🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
My Back! 😳
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 his knees setting up plastic bowling pins just so I could knock them down once again with a tiny blue plastic ball, and it was only later in life, well after he was gone, that I realized he did so despite great pain in his knees from being an old man.
Grandpa’s story is an immigrant’s tale. He fled his home in Sicily when he was 16 years old, running away from what we think was an abusive stepfather — though it was a topic Grandpa evidently talked very little about to anyone.
Alone, he got on a boat headed for America where, armed only with an eighth-grade education, he started a new life that ultimately would lead to, well, lead to a lot, including me. Over the years, he was a barber and a maintenance man, a husband and a father and a grandfather. He never lost his thick Italian accent nor his enthusiasm for me. Every time I saw him, every time I spoke with him on the phone, I was greeted with a boisterous “Johnny Boy!”
Grandpa and Grandma moved from their Yorktown Heights, NY, home to Sun City West, Arizona, when I was still small. Grandpa hated winters, and he solved that problem pretty well, I would say. Because of that move, I was able to see a different part of the country, falling in love with the foreign scenery of the desert Southwest that was so different from my suburban NY home.
Grandpa lived in a senior living community before those were a dime a dozen. As part of the community, there was an arcade, which, to a small child of that era, was literal heaven. I’m not sure why a senior living community had an arcade, save for the fact that grandchildren loved it — and I was such a grandchild. One time on vacation there, I got in trouble for something or other and my father (Grandpa’s son) grounded me, my punishment being that I couldn’t go to the arcade.
A few hours later, Grandpa said, “Hey Johnny Boy! Letsa go for a ride. I’ve-a gotta go to tha hardware store.” I was always down for a drive with Grandpa, so I went. It wasn’t long before I recognized we were headed in the direction of the arcade.
“Johnny Boy,” Grandpa said. “Your dad, he’s a good man. But he’s not always right.”
I turned to look at him.
“Itsa not easy to be a dad, and your dad, well… he doesn’t always get it right. Letsa go to the arcade.”
So we went. Grandpa fed quarter after quarter into the various machines, cheering me on at football and Galaga and assorted other games.
On the drive home, he said: “Letsa keep this one between you and me, OK?”
So we did.
Later in life, I learned my father was fully aware of what his dad was doing. He understood nothing can get in the way of the love a Grandpa has for his grandson. So he let it happen.
Grandpa’s death came quickly. One day we got a phone call to tell us about the cancer. Two week later, my father, uncle and cousin rolled into town in a rented RV with my extremely-ill grandfather inside. Grandpa hated to fly — and, truthfully, he was in no condition to be on a plane. So the trio had flown out to Arizona and driven him back to New York, keeping him as comfortable as possible, which wasn’t much, given his condition.
Four days later, on May 17, 1987, he died while I was at a pizza joint with my cousin. I hadn’t eaten much in days, refusing to leave Grandpa’s hospital bedside, though he, at best, was in-and-out of consciousness and never seemed to really recognize that I was there. On that Sunday afternoon, I succumb to my hunger and the pleas from my family, “Johnny, you’ve gotta eat something. Please. Go.”
So I went. When the elevator door opened back on Grandpa’s hospital floor, I was met by my tearful mother and another cousin, telling us Grandpa had died.
For years, I blamed myself. Yes, I know that doesn’t make sense, but I was a 12-year-old kid who rationalized that Grandpa had managed to stay alive while I was there and only died because I left. Maybe that’s true. Maybe he waited for me to be gone so I wouldn’t watch him die. I’d like to think that perhaps, maybe, that was Grandpa’s last gift to his grandson.
Thirty-five years later, I have one last remaining grandparent alive. She’s 95 and not in great shape. It’s a sad thing when a grandparent dies. Too often they take so much family history with them. You can try to recapture it through genealogy — I’ve actually done quite a bit of that myself — but you can never find all the rich oral history that people take with them solely because there’s no one there as much anymore to hear it and pass it along.
Nothing can make you feel quite so old quite so fast as back pain. I was sitting here this morning typing when I was leveled by back spasms under my left shoulder blade. For. The. Love. So far, no relief, even with the Theragun.
