🧩 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 email@example.com. 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 🧩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…Keep reading
🧩 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…Keep reading
🧩 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