🧩 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, and while washing my hands, I looked in the mirror and saw a stain on my shirt.
“Hmmm,” thought I. “That must be water.” But it wasn’t water. Well, unless water causes a stain that doesn’t go away. I have no clue what caused the stain, as I’m quite sure I didn’t spill anything from breakfast on my shirt and I’m equally sure I didn’t put on a pre-stained shirt.
Do you know how much you think every person you talk with on the day you’re wearing a stained shirt will notice said stain on said shirt and think you’re a complete slob?
A lot. That’s how much.
My big work activity today was filming for a video I’m making to promote our new branding. My “talent” was one of our young team members, Keely, and when I say “young,” I mean “impossibly young.” Thankfully, she was born in a year that starts with 19, but just barely.
I’ve been feeling really old lately. I look in the mirror and see the scars from what’s been a challenging life. The gray in my beard. The wrinkles in between and just above my eyebrows, indicative of a brow often furrowed. I look around at my many young co-workers and remember what it was like to be them, to be the young up-and-comer. I had a great start in the newspaper industry. I was covering big-time sports as a 17-year-old. I was editor of a weekly at age 22, a publisher at 26. What the hell did I know about editing a newspaper at age 22? I think that now, but back then I had a great idea of what to do. And it worked.
I personally witnessed the cause of death for newspapers. I remember sitting in a meeting as that 22-year-old hotshot and hearing guys who then were my age now talk about the internet as a fad and discuss ways to “keep it at bay.” As my career advanced, I listened to their replacements (because those people got fired fast) make decisions that made things worse — giving away the product for free on the internet because eyeballs would equal ad revenue that would more than make up for the losses in circulation dollars. I’d hear the powers that be tout 75% online ad revenue growth and “only” 2% traditional ad revenue decline and then felt them bristle when I asked on what dollar totals those percentages were happening. A 75% increase vs. a 2% decrease might sound fantastic, but it’s not when that’s on $35,000 and $3 million, respectively.
So I find myself today in real estate, after stops in the electricity field, the benefits industry and the taking-care-of-kids-with-major-orthopedic-problems genre. I can do what I do wherever I need to do it. So that’s what I was doing today, working with Impossibly Young Keely to produce what I hope turns into a quality video that engages people and helps them remember that, when they have a real estate need, The Allen Brake Team is Here!
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know a company that’s supposed to keep your kid safe is selling data on your child’s precise location to whoever wants to pony up the money to buy it? It’s true.
Or, at least that’s according to two former employees of the data companies that hawk the information gathered by Life360, an app designed for parents to be able to check their kids’ location,
Do a little Google search (or Bing, if you’re weird) on Life360 and the first words that pop up are “The Best App For Peace of Mind.” I call bullshit. If you’re selling any information about my child, first off, fuck you, and second off, you’re putting them in danger. That information, in the wrong hands, can be used to track patterns on individual children to put them in harms way for pedophiles and other assorted creeps.
Is that far-fetched and a little dramatic? Perhaps. But I’m imagining the fact that Life360 is doing what it’s apparently doing is not put front-and-center to parents who are simply looking to have a way to see that their children are OK.
But wait! Life360 founder and CEO Chris Hulls is here to set parents at ease. “We have no means to confirm the accuracy” of the report, he said. “We see data as an important part of our business model that allows us to keep the core Life360 services free for the majority of users, including features that have improved driver safety and saved numerous lives.”
Translation: We’re doing something really sleazy to make money while saying we’re doing it for an entirely different, much more altruistic reason.” My man, Chris Hulls! Pulling a page out of the Mark Zuckerberg playbook! High five, brother!
The thing is, the fact that Life360 sells data on kids wasn’t a secret before today. It was just buried in the privacy notice and terms-and-conditions thing that no one ever reads and that South Park did a great job of spoofing when it came to iTunes.
Now don’t misconstrue this, but Ted Kaczynski? The Unabomber dude? He wrote a manifesto a couple decades ago about the encroaching dangers of technology and its impact on privacy. The guy had a great point that is proving prophetic. The fact that he blew people apart with mail bombs tends to undermines his credibility just a bit, and any future discourse with him on the matter is hampered by his current housing arrangement in solitary confinement at ADX Florence supermax federal prison in Colorado.
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
The older I’ve gotten, the less I understand Western society’s obsession with other people’s sex lives. It seems to me that there were some crusty old dudes way back when who decided my penis and your vagina were of great enough religious significance as to determine the eternal resting spot of our souls … and now we just sort of go along with that belief.
I’m not suggesting we just say “Orgies in the street for everyone!” but I am suggesting we zoom out and take a look at how modern attitudes toward sexuality came to be.
In Other Writing …
An Introduction: It is never OK to have relations with your cousin. Never. Ever. To do anything to legitimize such contemptable actions is worthy of hellfire and damnation. The Letter: DEAR ABBY: When I was 16, my cousin “Mary” came from Georgia to New York to stay with us for the summer. After a short…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Date morning with Wifey Poo tomorrow!
- Creating/editing my video tomorrow!
- Restorative yoga tomorrow!
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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