🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Stable Family 👪
Armed America 🔫🦅
Good or Nickelback? 🎶
Thanksgiving was a quiet affair for the Core Four — my nickname for the entity that is Wifey Poo, Boys The Elder and Younger, and me. We had no family visit, and none of us left the house until BTE traveled to his girlfriend’s for Thanksgiving II: The Food Orgy Continues.
On Saturday we’re traveling to our former hometown of Tipton (home of the world famous eight-ball water tower) for the Wifey-Poo’s-Side-of-the-Family Thanksgiving Extravaganza. I am beyond blessed to be a part of her family. They have provided for me a new template for what family should be — devoid of drama and volatility and problems that never get resolved. In every way the word could possibly be defined, they are the embodiment of “stable.”
About six months ago, I completely revolutionized the way I eat. I booted — among other things — anything processed and all dairy and became one of those annoying people who asks for the gluten-free option when ordering at a restaurant. I didn’t do this to be any sort of vegan/paleo/granola-lovin’ super warrior. I did it because I felt like I was going to die.
Longhaul Covid obliterated the first half of my 2021, and I’d tried everything out there to make it better. By the time I stumbled into the world of functional medicine, I was so defeated and unhealthy that I would have tried to lasso a tiger had the doctor said it might help me feel something close to “good” even one day a week.
Funny thing is, changing my diet, combined with about eight or nine other get-healthy steps, helped me feel better six or seven days of the week. And — side benefit — I lost 30 pounds!
But tonight? Tonight I would have given a kidney for a piece of my wife’s pecan pie. And here’s the thing: I don’t even like pecan pie! Not like I like her apple pie or pumpkin pie or strawberry rhubarb pie. But for the first time since I started this new-food journey, I was jonesin’ like a tweaker.
And I’m a grown-ass man! I could have whatever I want to eat. If I wanted to head to Wal-Mart this morning, buy a birthday cake and eat it in the parking lot with my bare hands, I can do that.
In the end, though, I don’t want to. I allow myself one cheat day a month, but even then I make sure I don’t go overboard. Good habits can disappear awfully fast, and the American food industry is set up to push you to foods that are more addictive than some of the stuff Nancy Reagan told me to Just Say No to. I don’t consider what I started six months ago a diet. For me, it was a lifestyle change to help deal with a virus no one understands. In the end, my new way of eating led me to feel not just better than I did before Longhaul, but better than I have in 20 years.
So I made myself my kind of ice cream — frozen bananas, some almond milk, a scoop of almond butter and some honey, mixed in our Ninja.
And I was happy.
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know there are more guns owned by civilians in the United States than there are people? It’s true.
There are more than 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to a recent survey. No other country in the world has anything close to a gun per person.
Top 10 Gun-Owning Nations
|1. United States||120.5|
Which side of the aisle on which you fall is going to determine how you feel about this. You’re either going to point to the 39,707 gun deaths in the United States each year or you’re going to stand on the principle of protection from tyranny.
I’m all for the Constitution and its flexibility that has allowed this grand experiment to survive for a couple hundred years. It’s easy to look back and say, “But owning a gun that can spit out 5,192 rounds a second and turn a deer into jelly isn’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind!” True, but I’m not quite sure we should base our lives today on what those guys intended. After all, these are the same gentlemen who had very little problem writing, “All men are created equal” before heading back to their plantations to whip a man for asking to be treated a little more equal.
I look at ancillary data a little more closely before forming my personal opinion. If the data showed that, as a third of Americans stated in an April 2021 they believe would happen, more guns reduced crime and made society safer, I could say, “Amuricah is an example of restraint and the benefits of self-policing for the rest of the world.” The problem is, those Amuricans are just plain wrong.
As gun ownership has increased, so has the homicide rate, suicide rate and rate of unintentional deaths via firearms. Our rate of gun violence is eight times greater than Canada, 22 times that of the European Union when it was a viable thing and 23 times Australia’s. We account for 4% of the global population but 44% of global suicides by firearm. And we export our misery to other countries. More than 200,000 guns cross into Mexico from the United States every year, contributing to its escalating gun violence rates.
Turns out, we’re not really that responsible.
“But if killers didn’t have guns, they are still going to kill and suicidal people are still going to kill themselves!”
