🧩 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 I lived was most definitely not what you picture when you think of the Big Apple. But it also was very much not Iowa.
I loved Iowa. I loved the simplicity of it, the slower pace, the friendlier people, the fact that it was so flat in most sections and so devoid of stuff you could turn in a circle and see the horizon during your entire revolution.
If you want a good taste of what Iowa is like, go to the Iowa State Fair, a place that, thanks to Iowa’s ridiculously influential place in presidential elections, all those wanting to ascend to the most powerful position in the world need to visit at least once to show their salt-of-the-earthiness. To know that every recent president — the person with access to the nuclear codes that could blow the tits off the world — has gazed upon the latest version of the same full-sized cow sculpted from butter that I have is a great equalizer for me.
It’s patently stupid that Iowa has such an important role in our nation’s politics. It’s not the most representative state in the nation, to say the least. Yet leave it to Iowa to give us a great representation of something we all are feeling this year.
The Big Boar Contest at the Iowa State Fair (Faaaar) had only two entries this year, Pee-Wee and Purdy Boy. Typically, there are anywhere from five to 10 entrants. But this year, those attempting to cram as much poundage onto a pig were hampered by inflation.
Pee-Wee was aided by a sweet tooth, which meant his owner could each day offer up 36 days-old cream-filled long johns to assist in his weight-gaining efforts. Purdy Boy had no such sweet tooth, and his owners spent $6,000 — double the norm — stuffing him with pig feed (duh) to pack on the pounds.
Said Ernie Barnes, whose job it is to oversee the fairgrounds’ Swine Barn and who emcees the contest: “So, if a boar is eating that much feed and a guy is doing it as a hobby or as a fun deal, do you really want to feed a boar for a year with high-priced feed?”
The answer is no… no you don’t.
The Big Boar Contest is hardly the only thing affected. Prices for corn and soybeans, two ingredients in pig feed, hit nine-year highs over the past six months because of skyrocketing fertilizer prices. Ingredients in the fertilizer are sourced in areas affected by that little Ukraine spat we’ve mostly forgotten about because Kardashians or something. Costlier fertilizer equals costlier pig feed equals costlier bacon, and that, my friends, is simply not acceptable.
Get on that, Biden.
Oh. You didn’t think I’d leave this story without telling you which pig won the contest, did you? Pee-Wee, tipping the scales at 1,300 pounds, crushed Purdy Boy, who weighed in at “only” 1,156 pounds.
Long live the long john.
I picked up Boy The Younger from cross country practice yesterday evening, and we went to a local movie theater to see a special event … RiffTrax live. Back in the day, a Minnesota public television station aired a campy, amateurish show called Mystery Science Theater 3000. The premise was simple: Humans have produced some really awful movies over the course of time, and it’s fun to make fun of them. So three dudes (actually, on screen, it was one dude and two robots) watch films with titles like “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” “The Crawling Eye” and “Radar Men from the Moon” and crack jokes about them.
It developed a cult following that it retains to this day.
From that, Rifftrax was born. Rifftrax has some of MST3K’s OG’s, without their robot-puppet fronts. They tackle both horrible B movies and popular mainstream flicks like “Lord of the Rings.” And every once in a while, they riff live in front of an audience and then broadcast the stream in movie theaters.
Last night was a live event from Nashville, Tenn., and featured “The Return of Swamp Thing,” which was about as awful as you might think. The plot, such as it was, involved a mad scientist trying to find the key to eternal life and who, in the process, accidentally made all sorts of hideous beast. Plot twist! Swamp Thing is actually the hero in the story.
It’s fun hanging out with BTY. He’s weird like I am and appreciates off-beat humor.
If you stop and think about it, the telephone is really weird. We just accept the fact that we can push some numbers on a thing and then hear the in-real-time voice of someone near or far without really realizing how crazy that is.
I mean, think about it: The vibrations generated by your vocal cords can be translated into electronic signals and travel over wires or through the freaking air and then converted back into your exact voice for someone in Namibia or Newark … instantaneously. That’s some wizard shit right there.
That said, at some point along the way, I grew to hate talking on the phone. I’m not really sure why. More on that in a moment.
So when Bossman said it would be a good idea to call all the account managers whom I represent as Marketing Guy to check in and get to know them better, I wanted to barf. That would be something like fifteen phone conversations. I haven’t had 15 actual phone conversations in the past year, and he wanted me to do this in the next week.
But Bossman is Bossman, so I set up my phone calls for today and Monday and then proceeded to dread the coming of these days.
Friday morning dawned, and I realized something: I was being stupid. There’s nothing to dread about making phone calls to guys I really do need to get to know better and who I really do want to help. I’ve allowed myself, in general, to just accept certain things about me that aren’t really me. Not the me I am now, anyway.
So I made my phone calls today. Joyfully. And I had some great conversations with guys from California, Texas, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Louisiana, among other places. Those calls helped shape what I’ll need to do to be good at my job. It’s a good thing, these phone calls, so maybe that device isn’t so bad.
Top 5 Things You Will Learn If You Read This Whole Thing You can’t “Hippy” the desire to conquer land out of boys. Sometimes leadership is thrust upon us. Bob is an idiot. There’s a game played by a bunch of violent, drunk Englishmen that even Nazi bombs couldn’t stop. Even the most violent feuds…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- IndyCar race with Boy The Elder tomorrow!
- Fall weather can’t be too far away, right?
- Lots of concerts coming up in the next 30 days!
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🧩 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 🧩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…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