🧩 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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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hitler Talk ⚖️Chicken Postscript 🐣Green Seats ⚾ I wonder when the average German in the 1930s/1940s said something akin to “Oh shit.” There has to be a point when the rational, sane sauerkraut-lover realized that perhaps his or her vote for a certain mustachioed politician was a really bad idea. For…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Take Me Away🛀Period Tracker🩸Choose Wisely💒 Arriving for the first day at a new job is kind of like showing up in a new town after throwing away your old identity. It’s a blank slate, and you can be anyone you’d like to be. Want to go by a different name? Go…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨👦👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hear…Keep reading