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List Item Update! #1: Dates!

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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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Why Run? — Sept. 11, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Finish Line Scene 🏃‍♂️Baseball’s Better ⚾M-I-Z! Z-O-UC-H! 🏈 I have never understood the modern-day purpose of running for the sake of running. Sure, I understand it’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise and it’s a convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, yet the desire to strap on…

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Stephen King — Sept. 9, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Book Guy 📚Queen Stuff 👑Bernard Shaw 📺 I’ve decided I want to own a copy of every Stephen King book ever written. That’s about 75 books at the moment. I have a built-in bookcase in my mancave/home office. I don’t think it would hold all 75 in hardcover, but perhaps it…

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Once Upon a Time — Sept. 7, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beginnings 📚School Start 🚌Real Baseball ⚾ I was thinking this morning on my drive to work how we rarely know when the significant times in our lives begin. So frequently, the most important things that happen to us start with nothing noteworthy. Of course, there are exceptions, the “love-at-first-sight” moments or…

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Chainsaws & Ladders — Sept. 6, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fallin’ Thoughts 🤕Shinedown 🎸Sleepy 😴 The brain can be surprisingly efficient when the meatsack it’s attached to is in the middle of falling off a ladder while holding a revved-up chainsaw. This, I learned yesterday morning while attempting to saw a limb off a tree that was getting way too close…

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Inside a Good Day — Sept. 5, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Overview📅Fantasy Football🏈Elite Bonding🤼‍♂️ Days that start with chainsaws and lighter fluid and end with four hours of really good professional wrestling are bound to be added to the “good” column for review when the scales are weighed at the end of a life. Yesterday was such a day for me. In…

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Second Mothers — Sept. 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Funeral 😢Glimmers ☁️Meat 🥩 If you’re lucky, you’ve had a second mother. Whether your first mother was or is an amazing person who nurtured you and raised you among calm consistency or if she was lacking in certain maternal fundamentals, having a second mother is a blessing. Today, we were there…

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Muricah the Crumbling — Sept. 2, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩We’re Dumber 👎OnlyFans Thrives 🍑Shinedown 🎵 Official statistics put the COVID death toll in the United States at 1.04 million, with another 713 deaths yesterday. More than 4,000 people are in the ICU right now suffering from what the former Moron-in-Chief called that one person coming from China and a situation…

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Bratwurst Flap — August 31, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dethroned Queen 👑Gravy Wrestling 🤼‍♂️Dog Talk 🐕 Don’t fuck with the Bucyrus Bratwurst Festival board. That’s a message Abigail Brocwell is learning the hard way. Brocwell was expected to be inaugurated as the queen of the festival in the northern Ohio town earlier this month, but she was stripped of the…

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Baseball Serendipity — August 30, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩3, Unassisted ⚾A Sad Day 📅Tracking Your Vagina 🌸 The last time Boy The Younger was on a baseball field, the “coach” of his team removed him from a game in the middle of an inning because I had privately messaged him to not attempt to steal home with my kid…

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Failure to Launch — August 29, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hydrogen Issue 🚀Karting 🏎️Lake Life 😌 I was all excited to watch the launch of the moon-bound Artemis 1 rocket this morning, only to see the clock stopped at T-minus 40 minutes because of a “hydrogen issue.” Don’t know about you, but I’m thinking having an issue with hydrogen is a…

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Hypnotized — August 26, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Karen in Control ⌚Karting 🏎️What podcast? 🎧 In the winter of 1993, I went to a comedy club with a friend and, in the spur of the moment, decided to be one of those who came forward to join the fun and be hypnotized. This was decidedly out of character for…

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Outrage? — August 25, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little League Flap ⚾Grandpa Joe 🤦Psychedelics 🍄 Boys are interesting creatures who aren’t easily understood. One of the many, many weird things boys do is mercilessly make fun of their best friends. My closest friends in middle school and early in high school were affectionately nicknamed Goon, Tree Frog, Butt and…

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Life Expectancy — August 24, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 Death Cometh Sooner 💀Twitter Security 🔓Game Over 🌑 Average life expectancy in the United States dropped in 2020 by almost two years in 2020, the biggest decline since World War II. Every state and the District of Columbia saw a drop. Guess it was a little bit more than that…

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Mysterious Brain — August 23, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Worm brain 🧠Chicken Big Mac 🐔Eye Twitch 👁️ Caenorhabditis elegans is probably too elegant of a name for something that is really just a disgusting little worm about a millimeter long and most easily found in rotting fruit. It is more commonly known as a lab roundworm and was the first…

