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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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩I’m An Alien 👽Political Ads 💸Bumper Sticker😊 I have lied to my children from the day they were born. I’m not just talking about the typical Santa/Tooth Fairy bullshit. I’m talking about things like, well … for example … I had Boy The Elder convinced that I once was a QB…

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Bear Invasion — Sept. 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Magic Bear Kingdom🐻Cash For Prisoners 💸Anti-Depression Tips 😊 A bear snuck into the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World yesterday, prompting the closure of numerous rides and attractions while Florida Fish & Wildlife officers looked for it. Seems to me that the first place to look would have been the Country…

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Innocent in Prison — Sept. 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bail 💸Walk-off ⚾Under Pressure🧯 Most red-blooded Muricans who hear there’s a nation incarcerating hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians for lengthy periods of time without a trial or means to be free would say said nation should get a good hard dose of Murican democracy landing on its shores. Thankfully, it’ll…

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Big Feelings — Sept. 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reaching Out 🤙Go Big, Texas 📕🔥🔥🔥JFK Theory🔫 I’ve had big feelings all my life. I didn’t know until I was in my early 40s that this and a bunch of other “big” things I thought everyone experienced were actually only part of the lives of very few. Welcome to the empath…

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Swift and Stupid — Sept. 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dumb Newspapers 🗞️Dumb Politician 🗳️Dumb Soda Decision🥤 I was a newspaper man when it was stunningly common for leadership to do extremely stupid things. For example, I sat in meetings where our company’s higher-ups talked glowingly about the massive, multimillion dollar printing plant it was building at the exact same time…

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Sad Songs — Sept. 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Minor Issue ♭Never Forget Bet 🤑Surge 🍺 Songs are sadder these days. At least, that’s according to an analysis of the Billboard Hot 100 list. Half are in a minor key — i.e. sad — up from roughly 30 percent at the turn of the 21st century and 15 percent from…

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Thirsty AI — Sept. 11, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glug Glug Glug 🌊9/11 Farce 💣Men Behaving Badly🤦 I’m pretty sure artificial intelligence is going to spell the end of society as we know it. It just might not have been in the way I first thought. According to a study by researcher Shaolei Ren (not related to Kylo, to the…

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Bitter Batteries — Sept. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Swallow That 🔋Hamster Ball🐹Judging Google🧑‍⚖️ Modern-day Muricah is set up for the lowest common denominator. We are a dumb nation full of morons who do dumb things, and because of that, capitalism responds with dumb products. Don’t believe me? I give you this: I get that kids will put just about…

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Waschbärenproblem — Sept. 9, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drunk, Horny Raccoons 🦝Influencer B.S.🎙️Fall 🍁 Germany has a raccoon problem, and it’s all Hitler’s fault. This, I learned after seeing an article about how beer-drunk raccoons were killing pets, breaking into homes and generally being bastards in the Motherland. Which got me wondering: Why does Germany have raccoons? Turns out…

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Lazy — Sept. 8, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Montenegroans 🛏️Cave Conundrum 🩸Urinal reading 🚽 For more than 20 days now, people in Montenegro, which I hear is a country, have been lying down and doing nothing. This is news. As of this writing, seven contestants remain in a competition to crown Montenegro’s Laziest Citizen. The grand prize is the…

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Shit Happens — Sept. 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poop Problem 💩Airbnb Problem 🧑‍⚖️Oil Problem 🚙 I want to go to Spain. I want to eat tapas in Barcelona and talk with a lisp and have a grand vacation. But I don’t want it so bad that I would have wanted to be on a Delta flight that left Atlanta…

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OnlyMoney— Sept. 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Bank💰Second Glance 👀Life 🎲 The owner of OnlyFans, Leonid Radvinsky, earned more than $338 million in dividends last year, according to a financial statement obtained by People. That’s more than $1.3 million per working day based on the 20% the site keeps from women, who, among other things, let users…

