🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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 Twain, and as any hometown of one of the world’s most preeminent authors would do, Mr. Clemens’ town leans strongly into it.
We stayed in a room in the magnificent Garth Woodside Mansion, which now is a bed-and-breakfast. I would imagine this place is haunted, but I’m not about to ask.
That’s not the story, though.
Friday night, Wifey Poo and I arrived, unpacked our things and, seizing an incredibly rare summer opportunity in Missourah, decided to sit outside in air that was shockingly un-humid. The mansion has a wrap-around porch, as all good mansions do, and there are rocking chairs placed thoughtfully in pairs here and there. Wifey Poo and I sat down, and she soon noticed a spider waaaaay up at the top of the porch overhang, chillin’ in his (or her) web.
A few moments later, in the middle of a sentence, she stopped to exclaim, “What is THAT?!?!?” Turns out it was a frog, scaling the chain of a hanging plant, headed northward.
“It’s going after dinner,” said I, well-schooled on nature documentaries as both a child and an adult.
The two of us watched in raptured silence as the frog ascended the chain before stopping parallel to its intended main course.
“It’s gonna wait until the spider gets closer,” I postulated, thinking I was going to see just how long this frog’s tongue was.
The spider, perhaps sensing its name on the dinner menu, stayed a respectful distance away from the new patron.
That’s when it happened.
The frog, not wanting to play nature’s game anymore, leaped from the chain, directly at the spider. And here’s the thing: He got there. I don’t know how. It was akin to setting the Olympic long-jump record … but starting from a standstill.
There was just one problem.
The frog might have been brilliant to sense the spider waaaaaaay up at the top of the overhang from his spot on the floor. He might have been amazingly nimble to find a way onto the hanging plant and then ascend all the way to spiderville. He might have been astoundingly athletic to reach the stubborn spider that wouldn’t cooperate with his initial idea.
But he didn’t have an exit plan.
Having crossed the divide and reached his prey, the frog (and the spider) was suddenly overcome by a force beyond both their understanding: Gravity. And so Wifey Poo and I watched in shocked amazement as both frog and spider plummeted toward the earth, beyond the porch railing and into the bushes.
I’d like to think they both survived. I’d like to think they landed right next to each other and, having made it through the ordeal, found a new appreciation for each other. I’d like to think the two dusted themselves off and right now are hanging out together, having a beer, saying, “Can you believe that shit went down?”
Yet if you do some math — which I, of course, am not going to do — that fall was big. We’re talking King-Kong-from-the-Empire-State-Building big. And that didn’t end well for King Kong.
Twas beauty that killed the beast. And hunger that killed the frog.
So why were Wifey Poo and I in Hannibal? To plan our future. This is, in many ways, laughable, because if there’s anything our 25 years of marriage should have taught us, it’s that whatever you’d like to call the creator of the universe tends to find our plans humorous and entirely not in line with his/her/its way of doing business. Yet there we were, marinading in the essence of Mark Twain, deciding what to do with our money and our time.
We’ve largely ignored this topic for most of a decade. When I started struggling with various health issues, we rapidly obliterated our savings trying to keep our household going. Then, as I rebounded, I worked a succession of jobs in which I was woefully underpaid.
Now, I have a job that’s paying me what I’m worth, and I have a growing side gig to boot. I also have a kid in college and a 13-year-old who deserves the same sort of parental support his brother had, and we have a house more in line with 1970s-Brady-Bunch-chic with creaky floors that drive each of us nuts. We were far more than library-book overdue to figure out a common direction for our family.
By the end of the day Saturday, we had our plan. The first half of the session was spent in a great coffee joint called Java Jive, with our laptops open like a couple of Gen-Zers. The second half was spent in the dining room of the Garth Woodside Mansion. Wifey Poo got to see me at my working-world best, guiding us through a pre-developed agenda that essentially was a SWOT analysis and goal-setting worksheet. I’ve been in enough of those meetings during my career to satisfy a few lives. She brought her “A” game, complete with her typical level-headed, rational, intelligent analysis and frequent reality checks. I gotta admit, she’s damn sexy when she’s like that. 🙂
Wifey Poo are unbeatable when we’re on the same page. We’ve taken to repeating a new mantra as often as possible: Us. Always Us. Shoulder to Shoulder. Always Us.
The marital bed Wifey Poo and I share is immense. I think the definition for it is a California King, but even that might be underselling it.
This isn’t how we started out. Early in our marriage, we had a standard queen bed and slept comfortably intertwined in each other’s love, randomly bumping into each other in the darkness, finding such things endearing and charming. It might even have been a double. I’m not up on bed sizes, as you can tell.
As our marriage has progressed, Wifey Poo and I have grown to increasingly value our sleeping space. When we travel, we try to find at least a king bed in the room we’re going to lay our heads at night. Mansions kept in the Victorian style don’t have king beds. For the past two nights, well, let’s just say Wifey Poo and I have both realized how much we love our California King.
