🧩 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 🧩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
🧩 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