🧩 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 from a place. Don’t worry about where. It’s not important to this story. It was a beautiful fall day outside, so I walked across the street to a nearby park and sat by a lake. And I just sort of looked around.
Human beings are fascinating. We do so many stupid things. Like, for example, pose for pictures. I hate posed pictures. I hate being in posed pictures. I hate taking posed pictures. There’s nothing about real life in a posed picture. We say to people, “OK, now pose,” and we put them in the most unnatural positions, positions they would never be in were they simply being themselves. And why? To capture a moment — a moment that never would have happened in that way had we not artificially created it. You can’t tell me that’s a mark of an intelligent species.
Which got me thinking about how not-intelligent we are. To spin off of a great Seinfeld episode, what’s the deal with human babies? I can think of no other species whose young are so dependent on their elders simply to survive for so long. Were all human babies ripped from their parents at birth and placed with any other species, we’d be gone within a generation or two. Hell, I’d say that if you took most teenagers right now and threw them in a herd of zebras and said “There. There’s your new family,” they’d last a week, tops.
If we’re supposedly the pinnacle of creation and so fully evolved or the apple of God’s eye, why are we so freaking helpless for so long? Where does de-evolution fit into Darwin’s theory? I’m pretty sure I’ve seen nature docs of baby giraffes walking in about 15 minutes and baby lions mauling the shit out of a wildebeest by age 2. Had either of my boys had to fend for themselves for food at age 2, well, it would have been one short documentary — and pretty boring too.
Like I said, I am pretty sure I’m not normal. Normal people don’t think things like this. And I’m OK with that.
The Tony Kornheiser Show has been a fixture in my life for, oh, around two decades. For the uninitiated, TK is most well-known for being the host of the popular ESPN show Pardon The Interruption, or more colloquially, PTI. Before that, he was a newspaper journalist for the Washington Post and made guest appearances on ESPN’s show The Sports Reporters. That led him into radio, which, as most radio personalities who want longevity (and money) realize these days, led to a podcast.
Tony is old, bald, orange and cantankerous. His podcast is nominally about sports but more about the annoying things in Tony’s life — like random RV’s being parked on his street, the unavailability of large curd cottage cheese at the Refugee Safeway and anything to do with technology. “I don’t do apps,” is a popular refrain.
He invites guests on his pod, which these days drops about three times a week. They include his PTI co-host Michael Wilbon, gambling expert Jeff Ma, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd and a monkey named Reginald. At the end of each show, there’s a listener-sung jingle, and then Mr. Tony reads emails from his listeners.
It has been my mission to have as many emails as possible read on the show before I die. To get to Mr. Tony, you first have to get through Nigel, a British guy who’s something of TK’s producer and sidekick but not really British and not really Nigel. Trust me: It makes sense once you know the show. If you get past Nigel, you have to catch Mr. Tony’s attention, which can be harder than keeping the dog from Up focused. My goal has been to try to anticipate Mr. Tony’s mood and write something appropriately witty, snarky and caustic to make it on the show.
I’ve done so about 10 times now, the latest coming Wednesday when I wrote in about the nominees for the Toy Hall of Fame. That email became the framework for what I wrote on this site. Of course, you wouldn’t know that I’ve contributed that many emails to the TK show based on how Mr. Tony regularly butchers my last name. This time, it was said as something like A-jli-ah-tah, which isn’t exactly right. That’s fine. I don’t care who else knows I have my emails read on air by Mr. Tony. I know, and that’s all that matters.
I’m proud of my boys. This week, their life was shaped by threes.
Boy The Elder had three tests, back-to-back-to-back on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. BTE is extremely smart and hard-working, so there was never any doubt in my mind that he would do well on these exams, though there’s always doubt in his mind. He’s infamous for saying he’s going to do or has done horribly on an exam before coming back with, like, a 97%. It makes you want to punch him in the throat.
This year, though, he’s got organic chemistry, which a world-renown physician I talked with once said is the class that culls the lawyers from the doctors. BTE got a solid B on that exam. The other two, then, were mere formalities. He got a 100% on one and anticipates that on the other now that the test is done.
Meanwhile, Boy The Younger has been juggling school, life and three sports. Yesterday, he ran the gauntlet. First, after a day of homeschooling, there was cross country practice, in preparation for a Monday meet. There’s not much to cross country practice, from where I sit. You put one foot in front of the other as rapidly as possible for as long as possible and then you’re done.
Then, he was whisked off to basketball tryouts. He’s 13. There’s no 13U team in his league. He’s competing for a spot on the team with mainly 14-year-olds and some 15-year-olds with appropriate birthdays. There can be a huge difference, literally, in the boys who hit puberty early and the boys who come from my DNA. But BTY hung with them well. He’ll know if he made the squad today or tomorrow.
Immediately after that was finished, Wifey Poo jetted him to baseball practice at his indoor training facility. The team has already come a long way, just in fall ball, but they’re coming off a disappointing 7-7 tie in which they gave up a four-run lead in the last inning before the game was called. They need to work on hitting, so they did.
I imagine BTY slept well last night. I’m proud of him. I’m proud of BTE. They work hard. I love that about them.
Welcome to Issue No. 5 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 email@example.com. Humans are good at giving advice. Taking it? Not so much. The problem is that most advice…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- The high is supposed to be only 60 today. I love fall!
- The weekend is nigh!
- MLB playoffs start soon.
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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