🧩 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 🧩Unwitting Guinea Pigs 🐹False Bragging 🦹♂️Put Me In, Coach 🚀 My regular readers (hey, you three!) know that I have a hatred for social media’s influence on society with an intensity rivaled only by the heat of a thousand suns. The latest bit of “Are you fucking kidding me?” comes from…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 7 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. No. 5: I reached out to a friend I have not been shy about sharing that I’ve…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩More Stupid Human Stuff 📱KC Trip ⚾Miserable Missourah 😠 Quick: Take a look around you. If you’re in a room with five other people, one of them thinks you’re financially struggling if you don’t have the latest iPhone. That’s according to a new survey following the release of the iPhone 14.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Loser Species 👶Email Win 📧Dad Pride 👨👦👦 I’m pretty sure I’m not normal. Normal people respond to that statement with, “Oh, John, nobody’s normal,” which is just a sign for us non-normies that the person we’re talking to is normal. Yesterday, I was waiting for Wifey Poo to pick me up…Keep reading
🧩 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 🧩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