🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
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. Louis, Illinois, to the World Wide Technology Raceway in nearby Marion for the Bommarito Automotive Group 500. Indycar racing isn’t what it used to be, when names like Foyt, Andretti, Unser and Mears dominated the scene, but what I learned yesterday is that, if you’re paying attention, it’s a helluva fun sport to see live.
I’d never gone in-person to an Indycar race, and, truthfully, I haven’t watched much of the sport of late beyond its yearly Super Bowl, the Indianapolis 500. But yesterday’s race has me wanting more. Here are my Top 5 takeaways from an afternoon of racing.
- Pato O’Ward is my guy. First, there’s the fact that the dude is named Pato freaking O’Ward. You can’t make that up. Second is that the dude isn’t from Dublin or any other place in Ireland. In the ultimate swerve, he’s from Mexico. Third is the nugget from his Indycar.com bio that he loves Eggo waffles and sushi, though the site makes no mention of whether he chows on them as a combo or individually. But more than any of those facts that led to my newfound mancrush on him is that the dude drives like a beast. He was by far the most aggressive driver out there and, for a time, I thought he might just pull off the victory. Now, I want to meet and drive with Pato O’Ward.
- Those cars haul. It’s one thing to see Indycars do their thing on TV. It’s quite another to watch them, hear them and feel them do it live. Those cars are powerful, and they constantly seem to be on the thinnest of edges between blazing fast and out of control. The moves you have to make and figurative balls you have to have to make them at those speeds is astounding.
- Race day = free stuff. Now, I completely recognize that nothing is truly free. But in return for a bit of personal information about me via an iPad, I was handed a pretty boss T-shirt from Cooper Tires. And after signing up for a Bass Pro Shop credit card that I will never use, I was given not one but two ballcaps, a canvas tackle box/bag and a sweet shopping bag for Wifey Poo. We also scored free Monster Energy and free diecast Jimmy Johnson Indycar toys.
- I’m a redneck. And not because I like auto racing. I’m a redneck today because the sun was coming from behind us all day and I neglected any sort of sunscreen. I can’t see the back of my neck today, but by the feel of it, it ain’t pretty.
- It was worth sticking around to the end. Rain starting falling after around 210 of 260 laps, and the race was red-flagged with just over 40 to go. BTE and I walked back to our car to avoid the gully-washer that threatened but never came, and when the sun came back out, we grabbed some Chick-fil-A from a tent and went back to our seats. Just more than an hour and a half or so after the red flag, the cars revved up again and dashed to the finish. Josef Newgarden, who’d had the most dominant car prior to the delay but who found himself in second at the restart, promptly flew past Scott McLaughlin and held off a charging David Malukas to take the checkered flag first. My boy Pato finished fourth. But more than any of the on-track action was the fact that BTE and I had an amazing time as father and son. The “kid” is 20. I don’t know how many more opportunities we’re going to have for days like this in which we saw not one, not two but three great races together. His life is moving fast, and I ain’t getting any younger. But for the 12 hours or so we spent at the track yesterday, it was just like he was my little boy again — except one whom I could sneak a beer and could toast with to a great day of racing and memories.
The friendship between Wifey Poo and Lisa was born out of sadness and tragedy. One day a few years after our son Jacob (Boy The Eldest) died, I was upstairs on the computer in our home office and saw the neighbor woman coming up our driveway and walking toward our front door. This was odd. Though we’d lived next to each other for a while, the only thing we really knew about Lisa was that she mowed the lawn a lot.
On that day, she sought out Wifey Poo because she knew Wifey Poo knew … knew what it was like to get a diagnosis that your unborn child was most likely going to die shortly after he was born. Though Wifey Poo and Lisa had never talked about Jacob together, the news of what had happened to us had made its way around the cul-de-sac at the time. Lisa found Solace in Wifey Poo, and a friendship was born. The two bonded as Lisa went through her pregnancy with Andrew and was solidified in the months after his death.
Now two decades later, the two remain the best of friends, despite our many moves around the country. They have been through a lot together, from Lisa’s divorce and newfound happiness with an amazing dude named Bob to the birth of Boy The Younger and a whole lot of stuff in between. To make that even better, Lisa’s son Matthew remains great friends with Boy The Elder. Those two have been thick as thieves since they were in diapers, and now that Matthew goes to college a half-hour from us, he and BTE have been able to see each other a lot more frequently.
