🧩 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 on the roadways. Yet yesterday afforded me a great learning lesson.
I typically enter “Home” as my destination on good-ole’ Google Maps before putting my car in drive when I leave the office. As rain pounded all around me yesterday, the Google Gods told me that, no matter what recommended route of theirs I took, the normally 40 to 45 minute drive would take me at least an hour and 10 minutes.
Unacceptable, thought I.
I recently discovered a back way that meanders through the beautiful Missourah countryside en route to my Humble Country Home, yet I still need to get across the damn Missouri River before I can take it. The Google Gods showed a helluva lot of red on the Home side of said river and a lot of yellow on the side I was then on. Alas, soon after merging onto I-270, things began to slow down.
- Then, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an ambulance traveling down the left lane! I watched in the rearview mirror as cars scooted out of that lane into my lane and stacked up behind me.
I don’t know why I have never had this idea before, but sudden brilliance crackled across my brain. “I’m a-gonna’ follow that amboolance,” said I.
So I watched as it passed by doing the speed limit while the rest of us plodded along like pothead sloths. Then I quickly moved over to the left lane. For the next 5 miles, when the ambulance got on I-64 East while I turned onto I-64 West, I followed that ambulance like it was a fullback paving a way for my Walter Payton-esque self through a particularly weak defensive line (Think New York Jets).
For a little bit, I was the only one behind the ambulance, and the thought crossed my mind that what I was doing was somehow illegal. Then, others started to see the wisdom of my plan. If it was illegal, at least I’d be in jail with like-minded people.
Suddenly, I was second in a conga line of vehicles making the chumps in the other lanes look like fools.
Thanks to this deft maneuvering and my super-secret back way home, I arrived a full fifteen freaking minutes ahead of what my original Google-predicted touchdown time would be.
Thanks, Mr. Ambulance Driver.
Wifey Poo is sick. This is not new news. Wifey Poo has been sick for the majority of the past three weeks. Yet yesterday was finally the day she went to urgent care, where a doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis and tonsilitis. She’s now loaded up with drugs of the legal variety and hopefully soon will be back to her non-snot-filled-non-hacking-cough self.
All seven episodes of the final season of Stranger Things dropped on Netflix this morning, just in time for the long weekend. The odds that by the time I’m forced to return to work Tuesday I’ll be saying, “What a finale! I’m so sad the series is over” is somewhere around 2-to-1.
As if that weren’t enough, the new Top Gun hits theaters today (well, technically, it hit yesterday). The original was the perfect movie. It had all the elements necessary to make it a Dude Flick — fighter planes, Commies and beach volleyball — while simultaneously capturing most elements of a Chick Flick — Tom Cruise, romance and beach volleyball.
Wifey Poo is the odd duck who was more enthralled by Goose (see what I did there?) than Maverick and who openly lamented his — spoiler alert — death. That made ER must-see TV for us when we were first married.
I’ve seen Facebook posts from a few friends who’ve seen the new Top Gun installment and give it two thumbs up. When can I go see it? Hmm.
The United States is a sucky place to live and work. Hey. Don’t blame me. I’m not the only one saying it. Software company Kisi tracked metrics such as the availability of remote jobs, the cost of living and the prevalence of outdoor spaces and smashed all the data together into a ranking of the best cities for work-life balance. Not a single U.S. city was in the Top 10. Nor the Top 20. Nor the Top 30.
Cities in Germany — current location of Boy The Elder — made up nearly a third of the Top 30. The top-ranked U.S. didn’t chart until Home of the Grunge Seattle clocked in at No. 32.
Curious what the Top 10 are?
- Oslo, Norway
- Bern, Switzerland
- Helsinki, Finalnd
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Copenhagen Denmark
- Geneva, Switzerland (Damn, Switzerland. Stop hogging the list!)
- Ottawa, Ontario (The freaking Syrup Drinkers have a city on the list before us?!?!?)
- Sydney, Australia (G’Day)
- Stuttgart, Germany
- Munich, Germany
Of course, different metrics would get you different results. This study seemed to prize the “life” part of the work-life balance a helluva lot more than the “work” part. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Finland (it of the Helsinki host) is routinely listed as the home of the happiest people on earth, and its residents take an average of one month of paid vacation each year, while the average inhabitant of Los Angeles (not in the Top 100) takes only one week.
- Regular readers of my stuff have long ago logically concluded I’m not a huge fan of the country of my citizenship. I think we as a nation are horribly off course and our political system is next-level broken. We have every single earmark of a declining empire. I’m fairly confident my kids — or, at the very least, my grandkids– will not be able to call the land of their birth a superpower when they breathe their last.
I could go on and on and on at this point about all the ways we’ve gotten fat, lazy and complacent. But instead, I’ll just leave you with this gif that made me smile. Long live Norway!
Nebraskans don’t have a whole lot to get excited about. If there ever was a true definition of a flyover state, Nebraska is likely following the “1,” in the dictionary, with neighboring Kansas raising its hand and saying, “Have you forgot about us?”
The one thing it used to have was a good college football team, and now even that is largely gone. The one thing it had left was a tradition for those who still go to those games in which fans would release balloons after the first touchdown its team scored each contest (which more frequently has been happening after halftime).
- Forget the fact that that is likely very environmentally unsound. That’s not the reason the tradition is about to die. No, the tradition is about to die because of the most commonly used phrase of the decade so far — supply chain issues.
It seems as if there’s a freaking helium shortage, and Cornhusker football fans aren’t the most harmed by the existence of this as a thing.
Apparently, helium is used in rocket fuel, MRI machines and weather balloons. The National Weather Service has said it’s being forced to slow its pace of weather balloon launches because we can’t seem to find enough of this stuff.
- I say this is caused by a supply chain issue, which is true, but that supply chain issue has a cause other than Covid: The U.S. government.
Back in the 1960s, the government thought helium so vital to our national security that it created a stockpile. Going back to the laws of supply and demand that pretty much govern everything in life, prices rose. .
Congress finally noticed — not until 1996, mind you — and began selling off that stockpile to flood the market with helium. Prices fell.
- It took another 17 years for them to realize “Oh shit. We’ve been selling too much of this stuff,” and they raised prices in 2013. The cost went from around $65 per thousand cubic feet to a high of $119 in 2019. They’re now around $100.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks. Well, you could. But if you were making stuff up, you probably wouldn’t waste your time making stuff up about helium storage.
In Other Writing …
I was talking with a business professional recently who was lamenting his company’s inability to hire and retain quality talent. People come in and are often highly touted, he said, but they either flame out or leave far sooner than what is good for the business. I offered to look at the company’s job postings…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Big day of new possibilities!
- Three-day weekend, baby!
- Stranger Things/Top Gun multi-series marathon????
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🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ink Stain 🖊️Big Week 🎂Gas Pumps 😂 If getting a link of ink right across the front of your shirt while trying to catch a falling pen isn’t one of the Mondayest of Monday things that can happen to a dude, I’m sure there aren’t too many things that can beat…Keep reading