The Costco Plaid Mafia — Nov. 20, 2021


🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Beard Trim 🧔🏽
Grunge Shopping 🛒
Funny Animals 🐒


When you find yourself with a straight razor poised a millimeter from your neck, you realize this is probably what was going on when the Almighty said “Be still and know that I am God.”

I found myself in this situation this morning, in Walt’s Barbershop in O’Fallon, Missourah. It was the first time in more than 15 years I’d sat in a barber’s chair. What I save yearly in haircuts as a bald man afforded me the opportunity after such a lengthy time to have a professional trim my beard and give the old noggin a shave. And I gotta tell ya, it was nice. Jaime (pronounced with a great Spanish accent) did an amazing job and, thankfully, had a steady hand with the straight razor.


I took my freshly shaved self and Boys The Elder and Younger from the barbershop to the Mecca of Bulk Food. We were quite the sight. As is the norm, I arose from slumber first this morning, did the writing and coffee thing, then got dressed. To know me is to know my preferred style is labeled in the high-fashion circles of Paris and Italy as “1990s Grunge.” My Slash T-shirt underneath a black-and-red checkered flannel seemed like a great selection for a Costco adventure.

Then I waited for my boys. Neither is what you’d call an early bird. BTE has been able to sleep through a next-door building detonation since he was six days old. BTY is entering the Teenage Land of Prolific Shut-Eye. I awoke both boys to get their happy asses moving.

When BTE emerged from his morning prep, what was he wearing but a black-and-red checkered flannel. I’m wondering just how frightened he is to know he truly is turning into his father.

Upon seeing this, of course, BTY sprinted back to his bedroom to change into one of his two-count-em-two black-and-red checkered flannels.

And thus, The Costco Plaid Mafia (CPM) was born, complete with gangland hand signs.

Notice my smooth, smooth had and soft, soft beard

📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️

Did you know there was such a thing as the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards? There is. And it’s awesome. The contest started in 2015. This year’s winner is Ken Jensen, who is different from Jeopardy guru Ken Jennings, though I had to google that shit just to make sure I was remembering correctly. He took this picture-perfect picture of an uncomfortable monkey in Yunnan, China.

And if that didn’t brighten your day just a little bit, it’s time to start considering that you’re dead inside.

Check out all the finalists here.


The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day

‘We will be together again one day. This is not a goodbye, but a brief break from each other.’

A letter from Richard Ayvazyan and his wife, Marietta Terabelian, left for their three children

Awwww, how touching and sweet, right?

Wrong. No. Not even close.

Richard and Marietta are dirtbags. The couple stole millions of dollars in Covid-relief loans. After getting caught and just prior to sentencing, they took off and are now on the run, leaving their three children and this note behind.


High Five ✋

Today’s official endorsement goes to “Goodbye, Carolina,” by the Marcus King Band.

Say it takes a selfish man
To leave on out from his old hometown without saying why he’s going
But you can come take the rest of me
Early in the morning
Tell me your goodbye
Where I’m going I won’t have these reminders of what I lost
What was taken away from me
And I hope you’ll understand
I was a broken man in my own hometown
Need to find my own peace

Goddang this is a great song.


In Other Writing …

The Two Business Principles That Govern Life

For as much as we try to complicated it with heady notions such as meaning, purpose and lasting significance, life essentially can be boiled down to two principles with roots in economics. Strip away all the not-unworthy teachings from self-help books, leadership seminars and religious institutions, and what you’ll find is that humans act as…

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Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Tomorrow is shaping up to be great. BTY, BTE, Wifey Poo and BTE’s childhood best friend, all here watching the Chiefs and eating chicken wings. Boo-freakin’-yah.
  2. My soft, trimmed beard.
  3. Fall is just beautiful.

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Karens at the Cleaners – Sept. 7, 2021

I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something to…

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Tony’s The Man – Sept. 6, 2021

You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished the…

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Organization Skillz – Sept. 5, 2021

Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted other…

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Why Exactly Am I Here? — Sept. 4, 2021

Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realize…

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Work Drinkin’ – Sept. 3, 2021

I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tasting…

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Bringing the Heat – Sept. 2, 2021

An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group and…

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Me and the Chinese Government – Aug. 31, 2021

I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow them…

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Dying Less is Good — Aug. 30, 2021

Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was not…

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An Emotional Day – Aug. 29, 2021

Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a small…

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Squeal For Me, Piggy – Aug. 28, 2021

Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time to…

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Storm Brewing – Aug. 27, 2021

And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place to…

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A State of Bliss – Aug. 24, 2021

Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditation…

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House For Sale – Aug. 23, 2021

Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think of…

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Cheers to No-Drama Family – Aug. 21, 2021

Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize that…

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QAnon Crap – Aug. 19, 2021

Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny Boy…

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Really Bad Movies – Aug. 17, 2021

Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My hands…

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Using My Brain — Aug. 16, 2021

Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’m…

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Lefty-Loosey, My Ass – Aug. 15, 2021

Perspective Matters I don’t know exactly when I learned it or from whom, but I’ve held “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” as a Truth-capital-T for a long, long time. Today I learned it’s a matter of perspective. Yesterday, I bragged about how I have become Mr. Fix-It. Today, the God of Home Improvement (Tim Allen?) smacked me in…

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Mr. Fix-It – Aug. 14, 2021

Begone, Cabinet! There was a time not long ago when I had zero self-confidence with home repair or renovation projects. It seemed as if every time I tried something, I made the situation worse and often a lot worse. This runs counter to my DNA, as my father is constantly tinkering with things and fixing…

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Moving Day – Aug. 13, 2021

Moving Is Fun … … when someone else does it. At just before 9 a.m., movers from Two Men and a Truck arrived at our Wentzville house. There were four men. Within three hours, they’d loaded up all the crap we had boxed and the furniture and other assorted LifeJunk we’ve accumulated through the years.…

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‘You’re Weird Dad’ – Aug. 12, 2021

He Got the Shot I took Boy the Younger to get his first COVID vaccine today. He’s 12. I consider this the socially responsible thing to do, and, after struggling for months now with Longhaul COVID, I’m really not all that open to hearing the other side of the vaccine debate. I’ve made up my…

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