List Item Update! #1: Dates!

List Item Update! #1: Dates!

In Progress

No. 1: Go on 52 dates with CC

Wifey Poo (AKA CC, AKA Carla) and I have known each other roughly 30 years. That’s a long time, folks. That’s the amount of time my parents were together when I was like, “Damn, you guys. That’s a long time to be together.” And now I am the parent and Wifey Poo is the parent and we sometimes have to be a bit more intentional if we are going to have some time as just the two of us.

Date nights are awesome. We’ve been successfully trying to do a date a week for much of the last three or four years. That was interrupted by the stay of My Favorite African, whom most often needed to be with either Wifey Poo or I during his six months with us.

But after Little D returned to Burkina Faso in late July, Wifey Poo and I got back on the weekly-date bandwagon.

Below I’ll list the dates we do in 2022.

1. West Side Story, January 5th

Somehow, I attained the age of 47 without ever having seen West Side Story. I wish I could say, “That’s because I lived it, yo” and snap my way slowly out of the room, but though I grew up in New York, I was not part of the Jets, am not Puerto Rican and hail from a lily-white suburb a good car ride away from the West Side.

Wifey Poo, on the other hand, loves to sing random songs, and those from West Side Story often infiltrate her vocal playlist. So when I told her late last year I’d never seen the show and she realized it was coming out on the big screen, well, it makes sense that this was date No. 1 in our 52 dates in 2022.

I liked the movie. I liked the story. I liked the music. We both thought it a bridge too far to have Maria stick with the dude who minutes before knifed her brother to death, but hey, those were simpler times with more clear dating rules, evidently.

We had the theater completely to ourselves on this Wednesday night, and for a few hours (it’s a surprisingly long movie!), the real world of Covid and supply shortages and labor shortages and inflation and nasty human beings melted away, and I was able to immerse myself in a different era while seated next to my beautiful bride.

2. St. Louis Ambush soccer, January 14

America’s relationship with soccer is … complicated. As a sports fan in these here United States, I understand that soccer — or, more aptly, futbol — is the world’s game. I just don’t understand why. It seems like an awful lot of running for very few attempts to actually score.

Leave it to America to take something the world understands better than we do and bastardize it until it barely resembles the original. Introducing St. Louis Ambush soccer.

Now, to be honest, I love going to the Ambush games. It’s inside (warm), the action is fast paced and the players make multiple scoring attempts each minute, much of the time. It also happens to have some of the features of hockey, with a field ringed by boards that can be conveniently used to bounce the ball off of billiards-style to advance the ball … or smoosh your opponent against if the referees aren’t looking.

Yet it unfortunately retains the singular worst aspect of soccer — flopping. Lots and lots of flopping. Numerous times in the Ambush’s 6-5 win over the Kansas City Comets on Date Night #2, players went down with career-ending, an-amputation-is-surely-coming injuries only to return to the field of play fresh and at full speed 32 seconds later. Perhaps it wasn’t flopping. Perhaps Mr. Miyagi is the team trainer.

Whatever the case, the game was chippy. In the confines of a much-smaller field of play than traditional soccer, there’s a great deal of physical contact. But the true hatred wasn’t primarily reserved for the opposition. No, on this night it was directed at the refs.

Listen, I don’t know the rules of regular soccer well enough to tell you what should or shouldn’t be a yellow card or a red card or, as is apparently a thing in indoor soccer, a blue card. I do know, however, when players and coaches are acting like whiny little bitches. And there was a whole lot of that going around at Family Arena in St. Charles.

One player was ejected for arguing after receiving two yellow cards in the span of 10 seconds. The Comets’ coach received a yellow card for arguing. Several other players received warnings and yellow cards for arguing. But it’s not called “arguing” in indoor soccer. No. It’s called “dissent.” Fancy.

In the end, the Ambush scored a goal with two minutes remaining to win 6-5. After the game, Comet players berated the departing referees, members of both teams nearly came to blows at the center of the field (pitch?), and Carla and I were happy. It was a cold, rainy night, and it was nice to be indoors with each other and with a good deal of space around us to talk and laugh. It reminded me a lot of our first-ever date, when we went to our college’s club hockey game. I love that my wife loves a good sporting event.

3. Chez Ali’, January 17

To say that a certain African boy who stayed with us and stole our hearts in 2021 had an influence on our lives is an understatement. Prior to being Little D’s host parents, we would never have thought about trying African food. In fact, I wouldn’t have even known what African food was. Such is my Western bias that I think my default was to believe Africans subsisted on rice sent from the United States after a bunch of singers got together to make a song about how bad things are over there.

Alas, D helped open my eyes to a different reality, in more than just food.

Carla and I met for dinner last night at Chez Ali in the City Foundry. I love the Foundry. Where else in St. Louis can you — under one roof — get an authentic churro, poke bowl and African jerk chicken and top it off with a watermelon jalapeno popsicle, should you so choose? Chez Ali provides food from the area of Africa near Little D — the Ivory Coast and Senegal. I ordered the chicken sampler, which had jerk chicken curry chicken and two kinds of rice. Carla stuck with the jerk chicken. I added a side of fried plantains and she picked samosas.

