Dude’s News: The Holiday Edition

Passed Thanksgiving and fast on the way to Christmas. How does time move so quickly? The older we get the faster it moves? Or do kids do that to us? It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on in the chaotic circle of the Dudes.

As a result of the fast gallop that life is taking into the future, the Dude has once again accumulated some tasty morsels of internet sweetness. This edition of Dude’s News will be a bit of a potpourri, but there will be some holiday tinged items to keep us festive.

Local News

The resident photographer was out at a meeting the other night, so the Dude got to enjoy a solo dinner with the kiddos. Dinner conversation with the kids is always fun. The Princess generally leads the way.

Princess: I don’t like sweet potatoes. I don’t like sweets.

Dude: Sweet potatoes aren’t that sweet.

After a minute of contemplation. Princess: I like candy. It’s a type of sweet.

This exchange is followed immediately by, Princess: But I don’t want dessert tonight.

Dude: Ok.

Princess: Mom gave me a consequence this afternoon; no dessert. But I’m all right with it. Mom gave me a choice – tv or dessert – and I chose dessert. I felt like telling the truth would be better because later you would have said, Princess why didn’t you tell the truth?

She’s right, I would have. I congratulated her on telling the truth, and we talked about what happened while we finished dinner.

As I was clearing the table, Princess: But Mom said I could choose not to sleep in my bed, and that’s what I chose. I’ll just have to sleep in the bean bag.

Dude: No, that’s a punishment for us dealing with a tired version of you tomorrow.

She’s crafty, just like her mother.

In other local news, Princess finally has a loose tooth! Hasn’t fallen out yet, but it’s on the way. And, the boy’s hair is growing fast and furious. We are officially passed the one year mark (Thanksgiving) since his last haircut. Awesome.

Evolution of a Crazy Man

Evolution of a Crazy Man

Say It Ain’t So
Is the U.S. government seriously considering pizza as a vegetable?! For real?! This is some sort of bizzarro world, right? House of Representatives say pizza = vegetable. 🙁

 11 Best Illustrated Children’s & Picture Books of 2011
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve read all (or any) of these books, but they all seem pretty dope, so I figured I’d share.

Street Skiing
When I grew up, we use to drive six hours to Upstate New York for a week long ski vacation each year. We had friends that lived in NY, so it was a good excuse to visit and enjoy a week of skiing at the local mountain.

This dates me a bit, but snowboarding wasn’t even really an option at that point. It was skiing or nothing. By the time I hit college, I traded in the skies for a snowboard, and I never really looked back. Skiing seemed dated to me.

But skiing has regained much of its coolness over the years, and this video actually made me envy skiers again. Thanks Kottke.


Super rad, right? But back to my original point. Long distance family road trips. Awesome…in a grueling way.

We took a trip to West Virginia for Thanksgiving. It was a great time in the mountains with family, but the seven hour car ride was a bit challenging. Anytime with two adults, two children, three dogs, plus luggage, locked in a vehicle for seven hours is going to be tough. Now mix in some puke, and you have a legendary (or is it normal?) family road trip.

The Princess got sick about five minutes after we entered the car for the ride home. She handled it like a champ, and there was no sign of sickness the next day. Made for a brutal trip, but glad it passed quickly.

Good times.

Free education…that’s fun?! Can’t be. But it is. Check out this awesome site (www.KhanAcademy.com) that is so simple, but such an amazing idea.

Over the years, I’ve realized how important – and cool – math really is, but figured I squandered my opportunities in school to truly understand it. Strange considering my Dad is a math professor. But Khan Academy has given me the gift of free math tutoring that is easy and fun…for real. And although they (really just he) started with math, there are all sorts of new topics coming online.

Here’s how the site describes itself:

Watch. Practice.
Learn almost anything for free.
With a library of over 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and 253 practice exerciseswe’re on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace.

The Dude is a big fan of education. Not necessarily “formal education,” but learning in general. It’s fun to learn new things, and beyond love, it’s probably the most important aspect of life. So we is that we start to learn?

How about before we’re born?! Sweet! This is a cool TED talk


Surf Break
Everyone needs a little surf in their life. Here’s your dose for today with a surfer with one of the coolest names, Taj. (Thanks Kid)


Christmas List!
For all of those hard to shop for little dudes and dudettes, here is the Dude’s absolutely favorite list of the 5 Best Toys of All Time from Wired Magazine.

If you know Wired, you’re probably expecting some sweet technical gadgets, but be prepared to be amazed by simplicity. Love it.

In the first edition of Dude’s News I mentioned an article that discusses that early humans (as in 100,000 year old humans) were intelligent enough to seek out and mix materials to create paint for cave art. Very impressive.

Along the same lines, here’s an article that suggests that humans 42,000 years ago had enough “high levels of planning and complex maritime technology” to go deep sea fishing for tuna! Unreal. Our educational system teaches us about the last one to two thousand years, and the way we learn it makes it seem like there isn’t much to learn beyond that. Seems like there was a whole lotta life going on before our current frame of reference.

Awesome article. Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Time. Time is a amazing.

