🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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 in St. Charles this morning with her, it was as if 20 years had been shaved off those knees.
In the midst of the pandemic in January 2021, I was fortunate enough to be able to visit my father-in-law (AKA FIL) in the hospital on the night before he died of COVID-related complications. He was in what would turn out to be his final hours, and it was obvious. Before leaving, I told him that it was OK to let go, that I would help take care of Mom.
And so I took The Judester to one of her favorite places today. This isn’t to suggest she has a gambling problem or that I’m some super son-in-law. She doesn’t and I’m not. She takes what she can afford to lose — and, most of the time, she does.
It was so funny watching her quicker pace walking in — certainly quicker than it was when we walked out a few hours and a hundred or so dollars later. But it wasn’t just her walk. She was glowing. She was totally in her element, taking me from this favorite slot machine to that favorite slot machine. She has all these little rituals that are supposed to bring her luck but that my own bad juju certainly jammed up.
I had fun.
Most people hate traveling with The Judester. For them, she is the world’s worst passenger. She is incredibly anxious and lets out frightened gasps enough to make them jump should a tractor trailer be anywhere in sight. But for me, it’s like we’re driving down an empty highway. I once picked her and FIL up from the airport when we lived in Minnesota in the midst of a major blizzard, even by Minnesota standards. That I got to the airport at all was a combination of miracle and my acumen with snow driving. I passed at least three dozen cars in the median on the way up. Yet on the drive back, she was as relaxed as if we were on the People Mover at Disney World. I’m not sure why she’s cool when I’m driving, but it certainly makes things easier.
Hanging out with The Judester was a welcomed distraction from the general sadness I’m feeling in the wake of my grandmother’s death. The Judester and I talked about Grandma, about end-of-life issues in general, about her own thoughts on being 81 and certainly in the fourth quarter of her own game here. When we got back to her apartment in Old Folks Village, I helped bring some stuff up for her and then hung a few pictures she’d been wanting on the walls.
Maybe hanging out with an old lady as spirited as Grandma was is just the thing I needed today.
Following the morning fun with The Judester, it was time for Boy The Younger’s birthday present. Like many kids his age, BTY is a fan of goofy Youtubers. Don’t ask me to explain why this generation is enthralled with watching other people play the video games they play themselves or adults still very much hanging onto their youth. Then again, my generation had its own share of weird entertainment, like collecting pieces of cardboard with baseball players’ faces on the front and stats on the back — and then “flipping” those cards to essentially steal them from their friends.
Dude Perfect is a sports and comedy group headquartered in Frisco, Texas. It’s a collection of five guys who have made millions by living their best life. The quintet were college roommates at Texas A&M … and just never stopped. They do a variety of trick shots, stunts and odd gameshows that almost always end with one or more of them loudly screaming.
I know this because, back when I was WFH frequently, I could always tell when BTY was done with his homeschool lessons for the day. From the other room would come these yells as if a guy was going into labor. No. It was just a Dude Perfect guy sinking a basketball shot from the top of a skyscraper or something.
BTY loves this stuff and, as became apparent throughout the night last night, speaks the Dude Perfect language. So did about 10,000 others in attendance at the Enterprise Center. And I have to admit, it was fun. All the contests are good natured and family friendly, and much of it was downright impressive. I don’t think I could throw a football from the upper level of the arena into an inflatable kids pool on the stage if you gave me a thousand tries.
I’m not sure I’m necessarily a fan myself yet, but there’s a chance I’ll check out more of their videos on Youtube. Maybe you’ll even get me screaming “AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” along with them.
On the drive home from Dude Perfect, BTY was in his own world in the backseat with his headphones on listening to music, and Wifey Poo was proposing the unthinkable for this age: Deactivating her Facebook.
After checking the rearview mirror to ensure Marky Z’s henchmen weren’t closing in to run us off the road, I engaged in the conversation.
Wifey Poo hates drama, and she’s not a big fan of the news. She’s very much a here-and-now person who is perfectly content with the slice of the world that surrounds her. She doesn’t watch, read or have much interest in national or international news, and she is not a big fan of people sharing their opinions about it (which kinda makes me wonder why she likes me). She’s over the people who are only tangentially in her life because of this thing called social media and who are one-trick ponies — whatever side of the aisle from which they are sharing their political or social opinions.
She’s considering two alternatives: Unfollowing all of those who infiltrate her life with the stuff she doesn’t want to see or simply deactivating her account.
Which got me thinking about doing the same thing. What really made me mad at myself was that, when I considered the possibility, I was aware that there would be a period of time dealing with something akin to withdrawal.
Dude. What the actual fuck? That’s not good. And I imagine many others, were they to be honest with themselves, would say they, too, would have to deal with some type of Facebook detox.
I happen to believe we’re in the midst of what one day will be written about as a revolution, and I think the tone of that story has yet to be determined. Social media, as I’ve written about extensively, isn’t an evil in and of itself (though the companies running them are pretty damn close). Rather, it’s how people are using it and how unregulated it is that is allowing humans to do things they know are bad for them as individuals and bad for us as a collective — whether that’s Americans or humans.
I know people who have taken the nuclear option and left all social media. I know a few people who never became a part of it at all. They manage to live perfectly happy lives. They don’t feel disconnected. They don’t feel like they are missing out on anything. They are, dare I say, happy?
So this morning I deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone. It’s a step, but it feels very much like an alcoholic throwing his bottles of booze away at home while knowing the bar opens at noon. I know that, with the start of Johnny Boy Marketing and my hope to turn it into my full-time gig one day, social media could help me realize my dreams.
Yet I’m thinking I’m pretty sure I can get there without it.
In Other Writing
It’s easy to say Facebook — sorry, Meta — is evil. They do such a good job of proving the point for us. They routinely violate their own privacy policies, they know what they do is bad for people and bad for society, and they lie when subpoenaed to testify before Congress because they know…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Restorative yoga this morning.
- Wifey Poo and I are going on a couples retreat at the end of the month.
- More gambling with The Judester is in my future.
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🧩 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
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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,…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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.…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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?…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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