🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗
Johnny Boy Marketing✏️
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 draw (because sequel) in his first fight against world heavyweight champion Apollo Creed — because he was a slow, lumbering, uncoordinated oaf. The grizzled veteran trainer brings a chicken into the training mix to help generate more speed in his fighter because, as Mick says, “If you can catch this thing, you can catch greased lightning.”
Rocky tries and tries and tries to catch the chicken. No luck.
“I feel like a Kentucky Fried idiot,” he mumbles.
I thought of this scene yesterday as the sun faded into the horizon a mile outside my humble rural Missourah home and hour No. 1 faded into hour No. 2 of trying to get eight chickens into their coop.
As regular Puzzle readers might recall, Wifey Poo arranged with a friend who is mother of a friend of Boy The Younger to take care of their chickens while they are on vacation. Wifey Poo then promptly took the boys and left the state — and the chickens to me.
I know nothing of chickens other than how to use their parts in a variety of recipes. But I was game to try to keep these boogers alive until Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger return (this evening, thank God).
One thing has become perfectly clear in my first 12 hours of chicken-sitting: I am never … never ever … going to catch greased lightning.
When I pulled into the driveway of the chicken-owner’s home, I was encouraged. There were four or five chickens standing just outside the tree line.
“Surely,” thought I, “They will come running when I do the whole bang-on-their-food-bucket thing Holly (chicken mama) showed me to do.”
I got out of my car, checked the empty coop for eggs (none), made sure all the younger chickens were still in their locked-up section of the coop (all present and accounted for) and then got the food bucket.
Bang, Bang, Bang.
Let’s just say I didn’t get the response I’d anticipated.
One — one — chicken lifted its head from its whole “pecking-the-ground” routine and looked at me absentmindedly. The other seven? Well, they must have hearing problems.
Bang, Bang, BANG!
This time, a different chicken was the lone one to acknowledge my Grade A chicken call. The other seven kept being chickens.
“Well shit,” thought I, realizing the well of methods I had inside me to encourage chickens to get into their coop was extremely shallow.
Maybe more repetitive banging would help?
Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang BANG!
Now I had these bastards’ attention. All of a sudden, eight chickens started toward me … first casually, then like a scene out of Jurassic World.
First, let me tell you that chickens are surprisingly fast runners. Second, let me tell you that chickens also are incredibly stupid. I rounded the corner and opened the coop door, expecting the rapidly running birds to follow me and come on in.
Wondering where the stampede had stopped, I peeked my head around the corner. There, the chickens stood pecking at the ground, stopped exactly where they were when I’d left their sight. It was as if, absent the visual reminder that they were headed somewhere, they’d just forgotten they were running and resumed doing chicken things in the new location.
In the next half-hour, I was able to wrangle exactly one chicken into the coop. I named her Gertrude. We have an understanding. I love Gertrude and wish great things for her future.
The other seven chickens? They couldn’t care less that I had resumed banging on the food bucket, and they sure as hell didn’t respond to my whistling or other whoops and yips that worked on my dog and on a cattle drive I went on a decade ago with Father.
An hour in, I thought of Rocky. I thought of how he eventually caught the chicken. But that was after a boss training montage, and I didn’t have time before dark (and the emergence of a crapton of chicken-eating predators) to train or produce the video montage.
A quarter hour after that, seven chickens were in the coop, including one monster rooster I named Billy. I name things. It’s what I do.
One chicken remained.
I hate that chicken. I hate that chicken with the heat of a thousand suns. I wish an incredibly painful death on this chicken, and it wasn’t lost on me that I could probably accomplish that by simply getting in my car and heading home. Coyotes, foxes, Moma the Bigfoot — all of them would love some chicken wings, I was sure.
Yet there in the back of my mind was Wifey Poo and BTY, all sad-looking because their friends now hated them. Or, worse, all sad-looking because their friends starved to death when they didn’t have enough chicken to make it through the winter.
So I waited.
By this time, Stupid Chicken (officially Christened as such) was hiding under the deck.
Folks, there is absolutely no way to get a chicken who wants to hide under the deck out from under said deck. None. Zero. Absolutely no possible way.
So I went home. I got a beverage. I considered bringing Luna Athena Agliata The English Bulldog to serve as a shepherd dog, but she was sleeping lazily on her spot on the floor with her tongue lolling out of her mouth like the doofus she is.
She would be no help.
When I returned to the outpost, Stupid Chicken had come out from under the deck and had resumed her carefree pecking of the ground.
All thoughts of passivity had left my mind. No longer was I going to gently encourage this chicken to get into the coop. No… I was going to charge this chicken and herd her into the coop or punt-kick her in the head while trying.
Funny thing. I noticed at that point that there was a security camera mounted on the house. I imagined Holly and family gathered around a computer on vacation, watching as the idiot husband/dad of their friend proceeded to chase a fleeing, obstinate chicken in circles around the coop and garage.
One time — one time — this chicken fled right toward the coop. But, not wanting to let out the seven chickens I had managed to get into the coop, I’d closed the door. Stupid Chicken ran smack into the mesh, bounced off, then fled toward the woods.
I had first arrived at the outpost at 6:07 p.m. I know this because I looked. It was now 7:57. I would make one. more. try.
I’d like to tell you I took off after Stupid Chicken with reckless determination. I’d like to tell you I cornered Stupid Chicken and bravely grabbed it. I’d like to tell you I then lovingly placed it in the coop.
None of that happened.
What did happen is that I chased the chicken in circles for another 10 minutes and then decided to take a chance. I cracked open the door, threatened the seven other chickens (and put Gertrude in charge of keeping her friends stationary) and then took off after Stupid Chicken again.
On the third lap — third. freaking. lap. — it became apparent Stupid Chicken was bored.
And so when I made one last-ditch sprint, Stupid Chicken casually waddled into the coop, turned around, and flipped me the bird as I locked the door.
I hate chickens. I hate chickens with a fiery hatred typically reserved for Donald Trump.
Yet I was there at 6:30 a.m. this morning, opening the door to let these jerks out again, getting them some food, gleefully stealing their would-be babies for Breakfast For Dinner Night tonight.
I will make another attempt at this chicken wrangling thing tonight. I’ll be better. I’ll get it done.
And I’m bringing my shotgun with me.
I’ve got a lot of big stuff going on in my life. I’ve accepted a new job, which I’ll start June 27. I’ve also ramped up my side gig, officially calling it Johnny Boy Marketing and bringing some structure to it as I prepare to formalize it into an LLC. Wifey Poo now has a different title — Vice President of Operations. I like calling her Veep. It’s cute.
She’s great at that math stuff and is equally great at keeping me accountable to not blow company funds on whatever the latest piece of cool technology is that catches my attention.
I’m open for business. It’s a hobby that brings in revenue. I’m having fun. If you need anything marketing-related — social media management, flyers, videos, articles, press releases, website builds, whatever, Johnny Boy Marketing is where it’s at. Follow us on Facebook, yo!
Boy The Younger is a pretty amazing kid. I say this not because he carries my DNA. I say this because the kid can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 23 seconds. That’s his new record, down from about 40 seconds over the past few months.
I don’t know how he does it. When I ask him, he casually tells me, “algorithms,” which I suppose is true. Algorithms govern the world these days, so they might as well be the key to unlocking the solution to that damn thing that I spent hours working on in the 1980s trying to just get two sides.
I spent yesterday out of the house because getting out of the house ensures I don’t go crazy like Jack from The Shining.
The first part of the day was spent at Alpha & Omega Roasting and Coffee Shop in O’Fallon, Missourah. Then I traveled down to Chesterfield to work from LIT Cigar Lounge. The latter sounded like a Somali town in which U.S. “Intelligence” thinks a militant is hiding right before a bomb blows up a school filled with children. There’s an airshow in Chesterfield this weekend. It’s cool watching those jets do their thang.
In Other Writing …
🧩 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 Reasons to Keep Living
- I will outlive Stupid Chicken
- The rest of the Core Four returns home tonight.
- Breakfast For Dinner with fresh eggs.
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🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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 🧩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 🧩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 🧩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…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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tater Tots🥔The Waffle House League🧇The Baseball Speech ⚾ There’s a reason why baseball was America’s pastime and now is sinking in popularity. Baseball is different from other sports. It has a pace unlike today’s more popular games. It’s meant to be savored, not downed like a shot. Yes, it’s gone from…Keep reading