Here’s a sneak peek at #10:
10. A lifespan is a billion heartbeats. Complex organisms die. Sad though it is in individual cases, it’s a necessary part of the bigger picture; life pushes out the old to make way for the new. Remarkably, there exist simple scaling laws relating animal metabolism to body mass. Larger animals live longer; but they also metabolize slower, as manifested in slower heart rates. These effects cancel out, so that animals from shrews to blue whales have lifespans with just about equal number of heartbeats — about one and a half billion, if you simply must be precise. In that very real sense, all animal species experience “the same amount of time.” At least, until we master #9 and become immortal.

Make sure to enjoy all one and a half billion beats!

University of California, Berkeley, astronomers have discovered the largest black holes to date ‑- two monsters with masses equivalent to 10 billion suns that are threatening to consume anything, even light, within a region five times the size of our solar system.

Stop and ponder that for a minute. The size of 10 billion of our suns!? Think about the size of the Universe. We are just a tiny little speck in the middle of nowhere among an infinite amount of galaxies, stars, and planets. From a sheer statistical perspective, there’s no way we are alone in the Universe. No way. There is soooo much we have no clue about.


  • Children smile 400 times per day
  • Smile + frown = smile
  • Darwin: Facial Feedback Response Theory = smiling makes us feel better
  • Smiling creates as much brain stimulation as 2k bars of chocolate
  • Smiling reduces stress enhancing hormones, increases mood enhancing hormones, & lowers blood pressure.
  • Smiling makes us appear more likeable, courteous, and competent.

Seems like we should all be smiling much more.


Holiday Rituals
In the last edition of Dude’s News, I mentioned that I’ve been testing out the “primal” diet/lifestyle, and I have to say that it is going very well. Based on a month or so of walking the walk, I would highly recommend considering it. The ideas seem like commonsense…to the Dude anyway.

Here’s a recent post from Mark’s Daily Apple, the primal blog that I’ve been following, that discusses ritual, and it’s a great reminder of the importance of our holiday rituals, regardless of what they are.

Over the years, I’ve questioned the specifics of the rituals to much, and as a result I lost the bigger picture. It is important to bond us, as groups, in a common story and experience. Rituals help us know who we are and where we come from.

Keep up the rituals, and if you don’t have any, now’s a great time to start.

She’s Crafty

Tomato Thief

Tomato Thief

She’s crafty.  The title of a classic Beastie Boys ditty, but also an attribute Mrs. Dude has displayed with increasing consistency.  Mrs. Dude is crafty.

The hordes of avid readers may recall the Dude’s “This Little Piggy” post as a past example of her wily actions.

She struck again.  Preying on the unsuspecting Dude who has faith in the words the pour from her lips.

As the night wound down, and the Dude performed the end-of-the-night rituals of locking down the house, Mrs. Dude brought up an interesting topic…out of nowhere.

“I think we should call Little Dude by his middle name.”


I was stunned and assumed this was a joke, but the joke didn’t seem to have a punch line, and the Mrs. wasn’t backing down.

“The middle name is growing on me.  He looks like his middle name.”

The Dude recommended the middle name early on as his number one choice, but Mrs. Dude wouldn’t have it.  I never got a concrete reason, but it seemed like she felt the name would be too popular down the road.  Who am I to argue with motherly psychic abilities?

After much deliberation the Mrs. approved it for a middle name.

We had a name chosen about five months into the pregnancy, so we’ve been acclimated to The Boy’s name for months…along with everyone we know.  Yet, now, on a whim, a name change seems to be a serious discussion.

I tried to explain the awkward discussions we would have to have every time someone mentions his “old” name.  How I liked his name, the meaning behind the name, and our reasoning for choosing the name.

I refused to believe this was a real discussion.  The conversation carried to the bedroom.  As I brushed my fangs it continued.  I hopped into bed in disbelief, but the Mrs. stuck to her convictions in a stubborn, unapologetic way the Dude has yet to witness from her.

She explained that she calls him by his middle name when I’m not around!


Just as smoke began to stream from the Dude’s ears, Mrs. Dude said, “I have something I need to tell you.”  99.99% of the time, “I have something I need to tell you” is not followed by words you want to hear.

Dude:  “Great.  I can’t wait to hear it.”  Sarcasm dripping from each word.

Mrs.: “I bought a lens for the camera.”

Dude:  “Are you attempting to kill me?  You want to change Little Dude’s name, and you are spending money on a lens for the camera?”  “And you choose to bring these topics up at the same time…as I’m going to sleep?”

The only response appropriate for this exchange was laughter.  If it wasn’t laughter is would have been tears.

Mrs.:  “I’m just kidding; I don’t want to change his name.  I did buy a lens tough.”

What a relief!

Dude:  “Little Dude can keep his name?!  I’m fine with a new lens.”

Mrs.:  “Actually, it’s two lenses.”

Unbelievably crafty!  A twenty minute setup for two new camera lenses…and based on the approach, I’m psyched about the outcome.

The Dude has his guard up, but I predict I’ll be hoodwinked again.

PS – The picture above is taken with the new “portrait” lens.  I could be tricking myself, but it seems like the picture is more crisp and bright.  It’s a picture of Beans thieving a tomato from the garden.  He doesn’t even like tomatoes, but The Hyena turned him on to the free food, and he can’t contain his animal instincts.