I think that’s more of an indictment of us as Americans and human nature as a whole. How can we tolerate the existence of a society in which the value of a human life is zero for so many people? Why do accept a culture so broken that ending existence is seen as the best option by those who fall through the gaping holes in the our mental health treatment system’s safety net and who then find inadequate love and support from friends, family and the community of humans in general?
In the end, I think it would be a good experiment to see what would happen if we bumped that number-of-guns-per-person thing down to say, 100 for every 100 or — eek-gahd — maybe, like 80 for every 100. Let’s set a goal of not being just in front of Yemen in anything. I can’t imagine it would make us any less safe from whacko tyrannical leaders who rile up their rabid dogs to try to violently overthrow our government.
And maybe, just maybe, it would do some good.
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
High Five ✋
Today’s official endorsement goes to Parmalee’s “Only You.” My music tastes are eclectic and I’m truly a fanboy for only a handful of singers or bands. I have no knowledge of whether liking a song from Parmalee is as egregious as saying, “That Nickelback song sure is catchy,” but I dig a tune that expresses the the things in my heart.
Only you could ever know my scars
‘Cause you’re the only one I’m telling (yeah)
Only you could make me fall this hard
Take me all the way to heaven
In Other Writing …
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- We’re putting up our outside Christmas lights tomorrow.
- Day 2 of a four-day weekend awaits.
- Leftover turkey.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Trombones are Loud 🎺Birds Aren’t Real 🐦Death to Gymnastic Judges 🤸 Top 5 things that happened at In-Law Family Christmas, held at our humble country home, today. The realization that the mass of youngins has gotten so large now that our little babies have grown up to various new stages that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hey There, Dorothy 🌪️Christmas Hurts 🎄Bye-Bye, Checks and Balances ✔️⚖️ If you’re ever in need of some entertainment, might I suggest being in a church with a bunch of homeschool parents when tornado sirens go off? That’s where I found myself tonight, accompanied by Boy The Younger at a spring track…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Crash 🚗Video Day 🎞️Five No. 2s!? 💩 The Core 4 is headed out on a winter vacation to Memphis and New Orleans soon. The plan was to rent a vehicle through Turo.com, which is kinda like an Airbnb for cars. I had a quality vehicle picked out and reserved, one…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shirt Stain 👔Score One for the Unabomber💣Oh Canada 🌈🍁 I arrived at work this morning, put my stuff down on my desk and hit the men’s room because evidently a 42-minute drive is too long for a man of 47 years to comfortably hold his bladder. I did what I do,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball God(ess) ⚾Alice in Chains 🎸What About the Golfers!? 🏌🏽♂️ To say that baseball was my life when I was a kid is an understatement. I watched it as much as the scant channels we had at home would allow — the Yankees were on Channel 11 WPIX and the (ugh)…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Detached 💭Intentions for a New Year 📆Red is Deadly 😷 Today sucked. The problem is, I don’t really know what the hell happened. I woke up just after 6, later than I have been recently, and I felt so significantly off that I truly don’t remember much of the first 45…Keep reading
Circles are interesting things. They have no beginning and no end. They just keep going around and around and around. And yet we set Jan. 1 as the day to mark the start of our journey around the sun, a journey we measure so incredibly poorly that we have to add an entire extra day…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Violence ⛸️Movie Night! 📽️Most Popular Dog Names 🐶 Today was date day for Wifey Poo and I. We’ve been trying to do a date a week since, oh, back in 2018. That was interrupted for awhile by a certain African host child this year, but we’re back at it. Today…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top Songs of 2021 🎶Where’s the Snow? ❄️Thunder Struck ⛈️🏀 Because I didn’t already feel incredibly old and out of touch, I looked at the list of top 100 songs from 2021. It wasn’t until song No. 65 that I even thought I knew one of the songs, “Go Your Own…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Redemption 😊Spice-Lovin’ Tree Shrew 🌶️Mark The Freaking Elf 🧝 I spent the morning in a hotel conference room down in STL learning from a man named Jeff Glover about 21 ways to get 21 listing of homes to sell. Glover is a big fish in the real estate industry. He runs…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Maria and The Chickens 🐔Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪Bloody Gift 🩸🎁 I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my work…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Paul 🧙♂️Slowest Speeder Ever 🐢Another School Shooting 🏫🔫 I found myself tonight in a dark jail cell surrounded by four zombies, some kind of wizard, and my son. This is not what I expected for my Tuesday evening. After a months-long absence, I returned tonight to the Dungeons & Dragons game…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Canadian Oil 🍁Freaking Covid 😷Namaste, Yo 🧘🏿 Monday started out with the news that the Bosslady has Covid. This whole “living through The Great Plague” thing somehow has been incorporated into our lives to the point where we don’t really even realize that thousands of people are dying from it daily.