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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

If you buy a kid some school supplies

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If you buy a kid some school supplies, he's going to be super excited to open them.

When he opens them, they are going to be spread all over the family room floor.

When they are spread all over the floor, you'll tell the kid to put them in his backpack (not a new one because we just bought this one last year, doggone it).

When he puts them in his backpack, they will be all safe and ready for the first day of school (which isn't for another 15 days) until...

The kid decides he needs to take them out of his backpack so he can use the backpack to take with him to SkyZone. You'll tell the kid to put the school supplies back in his backpack and find another bag to take to SkyZone. Then you will leave for work, not being wise enough to tell your spouse that the kid should not, under any circumstances, take his backpack to SkyZone.

So of course, the kid takes his backpack -- filled with $857 worth of school supplies (so I'm might be exaggerating a little) -- to the Boys & Girls Club with him and then to the club's field trip to SkyZone.

And...say it with me...LEAVES. THE. BACKPACK. THERE.

Yes, the backpack that was filled with school supplies. The backpack that was supposed to stay safely on the bedroom floor for another 15 days.

I'm going on a field trip too. To the liquor store.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Things turn up in the most unlikely places

What is one place you would be surprised to find me (besides a Zumba class -- that is NOT happening)? If you answered "a NASCAR race," give yourself a high five. You're right!

And what is one thing you would not expect to find inside a NASCAR race car (which, by the way is a palindrome -- racecar spelled backwards is still racecar)? If you answered "corn," you are either very good at guessing or you know a little something about the fuel used to power NASCAR.

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Why do I care? Well, because I've never been to a NASCAR race -- including the Brickyard 400, which takes place at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. If I had a things to do in Indiana bucket list, attending a race at IMS would be on it. So when the Indiana Corn Marketing Council gave me chance to snag two free tickets to the Brickyard 400 in exchange for educating myself -- and you -- about the use of corn in NASCAR, saying yes was not too difficult.

Back to the corn. No, NASCAR drivers do not weight the back end of their cars with sacks of dried corn. No, the winner of the Brickyard 400 does not munch on an ear of corn in the victory circle, though that would be kind of cool. NASCARs are powered by ethanol, a type of gasoline. Ethanol is made from corn, which is a renewable source of energy and one that can be obtained without threat of international violence. In fact, Indiana is a key corn producer and home to 12 ethanol plants, which produce 1 billion (with a B) gallons of ethanol a year.

NASCARs run on Sunoco Green E15, a 15% ethanol blend. And during the Brickyard 400, which takes place on July 27, NASCAR will turn 6 million miles driven on E15. That's a lot of miles and a whole lot of corn. Driver Austin Dillon will start the Brickyard from the 17th position driving in the #3 Dow/Mycogen Seeds Chevy.

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You don't have to be a racecar driver to use ethanol. Flex Fuel cars, including Mike's former and much missed Chevy Suburban, run on ethanol blend gasolines. Most Flex Fuel cars run on E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline). Even unleaded gasoline contains 10% ethanol. You can tell if your vehicle is a Flex Fuel car by the (corn) yellow gas cap.

Be sure turn up on the 4th Frog Blog Facebook page tomorrow. I'll be posting pictures and observations from my first NASCAR race. If you're a NASCAR-going veteran, feel free to leave some tips for me here.