The food was great. The company was better. Carla and I try not to text each other much during the day. We found last year that life was much better lived when we had the time after I get home from work to catch up on our days — just like we did pre-cell phones when we were dating and early in our marriage. I think it’s good for us to have the time to reflect on things and process them before we just shoot out our burdens to the other person. I’m far more guilty of that than she is.

There’s just something wholesome and refreshing about sitting down with strange-but-good food in front of you and saying, “So how was your day?” without any idea of what might come next. Our Chez Ali date was such a time.

4. Lindenwood hockey, January 28

For Wifey Poo and I, hockey is where it all began. Well, kinda where it all began. Where it actually began was in a dimly lit basement floor of a residence hall at Drake University, but our first date — after about a month of flirting — was at a Drake club hockey game. The most memorable moment from that date wasn’t any sort of “We looked in each other’s eyes and just knew” thing. No, it was when, upon her return from a bathroom trip, I casually asked, “Everything come out OK?”

Yeah, ladies. I was that cool.

Date No. 4 on our year of dates was to another college hockey game. The Lindenwood University Lions are the No. 1 team in the country in whatever collegiate league they are a part of. We’ve been to a few of their games in the past, and none has been close. This one was no different. The Lions jumped out quickly and scored four goals in the first en route to a 9-0 drubbing of the Ohio University Bobcats.

There’s something about sparsely attended hockey games that makes me remember what it was like to be with Carla on that first date back in nineteen-ninety-freaking-two (!!!!), how great it felt just to be next to her, how amazing she smelled and how I loved looking into her pale blue eyes.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge that has been “us” since that first date, but there still was something magical to me Friday night about sitting next to her, bundled up against the cold we’d felt on the walk from the parking lot to the arena and the cold of the arena itself. It makes me so happy to know that, all these years later, I’m still next to my One.

5. Fight Club, February 3

This is a hard date to recap because, well, the first rule of Fight Club is …

We all know that rule, right? Even I knew that rule, and I’d never seen the 1999 David Fincher-directed film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton (with a serendipitous appearance by Meat Loaf as big-breasted Bob). Everyone knows the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club, yet here we are.

Wifey Poo and I had scheduled a stay-at-home movie date even before Snowstorm Landon (such a 2022 name for a snowstorm) slapped the St. Louis region with as much as 10 inches of snow. So it was convenient that we didn’t have to rearrange our date plans and figure out something more “we’re-stuck-in-the-house” to do. We merely sent Boy The Younger downstairs, where he would play Fortnight with his cousins, and dimmed the lights in our family room for a cozy at-home date.

I loved the movie. Wifey Poo? Not so much. She’s not a big fan of blood and, well, the movie is called Fight Club. I’m a big fan of “Is he nuts?” thrillers like this and Shutter Island. I reached the conclusion by the end of the film that pretty much nothing in it was real. I want to do some Googling about it, but I’m thinking even Marla was part of the dude’s fractured psyche.

So… who wants to start a Fight Club?

6. Bowling, February 6

One Saturday when I was 16 years old, I went with a group of my closest friends — and yes, I had actual real-life friends back in the day — to the local bowling alley. It’s not that any of us were big bowlers. It’s that we were kid-poor and you couldn’t beat being able to entertain yourself with friends for $2 a game. On that afternoon, I was good. To know you’re good at something, you have to know what it means to be bad at it, and I knew bad bowling. I’d been bad bowling. But not on this day. Strike after strike after strike came from my right arm, which was still in the process of being rehabilitated after a pretty devastating baseball injury. By the 10th frame, my friends were actually chanting my name. I promptly went out and rolled three consecutive strikes to end the game, finishing with a 215.

A lot has changed since that Saturday afternoon, I learned today, as Wifey Poo and I went on Date #6. First, it cost us more than $40 to bowl two games. I pity kids these days who aren’t bankrolled by their parents. And second, I am an old man who sucks at bowling. Which isn’t to say Wifey Poo and I didn’t have a great time. We had an amazing time. It was fun watching her be somehow allergic to the head pin, and it was equally amusing for me to switch among a wide variety of multicolored bowling balls in which either my thumb stuck and the ball launched five feet into the air when I tried to throw it or the holes were so big the thing basically dropped out of my hand as I sent it toward the pins.

In the end, I didn’t come close to 215. In fact, on the first game, neither of us broke 100, and it took a miraculous rally for me to accomplish the feat in the second game. I also nearly fell on my head or my ass a dozen times, including while doing what I thought was a pretty good post-spare dance until my oh-so-fashionable right bowling shoe decided to slip one way while its mate fled the opposite direction. I’m quite sure I nearly tore an ACL on that one, and I know for a fact I’m gonna feel it in my back tomorrow morning.

But was it worth it? Absolutely. Laughing together at our bowling ineptitude, mixed with a little friendly competition, made it a fun date on a Sunday afternoon. One bruised, blistered thumb up from this guy!

7. Valentine’s Day dinner at Brio, February 14

All couples have a secret language unique to them — a language born of experiences. Wifey Poo and I have things such as “Meet ya there, Bob,” “Don’t forget the leftovers; there’s no Chuckie here” and “Please… for the love of God… order faster than you did at Chi-Chi’s.”

