🧩 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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Tonight was date night for me and Wifey Poo. We swung by Stone Summit Steak & Seafood for a drink — she, a fruity white wine; me, a Woodford Reserve, neat — and then went to see Dear Evan Hansen. I’d wanted to catch it back when it was on the stage and never had.…Keep reading
One of the interesting truths about this whole “living” thing is that we make so many important decisions before we know what the hell we’re doing. For example, I chose my career path the same year I got my driver’s license. I had absolutely no concept of a mortgage and office politics and exactly how…Keep reading
I have seen in person how protective a mother grizzly bear can be of her cubs. The Fam was on a two-week Alaska vacation between my seventh- and eighth-grade years, a trip on which my voice changed and I enjoyed the company of twin 14-year-old sisters from Alabama, which is a story for another day.…Keep reading
I spent the morning in my office at work ensconced in my gray shirt-jack. If you don’t know what a shirt-jack is, that’s OK. I didn’t either until I found it on Amazon a few years ago while searching for something that wasn’t quite a sweatshirt but not quite a jacket to wear around the…Keep reading
Today was all about my father-in-law, Marvin. FIL died in November following complications from heart surgery and COVID. Wifey Poo and the sisters-in-law organized an ice cream social and issued an open invitation to the family and FIL’s friends. When we set the date for late September, the thought was that we’d be past the…Keep reading
The term “hot as balls” definitely applied to today, though I don’t know exactly what it means. It was parents weekend at Mizzou, so we traveled yesterday evening to see Boy The Elder and attend a football game today in which the Tigers took on the mighty Southeast Missouri State Somethingorothers. The game itself was…Keep reading
Me this morning, in GIF form: Folks, I try. I really do. But I’m worn thin. I got up and decided before starting a work-from-home day that I would attach the TV I just brought over from Old House to the new stand I bought. Easy-peasy. Hooked the wires up and turned it on. And…Keep reading
In high school, I was friends with a girl named Denise. She and I were both free-spirited creative types who liked to write. For a time, we served as co-presidents of the formed-by-us creative writing club, and we even went on a date (that didn’t work out too well). Denise was and is a no-bullshit…Keep reading
Today was a work-from-home day, filled with the excitement of having my new office location set up. Well, sort of set up. For the past month, I have been relegated to the basement because what is to be my Mancave was jam-packed with the detritus from New Home’s previous occupants, my in-laws. But over the…Keep reading
The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman on…Keep reading
My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men. How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?…Keep reading
I’m what you call an ambivert. This doesn’t mean I eat both plants and animals, though I do. Rather, it means — among other things — that I’m somewhere in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. Sometimes I refuel by getting away from people and enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I refuel by soaking…Keep reading
I spent a half-hour today renewing my hatred for Robert Gaskins. Don’t know who Robert Gaskins is? I wish I didn’t, too. Robert Gaskins is the principle inventor of PowerPoint. He sold his little tool of the devil to Microsoft in 1987. QAnon Crazies love to point the finger at Bill Gates and say he’s…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading
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…Keep reading