atmosphere blue cloud cloudiness

I’m Doing Alright, But …

The drive home last night was a bit rough, which wasn’t entirely surprising. I’ve been around a lot of people the past few days, hadn’t slept past 4:30 a.m. for four or five days, and, in general, this has been one of those “Big Feels” times that seem to happen to me.

There are these times when I can be in the middle of a crowded room, laughing and joking with a bunch of really good people who are having a similar good time … and yet feel completely alone. I have been blessed with seeing the things that come Next, with knowing what awaits, and it sometimes makes being Here and finding meaning very challenging. Last night was one of these times.

On the drive home, I shut off my music, nixed the podcast, cracked the window to let in the cool night air and just took stock of where I am and how things are.


I’d like to think that, for a guy who has been through what I’ve been through, I’m doing OK.

I’m 48-years-old, have an amazing wife and two boys Here. One is well on his way to being a successful adult. The other is following keenly in his brother’s footsteps in his own unique way. They love each other.

I have a job that finally pays me what I’m worth, a side gig that feeds me creatively, a few people who like to read the drivel I write and a dog whose tongue doesn’t quite fit in her mouth.

I’m smart, I’d like to think I’m funny, I have helped people survive deep and dark moments, and think I have hopefully inspired at least one person to be a better human. I have a deep appreciation for the simple and quiet, am able to think and feel my way through nearly any situation, and I experience life deeply.

I have a roof over my head, a bitchin’ collection of T-shirts and a range of emotions the average teenage girl would be like, “Wow. Really? Impressive.”

In my life, I survived a less-than-idyllic-despite-all-outward-appearances home situation, was blessed with some of the best high school friends a guy could ever ask for, a Second Mom who loved me, and I have dozens and dozens of teenage memories to reflect on that make me smile.


But …

I’ve also handed my newly born son’s lifeless body over to a nurse, never to see him again. I’ve faced an impossibly small coffin at the front of a church and, on wobbly legs while ravaged by chicken-pox-induced fever that God must have thought served some purpose, walked toward it — toward it! — to take a seat nearby and listen to an amazing man of God try to make sense for all of us gathered just a few days before Christmas of what had happened over the previous four months.

I’ve battled through Thalassemia and Lyme’s Disease and mono and COVID (twice) and been ravaged and broken by Longhaul COVID. I’ve lost a gall bladder, gained some screws in my ankle to stop the routine sprains and breaks. And speaking of breaks, I’ve put patches on those suffered by my all-too-vulnerable heart time and again.

I received my first concussion in a basketball game we lost 165-3, my third while singing in a dorm room, and I don’t even remember right now how I got my fifth and sixth. That’s probably not a good sign.

I was bullied to the point I faked injuries and illnesses to avoid the bully in the gym locker room, a bully whose ass I knew I could kick if he would only stop hiding behind his much larger, stronger, menacing friend when I finally would get angry enough to fight back. I know I’m supposed to let that shit go, but I find myself hoping his life is miserable and wouldn’t be sad at all if I found out he was dead. And I feel a little bit bad about that.

I have been abandoned en masse by my earliest friends — friends in whose houses I slept over and whose mothers I called “aunt” because we were so close — and I lived to find new friends.

I’ve found myself staring at a concrete bridge support from a few football fields away while calculating in my mind just how fast I could get my car going before impact.

I’ve greeted the morning in a place I was not free to leave and came home to a family still there, still able to see their daddy, and worked my ass off to rebuild my shattered self, only to have to do so again less than a half-decade later.

I awake every morning now with pains in my hands, pains in my neck, pains in my back, pain in that still all-too-vulnerable heart.


And yet here I am ... dadding with the best of them, repairing what needs to be repaired, doing what I’m supposed to be doing to lead my family, to do my job, to try to stay as healthy as possible — though, if I were to be honest, I could and should be doing more.

I eat better than I ever have — not because I really want to but because I have to. I avoid most sugars, eat oranges instead of donuts when given the choice at a spread laid out at a company training. I smoke more cigars than I should and drink more bourbon than I should … but I keep that shit under control because I know my family history and will not repeat it. I’ve broken cycles and improved on the too-often unspoken sins of the past and hopefully … hopefully … have left my boys in a better place to move forward, to lead their families, if God should grant them one.

I’ve given those boys a realistic picture of what it means to be a man, what it means to be an adult, shown them without intention that it’s OK to fail and get back up and try again and fail and get back up and try again and again and again. I’ve let them know it’s OK to have regrets and to make mistakes — my God, so many fucking mistakes.

I come home to play cards with my son instead of sitting at bars. I stay sober and clean and present. I meditate and journal and go to yoga, though that hasn’t happened in two months now, which isn’t a smart move. I retreat into float tanks and disappear for an hour to come out refreshed and renewed.

I take my wife on weekly dates and write love notes on her bathroom mirror and hide romance coupons in her purse or her makeup bag. I live for the day when I’ll be able to roll into the driveway with her brand new orange Jeep Wrangler.

I have seen so much. I’ve watched an eagle soar over the glaciers in Alaska and shot a Russian boar from 75 yards and reeled in a beast of a tarpon and 15 walleye in an hour. I’ve ridden all the Mountains at Disney World in one evening … one glorious evening when everything — everything — was perfect. I’ve smelled the fragrant flowers on Capri and skied pitifully down a mountain in Colorado, eaten lamb in Croatia, spent three days in the deepest of jungles of Costa Rica.

I’ve read at least, what, 500 books? 1,000? Who knows? I’ve had three of my own published. I’ve written a blog post that went kinda-sorta viral and has more than 20,000 reads and led people to say “Yes! This! This is what I feel!” I’ve been published in newspapers in New York, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota.

I’ve driven a Ferrari 160 mph on World Wide Technology Raceway and met Arthur Ash, bowled with one of the daughters from Gimme a Break, seen Patrick Ewing in nothing but his jock strap and knee pads and jumped out of the way to avoid getting hit by a golf cart driven by Billy Joel, who, by the way, I’ve seen in concert four times, including from the front row with my wife the last time he came through town.

I’ve struck out the final batter to win a baseball game.

I’ve danced in the rain, made snow angels, walked out of the cornfield at the Field of Dreams, became engaged at Roseman Bridge in Madison County, honeymooned in Hawaii, became a newspaper editor at 22 and invented a whole new career for myself when the need became apparent.

I won thousands of dollars playing roulette when the wheel kept coming up on that one date in December that marked my first son’s birthday and death day, again and again and again, and used that money to buy gifts for those who supported us throughout that time we waited for the inevitable to happen.

I’ve loved, laughed, hurt, hated, cried, smiled.

I have never given up, even when giving up seemed like the best option. Every single day I have gotten out of bed and tried.


Once again, but …

Here I sit, 48-year-old, and there are about three people who could honestly say they know me. I’m talking really, really know me.

One lives with me and loves me deeply, even after a whole lot of shit. One lives in Ohio, and we go months without talking before falling back into life together like the old friends we are. The other is gone from my life, as it should be, which doesn’t mean it always feels good or makes sense.

A lot of things don’t make sense to me, sometimes.

If I had the choice, I wouldn’t be where I am now with my life. Afforded the opportunity to go back and try again, there would be a lot of things I’d do differently — a lot. I understand the Butterfly Affect and how changing even one small thing could create an entirely different and not-necessarily-better outcome, yet I’d be willing to take the chance that alternative choices at certain points along my journey would have to — have to — create a present that wasn’t reached after so much struggle.

I would have a bigger tribe — not a lot bigger but certainly more strongly developed. I’d be able to easily think of that person or people who would be able to stand up at my funeral and say, “Let me tell you about John …” but as it stands now, if I got hit by a bus today (which seems to be my go-to when it comes to death), the best I can hope for is that someone who reads this junk that I write learns I’m gone and, before any sort of memorial service, says, “Hey! You should just read some of his stuff! That’s the stuff you missed when he was alive! That right there is the real John so few people took the time to get to know.”

Why didn’t they take that time?

That’s one of those things I’ll add to the “a lot of things don’t make sense to me” pile and move on.


I pulled into my driveway around 9:25 last night. I love my Humble Country Home. It’s removed from the chaos of life, and the night sounds are restorative. I shut the car off, listened to its tick-tick-tick, opened the door and hauled my tired ass out of the seat. As much as I love my Humble Country Home, I hate my Shitty Little Car.

The night was cool. This is my time of year. I’d love to have a spring, two falls and a short winter. The stars shone brightly, giving me a glimpse into the past. That’s the kind of stuff that fascinates me.

I sat down on the driveway, lit up one of those too-many cigars I smoke these days. I tell myself it’s cool because I don’t inhale. It worked for Bill Clinton, so …

I’m doing alright. I really am. I wouldn’t have been able to say that six months ago. I can today. Progress is good.

But …

I’m pretty sure this isn’t the place for me anymore. I’m thinking that I’ve extracted all I can from my time in a meatsack. My heart still beats, my brain still works, and I’m committed to living because hey, perhaps some of the things I’ve seen and done and learned would benefit others and make them feel less like … this. I’m just waiting for those people to come into my life — or for me to stumble upon them and do it right.

I have a bucket list of things I still want to do.

I want to own a sports car.

I want to go to Australia.

I want to hold my grandchild.

I want to return to Trevi Fountain with my wife.

I want to attend a New York Yankees playoff baseball game.

I want to own a cabin far, far away from any human sound.

If someone told me today I had six months left to do all of these things, I would do my best. But if they all didn’t get done, I’d be fine with that.

Better things await.


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  1. Highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s and 40s. This is my time.
  2. Overnight work trip to KC/St. Joseph’s this week.
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alone bed bedroom blur

Mattress Shopping — Oct. 10, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Awkward Shopping 🛏️Disingenuous Holiday 🗓️Help the Homeless 😔 If there’s a more awkward retail excursion than mattress shopping, I have yet to find it in my 48 years. Wifey Poo and I went to a high school gym to do exactly that on Sunday afternoon. The bed we’ve been sleeping in…

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red and white baseball

So Long, Cards — Oct. 9, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Playoff Disappointment ⚾Oh, Britney 📲Friendship Failure 😔 In the span of just more than 24 hours, I went from the excited expectation of being in Busch Stadium to watch the hometown St. Louis Cardinals eliminate the Philadelphia Phillies and advance to the next round of the playoffs to watching those Phillies…

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aerial view of sports stadium during daytime

Playoff Baseball — Oct. 6, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Baseball Gear-Grinders ⚾Sunrise Woes 🌄Heavy Pumpkins 🎃 There are a few baseball-related indignities in my home that, as the saying goes, grind my gears. The first is that there is a state championship trophy on the mantel above the fireplace in our Humble Country Home with a gold-plated baseball player, bat…

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There Will Be Blood — Oct. 5, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Weird Wound Treatment 🧂Phillies Bring Doom ⚾Meetings Suck 👎🏽 Apparently, I’ll take medical advice from waitresses and allow myself to receive medical treatment from busboys. This, I learned last night. I have a tendency to get hurt in really interesting ways. When I tell you that I once got a concussion…

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Top 5 Things From The Past Week: 9/26-10/2

Welcome to Issue No. 8 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 johnagliata@gmail.com. No. 5: I held an epic car concert If you were anywhere in the vicinity of my…

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selective focus close up photo of brown wilson pigskin football on green grass

Place Your Bets — Oct. 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Football Picking God 🏈Fish Story 🐟Free Floating ☁️ A few months before Boy The Elder was born, I had about $100 set aside to buy Wifey Poo a gift that I intended to give her after she ushered our child into the world. It was the least I could do for,…

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Sliced Bread — Sept. 30, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Route Home 🏎️Confirmed Weirdness 🤪Here’s Your Sign 🤦 I took a new route home from the western part of Missourah yesterday after doing the whole open-house thing for work in St. Joseph. Rather than shoot down to I-70 and traverse the state on that familiar road, I went across Hwy.…

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white ford pickup truck on green field

Rental Tank — Sept. 29, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Woo-Woo vs. The Beast 🛻Dart Throwers 🎯My Job 📋 I am not used to driving a tank. My normal vehicle is Woo-Woo, AKA The Shitty Little Car, AKA a Nissan Versa. It’s practical. It gets great gas mileage. I hate it. Woo-Woo normally accelerates as quickly as a child asked to…

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brown hamster eating a green leaf

LinkedIn — Sept. 26, 2022

🧩 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…

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iPhone Envy — Sept. 25, 2022

🧩 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.…

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Human Babies — Sept. 23, 2022

🧩 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…

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beautiful cliff countryside freedom

In It — Sept. 22, 2022

🧩 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…

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woman with white sunvisor running

Remembering Sarah — Sept. 21, 2022

🧩 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…

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deer behind grass

Small Ear Canal — Sept. 19, 2022

🧩 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…

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Nominee Day! — Sept. 16, 2022

🧩 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…

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Springfields Aplenty — Sept. 15, 2022

🧩 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…

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man in yellow protective suit

F’n COVID — Sept. 13, 2022

🧩 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…

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Change of Plans — Sept. 12, 2022

🧩 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…

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people wearing running shoes

Why Run? — Sept. 11, 2022

🧩 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…

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Stephen King — Sept. 9, 2022

🧩 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…

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Once Upon a Time — Sept. 7, 2022

🧩 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…

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Chainsaws & Ladders — Sept. 6, 2022

🧩 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…

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Inside a Good Day — Sept. 5, 2022

🧩 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…

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Second Mothers — Sept. 3, 2022

🧩 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…

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Muricah the Crumbling — Sept. 2, 2022

🧩 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…

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cooked sausage

Bratwurst Flap — August 31, 2022

🧩 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…

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Baseball Serendipity — August 30, 2022

🧩 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…

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Failure to Launch — August 29, 2022

🧩 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…

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Hypnotized — August 26, 2022

🧩 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…

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Outrage? — August 25, 2022

🧩 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…

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a walkway inside the cemetery

Life Expectancy — August 24, 2022

🧩 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…

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Mysterious Brain — August 23, 2022

🧩 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…

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green and gray scissors

Homeschoolin’ — August 22, 2022

🧩 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…

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Mexican Pato O’Ward — August 21, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Indycar 🏎️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.…

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fat pig resting on ground

Pig Problem — August 19, 2022

🧩 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…

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gaming setup for competitive esports

Three-Screen Guy — August 17, 2022

🧩 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…

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Orange Coffee — August 16, 2022

🧩 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…

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cemetery under the cloudy sky

Cemetery Wandering — August 14, 2022

🧩 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,…

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man and kid walking on downhill

Bye-Bye, BTE — August 13, 2022

🧩 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…

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The Taxman Cometh — August 12, 2022

🧩 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…

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Peanut Man — August 10, 2022

🧩 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…

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Rivalry — August 8, 2022

🧩 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.…

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silhouette of dinosaur bones

Fossil Fun — August 6, 2022

🧩 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…

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a people playing baseball

Hit By Pitch — August 3, 2022

🧩 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…

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Empty — August 1, 2022

🧩 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…

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macro shot photo of a brown frog

Frog Dive — July 31, 2022

🧩 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…

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almost empty shelves on a grocery store

Cyclical Forces — July 29, 2022

🧩 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…

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american flag on an armchair

Hypocrisy — July 28, 2022

🧩 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…

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a woman lightning the candle on the cupcake

Birthday Eve — July 27, 2022

🧩 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…

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Angry Weather — July 26, 2022

🧩 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…

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black and white roller coaster

Big-Drop Thoughts — July 25, 2022

🧩 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…

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Branson — July 24, 2022

🧩 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…

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Told Ya — July 22, 2022

🧩 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…

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The Muricahn Way — July 20, 2022

🧩 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…

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Baseball News — July 19, 2022

🧩 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,…

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close up photo of automotive part

Brakes & Boxes — July 18, 2022

🧩 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…

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Firestarter— July 17, 2022

🧩 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…

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Future Wife — July 16, 2022

🧩 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.…

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photograph of happy children

Population Growth — July 15, 2022

🧩 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…

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Ouchy Obituary — July 13, 2022

🧩 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?…

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aerial photo of buildings and roads

HOV Lane — July 11, 2022

🧩 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…

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slot machines

Gamblin’ With The Judester— July 10, 2022

🧩 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…

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Grandma — July 8, 2022

🧩 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…

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woman leaning on table

Unproductive — July 6, 2022

🧩 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…

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couple holding sparklers

Stuck By Patriotism — July 4, 2022

🧩 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…

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Div — July 3, 2022

🧩 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,…

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action automotive car employee

Car Guy — July 2, 2022

🧩 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…

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Objectively Speaking — July 1, 2022

🧩 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…

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fresh mandarins with earrings placed on pink surface

Booby Beep — June 30, 2022

🧩 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…

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