The last of that trio is a reference to our first Valentine’s Day together, way back in 1993. Being the big spender that I was as a college freshman, I took my new girlfriend to the Mexican chain Chi-Chi’s, which had its day but went bankrupt in 2004.

Anyone who’s eaten at a Mexican restaurant knows that just about all the meals are some combination of chicken, steak, beans, cheese, rice, lettuce, tomatoes and a salsa. Yes, there are variations, but that’s the essence of 95% of any Mexican restaurant’s menu.

Wifey Poo comes from a long line of people who — how shall I put this? — aren’t gold medalist decisionmakers. They are amazing caregivers and a bunch of kind-hearted, loving, outstanding people. But if Wifey Poo and her sisters are trying to decide on a restaurant for dinner, well, the selection might be made by breakfast.

Of course, less than six months into our relationship in 1993, I was unaware of this trait. And so on that Valentine’s Day in 1993, we sat down at Chi-Chi’s and looked over our menus. I chose what I wanted. And Wifey Poo kept looking.

And looking …

And looking…

Our waitress returned no less than six times to see if we were ready to order. After roughly 45 minutes — maybe more — several baskets of chips were in my belly and Wifey Poo finally was ready.

We’ve come a long way since that first Valentine’s Day. This time, we met at Brio Italian Grille in St. Louis, knowing that the food would be good because:

a) “Grille” is spelled with that unnecessary “e,” which gives the place instant fancy-cred.
b) Boy The Younger’s baseball coach is the executive chef there, though he wasn’t in attendance that night because his wife had just given birth to their tenth (yes, tenth!) child. Have I mentioned that he’s on a homeschool baseball team?

I’d arranged with Coach for this special night, and the staff was waiting for us to arrive. I’d invited Wifey Poo on the date by making her a video:

We ordered within 5 minutes of sitting down, putting the ghosts of Valentine’s Days past to bed for good, And the food did not disappoint. I had beef medallions with shrimp. She had parmesan-encrusted sea bass. We both sipped wine — her typical fruity white and me, my ultra-dry red..

The company was even better than the food. Wifey Poo and I are good together,. We just are. When we finally had to leave two hours later so she could go pick up BTY from a friend’s house, it ended a conversation that just felt right. We talked about work and parenting and health and our food and murder podcasts. That’s what we do. It was a night in which I realized once again — as I have over and over and over again during the now nearly thirty years we’ve known each other — that there is no one on earth I would ever want to spend my life with than her.

8. Snow tubing, February 20

Back when I was a kid growing up in suburban New York, we had a hill behind our house on which I would spend countless hours sledding over the course of my childhood. Any time any snow would fall, I’d whip out the old red plastic sled, trudge up the hill and at least attempt to zoom my way down. When there was a good snowfall, the speeds were exhilarating. As I got a little older, I became more daring, building small jumps and eventually going down the hill standing up in the sled.

The last time I was back in NY and saw that hill has to be more than 15 or 20 years ago now, and I remember thinking one thing: Man, that hill is small.

Perspective means everything, in some cases, and the perspective of a sledding hill to a 4-year-old is different than that of a grown-ass man who has been withered by the world and lost the imagination that used to turn those downhill trips into Olympic-style bobsled runs.

There’s something about sledding that awakens the child in all of us. And so Wifey Poo and I took a 45-minute drive south on a warm Sunday afternoon to Hidden Valley Ski Resort in the town of Eureka. Having the word “Ski Resort” attached to anything in the exceptionally flat state of Missourah seems a bit of a stretch, but there are a few ski runs and there is a 12-lane snow tubing hill, which was the destination for Date #8.

We checked in, grabbed our tubes and trudged upward to the conveyor-belt ski lift. The last time Wifey Poo had been on one of those was during my lone skiing attempt in Colorado, and though she can ski circles around me, she didn’t do such a great job handling the belt lift, ending up on her back with her skis in the air until she was able to roll off into the snow at the top. This time, she handled it like a champ.

Now, Wifey Poo and I are not always the best at following the rules. It’s not that we do this purposefully. Well, she never would, at least. But we tend to miss things. So it wasn’t until our fourth run down the hill that we saw the big, huge, enormous sign telling us that tandem sledders should stay linked together the entire time. The first trip down, Wifey Poo and I didn’t do that, and so when the manufactured snow ended at the bottom of the hill, I slid a good 20 feet through the gravel and then watched as my zooming wife came ever closer before slamming nto me like we were in a demolition derby.

Thankfully, no injuries.

We had a great time (especially once we started following the rules), and enjoyed being able to sled while the temps climbed into the lower 60s. It was so much fun hearing Wifey Poo’s joyful screams as we picked up speed down the hill. I wonder what 4-year-old me would have thought of that pace? Video to come!

9. Tim Allen comedy show, March 4

Did you know Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor hates kids? Well, maybe Tim The Tool Man didn’t, but the actor who portrayed him does. This, despite convincingly playing the role of a loving father on a sitcom from my younger years and the movie The Santa Clause, which actually wasn’t half bad. I guess that’s why they call it “acting.”

