ ate five eggs and four pancakes for breakfast this morning.  Wowza.

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Help me be a great Nim teacher

I’ll be at Marvelous Math Morning at CJ’s school this Saturday, playing Nim with kids ranging from K-5.  One simple goal is to teach them the winning strategy for the version of the game where there’s one pile and each player can draw 1 or 2 chips.  I’ve done that with CJ and he really liked it — and I think the idea of a perfect strategy is one of those truly deep mathematical concepts that even little kids can grasp.

But what else should I do?  What other Nims and Nimlikes should I teach these kids and what lessons should I try to impart thereby?

Update:  First two commenters both mentioned Tic-Tac-Toe.  At what age do kids typically learn how to play Tic-Tac-Toe and at what age have they learned a perfect strategy?  CJ is in kindergarten and has not seen this, or at least he hasn’t seen it from me.  I’ll ask him tonight.

Update:  Nim a success!  I played mostly one-pile, and the kids were definitely able to grasp pretty quickly the idea of winning and losing positions, and the goal of chasing the former and avoiding the latter.  I didn’t encounter anyone who’d played nim before.  I felt some math was transmitted.  Mission accomplished.

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CJ asks the hard questions about The Wizard of Oz

CJ is listening to The Wizard of Oz on tape.  This morning he asked me:

“I understand why the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodsman don’t poop, but why don’t Dorothy, Toto, and the lion poop?”

“Why do you think they don’t poop?”

“They don’t mention them pooping, but they do mention them eating.”

I had to admit this was a good point.  I explained that in a book the author doesn’t have to mention every single thing a character does, especially things that don’t really affect the story.  CJ seemed satisfied with this.

Then about a minute later:

“In the movie do they poop?”


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In which it seems elementary school is much as I remember it

CJ grabs his left thumb in his right fist and tugs his thumb straight down.

“What are you doing?”

“A kid on the bus told me this is sign language for poop.”

The best part is, the kid was right.

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Breeders exegesis

CJ’s explanation of “Cannonball”:

“I think she’s going to get married to somebody, and she knows he’s a cannonball, but he’s just dressed up as a human.”

He’s right, isn’t he?

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How bad is Nick Markakis? b/w Mallards misc.

  • How bad is Nick Markakis right now?  Seems a funny question considering he’s riding an 18-game hitting streak and has brought his average up to .282.  In his last 14 games he’s hit .423.  But drill down deeper and you’ll see Markakis’s problems at the plate haven’t gone away.  In those 14 games, covering 53 plate appearances, Markakis has walked once.  Home runs?  Also just one — his power shows no sign of returning.  So what’s happened in the last two weeks is that Markakis has taken his terrible season and added a lot of singles.  And how did he start hitting so many singles?  Unfortunately, it looks like it’s just luck — Markakis’ BABIP in the last 14 games is an insane .447.  Those bloop singles won’t keep falling in all year, and you can expect Markakis’s BA to drop back towards its former dispiriting level over the next few weeks.
  • Bernoulli variables like to cancel:  with all the strange business going on this season (bizarrely terrible Markakis, bizarrely good J.J. Hardy, the regression of Brian Matusz, etc. etc.) the Orioles are en route to winning 75 games or so, pretty much in line with pre-season projections. 
  • CJ and I went to the Mallards afternoon game on Father’s Day.  For the first time CJ was actually involved with the game; he spent innings 4-8 getting food and playing in the bounce house, to be sure, but after we went back to our seats he demanded to stay to the end of the game, a thriller that the Mallards won 5-4 in the bottom of the 10th after Andrew Barna walked, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball, and scored on a wild pitch.  Barna, who plays for Davidson College during the school year, is blogging the Mallards’ season game by game:  highly recommended for anyone interested in a candid view of amateur ball, or what summer in Madison looks and feels like to a college kid away from home.
  • The bad news is that the “pigsicle” — a thick slab of bacon dipped in maple syrup and served on stick — is no longer served at the Maynard’s Slide-In stand at the Duck Pond. The good news is that it’s been replaced with the “chicken-fried pigsicle,” the same slab, battered and fried and served — on a stick, natch — with a cup of white gravy.
  • The old Mallards logo has been also been replaced, in favor of this peevish dude.  I know, everybody wants a fierce mascot.  But frankly, the maximal level of fierceness a mallard can attain is well below “I am a dangerous predator.”   I think it hovers somewhere around “You took my parking space.”
  • It was very cute watching CJ dutifully and somewhat accurately stomp-stomp-clap along to “We Will Rock You.”  But I think the Mallards are missing an opportunity by not encouraging fans to sing “We Will Duck You.”
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Living in the past

CJ and I played Galaga last night.  Galaga is great.  When those spaceships go off the bottom of the screen, except they haven’t quite gone all the way off the bottom of the screen, and then they curl back up and destroy you — that is classic.

Another thing I cannot deny still liking is “Living in the Past,” by Jethro Tull.

And here is Galaga.  I was surprised to find I still knew the background music by heart, after all these years.

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Under the bridge

CJ:  “Trolls are not nice.”

Me:  “That’s true, but they aren’t real.”

CJ:  “Some trolls are real, they are on the computer and they start flame wars.”


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