Boy The Elder sent a few texts from Germany this morning. They’re at the Dachau concentration camp. BTE noted the sign over the gate, which translates to “Work Will Make You Free.” F’n Nazis. Seeing other humans as less-than-humans didn’t start with them and, sadly, it’s didn’t end with them either.
Anyone else ever feel like they could present stone tablets with the direct handwriting of the creator of the universe on them and the powers that be would say, “Hmm. That’s nice. Now about that new initiative …”? Yeah. Me too.
In Other Writing …
What makes a good coach? Interesting question, but it’s the wrong one. Oh, that question has all the right words. They’re just in the wrong order. If you want to talk about what makes a good coach, we can list a bunch of coach-worthy attributes — things such as charisma, assertiveness, fairness, consistency. But again,…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Seeing an old college friend on Thursday.
- The chiropractor needs my business.
- I have an important doctor’s appointment today.
More From ‘A Puzzle Known As Life’
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩End of an Era 📀Tone Deaf 👂River Sharks🦈 Back in 1998, when Blockbuster was still the place to be on a Friday night, a small company shipped out a DVD of the 1988 comedy Beetlejuice, which brings us the second Michael Keaton reference in this space this week. Sometime today, that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Knee Bonk ⚾Attention Attention 📱Car-B-Que 🚗🔥 In the bottom of the first inning of my baseball team’s game last night, Boy The Younger stepped to the plate. On a 1-2 count, he took a fastball directly to the knee and went down as if shot by a sniper. This is a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Porta Plunge 🚽Gung Ho, Part II 🍜Mood Movies 🎞️ We have now reached the stage in societal regression in which “Police remind public not to climb in toilets” is an actual thing police have to remind the public about. Yes, you can blame this on the Michigan woman who climbed into…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Biscuit Snub 🥖Easier Cheating 😲Biden Walks 🚶 Buckle up, y’all. The News Fairies have sprinkled us with a heaping pile of funny dust today, so let’s get started. The international food site TasteAtlas published its list of the best breads in the world, and Muricah has only one spot on the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cost of Money 💸Google Oopsie 🚓Broke Ape 😢 I remember as a child being dropped off at The Deli in my hometown with a pocket full of change and big dreams. I’m sure the place had a name besides The Deli, but I have no clue what it was beyond just…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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’…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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 –…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩2023 📅Helping 🧠The Universe 🔭 I’m not much for long-term plans and goals. This isn’t to suggest I don’t think they’re important. I just think that spending a lot of time on them is futile. What’s the saying? Man plans, God laughs. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve learned through experience that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chain Links 🔗”Work” 🧑💼Popular Toys 🧸 After my first son died in December 2000, I spent a lot of time wondering why. Why me? Why Wifey Poo? Why Jacob? Why this level of suffering in a world supposedly created and run by an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God? So I did what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chiefs! 🏈Indy Tickets 🏎️Bank Visit 💰 When I bought the tickets to the Christmas Eve contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks as a gift for Boys The Elder & Younger, it was sometime in September and temps hovered around 90 degrees. The thought that the game might…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Timelines 👶Extinctions 🌋Sin City 👌 As I fall deeper down the rabbit hole learning more about theories on space and time, the concept of alternative timelines comes up again and again and again. Whether it’s the stuff of science fiction or one day will be proven to be the stuff of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Cousin’ Laughs🎤Improv!?!? 🎭Drake Hoops 🏀 Back when I was a boy, I had a favorite Cousin-Who-Wasn’t-A-Cousin. His name was Joey DeVito, and he was in no way a blood relation to me, though I called his father Uncle Frankie and his mother Aunt Celia. I’m pretty sure this is an East…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glazed 🍩Bingo! 🖥️Disappearing Christians ⛪ I didn’t intend to bring doughnuts for my co-workers yesterday morning. It just sorta happened. How it happened and how it played out is a window into my weird mind. First, an explanation: I have a card purchased from Boy The Younger that entitles me to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩STL’s Homeless 😥Snake Hoo-Hoos 🐍That Was Epoch 👴 I found James huddled underneath a blanket as he sat, knees to his chest, head bowed, just outside the doorway of a CVS in the Delmar Loop section of St. Louis. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a fun place filled…Keep reading