🧩 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 we went to Steinberg Skating Rink in Forest Park in the STL. Wifey Poo is a month out from foot surgery and in no condition to skate, and I should never be allowed on ice near other human beings. But when we heard about bumper cars on ice, we had to give it a shot.
For $15, you get 10 minutes in a fairly contained area. Five of that seemed to be spent figuring out how to control your little inner tube on wheels. The other five was spent getting your aggression out on your date and whatever random strangers happen to be in your 10-minute session. I instantly found an ally in a boy of about 8 who helped me bash Wifey Poo on at least five occasions. I wanted to take him home with me and make him Boy The Youngest, but alas, he had a parent.
Overall, it was a fun thing to try, and it was a festive atmosphere to be in.
It was fun to hear the idiot parents of the school shooter in Michigan went on the run. I was hoping for a Bronco chase. My family has had some pretty bad weeks during the course of our togetherness, but never have we each had a police mug shot taken over a seven-day span. Kudos to us for not being the worst family in the world.
Every once in a while, I make an attempt to be sociable. Today was one of those days. I created a Facebook Group (oh, and F you Facebook. I still hate you) called The Agliata Friends and Family Movie Night Group. My goal is to host a movie night once a month in 2022. So I invited a whole bunch of people from different parts of my life to the group, and Wifey Poo is doing the same. Then I created the event for our first movie. We’re going to gather to watch The Green Mile on Jan. 8.
At least, I hope there’s a “we.”
At the very least, it’ll be The Core Four — me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. And I’m sure some of Wifey Poo’s friends will come. She’s pretty damn popular in the homeschool circuit.
And probably BTE’s fiance-in-waiting.
And some of BTY’s friends.
I’m the one with the really piss-poor record as an adult of forming friendships in which the other person is not simply hanging around me for the free counseling/advice. That’s grown old and tiresome. I’m just looking to get to know a few people who want to watch a movie or go to a bar or watch some sports sometimes.
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know if you named your dog “Max” this year, you need to live a little? It’s true.
Why? Because you followed the crowd like a sheep. Turns out “Max” is the most popular name for a male dog in 2021, according to something called “The Dog People,” powered by Rover.com. Rover combed its database (which is a friendly reminder about how much information companies mine on us, by the way) and broke down results for the nation and select cities (because, as another friendly reminder, they know where you live!!!!!).
Max was followed by Charlie, Cooper, Buddy and Milo. On the female side (I tried hard not to write “the bitch side,” and I won! Sort of.) it’s Bella beating Luna, Lucy, Daisy and Zoe. Max is either No. 1 or No. 2 in every city featured — except Boston, in which it is No. 3.
The Rover folks didn’t deem Missouri or St. Louis worthy of a breakdown, which is probably a good thing. I’d expect to see “Trump” somewhere in the Top 5.
Other interesting results:
- People like naming their dogs after Covid. There was a 270% increase in dogs named “Fauci,” a 443% increase in dogs named “Zoom,” and, in the “What the hell did the dog do to deserve that” category, a 35% jump in people straight-up naming their dog “Covid.”
- Breakfast-related names are on the rise. “Eggo” jumped 106%, and “Toast” jumped 37%.
- Not surprisingly, as we slogged through 2021 in an alcohol-infused haze trying to numb our feelings about the current state of affairs, the number of pooches named “Mai Tai” rose 223% and “Pimms ” skipped ahead 163%
- Oh, and sorry Mr. Trump, your dog likeness might be as common in Missourah as one of your flags flying next to a rebel flag in the back of a too-loud pickup truck, but the political dog names that are actually trending upward are “Joe” (+24%), “Biden” (+863%), “Kamala” (+3%) and “Harris” (+17%).
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
High Five ✋
Today’s official endorsement goes to Lonas Lil Eats at 2199 California Ave. in the STL. Wifey Poo and I stopped there for lunch today after attempting to kill each other in the ice bumper cars. The biggest challenge for me since I’ve changed my diet to not feel like crap in the wake of Longhaul Covid has been eating out. It’s not that I’m tempted to eat a whole bunch of junk (except for pizza). It’s just hard to find places that have things that don’t have the stuff that left me all inflamed and feeling like garbage.
Lonas is a blessed exception. We had two of their rice paper wraps — mine was the #10 brisket wrap, Wifey Poo’s was the #9 smokey chicken wrap (and yes, it bothers me that smoky is misspelled on the menu). The food was excellent, and we ended up sitting outside on an unseasonably pleasant afternoon.
In Other Writing …
Dieudonne became a part of our household amidst chaos, grief and weariness. Objectively speaking, it wasn’t a good time for us to welcome a 4-year-old with medical issues who didn’t speak a word of English. Of course, waiting for a “good time” to tackle that challenge is much like saying, “We’ll have kids when we’re…Keep reading
I miss this little dude and hope he’s doing well back in Burkina. Hopefully 2022 brings him back to us for a little while.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Restorative yoga class tomorrow! That’ll be three for me in the past seven days. Booyah. Zen as fuck, yo.
- I am charged with the important mission of grocery pickup from Wal-Mart after yoga and can’t be dead for that.
- Movie night is Jan. 8!
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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