I learned this fact and more with Wifey Poo on our Friday night date to Stifel Theater to see Tim Allen do what he says was his first passion and his dream job — standup comedy. And it was … OK. I mean, the company was great. Wifey Poo and I have had a long week. I haven’t been sleeping well (hello insomnia, my old friend), so I’m hanging’ by some loose threads. Getting out with Wifey Poo for some laughs was just what the doctor ordered.

It’s just that … Tim Allen is kind of a dick. I mean, I get that it’s his shtick to be a right-leaning angry aging white guy, and trust me, that plays well here in the red state of Missourah. It’s just not my jam these days. So was I glad I went? Yes. Would we go to see him again? No. Would I recommend him to others? If you voted for Trump, sure.

That being said, there is nothing better than hearing Wifey Poo laughing with abandon, and there were moments like that tonight, especially with Tim’s opening act, Lowell Sanders. (Him, I’d go see again.). Hearing her simple, free joy makes life better.

10. Ikea, March 9

My knowledge of the Swedes is somewhat limited. I know of Swedish fish (yuck) and Swedish women (no comment). I know that, one time, farting fish in Swedish waters nearly led to a nuclear holocaust. But prior to Wednesday night, I knew nothing of Sweden’s best export to America, the Great Cathedral of Ikea.

Wifey Poo and I met for a quick dinner at a place called Poke Doke, which we’re still unsure of whether it’s pronounced “Pokey Dokey” or like “Poke you in the eye” with a “Doke” thrown on the end. Nevertheless, the food was good and we arrived at Ikea an hour and a half before its closing time.

Keep in mind, I haven’t spent an hour and a half in any one store in … well, forever. Even my Amazing Adventures At Costco rarely exceed 60 minutes. But as we traversed the marked walkway, the departure from which would undoubtedly land a person in a Swedish dark site, I realized we needed much more time than we had.

It was fun wandering the store and seeing all the possibilities for different rooms in our house. It even spawned the idea of creating a private workspace for Wifey Poo in our lower level, though the more we talked about it as we walked the 527 miles through the first eighth of the store, the more we realized that plan needs a little more development before we consider implementation.

The one thing we wanted — shelves for Boy The Younger’s bedroom — we found in the display but, of course, when we went to the warehouse section three ZIP codes away, none were left. Thanks Covid. Or Biden. Or Trump. Or Carter. Or Lincoln.

So what did we leave with? Well, I left with my beautiful bride — and new knowledge that Swedes are pretty ardent in sticking with their language. I saw a nice set of coffee cups, which, of course, were not labeled as coffee cups. They were Svardkinfrecken, or something like that. A storage box was tagged with an exotic moniker that made it sound so much more impressive than a cheap cube. I’m wondering if those words are actual Swedish translations for “coffee cup” and “storage box,” of if they’re things like “You idiot Americans will buy anything if it sounds foreign.” See also, Saab.

We also left with plans to return again so we can take our time. We’ve penciled in 12 hours in May. That should get us through the first half.

11. Seven, March 19

Wifey Poo and I have a poster of 100 movies you must see before you die. Frankly, I could probably die without seeing some of them and be OK, but we knocked Fight Club of the list earlier this year and so we took on the 1995 crime thriller Seven, or, less clearly, Se7en, for this date.

The movie is right up Wifey Poo’s alley. She has something of an obsession with murder. Murder podcasts. Murder documentaries. Less appealing to her than those are fictional murder movies. She much prefers true crime. But this film of a psycho killer torturing and killing people in homage to the seven deadly sins thrilled her nonetheless.

I enjoyed it immensely too. Brad Pitt is a fantastic actor, and Morgan Freeman is similarly great in this film. That final scene with the box delivered out in the desert? Man, if you haven’t seen it or want to see how to build suspense well, watch it!

12. Iowa Wild, March 25

Dates don’t always happen close to home. Wifey Poo and I escaped to Iowa for the weekend, back to the town where we met, Des Moines — home of Drake University. The first stop was an Iowa Wild hockey game. They’re the minor league affiliate for the Minnesota Wild, and they didn’t exist when Wifey Poo and I were in college. We got the arena just in time for faceoff, there were three fights in the first period and the home team came away with a victory in overtime. Nice.

12. Roseman covered bridge, March 27

Before heading back to Missourah, we stopped at the place I asked Wifey Poo to marry me, Roseman Bridge, which was featured prominently in The Bridges of Madison County. Back in September 1995, I organized a scavenger hunt for Wifey Poo to follow all across Des Moines, each clue leading to another place that had some meaning for us. It all led to a friend of hers blindfolding her and driving her down to Roseman Bridge. I pulled up in a limo (fancy schmancy!), and when she took the blindfold off, there I was. I got down on one knee and asked her if she’d be my wife. It was amazing being back there all these years later, finding the exact spot where I’d knelt and asked for her hand. This type of certainty comes but once in a lifetime.

