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 very much his mother’s child. Wifey Poo was a serious and dedicated academic and is extremely analytical and very process-driven. BTE is maniacally focused on his studies and always has been. He’s a junior-to-be food science major at Mizzou who’s interning at a flavor creation company, doing research and development in a lab putting all sorts of chemicals together for clients who want their products to taste good. He is single-handedly keeping the note card industry afloat with the bajillion flash cards he makes to help him study for each test.

Yet when it comes to music, he’s all mine. BTE feels music. We’re constantly tossing our latest finds in musicians and bands back and forth via text. Today he texted me from his morning workout to tell me to listen to the new Logic album start to finish. He understands that this is the way to listen to music, not as one-off track selections, and he thought I’d dig Logic’s Vinyl Days because it harkens back to some post-Licensed to Ill Beastie Boys. And he’s right. I do like it and it does sound like some Paul’s Boutique and Check Your Head.

Boy The Younger? He’s so much me it’s scary. Put him in a baseball uniform and run him out there to the pitcher’s mound, and it’s like I’m looking at myself. In life, he’s a goofball who sees his academics as an interlude between being able to do the fun things he really wants to do, and he and focus have a bad relationship with each other. That was and, to a large extent, is me.

He’s a feeler in every sense of the word. He cannot abide hearing anything about the mistreatment of animals, he’s extremely self-critical and caustically aware of his mistakes. He has a huge heart and instinctively knows what someone is “not right.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been silently screaming as I’ve battled my demons and he is the one who wordlessly comes over to give me a hug. He knows, and I love that about him.

Yet he’s got this side of him that comes out that is intensely organized and structured and methodical. BTY loves processes and structure. He wants steps and lists and detailed instructions. When he was a toddler, he’d line up his monster truck toys in a precise line, all facing the same way. If I turned one around while he wasn’t looking, he’d eventually turn back and immediately notice something was amiss and fix it.

That’s all Wifey Poo.

Whereas BTY’s brother helps feed my need for deep, philosophical discussions — which we’ve been having since BTE was, like, 4 — BTY is too carefree to worry about much of anything and would rather be grounded for a month than have a deep discussion.

Very unlike his brother (and me) and very much like his mother, he gets over slights and disappointments extremely fast. When BTE’s baseball teams would lose, he’d agonize over it with great regret for weeks. BTY? His teams lose 28-3 and he’s 100% fine by the time we’re pulling out of the parking lot to head home. It’s not that he doesn’t care; the kid has the same level of insane hustle I had. It’s just that, when it’s done, whatever the outcome, he’s onto the next thing.

BTY (and Wifey Poo) is very much The Lego Movie; Everything is awesome, and he’s gonna sing about it. And sing he does. He and Wifey Poo are random when-no-one-else-is-looking singers. BTY used to go to the bathroom during the middle of dinner, pee, and then have to be loudly called back to the table because he was giving a concert because “I like how my voice sounds in there.”

I say all of this as a way to reflect upon the fact that I’m pretty damn lucky. I have a 20-year-old son who loves his dad and wants to hang out with him. He’s already told me (kinda sorta) what my Father’s Day gift is. He and I (and his amazeballs girlfriend) are going to the Marcus King Band concert.

And I have an almost 13-year-old son who gets me probably better than just about anyone else in the world. They are fabulous kids.

Life isn’t all sunshine and Christmas cookies. But it’s good.


It’s currently noon on Friday, and today is my last day of work at my soon-to-be old job. I am currently at LIT Cigar Lounge alternately savoring a great cigar and a double Angle’s Envy on the rocks. I wish things would have turned out differently at The Best Damn Real Estate Team on Either Side of the Mississippi, but they didn’t, and when the phone rang, I answered it. It’s hard to turn down a 60% raise, especially when you’re seeing massive cracks in the foundation of your currently employer’s business structure.

So I didn’t.

I now have next week to decompress and enjoy life to the fullest before I start my new gig June 27. Part of that enjoyment is a solo escape to the Ozarks in Northern Arkansas. I’ve rented a cabin out in the boonies and plan to do a lot of writing and relaxing.

I think I’ve earned it.


Regular readers of this space (hello to the three of you! I’m lookin’ at you, Read Between The Lyme!) might have noticed that this space is now being taken up with writing of a different tone of late. Looking back at what my writing has been like over the past few years, there are so many indications of the soul-deep struggle I’ve had with simply existing. One of the main purposes of this site has been to give me a forum to work through my shit, to get all these feelings out (see above about BTY) and to hopefully help others who are going through their own shit.

And folks, a lot of that writing has been about the ugly side of life.

I hesitate to talk about what’s changed because I’ve learned first-hand how vile and hypocritical people can be when it comes to those who openly share their struggles with brain illness. I may or may not have signed a document that may or may not exist with a company that most certainly does exist because of this kind of crap that may or may not have paid me to not pursue any possible or not possible future litigation. Yet any sort of vindication I felt in that is tarnished by the fact that those who may or may not have been responsible for the discrimination still enjoy gainful employment in that very real company and that it social media trumpets its support of mental health awareness.

That said, where I am today is because of a decision I made in August 2021 to wade into the deep water with a new therapist and confront the things I’d never dealt with before. I say that I made the decision, and that’s true, but what’s more true is that I just sorta one day found myself in the deep water with no real option other than to keep swimming (or drown).

The work has been hard. My therapist is a dude in a different part of the lovely state of Missourah whom I talk with via telehealth and who doesn’t take my bullshit. He calls me on my cop-outs and is great at holding me accountable to truth. Patiently, lovingly, professionally, he’s guided me through some nasty stuff. In a roundabout way, he helped me find a somewhat experimental treatment I’ve been in for the past month, and the differences in my heart and head are profound.

I’m not at the point of feeling comfortable talking about this treatment in this space, but I will talk about them with anyone who emails me (well, just about anyone). johnagliata@gmail.com. I’m not saying what I’ve found will work for everyone. It won’t. Brains are fantastically complicated and individual things. I’m not even saying that what I’ve found will work for me in the long term. What I do know is that it’s working for me right now and that I haven’t felt this centered and sound since, well, ever. The differences this is making in my personal and professional lives is beyond belief, and each new morning that I greet feeling regulated and good gives me hope that what I’ve found is going to stick.

It also leads to impromptu concerts in my car in which I’m belting out this song as I cruise down the highway with the windows open.

These are my words
That I’ve never said before
I think I’m doing okay
And this is the smile
That I’ve never shown before

Somebody shake me ’cause I
I must be sleeping


It’s a (Dysfunctional) Family Matter

Top 3 questions to ask yourself before going into business with relatives. My wife, Carla, is an amazing woman. She is exceedingly brilliant, the owner of a whole lot more A’s in school growing up than her future husband had. We’ve known each other for nearly three decades now, the past 25 as spouses. And…

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Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Date night tonight!
  2. A week of no day job awaits!
  3. I feel good.

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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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One response to “Genetics — June 17, 2022”

  1. Congratulations on your new position, John! It sounds like things are going well. I sincerely appreciate your openness and truthfulness and that’s basically why I’m here. And your writing is awesome! While I envy your upcoming trip of solitude, I certainly hope it is one that feeds the soul. Take care!

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