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McBullshit — Sept. 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ice Cream Problem🍦GOP Clarence🧑🏿‍⚖️Corn 🌽 At one point yesterday, more than 12% of all the ice-cream machines in McDonald’s were reported broken. I know that because the interwebs are amazing. So infamous are these machines for not doing the only thing they are here to do that some brilliant soul made…

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Bump, Set, Spike — Aug. 31, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Nebraska Volleyball 🏐Zombie Mitch 🧟Opening Day L ⚾ My first beat as a freshman college sports reporter for Drake University’s newspaper, The Times-Delphic, was the women’s volleyball team. The largest crowd I ever saw at one of their games was around 11. Last night, the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers set a…

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AI Sportswriters — Aug. 30, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Newspapers Suck 📰Tomato Chuckin’ 🍅Sad Anniversary 😔 Dignity was hard to come by in the newspaper industry back when I left it in 2009, and it hasn’t gotten any better. Sportswriters in the Evil Empire Gannett chain had to endure watching artificial intelligence attempt to cover an Ohio high school football…

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Coffee Concrete — Aug. 27, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grounds for Strength ☕Improved Eyesight 🤓No Phones 📴 Based on my own actions, I am not an environmentalist. This isn’t to suggest I don’t care about the environment. I do. But that doesn’t mean I go out of my way to recycle or channel my inner Greta Thunberg when making daily…

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Funk, Bray, ‘Taker — Aug. 26, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Deadman Speaks 🪦NCAA Sucks 🏈Safe Cities 🏢 I became aware of professional wrestling shortly after Wrestlemania I, which took place in March 1985. My parentals smartened me up immediately, letting me know the spike Road Warrior Animal was driving into Dusty Rhodes’ eye was not, in fact, being done out…

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Sick Day — Aug. 24, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Why You’re Off 😷Meat 🍖Bad Flight ✈️🔥 “Sorry, boss. Can’t make it in *coughcough* today. I’m *sneezebarfsound* sick.” Today is Aug. 24, the most popular day of the year for employees to call out sick, according to a survey by PTO management software company Flamingo. At first, I couldn’t figure out…

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Car Troubles — Aug. 22, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Auto Prices🚗Heat Ball ☀️⚾Country Music 🪕 We are stupid country inhabited by stupid people. This, I have believed for a long time, and data continues to prove me right. A year or so ago, I wrote about the Seven Steps to the Dawn of Dystopia. In that, I laid out a…

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Pig Kidney — Aug. 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oink🐖Jaws 2X 🦈🦈Practice Dinger ⚾ A pig kidney implanted into a human is still working after a month. In a big step toward using animals to help ease the shortage of donated organs, the surgical team at NYU Langone that transplanted a genetically modified pig kidney into a brain-dead man (with his…

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Doctor Day — Aug. 16, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dr. Spezia✋Hawk-Snake-Woman 🦅🐍👩Opening Lines 📣 Today I get to go to the Advanced Bone & Joint office in St. Peters to have my increasingly numb left hand examined. Side note before we continue: St. Peters is the most Missourah of Missourah town names. If it’s more than out Saint Peters, it…

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Hello, COVID — Aug. 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩COVID 🖕Vroom 🏎️Gong 🤌 Wifey Poo awoke yesterday morning and had a stuffy nose and scratchy throat. We went about our days, me going to my job and her doing a variety of shuttling for children. When we met back up at our home, she still had a stuffy nose and…

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Spreadsheets — Aug. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fuck Excel 🖕Toilet Talk 🚽Baseball = Life ⚾ I was around 8-years-old when my father taught me the precursor to Microsoft Excel. It was a database program called Lotus 1-2-3 in which you could enter information into cells with formulas to speed results. Then, he was showing me how to create…

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Jesus Christ, That Hurts! — Aug. 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’I’m a Christian’⛪Numb Fingers ✌️Nuclear Propaganda 💣 Here’s something of a trend I’ve noticed: The more someone professes their adherence to Christianity in non-spiritual settings, the more likely you are to have to dig their knife out of your back. Currently wiggling one free from a “Christian” baseball coach whose actions…