13. The Batman, April 6

It is no secret that I have a problem with The Batman. More specifically, I have a serious obsession with The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker. In general, I’m not big into the superhero genre, but I’m a huge fan of smart cinematography. The Batman didn’t disappoint. Great story. I’m fine with the new Batman, though he’s a more convincing Caped Crusader than he is Bruce Wayne. The Riddler as an outright psychopath was well done. Wifey Poo and I got in cheap because it was a Wednesday ($15 for the two of us!) and our popcorn was free because I evidently had some pre-pandemic reward points saved up. Booyah.

14. Adventure Journal, April 16

Back in the early 1900s, a man who would go on to be called “Cadillac” Bill Elsberry decided he wanted to give up farming and do something more lucrative. So he started trading farm goods for car parts and built off=market Cadillacs (hence, the nickname). He wasn’t too successful at first. But then a man by the name of Abraham “A.J.” James decided he was tired of working for the car factory in Detroit and came down to Missourah, we he ran into Cadillac Bill. Suddenly, Bill was able to put together better cars and make more money. Enter Barbara Pickles who, despite the name, did nothing with altered cucumbers. Rather, she made some BOSS strawberry jam. Well, when people tried that jam, they gave whatever car parts they could in trade. Suddenly, people started to flock to what had been this nothing town that would become Elsberry, Missouri, and Cadillac Bill went on to great success — until the folks from Cadillac caught wind of his shenanigans and dispatched a band of hired guns to shut down his operation. There was a big shoot-out in the streets, and Cadillac Bill, AJ and Barbara Pickles were all killed. Today, they are hardly talked about, though there are restaurants in what is now Elsberry that bear the names of the three.

Well, at least that’s my version of the history of the city of Elsberry, a tiny almost-on-the-river town Wifey Poo and I ventured to after scratching off a square in the Adventure Journal. This book has a whole bunch of date ideas. By scratching off an area to reveal an idea, you commit to doing what’s underneath. This square told us to go to a small town at least 15 miles away, eat at a local restaurant and then go to a park to make up a backstory about how the place came to be.

We ate at a Tex-Mex place called “AJ’s,” which I’m pretty sure isn’t in relation to Abraham James (who may or may not have ever existed) but does serve some good brisket. Then we went to a park right out front of Pickles Florist, which, apparently, also serves food when it’s open, which it wasn’t today. Pickles is just down the road from another restaurant, Cadillac Bill’s.

And that’s how John’s history of Elsberry, Missouri, was born.

15. Talking, April 20

So this was supposed to be “dinner and the casino,” but we never got past dinner. We went to Hendrick’s, a good BBQ joint in St. Charles’ Old Towne district. Three hours later, we decided to just go home. Married folks … you ever have one of those conversations in which a lot of stuff that’s needed to be talked about finally is talked about and it’s amazingly refreshing? That was this date. That Wifey Poo and I are able to face the things we face in our day-to-day and come together to figure out the big-picture stuff that makes our marriage stronger is part of the reason we work. When we are together, no team is better.

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Luchasaurus— June 16, 2022

🧩 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…

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Relieved of Duty — June 15, 2022

🧩 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,…

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Matt Damon — June 14, 2022

🧩 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…

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STD Insurance — June 12, 2022

🧩 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…

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Stupid Chicken — June 10, 2022

🧩 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…

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Golf Wars — June 9, 2022

🧩 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…

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Buzz Off — June 8, 2022

🧩 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…

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Chicken-Sitter — June 6, 2022

🧩 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…

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Crypto Candidates — June 5, 2022

🧩 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…

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Snark News — June 4, 2022

🧩 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…

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Promises — June 3, 2022

🧩 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…

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Suits — June 1, 2022

🧩 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…

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Blister in the Sun — May 30, 2022

🧩 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…

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The Indy — May 29, 2022

🧩 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…

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Ambulance Chaser — May 27, 2022

🧩 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…

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Rubber Snakes — May 26, 2022

🧩 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…

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Texas Tragedy — May 25, 2022

🧩 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…

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Sandwich Artist — May 24, 2022

🧩 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…

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One-Piano Family — May 22, 2022

🧩 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…

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Knowing — May 21, 2022

🧩 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,…

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Grandpa — May 17, 2022

🧩 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…

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Study Abroad — May 15, 2022

🧩 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…

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Family — May 13, 2022

🧩 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…

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Heat Wave — May 12, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And has…

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Wherever You Go … — May 10, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Friends😔What To Do?🙋Creepy Dolls 🎎 Yesterday was a rough day. It’s one thing to be a person with essentially no friends. It’s another thing altogether to not be friends with yourself. That’s where I was yesterday — all up in my head and imagining the worst was about to happen in…

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Gambling — May 8, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Losing Money 🥊The Best F’N Mom Ever👩Heat 🥵 Wifey Poo and I took our weekly date Saturday and went to the city made famous in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie: East St. Louis. No, East St. Louis isn’t in Missouri and no, it’s not a popular data destination, but what…

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Relentlessness — May 5, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One Long Sentence 🖊️Birthday Boy🎂Wine & Chocolate 🍷🍫 I remember being a kid and wanting to be an adult. I wanted to drive and have a girlfriend and be able to do whatever it was that I wanted to do, not what someone else said I should do. And now, here…

