🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Little League Flap ⚾
Grandpa Joe 🤦
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 Side Effect. I would have taken a bullet for any of them.
I bring this up because of the Little League World Series flap that shouldn’t be a flap. Boys being boys, some guys on the team representing Iowa were shown on ESPN putting what turned out to be the guts of a stuffed animal on a teammate’s head. The teammate was Black.
The next day’s Washington Post headline read “Black player with cotton-like material in hair at LLWS sparks outrage,’ because of course there needs to be outrage.
Who exactly was outraged? The boy? Nope. He very much sees himself as a teammate loved by those he plays with. The boy’s parents? Nope. They said they took no offense to the “incident.” Someone who knows the boy? Nope. Other Black players in the Little League World Series? Nope. Maybe someone on his team? Nope.
All have said essentially the same thing: That was boys doing boy things. In fact, the truth of the matter had nothing to do with race or slavery. The guys on the team were giving the kid a white mohawk similar to that of a player on another team, a hairstyle they all felt was “cool.”
Racism exists. It always has. It’s horrible. And I, as a white guy, recognize I am not the best person to talk about it. I am, however, a former boy who grew into a man and who has two boys of his own who do boy stuff like put stupid things in their friends’ hair. Perhaps … maybe … those Iowa boys didn’t see the kid in whose hair they were putting stuff as their Black teammate and rather just as their teammate. Isn’t that truly the goal … to see people not based on the color of their skin but by the content of their character?
I’m pretty sure I’m not the one who made that up.
I fully recognize that any political leanings I own have shifted significantly to the left over the past half-decade. Most of that is because the party I once belonged to sold its soul to the devil. Its continued kowtowing to a man I consider to be an extremely dangerous, downright evil demagogue is equal measures astounding and disappointing.
Which doesn’t mean I am fond of politicians on the other side of the aisle either. I tend to think anyone who has ascended to a prominent national office is at least somewhat compromised, at best, or, at worst, outright bought and paid for.
On Aug. 16 of this year, Grandpa Joe signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. Though just about every objective expert who looked at what the law actually does fails to see much in it that actually fights inflation, hey, the name speaks to at least what its original intention was.
Which makes Grandpa Joe’s decision yesterday to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt kind of perplexing. This isn’t to suggest I don’t understand where he’s coming from: The midterm elections are coming up, and it sure is nice to be in the party that says you don’t have to fulfill the financial obligations to which you agreed to be obligated.
The problem is that this decision stands in contrast to the act he signed into law just seven days before. The average student loan monthly debt payment for those who had their Etch-A-Sketch shaken clean is roughly $250. What this decision did was effectively put $250 back into the pockets of a crapton of Muricahns each month. Considering the truth that government money in the form of COVID bailouts helped spark the inflation we’re now seeing, giving people more purchasing power isn’t what the president’s own Federal Reserve has been working to fix.
That a politician could make two such diametrically opposed decisions in the span of roughly a week tells me all I need to know about the state of our government.
To continue on this icky political ride, I grew up in a conservative household in a wealthy New York City suburb in the 1980s, which means Nancy Reagan — and especially her “Just Say No” episode on Diff’rent Strokes — shaped my view of drugs.
In the episode, Arnold Jackson, a reporter for his school newspaper (Go journalism!) breaks a story on drug pushers at his school and submits it to a major city paper. The story then attracts national attention, which brings the First Lady to town to thank him for calling attention to such an important issue.
Now, let’s forget for a moment that the entire War on Drugs has been an abject failure and that the Reagan Administration itself did a whole lot to fan its flames — especially in neighborhoods like those where good ol’ Arnold and Willis came from prior to going to live with a rich white dude. The truth is that things classified as “drugs” in the early phases of that war are now providing hope as they finally find their way into the medical community.
Take so-called psychedelics. Ketamine and psilocybin (the stuff in shrooms) were demonized in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s because those who used it were doofus Hippie counter-culture goofballs who knew nothing of moderation or playing well with others of the more traditional sort.
Now? They are proving to be a new avenue of initial success for people battling depression. But that’s not all. The latest potential benefit for hallucinogens? Fighting alcohol addiction.
A new study by NYU Langone Health took 93 heavy drinkers and had them attend 12 psychotherapy sessions over eight months. At two sessions, they received either psilocybin or an antihistamine placebo. The results? By the end of the study …
- More than 80% of those in the psychedelic group drank heavily far less often, compared to just more than half of the placebo folks.
- Half of the hallucinogen group was straight-up sober, compared to just a quarter of the placebo posse.
Here’s the thing … which kind of speaks to what I wrote about a few days ago regarding how much we don’t known about the brain … no one knows how psychedelics are helping either those with depression or alcohol addiction. The data simply shows that it is working.
NYU plans to start another trial — much larger — that will last three years, and researchers say they hope to one day get the FDA’s approval to use the drug to treat addictions of all sorts. Of course, the bought-and-paid-for politicians are lobbied heavily by Big Pharma, which has a huge interest in making sure people stick with treatments, not cures.
Perhaps it’s time we dump the stigma surrounding these types of drugs and allow their use in medicinal and therapeutic settings.
🧩 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 Reasons to Keep Living
- Going go-kart racing with Wifey Poo tomorrow night!
- Got a few work trips planned for September. I like occasional work travel.
- Wifey Poo surprised me with two new polo shirts for work. Boo-yah!
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🧩 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
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Heat Wave🥵Lawn Mowing🚜Last Podcast 🎙️ It’s hotter than balls outside in my section of Missourah, and I’m not happy about it. I am not a hot-weather person. I hate heat. I sweat easily. I turn red even easier. Having a bald head does not match well with sun exposure. And has…Keep reading