🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Stephen King 🕮
I read my first Stephen King book when I was in high school. It was summer, if I remember correctly, and everywhere I went, I carried a worn library copy of Pet Sematary.
Since that time, King’s words have been a regular companion through every stage of my life. I walked with the Gunslinger for many, many years. The amazing story It provided some hilarious high school memories with a classmate friend who hated clowns. Monday morning, I woke up, fed Luna The Bulldog, downed a big glass of water while the coffee brewed, grabbed a cup of said coffee and sat down to finish King’s latest work, Fairy Tale.
That I’m able to read at all is something I have to pause and appreciate. There was a time in the midst of Longhaul COVID hell that attempting to read written words caused my brain to short-circuit. I have never found the right way to explain what would happen, so I’m left saying that when I tried to read a book, I couldn’t. Brain fog is real for Longhaulers, and it sucks. For more than a year, I completed no books, a far cry from the days in which I’d read at least 30 to 40 in a year.
Then King’s Billy Madison led me back. It was a shorter book, a simple story, and I figured I’d give it a try. I finished it. When my eyes took in the last words on the last page, they involuntarily filled with tears. It was a significant moment in what has been a long, ongoing recovery from this stupid disease.
I followed up with King’s Blaze, and I finished that, too. Now, I’m back to being a regular reader, and I’ve decided to collect each and every Stephen King book ever written. But I’m not just going out and buying all of them on Amazon or something. I’m spending the time scouring second-hand stores and treating it like a treasure hunt. Friday after work, I had a few minutes before meeting Wifey Poo for our date, so I stopped in a Goodwill store and found Nightmares & Dreamscapes and The Eye of the Dragon. Total cost? $3.24. My plan is to re-read all of the books I collect.
Finishing a Stephen King book is, for me, filled with mixed emotion. There’s the joy of ending up at the finish line of an amazing tale, and Fairy Tale was no exception. There’s the sadness of saying goodbye to characters — people — you’ve gotten to know. Today I bade farewell to Charlie and Radar and all the fine folks of Empis.
Soon, I will have a part of Stephen King’s work with me forever. I’m planning my next tattoo. My favorite line in any book I’ve ever written comes from King’s The Dark Tower series: “Go then. There are other worlds than these.” And there are. I believe that. I’ve seen that. It’s gonna be a part of what I hope is a boss tattoo.
Today, yes, I say goodbye to the people from King’s latest work. Up next are those from his earliest. Hello, Carrie.
I look at the fact that, so far, we have gotten through another Election Day without violence and further undermining of our “democracy” as a good thing. I admit: I didn’t vote. Bottom line? I don’t have faith in Muricah, and I don’t see any candidates on the ballot who represent me or my interests and do so without being bought and paid for by lobbyists and corporations.
I was, however, interested in how Amendment 3 in Missourah turned out. It’s the one that would legalize recreational cannabis, and it appears to have passed. Good on us, Missourah. I’m happy to hear people with non-violent convictions for marijuana will have their records expunged. It was the height of hypocrisy to allow drugs far more potent, addictive and damaging than weed be something doctors prescribed like they were Pez dispensers while making something like cannabis criminal.
Red state, blue state … I don’t really care. I live in the midst of a Redneck Trump Riviera. None of these politicians are free from undo influence by lobbyists and corporations. I’d much prefer whoever the masses elect just leave me the hell alone.
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
Wifey Poo returned to the public school classroom on Monday for the first time in a long time, and boy howdy did it make me glad we homeschool.
Prior to bringing Boyz The Elder and Younger into the Here, Wifey Poo was a middle school and high school math teacher with a strong interest in special education. She is good at what she does. She taught in the Dayton (Ohio) Public Schools and more than held her own with kids coming up from horrible upbringings and more challenging circumstances than most of us could ever contend with.
Now, she’s a substitute teacher in a local school district. Boy The Younger is of the age where he’s able to work independently on his school stuff one or two days a week, and Wifey Poo is preparing for an eventual full-time return to the classroom when he graduates.
The public schools have changed a lot since she was last in them. The inmates seem to run the asylum, and things labeled as “special needs” really are just kids who need some consistent discipline. The kid she was tasked with shadowing had an individualize education plan because he “says inappropriate things.” This amounted to him basically having a license to be a disrespectful jerk to adults. No, it’s not Tourette Syndrome. It’s that this kid — a fourth-grader — doesn’t like being told what to do and hasn’t learned that, at the age, well, tough titty.
Listen, I respect behavioral issues and actual diagnoses of legit medical issues. I understand the theory behind inclusion. But this kid is just a punk who’s found a way to game the system to get what he wants, which is attention and to not do his work. In the end, the ones who suffer are those who are bright and willing and able who are held back while, despite having a teacher and and individual babysitter to help him get through the day, this kid slows down the entire educational process.
It’s really not hard to see why Muricah is falling behind internationally.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I scheduled time for two more tattoos early next year.
- Work trip to Florida coming up.
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🧩 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