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Pool Poop — Aug. 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wifey Poo Birthday🎂Indictment Punch Card 🦹🏼Trade Deadline ⚾ Not gonna lie to you folks: Coming back to this whole writing-personal-stuff thing feels a little bit like getting back in the pool on a hot summer day after it had been cleared because the weird kid shit in it and they needed…

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Hello Again — Aug. 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Return to Writing ✍️Fuck Work 🖕Ghostly 👻 I’m back! “Wait. You were gone?” Yes, I was gone! Dumbass. Didn’t you read my awesome “Goodbye” post from mid-June? “Um, no.” Well that was part of the point! No one reads this shit. So why write it? “Quick question then?” Sure. Fire away.…

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Goodbye — June 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Farewell When I started this section of my website, where I’d write a whole bunch of creative and also personal things, I was a very different person than I am today. In so, so many ways, I was a shattered human being. I’d just gone through an extremely challenging time in…

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The Moment — June 11, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heavy Weight 🏋️Saving Seats 💔Five Stories 🖊️ There’s this one Moment every morning in which everything comes back. Maybe you have a Moment too. Sometimes, that distance between the return of consciousness and the Moment is minutes or, in extremely rare cases, hours. More often than not, the Moment comes within…

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Not Writing — June 9, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drained Energy 🪫Saving Seats 💺Right Again ✅ Honestly, I don’t feel like writing. To anyone who reads my stuff regularly on here, and I really don’t think there’s more than one or two of you, you might be aware that I haven’t felt like writing for much of the past month.…

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Safe at First — May 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Leg Pain 😧Graduation 🎓Orca Attacks ⛵ There was a precise moment on Saturday as I was moving this broken down, underused, untended nearly 49-year-old body down the first base line of a baseball field at McNair Park in St. Charles, Missourah, that I realized I was in trouble. I was lookin’…

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Whiskey and Cigars — May 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Porch Talk 🥃Jacket and Tie 👔Strep 🤒 I find great comfort and relaxation in sipping a glass of good bourbon or whiskey while smoking an equally good cigar. Add a beautiful night, a screened-in porch and some good company who wants to be there, and I’m in heaven. Tuesday evening, that…

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Religious Exodus — May 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jesus Wept 😥Good Mom, Bad Mom 👩Baseball Success ⚾ In 1990, just 7 percent of Muricans considered themselves non-religious. Today, that number has quadrupled. Depending on whom you ask, this is either a sign of our descent into earthly hell or a great awakening to the sins of the institution most…

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Slog — May 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Life Right Now 😥Classmate’s Death 😥TUP 😠 I long ago lost any semblance of the notion that life could be easy. To the best of my recollection, this shattering of innocence occurred for good somewhere in the third grade, when I was dealt my first really shitty teacher (I imagine Mrs.…

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Sad vs. Depressed — May 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Scratchy Sweater 😥Birthday Boy 🎂Fucking Facebook 😠 I think there’s a big difference between being depressed and being sad. And I think I’m qualified to talk about that difference because I’ve been both. Some say that depression is sadness that lasts, which I think discounts the true power of sadness. True…

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Porn — May 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩One in Two? ✌️Isolation 😥Really, HR? 😠 OK ladies, look to your left. Now look to your right. If you’re flanked by two men, one of them likely has been on Pornhub today. I used math today to figure that out. (Proud of me, aren’t ya, Wifey Poo?) I read a…

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Iowa Visit — May 2, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Relays Weekend 🏃‍♀️Janelle 🤗No Steve 😥 Want to experience something trippy without the benefit of hallucinogens? Return to the place you met your spouse more than 30 years ago with your 20-year-old and 13-year-old sons. The Core Four took a long weekend minus My Favorite African, who was wonderfully cared for…

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Listening Right — April 25, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Drive to Work 🚗Drive to Home 🚗Broken System 💔 I was thinking a lot on the drive to work this morning, which isn’t necessarily anything new. I think a lot, well, a lot. Long drives are usually prime time for me to tap into my intuition and listen to what’s being…

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Baseball Bookend — April 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sweet Single ⚾Car Delivery 🚗Back/Neck Fixers💆‍♂️ On the one-year anniversary of that time a jackass piece of crap Little League “coach” did the most un-adultlike thing I have ever seen, Boy The Younger took the field for his new team in the spring’s first tournament. He batted second and started at…

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3:32 a.m. Thoughts — April 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Garbage Can 🗑️Food Insecurity 🍲Poop Smell 💩 The level of significance of a particular task varies based on the time of day. This is something I realized this morning when I hauled my ass out of bed at 5:09 a.m. because of a thought that popped into my brain at 3:32…

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Living — April 19, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alive vs. Living 😔Dental Thoughts 🦷Pronouns 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 I am 48 years old, and I realized something today: I have no idea how to live life. This isn’t to suggest I don’t know how to stay alive. I’m OK at that. But the finer points of relationships and communication and working my…

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Team Thanos — April 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Awww, Snap 😏Office Flood 🌊Potty Mouth 🚽 Boy The Younger is like his old man in a lot of ways. One is that, if we experience something cool, we have a pathological need to have others experience its awesomeness as well. It wounds my soul when I share my music or…

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Falling Down — April 17, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fuck Carvana 🚗Stupid Tooth 🦷Cave Woman 😠 I am a huge fan of the 1993 movie Falling Down. The movie stars Michael Douglas. Interesting side note: I once umpired a Little League baseball game for his son and called him out on strikes, which led to a crying temper tantrum. His,…

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Toxic Positivity — April 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stop Being So (Fake) Happy 😊The Better Choice ✔️Checkmate, Motherfucker ♛ I’m not exactly what anyone would call an optimist. Perhaps it’s because I see the world too clearly these days to think that we’re headed anywhere close to the right direction. Some would call me a pessimist, and I’m OK…

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Nickname Need — April 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Brown Stockings ⚾I’m A Dentist 🦷Quick Hitters 🐅🦎 If all had gone according to plan, I’d be well into retirement and diving into my money Scrooge McDuck-style after a success career pitching for the New York Yankees. Alas, I’m sitting at my desk in Maryland Heights, Missourah, munching on carrot sticks…

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Dental Malpractice — April 5, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Crowned 👑MFA Moment 😥AI Danger 💻 I remember as a kid getting a filling and hearing that it was real silver being put in my mouth. I figured if times ever really got tough, I could just yank out my tooth, melt the filling and buy food. Yes, these were thoughts…

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Not Snot — April 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Nose Woes 👃African in School 🚌Trumpster Fire 👮 The human body has a way of keeping us humble, especially as we get older. We lose hair where we want it and grow it in abundance where we don’t, we produce ear wax and eye boogers, and 99% of us should never…

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WTF is a Tiguan? — April 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tiger-Iguana 🐅🦎Cornhole Crushing 🌽Poison M&Ms ☠️ The first time I saw a commercial for the Volkswagen Tiguan, I thought it was a parody. As a marketing guy, I couldn’t fathom how an entire department of highly paid professionals could sit down at a table and decide the best name for a…

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The Difficult Thing — April 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Closing the Door 🚪Car Shopping🚙Fake Kid-Hater 🧒 Over the course of my life, I’ve gotten used to doing the difficult thing. This often hasn’t been by choice, and it’s never been easy. It’s simply what I’ve had to do. Whether it was facing a pregnancy in which we knew our child…

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African Arrival — March 31, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Changes and Similarities ✈️Family Drama Update 🎭Close Encounters 🤼‍♂️ My Favorite African (MFA) has arrived. His plane landed at Lambert International at around 1:15 yesterday, and about 15 minutes later, a kind TSA person allowed us and the woman who accompanied MFA on the flight to violate all sorts of Homeland…

