🧩 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 🧩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 🧩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