Bad bosses shouldn’t be. Of course, I’ve never met anyone who self-identifies as a bad boss, yet we all know they’re out there, and yes, indeed, without a shadow of a doubt, they do suck. I’ve had more than my fair share of bad bosses over the course of my career, from the one who…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Gotta stick around to live the plan Wifey Poo and I created.
- Some really good concerts are in my near future — Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Shinedown and Gin Blossoms.
- Boy The Elder and I are going to the IndyCar race in a few weekends.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Full Stop’ 🛑Needles 💉Business Lessons 🧑💼 Here’s something I learned about myself today: One way to ensure that I will debate you on a topic until I give my last breath or until you are huddled in a corner in a fetal position is to end the statement of your opinion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mindfulness 🧘Mullet Prez 👩🦳Murder Family 🔪 Our brains are amazing things. So adept are they at routines that they can essentially run on autopilot and let you do the everyday stuff like operating a multi-ton object advancing at 70+ mph among lots of other multi-top objects advancing at 70+ mph without…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bloody Hell 💂Circus Moments 🤡Silence 🤫 OK, people: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. But first, a little digression. What in the bloody hell does that phrase mean? “A bone to pick with you?” That sounds absolutely disgusting. And if you’re wondering why I said “bloody hell,” well, that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩24 Hour Video 😡Rubik’s Kid 🧊Dilbert Doofus 🤪 There are two things I cannot stand in the working world — and in life, in general. The first is people whose lack of preparedness turns ordinary stuff into emergencies. The second is when people criticize the result of something they previous approved.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mormon Billionaires 💰Bigger Packages 🍌Birds Really Aren’t Real 🐦 Can we just get on with blowing the tits off the world with nuclear weapons or something and end this stupid thing we call the human race? Yeah, I know that’s a little dramatic, but when I take a look at the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Muricah The Evil 🦅You Buy You 💰Big-Ass Van 🚚 I find it rather humorous that Muricah warned China not to send arms to one side of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine … and that we issued this warning with a straight face. I’m quite sure most Muricahns believe their country…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Salve 🩹Car Wash 🚗💧Light Removal 🎄 I try not to venture too often into a Wal-Mart, especially on the weekend. I cling to slim hope for this nation as it is, and I find Wal-Mart trips do not help my grip. Alas, this weekend, Boy The Younger was under the weather…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CC, BCC, FU 📧Basketball Poll 🏀Andy Rooney 🎙️ This week has largely been a Shit Week marred by Shit People. What are Shit People? They aren’t exactly easy to define, but one hallmark of a Shit Person is his rampant use of the CC function at work to passive-aggressively play power…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chill Day 🛋️Busy Weekend ⚾Halftime 🏈 I’m not working today. Not only am I not working at my day job, I’m not doing any work for my side gig today. I’m not planning on doing much of anything, actually. And I don’t feel guilty about that. This weekend was insanely busy.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Pharma Sucks 💊Work Rules 🧑💼Big Weekend 🏈 Spend any time in front of the television and you’ll see ads touting the latest drugs that you shouldn’t take if you’re allergic to and that you most definitely need to ask your doctor about. Now comes a study showing that the people…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top 5 🎈Symphony 🎻Living Eulogies 💗 Top 5 things overheard in Missourah last week as a purported Chinese spy balloon made its way over the state en route to its rendezvous with an F22’s missile: Despite my high-brow upbringing in Suburbia, New York, I’m not what anyone would call A Symphony…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Space Walk 🧑🚀Bye-Bye Brady 🏈Failure Rate 🐿️ When Boy The Elder was just Boy and devoid of a younger brother, we had a nickname for him: Pokey Joe. BTE didn’t do anything fast, but more than anything, what he did incredibly slow was get out of a car. That would suck…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Raccoons 🦝February 💘Man Nips 🕺 Today I bring you the story of a raccoon who got his balls stuck to railroad tracks. But the reason you think I’m bringing you this story is not the reason I’m bringing you this story. You think I’m bringing the story of the raccoon Neil…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tyre Nichols 😔Tattoo Day ✒️Nephew Hoops🏀 I was a white kid in suburbia, New York, in 1988 when the gangsta rap group N.W.A. came out with its album Straight Outta Compton, featuring the song Fuck Tha Police. It was scandalous, at the time, to suggest that the police would be anything…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Concert 🎵Sick Wife🤒People Suck 🖕 Within the 24 hours in the run-up to Snowpocalypse 2023, the estimates on the Weather Channel app for our snowfall total ranged from 1 to 10 inches. That’s like going to the doctor and being told you have anything from a splinter to terminal cancer.