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African Eve — March 29, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little D Nears ✈️Familiar Familial Drama 🎭Van O’ Canadians 🍁 My favorite African returns to us tomorrow afternoon. Dieudonne will board a plane from Philly with an escort (not THAT kind … I think, anyway), and land in the STL around 1:15. For the next three or four months, we’ll take…

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Tech Hatred — March 24, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩TikTok Stupidity 😠Back Woes 😧Improv Friends 🎭 There are increasing number of hours each week in which I have a strong desire to throw every piece of connected technology into the nearest lake and move to wherever I have to go to be as far away from any modern gadget as…

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Exit Ramp — March 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Anniversary Changes 💍Near Death Experience 💀Dreamcatcher Drama 😳 All relationships change over time. Friendships, parent-child, boss-employee, husband-wife … no matter the relationship, the only constant thing is change. My marriage has changed mightily since it began. When Wifey Poo and I said our vows on March 22, 1997, we were –…

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Blah — March 22, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Why The Blahs? 😷Anniversary Plans 💍Unpleasant Warnings 🐍 Feeling blah is complicated when you have my medical history. For many people, feeling blah as I’m feeling right now is a clear indication that some sort of illness or infection has invaded the body. But for me — and for many others…

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Floss Shaming — March 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dentist Visit 🦷Basketball Sucks 🏀Found Husband 👨 No one truly likes going to the dentist. I’ve had people push back on me when I’ve said this before, but when I lay out the following scenario, well, it’s pretty much checkmate: “You just had the most well-respected doctor in the world tell…

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The Lunchable Deal — March 18, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dumb Gubment 🦅Dawg Party 🐶Flying African ✈️ We as modern Muricans tend to just accept that it’s the gubment’s job to educate our children. Of course, when other countries that aren’t our friends do that, we call it “indoctrination,” but that’s a topic for another day. The topic for today is…

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Death Cometh — March 17, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Costly Mortality ☠️Crazies, Unite 🤪Defining ‘Appointment’ 🦷 I’m getting ready to die. Sounds ominous, right? Dramatic? Scary? It’s not. Oh yes, in a certain light, it’s depressing as hell. But what it really involved was a meeting with an attorney that Wifey Poo and I had yesterday to figure out exactly…

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Finishing — March 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Books and Stories 📚SVB Lessons 🏦Basketball Party 🏀 Holy crap, you guys! I actually finished something I wrote! In fact, I finished two somethings I wrote! As my regular readers (hey you three!) know, I’ve been stunk in a funk of starting to write books and short stories with gusto and…

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Sorry, Please Continue — March 9, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Podcast Appearance 🎙️The Birth Control Pill Story 🐶Good Tired 🥱 If you would have asked me a few years ago whether I could ever envision myself on a stage in the back room of a dive bar sharing a story about how my dog ate six months of birth control pills…

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Peaking — March 8, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pee Mate 🚽Game Maker 🎲Dumb Muricans 🦅 I have been thinking about death a lot lately, not because I’m particularly eager for it to happen or because I’m particularly not eager for it to happen. I guess it’s because I’m a few months shy of my 49th birthday and please-for-the-love-of-God let…

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The Return of the African— March 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dieudonne 🌍Hoops Win🏀Cornhole Roll ✔️ In 2021, during some of the darkest and most difficult times in our lives as individuals and couple, Wifey Poo and I did a thing. It was a big thing. It was a challenging thing. It was an amazing thing. But to say it was just…

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Tribe — March 3, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Full Stop’ 🛑Needles 💉Business Lessons 🧑‍💼 Here’s something I learned about myself today: One way to ensure that I will debate you on a topic until I give my last breath or until you are huddled in a corner in a fetal position is to end the statement of your opinion…

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Mindful Commute — March 2, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mindfulness 🧘Mullet Prez 👩‍🦳Murder Family 🔪 Our brains are amazing things. So adept are they at routines that they can essentially run on autopilot and let you do the everyday stuff like operating a multi-ton object advancing at 70+ mph among lots of other multi-top objects advancing at 70+ mph without…

