🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
No-Phone Sunday 🚫📱
Creepy Moles 🐀
Doc Talk 📽️
Today was sort of a practice day for something I put on my “Hundred Things” list for 2022. It was a Digital Detox Sunday, which is No. 63 on the list. To me, this meant that I wouldn’t have any sort of device in my hand from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. except for the absolute necessities.
I recently wrote about how the problem with technology today is not the technology itself but rather the fact that regulations haven’t caught up to it. By “regulations,” yes, I’m talking about government regulations and business regulations, but I’m also talking about personal regulations. Parents are struggling to figure out how to allow technology in their children’s lives. Individuals are struggling to simply be present in reality with their heads up. In recent months, I’ve witnessed more than one man in a public restroom sidle up to a urinal and pull out … his phone to stay connected while he’s peeing. Seriously?
Truthfully, if someone wants to be that connected, hey man, go for it. What I know for myself is that I don’t want to be that connected, and honestly, I was struggling with disconnecting. I’d find myself absentmindedly picking up my phone to scroll through stuff I really don’t have any desire to see simply because a commercial is on or Wifey Poo leaves the room. I was starting to feel really uncomfortable with how much the phone had become an extension of my body instead of a tool to use for increased communication, productivity and information.
And here’s the thing: Today was great. Yes, there were times when it was an inconvenience. I did the Wal-Mart pickup this morning and had to override the restrictions I’d put in terms of allowable apps for the day to let them know where I parked so they could bring me my stuff. There were times I had questions to which I’d grown accustomed to finding the answer through a simple Google search that just sort of hung out there.
And in that I found the first great relief: There’s something nostalgic about not knowing. I remember not knowing a whole lot of stuff back in the day. Then, it became really, really cool to an intellectual knowledge-seeker like me to be able to know basically everything within 10 seconds of wondering. Today, I found joy in saying, “Hmmm. I dunno” and then just letting that be.
Was all this a bit uncomfortable? More than I’d like to admit, which kind of underscores the severity of the problem.
In the place of the phone, I found myself letting my mind simply rest when the Chiefs game went to commercial. I put on my shoes and went outside with Boys The Elder & Younger when I saw they were headed there to throw a football around. That turned into a two-hour family time in which we started a fire in the backyard fire pit that hadn’t been used since we moved here and a Berenstain Bears moment with BTY when he helped me put these sonic mole deterrent things into the ground.
I read my book. I cleaned stuff up. I just simply stopped.
It was nice. Very nice. So nice, in fact, that I’m looking forward to the next detox day when I can disconnect again.
There was a moment this evening as the sun made its way to its resting place and the glow of the fire in the backyard fire pit started to become not just a source of heat on a nippy late-fall evening that I looked around and realized that everything was simply good.
BTE and BTY were playing football along with BTE’s long-time girlfriend, who is so intricately woven into our family already that I’m going to punch BTE in the throat if he screws this up. Wifey Poo was helping make the fire grow because, well, she’s kind of a closet pyromaniac. We were all out there surrounded on the perimeter by the trees that ring our humble country home, the moon had started its nightly ascent, it had been a great weekend filled with fun and family, and everything was just good.
Give me more of that, please.
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know moles are pretty sadistic little bastards? It’s true.
I have a mole problem. Moles are tearing up my lawn. In my research to find ways to gently encourage these creates to move along (such as pour gasoline down one of the mole holes and light it up), I learned that moles create special sections in their underground tunnel systems. One of those special sections is a kitchen area, in which — get this — moles will store earthworms whose heads they bite off to immobilize them yet keep them alive because they like fresh meat.
That’s some seriously creepy shit, moles.
High Five ✋
Today’s official endorsement goes to the documentary “Four Hours at the Capitol,” on HBO Max. It still stuns me how, now nearly a year later, we have just sort of moved past the fact that armed insurrectionists. led by a disgraceful demagogue, tried to take over the country. This documentary does the best job I’ve seen yet of portraying the actual chaos and severity of the situation. For those who would like to downplay what happened on Jan. 6, 2021, well, your position is severely weakened by the raw footage shown in this documentary. That The Idiot Grand Wizard was simply allowed to leave Washington for his Florida retreat without being tried for treason is a disgrace.
I have soured on America tremendously over the past four or five years. This documentary, which I highly recommend, merely confirmed my thoughts about our “country.”
In Other Writing …
Top 5 Things You’ll Learn If You Read This Whole Thing: You can never quite catch up with the present. Weird isn’t weird if you don’t think it’s weird. The exception to the rule is a dangerous thing. Overheard late-night conversations can change your life. America is founded on hypocrisy and rooted in bullying. One…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- BTY has a hoops game Monday late afternoon, and it’s close to my office. I’m hoping to scoot a bit early so I can see him play.
- I’m filming footage for a cool video idea tomorrow.
- I’m expect more good moments like all the ones that made up this weekend.
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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