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mission: Failed 👎Ho 🤣Handy Family 👍 It has to suck to work at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Why? It took exactly 75 minutes for all of 2023 to be a failure. Let me explain. Those of you unfortunate enough to have been involved in any sort of corporate planning process…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Houston 🖊️Sad clown 🤡Taco Seasoning 🌮 Houston, Missourah, is not unlike a lot of other rural Missourah towns through which I’ve driven and bears a resemblance to the Small Town USA in which Boy The Elder did a lot of his early growing up and to which Boy The Younger came…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Definitions 📖Missing Bourbon 🥃Mysterious Knocks 😵 I generally abhor any writing that starts with, “Webster’s dictionary defines …” Webster’s dictionary defines “ceiling” as a noun meaning “the overhead inside lining of a room.” The implication is that it’s a limitation, a max, a point of demarcation between what’s out there and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Annoyance 😠Disappointment 😞 When Boy The Elder was Boy The Only in our home, he watched one of the Air Bud movies featuring a basketball-playing dog. Or maybe it was football. Or soccer. By the time that series was over, that dog had played them all. Anyway, whichever Air Bud…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thor’s Blurry Hammer 🍆Pigeon Delivery 🕊️Idiot List 🤪 Thor is really, really good with his hammer. And by that, I mean that Thor the walrus in Scarborough, England, is really good at masturbating and ruining New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard about this story, stop reading stupid news like politics…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bruising Basketball 🏀Poke ☝️Six?!? 🔫 I grew up in the NBA era of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons while loving a New York Knicks team that was, to put it mildly, quite physical. Guys like Steph Curry and LeBron James can makes basketball seem like artistry these days, but give me…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What There is Like! ⛅’Modern Policing’ 🚨Xylophone Time! 🎵 When you decide to talk about a time in which you truly believe you more-or-less died and saw what comes after this life, you have to be comfortable with the fact that people might think you’re nuts. Hell, talking about it on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grace Ashford! 📰Idaholy Shit! 🥔Story of the Year! 🍆 The three most influential people in my life as a journalist are, sadly, all part of the Great Newsroom in the Sky now. Professors Michael Perkins and Bob Woodward (AKA Bob Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward) helped educate me at Drake University, and Lisa Warren was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poor Puppy 🐶Romeo and Juliet 🤴👸Meta Mistake 🙊 Disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., today as Republican Congressman-elect George Santos (if that’s his real name) brought a 6-month-old puppy to the house floor and screamed “Hey, look at me!” before slitting its throat and lapping up its squirting blood like a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Pretty Good Rant 😠Tesla Plunge 🚗Missed Lasts 😥 Those of you who regularly read my drivel (I see you, DirtySciFiBuddah) might have become aware of the fact over the past year or so that I am not a huge fan of our world’s modern institutions. All of them might, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Incomplete 🕮Frustration 😠Bowl Bust 🏈 To say that I know how to write is like saying I know how to breathe. No one considers that they know how to breathe. They just … breathe. No one is particularly good at breathing or bad at breathing. Again, they just … breathe. I’ve…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 15 of Listicles, the feature that presents the Top 10, Top 5, Top 3, Top 100 or Top 1,000,000 of whatever it is you want to know about. Email your Listicle suggestions to email@example.com. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩2023 📅Helping 🧠The Universe 🔭 I’m not much for long-term plans and goals. This isn’t to suggest I don’t think they’re important. I just think that spending a lot of time on them is futile. What’s the saying? Man plans, God laughs. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve learned through experience that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chain Links 🔗”Work” 🧑💼Popular Toys 🧸 After my first son died in December 2000, I spent a lot of time wondering why. Why me? Why Wifey Poo? Why Jacob? Why this level of suffering in a world supposedly created and run by an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God? So I did what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chiefs! 🏈Indy Tickets 🏎️Bank Visit 💰 When I bought the tickets to the Christmas Eve contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks as a gift for Boys The Elder & Younger, it was sometime in September and temps hovered around 90 degrees. The thought that the game might…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Timelines 👶Extinctions 🌋Sin City 👌 As I fall deeper down the rabbit hole learning more about theories on space and time, the concept of alternative timelines comes up again and again and again. Whether it’s the stuff of science fiction or one day will be proven to be the stuff of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Cousin’ Laughs🎤Improv!?!? 🎭Drake Hoops 🏀 Back when I was a boy, I had a favorite Cousin-Who-Wasn’t-A-Cousin. His name was Joey DeVito, and he was in no way a blood relation to me, though I called his father Uncle Frankie and his mother Aunt Celia. I’m pretty sure this is an East…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glazed 🍩Bingo! 🖥️Disappearing Christians ⛪ I didn’t intend to bring doughnuts for my co-workers yesterday morning. It just sorta happened. How it happened and how it played out is a window into my weird mind. First, an explanation: I have a card purchased from Boy The Younger that entitles me to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩STL’s Homeless 😥Snake Hoo-Hoos 🐍That Was Epoch 👴 I found James huddled underneath a blanket as he sat, knees to his chest, head bowed, just outside the doorway of a CVS in the Delmar Loop section of St. Louis. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a fun place filled…Keep reading