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Homeschoolin’ — August 22, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Agliata Homeschool Academy 🚌Hypnosis 😳Sunburn 🌞🔥 When you tell people you homeschool your children, you typically receive one of three responses: An enthusiastic: “Oh, that’s so cool!” An I’d-rather-be-dipped-in-acid: “Oh wow! I could never do that!” A you’re-one-of-those-weirdos: “Oh… really… homeschooling, huh?” The percentage for each has changed in the…

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Mexican Pato O’Ward — August 21, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Indycar 🏎️Best Friends 😎Baseball Irony ⚾ There are certain people who look at car racing as an endless series of left turns. These people are idiots on whom nuance is lost. Boy The Elder and I crossed the border yesterday late-morning to head just past the fine city of East St.…

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Pig Problem — August 19, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Swine Inflation 🐖Swamp Thing 🎥Phone Calls 📱 Life was different when I went to college in Iowa after growing up in suburban New York City. This isn’t to suggest I was a city kid. I wasn’t. The city was a place we went to a few times a year, and where…

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Three-Screen Guy — August 17, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Triple-Threat 🖥️🖥️🖥️Tasmanian Tiger 🐅Video Work 📹 Humans were not meant to stare at laptop screens. At least, humans of a certain age were not meant to stare at laptop screens. I say this after successfully lobbying for a second monitor at work, which effectively turned my laptop screen into a third…

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Orange Coffee — August 16, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Look Before Brewing ☕Hoop Construction 🏀Nuclear War ☢️ If you’d like an indication of how much of a Monday yesterday was for me, know that I ended up with an orange in my coffee. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t a full-blown orange. It was something called a Cutie, which is…

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Cemetery Wandering — August 14, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Date 🪦Nature Walk🌳Bulldog Bath 🐶 If you have a date walking around a cemetery, you’re either weird or goth, and neither Wifey Poo nor I were wearing black today, which I guess tells you all you need to know about us. Old cemeteries are something of a fascination for us,…

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Bye-Bye, BTE — August 13, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩So Long, Kid 👨‍👦Steak Celebration🥩Chip & Joanna 🪚 Regular readers of my drivel know that I’m kind of an emotional guy, which is like saying that Jack kind of could have fit on the spacious floating door with Rose in Titanic. So it should come as no surprise when I say…

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The Taxman Cometh — August 12, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cash 4 IRS 💰Cash 4 Workers 💸Sound of Silence 🤫 Be extra careful on your taxes this year. The IRS is expected to receive nearly $80 billion when The Inflation Reduction Act eventually becomes law, and its plan is to hire 87,000 full-time workers. More than half of the $80 billion…

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Peanut Man — August 10, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Spoon Nose 🥄👃🏻Dump Truck 🚚Twitter Traitor 🐦 Every night, I strap a mask attached to a long hose to my face so I don’t die. Not satisfied with looking kinda like an idiot, I then wrap a flexible Velco-enabled strap around my chin and fasten it on top of my bald…

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Rivalry — August 8, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thanks, Yankees ⚾Kitchen Moment 👩‍🍳McDonald’s Glasses 🥛 Wifey Poo and I were recent college graduates and months away from becoming Married Folk when our relationship nearly faced its greatest test. The New York Yankees were rolling toward their first World Series appearance since I played with Matchbox Cars, and the St.…

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Fossil Fun — August 6, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mammoth Dilemma🦣Zombie Pigs🧟🐖Stadium Pals⚾ Finding the fossilized remains of a Wooly Mammoth in New Mexico isn’t exactly news. It seems the furry elephants loved to hang out in the land so frequently visited by aliens. What is news is the condition of the fossils from the latest find. Some of the…

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Hit By Pitch — August 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ankle Shot 🦶🏻Teamwork 🤝🏽Talkspace Stupidity 🤪 Over the years, I’ve played catch with Boy The Younger dozens and dozens of times. From those early days of him aimlessly flinging an oversized soft thing a few feet forward, to now when he’s zipping a real baseball the regulation distance from a pitching…

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Empty — August 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Creative Desert 🎨So Long, Supra 🏎️Taco Truck 🌮 I have absolutely nothing today. On most days — even the really, really bad days — I can push out something creatively worthwhile. A blog post. A flyer. A video. Not today. Today I have jack shit. This is professionally problematic, considering my…

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Frog Dive — July 31, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hungry=Stupid 😋Strategic Planning 📅Bed Sizes 🛏️ Hunger is a strong motivator. This, most of us know. Yet I witnessed this truth at a whole new level this weekend. Wifey Poo and I traveled up to Hannibal, Missourah, for a few days. Hannibal, for you uncultured folks, is the hometown of Mark…

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Cyclical Forces — July 29, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Change 🌀Me, Different 😷Bad Baseball ⚾ I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Most everything in humanity is governed by two intertwined forces. Supply and demand. Scarcity. Whether its the economy or human emotions, everything about us is geared toward responding to these two things. For example, when there…

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Hypocrisy — July 28, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double Standards 🦅Birthday Deals 🎁Video Guy 📹 The United States has a problem with hypocrisy. Don’t worry, though; it’s nothing new. It just happens to be glaringly apparent right now. Our revered Founding Fathers got things off on a really bad foot when they penned the lofty statement that all men…

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Birthday Eve — July 27, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Revolution 🌍Rain 🌧️Refund 💰 By this time tomorrow, I will have completed 48 trips around the sun. Or is it 47 and I’ll be starting my 48th? Whatever. I’ll be 48 years old tomorrow. I have to admit, I’m feeling kinda blah about it. Looking back, this past revolution was busy…

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Angry Weather — July 26, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bitchy Mother Nature 🌧️⚡Tech Woes 🖥️Maturation 👦 Overnight storms made for a restless night, as waves of rain and thunder rolled through our section of Missourah. Flash flood warnings pinged my phone sometime in the middle of the night, and by the time I left for my drive to work, eastbound…

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Big-Drop Thoughts — July 25, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rollercoasters 🎢Sad Puppy 🐶News Roundup 🤖 It’s possible to think a lot of thoughts while plummeting 90 feet at a 90-degree angle while staring up at the sun. This I learned yesterday while at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missourah, with the Core Four, Div, Wifey Poo’s baby sister and baby…

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Branson — July 24, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Date Day 🤟🏽Prison Justice 👊Universe Questions 🚀 Wifey Poo and I ended up having more than 12 hours to ourselves yesterday here in the Midwest Redneck Mecca of Branson, Missourah. Boys The Elder and Younger, along with BTE’s lovely girlfriend of nearly three years, and Wifey Poo’s baby sister and family…

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Told Ya — July 22, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩WFH WTF? 🧑‍💼Rebel Ball ⚾Psych Myth 🧠 As a writer/columnist/blogger/thought-spewer, I always enjoy when I get something out there before anyone else. I dug that when I was a newspaper journalist, and I dig it now. That’s why I’m happy to be hearing national publications and sites like Business Insider starting…

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The Muricahn Way — July 20, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Fahrenheit 🌡️Blindingly White ⬜Alone Time 👴 Muricah is very much a reactionary nation. Much of what we do and who we are is because we were pissed off about the way someone else did things. Monarchy? We’ll have a democracy, thank you very much. The metric system? We’ll measure stuff our…

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Baseball News — July 19, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tryouts ⚾BBQ Sauce🍖TMNT🐢 There is cause for celebration in the Core Four: Boy The Younger has been drafted. Sadly, we’re not talking about the ongoing Major League Baseball draft. Rather, we’re talking about the sick modern world of Little League baseball. Not to get too “Get off my lawn!” on you,…

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Brakes & Boxes — July 18, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Growth 💗Dreams 💤Redecorating 🛋️ There are moments in a dad’s life in which he can see the growth of his sons quite clearly. Sometimes that growth is physical. One day, Boy The Elder was a short, stocky little boy and then, boom, he came home from his high school job at…

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Firestarter— July 17, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Burn Pit🔥Alaska Ass🍑Nose Hair🐽 Having a plan is a far different thing from having a plan work out. I’m really good at the former, yet the latter seems to be extremely elusive. Yesterday, my plan was to take the huge pile of chopped-down cedar-tree limbs that have been in my backyard…

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Future Wife — July 16, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Jewel💎First Kiss💋Slow Ahead🐢 Wifey Poo and I are headed out into the sweltering hell that is Missourah this evening to see the woman who, should she knock on my door and say “let’s go,” I am fully empowered to join in the next part of life’s journey. I jest. Sort of.…

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Population Growth — July 15, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Parenthood 🚓Alexa 📋Quick-Hitters 👋 Just about every statistic imaginable tells us we shouldn’t have kids — at least, not if we’re concerned about our own happiness, mental health, marriage, career, finances, time or ability to buy a really boss car instead of a freaking minivan. Yet here we are, still a…

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Ouchy Obituary — July 13, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Lawrence Pfaff Sr. Sucks 🚓Engagement Talk 🌯Quick-Hitters 👋 From what I know of Lawrence H. Pfaff Sr. of Belmont, NY, he was kind of a douche. The 81-year-old man died on June 27. I never met him. Never even heard of him. Until I read his obit. And about that obit?…

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HOV Lane — July 11, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Travelling Companion🚓Free Beans 🌯Unfollowed 👋 Brandy Bottone is either stupid or brilliant. Whichever it is, she’s also right. The Texas woman was traveling in the HOV lane — which, for the country folk out there, stands for High Occupancy Vehicle and is reserved for cars with two or more people to…

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Gamblin’ With The Judester— July 10, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Slots 🎰Dude Perfect ⚽Bye Bye Facebook? 👋 My mother-in-law (AKA The Judester) is nearly 81 years old and has knee problems that keep her from getting around too well these days. Watching her stand up from a chair is to feel pain yourself. Yet when I walked into the Ameristar casino…

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Grandma — July 8, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Reflections on Grandma 👵Kids & Death 👨‍👦‍👦Don’t Say It 🤫 My grandma died yesterday, four days shy of her 96th birthday. As it goes with people at that age, it wasn’t a surprise. She had been fading for more than a year and, though she still was breathing, that version of…

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Unproductive — July 6, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sleepwalking 🧨DnD Gang 🎲Gas Idiots 🛢️ If there were a day-by-day measure of the collective output of workers in these here United States of Amuricah (and for all I know, there is), I would venture to guess that July 5 ain’t our most productive day. I base this on my observations…

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Stuck By Patriotism — July 4, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid Parade 🧨Math Matters ➗What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Not being a hugely patriotic person at this point in my life, I made no plans to go to any Fourth of July parade this year. It seems mighty foolish to be celebrating freedoms that are eroding right before our eyes, though I…

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Div — July 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone Time, Girl Time 👩‍👧Picture Hanger🔨What Amazon Reveals 🚚 Wifey Poo and I found ourselves in an interesting position at home today for a little bit: Alone. Boy The Elder took off for Six Flags with his buds, and Boy The Younger left with a friend and his family (Chicken Owner,…

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Car Guy — July 2, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Oil Change 👨‍🔧Goose Lover🛦Church & State⛪ Based on my history, the last place anyone should ever look for me is underneath a car. Yet that’s where I found myself late this morning, side-by-side with Boy The Elder as he showed me exactly how stupid I’ve been all my life. I’m not…

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Objectively Speaking — July 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Media Bias 📰Rudy’s Sandals 🩴Lack of Faith ⚖️ I’ve watched with interest the blowback against newspaper tyrant Gannett following its reminder to its journalists in the wake of the Supreme Court’s undoing of Roe v. Wade that they are not to take sides on social media. “You cannot use social media…

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Booby Beep — June 30, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Censorship 🍈🍈Newspaper Talk 📰Toothbrush 🦷 I did my first actual “work” thing at my new job yesterday. The first two-plus days have been filled with meeting new people and learning about the kazillion awesome products we sell so I can talk somewhat intelligently about what we do. But then Nu Bossman…

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Decision Time — June 29, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Hitler Talk ⚖️Chicken Postscript 🐣Green Seats ⚾ I wonder when the average German in the 1930s/1940s said something akin to “Oh shit.” There has to be a point when the rational, sane sauerkraut-lover realized that perhaps his or her vote for a certain mustachioed politician was a really bad idea. For…

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Nu Job — June 27, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Take Me Away🛀Period Tracker🩸Choose Wisely💒 Arriving for the first day at a new job is kind of like showing up in a new town after throwing away your old identity. It’s a blank slate, and you can be anyone you’d like to be. Want to go by a different name? Go…

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America The Embarrassing — June 25, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I…

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PMS Boat Sales — June 23, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home…

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Catalytic Converter — June 22, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and…

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Float Trip — June 20, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a…

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Genetics — June 17, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Boys 👨‍👦‍👦Work Drinking🥃Feeling Good 😎 I’ve understood since seventh-grade science class how a child is a somewhat random and yet somewhat traceable mish-mash of his parents and their parents and their parents ad infinitum. It’s so cool to see that play out with my own boys. Boy The Elder is…

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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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