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Monday Things — May 2, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beat…

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The Power of Baseball — May 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone from…

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Johnny Depp and Libel — April 29, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Truth ⚖️The Poor Man’s Chipotle🌮Jokes 🤣 Anyone else get sucked in by the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial? I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I did. This is extremely odd because Hollywood culture and all things pop culture in general annoy the crap about of me. There’s just something about…

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Baseball, Brawls and Booze — April 28, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What A Game ⚾Brain Power 🧠Stupid People 🤣 The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi spent much of the day yesterday inside a luxury suite at Busch Stadium, as the Cardinals took on the New York Mets. The game had a little bit of everything —…

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Where Are My Pants? — April 27, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shanghai Surprise 👖Baseball Game ⚾Lawyer Joke😜 On March 27, I ordered some pants. I fully admit I went through Indochino because of its ads on The Tony Kornheiser Show podcast. Marketing works, folks. I’d ordered two custom-made pairs (not pair, Michael) before, and they are great. So I added some khakis…

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Earth Day and Marriage — April 22, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Marketing Earth Day 🌎Lifeshit 💩Mawwiage 🪢 Happy Earth Day. I love that we celebrate a planet that demonstrates in so many ways how much it doesn’t like us. Today, The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi is doing a highway cleanup project, so I’ll be on…

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The Boy Playing Baseball — April 20, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 A Humbling Sport⚾A Kick-Ass Trophy🐴Punk ⛓️ Happy 4/20. This edition of A Puzzle Known As Life is delivered in an edible format, and you’ll feel the effects of all the awesome in about 45 minutes. Enjoy. Boy The Younger had a baseball game last night. It was a cold, windy…

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It’s the End of the World As We Know It — April 19, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Why We Suck🤡No Finishing Power🔚McReally? 🍔 The world is dumb, and America is the leading idiot. I don’t reach this conclusion with any sort of glee. It’s simply what I see. Societies hold together because of three things. Shared stories Strong institutions Social networks that engender trust. The past 10…

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List Item Achieved! #43: Play ball!

I am not good at fantasy sports. This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have been a religious follower of statistics since I was, like, 5. My father would bring the newspaper home from NYC and I’d pour through the sports section to see who did what in the previous night’s baseball games. I…

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Welcome Back, Swagger

There was a time in my life when I had swagger. I was never the most popular or athletic kid in school, but for a while there, I was a really good baseball player. I could hit. I could field. And, boy, could I pitch. Some of the most “over” kids in high school would…

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List Item Achieved! #24: Music

I am my music. I don’t know how much simpler to define me than to say that if you want to know who and where I am at a particular moment, check my “recents” in Amazon Music. Music has always been a big thing with me. I understand it now, but I didn’t understand as…

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List Item Achieved! #40: Cheers!

I have a complicated history with alcohol. So stupid and naive was I that I it wasn’t until I was 8 years old that I learned a woman could drink beer. I mean, I actually believed beer was not something women were allowed to drink, or maybe it was that I thought that if they…

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List Item Achieved! #90: Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid

It seems to me that a lot of things are easier these days. For example, I think it’s much easier to be a police detective now than, say, back in the 1960s-90s, when my uncle/godfather worked in Spanish Harlem. There are databases for everything from fingerprints to photos to DNA, and every block in the…

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List Items Update! January in Review

Ahh, January 2022, the month that will be remembered as the one in which, despite being vaxed and boosted, that little bitch Covid came to live with me again and as a month that lasted approximately 758 years. Yet despite its general assholeyness and inexplicable length, I managed to actually cross off very few items…

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List Items Update: The ‘In-Progress’ Stuff

I saw yesterday a post on Facebook in which the poster asked, “Is it just me or does it seem like the days are getting longer? I’m not sure what’s happening, but it sure seems like it.” I paused, thinking that it might be a joke before realizing that, no, this poster, a 40-something professional…

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List Item Achieved! #42: Bowlin’

ACCOMPLISHED No. 42: Create a college football bowl pool with a traveling trophy Sports bring people together. Of course, they also tear people apart. Look no further than the idiots supporting opposing teams in football stadiums who end up in alcohol-fueled brawls. But forget about that for a second. As I was saying, sports bring…

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List Item Achieved! #64: Lumosity

ACCOMPLISHED No. 64: Get into (and stay) in the 99th percentile on Lumosity Back when Longhaul COVID was effectively killing me and sapping my will to live, I went to a neuropsychiatrist, which is essentially a dude who studies the results of the brain’s functioning. I’ve had at least five concussions in my life, which…

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Changing Course — Jan. 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Voices In My Head 🎤‘Puzzle Pieces’ Origin Story 🎬A New Direction 🧭 I spent much of the past year with my writing trying to find a distinct voice. I dabbled in characters and tried to give each his or her own style. There was Q.F. Conseco, the free-spirited former Hippie…

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Reflections — Dec. 31, 2021

In a few hours, this revolution around the sun will be complete and a new one will begin. Unless something unexpected happens, I will have made it out alive. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But when I look back at the year that was, I feel I’m justified in counting it as a victory that I’m alive and…