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After Life — March 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bloody Hell 💂Circus Moments 🤡Silence 🤫 OK, people: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. But first, a little digression. What in the bloody hell does that phrase mean? “A bone to pick with you?” That sounds absolutely disgusting. And if you’re wondering why I said “bloody hell,” well, that…

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Angry Marketing Guy— Feb. 28, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩24 Hour Video 😡Rubik’s Kid 🧊Dilbert Doofus 🤪 There are two things I cannot stand in the working world — and in life, in general. The first is people whose lack of preparedness turns ordinary stuff into emergencies. The second is when people criticize the result of something they previous approved.…

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Corruption, Penis Sizes and Bird Drones — Feb. 23, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mormon Billionaires 💰Bigger Packages 🍌Birds Really Aren’t Real 🐦 Can we just get on with blowing the tits off the world with nuclear weapons or something and end this stupid thing we call the human race? Yeah, I know that’s a little dramatic, but when I take a look at the…

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Home of the Hypocrite — Feb. 21, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Muricah The Evil 🦅You Buy You 💰Big-Ass Van 🚚 I find it rather humorous that Muricah warned China not to send arms to one side of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine … and that we issued this warning with a straight face. I’m quite sure most Muricahns believe their country…

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Wal-Mart — Feb. 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Salve 🩹Car Wash 🚗💧Light Removal 🎄 I try not to venture too often into a Wal-Mart, especially on the weekend. I cling to slim hope for this nation as it is, and I find Wal-Mart trips do not help my grip. Alas, this weekend, Boy The Younger was under the weather…

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Shit People — Feb. 17, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CC, BCC, FU 📧Basketball Poll 🏀Andy Rooney 🎙️ This week has largely been a Shit Week marred by Shit People. What are Shit People? They aren’t exactly easy to define, but one hallmark of a Shit Person is his rampant use of the CC function at work to passive-aggressively play power…

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Brain Rest — Feb. 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chill Day 🛋️Busy Weekend ⚾Halftime 🏈 I’m not working today. Not only am I not working at my day job, I’m not doing any work for my side gig today. I’m not planning on doing much of anything, actually. And I don’t feel guilty about that. This weekend was insanely busy.…

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Drugs — Feb. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Pharma Sucks 💊Work Rules 🧑‍💼Big Weekend 🏈 Spend any time in front of the television and you’ll see ads touting the latest drugs that you shouldn’t take if you’re allergic to and that you most definitely need to ask your doctor about. Now comes a study showing that the people…

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Missourah and the Spy Balloon — Feb. 7, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top 5 🎈Symphony 🎻Living Eulogies 💗 Top 5 things overheard in Missourah last week as a purported Chinese spy balloon made its way over the state en route to its rendezvous with an F22’s missile: Despite my high-brow upbringing in Suburbia, New York, I’m not what anyone would call A Symphony…

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Pokey Joe — Feb. 2, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Space Walk 🧑‍🚀Bye-Bye Brady 🏈Failure Rate 🐿️ When Boy The Elder was just Boy and devoid of a younger brother, we had a nickname for him: Pokey Joe. BTE didn’t do anything fast, but more than anything, what he did incredibly slow was get out of a car. That would suck…

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Stuck Balls — Feb. 1, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Raccoons 🦝February 💘Man Nips 🕺 Today I bring you the story of a raccoon who got his balls stuck to railroad tracks. But the reason you think I’m bringing you this story is not the reason I’m bringing you this story. You think I’m bringing the story of the raccoon Neil…

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‘Fuck Tha Police’ — Jan. 28, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tyre Nichols 😔Tattoo Day ✒️Nephew Hoops🏀 I was a white kid in suburbia, New York, in 1988 when the gangsta rap group N.W.A. came out with its album Straight Outta Compton, featuring the song Fuck Tha Police. It was scandalous, at the time, to suggest that the police would be anything…