Lisa is here this weekend, dropping Matthew off at college and doing girl things with Wifey Poo. Yesterday, the six of us — the Core Four + Lisa and Matthew — had breakfast at The Shack (which gets 12 enthusiastic thumbs up, by the way) before BTE and I departed for the races, Matthew went to move into his dorm and, ultimately, Wifey Poo and Lisa went to the movies, drank wine and spent endless hours talking. Today will involve more of the same for those two, I imagine.
To me, Lisa is my adopted big sister. My own big sister hates me and we haven’t spoken in years, and I’m OK with that after growing up afflicted by her volatility. Lisa and I constantly pick on each other as siblings would. The running joke whenever she visits has been that she has to sleep in the shed in our backyard, though this time, since we moved out to the country, it’s turned into her having to sleep in the fort BTY build in the woods. There are a ton of reasons I love Lisa, but the biggest is how happy she makes Wifey Poo.
In a delicious bit of irony, Boy The Younger’s first game on his new baseball team will be against a team from the same organization that led to the search for the new team to begin with. I know it is wrong of me to relish the fact that the new team is going to stomp a mudhole in the old team. But still …
Smart businesses allow data to guide their marketing. The ability to do this is relatively new and likely not to last too much longer. A firehose stream of information is available on a company’s marketing campaign performance, its customers and its potential customers. That stream is so strong that there’s a movement afoot to create…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- New life mission: Meet Pato O’Ward.
- More time to see Wifey Poo and Lisa be friends.
- Fall is coming!
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🧩 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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racist Billboard🐲Roe Silence😶Guest Bulldog🐶 Driving out of rural northern Arkansas today to return home after several days in a cabin in the boonies, I passed a billboard that was startling, to say the least. It starts off innocently enough with a very true statement: “It’s not racist to 💗 people.” I…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Uranus Sleeper🔭Cabin Rules🩲Taco Seasoning🌮 What does Cuba, Uranus, Sleeper, Doolittle and a billboard saying “If we don’t return to 2 Chronicles, than were finished” have in common? They all were on the route from my Humble Rural Missourah Home to the cabin in the boonies of Arkansas that is my home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Check Engine 🚗Declined 🥡Murder Suspect 🔪 Every once in awhile, life throws you a pleasant surprise that seems to even the score a bit. Wifey Poo’s car is up for an emissions inspection this year. Her “check engine” light has been going on and off for a year or so, and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩River Thoughts 🛶Little Annoyances 😠Birthday Boy 🎂 I didn’t know what a float trip was until I met Wifey Poo. I’m not even sure today that the term “float trip” is used outside Missourah. But if you’re a Missourahn, when someone says, “Wanna go on a float trip?” you know a…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩The Stinger 🦂Inflation 🎈Housing Costs 🏘️ There’s something quite amazing about witnessing a human dinosaur be thrown through a stack of four tables. That was just one of the scenes from last night as Boys The Elder & Younger and I attended AEW Dynamite and Rampage. The biggest news from the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shitty Goodbye 💩Bald Is Beautiful 👨🦲Housing Market 🏘️ It’s official: My duty ensuring the continued breathing of roughly 20 chickens for Wifey Poo’s and Boy The Younger’s vacationing friends is over. Success! All birds were present and accounted for this morning, as I said goodbye to my new friends — Gertrude,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CrytpoStupidity ₿Coffee Seltzer ☕Chicken Update🐓 I like to make fun of Matt Damon. I know this comes from a place of deep-seated insecurity because Matt Damon is, well, Matt Damon and I am not. Yet it’s fun to make fun of Matt Damon, precisely because he is Matt Damon — all…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Meatloaf🦎Ugly Fish🐟Chicken Update🐓 You can buy insurance for many things. Your car. Your home. Your boat. Your health. Your eyes, teeth or brain (which, for some reason, is separate from your health). And now, according to a Missourah court, you can buy insurance that pays you if you contract a sexually…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Kentucky Fried Idiot 🍗Johnny Boy Marketing✏️Airplanes!🛦🛦🛦🛦🛦 There’s a scene in the 1979 film Rocky II in which the titular character (sorry, I’ve always wanted to write that …) is tasked by his trainer Mickey with chasing a chicken. Rocky was pummeled into oblivion — though somehow managed to eek out a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hear…Keep reading