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Disturbing Duck Fact — Dec. 23, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creepy Mail 📪License Plate Strategy 🚗Donald Dick, Err, Duck 🦆 Wifey Poo received a piece of mail recently from a company that looks to buy your car. It was astoundingly bad marketing. The first sentence read, “According to our records, it looks as if you’re driving a VEHICLE.” First of all,…

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Balloons — Dec. 21, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Sad Dad Club 💔A Toast 🥃🥃Done Writing? 🖊️ It took me less than 24 hours as a part of the Dad Whose Child Died Club to learn that membership came with a myriad of uncomfortable situations. It was the day after Jacob (AKA Boy The Eldest) was born and died,…

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‘The Plan’ — Dec. 20, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Plague Life 😷The Real Plan 😭A Hilarious Obituary 🤣☠️ Does it ever randomly smack you in the face that we’re living through a historic freaking pandemic? Are you ever going about what you might fool yourself into believing is your Before Times life and then suddenly something jolts you out of…

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Thinking of Kix — Dec. 18, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kix 👶Greg 🐟The First iPhone 📱 Life has a way of kicking you in the balls when you least expect it. Wifey Poo and I were cleaning up our lower level today and trying to get all of our crap that was put against the wall in the back by the…

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Battling Bowser — Dec. 14, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Christmas Video 🎥Fighting The Big Boss 🥊Roland The Farter 🍑💨 I spent much of the day making a video for my job with The Allen Brake Team. I shot the footage a few weeks ago, and today was the day to identify the clips to actually use, assemble them, find the…

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Digital Detox Day — Dec. 12, 2021

🧩 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…

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In-Law Family Christmas — Dec. 11, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Trombones are Loud 🎺Birds Aren’t Real 🐦Death to Gymnastic Judges 🤸 Top 5 things that happened at In-Law Family Christmas, held at our humble country home, today. The realization that the mass of youngins has gotten so large now that our little babies have grown up to various new stages that…

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Tornado Sirens — Dec. 10, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hey There, Dorothy 🌪️Christmas Hurts 🎄Bye-Bye, Checks and Balances ✔️⚖️ If you’re ever in need of some entertainment, might I suggest being in a church with a bunch of homeschool parents when tornado sirens go off? That’s where I found myself tonight, accompanied by Boy The Younger at a spring track…

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‘When Crazy Comes Knockin’ ‘ — Dec. 9, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Crash 🚗Video Day 🎞️Five No. 2s!? 💩 The Core 4 is headed out on a winter vacation to Memphis and New Orleans soon. The plan was to rent a vehicle through, which is kinda like an Airbnb for cars. I had a quality vehicle picked out and reserved, one…

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What the Hell is on My Shirt? — Dec. 8, 2021

🧩 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,…

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Wifey Poo, The State Champ? — Dec. 7, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball God(ess) ⚾Alice in Chains 🎸What About the Golfers!? 🏌🏽‍♂️ To say that baseball was my life when I was a kid is an understatement. I watched it as much as the scant channels we had at home would allow — the Yankees were on Channel 11 WPIX and the (ugh)…

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Off — Dec. 6, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Detached 💭Intentions for a New Year 📆Red is Deadly 😷 Today sucked. The problem is, I don’t really know what the hell happened. I woke up just after 6, later than I have been recently, and I felt so significantly off that I truly don’t remember much of the first 45…

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One Hundred Intentions for 2022

Circles are interesting things. They have no beginning and no end. They just keep going around and around and around. And yet we set Jan. 1 as the day to mark the start of our journey around the sun, a journey we measure so incredibly poorly that we have to add an entire extra day…

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Bumper Car Aggression — Dec. 4, 2021

🧩 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…

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The Song of the Year is What? — Dec. 3, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top Songs of 2021 🎶Where’s the Snow? ❄️Thunder Struck ⛈️🏀 Because I didn’t already feel incredibly old and out of touch, I looked at the list of top 100 songs from 2021. It wasn’t until song No. 65 that I even thought I knew one of the songs, “Go Your Own…

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Death to the Elf — Dec. 2, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Redemption 😊Spice-Lovin’ Tree Shrew 🌶️Mark The Freaking Elf 🧝 I spent the morning in a hotel conference room down in STL learning from a man named Jeff Glover about 21 ways to get 21 listing of homes to sell. Glover is a big fish in the real estate industry. He runs…

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United States of Inefficiency — Dec. 1, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Maria and The Chickens 🐔Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪Bloody Gift 🩸🎁 I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my work…

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Return to the Dungeon — Nov. 30, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Paul 🧙‍♂️Slowest Speeder Ever 🐢Another School Shooting 🏫🔫 I found myself tonight in a dark jail cell surrounded by four zombies, some kind of wizard, and my son. This is not what I expected for my Tuesday evening. After a months-long absence, I returned tonight to the Dungeons & Dragons game…

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Let’s Talk Syrup — Nov. 29, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Canadian Oil 🍁Freaking Covid 😷Namaste, Yo 🧘🏿 Monday started out with the news that the Bosslady has Covid. This whole “living through The Great Plague” thing somehow has been incorporated into our lives to the point where we don’t really even realize that thousands of people are dying from it daily.…