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Snow — Jan. 25, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Concert 🎵Sick Wife🤒People Suck 🖕 Within the 24 hours in the run-up to Snowpocalypse 2023, the estimates on the Weather Channel app for our snowfall total ranged from 1 to 10 inches. That’s like going to the doctor and being told you have anything from a splinter to terminal cancer.…

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STUPID Goals — Jan. 20, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mission: Failed 👎Ho 🤣Handy Family 👍 It has to suck to work at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Why? It took exactly 75 minutes for all of 2023 to be a failure. Let me explain. Those of you unfortunate enough to have been involved in any sort of corporate planning process…

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Writing Retreat — Jan. 15, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Houston 🖊️Sad clown 🤡Taco Seasoning 🌮 Houston, Missourah, is not unlike a lot of other rural Missourah towns through which I’ve driven and bears a resemblance to the Small Town USA in which Boy The Elder did a lot of his early growing up and to which Boy The Younger came…

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Ceilings — Jan. 14, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Definitions 📖Missing Bourbon 🥃Mysterious Knocks 😵 I generally abhor any writing that starts with, “Webster’s dictionary defines …” Webster’s dictionary defines “ceiling” as a noun meaning “the overhead inside lining of a room.” The implication is that it’s a limitation, a max, a point of demarcation between what’s out there and…

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Movie Ambush — Jan. 13, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Annoyance 😠Disappointment 😞 When Boy The Elder was Boy The Only in our home, he watched one of the Air Bud movies featuring a basketball-playing dog. Or maybe it was football. Or soccer. By the time that series was over, that dog had played them all. Anyway, whichever Air Bud…

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Animal Updates — Jan. 12, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thor’s Blurry Hammer 🍆Pigeon Delivery 🕊️Idiot List 🤪 Thor is really, really good with his hammer. And by that, I mean that Thor the walrus in Scarborough, England, is really good at masturbating and ruining New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard about this story, stop reading stupid news like politics…

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Bad Boys— Jan. 11, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bruising Basketball 🏀Poke ☝️Six?!? 🔫 I grew up in the NBA era of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons while loving a New York Knicks team that was, to put it mildly, quite physical. Guys like Steph Curry and LeBron James can makes basketball seem like artistry these days, but give me…

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Done — Jan. 10, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What There is Like! ⛅’Modern Policing’ 🚨Xylophone Time! 🎵 When you decide to talk about a time in which you truly believe you more-or-less died and saw what comes after this life, you have to be comfortable with the fact that people might think you’re nuts. Hell, talking about it on…

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Media Landscape — Jan. 6, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grace Ashford! 📰Idaholy Shit! 🥔Story of the Year! 🍆 The three most influential people in my life as a journalist are, sadly, all part of the Great Newsroom in the Sky now. Professors Michael Perkins and Bob Woodward (AKA Bob Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward) helped educate me at Drake University, and Lisa Warren was…

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Santos Kills Puppy — Jan. 5, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poor Puppy 🐶Romeo and Juliet 🤴👸Meta Mistake 🙊 Disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., today as Republican Congressman-elect George Santos (if that’s his real name) brought a 6-month-old puppy to the house floor and screamed “Hey, look at me!” before slitting its throat and lapping up its squirting blood like a…

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Institutions — Jan. 4, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Pretty Good Rant 😠Tesla Plunge 🚗Missed Lasts 😥 Those of you who regularly read my drivel (I see you, DirtySciFiBuddah) might have become aware of the fact over the past year or so that I am not a huge fan of our world’s modern institutions. All of them might, in…

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Finishing — Jan. 2, 2023

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Incomplete 🕮Frustration 😠Bowl Bust 🏈 To say that I know how to write is like saying I know how to breathe. No one considers that they know how to breathe. They just … breathe. No one is particularly good at breathing or bad at breathing. Again, they just … breathe. I’ve…

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Fifty Intentions for 2023

Welcome to Issue No. 15 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…

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