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Disconnected 🔌Worst Mom Ever 🦘Death to Autoplay 💀 Internet outage, Day 2. I’m sending this message via carrier pigeon. Or maybe it’s just some bird I caught with my greasy-fast speed. Things are looking bleak. We’ve been without internet service for more than 24 hours now. The weather outside is cold,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Family Rituals 👨👩👦👦The Grinch Rocks ❤️Churros and Poke Bowls 🤤 It’s interesting to think about how family rituals actually become family rituals. There are some that are very intentional. You had something done for you as a child, so you do the same thing for your kid. Others just sort of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Coffee With Wifey ☕👱♀️Armadillo Lepers 😳Choice Cigar 🚬 To say Wifey Poo and I have been through some shit is an understatement. When we said “I do” back in March of 1997 as freaking twenty-two-year-olds (!!!!), neither of us had a clue how challenging the “or for worse” part of a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Self-Teaching 👨🏫Beer Flood 🍺🌊Space Mission 🚀 When I left the newspaper industry in 2009, I knew how to write, take decent photos, design pages and copy edit. I landed a job in which the mandate was, “Go make our communications program better,” something I’d assured those who interviewed me I knew…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo’s Laughter 🤣Expensive Turkey 🦃🍗My Boys 👨👦 Walking back to my car last night from The Funny Bone comedy club in St. Charles, I got to thinking. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me (not many people, as I’ve recently discussed) and no one who reads…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drinking on the Job 🍷The Land of the Giants 🏀Joseph McCarthy Returns 🏴 It the past week, my job has taken me from a chocolate factory to a wine bar — all in the name of business, of course. Last week, Big Bosslady and I visited Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, which is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Itchy Foot 🦶Pay Cuts ❌💰The Best Pen Ever 🖊️ Wifey Poo woke up around 4 a.m. itching, itching, itching her recently repaired foot. Underneath the Ace bandage and the gauze and the padding to keep it safe, she’s got a rash of some sort, and the foot is swollen. Doc says…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Warm November 🌡️The Jaguar People 🐆Squid Game 🦑 I’ll take a 70 degree day in the middle of November, thank you very much. I spent part of my workday on my back deck doing the things I do for my real estate team — social media ads, flyers to promote open…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Year of Hell 😷Where’s Ben? 💔Profiting From Pollution 🏭 Happy Covidaversary to me. On this day one year ago, I had a Q-tip shoved up my nose to confirm what I already knew. Wifey Poo’s sister had been diagnosed with it. Wifey Poo’s mother had been diagnosed with it. Wifey…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oh Deer 🦌The Thought Gap 🧠Unplugged 🔌 I was sitting in my as-yet-to-be-named home office this morning when this big boy ☝️☝️☝️ walked out of the woods into my yard. It’s the opening day of deer season in Missourah, a day of significance for many local inhabitants on par with their…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Picnic in November 🥶Happy Wife 👩Pour-Over Coffee ☕ Scheduling a picnic outside in Missouri in November seemed to me to be a very gutsy call. That’s until I stopped to realize who was scheduling it — Boy The Younger’s cross country team. These folks run everywhere, and, thus, I assume are…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hoops at Twain’s House 🏀Lunch With The Big Bosslady 🥪Breaking Up Is Efficient 💔 After a long week of work, I traveled north this evening with Boy The Younger for his second hoops game of the season. I missed the first because of an early start time, but this one was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gross Photos 📷Sand? Sand!? ⏳Sleeping With Cheese 🛏️🧀 I had major ankle surgery back in 2008 to essentially reconstruct my left foot, which had a nasty propensity to roll over without the rest of my leg accompanying it on the journey. After a four-hour operation and two weeks, I went back…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they live…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV that…Keep reading