🧩 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 dig a good parade.
What I didn’t dig was getting stuck for two-and-a-half hours in O’Fallon, Missourah, because of a parade route.
I had an appointment with Arti The Therapist, and rather than do it from home, I made the decision to go to my favorite local coffeehouse, Alpha & Omega. I’d called to make sure they were open, and I figured I’d basically have the place to myself.
Not so fast, sunshine.
The place was packed with pre-parade people festooned in red, white and blue. A&O is located right on the parade route, I learned, so people apparently stopped by to caffeine up before waving to the politicians on their floats (which, incidentally, is a great place for politicians to be).
No problem, I thought. I’ll just head south and go to a coffee shop somewhere less Amuricah.
But there was a problem. In the time it took me to park at A&O, walk in to see that it was jammed and walk back to my car, police shut down the parade route and there was literally no road out of that part of O’Fallon. Trust me. I looked.
I ended up having my Arti appointment in my car parked off some path behind a school and then, upon discovering the parade still in full effect an hour later, abandoned my vehicle for the shade of a park in the Captive Zone.
I texted Wifey Poo because I was starving from having not eaten breakfast and requested an air drop of supplies.
Last August, we purchased the home Wifey Poo grew up in and left our cul-de-sac to move out to the country Over the past year, we have been cleaning out Wifey Poo’s parents’ stuff, and she recently came upon a deck of cards with a box loudly declaring “Iraqi Most Wanted.” I remember this deck being a huge thing back when we were 1,000% sure Weapons of Mass Destruction were standard issue to every Iraqi entering kindergarten.
Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of that little military escapade, so I thought it would be fun to see how we’ve done with our international John Walsh effort. Best as I can find, we’re 48 for 52 on capturing or killing these baddies, though many of the most wanted weren’t so most wanted that they remain in custody. Here’s what I learned by turning my Google search history into something I’m sure our national intelligence apparatus is addressing at this very moment:
- It’s not healthy to be in custody of U.S. or Iraqi forces. A total of 14 Most Wanted died while being held, though according to published reports, none were of the “oops, he fell in the shower” variety. Most were because these were middle-aged dudes when they were nabbed, and 20 years in prison can take its toll on the body and mind.
- But if you can survive being in custody, you’re most likely good. Thirteen of the baddies were released and are living today, most outside of Iraq. Most common post-imprisonment destination? Jordan.
- Evading the combined armed forces of the Western world is really, really hard. Only three of the Most Wanted have never been captured or killed. All three have $1 million bounties on their heads. So if you’re not doing anything …
- Dying in battle isn’t the way these folks chose to meet their maker. Only three died fighting, and two of them were Saddam Hussein’s sons.
- Some people have really, really bad luck. One dude was captured and was in custody for more than a decade when ISIS came swarming through and ripped him out of his cell before executing him.
- There’s some funny business going on with some of these folks. Three may have been captured … but might not have. One might be dead … but might not be. One might have been taken from his prison cell and executed by ISIS … but he might not have been.
- Some of the Most Wanted were right. Three testified loud and often before the invasion that there were no weapons of mass destruction remaining in Iraq. They were called liars and stooges of the regime. When they were captured or surrendered shortly after the invasion began, they were thrown into prison … and then quietly released years later.
- The “Worst Way For A Most Wanted Member To Die” Award goes to Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, the five of clubs. He was Saddam’s half-brother and presidential advisor who led Iraq’s secret police during the first Gulf War. He was captured in 2003 and executed in 2007. During his execution, a math error in the calculation of his weight and the length of rope needed led to him falling longer from the platform than he should have. When the rope finally went taught, it popped his head off. Moral of the story: Math is important, kids.
It’s hot. Like, disgustingly hot. I hate hot. Give me a brisk fall wind and 50 degrees, and I’ll gladly spend the day outside.
But give me 100 degrees and the typical Missouri humidity that is so thick it’s as if you have to swim through the air? No freaking thank you. It’s supposed to be this gross through at least Wednesday.
Does anyone like this crap? Give me a spring, two falls and a winter and I’d be happy. Give me four falls and I’d consider that heaven.
In Other Writing
Hi. My name is John, and I’m a COVID Longhauler. When the coronavirus epidemic shut down the country in March 2020, Kent Taylor refused to accept his base salary as chief executive officer of Texas Roadhouse restaurants and instead poured that money back into his frontline restaurant workers to help them stay financially afloat. A…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- It’s nearly time to blow up some fireworks.
- Boy The Elder and his buddies are starting to make the shrimp boil as I type.
- I took a good nap today. That made me happy.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Concert Thoughts 🧠Marriage 💍Drunk Idiots 🧉 There’s this scene in the 2004 movie Garden State in which Sam (Natalie Portman) looks at Andrew (Zach Braff) and notices … … And yeah, that resonated with me then and resonates with me now. Ever since then, being “in it” has become a thing…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Beautiful Skies ⛅Two Terms For 2022 ✌️ Back in our early days at Pound Ridge Elementary School, Sarah was the fastest girl runner in the class, which bought her some serious playground cred. There were only a few of us boys who could hang with Sarah in the 50-meter dash…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ear Flushing👂Grunge God🎶Tech Guy📺 If you have to have a doctor tell you a body part or yours is small, I suppose one of the least offensive would be the ear canal. That’s what a doctor told me this morning, after I finally broke down and actually went to said doctor’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Toys in the Hall🪅Idiot Governors🗳️Flopping FedEx✈️ Last night in my hotel in Springfield, Missourah, I set out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies before going to bed. It’s not that I don’t know how to read a calendar or have any particular belief in a fat man in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Which One?🗺️Leave Introverts Alone🤫Oxford Commas🤪 I’m on the road for work this week, in Springfield. Ahhh, but Springfield what? There currently are 35 populated places in the United States named Springfield, spread out over 25 states, including five in Wisconsin. In addition, there are 35 Springfield Townships, and Ohio owns 11…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Surrounded 😷Wood Splitter 🌲Morons 🤪 I’ve had COVID. Twice. The first time fucked up my life for a year. I’m still not back to the me I was before it came into my home, and I’m pretty sure that now, nearly two years later, that’s not going to change. The second…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sunday audible🤒Fantasy Failure 🏈Anal Chess♟️ Sunday was supposed to be a romantic day spent in a canoe with Wifey Poo, the two of us paddling leisurely down the Meramec River. Mother Nature was not in the mood to play wingman and decided to pick the one day in the midst of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Finish Line Scene 🏃♂️Baseball’s Better ⚾M-I-Z! Z-O-UC-H! 🏈 I have never understood the modern-day purpose of running for the sake of running. Sure, I understand it’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise and it’s a convenient way to get from Point A to Point B, yet the desire to strap on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Book Guy 📚Queen Stuff 👑Bernard Shaw 📺 I’ve decided I want to own a copy of every Stephen King book ever written. That’s about 75 books at the moment. I have a built-in bookcase in my mancave/home office. I don’t think it would hold all 75 in hardcover, but perhaps it…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beginnings 📚School Start 🚌Real Baseball ⚾ I was thinking this morning on my drive to work how we rarely know when the significant times in our lives begin. So frequently, the most important things that happen to us start with nothing noteworthy. Of course, there are exceptions, the “love-at-first-sight” moments or…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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 wake…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading