🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Little D’s Return 🏥
Planet Killer 🌎
Being a host parent to a little boy from Africa (Burkina Faso, to be precise) was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. And now, that little boy is returning to the United States.
For those not up to speed, back in early 2021, a 4-year-old boy named Dieudonne (pronounced “Jor-don-A”) flew halfway around the globe with a woman named Beeba, not speaking or understanding a word of English and himself speaking a tribal dialect only kinda sorta similar to French, to undergo what was supposed to be two or three surgeries to correct major deformities in his legs.
When Little D arrived in the United States, this is how he walked:
When he flew home six months later, he walked even better than this …
Those two or three surgeries turned into more than 20. After one of the first ones, he developed a nasty staph infection in his leg that required surgery after surgery after surgery to keep cleaning it out and attempting to close the wound. Wifey Poo was a warrior, spending two weeks straight in the hospital with Little D as he fought the infection before we could come home. Then, we learned how to inject intravenous medicine and felt pretty damn cool in doing so. She because extremely familiar with the route from our home to Shriners Children’s in St. Louis, where I worked at the time as the marketing director.
Oh, and did I mention that Little D arrived in the United States less than a month after Wifey Poo’s father died from COVID complications and I was in the midst of Longhaul COVID hell that nearly killed me? Yeah. That.
Just before Little D was to fly home, doctors noticed something wrong with his spine. Whether it was there at birth or developed because of how he had to get around, a disc in his back is way out of place. On the day he boarded a plane to return to his waiting momma and papa, we learned he would need another surgery that would require not one, not two, but three of the country’s leading spine surgeons to be in the operating room at the same time. Failure to have this surgery would eventually leave his newly corrected legs useless.
We said tearful goodbyes in St. Louis’ Lambert Airport and re-adjusted to life without a little one who captured not only our hearts but the hearts of our families and the entire neighborhood. There was always the expectation that he would be coming back for that surgery, and we were more than ready to welcome him into our home again.
Then Burkina Faso had a coup, in which the military overthrew the government. Then it had another coup. Then we started hearing about difficulties in getting Children’s Hospital in St. Louis to offer the surgery as a charity case. The surgery has to be at Children’s because of its more advanced operating rooms than Shriner’s, which regularly does surgeries on patients who come to America from developing nations.
For months, the person who heads the organization that brought Little D over here fought with Children’s Hospital. When it appeared logjammed, I jumped in and emailed everyone I could think of remotely connected to either hospital in an attempt to cut through all the bureaucratic bullshit and get Little D back here for the surgery he so desperately needed. Pitifully, no one from Children’s ever even bothered to respond, and my Shriners contact were either unwilling or unable to do anything to break through.
Tammy is the person who runs Children’s Medical Mission West, the organization that brings kids over mostly from Burkina and the Ivory Coast. She is mostly a one-person operation stateside, and Beeba helps her from Africa. Tammy wasn’t going to be deterred.
Which is how we found out a few weeks ago that Little D is, indeed, coming back to America — but not to St. Louis. Shriners Children’s in Philadelphia has agreed to do the surgery there. The distance from our home to the front door of the hospital is 926 miles and is estimated to take 14 hours and 12 minutes by car, which doesn’t factor in all the bathroom stops Wifey Poo would need to make.
Which means Little D isn’t going to be staying with us and we’re not going to be shuttling him back and forth to Shriners for his surgeries and follow-up appointments.
I am overwhelmingly excited that Shriners Children’s in Philly stepped up and opened its doors. I’m more than slightly perturbed at the local Shriners hospital and extremely upset at the Children’s Hospital jerkwads who allowed his case to become more about money than helping a small child.
And I’m sad. I don’t know what I expected when I agreed to be a host dad, but it wasn’t what I got. That boy is like my own son, though he is blessed with two amazing parents back in Africa and isn’t in need of a dad. Still, if you were able to meet Little D while he was here, you know how charismatic he is. You know how easy it was to love him. You also, of course, know what a little stinker he could be, but that made us love him even more. I love that kid. I miss him.
Tammy said it’s most definitely OK for us to visit with him while he’s here, though we have yet to work out the specifics on the logistics. We might be making that drive to Philly after all. I’ve heard the Liberty Bell is a cool thing to see, and it’s been a minute since I’ve had a real cheesesteak.
So for now, all those toys and clothes we kept for his return are being donated. Wifey Poo talked with his soon-to-be new host mom. She sounds great. She and her husband have been doing this kind of things for a long, long time, and it seems like Little D will be well cared for.
But it won’t be by us, which, well, sucks.
I wrote back on Oct. 20 how rich it was that a conservative PAC called Citizens For Sanity was running a TV ad that blamed incidents of mass casualties on Democrats voting no on an immigration bill. How anyone could watch that ad and not think that perhaps mass casualty incidents are enabled more by all those GOP “no” votes on gun control legislation or mental health funding is beyond me, but hey, welcome to Muricah.
Then comes news that the right-wing psycho who attacked Nancy Pelosi’s husband is here illegally from Canada.
I have a tendency to fall down rabbit holes when it comes to outer space stuff. This morning, I did so with a video about this massive explosion on Jupiter from the early 1990s when a huge comet smashed into its surface.
How big was it? Well, the comet broke up as it neared Jupiter, pulled apart by the planet’s massive gravitational pull. A secondary impact by one of the pieces of the comet caused an explosion equal to the diameter of Earth.
This is why I don’t go overboard with recycling.
Let me explain.
This planet has had five mass extinction events in its stormy history, all before anything approximating a human ever came into being. That we think recycling aluminum cans is going to save us from being a part of the sixth intinction is the very definition of the word “hubris.” Humans just aren’t the special, and there are forces a lot larger than us that should show us just how fragile our existence is. The first five extinctions have been caused by volcanos, algae and asteroids.
Just the other day, astronomers revealed three massive asteroids — one that could be a hazard to Earth and another also labeled “planet killer” — are hurtling toward our planet and were previously undetected because they were hidden in the sun’s glare. Said one astronomer about the biggest of these three asteroids: “If this one hits the Earth, it would cause planetwide destruction. It would be very bad for life as we know it.”
Worse, astronomers said there are “likely several more” asteroids of the planet-killing variety lurking in that same blind spot between Earth and Venus.
And so you might forgive me if a can or bottle ends up in the landfill instead of a recycling bin.
Welcome to Issue No. 12 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s easy to appreciate the big things. That I have two sons here on Earth who are…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I’m hopeful to see Little D.
- Gin Blossoms tomorrow.
- Boy The Elder comes home from college for the weekend.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Podcast Appearance 🎙️The Birth Control Pill Story 🐶Good Tired 🥱 If you would have asked me a few years ago whether I could ever envision myself on a stage in the back room of a dive bar sharing a story about how my dog ate six months of birth control pills…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pee Mate 🚽Game Maker 🎲Dumb Muricans 🦅 I have been thinking about death a lot lately, not because I’m particularly eager for it to happen or because I’m particularly not eager for it to happen. I guess it’s because I’m a few months shy of my 49th birthday and please-for-the-love-of-God let…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dieudonne 🌍Hoops Win🏀Cornhole Roll ✔️ In 2021, during some of the darkest and most difficult times in our lives as individuals and couple, Wifey Poo and I did a thing. It was a big thing. It was a challenging thing. It was an amazing thing. But to say it was just…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Full Stop’ 🛑Needles 💉Business Lessons 🧑💼 Here’s something I learned about myself today: One way to ensure that I will debate you on a topic until I give my last breath or until you are huddled in a corner in a fetal position is to end the statement of your opinion…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mindfulness 🧘Mullet Prez 👩🦳Murder Family 🔪 Our brains are amazing things. So adept are they at routines that they can essentially run on autopilot and let you do the everyday stuff like operating a multi-ton object advancing at 70+ mph among lots of other multi-top objects advancing at 70+ mph without…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bloody Hell 💂Circus Moments 🤡Silence 🤫 OK, people: I’ve got a bone to pick with you. But first, a little digression. What in the bloody hell does that phrase mean? “A bone to pick with you?” That sounds absolutely disgusting. And if you’re wondering why I said “bloody hell,” well, that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩24 Hour Video 😡Rubik’s Kid 🧊Dilbert Doofus 🤪 There are two things I cannot stand in the working world — and in life, in general. The first is people whose lack of preparedness turns ordinary stuff into emergencies. The second is when people criticize the result of something they previous approved.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mormon Billionaires 💰Bigger Packages 🍌Birds Really Aren’t Real 🐦 Can we just get on with blowing the tits off the world with nuclear weapons or something and end this stupid thing we call the human race? Yeah, I know that’s a little dramatic, but when I take a look at the…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Muricah The Evil 🦅You Buy You 💰Big-Ass Van 🚚 I find it rather humorous that Muricah warned China not to send arms to one side of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine … and that we issued this warning with a straight face. I’m quite sure most Muricahns believe their country…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Salve 🩹Car Wash 🚗💧Light Removal 🎄 I try not to venture too often into a Wal-Mart, especially on the weekend. I cling to slim hope for this nation as it is, and I find Wal-Mart trips do not help my grip. Alas, this weekend, Boy The Younger was under the weather…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩CC, BCC, FU 📧Basketball Poll 🏀Andy Rooney 🎙️ This week has largely been a Shit Week marred by Shit People. What are Shit People? They aren’t exactly easy to define, but one hallmark of a Shit Person is his rampant use of the CC function at work to passive-aggressively play power…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chill Day 🛋️Busy Weekend ⚾Halftime 🏈 I’m not working today. Not only am I not working at my day job, I’m not doing any work for my side gig today. I’m not planning on doing much of anything, actually. And I don’t feel guilty about that. This weekend was insanely busy.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Big Pharma Sucks 💊Work Rules 🧑💼Big Weekend 🏈 Spend any time in front of the television and you’ll see ads touting the latest drugs that you shouldn’t take if you’re allergic to and that you most definitely need to ask your doctor about. Now comes a study showing that the people…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Top 5 🎈Symphony 🎻Living Eulogies 💗 Top 5 things overheard in Missourah last week as a purported Chinese spy balloon made its way over the state en route to its rendezvous with an F22’s missile: Despite my high-brow upbringing in Suburbia, New York, I’m not what anyone would call A Symphony…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Space Walk 🧑🚀Bye-Bye Brady 🏈Failure Rate 🐿️ When Boy The Elder was just Boy and devoid of a younger brother, we had a nickname for him: Pokey Joe. BTE didn’t do anything fast, but more than anything, what he did incredibly slow was get out of a car. That would suck…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Raccoons 🦝February 💘Man Nips 🕺 Today I bring you the story of a raccoon who got his balls stuck to railroad tracks. But the reason you think I’m bringing you this story is not the reason I’m bringing you this story. You think I’m bringing the story of the raccoon Neil…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Tyre Nichols 😔Tattoo Day ✒️Nephew Hoops🏀 I was a white kid in suburbia, New York, in 1988 when the gangsta rap group N.W.A. came out with its album Straight Outta Compton, featuring the song Fuck Tha Police. It was scandalous, at the time, to suggest that the police would be anything…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Car Concert 🎵Sick Wife🤒People Suck 🖕 Within the 24 hours in the run-up to Snowpocalypse 2023, the estimates on the Weather Channel app for our snowfall total ranged from 1 to 10 inches. That’s like going to the doctor and being told you have anything from a splinter to terminal cancer.…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Mission: Failed 👎Ho 🤣Handy Family 👍 It has to suck to work at the Missouri Department of Transportation. Why? It took exactly 75 minutes for all of 2023 to be a failure. Let me explain. Those of you unfortunate enough to have been involved in any sort of corporate planning process…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Houston 🖊️Sad clown 🤡Taco Seasoning 🌮 Houston, Missourah, is not unlike a lot of other rural Missourah towns through which I’ve driven and bears a resemblance to the Small Town USA in which Boy The Elder did a lot of his early growing up and to which Boy The Younger came…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Definitions 📖Missing Bourbon 🥃Mysterious Knocks 😵 I generally abhor any writing that starts with, “Webster’s dictionary defines …” Webster’s dictionary defines “ceiling” as a noun meaning “the overhead inside lining of a room.” The implication is that it’s a limitation, a max, a point of demarcation between what’s out there and…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sadness 😥Annoyance 😠Disappointment 😞 When Boy The Elder was Boy The Only in our home, he watched one of the Air Bud movies featuring a basketball-playing dog. Or maybe it was football. Or soccer. By the time that series was over, that dog had played them all. Anyway, whichever Air Bud…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Thor’s Blurry Hammer 🍆Pigeon Delivery 🕊️Idiot List 🤪 Thor is really, really good with his hammer. And by that, I mean that Thor the walrus in Scarborough, England, is really good at masturbating and ruining New Years Eve. If you haven’t heard about this story, stop reading stupid news like politics…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bruising Basketball 🏀Poke ☝️Six?!? 🔫 I grew up in the NBA era of the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons while loving a New York Knicks team that was, to put it mildly, quite physical. Guys like Steph Curry and LeBron James can makes basketball seem like artistry these days, but give me…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What There is Like! ⛅’Modern Policing’ 🚨Xylophone Time! 🎵 When you decide to talk about a time in which you truly believe you more-or-less died and saw what comes after this life, you have to be comfortable with the fact that people might think you’re nuts. Hell, talking about it on…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Grace Ashford! 📰Idaholy Shit! 🥔Story of the Year! 🍆 The three most influential people in my life as a journalist are, sadly, all part of the Great Newsroom in the Sky now. Professors Michael Perkins and Bob Woodward (AKA Bob Woodward-Not-That-Bob-Woodward) helped educate me at Drake University, and Lisa Warren was…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poor Puppy 🐶Romeo and Juliet 🤴👸Meta Mistake 🙊 Disturbing news out of Washington, D.C., today as Republican Congressman-elect George Santos (if that’s his real name) brought a 6-month-old puppy to the house floor and screamed “Hey, look at me!” before slitting its throat and lapping up its squirting blood like a…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Pretty Good Rant 😠Tesla Plunge 🚗Missed Lasts 😥 Those of you who regularly read my drivel (I see you, DirtySciFiBuddah) might have become aware of the fact over the past year or so that I am not a huge fan of our world’s modern institutions. All of them might, in…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Incomplete 🕮Frustration 😠Bowl Bust 🏈 To say that I know how to write is like saying I know how to breathe. No one considers that they know how to breathe. They just … breathe. No one is particularly good at breathing or bad at breathing. Again, they just … breathe. I’ve…Keep reading
Welcome to Issue No. 15 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. So last year, I had a list of 100 intentions for 2022, and I did fairly well,…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩2023 📅Helping 🧠The Universe 🔭 I’m not much for long-term plans and goals. This isn’t to suggest I don’t think they’re important. I just think that spending a lot of time on them is futile. What’s the saying? Man plans, God laughs. Something like that. Anyway, I’ve learned through experience that…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chain Links 🔗”Work” 🧑💼Popular Toys 🧸 After my first son died in December 2000, I spent a lot of time wondering why. Why me? Why Wifey Poo? Why Jacob? Why this level of suffering in a world supposedly created and run by an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God? So I did what…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chiefs! 🏈Indy Tickets 🏎️Bank Visit 💰 When I bought the tickets to the Christmas Eve contest between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks as a gift for Boys The Elder & Younger, it was sometime in September and temps hovered around 90 degrees. The thought that the game might…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Timelines 👶Extinctions 🌋Sin City 👌 As I fall deeper down the rabbit hole learning more about theories on space and time, the concept of alternative timelines comes up again and again and again. Whether it’s the stuff of science fiction or one day will be proven to be the stuff of…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩’Cousin’ Laughs🎤Improv!?!? 🎭Drake Hoops 🏀 Back when I was a boy, I had a favorite Cousin-Who-Wasn’t-A-Cousin. His name was Joey DeVito, and he was in no way a blood relation to me, though I called his father Uncle Frankie and his mother Aunt Celia. I’m pretty sure this is an East…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Glazed 🍩Bingo! 🖥️Disappearing Christians ⛪ I didn’t intend to bring doughnuts for my co-workers yesterday morning. It just sorta happened. How it happened and how it played out is a window into my weird mind. First, an explanation: I have a card purchased from Boy The Younger that entitles me to…Keep reading
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩STL’s Homeless 😥Snake Hoo-Hoos 🐍That Was Epoch 👴 I found James huddled underneath a blanket as he sat, knees to his chest, head bowed, just outside the doorway of a CVS in the Delmar Loop section of St. Louis. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a fun place filled…Keep reading