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Internet Outage Dispatch — Nov. 28, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Disconnected 🔌Worst Mom Ever 🦘Death to Autoplay 💀 Internet outage, Day 2. I’m sending this message via carrier pigeon. Or maybe it’s just some bird I caught with my greasy-fast speed. Things are looking bleak. We’ve been without internet service for more than 24 hours now. The weather outside is cold,…

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Tree Haulin’ — Nov. 26, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Family Rituals 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦The Grinch Rocks ❤️Churros and Poke Bowls 🤤 It’s interesting to think about how family rituals actually become family rituals. There are some that are very intentional. You had something done for you as a child, so you do the same thing for your kid. Others just sort of…

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Pie Tweaker — Nov. 25, 2021

🧩 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…

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Don’t Touch Armadillos — Nov. 24, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Coffee With Wifey ☕👱‍♀️Armadillo Lepers 😳Choice Cigar 🚬 To say Wifey Poo and I have been through some shit is an understatement. When we said “I do” back in March of 1997 as freaking twenty-two-year-olds (!!!!), neither of us had a clue how challenging the “or for worse” part of a…

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Boy The Singer, Nov. 23, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Self-Teaching 👨‍🏫Beer Flood 🍺🌊Space Mission 🚀 When I left the newspaper industry in 2009, I knew how to write, take decent photos, design pages and copy edit. I landed a job in which the mandate was, “Go make our communications program better,” something I’d assured those who interviewed me I knew…

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The Costco Plaid Mafia — Nov. 20, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beard Trim 🧔🏽Grunge Shopping 🛒Funny Animals 🐒 When you find yourself with a straight razor poised a millimeter from your neck, you realize this is probably what was going on when the Almighty said “Be still and know that I am God.” I found myself in this situation this morning, in…

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Family Matters — Nov. 19, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo’s Laughter 🤣Expensive Turkey 🦃🍗My Boys 👨‍👦 Walking back to my car last night from The Funny Bone comedy club in St. Charles, I got to thinking. This comes as a surprise to no one who knows me (not many people, as I’ve recently discussed) and no one who reads…

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Wine & Chocolate — Nov. 18, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drinking on the Job 🍷The Land of the Giants 🏀Joseph McCarthy Returns 🏴 It the past week, my job has taken me from a chocolate factory to a wine bar — all in the name of business, of course. Last week, Big Bosslady and I visited Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate, which is…

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Who Needs Medical School? — Nov. 17, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Itchy Foot 🦶Pay Cuts ❌💰The Best Pen Ever 🖊️ Wifey Poo woke up around 4 a.m. itching, itching, itching her recently repaired foot. Underneath the Ace bandage and the gauze and the padding to keep it safe, she’s got a rash of some sort, and the foot is swollen. Doc says…

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Warm November Day — Nov. 16, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Warm November 🌡️The Jaguar People 🐆Squid Game 🦑 I’ll take a 70 degree day in the middle of November, thank you very much. I spent part of my workday on my back deck doing the things I do for my real estate team — social media ads, flyers to promote open…

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Happy Covidaversary To Me — Nov. 15, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Year of Hell 😷Where’s Ben? 💔Profiting From Pollution 🏭 Happy Covidaversary to me. On this day one year ago, I had a Q-tip shoved up my nose to confirm what I already knew. Wifey Poo’s sister had been diagnosed with it. Wifey Poo’s mother had been diagnosed with it. Wifey…

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Big Buck — Nov. 14, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oh Deer 🦌The Thought Gap 🧠Unplugged 🔌 I was sitting in my as-yet-to-be-named home office this morning when this big boy ☝️☝️☝️ walked out of the woods into my yard. It’s the opening day of deer season in Missourah, a day of significance for many local inhabitants on par with their…

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Homeschool Stuff — Nov. 13, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Picnic in November 🥶Happy Wife 👩Pour-Over Coffee ☕ Scheduling a picnic outside in Missouri in November seemed to me to be a very gutsy call. That’s until I stopped to realize who was scheduling it — Boy The Younger’s cross country team. These folks run everywhere, and, thus, I assume are…

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Huckleberry Hoops– Nov. 12, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hoops at Twain’s House 🏀Lunch With The Big Bosslady 🥪Breaking Up Is Efficient 💔 After a long week of work, I traveled north this evening with Boy The Younger for his second hoops game of the season. I missed the first because of an early start time, but this one was…

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Toys in the Hall — Nov. 11, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gross Photos 📷Sand? Sand!? ⏳Sleeping With Cheese 🛏️🧀 I had major ankle surgery back in 2008 to essentially reconstruct my left foot, which had a nasty propensity to roll over without the rest of my leg accompanying it on the journey. After a four-hour operation and two weeks, I went back…

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Absolut Curly? — Nov. 10, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.…

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Inventor Regret — Nov. 9, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?…

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Sloth Talk — Nov. 8, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they live…

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Early Morning Gaming? — Nov. 7, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee and…

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Adventures in Costco – Nov. 6, 2021

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV that…

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